Thoughts about Savings as a teenager

It has been about 3 months since my last post. 2019 is definitely an eventful year for me as I graduated from my course of study in Polytechnic a few weeks ago and I will be enlisting for National Service in 2 months time.

I will not be updating my blog often as the purpose of this blog is to pen down my thoughts about my stock purchase so that I can hold myself accountable. I have not been purchasing stocks ever since my last purchase in late October and November. I sold all my REITS positions in December and March. I honestly regretted selling them as I actually wanted to lock in the profits and treat it as an advanced dividend payout. Well, what’s done is done. Never ever sell your golden goose.

Since my last purchase, I have already accumulated a significant amount to invest in the market in the coming months if there is any pullback to attractive valuations. I digress, the purpose of this blog article is not about discussing about the what happened to me past few months but my thoughts about savings as a teenager.

Few months ago, I wrote a post on Seedly Personal Finance group on Facebook and it was well received by many members in the group.

Hi all. I guess I need some help in allocating my cash inflow.

I am 19 this year and would be enlisting later this year. I am currently working part time so there will be continuous inflow of cash till I ORD.

I have THREE accounts with CIMB for different purposes. The first account would be CIMB FastSaver. This account is for savings. The second account is CIMB FastSaver-i which is meant for my warchest while my third account is CIMB StarSaver. The StarSaver account is mainly funds used for my wants or meetups.

All the monies in CIMB StarSaver are at my savings account to earn that 1% interest. I have an Excel sheet to track how much monies I have in each account.

For every $1 of inflow of cash, $0.75, $0.13 and $0.12 will be transferred into my warchest, savings and spending accounts respectively.

I have about 7 months worth of emergency fund in my savings account now, had already started investing since 2018 and slowly building up my spending account.

I also invested $3k of my savings account in 2.7% Temasek Bond as I believe that I won’t be using that amount yet.

The problem I have now is that I feel that I am not spending my youth well by saving aggressively for the future. For example, I don’t eat at restaurant but at hawker centre, spending less than $5 for lunch. I don’t spend on my wants like buying new shoes cause my 3 year old pair of shoes is still not spoilt and I am going to NS so won’t be wearing it often to make it a worthy purchase.

At this age, should I allocate more money into my spending/savings account or warchest account.

Members’ comments

These are some of the comments by some members who responded to my post.

Chill out and let loose, money can earn but your youth will never come back again

i was like that when i was 19. eat at kopitiam too. and now…almost a decade and a half later…i still enjoy eating my kopitiam…while i enjoy watching my networth grow and knowing I’m working towards financial freedom, which will almost surely happen.

But if u are finding “not spending” miserable, then u just have to find a sweet spot, or reward urself once in a while on something when u need to.

Just remember that delayed gratification coupled with compounding returns is amazing.

When writing this, I’m guessing that you are feeling stress at the moment and really want to get some sort of approval to go ahead and spend. Well go ahead, you have my permission… not. Just kidding.

What you are feeling is extremely normal. I feel that too. Occasionally, you need to let loose a bit. Suggestion if you don’t want your “wants” to go overboard is to add a splurging Budget.

This Budget can also include gifts for Friends and family as well as yourself. If it’s an annual Budget, you can allow a built up for vacation or as you say a pair of shoes.

If you don’t want to touch what you have set up right now. Then identify an additional income that you can allocate for splurging, eg. Angpow, carousel old stuff, etc.

Great job you are doing by the way.

Hi! if this habit of saving aggressively has severely affected your lifestyle (i.e having to turn down dates/meet up etc), then maybe you want to consider being more generous to yourself, especially when you are also holding a part-time job atm. If you have worked hard for it, you deserve to spend some of it as well.

“The problem I have now is that I feel that I am not spending my youth well by saving aggressively for the future.” for this statement, if you look from another perspective, would you rather have this problem or to “feel that you are spending your youth well by spending aggressively in the present” ?(which alot of youths i spoke to are doing these days)

End of day, it really boils down to YOUR intended lifestyle and your short + long term goals. Nonetheless, kudos to you for having worked hard to plan your finance at this age! But yea, do take everything here as a pinch of salt as well.

For a start, you might want to allocate time to sit down, and draw a simple plan on your goals. Cheers!

I fully agree with the quotes above. Money can be earned back in the future especially when one is working as a full time worker compared to just a part time worker. You are going to earn more as a full time worker anyway. We can’t get back our youth so we should enjoy ours before working life haunts us for the rest of our life. We should spend within our limits and enjoy life!

