Chuin Ting founded MoneyOwl, an NTUC social enterprise, in 2018. Singapore’s first bionic (“human plus tech”) financial-advisory platform, MoneyOwl is where you can get a complete analysis of your end-to-end personal-finance needs and goals using its proprietary CPF Analyser. Chuin Ting admits that growing up, she had always been a little afraid that she wouldn’t be able to find a husband because she “didn’t think men liked to be upstaged”. But she now sees, thanks to her wonderful husband, how a supportive and secure partner is someone who isn’t afraid to cheer you on even if you surpass him, professionally.
Growing up, did any adult play an important role in your money education?
I didn’t have a direct money mentor as such. I did not understand much about managing money growing up but later on, I came to the realisation that working hard in itself was as much about fulfilment as earning an income was — so that was important as a base. But it would be good to be able to put your money to work harder for you by understanding investments, to get rich slowly, not gamble it away.
Do you think there is a difference between how men and women plan for their financial future?
From what I’ve observed, fewer women actively take action on their financial plans than men. Among those who do, they seem to be more risk averse and prefer instruments that provide regular cash payouts. I think it is because women are always expected to care for their family and worry about the “what ifs”, and also place themselves second. I think that women may need to take some time to understand what financial planning is and how investing works; that if done right, it is not gambling and it need not be complicated — yet can make an exponential impact on your future and the future of your family.
Would you say you’re in a good place now in terms of your finances?
I am in a good space overall. However, it wasn’t always so, we weren’t always prudent spenders and getting married young brought on its fair share of financial stress; we didn’t start investing till quite late. But now, as a family, we aren’t over-leveraged and we earn a good income. We have maxed out our CPF Special Accounts after decades of working, plus some top-ups. In fact, knowing that we have a safe retirement income floor in CPF gives us great comfort. Being CEO and CIO of MoneyOwl is, in a sense, God’s humorous way of redemption because what I advise others to do — in terms of spending, contentment, disciplined savings and regular investing — are also the lessons that I am teaching myself all over again!
Art Direction by Catherine Wong Photography by Darren Gabriel Leow; Grooming by Angel Gwee using Charlotte Tilbury for makeup and Davines for hair