Personal Finance Goes Online

From government agencies to banks and foundations, organisations here are rolling out a slew of digital initiatives to increase financial knowledge and make managing money easier. 

Financial knowledge

MoneySense

One of the largest is MoneySense, which was started in 2003 with the aim of helping Singaporeans to manage their money well and provide a wide range of financial information.

MoneySense expanded its reach in late 2018 by establishing the MoneySense-Singapore Polytechnic Institute for Financial Literacy, which has collaborated with Udemy to put more than two dozen financial education courses online covering money management, financial planning and investment know-how.

MoneySense also launched a free online Financial HealthCheck and enhanced services at key government touchpoints such as the Central Provident Fund.

Local tertiary institutes

Singapore Polytechnic’s online Personal Money Management and Financial Planning course also teaches skills including how to develop a budget, implement a financial plan and assess whether you are borrowing too much or saving too little.

Online courses

Singaporeans can also access global online courses from organisations such as Coursera, which has a Personal and Family Financial Planning course, and Khan Academy, which has a multitude of courses on personal finance.

Once individuals develop basic knowledge, they can take investing courses through organisations such as the SGX Academy, which runs programmes ranging from a basic Invest Well, Preserve Wealth course to advanced investing programmes.

Financial information

Once consumers understand more about how to manage their money, they’re likely to go looking for better loans, credit cards, insurance, fixed deposits, investments and other financial products. Rather than being swayed by friend or companies who may have a bias, they can now use digital tools to evaluate their options better.

  • Seedly, for instance, is a web portal that has a variety of information about financial products and services. It also introduced a community feature that allows users to crowdsource knowledge from peers before making financial decisions.

Comparison websites enable consumers to input details about what they want for products ranging from travel insurance to mortgages and compare features as well as costs.

  • SingSaver, for instance, provides comparisons for credit cards, personal loans, and other financial products.
  • GoBear also makes it simple to compare financial products, turning what it describes as complicated and boring information from banks and insurance providers into easy-to-understand comparisons on a computer screen or phone.

Money management

Along with getting information, Singaporeans can use local and international digital tools to make managing their financial life easier.

  • For budgeting, for example, Toshl Finance allows consumers to create a budget, input their income, and find out how much money they have left for spending.
  • You Need a Budget is another well-known budgeting app that sets up spending categories for the basics, then tracks spending and also helps adjust it.
  • Locally, Seedly has a budgeting app (iOS / Android) which allows users to sync their financial accounts, see where they spend their money, manage their cash flow.

Investing has become easier too, with “robo-advisors” that use algorithms to manage consumers’ money according to their individual risk profile, goals and time horizon.

  • Smartly use models to invest in exchange-traded funds based on consumers’ risk levels. The platform allows users to customise their portfolios.
  • Stashaway similarly helps consumers build a personalised financial plan and investment portfolio that reflects their preferences, whether they want to save for their children’s education or retire with a million dollars.

A multitude of other apps can help with managing loans, diversifying investment portfolios or achieving other financial goals.

The government is also communicating in different ways to reach audiences online. The CPF Board, for example, has an Instagram account with personal finance tips and advice presented humorously and with puns. A CPF Starter app (iOS / Android) gives CPF members an overview of their CPF and can project the growth of one’s CPF savings. These complement the CPF’s online services and information portal areyouready.sg

Digital banking

Virtually every bank offers digital banking, with the range of services varying from basic banking to insightful financial advice. OCBC Bank’s OneWealth, for example, enables users to track their investments, get daily updates on global financial markets, read articles on investment topics and find out about macroeconomic and global developments.

  • POSTED ON
    Jun 12, 2019
  • TEXT BY
    Richard Hartung
  • ILLUSTRATION BY
    Mushroomhead
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