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.

When Yasmine Khater, founder of VSStory, sets her heart and mind into doing something, she hustles towards it. Along with Dawn Cher aka SGBudgetBabe, she is closer to her financial goal than she’s ever been!

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

Yasmine: When I first started I had just gotten my money in order, started putting together my emergency funds and had bought one stock.

Now I have an investment allocation plan and have slowly been working on understanding the various asset classes whether it’s REITs, ETFs and now equities.

I also have some of my investments on autopilot, from auto transfers from my salary to my investment account to buying monthly ETFs.

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

Yasmine: I met with Dawn monthly. She is amazing and I love her practicality and honesty about her own experience.

She has been really incredible in asking great questions and on getting me to look at better understanding my asset allocation and then breaking it down so we have an action plan towards reaching it.

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

Yasmine: The hardest thing has really been getting myself out of the way. Dawn highly recommended I take a course on REITs as my investment goal is to generate income.

After the course, I found analyzing the information really overwhelming. At one point I just thought if this was even worth it, it felt so complicated.

But Dawn being her wonderful self, just broke it down and made me realize I do know now more than I give myself credit for. She reminded me that this is new for me it would take more time for me to analyze and understand but eventually it would be easier.

The New Savvy: Is there any financial habit that you had to give up/ develop further?

Yasmine: I would have to say the automating parts of my finances, from monthly transfers to my investment account, mortgage, insurance and to spending a part of my Sunday analyzing the various things I want to invest in.

The New Savvy: Have you gained new financial knowledge?

Yasmine: Where do I even start, I know this sounds super basic, but although I understand compounding interest I don’t think I have ever thought about it with regards to the opportunity cost of not starting.

Also from being able to actually read an annual report and to identify the key things to think about.

From how to calculate NAV, price to NAV, and what a PE ratio or DPU is.

Also with regards to key insurance that I need to start incorporating into my finances as a way to protect myself.

I think we are completely on track for the goal I had set earlier this year.

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

Yasmine: I am proud that:

  • I can go through an annual report and spot out the key areas that I need.
  • My investments are slowly beginning to fit in the asset allocations that I have set up early this year.
  • My monthly investments have already accumulated to nearly 4K dollars.

I am proud of actually just starting and biting the bullet even though it’s not something that comes naturally to me.

The New Savvy: What are you least proud of?

Yasmine: I am least proud of mental chatter that has been coming up.

Especially when I am thinking to myself:

  • Shouldn’t I already have figured this out already?
  • Shouldn’t I have started earlier?
  • Shouldn’t I have spent less on travel and more on my future?

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

Yasmine: I am quite comfortable with my set up now and I want to continue to allocating time on Sundays to analyze the companies that I care about and to invest in more equity.

The New Savvy: As a co-founder of VSStory, how has this journey impacted your business so far? I.e. Have you made any changes to the way you manage your company’s finances?

Yasmine: There hasn’t been much impact to VSStory, I am quite prudent so we already have a reserve in the bank and one of the best investments we did a few months ago is to bring in someone to do our finances as it was taking too much of our time administratively and instead allows us to analyze the bigger picture.

The New Savvy: You recently tried out IG Asia’s new trading platform; with existing trading platforms, what made you decide to try a new one? (expand your portfolio or just experience?)

Yasmine: I recently decided to try IG Asia’s new trading platform because I want to experience another platform. I doubt I will switch over to anything as my monthly investments amounts are quite small.

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Ever since our first meet-up, Dawn has not only been helping Yasmine manage her finances but has made changes to her own. After announcing that she was pregnant, she is currently remodeling her own finances all the while ensuring that Yasmine does not stray from her goal. You go, girl!

The New Savvy: Do you think that your own financial goals have changed since you found out that you were pregnant?
Dawn: Yes. Instead of only thinking about ourselves and our parents now, we’ve also factored in a longer-term plan for our child.

 

SGBudgetBabe, Dawn Cher, on managing university fees and her popular blogThe New Savvy: What do you think pregnant couples should prioritize first, in terms of budgeting/ financing?
Dawn: It really depends on them. I do have a blog post coming up on this soon though, once I’m through with my own timeline. At this moment, I’m only in my second trimester so at this point I can only highlight gynae fees, hospital delivery fees, maternity insurance and cord blood banking.

The New Savvy: Have you ever personally mentored someone with regards to their financial goals?

Dawn: It depends on how you define “mentor”. I define mentorship as a really close and consistent relationship, similar to that of a long-term tutor and his/her student, and one that spans many years. So in this sense, then no, except for Yasmine on your current initiative.

The New Savvy: how does the #SavvyUpTogether journey affect your life?

Dawn: It doesn’t really affect my life other than the monthly meet-ups, and guidance that I give through Whatsapp in between. I usually give Yasmine “homework” after each of our sessions so she needs time to complete those too before we meet, review and move on to the next stage of her learning.

The New Savvy: What do you think of Yasmine’s goals? Are they achievable in the given timeframe?
Dawn: Definitely, with effort. She’s been doing great so far!

 

The New Savvy: What advice have you given her so far?
Dawn: I’ve actually planned out a step-by-step progress journey with her, in a similar fashion to how I chart and plan out my tuition students’ learning journey. So far we have covered cutting of expenses, budgeting, insurance, building her war chest, starting a Regular Savings Plan, dividend investing, and a review of her portfolio of cryptocurrencies.

 

The New Savvy: How often do you check up with Yasmine and how do you do so?
Dawn: Mostly monthly, in person and over dinner, where we spend about 3 hours together each time. In between, she’s always free to ask me questions on Whatsapp, but most of the time she’s supposed to do the homework I’ve given her in preparation for our next review session, haha.

The New Savvy: She is currently delving into more investing platforms. What do you think about this?

Dawn: That’s great, and something we’ve talked about. I’m helping to guide her on them.

 

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