Ever since this post, I am less reluctant about spending money. One of my friends told me that I became very generous lately. For example, I treated my friends to Tenuki Raw (split cost with another of my friend) and contributed more money to birthday present fund than my other friends. Yes! I recently bought Ultraboost for $140 thanks to this reddit post.  This $140 is definitely well spent and I can’t describe how much I love wearing them!

Spending your youth well doesn’t mean you need to spend money to enjoy.

Serving the society, volunteering can be a joy because we are able to help and contribute. If you have the time, help out in community. Enrich yourself to help the less privileged.

Saving is a virtue. It goes a long way…

I was like you too except i didnt create separate accounts. I piled all into the highest interest account and manage the allocation via spreadsheet…

No regrets, in fact, very grateful to my younger self. No vacation for many many years. My shoes and sandals also wear until broken then change.

The measure of spending youth well isnt how much you spent but how much knowledge and experience gained. There are many things that dont need money like volunteer work, walk instead of public transport, free admission events, stuff that have subsidized cost for students/ns men.

I am 25 this year. Planning early and having financial knowledge at 19 is commendable. I wish I knew what you knew when I was 19.

With regards to the issue of “not spending your youth well”, dining at fancy restaurants, popping champagnes in a club does not mean a youth well spent as well.Looking back, I wished I had managed my expenditures better when I was 19. I think you are on the right track, however, we all need a balance in our lives. Reward yourself with a holiday trip or an item that you always wanted from time to time.

The two years spent in NS will also be crucial in planning your wealth creation journey.

I’m 22, waiting for ns just like u. If u dont see a need to spend money, u dont have to force yourself to spend. I like to eat so i spend most on food. But in exchange, i dont buy much other stuffs like clothes and shoes.

You dont really have to spend money to enjoy life as well. Do what makes you happy but dont go overboard and it will be easier for ur financial journey.

How does one define youth well spent? Well, there’s actually no correct answer as many people have different responses. Spending youth well isn’t all about living lavishly as mentioned by the commenters above.

In my Facebook post, I wrote that I am not spending my youth well by saving aggressively for the future. Compared to other teenagers, my youth is not all about fun like going out with my friends everyday etc. I think I can describe myself as a simple person who will go back home after work and only go out with friends for meetup.

In my opinion, so long I enjoy what I am doing right now or do not have any complaints about my current lifestyle and have no regrets about it then I would say this is my definition of youth well spent. At the end of the day, I lead a simple life, I can’t compare with other teenagers.

You can take a look at this commenter where he shared how he allocates his money each month.

I am a few years older but i have a similar system to you. Among my 2 accounts, it is split in 4 categories. Namely expenses, emergency, savings & warchest.
Expenses is for day-to-day usage such as food and transport. I’ll set a limit for it, lets say 1.5k, so at the start of the cash inflow, i’ll top up till my limit.
Emergency, I’ll set a lump sum to cover expenses, it will stagnant as you won’t have much expenses at the start. Increase it as your obligations increase.
Savings, I’ll set a fixed sum of my cash inflow, ard 20%. It is for medium term expenses and usually large exp such as electronic appliances or trips. Usually 1 drawdown decrease a whole lot from this account as you are still young.
Lastly, the rest goes into your warchest. You need to be comfortable with the amount as you might be burned thru investing.
Spending is all about value. Most restaurant food doesn’t give me good value unless eating with a friend. It is alright if you have nothing to spend now, you will feel relieve when you have the capability to spend in the future.
Take the time to find out what is important to you. Investing in knowledge? Use the savings to buy a book/go for a course/upgrade yourself. Spending time with friends/family? Buy gifts, treat them for a meal. Unless its hurting your quality of life, I do not think it is aggressive spending. It’s just because you feel nth value to spend on yet.
As everyone is saying, you’re doing good. All the best!

Conclusion

If I have not posted this on Facebook, I would still be on the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to saving and spending. Like other teenagers who might be on the other end of the spectrum, we need to strike a balance between savings and spending.

For my case, I need to allocate more for spending. I have made a few adjustments to my allocation once again. Even though I still allocate most of my cash inflow to my warchest account, I have reduced it by a few percentage points and more to my spending account.

I am comfortable with this allocation and I guess I will follow it for the next few years till I start working full time. There will be more responsibility such as paying insurance premiums, giving allowance to parents and so on.

Thanks for reading and till next time!

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