The Decades of Years

Date: August 21, 2014

The things you might be doing, want to do, and probably should do….based on many true stories, mine and my clients’.

In your 20s:

You have probably just started work and started earning your real income for the first time. Discounting the part-time holiday jobs you might have done, if any at all. All these years, you have been getting allowances from your parents.

The sudden surge of power overcomes you as you have the freedom to do what you want with your own money. You start to upgrade your wardrobe and eating out with friends at places that starts to cost a little more than when you were schooling.

You are open to explore new things, make new friends and do new activities. You started new hobbies, maybe learning stuff you did not have the opportunity to do so like music or cooking, etc. You got your membership at the gym and beauty salons, travels frequently and applied for your first personal credit card.

Even for your career, you feel that you have lots of options and feel liberated to move from one company to another should opportunities come along. You feel like you can conquer the world.

The danger comes when you start to spend more than you earn. Do not bite off more than you can chew.

Start a habit of saving a fixed amount every month and stash it away. Get started on your life insurance needs and medical programme.


20s: Be Humble and learn from others. Save more. Keep travelling. Give allowance to your parents.

In your 30s:

You probably reach your 30s before you knew it. Your career is somewhat stable now. You probably had a major career transition earlier, if not now.

You have restrained your spending; now that you know you can’t buy every single thing in the world. Where would you put all those stuff?

You are thinking of settling down if you have not done so and looking forward to a new stage in life. You would have plans for your wedding, your first home, the marriage itself, children and a car. You have great expectations in life.

This is where ideals and reality meets and there’s got to be a balance in between. Plan ahead, not just for the present. Re-think your responsibilities as a son or daughter, husband or wife and parent.

Enhance your insurance protection and start some wealth accumulation be it savings or investing. You may be overwhelmed with all the things you want to do, and somehow time and money may be running out. Do what you can.


30s: Spend time with your parents. Do what you can, one step at a time.

In your 40s:

You have settled into your family life. Your concern is for your children’s education and their upbringing. From their PSLE, to “O” levels and “A” levels, the schools they are going to attend and the CCAs they are participating in.

This is where they are going into their teenage phase and where their peers matter much more than their families. It’s a phase of learning to let go and become more of a friend rather than a parent. Think Nemo and his dad Marlin in the Pixar cartoon “Finding Nemo”.

You may be thinking of upgrading to your second home to accommodate the growing children’s need for privacy and for long term investment. As the children grow more independent, you are beginning to want to make a difference to the people around you, even extending to the community at large.

Money is good. It’s enough to go by but you do not have an awful lot left over. Financial decisions are not as simple as it used to be as it’s going to affect the generations – both the young ones and the aging parents. Chances are, your parents are already in their 60s or 70s.

You are established in your career and probably in a managerial or directorial position by now. You are earning more than what you have projected 5 years ago and wondered if you could have been more daring and gotten a bigger house or invested and saved more.

It’s time to take that leap of faith to plan for your retirement. Use that money and don’t let it sit idle. Grow your wealth. Relook into your medical needs.


40s: Engage with the community. Have an emergency fund for liquidity that you can have the freedom and peace of mind for your long term goals. Start exercising seriously.

In your 50s:

This is a decade of joy and pain. Your children would have stepped into university, graduated and perhaps start working.

You are attending convocations / commencements, followed by weddings of your nephews and nieces, perhaps even baby showers’ of the next generation.

At the same time, you may be sending off your aged loved ones to be home with the Lord.

Your own life experiences would have reshaped your priorities. The time to clear off that home loan, the time to change the car, the time to withdraw your funds from your savings or investments and the time to retire. You would not need to spend as much as you thought while you earn more. You have an inkling of what you might want to leave behind for your loved ones. And you start to get even more health conscious.

Take good care of yourself. It’s also a gift to your loved ones.


50s: Consider study loans for your children’s education to encourage their self-sufficiency. Re-invest your proceeds which you might not need in the short term.

Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore (IFPAS)

This article is contributed by IFPAS

Sammie is a seasoned financial consultant with one of Asia’s leading insurance company. Her passion is to help people solve their problems. She has been in the financial services industry for more than 7 years and is continuing to serve a client base of more than 400 and growing.