A Personal Finance and Investment Arm of The Business Times



By Gabriel Yap


This year’s Invest Carnival over the weekend of 10th – 12th March 2017 would be an interesting one for me as I have been approached by the organizer, Share Investor to launch and anchor the program – Finance for Kids which would be a key highlight at the Carnival.

Share Investor expects a sell-out crowd of 4,000-5,000 to flood the Suntec Atrium West Wing for the event. I am not surprised as many parents would be interested to sign their kids up for the event as financial planning for kids is actually a much-needed education lever in a kid’s development and education.

I have lived in Melbourne for the past 10 years since my retirement from my stockbroking days as I wanted to retire before 40 years old and smell the roses. In the past decade, I have worked with many prominent child educators and institutions to come up with an effective and practical Money for Kids program as I believe money management should be de rigueur in a child’s educational upbringing. This is all the more compelling as my wife and I are blessed to have our first child soon in the next few months.

In my course of work for the past decade on teaching finance and money management to kids, I realized that there are a few reasons whey kids tend to lack financial management skills, be it in Singapore or Melbourne –

1. Financial Literacy or Money Management skills are not part of the formal education curriculum

Our education system focuses on excelling in hard-core subjects like science, mathematics, English and a mother-tongue. Optional subjects like Home Economics, Linguistics, Arts and even Music are offered, but surprisingly, Financial Literacy or Money Management is neither a core nor optional subject.

Yet it is Money Management that teaches a child how to save, spend, budget and plan for the raining day that is crucial as a child grapples with everyday issues of spending at the toy store, what to eat at the food court or how to plan to afford that Christmas present at the year-end.

It is with this framework that I have carefully developed the Finance for Kids program to prepare kids with the necessary money management skills that have proved to be a hit in Melbourne. I certainly hope it will as well, if not better in Singapore.

2. Singapore parents have difficulty in teaching or imparting money management skills to their kids

Most Singapore Dads teach their kids prawn-fishing at Punggol while Mums teach them how to bake a cup-cakes. But when it comes to teaching life-inspired Money Management skills, most parents find limitations in this area.

Surprisingly, most parents recognize that this is an essential part of the development of their kids, but find it difficult or beyond their level of expertise as some could be wanting as role models. Studies have shown that 65% of kids look up to their parents as role models when it comes to Money Management behaviours and tend to mimic their parents money habits.

Unfortunately, most parents are left behind by fast-changing technology, new financial products, a new climate in the financial management landscape and their impact on investments.

The days of parents buying their new HDB flats at $450,000 in a mature estate like Queenstown or Bishan and selling them at close to $1 million is no longer practicable as the local property market continue to slumber along, as it had been since the property curbs came in. Neither would their well-intended advice on savings via a fixed deposit in a local bank earning barely 1.25% pa (which is below the running inflation rates) practicable anymore, with interest rates at abysmal low levels since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

So if you are a parent and looking to present A Whole New World of Money Management to your fast-growing kids, do sign your kids up for the Finance for Kids Quiz (where the winners will walk away with a $300 Suntec Shopping Voucher and watched by thousands) to be hosted by me. After all, in the Aladdin movie where A Whole New World theme song goes –

“I can show you the world
Shining, Shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming”

No need to look for Aladdin, just look for Angel Gabriel for Money Management for Kids.

See you.

Gabriel Yap
Gabriel Yap

Mr Gabriel Yap was an eminent stockbroker and investment banker who retired in 2009 to devote himself to philanthrophy. He is well-known as the Investment Guru, having being regularly interviewed in the news media like Channel News Asia, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Mediacorp Radio. Together with the famous Fortune Times, Mr Yap hosted the inaugural Asian REITS Awards 2016 in Singapore. Mr Yap was both Chairman of The Future of REITS Forum as well as Chairman of the Fortune Times Asian REITS Awards 2016 Judging Committee comprising of the leading CEOs, deal makers and who’s who in the Asian REIT sector.

Mr Gabriel Yap has lectured for almost 30 years – He has lectured at the famous Asian Development Bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Institute of Banking & Finance, SGX, ASME, SIAS and Share Investors. He has also trained the Top Producers at major insurance companies and banks. He has also trained students for the grueling CFA course and has lectured and delivered academic papers internationally.

Mr Gabriel Yap has also sat in the EXCO of the 13th Association of Small & Medium Enterprises, ASME. Mr Yap has also served in the EXCO of SIAS.