The seasons change, and Jeremy Sng has rolled with them.
Take his career pivot. The general manager of payments fintech M-Daq left an 18-year run as an investment banker — a fast-paced life that stretched through 80 to 100 hours of work a week, including weekends — and one that he revelled in.
Jumping on and off plane trips. Frenetic deal-making. High-power negotiations. It was a life where no day would be the same and that paid well — but that also left a toll, and eventually, a gnawing question about life outside of this well-worn routine.
"It was a difficult decision to go from investment banking into fintech. It did take me two years to make that decision. But over the two years, essentially, I re-looked at myself and asked myself, 'what else?'," says Jeremy.
"The work is slightly different in a fintech — it's much more operational. I also learned to realise that when you're building a business, not everything can be done yesterday. It does take time to build a product, to launch a product, and to see it come to market. There is a process."
As the long days turned to weeks and years, this change in season came as he realised that the aim all along should be to have money work for you.
“I realised after working several years that the money was just sitting there in the bank," says Jeremy.
"It's better to make money work hard for you than to work hard for your money, and I started more actively investing to make sure that happens. Otherwise, I'll always be working for money and you will not get that financial freedom that you seek.”
"I try to buy my kids a financial asset for every birthday, in addition to a toy."
Jeremy is used to changing seasons. In his words, he was a lucky kid who grew up with a "silver spoon". But the early years spent in days of luxury closed in season when his dad’s business failed.
"We lost everything, so we basically had to start from ground zero," says Jeremy.
"But I was very fortunate that by the time that we had to start all over, I was already about to start a job. So I understood the importance of money and I understood how difficult it is to have to earn it, to save it, and to invest wisely. That shaped my philosophy on money management."
There is no resentment; Jeremy is grateful for the experience of having the luxuries at the start.
He calls it "a little speed bump in life" that taught him how to overcome adversity and to be more careful with money.
The ABCs of investing
Jeremy thinks about the needs of the next generation, as his kids grow into a world where markets are harder to navigate and prices of homes are way more expensive than before.
"Reflecting on my own childhood and thinking about my kids today, if my parents had basically invested early on and handed me at 21 years old a basket of stocks or investments, I think that would be worth quite a lot of money. That would have equipped me with a head start in life," he adds.
"As a result, what I'm doing now is I try to buy them a financial asset or some investments for every birthday in addition to a toy. Otherwise, I will not be a cool dad."
"Retirement means the ability to do anything you want, anytime you want. You can do it on a yacht. You can do it at a hawker centre."
He’s also conscious of how intimidating investing can be for the next young generation of investors.
CPF, SRS, ETFs — the acronyms related to investing can turn off newbies, and the sheer amount of information available can end up overwhelming instead of illuminating. Then there are the hidden fees that may escape your attention at first glance.
"I'm invested through Endowus because I like the interface, it’s simple and easy to use. It explains asset allocation very clearly. And most importantly, it's cost effective. The rebates from the trailer fees and the ability to invest in an institutional asset class will definitely help over time," says Jeremy.
The seasons change, and in time, Jeremy sees himself walking, pacing, himself into retirement — a gradual process, never a step change.
"I hope that within 5 to 10 years, I will be more financially free. In 10 years' time, I can see myself managing my money without having to work a full-time job. I still enjoy what I do, but I also still like investing. So perhaps I can be doing that on a yacht or on a beach, or on the snow slopes,” he says.
"Retirement means the ability to do anything you want anytime you want. Basically, you can be your own boss."
Whether the season, let your money work harder for you — begin your investment journey with Endowus today.