Quite frequently in the recent weeks, I have been receiving emails from my readers. It is heart warming to see that Miss Niao’s readership has grown substantially and that there are people out there who find my blog posts beneficial.
One of them is a 19-year-old engineering student that goes by the alias, Sleepy Devil (SD for short). I’m just going to have to call him/her this until he/she reveals a more appropriate name. And let’s just assume that SD is male.
What’s so special about him then, to have been able to gain a feature on Miss Niao?
Well, to start off, he reminds me very much of a younger version of me. Currently at Age 19, he is working part time and has set a goal to save $15 every day from his earnings. I too, at the Age of 18, worked really hard while studying in polytechnic. I worked part time every single day and stopped taking allowance from my parents.
I don’t know too much about the spending habits of students nowadays, but I am sure that it would not be any better than when I was 19, with social media and all. So to be able to start saving money and set it aside for a better cause, I would say that he has already taken a great leap ahead of most of his peers.
I took a look at his portfolio. Boy, was I in for a surprise! He is already more experienced than me when investing in the stock market (okay, to be fair, everyone is). He even has more stock holdings than me!
I don’t know why but I feel proud of him, even though I do not even know him in real life. I’m sure that he will be able to build up something for himself when he finishes his studies. He is also very well informed and makes sure that he does his homework on the various trading methods. We had a discussion on how to lower trading fees as his capital was very small. Because of that discussion, we found out that DBS Vickers is having an ongoing promotion for trade orders at 0.12% and minimum commission of $10. With the additional rebate of $5 per trade, our trading costs can be minimized to just $5!
Reasons why I love talking to my readers. :p Productivity at its best.
He has also asked me to give him advice on what someone at his age should do. Although I did give him some tips, here’s a more comprehensive answer so that other readers of the similar age gap can relate too.
1) Do well in your studies
Do well in Polytechnic or JC so that you can proceed to get a degree in a local university. If possible, do so well that you can get a scholarship. A scholarship offers you sponsorship for your study loans and guarantees you a job when you graduate from university. On top of that, you can get allowance for your daily expenses. This will help you to be not just one, but a few steps ahead of your peers in terms of your financial health when you graduate.
I do not recommend settling for just a diploma because the salary range and career opportunities are too far off from having a degree. This is the sad truth while working in Singapore, and you will have to face it no matter what.
So by all means, pursue for a degree at least.
2) Work hard and start saving if you can
If you are able to do well in your studies and have extra time on your hands, work part time. It doesn’t matter what kind of job you do, because every job will provide you with invaluable experience – the kind of experience that you can never get no matter how well you do in your studies.
If possible, work in the customer service line or a job that requires you to interact with people A LOT. If I’d have to pick one skill that I think will help you the most in your career or whatever path you wish to take, it is your communication skills. This is a skill that nobody can take away from you, and it has taught me how to be street smart.
As a student, you will also have lesser liabilities. So start saving whatever you can with your earnings.
However, I do not think that working part time or saving up money should have any precedence over your studies. So get Point 1 down first, and then Point 2.
3) Only invest after you’ve done your homework
I think this point is pretty self explanatory and it only makes sense to only invest in something that you understand. When I was younger, I made hasty decisions and these decisions will never pay off in the long run.
I also have friends who get exposed to different investing methods after their social circle expanded while working. Investing can be fulfilling yet destructive. There are many ways to make money, but only a few ways to lose it. So read more books, the Internet which is as informative as always, and keep yourself informed.
I hope these tips would be useful to him and other readers out there. Do check out his blog if you wish to know more about him. He is now on Miss Niao’s blog roll on the right column of my page! 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Miss Niao xoxo.