Set up rainy-day fund before investing

Given uncertainty and higher costs of living, experts advise saving 6 to 12 months of pay
01 Apr 2012
by AARON LOW

One of the most basic rules for personal financial planning is to establish a personal emergency fund for a rainy day. The conventional wisdom is that the emergency fund should comprise between three and six months’ worth of one’s salary. So for instance, if a person earns $4,000 a month, his emergency fund should be built to at least $12,000.

But increasingly, this conventional wisdom is being challenged on many fronts.

For one thing, financial advisers say that the uncertain economic outlook and higher costs of living mean that three months of savings may simply not be enough.

Mr Patrick Lim, director of financial advisory firm PromiseLand, advises his clients to save between six and 12 months of salary as an emergency fund.
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Why protection?

Investment and protection are two distinct strategies that address two very different needs. Both, however, are necessary in order to meet an individual’s financial goals

Manpreet Gill, Senior Investment Strategist, Standard Chartered Bank
04 Jan 2012

MOST of us tend to relate our financial goals with our investments. Within this framework, success in our investments correlates with meeting our investment goals, while protection is usually incorporated to the extent that it addresses the downside risks of the investment portfolio.

We think protection and its role in meeting one’s overall financial goals, however, have a much wider meaning. Downside risk extends beyond the risk of losses on one’s investment portfolio. For example, if an individual were unfortunate enough to be rendered disabled such that returning to a regular job was impossible, his or her income would be reduced or stop completely. But financial commitments and goals will not change. Without a similar level of income, it would be increasingly difficult or impossible to meet their financial goals.
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