It’s been 6 months since the #SAVVYUPTOGETHER squad met up for the first time. After revealing their respective pairings – each participant-financial expert duo was able to talk about what goals they want to achieve.
In the last 5 months, we have entrusted the participants to catch up regularly with their chosen financial experts to ensure that they are working towards their financial goals. We checked up on them to see their progress.
Jeneen Goh is the founder of digital marketing agency, 21Stories as well as the blogger behind @xoxojeneen. While Rohith Murthy leads SingSaver, Singapore’s #1 personal finance comparison site.
Both individuals are busy 24/7 running their own businesses, with very little free time on their hands, on top of their personal lives – Jeneen and Rohith are able to stay in touch and discover that their financial goals are very similar to that of each other.
With such information, Rohith was able to share some tips with Jeneen such as maximising your credit cards (for both business and pleasure) and overall, giving her insightful advice on better financial management.
The New Savvy: It’s been months since our first meet-up, what changes have you made to your finances to achieve your goal?
Jeneen: When Rohith and I met up for the first time, we realized we have quite a few things in common. We both started and are running our own businesses for the past 2-3 years. We both got recently married. We both like to lead balanced and healthy lifestyles and travel 2-3 times a year to new and exotic places with our loved ones.
Rohith shared with me how he manages to optimize his personal and business expenditure by using the right credit cards for the right spend. For example, he uses a specific credit card that gives him cashback on groceries spend, another card for Grab rides, all business expenses (office stationery, merchandise, etc) on his air miles card, and so on.
By doing so, he is able to redeem many freebies and rewards such as cashback and miles every month. In fact, he is able to redeem air tickets for his own family to Europe once a year through this strategy.
The only golden rule he follows is to ensure he pays his credit card bills on time and in full.
This was quite eye-opening to me as I was only using debit cards for all expenditure. I took this advice on board, as it was a relatively easy and quick change I could start making to my finances albeit in small steps.
I have now started using a credit card that helps me accumulate air miles and I hope to redeem an air ticket myself by end of this year for my next travel adventure.
The New Savvy: How often do you talk to Rohith and what advice has he given you?
Jeneen: We are both super busy with running our young businesses but we managed to catch up in person for lunch once every month and WhatsApp each other every time we needed to bounce off anything.
The New Savvy: What has been the hardest thing to do in your #SUT journey?
Jeneen: Rohith was clear to me that shopping for credit card deals can be overwhelming, given the sheer volume and complexity of cards that exist in the market. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to start from scratch and figure it out all by myself.
Rohith’s own portal SingSaver, a financial comparison site was a good starting point for me to browse and check all the credit cards and offers and do my own research.
The New Savvy: Is there any financial habit that you had to give up/ develop farther?
Jeneen: I had to make a conscious effort to be more aware of the various rewards offered by the different cards and to use the right ones for the appropriate spending.
The New Savvy: Have you gained new financial knowledge?
Jeneen: I learnt that you don’t necessarily need to give up your lifestyle to have more money. By using the right card for the right spend, one can save thousands in cash every year or rack up enough air miles to redeem free air tickets.
The New Savvy: What do you think of your progress so far?
Jeneen: I am pleased with the progress I have made in the past few months. Given my business commitments, I wanted to pace myself by starting simple and gradually learning about new products and new ways of optimizing my expenditure.
The New Savvy: What are you most proud of?
Jeneen: The fact that I could make this change quickly without much hassle or drastic changes to my lifestyle.
The New Savvy: What are you least proud of?
Jeneen: I could have embarked on this much earlier and possibly redeemed a free ticket on my recent trip to London.
The New Savvy: What do you want to achieve in the last few months? What do you intend to focus on?
Jeneen: I have set myself one simple goal I would like to achieve by end of this year – to further optimise my spending on my cards. I intend to focus on achieving this and then pushing myself harder next year with more ambitious financial goals.
The New Savvy: What have you learned about investing so far?
Jeneen: I have learnt that investing takes passion, time and a lot of hard work. My biggest investment is in my business, a digital marketing agency called 21 Stories.
When I first started about 1.5 years ago, I only had one staff with a small pool of clients. Today, I run a team and all my clients have come to me through word-of-mouth recommendation. I believe that our passion for doing great work (plus a lot of blood, sweat and tears!) have brought us to this far.
The New Savvy: Have you made your first investments? If so, what are they?
Jeneen: As mentioned earlier, my business is my investment. I have plans for us to grow to become one of the top digital marketing agencies in Singapore and I’m very excited for what’s to come.
The New Savvy: Seeing that your husband is also from a financial background, what does he think of your journey so far?
Jeneen: He’s definitely pleased that I’m getting rewards from my spending now seeing that I charge so much on my cards every month.
With the pair making the most out of their shared journey, discover what Rohith has to say about his mentee:
The New Savvy: Have you ever personally mentored someone with regards to their financial goals?
Rohith: I have a young team at SingSaver, many of whom are starting their financial journey. I enjoy investing time with them, talking about the various financial products in the market, showing them how to pick the right product and sharing my own financial goals and lessons I have learned.
I also enjoy sharing financial lessons with my own family. You can start having these discussions even when your kids are very young with simple goals such as saving up for an expensive toy or teaching them the power of compound interest. Personally, you learn a lot
yourself about financial concepts when you start mentoring young children.
The New Savvy: How has the #SavvyUpTogether journey been different than the rest?
The #SavvyUpTogether journey has given me an opportunity to mentor an entrepreneur like me who has very similar goals and financial challenges but is time-poor. Its helped me tailor my recommendations and advice and provide actionable insights.
The New Savvy: What do you think of Jeneen’s goals? Are they achievable in the given timeframe?
Rohith: Definitely achievable. I also like the fact that she is sticking to achieving one simple goal by end of this year without letting this disrupt her personal and business life.
The New Savvy: What advice have you given her so far?
Rohith: Keep it simple. Don’t take the first offer made to you. Always compare as there’s always a better deal or product.
The New Savvy: How often do you check up with Jeneen and how do you do so?
Rohith: We catch up in person every month and Whatsapp each other to exchange any ideas or questions.
The New Savvy: From our first meet-up in February til’ now, what biggest change have you observed in Jeneen’s financial habits?
Rohith: When I met Jeneen the first time, it was evident that she was extremely busy with her business and a bit unsure on how she was going to be able to invest time for her other financial goals.
We had a very candid and transparent conversation on the things that mattered most to us and I was able to share with her my own experience and learnings on how I go about getting the best possible financial results. I feel she’s a lot more positive now about her personal finances and how she can manage them better herself.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in #SavvyUpTogether - Savvy Up Together