From The Invest Editor

Financial security a long-term journey

Lorna Tan.
Lorna Tan.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
ILLUSTRATION: ISTOCKPHOTO

Back after a four-year break, Lorna is raring to help readers achieve financial independence

After four years in a corporate communications role in the real estate sector, I'm back in the hot seat covering finance and the Singapore corporate scene at The Straits Times.

The move is timely, with The Straits Times and The Sunday Times undergoing a renewal and rolling out our revamped issues.

It's exciting to be part of the change and the Invest team and I look forward to connecting with you and making a positive difference to your life.

In the bigger picture, people are increasingly realising the importance of money management and making efforts to improve their understanding of financial matters.

The changes to the CPF Life annuity scheme that take effect next year are a wake-up call to Singaporeans not to depend solely on their CPF funds for retirement.

  • SUNDAY INVEST: WHAT YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO:

  • FEATURES: Money Matters

    • Give us your financial questions and concerns

    • "How to" advice from personal finance experts

    Me & My Money

    • Refreshed look and feel

    COLUMNS: From The Invest Editor

    • Invest Editor Lorna Tan gives her take on personal finance issues

    Making Cent$ Meet

    • Sharing experiences on family money issues, such as bringing up children, money management and aged parents

    Small Change

    • Sharing our views on personal finance issues

    Young & Savvy

    • Perspectives on personal finance issues, with a focus on younger investors

    What's New

    • Highlighting new products and services

The impending changes to the national hospitalisation and surgical scheme MediShield are another area of concern.

In recent years, consumer protection has received much attention, particularly in the aftermath of the global

financial crisis. That has led to the authorities here tightening regulations and introducing new guidelines such as fair dealing principles, and outcomes that financial firms should achieve.

Another development is balanced scorecards, which will take into account non-sales factors in determining the pay of financial advisory representatives and their supervisors.

Despite this, mis-selling and mis-representations still occur, as rogue financial representatives try to get away with a quick sale to unsuspecting, trusting consumers who are overwhelmed by the myriad of investment products and services in the market.

Meanwhile, people are getting old and enjoying longer lives. Life expectancy in Singapore is among the highest in the world, with a newborn male expected to live to 80 and a female, to 85. Inflation, property costs and the risk of outliving our nest eggs all contribute to our stress as they make planning for retirement uncertain and challenging.

It is more important than ever for Sunday Times Invest to enable our readers to take charge of their financial planning early, make sense of the daunting investment choices out there and find ways to make retirement planning simpler so as to achieve financial stability in their golden years.

Invest will continue to highlight pertinent personal finance issues to our readers, who come from all walks of life and are in different age groups.

For most of us, it is mind- boggling and overwhelming when we look at the variety of insurance and investing tools out there.

Invest would like to be an avenue for your feedback on financial issues as well as share what may work for you and your family and alert you to potential investing pitfalls.

Here's a peek at what we have in store for readers.

Money Matters is a new financial planning series where we invite you to ask your burning questions on personal finance, such as concerns surrounding money management, investing, insurance, property, retirement and legacy planning.

There will undoubtedly be no shortage of these, from How can I retire early and still leave a legacy? to Should I sell my HDB flat or condo? Can I afford to send my kids for overseas studies?

How do I distribute my wealth? Is my will watertight? Should I give up my private Shield plan?

We will share your financial profile with experts who will analyse and provide recommendations on how you can achieve your financial goals, and address your concerns.

Our readers with families will find plenty of helpful advice in our Making Cent$ Meet column, where we will share our experiences and views on family money matters, such as those related to raising young children, education costs, ways to stretch your dollar and dealing with aged parents on money issues.

The Me & My Money column has long been a popular feature and we will continue to showcase individuals' money-management journeys, with a refreshed look and feel.

Other columns like Young & Savvy, which provides useful perspectives to our younger readers, Small Change and the spotlight on new financial products under What's New will continue as well.

Planning your finances is a personal responsibility, so the first step begins with you.

Achieving a sustainable level of financial comfort does not happen overnight. It takes years of disciplined money-management habits, and as our financial priorities and external environment change over time, we evaluate and make prudent adjustments along the way.

Contrary to popular belief, we need not be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth or have good business acumen to be able to retire comfortably.

A sound sense of personal investment and finance will go a long way in achieving financial independence.

And this is where Invest would like to play a role to support you.

So watch this space.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'Financial security a long-term journey'. Print Edition | Subscribe