It’s been 5 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.

To her colleagues, she is Samantha, Director of Hock Chuan Seng Pte Ltd; her family’s construction supply business. To the rest of the world, we know her as Samantha, the face of popular fashion, beauty and travel blog, Society of Snobs, and the woman behind e-Commerce fashion website, Sonder the Label.

Having acquired her Master of Science (MSc) in Organisational and Business Psychology from University of Liverpool. Samantha is nothing short of success. However, as an all-around businesswoman, she wanted to increase her profits and make her first investments.

She was paired with Thomas Zhuo of a local financial blog site, 15hourworkweek. Thomas mastered the art of finances at an early age. He and his wife, Jasmine, were able to pay off their 30-year housing loan of $230,000 before he even graduated from university. He is currently on track to retire by his mid-thirties.

With very busy schedules, the duo found it hard to catch each other and as a result wasn’t able to produce fruitful results. Hear more about the unforeseen trouble that they faced and how they are going to bounce back!

 The New Savvy: It’s almost been months since our first meet-up, what changes have you made to your finances to achieve your goal?

Samantha: I found it hard to make significant changes to my finances except to save whenever I can. Saving has always been something that I did even before partaking in #SavvyUpTogether.

The New Savvy: How often do you talk to Thomas and what advice has he given you?

Unfortunately, I have not talked to Thomas since the day after the event, therefore, he was not able to give me advise that I hoped to follow through for the past 5 months.

Recently, he got in touch and gave a low and high-risk option to achieve my goal of increasing Sonder the Label’s profit margin by 5%.

The New Savvy: What has been the hardest thing to do in your #SUT journey?

Communication was a big issue. I was really excited to get financial advice from an expert blogger and change the way I manage my finances.

However, reaching Thomas proved to be a hard task. I can’t blame him as I know that he has his own responsibilities as well. However, not establishing communication with him has left me fruitless in my financial pursuits.

The New Savvy: For the remaining four months, what knowledge would you like to learn (from Thomas, or the journey itself?)

Perhaps savings plan and how to do long-term investments with minimal risk.

The New Savvy: What do you think of your progress so far?

I believe that my progress has been stagnant and I have nothing to show for as of yet. I also did not take the initiative to change my own financial habits without the help of Thomas.

The New Savvy: Have you decided what investments you want to make? Why did you choose to do so?

I have not decided on this. I am hoping that since Thomas has since established a connection that he can advise me and we can find a way to have check-ups.

The New Savvy: What do you want to achieve in the last few months? What do you intend to focus on?

To increase my knowledge in managing my finances. In the start of #SavvyUpTogether, my goals were to make my first investment (and returns) and increase Sonder the Label’s profit margin to 20%! However, with only a few months left, I think that it’s better if I focus on one goal, as it seems more feasible.

Along with Samantha, Thomas has taken his first step towards ensuring that she is able to achieve one goal. Through establishing communication and his vast knowledge in investments, Thomas offered a low and high risk option on which stocks she should consider:

a) Low risk option: <5% return

– High savings rate accounts: Eg, DBS Multiplier, OCBC 360, UOB One, Citibank Maxigains.
– Singapore Saving Bonds: The bonds are backed by the SG government and the rates are increasing and for recent issues, the rates can go up to >2.6% if you hold the bond to maturity (10 years)
– Corporate Bonds: Quality corporate bonds like FCL bonds or even Temasek-backed Astrea bonds offer returns up to 4%.

b) Higher risk options: ~5% returns

– STI ETF: The market has come down a fair bit since March/April which also means there is a higher likelihood of achieving 5% returns by the end of the year if you invest in the STI ETF now.
– Reit ETFs: They are likely to pay a dividend of around 5%, so if prices just remain flat, you will make your 5% return already. With the tax changes (17% tax removed), they are a compelling choice if you do not want the hassle of picking individual stocks/ REITs.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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