What Singaporeans Can Do To Balance Immediate Financial Pressures Of COVID-19 With Long-Term Financial Wellness
COVID-19 has prompted rapid public health insurance and societal alterations in Singapore. And with the resulting economic fallout, workers are concerned about their finances.
With a lot of closed businesses, attention has centered on how working families could make ends meet. But there is also a significant financial impact on seniors who might be financially vulnerable if the pandemic leads to a sustained stop by their income and retirement funds, or if the sudden healthcare needs lead to significant up front costs.
Measures Introduced Addressed Today's Needs, Without having affected Our Future Retirement Adequacy
To help mitigate the financial impact from the pandemic, the federal government features various support measures more vital than S$60 billion for Singaporeans through the Unity, Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budgets. These includes cash handouts, deferment of housing loan repayment and support to employers to assist retain jobs.
These measures assistance to balance households' short-term funding issues and keep retirement funds on track. As a result, individuals' retirement won't be challenge. Singapore ought to be commended for prioritising retirement savings even just in a crisis.
Offering cash support and subsidies are better than allowing early CPF withdrawals (as some have suggested) or reducing CPF contributions (as ended previously in 2003) simply because they address short-term income needs without having affected future retirement income adequacy. Liquidation of retirement assets at massive losses could be hard to recoup, specifically for older CPF contributors.
It's remember this that CPF LIFE annuity payouts alone very likely won't permit you to benefit from the retirement lifestyle you would like, making it critical to continue investing for retirement beyond CPF.
Practical Steps We Can Take To Safeguard Our Retirement Nest Egg – Even Amidst The Current Crisis
In trying to navigate this crisis with a objective of keeping long-term savings as intact as you possibly can, there are a few tenets for Singaporeans to keep in mind.
First, focus on what you can control – your savings rate and investments. Don't be concerned a lot about things that you cannot control, such as the health from the macro economy or stock exchange volatility.
Cash flow is an area you have to navigate in a recession to ensure that you have sufficient liquidity reserves. Ideally gradually alter have sufficient savings to cover 3-6 months of total expenses on-hand all the time. The silver lining to remain home within the Circuit Breaker period and never spending on dining out or travel, is your savings rates are prone to benefit within the short-term.
Singaporean investors tend to have high cash balances, if you have money on the sidelines, there are buying opportunities right now. Consider putting your money to operate by investing in strategies that match your long-term financial targets.
With markets slowly returning to more normal levels after whipsawing for most of March, bring some perspective for your personal finances. It is really an chance to stress test your retirement plan's sustainability. If you're invested, particularly in long-term retirement portfolios, try not to review your account balances too often. Resist the need to tinker because long-standing investment principles are more important now than ever before. It is important to invest regularly, stay invested, diversify and adjust your allocation over time as the time horizon changes.
Investing regularly, even through this challenging time, provides discipline helping make sure you capture opportunities at times when your emotions might inhibit getting invested. You may also take advantage of dollar cost averaging because you are purchasing more shares when prices are low and buying fewer shares when costs are higher, smoothing your investment's cost and spreading your investment risk. This way, you don't have to be worried about deciding 'when' to take a position, which will help reduce the mental burden.
It's also worth remembering that selling in down markets means locking in losses. The very best days within the markets often closely follow the worst days, which makes it all but impossible to prevent the worst days and benefit from the best. Missing even a number of these big rebound days could be damaging to your long-term returns. So, if you do not need the money, stay invested.
Today's environment also underscores the necessity to maintain diversification and rebalance your portfolio. Following the 2008 -09 market decline, a diversified (60% equity/40% bond) portfolio that was rebalanced annually declined less dramatically and recovered 17 months in front of the S&P 500 index, as shown within the chart below.
Portfolio returns with various blends of equities and fixed income assets (Source: J.P. Morgan Asset Management; Barclays, Bloomberg, FactSet, Standard & Poor's. Data by March 31, 2021)
Investing in professionally managed solutions like multi-asset mutual funds which are diversified and periodically rebalanced can keep yourself on track.
Finally, adjust your asset allocation with time by being thoughtful about appropriate risk levels at different phases of life, according to a genuine assessment of your risk capacity and risk tolerance. This involves gradually lowering the volatility of your portfolio through diversification strategies and decreasing risk assets a couple of years before and through retirement. Try not to let short-term volatility derail your long-term retirement goal.
Take Actions That Your Future Self Will Thank You For
Riding the immediate challenges out of this unprecedented crisis is unquestionably everyone's near-term priority, however your future self will thank you for keeping in mind the necessity to attempt to protect your future financial life too.