She may be the youngest of the #SavvyUpTogether participants… but don’t let that fool you. Samantha, who recently completed her Master of Science (MSc) in Organisational and Business Psychology from University of Liverpool, is the Director of Hock Chuan Seng Pte Ltd; her family’s construction supply business as well co-owner of a Sonder The Label.
On top of that, Samantha has a following of over 50,000 on her Instagram account which features her travel, fashion and beauty interests. She is also skilled in management, coaching, social media, marketing, and public speaking.
With a host of achievements under her belt, this millennial is more than ready to take on the world! It is, therefore, inspiring to know that Samantha wants to work on her financial health to ensure these accomplishments do not go to waste.
Growing up, Samantha never really had to struggle financially. However, she still learnt how to be thrifty and managed her savings due to being exposed to her parents’ business strategies at an early age.
What are your top two financial goals for 2018?
My first goal is to make my first investment (and returns). The second is to increase Sonder the Label’s profit margin to 20%! Sonder the Label, launched in 2016, is an e-Commerce website for women’s fashion.
Why do you want to achieve these goals?
I believe that it’s best to start investing as early as possible. For Sonder the Label, we’re aiming for 400% markup of our product costs so 20% profit margin seems realistic and achievable.
How would you describe your relationship with money and financial management? Has this evolved?
I never had a financial management plan – reason being that I’ve never experienced financial struggles since I was born. Despite this, I’m usually quite thrifty and I save as much as I can.
I am beginning to realise that I’m at that age where I have to start planning my finances to get married and start a family.
How would you describe your current financial situation?
I’m satisfied with my current financial situation. I’m neither in debt nor do I find it hard to make ends meet.
Working for my family’s construction business, I’ve also accepted my low salary as my mom and dad feel that it’s wiser to leave more money within the business so that we can do more for the business.
How do you manage your monthly income?
As I mentioned in the previous question, I honestly do not do anything special except to save what I can, instead of splurging on unnecessary purchases.
What are some of your most pressing financial concerns?
Right now, I have an HDB flat under my name which is currently being used by my aunt. However, I am hoping to have enough money to afford a condominium unit or even a terrace house in the near future so that I can start a family of my own soon.
Financial freedom means different things to different people. Personally, what does being financially free mean to you?
I hope to earn at least $5,000 a month on the side from either Sonder The Label and/or sponsorships on Instagram so that I can do the things that I want without getting stressed over money.
How did you manage your expenses while you were in University?
To be honest, I did nothing in particular. It was a part-time course and was paid for by my dad.
Have you started financially preparing for the future?
I just save as much and as often as I can.
How did you balance studying for your Master’s and managing your family’s business simultaneously?
I had the opportunity to work and study at the same time so the only problem then was trying to balance the two. Having a family business meant that I had the flexibility to do schoolwork in the office or work-related tasks at home. It was tough but very fulfilling.
Were your financial decisions growing up affected by the exposure to how your parents ran their own business? How so?
Yes, definitely. Their primary business strategy was to cut down on expenses and increase the variety of products sold. I decided that it would be wiser to partake in more than a few businesses and not put all my eggs in one basket.
Do you foresee taking over your family business? If so, what financial concerns do you foresee?
I am currently the Director of my business and perhaps one day I’d have the opportunity to take over the Managing Director role. I foresee price increase in raw construction materials which would affect the cost of my products.
Can you share with us some of your financial strategies?
Since I am both an entrepreneur for Sonder the Label and a Director for Hock Chuan Seng, I find it hard to get insurance. I personally think that it is important for someone to have insurance as life is always so unexpected, you always have to be prepared.
Thus, I’m looking at investing and venturing into Insurance as soon as I can, both for business and personal use.
How far along do you think you are in your financial journey? Why do you think so?
Although I grew up in a fortunate household, I I do not consider myself ahead of my peers or any other fresh graduates. I may not have had to save up for my degree or work part-time like most younger generations, but I am trying to be as smart as I can.
My current salary is lower than my previous job and although I am unable to save much, I would really like to know how I can maximise my savings and minimise my spendings.
In your opinion, what do you think financial independence looks like for a student?
Free of student loans!
A recent study by DBS showed that 50% of young adults do not plan financially and feel that they do not know how to plan. Many students also do not believe it is necessary to start planning at their age. What are your views on this?
As long as they do not have a student loan, it is fine to plan only when they begin working as they would be able to assess their situations better.
With Samantha’s goals in mind, The New Savvy has paired her up with financial expert, Thomas Zhuo.
Thomas is the writer behind www.my15hourworkweek.com. Since his teenage years, Thomas has been passionate about personal finance and investment topics. He is currently on track to semi-retire by his mid-thirties. Besides writing on his blog, Thomas also shares his financial journey at various seminars and events. His work has been featured in publications such as The Sunday Times.
Coming from a low-income family, Thomas realised the importance of saving and investing as early as possible. Therefore, even before he graduated university, not only was he married to the love of his life, Jasmine but also accumulated more than enough pay off their 30-year housing loan of $230,000 in savings.
With Thomas’ first-hand experience and knowledge of budgeting, saving and investing. He hopes to help Samantha attain her saving goals and heed notice to her investment plans.