As "a bit of a maverick", Michelle Sng has a penchant for going off the beaten track.
For one thing, the national high jumper has had a colourful career. On top of her sporting accomplishments — she was the first female high jumper to represent Singapore in the Commonwealth Games, and won gold at the 2017 SEA Games, just to name a few — she has also done varied stints ranging from a teaching job to a marketing communications role.
And just in case she wants to enter yet another industry when she retires from her sport, the 35-year-old is now pursuing a part-time specialist diploma.
"The next part of my life is looming, so it’s important for me to plan ahead."
Michelle’s relationship with money is another reflection of this nonconformity. She leads an unusually "low maintenance" lifestyle, and is fastidious about living well within her means.
Aside from her workout and jump shoes, she owns just one pair of footwear — her trusty, comfortable sandals, which she dons for virtually all social occasions. Once these sandals are well worn, she simply buys another pair in the same design.
She rarely covets material things, to the point of frustrating her husband and best friends, who complain, in jest, that she’s impossible to shop for. "I don’t fancy expensive items, so they struggle to buy gifts for me. Whenever they ask if I want anything for my birthday or special occasions, the answer is always no," Michelle says.
Getting married was also a characteristically unassuming and low-cost event. There was no wedding, in part because the couple found it expensive and unnecessary.
To be sure, Michelle is no scrooge, and she doesn’t deliberately restrict her spending. She simply has few wants and prioritises experiences, such as yoga sessions or backpacking trips, over things.
And contrary to what some might think, being mindful with her money has not stopped her from living life to the fullest. In speaking about her finances, she exudes an air of contentment.
"I’m very satisfied, and I lead a very comfortable life. I’m really happy. I don’t feel just alive — I’m living, and I’m living really well."
She adds that she has never felt that she was poor or struggling financially, even when money was tighter at home during her late teens. "I didn’t have much at one point in life, but I’ve managed to make it work."
In fact, she has not once thought that she needed more. That was also a reason why, prior to investing with Endowus, she had not given serious thought to wealth accumulation. She didn’t see a pressing need to grow her wealth.
"The choices I’ve made are a bit different from the norm, and they don’t always bring in money and stability."
But as she approaches the tail end of her athletic career, her perspective has begun to shift towards what will come next. Longer-term plans are in the works.
"I want to make sure that when I’m finally done with this chapter of my life, I’m able to move on to the next chapter without having to start from ground zero.
"So it’s important for me to plan ahead... I want to safeguard my future."
Michelle also jokes that she has since realised that her "original retirement plan" of marrying someone much younger is in jeopardy. (She says this in jest as she is, in fact, 12 years older than her husband.) The point remains that retirement planning remains crucial now.
Although taking the less conventional paths in life has worked out well for her, the flip side is that it can bring a degree of uncertainty.
"The choices I’ve made are a bit different from the norm, and they don’t always bring in money and stability," she notes. "My friends used to say that I could be earning so much more if I just took the usual route with a full-time job."
Against that backdrop of ambiguity, she welcomes the financial stability and peace of mind from investing with Endowus. The financial stability, in turn, allows her to pursue the things that bring her joy — be it working, spending time with her pets, or cooking.
It also comes as a relief to be able to sift through the noise with the advice of a wealth platform she trusts, given the deluge of information out there.
Importantly, that has helped her finally overcome the inertia to get started on long-term investments and other short-term, higher-yielding solutions for growing her cash — beyond just putting the money in fixed deposits.
"For someone like me who’s not very financially savvy in terms of using all these different instruments, it’s great to have an expert hold my hand and tell me what I should do."
Forge your own path with a trusted wealth partner who will be there for you every step of the journey. Get started with Endowus today.