Where did the year go? 2020 has gone by in a blur, pretty much a year of damage control and quick pivoting for all of us. While 2020 has been about going with the flow, being flexible and adapting quickly (we didn’t do that badly right), 2021 will need us to level up. Even with the Covid-19 vaccine in the horizon, it is safe to assume that ‘normal’ as we knew it, is not coming back.
Are you “2021 ready”? If not, it’s time to take proactive steps to get ourselves ready.
Relook your finances
If you are a young Singaporean, focus on getting into good financial health, build up a strong stream of income (hint: upgrade your skillsets) and concentrate primarily on saving. I mean, do you really need the latest Apple phone and 2 Starbucks lattes a day?
Adequate protection is CRUCIAL. There are some low-cost term insurance plans out there for young people. At your age, you might be holding a wedding or renovating your new home, but in this labour market, you probably want to make sure that you are prudent with your spending… Unfortunately, youths are not “retrenchment-proof”.
Those in your late 30s, 40s, and 50s (aka the sandwich generation) probably face more financial pressure supporting aging parents and your growing children. Parents’ healthcare needs, the kids’ Heguru Education, Learning Lab, and Berries lessons all add up huh.
A tip to help support your parents’ retirement: The new CPF Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS). Under the scheme, the government will match contributions made to eligible CPF accounts under the Retirement Sum Top-up Scheme.
Don’t neglect your own retirement. It pays to plan, pronto. Come on, with inflation, will your retirement funds be enough for the life you want? If not, how much would be adequate? The last thing you want is to outlive your savings. The good news is that, Singaporeans, young and old, are starting to recognise that the CPF can be a good wealth management tool. More people actually made top-ups to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts despite the challenging economic conditions this year!
Hold Back the Debts and Loans
While it’s tempting to put that Nintendo Switch, spa package, or new piece of furniture on an instalment payment plan, it’s never a good idea to over-extent yourself in terms of debts. Likewise, if you can only afford a HDB on you and your partner’s incomes, please don’t commit to a condo in Holland Village…
Build An Emergency Stash
Well, experts advise an emergency fund of 6 months living expenses. I say, with a weak labour market, you probably want to cover your bases with double that amount.
Focus on Self Care
In a time of a pandemic, it’s more essential than ever to care for your body and mental health. Take a stroll in the park, eat your favourite snack, take 15 for a quick HIIT workout if you are working from home. Keeping a gratitude journal has become a popular practice in the past few years. Studies have traced some impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which you’re grateful!
Burnout is real, especially as the current prolonged telecommuting arrangements have blurred boundaries between the home and the office. I don’t know about you, but it seems like we are working round the clock these days huh.
Just 2 months ago, labour MP Melvin Yong (Radin Mas) mooted the proposal of a “Right to Disconnect” law that would help employees have protected time to rest and recharge. On top of that, Mr Yong also urged the Manpower Ministry to tackle the wider issues of burnout. Please, please reach out for mental health support if you need!
Now that we are all spending more time at home, you may also want to “Marie Kondo” or reorganise your living and working spaces to make your home work better for you. Decluttering, investing in an additional monitor, purchasing a
new designer handbag good office chair…
Stay Connected with Friends, Family…
In a world that we can barely make sense of, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with family and friends, especially as time wears on with continued social distancing measures. I, for one, miss my extended family gatherings! Text, call and meet often, strong relationships are crucial to good mental health.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Now, the Growth Mindset simply means having the mindset that your talents, skills or strength can be developed over time. That is, we CAN improve our IQ, our talents, and our abilities. Having a growth mindset is key because it can help you overcome challenges better.
Confession: I liked “safe”, sticking to familiar ways of doing things, because why not? They are tried, tested, and have proven effective for me over the years. Until 2020. Like many others, the pandemic disrupted everything in my life. From the way I socialise to the way I work. Everything had to change almost overnight. Change can be unsettling, but find ways to calm the chaos. I read somewhere on incorporating a simple behavioral pattern so as to cultivate a growth mindset: incorporate the word ‘Yet’ as part of your self talk. It just might work. You see, Mark Zuckerberg was not born a wiz, skills can be built up over time!
The dreaded ‘R’ word. Hiring sentiments are muted despite the Government’s best efforts. I mean, we can sit back and whine about bad market conditions or we can take proactive steps to somewhat “retrenchment-proof” ourselves – no?
There are resources out there whether you are a digital novice, an ambitious career climber or an aspiring entrepreneur. Seize in-demand, industry-relevant skills with courses ranging from digital marketing, implementation of business plans to personal effectiveness training. Oh, did you know that if you took a course relevant to your current job, you would qualify for tax reliefs of up to $5,500?
Courses You can Consider
Setting Up and Running A Business
Course Duration : 8 hours
Price : $214
Basic To Intermediate Adobe Photoshop
Course Duration : 24 hours
Price : $1,177
E-Commerce Campaign Management (ICDL Digital Marketing)
Course Duration : 16 hours
Price : $513.60
Still lost? You may want to speak to a career coach at the Employment and Employability Institute for career guidance and job matching opportunities!
As the year draws to a close, it’s almost tradition for many to prep a list of hopes, New Year resolutions and wishes in anticipation of a wayyy better 2021. What’s on your list?
Are you “2021 ready”?