Learn how to retire smart with Lorna Tan's new book

Due to the risk of outliving our savings and inflation, the way people plan for retirement has evolved, says Invest editor Lorna Tan.
Due to the risk of outliving our savings and inflation, the way people plan for retirement has evolved, says Invest editor Lorna Tan.ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN

Following the success of her first two books, Talk Money and More Talk Money, Invest editor Lorna Tan is back with her third personal finance guide, this time focusing on retirement planning.

Retire Smart: Financial Planning Made Easy is a compilation of her articles from 2015 to last year. Ms Tan makes good use of her 15 years of experience as a financial writer to cut through complex financial concepts, schemes and jargon to help readers make sense of what is important for planning their financial future and growing their nest eggs.

The timely topics covered include tips on making the most of the various Central Provident Fund (CPF) schemes and enhancements so as to optimise retirement savings, how to plug gaps in insurance coverage, and investing smartly without falling prey to scams. There are also sections devoted to legacy planning, credit and debt planning, and consumer protection.

Ms Tan, 53, says retirement planning is a topic close to her heart.

"All of us know that planning for our retirement is very important. We're reminded constantly to start early and to stay invested. But investment cannot be reduced to a single stock idea or a single investment strategy. Diversification is key and financial planning has to be holistic."

Most retail investors tend to focus on the wealth creation aspect but neglect other areas. Attention has to be given in the four main aspects of protection, accumulation, preservation and distribution. A holistic financial plan will enable you to make informed decisions and not take unnecessary risks, adds Ms Tan.

She notes that due to the risk of outliving our savings and inflation, the way people plan for their retirement has evolved over the years. For most, it is no longer sustainable to rely on a big lump sum that they can draw on from when they retire until they kick the bucket.

"Because of all these retirement risks, we need to create multiple income streams during retirement to meet our needs and wants," says Ms Tan. "For me, the foundation of my retirement building blocks will comprise guaranteed income flows from sources such as our CPF Life payouts. They will provide a secure and reliable income stream for a basic retirement.

"Beyond that, I will look to invest into different higher-return instruments so that I can stretch my savings and for a better lifestyle."

Like her previous two books, Retire Smart is suitable for both the fresh school graduate and the more seasoned investor, and it will empower them to take charge of their financial journey as they look ahead to retiring well, says Ms Tan.

Singapore Press Holdings chief executive Ng Yat Chung, who endorsed the book, said: "Lorna does an excellent job of offering useful financial know-how to many consumers. Over the years, she has been recognised for her knack for simplifying complicated financial schemes, such as those under the CPF system."

Mr David Gerald, president of the Securities Investors Association of Singapore (Sias), adds: "Lorna is a passionate advocate for the need for financial literacy and consumer protection. This book is a valuable resource for the ins and outs of holistic financial and retirement planning."

Ms Tan has won numerous in-house journalism awards as well as those conferred in the national and international arena for excellence in business reporting.

These include the Investor Education award in 2016 and the Financial Journalist of the Year award in 2007, both awarded by Sias.

In 2006, Ms Tan was runner-up in the Excellence in Public Journalism category, awarded by the Hong Kong-based Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa). Two years earlier, she won a Sopa award for excellence in business reporting.

•Retire Smart: Financial Planning Made Easy is published by Straits Times Press. It costs $28 and is available at major bookstores as well as www.stpressbooks.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Learn how to retire smart with Lorna Tan's new book'. Print Edition | Subscribe