One is never too young to learn about money and financial literacy.

We have officially crossed the half year mark. But are you on track to meeting your financial goals? Are you saving the amount you wish to save?

Regardless of your situation, the four following points are something every Singaporean can use to improve their financial standing:

1. Investing? Use your CPF too!

Your CPF money isn’t stuck like many Singaporeans think it is.
The moment your CPF hits $20,000 (Ordinary Account), anything more can be used in OA/SA approved investments.
Your first $20,000 must be left in the OA, and it will grow with a 3.5% interest.
If it’s aligned to your risk profile, you may then wish to invest the amount beyond the initial $20k. This is known as setting aside your emergency fund.

There are free workshops for you to learn more about how you can accelerate the growth of your CPF.
Here is one such workshop that you can register for.

2. The core inflation rate of Singapore is 3% per annum.

The core inflation rate of a country reflects the rising costs of living. To actually make a gain, your investments should at least beat the core inflation rate of 3%.

As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for investments that give you a return of 2% better than the core inflation rate, e.g. in current settings, 2+3% of 5%.

Do note, however, that the core inflation rate does not include private housing. If you are unable to purchase a HDB flat, the inflation rate and the amount you are aiming for might be much higher.

You may want to consult a wealth planner or financial advisor for more personalized advice, but generally; pick retirement products that give you at least 5% per annum.

3. Debt may severely your affect your chances of getting a home loan.

When applying for property loan, be it for HDB or private, one has to adhere to the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) limit. The ratio limits one’s overall loan repayments per month up to 60% of his or her income.

The TDSR takes into account all debts, from home loans, car loans, credit card and even student loans. What this means; if one does not control his or her debt, he or she may not be eligible to apply for the ideal home loan amount. The person may have no choice but to pay a bigger amount upfront, apply for a longer loan period or purchase a smaller house.

4. An additional income of $500/month may be life-changing in later years.

When it comes to earning or saving, you may not necessarily have to calculate in the thousands for a significant impact. Break it down into smaller, bite-sized amounts; bear in mind that just $500/month in additional earnings or savings, can make a life-changing difference later on.

Many investment products, such as endowment plans, can provide you returns of approximately 4% per annum (check with your financial planner for more information). What this translates to for $500/month; in 12 years, you will have around an additional $93,760.

There are other conservative investment methods out there that allow you to profit even more than that, with the money totally in your control. Options investing is one of them. This method allows you to profit weekly, fortnightly, monthly, and longer. The time duration is up to you.

The biggest mistake anyone can make is ignorance, which then leads to uninformed decisions.

To find out more about such an investment method, you can check out this free workshop.