Young and Savvy about dollars and sense

SINGAPORE - Students at the latest Young and Savvy seminar yesterday proved a sophisticated crowd as they posed questions that went beyond the fundamentals of investing.

The audience of around 150 students and staff from the Singapore Management University (SMU) pressed a panel of speakers on topics such as timing the market and creating a balanced portfolio of investments.

The talk on personal finance at the Mochtar Riady Auditorium was the second in a series of five that will be held over the next few months.

Young & Savvy

It was organised by The Straits Times with sponsor Frank by OCBC and held in partnership with SMU.

A third-year student, who identified herself as Stella, noted that young people are often advised to take the first investing step by buying exchange-traded funds such as the SPDR Straits Times Index ETF (SPDR) because they are deemed as safer investments.

"At the same time, (people) say, 'You're young and should take more risk'... So after the SPDR and blue chips, what's next for our portfolio?" she asked.

Panellist Chew Shan An, who is a third-year accountancy student, recommended diversifying into other asset classes such as bonds.

He also pointed to advice from investment guru Warren Buffett, who recommends balancing a portfolio with 25 per cent of holdings in bonds and 75 per cent in stocks.

However, Straits Times senior correspondent Goh Eng Yeow noted that the STI ETF tracker fund has soared from about 1,000 points to about 3,400 over 30 years.

"If you had invested $10,000 in it, it should still at least double if you keep it for the next 28 years," he said.

"So you should be able to beat inflation."

Ms Cheryl Ong, a Straits Times journalist, touched on the importance of investing at a young age, while Mr Vasu Menon, head of content and research for wealth management at OCBC Bank, spoke on how young people can save and plan for their financial security.

The panel discussion was moderated by Straits Times Money Editor Lee Su Shyan.

Participants at the talks get a goodie bag and have more chances to win a lucky draw prize of $10,000 for entering a financial literacy contest.

The prize is sponsored by OCBC. For more Young & Savvy stories, visit www.straitstimes. com/youngnsavvy