Plan differently with OCBC Life Goals

The first step in goal planning should be a comprehensive assessment of your financial situation, says Ms Tan Siew Lee.
The first step in goal planning should be a comprehensive assessment of your financial situation, says Ms Tan Siew Lee.

MS TAN SIEW LEE, HEAD OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT SINGAPORE, OCBC BANK

After years of unyielding focus on creating and growing a profitable business, Ms Junie Yeo has a very clear vision as to how she would like to unwind and spend her time in retirement.

It includes travelling the world with her husband and living life out of a suitcase from city to city, while still enjoying the financial fruits of her cheongsam business. It is not unrealistic, especially with early and careful planning.

At 36, Ms Yeo has started to think about coming up with a plan to make this vision a reality. With another 20 to 25 years before she retires, this provides a reasonable window for wealth accumulation.

In addition, Ms Yeo's growing business and rental income from her investment properties provide a good starting point from which to plan.

OCBC Life Goals is a holistic and structured goal-planning approach that balances both your needs and ambitions to provide customisable solutions to help you reach your goals.

UNDERSTANDING HER GOALS

The first step in goal planning should be a comprehensive assessment of your current financial situation, which includes identifying the sources of your income and key liabilities.

Ms Yeo earns income from her growing business and rent from her investment property. She has two key liabilities in the form of mortgages on her current residence as well as her investment property.

Given these seemingly heavy liabilities, she should ensure at the outset that she gets adequate insurance coverage to cover these liabilities in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

Once the area of wealth protection is adequately addressed, Ms Yeo can move on towards planning for her retirement with peace of mind.

Ms Yeo has a very clear idea of the type of lifestyle she wishes to lead during retirement - one that gives her the freedom and time to travel.

 

WORKING TOWARDS HER GOALS

The next step should be estimating the potential costs of such a lifestyle. Factoring in inflation and future costs of healthcare, she will probably derive quite a hefty sum.

Deduct from what she has already accumulated to fund her retirement, and she will derive the estimated financial gap that needs to be closed before she reaches her target retirement age.

Understandably, the process of wealth accumulation becomes more demanding as you step closer to your retirement.

It is important for Ms Yeo to seek professional help to ensure that her savings are best deployed to work the hardest. Given that she is not an active investor, it would make sense for her to look at solutions that could offer diversification benefits as well as potentially better returns on her savings.

Indeed, Ms Yeo's two investment properties are key sources of income once she retires, whether through rent or sale of the properties. Why bother with anything else, some might think, as these are indubitably lucrative sources of income.

Yet it pays to note that property, like any financial asset, is susceptible to market cycles. These cycles are inherently unpredictable and crises often strike in the most inopportune of times. This does not mean staying clear of property investments altogether. It just means you should not rely on property alone as a source of retirement funds. Balance is a necessary condition.

In this case, Ms Yeo should look at constructing a diversified retirement portfolio consisting of a variety of sources or assets that can offer a steady stream of retirement income. This could include the share of profit from her business, rent from her investment properties, payouts from various endowment plans as well as income from a variety of investments in the different markets that are professionally managed.

During the wealth accumulation window, Ms Yeo should make every effort to ring-fence her retirement portfolio from the rest of her financial needs to prevent any leakage that could potentially delay the progress of growing her retirement funds.

REVIEW HER PROGRESS REGULARLY

Ultimately, goal planning should be specific, dynamic and evolve according to changes in circumstances. Monitoring and reviewing these plans should be part and parcel of the process. It is for the long term after all.

At OCBC Bank, we believe in conducting annual reviews with customers to ensure they stay on track to achieving their goals. In addition, the review process can uncover fresh opportunities to start planning for other goals as one's financial situation and commitments evolve over time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 03, 2017, with the headline 'Plan differently with OCBC Life Goals'. Print Edition | Subscribe