The Fresh Grad Starter Pack

The Fresh Grad Starter Pack

You just graduated and got your first payslip. So, what do you do next?

I always like to ask my peers this question, “Do you start saving, or spend as you earn?”. This is because it is important to start cultivating healthy financial habits early as this gives you the flexibility to plan for your other commitments and goals.
Here are some topics regarding personal finances that you should know:

1. Salary & Managing Debts
2. Insurance
3. Investing

Salary & Managing Debts
As a rule of thumb, save at least 3-6 months of your monthly expenses as emergency funds.
Remember not to leave too much idle cash as inflation (generally 2-3%) erodes your purchasing power over time. Next, many fresh graduates will be looking to get a credit card.
Popular types of credit cards include cashback and miles. Do not forget to pay your credit card debt on time as it can affect your credit score which could subsequently affect your credibility and loans. Furthermore, some of you might have to pay for your University loans when you start working. As you settle your school debt, don’t forget that this debt is short term, remember to look beyond settling your school debts and plan for your future.

The main purpose of insurance is to protect you, your family and people you care about. Risk is being transferred from you to your insurer, preventing you from suffering from any adverse financial losses. Examples of major risks that one can face include: premature death, disability/dismemberment, critical illnesses, accidents and hospitalisation. It is important to allocate at least 10-15% of your income on insurance from the start as this provides you with a strong foundation in the event that something unfortunate happens. Also, it is cheaper to buy certain insurance (e.g. life insurance) when you are younger.

A common concern among all undergraduates/graduates is where to begin. Above all, it is vital to understand your risk appetite before you start investing. Are you a cautious, adventurous or a mix between these two? Do you have the time, knowledge, expertise and capital to do active trading by yourself? Rather than diving straight into an investment, start by investing in yourself with some books! A good starting point is passive investment.

So ask yourself now, will you rather be a saver or a spender? Always ensure that you allocate a portion of your salary for proper financial planning.

“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”

– Yeo Tze Hern (@yeomouse), Financial Services Consultant

From Cadet Pilot to Financial Consultant

From Cadet Pilot to Financial Consultant:
How I Still Bring My “Passengers” to Their Dream Destination

In September 2018, I received an email. An email that I’ve dreamt of since I was a boy.

It read: “Dear David, we would like to formally welcome you to Scoot for the position of Cadet Pilot Programme”. I was finally on the journey to becoming a pilot and fulfilling my dream of taking to the skies.

Six months of intensive theory studies await, along with 14 exam papers. I then found myself in Perth, progressing to the next phase of training. I will never forget the exhilarating experience of throttling to max power and taking off into the skies. Perth will always hold a special place in my heart.

It was also in Perth, where my heart got broken. In March 2020, I was terminated from the Cadet Pilot Programme and returned to Singapore defeated. I was in a deep rut and spent many months figuring out my next steps. I was 28 and effectively, had to start from scratch all over again.

I dug deep and thought about what drew me towards being a pilot. Beyond being in control of the majestic piece of an engineering marvel, I realised that I wanted to feel the job satisfaction when all my passengers disembarked at their destination safely. That was how I knew I did my job and value-added to my beloved passengers.

I wanted a career that could provide me with the ability to quantify the value I give to others. I wanted to take my passengers on a journey and head towards our dream destinations together.

With that in mind, along with other criteria, I found myself looking at the role of a Financial Consultant. Passengers require a crew to operate the flight as they are not trained or competent with the required skills. Likewise, as a financial consultant, I can provide professional services to get passengers to their respective dream destinations.

As I was looking out for the right team and leader, I found myself talking to my Victoria School classmate, Kevin, who coincidentally is the founder of Odyssey Advisory. Our values, goals, and beliefs were all aligned. It felt right. When done right, financial planning should be ethical and personalised.

Drawing from my experience in Perth as a cadet pilot, not every flight will be smooth sailing.

There will be turbulent conditions, adverse weather, or even mechanical issues. However, a pilot will never bail on his or her passengers. Likewise, as a financial consultant, the path towards our dream financial destination would not come easy. There will be ups and downs, sacrifices, and long-term expectations. However, it will make the destination that much sweeter.

What I will give you, is my word, that I’ll be right there with you, all the way. Guiding you through life’s adventure and striving to be the best financial ‘pilot’ that you will ever need!

– David Law (@davidareslaw), Financial Services Consultant

Our Ascend Internship Experience

“Courage isn’t about knowing the path, it’s about taking the first step.”

In the same way, internship is the first step of a career journey. Hear from three Ascend Summer Graduates, Javier, Yiru and Xiao Xuan, on their unique Zoom internship journey here at Odyssey.

