In this post, I’m excited to share the journey of constructing my 9 income streams aimed at achieving financial freedom and securing a comfortable retirement. Guided by the principle, “If you don’t manage your money, money won’t care about you” (你不理财，财不理你), I’ve realized the crucial importance of proactive financial management.
As we step into 2024, we are confronted with rising prices, increased costs for water, electricity, transportation, GST, inflation, and more. Our salary increments often struggle to keep pace, and the purchasing power of our income diminishes. Recognizing the imminent challenges, it becomes essential to explore ways to make our money work diligently, mitigating the impact and fostering its growth.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that everyone is in a unique stage of life with varying risk appetites. Therefore, instead of blindly following others, it’s advisable to tailor financial strategies to individual circumstances.
This post serves as a reference, offering insights into how you can strategically allocate your funds. It’s important to note that the content herein is not financial advice, but rather a sharing of personal experiences and strategies. May it inspire you to embark on your own journey toward financial well-being!
My primary source of income is from my salary, which has evolved over the years through my tenure in the IT industry. Reflecting on the journey, my initial job right after graduating from polytechnic paid a modest sum of 1,400, a stark contrast to today’s polytechnic graduates who often receive up to 3,000. Upon obtaining my degree from SIM in 2014, my salary saw an increase, albeit modest, hovering around the 3,000 range. Meanwhile, contemporaries from prestigious universities such as NTU, NUS, and SMU were securing salaries as high as 5,000 today
In the past few years, the landscape of the IT sector has undergone significant changes since then, with a heightened demand for IT professionals. Consequently, my current salary aligns more closely with those who graduated from esteemed universities, reflecting the industry’s evolving dynamics.
2) Rental income
In Singapore, individuals who are single and above the age of 35 are eligible to purchase their own HDB flat, and I took advantage of this opportunity at that time. With the rental market fluctuating, especially during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increased demand from locals seeking independence from their parents, as well as from foreigners who came to Singapore for work.
Recognizing the potential to generate additional income, particularly because I had a spare room, I decided to make the most of the situation. I engaged the services of a reliable agent who assists me in finding suitable tenants. When the rental market is less favorable, I may choose not to lease the spare room.
3) Bank interest
Due to the challenges posed by high inflation and the government’s efforts to curb it, there has been a noticeable upward trend in interest rates. Therefore, I’ve strategically allocated a significant portion of my funds to the UOB One account, where the interest rate can reach an impressive 7.8%.
It’s important to highlight a nuanced aspect of this arrangement. For the initial $100,000 deposit, the account yields a substantial 5% interest annually. However, it’s crucial to be aware that any amount exceeding this threshold receives a considerably lower interest rate of 0.05%. It might not be the optimal choice for amounts surpassing $100,000 due to the lower interest rate beyond that limit.
4) Investment in Tbills
A portion of my available cash is strategically invested in 6-month Treasury Bills (T-bills), constituting a low-risk approach with a current interest rate of 3.74% (as of the last available information). This method involves a minimum investment of S$1,000, with subsequent increments in multiples of S$1,000.
The process is systematic: I invest in the 6-month T-bill, allow it to mature, and upon expiration, reinvest the principal. This cycle is maintained unless the interest rate falls below a predefined threshold. In such cases, I consider alternative investment avenues to optimize returns.
5) Dividends from stock investments
Having embarked on an investment journey spanning several years, I’ve strategically diversified between Singapore and US stocks. My approach involves utilizing Singaporean stocks to accumulate dividends, while US stocks are earmarked for capital appreciation. However, given the strained relations between the US and China in recent years, my US stock portfolio, which includes several Chinese stocks, has faced challenges. Looking ahead, I’m considering a gradual shift, divesting from US stocks and reallocating funds into Singaporean stocks to focus on dividend generation.
6) YouTube channel income
In 2023, I have my first full year of earning income from YouTube channel ads. While my channel is relatively small, the monthly earnings, though not substantial, manage to cover 50% of my transportation expenses to work. Despite the disparity between effort and returns, I’m delighted that the channel is generating income, and I’m optimistic about its potential for gradual growth. If you’re curious about the content on my YouTube channel, feel free to visit and subscribe at YouTube @uniquely.sengyi.
7) CDC voucher
Alright, this one isn’t exactly counted as income, but since every household received it last year, I thought I’d include it here. Each household received a $300 voucher, split into $150 for participating supermarkets and $150 for participating heartland merchants and hawkers. Interestingly, I managed to spend the entire $300 on groceries. The trick is to locate those old provision shops in the older neighborhoods. I believe this is a smart way to maximize the use of the voucher. Just because it seems like ‘free’ cash doesn’t mean we should use it recklessly. For this year CDC voucher, I would do the same again.
8) Singapore Saving Bonds
Yes, I also allocate some of my funds to Singapore Savings Bonds, adding diversity to my portfolio. However, I took a unique approach by placing my money in the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) account and then investing it in Singapore Savings Bonds. The reason behind this strategy is that the current interest rate for SSB is attractive, offering up to 3% per year for the next 10 years. This ensures a steady 3% return on the amount I invest, even if general interest rates decline during this period. Interest payments are made every 6 months, but since my money is locked in the SRS, I can only withdraw it at retirement age to avoid taxation.
9) Blog income
Yes, I also maintain a blog, occasionally sharing insights on various topics. However, I must admit that I have neglected it at times. In reality, the blog has been a bit of a financial drain as the income generated is not sufficient to cover my web hosting costs. Despite this, I am committed to keeping the blog alive, and my plan for this year is to upload more articles with the hope that it will, at the very least, help offset the hosting expenses.
In conclusion, managing multiple income streams has been a key strategy in navigating the evolving financial landscape and getting out of the rat race. Diversification has been a guiding principle, whether it’s maximizing bank interest rates, strategically investing in Tbills, or venturing into the world of stocks for dividends. Financial management is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and each individual must navigate their unique path towards financial well-being. Hope this article serves as an inspiration for you to actively manage your wealth.