Me & My Money: Life Goals

Plan differently with OCBC Life Goals

OCBC's Ms Tan Siew Lee says there is always room to reassess one's financial situation in relation to key life goals.
OCBC's Ms Tan Siew Lee says there is always room to reassess one's financial situation in relation to key life goals.


"Ms Chai's idea of retirement is quite unlike the standard notion. For her, retirement means spending the time to start a family and work on projects that she finds personally enriching and enjoyable, such as valuing start-ups, while still having the security of receiving a steady stream of passive income.

She displays a high degree of investment savvy that may have been cultivated from her many years of saving as well as investing, especially from a young age. Having started planning her retirement at the age of 25, she was able to take full advantage of the market opportunities over the past few years and benefit from the power of compounding interest.

OCBC Life Goals is a structured goal-planning approach that balances both your needs and ambitions to provide comprehensive and customisable solutions. Let's look at how Ms Chai's retirement plan can be strengthened.


Unique in Ms Chai's case is the desire to start a family after she retires, unlike most others who usually retire after the children are grown.

For now, her plan could work to provide a sound retirement for herself alone, but these financial needs will change once children enter the picture. With a bigger family, the planning for children's education and family protection should begin along with other wealth transfer issues.



Let's start with the area on how Ms Chai manages her cash flow. She intends to acquire investment properties to beef up her retirement income. This would inevitably increase her personal debts if she were to take on mortgages.

At the age of 31, she is just four years away from her target retirement age. All else being equal, clearing any potential debt would not appear as much of a practical problem in her case as she still has the time to work and pay off any outstanding debt if necessary.

However, it is an entirely different matter for those approaching retirement ages of 60 to 70 years old. It is always advisable to reduce debts rather than incur more as the time available to pay off loans decreases. Also, it is important to note that property in itself is a risky asset that is subjected to the market cycle, interest rate risks and other potential government policy changes. A large concentration of property investments in one's retirement portfolio might not be ideal as it could jeopardise the overall stability of the portfolio.

Life is full of unexpected events that may deplete the money that she has painstakingly saved and invested, bringing her further away from her goal.

Her existing insurance endowment or retirement insurance plans may be focused more towards savings and retirement income rather than protection purposes.

Therefore, it is also important for her to safeguard herself and her family by having adequate protection against unforeseen expenses which may arise from hospitalisation and critical illnesses. The need for adequate protection becomes even more crucial as we factor in the fact that she would like to start a family during her retirement.


Goal planning should not be seen as a standalone and static piece of advice, but one that slowly evolves through time as things change.

Changes in Ms Chai's life-stage like starting a family may require changes to her plans. Her retirement is no longer about taking care of her own well-being, but that of her family as well. This should be a key focus of her retirement planning as she moves along.

At OCBC Bank, we are here to help our customers on this journey for the long term. We believe in conducting annual reviews with customers to ensure they remain on track to achieving their goals."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'Plan differently with OCBC Life Goals'. Subscribe