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If our previous article on ang bao rates did not apply to you, congratulations! We’re guessing this means that you are still unmarried and therefore in the privileged group that continues to receive ang baos. Besides being a fun time for family gatherings, Chinese New Year (CNY) is also a profitable period for the people who collect these good wishes from their relatives.
Instead of just letting your cash sit around in your room (or earn little interest in your savings account), we’ve come up with a few ways you can put it to good use. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you have received around S$350. Here are a few things you can do with it.
A common yet unfortunate side effect of adulthood is debt. The excitement of earning a paycheck is often tempered by the responsibilities that come with it, and many young adults end up accruing some level of debt. If you have an outstanding education loan, using your ang bao money to subsidise your monthly instalment would be a wise move.
Others who have finished paying off their education loans perhaps have something else to worry about, such as credit card debt. The compounding interest rates on credit cards can be extremely high (24-29% APR), and if you have outstanding debt on any of your cards you should do your best to pay them off as quickly as possible. Taking the time to stay on top of your debt plays a big part in maintaining your financial health.
If you don’t have any debts, you could consider investing your ang bao funds. If you’ve never invested before, this could be the perfect opportunity to start. With the advent of robo-advisors, investing online in flexible amounts has become a very simple process. Depending on the provider, there may be no minimum investment amount, and their fees are much lower than a traditional broker’s. Most robo-advisors usually place your funds into a basket of global Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to ensure that your investment is sufficiently diversified.
Stashaway is one example of an online investment platform that personalises your portfolio based on your goals and risk profile, while rebalancing it based on market movements. Another similar platform is Smartly, which collaborates with VCG Partners (fund management company) by acting as their technology provider to help young people start investing. Both companies are regulated and licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
If you have no outstanding debt and you’re already a savvy investor, maybe you can consider upping your skill set with your ang bao money. General Assembly provides short classes and workshops (up to S$150) that you can attend after work along with longer courses targeted at career changers (S$4,500 and up). Depending on your level of interest, you can sign up for a 3-hour introduction to digital marketing or a weekend crash course to learn how to code in one day. Both digital marketing and software development are some of 2018’s most in-demand job skills, and it could be a good idea to pick up an employable skill.
Giving ang bao money away isn’t usually on the top of anyone’s list, but making a donation to a legitimate charity is a great way to help yourself (and others) grow. CNY should also be about giving back to the less fortunate, and you can choose to help an organisation that serves a cause you care about. You don’t have to donate all of your monies, but even if you donate just S$10 out of your CNY money, it will definitely be appreciated by the organisation you choose to help. From social to environmental causes, Giving.sg has plenty of beneficiaries for you to choose from.
Even though you may not receive a large sum from your ang bao, the funds within those red packets can go a long way if you have a clear purpose for them. Whether you wish to grow that small amount by investing it, or give it away to someone who needs it more, it’s crucial that you channel your finances toward achievable goals that will help you grow as a person.