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Managing Your Money during the Covid-19 Crisis


The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the global economy hard. With job losses on the rise and pay cuts a reality for many, families have had to tighten their belts.

Mr Alfred Chia, the chief executive of financial advisory firm SingCapital, and president of the Financial Planning Association of Singapore, tells The Straits Times' Invest editor Tan Ooi Boon how Singaporeans can better manage their finances to weather the current recession.

Managing debts and incomes

Besides cutting down on non-essential expenses, consider tapping on your property. Taking up a mortgage loan with a low interest rate might make sense for individuals facing cash-flow problems. With the funds, first pay up loans with the highest interest rates. Interest rates for credit card debts, for instance, can accrue to around 26 per cent.

Property owners can also look at renting out extra rooms in their homes to generate additional income. HDB dwellers can consider selling part of their remaining lease back to the HDB through the lease buyback scheme to monetise their flats for retirement.

Tapping on government relief schemes

The government support measures have been generous and a quick way to find out what support measures you are eligible for is to key in your particulars at the website. 

Retirement planning 

Beyond planning for rainy days, retirement planning should be approached in a holistic way – through a mix of CPF LIFE and properties. CPF LIFE is an annuity scheme that provides a lifelong monthly pay-out from age 65. Seniors can also consider down-sizing their homes to cash out their assets for retirement.

Here are some recommended e-resources to help with your financial planning:

1. The Total Money Makeover – A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness (2011)

By Dave Ramsey

Audiobook available at:

No quick fixes but a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters. This New York Times Bestseller gets down to the heart of all your money problems by getting you to change yourself. Personal finance expert and radio host Dave Ramsey lays bare the deceptions of the American Dream and sets you on the right path towards financial health.

2. The Year of Less – How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store (2018)

By Cait Flanders

E-book available at: 

A former compulsive shopper turned mindful consumer shares her journey towards complete financial prudence – by not shopping for an entire year. Cait Flanders’ inspiring personal battle against the cycle of consumerism encourages you to find your own path of less.

3. The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+ – Winning Strategies to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime (2020)

By Suze Orman

E-book available at: 

Navigating today’s complex road towards retirement is quite different from the experiences of the previous generation. Renowned American personal finance expert Suze Orman dishes out no-nonsense advice and practical tools you need to plan wisely for your retirement in this New York Times Bestseller.

4. Retire Inspired – It's Not an Age; It's a Financial Number (2019)

By Chris Hogan 

Audio book available at: 

If retiring broke and stressed or working long after you want to sounds like a nightmare, personal finance expert and radio host Chris Hogan has tips to help you make smarter decisions today so that you are better placed to live your retirement dreams.

5. The Smart Couples Finish Rich – 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner (2018)

By David Bach

E-book available at: 

It is hard enough to manage your own finances, let alone those of a couple.  Uncover the secrets of making better money decisions with your better half, from credit card management to investment choices. But first, start by aligning your core values. 

6. The Index Card – Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated (2016)

By Helaine Olen & Harold Pollack

E-book available at:

Money management can be as simple as sticking to a list of 10 rules on an index card. Set your personal finance on the right track with the easy-to-follow action plans and sound money management tips that work – in both good times and bad.

7. The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money – Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs (2019)

By Jill Schlesinger

Audiobook available at: 

Common sense is not all that common, especially when it comes to managing your finances. This practical book by CBS’ money expert and former Wall Street trader Jill Schlesinger highlights 13 costly mistakes that most people are making now – without them even knowing it.

8. The Secrets of Successful Financial Planning – Inside Tips from an Expert (2019)

By Dan Gallagher

E-book available at:

Money guru Dan Gallagher empowers you to take charge of your finances through six elements of a complete financial plan: Cash & Budget Planning, Insurance & Risk Management, Tax Management, Retirement Planning, Investment Planning, and Estate Planning. Get insider info and glean valuable lessons from true stories of financial triumphs and tragedies.