Young and Savvy get tips on investing

Students at latest seminar pose questions on topics such as credit cards, gold

STUDENTS from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) touched on a range of hot topics as they peppered speakers with questions at the Young and Savvy talk yesterday.

The 100-strong audience wanted to hear the speakers' views on using credit cards, while others were keen to get the lowdown on gold as an investment. Others asked whether it was a good time to enter the stock market, given that Wall Street is at record levels.

A fourth-year student, who identified himself as Samuel, asked how retail investors can protect themselves in a complex financial market.

Straits Times senior correspondent Goh Eng Yeow, who was among the three panellists, said: "When you want to solve a problem, if you have to take a long and convoluted method to solve it, you probably got it wrong. The easiest thing to learn is, if it's something you don't understand, don't go into it. You're sure to lose money."

Another student asked what assets young graduates could consider once they have saved up some money.

Straits Times journalist and panel member Cheryl Ong said many Singaporeans started out on the path to making a fortune by buying their first Housing Board flat. Even if property prices may seem high now, young investors can still start by saving towards owning an HDB flat first.

Mr Vasu Menon, who is head of content and research for wealth management at OCBC Bank and was also part of the panel, tackled a dilemma many investors face: Is the technical analysis of stocks better than a fundamental analysis?

He said a technical approach is useful when understanding the market psychology that drives the stock's price. But he said: "I think the more important part is fundamental analysis. If I ask you, what does this company do? And you can't tell me what it does and where's the growth coming from, then I think you're not an investor, you're a speculator."

Associate Professor Karthik Natarajan, who is the associate head at SUTD's engineering systems and design school, also spoke to students about the university's courses focused on financial services.

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

The two hour seminar was the third in a series of five talks on personal finance and investing, organised by The Straits Times with sponsor Frank by OCBC, and held in partnership with SUTD.

The last two Young and Savvy talks will be held on Oct 8 at the Singapore Institute of Management, and on Oct 14 at the Nanyang Technological University.

Participants will get a goodie bag and have more chances to win a lucky draw prize of $10,000 for entering a financial literacy contest sponsored by OCBC.

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