Me & My Money: Life Goals

Radio DJ Andre Hoeden is tuned in to thrift and saving

Radio DJ Andre Hoeden has his parents to thank for his disciplined savings habit, which comes in handy now that he has his own family with three young children.
Radio DJ Andre Hoeden has learnt from his parents to keep his lifestyle simple and not hanker after material things. He hopes to pass on this attitude of thrift to his three young children, and counts them and his townhouse home as his investments.
Radio DJ Andre Hoeden has learnt from his parents to keep his lifestyle simple and not hanker after material things. He hopes to pass on this attitude of thrift to his three young children, and counts them and his townhouse home as his investments.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Andre Hoeden's biggest priorities are work and funding his three children's education

Radio DJ Andre Hoeden has his parents to thank for his disciplined savings habit, particularly now that he and his wife have three young children.

Mr Hoeden told The Sunday Times that his parents never spent beyond their means: "We were not rich at all. Growing up was comfortable but not extravagant for sure."

"My parents always saved for stuff. We had no car and we lived in a four-room HDB flat," he says.

Mr Hoeden's parents have retired. His father was a prison warden and his mum a beauty training manager with Estee Lauder. He has an older brother.

His parents' simple lifestyle has rubbed off on him. Material possessions are not important, he says, and he does not own branded goods like designer watches.

Knowing the importance of thrift, Mr Hoeden, 42, has started imparting his money values to his three young children - Sarah, eight, Matthew, five, and Russell, three.

A business graduate of Curtin University in Australia, he worked in sales and marketing jobs when he returned to Singapore.

Mr Hoeden's broadcast career began in 2007, two years after doing a weekly comedy segment on a radio show.

Apart from working as a radio presenter and executive producer on Singapore Press Holdings One FM's #1 Breakfast Show on 91.3, he is a show host and emcee.

And if that were not enough, Mr Hoeden is also a real estate agent for private residential properties and a brand ambassador for adidas, TaylorMade Golf and Oakley.

It is no wonder that his children often wonder why their father has such a busy work schedule.

"My kids always ask me why I work seven days a week and I tell them because we all eat seven days a week," he says.

His American wife, Ms Jennifer Freed, 42 and an accountant by training, is a part-time real estate agent.


Q Have you started teaching your children about money?

A I teach them about money every day and how difficult it is to earn it. I usually let them pay for stuff at, say, the supermarket and food centre, and they work for small rewards.

I make a conscious effort to help them understand about money from the time they turn four or five years old.

At home, when they help the domestic helper clear the table, they might get 50 cents to a dollar. The reward also depends on their attitude and quality of service. Was it done cheerfully or grudgingly?

And they may be rewarded if they help to turn off the lights and air-conditioning when no one is using them.

Last Sunday, we were at a food outlet and I gave Matthew $2 and said: "Go, buy your own drink." Then I watched as he figured out how to order and get the change.

Q How are you planning for your children's education?

A I started saving for their education after finding out that a tin of milk costs about $60 and tuition costs about $40 per hour.

My priorities are definitely teaching my kids to be good people first, then good students.

I'll do anything to fund my kids' education... sell my golf set, my house and my prized stuffed spider collection.

Jokes asides, I will fund their education with our savings and I'm willing to downgrade to a small residence and use the surplus if I have to.

My home, a freehold townhouse in the east, was bought for just over a million about 12 years ago. It has appreciated quite a fair bit. I have a mortgage on the property with another 20 years left.

I didn't buy education insurance plans for the kids but we all have medical and hospitalisation plans, and I have term insurance.

Matthew takes golf lessons from me and he learns tennis from a coach, while Sarah is taking art lessons, which she enjoys.

Q What are your financial goals?

A My short-term goal is to work as hard as I can while I'm "young" and make good financial decisions, basically not wasting money.

So my financial priority is to save for now, but it's almost impossible with our high cost of living. You can expect what my monthly expenses would be, what with three kids and a domestic helper.

Apart from that, my main expenses are on my home. I was never a spender but I do spend a lot on my house to upgrade it, like buying paintings and a new sofa.

My biggest challenge is to balance the spending, so it's a good thing my wife is an accountant by training.

She's a full-time mother and a part-time property agent. We have a joint bank account. I don't have a savings target. However, I'm a disciplined saver, so I just save every month but I don't have a clue how much it is.

My long-term goal is to find a way for my money to work for me. Help!

Q What is your retirement plan?

A I don't really have one to be honest.... Care to help?

Our homes are usually our largest investments. Hopefully mine will help with my retirement when the time comes.

Q How much legacy planning (will, trusts, lasting power of attorney and CPF nomination) have you done?

A None! I'm hoping my wife is taking care of that.

Q What's in your investment portfolio?

A My kids and my home. I used to own a small bar with my dad and brother in Katong for six or seven years. We sold it just before 2007 and made a small profit.

Q Do you own more than one property?

A No, I do not own any other property. This is our matrimonial home and I can't afford anything else!

Q Are you interested in investing?

A I haven't started but would like to and I'm willing to seek professional help.

I've never traded in stocks and I don't have a Central Depository account. My wife does but I don't. She's been trading for about 20 years. I would like to start trading with a bit of my savings.

Q My home is now....

A A townhouse in the east. It's great for my kids. They are rarely at home as they are always out playing in the estate's shared compound.

Q I drive ......

A A silver Volkswagen Touran. It is an affordable seven-seater family car.

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In this third of a four-part Me & My Money: Life Goals series, we highlight the financial goals of radio DJ Andre Hoeden.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline 'Radio DJ is tuned in to thrift and saving'. Print Edition | Subscribe