Steal the tips of these successful and financially-savvy women – and take charge of your financial future
“My best investment is my business” RACHEL LIM, 28, co-founder, Love, Bonito
Rachel Lim was just a 19-year-old undergraduate when she and two friends set up a website to peddle their preloved clothes. Eight years later, it has grown into a full-fledged business with over 45 employees shipping up to 5,000 packages weekly. Aimed at twenty- to thirty-somethings, Love, Bonito offers chic clothes, with 80 new designs for sale each week. So how did this start-up become a leading local fashion site? The trio was determined to fill a gap in the market, so they scoured for affordable yet stylish clothing from Bangkok, Seoul and Hong Kong. Sales so greatly exceeded their goals that Rachel managed to take a small salary each month, and decided to quit school to run the business. Rachel and her partners now design and manufacture their own outfits so that they can offer great quality clothing at reasonable prices.
Rachel’s Smart Money Tips
1 Reinvest half of what you earn back into the company.
“It is the best thing you can do for your business. Most small business owners pocket whatever the business earns, considering the profits to be their salary.”
2 Bank your money in freehold property.
“A few years ago I bought a three-bedroom condominium that had a 99-year lease with my mum in the hopes of making a profit when I sell it. But I only managed to break-even. I’m now looking for a freehold home near an MRT that has at least two bedrooms.”
3 Don’t invest in what you don’t know.
“If you don’t appreciate wines, don’t put your eggs in it. If you don’t understand foreign exchange, don’t buy it. Invest your time and money in something that you find pleasurable, and it might become your magic porridge pot.”
GAYLE WEARS SILK BLOUSE AND COTTON PANTS, BOTH FROM H&M; DIAMOND AND SA PPHIRE EARRINGS AND DIAMOND RING, BOTH FROM DIAH D FINE JEWELLERY.
“Cash is King” GAYLE PHUA, 40, general manager, The Food Theory Group Pte Ltd
Former flight attendant Gayle Phua comes across as a radiant glamour-puss with her splashy-coloured Bottegas and cookiesized Panerais, but insists that’s not who she is inside. The idea that she gets to buy luxury items at a whim comes as a consolation for all her hard work. In her own words, she’s a “worker bee” with a bit of an Ebenezer Scrooge complex when it comes to buying nice things for herself. Her professional credentials are straight-up classical: A bachelor degree in mass communications, four years’ flying with Singapore Airlines and an eight-year stint with a local F&B company where she quickly rose from marcomm manager to director of business development. Her keen sense to learn outside of her comfort zone is what led her to outrun the pack and become the natural choice two years ago to helm the company’s new subsidiary which now owns two restaurants in town.
Gayle’s Smart Money Tips
1 Set a yearly savings target.
“I find it easier to decide on a ballpark figure at the start of every year, and divide that amount over 12 months. So for example, say my goal for that year is to save $6,000: That makes $500 a month.”
2 Think before you buy.
“There were times when I couldn’t resist an expensive purchase and ended up falling behind my savings plan. To make up for it, I went on a ‘shopping fast’ for a few months. This means no new clothes, shoes, makeup, and other stuffs that I can do without. These experiences really help to remind me to think through every purchase carefully and treasure what I already have.”
3 A penny saved is a penny earned.
“I don’t know much about stocks and bonds so I don’t dare put my money there. Instead I save up 15 or 20 per cent of my salary. I’m normally quite frugal – I buy a roasted spring chicken from Cold Storage, hash it up and make sandwiches and salads to last me several lunches.”
RUBINA WEARS VIVIENNE WESTWOOD OVERSIZED T-SHIRT DRESS FROM TYAN; DIAMOND EARRINGS FROM DIAH D FINE JEWELLERY.
“The feeling of being debt-free is amazing” RUBINA TIYU, 32, owner, Inside The Knot
Eight years ago, Rubina Tiyu was saddled with $100,000 in credit card loans after living a lifestyle she could barely afford. She was then doing freelance jobs to get by. Her salvation had arrived in a modest sum of inheritance from the sale of her family home in Johor Bahru. It was only $5,000, but enough for a down payment of another house that cost $60,000. The Malaysian property market soared in a few years and Rubina flipped the house for three times the profit, using the proceeds to pay off her debts in Singapore. At the same time, she decided to take her sideline more seriously and set up wedding planning business Inside The Knot with nothing else but a head full of experience and an eye for beautiful things. The business became lucrative, yielding just $30,000 in the first year, and increased to $500,000 in the third year.
Rubina’s Smart Money Tips
1 Refuse a credit card.
“Don’t own a single one if you can help it. Shopping with credit cards can cause you to lose track of your expenses.”
2 Invest in a property overseas.
“Consider investing in real estates near mining areas like Perth. I hear you can earn about $1,000 a week! These properties should give you a passive income, and not require any cash payments to maintain.”
3 Read Rich Dad Poor Dad.
“It has all the practical information you’ll need to get started. It’s where I learned to draw a personalised financial and cashflow plan.” W