A Virtual Experience

Ascend Summer 2020 was conducted in June where Singapore was still battling with COVID-19 in Phase 1. Despite the challenges of a fully remote internship programme, our interns have found the learning experience to be fruitful.

Q: What were some expectations you had before joining the internship?

“Coming into Ascend, I told myself to embrace the industry and content with an open mind to learn as much knowledge in order to plan for my future finances and that of my closed ones. Therefore, I didn’t have any expectations in mind, I simply wanted to give my all during the internship.” – Javier

“I was simply curious to find out more about this industry and I didn’t see myself as a financial advisor then. My only expectations held was to understand the gist of what financial planning is and how do financial consultants go about doing so.” – Yiru

Q: How was the learning process in a fully virtual internship like?

“The learning process is very systematic and organised. Everyday, there is a schedule planned out and smoothly carried out. The talks and lessons were clear and constructive.” – Yiru

“It was amazing. Everything was very well thought and planned out. The lessons scheduled were put in place to value add to us more than anything else. It would, however, be so much better to interact in person because everyone were such unique and interesting individuals.” – Xiao Xuan

“I told myself to embrace the industry and content with an open mind to learn as much knowledge in order to plan for my future finances and that of my closed ones.”

A Financial Services Experience

Q: What were some key takeaway/concepts that you have gained from Ascend Summer 2020?

“Biggest takeaway is the knowledge obtained. I learnt that Financial Planning is not a one-off thing, it is ever changing. Our needs and priorities are constantly changing and evolving and this is what people are unaware of. There are many concepts in which are not taught in many courses which include Time-Value-Money, Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA) and protecting and growing of wealth. Through this summer internship I’ve witnessed how these two words — grow and protect, are closely interlinked and how they support each other.” – Yiru

“Everyone has their strengths, weaknesses and values. I learned that regardless of where you go in life, if you feel that this is something you see yourself doing for the long term and you have the potential to do well, go for it!” – Javier

Q: How applicable are the lessons learnt to your life?

“Everything learnt is applicable … I regret dozing off a little sometimes. [Editor’s Note: a perk and a pitfall of a remote internship, eh?] To be very honest, I cannot wait to put everything I’ve learnt into good use for myself, my family and my friends.” – Xiao Xuan

“Very. These are the kind of lessons that everyone should learn but unfortunately our schools do not teach. Nonetheless, I believe the lessons are super useful in life because everyone is bound by money. We all eventually have our own house, get married and build our future one day. All these lessons we learn can apply not only to our daily lives in terms of our finances, but in other parts of our life where planning is involved.” – Yiru

Q: How was the process like preparing for the exams?

“SHAG bro. Especially if you have zero background or interest. For myself, I was thankful to have an Economics background. We have quizzes during the internship as well. Although it was really tiring and I felt like I took a whole semester of studies in a month, it was more fun when the interns studied and discussed the topics together.” – Yiru

“Nerve-wrecking yet informative. Nervous for the very fact that it is an exam with invigilators but every piece of information bridged everything we learnt during the internship and they felt like information that we could use to value add to our clients.” – Xiao Xuan

“I learnt that regardless of where you go in life, if you feel that this is something you see yourself doing for the long term and you have the potential to do well, go for it!”

An Odyssey Experience

Q: What were your fondest memories that you had with the Odyssey family?

“If I had to describe one, it’ll definitely be the weekly study group sessions we hold with the whole team. These are the times of the week where I draw lots of inspiration from success stories shared among our peers. Looking at how each of us strives to be the best that we can be, it is for sure my fondest memory so far with Odyssey!” – Javier

“I first met Marissa (Mars) and Xenia, followed by Sherrill. Mars always went above and beyond to understand my situation and comfort level of this internship. She was always there helping all the interns seek out what truly suits us and what we are looking for in a career.

“Xenia shared with me her challenges faced at the start and her thoughts with me despite me meeting her for the first time, which gave me a sense of familiarity and transparency.

“As for Sherrill, she was someone I reached out to when I was on the fence of whether it was the right time and opportunity to join Odyssey. She showed no hesitation and was willing to listen and guide me through my hesitations even if it means talking late into the night. All in all, they gave me a clearer sense of who I want to be, who I want to surround myself with and a touch of Odyssey family.” – Yiru

“Too many, oh man. I really enjoyed the time when we had small talks after everyone’s small presentation. I loved the time when we mingled and hung around after the exams. I loved it when the managers would share their life stories in lessons.” – Xiao Xuan

“All in all, they gave me a clearer sense of who I want to be, who I want to surround myself with and a touch of Odyssey family.”

Join Ascend Winter 2020

If you’d like a taste of this industry without being fully certain that you want to commit, take a leap of faith and try our internship programme. There will be industry experts who will guide you personally and be a part of your career journey.

What are you waiting for?

Try it for yourself today: