Our workplace should be a learning environment. Our jobs should have an impact on the way we handle your activities especially your finances. There are many invaluable lessons that one can learn about financial management from the workplace that will help us keep away from our esteemed licensed money lender.

In our workplaces, whether we work for a Multinational Company (MNC) or a Small Medium Enterprise (SME), our job scope
will in one way or another involve finance management. The question that should always linger in our mind is, “What difference does my job bring in my personal financial management?”

This article has put together some of the financial management skills that we ought to learn from our workplaces that will help us
put our personal finances together and keep our licensed money lenders at bay.

1. Personal Financial Planning

In every organization, whether big or small, whether for profit or non-profit, budgeting is a mandatory requirement. Budgeting is simply spending less than your earnings and planning for both the short and long-term. In the organization, financial budgets are done at the department level and consolidation is done thereafter.

The main goal of organizational budgeting is to keep the company afloat. The principle is that expenditure should be tied to a source of income and if the income is not yet realized, it would have to be borrowed, at an interest.

This should apply to our personal lives. You should cultivate a habit of personal financial planning: both for yourself and your family. For the salaried employees, this should be very easy for you as you understand clearly what your monthly income looks like.

A budget will help you keep off the traps of reckless spending beyond what you can sustain. Plan what to save, what to invest and what to spend on the recurrent expenditure.

2. Revenue Diversification

If you take a close look on the Statement of Comprehensive Income commonly referred to as profit & loss statement of
listed entities, you will realize that their source of income is more than one. An organization cannot be sustained by one source of income. The management has to think of other sources of income besides the core business.

Take for instance Singapore Press Holdings. Their main stream is Newspaper and Magazine. In the year 2013, the company generated $ 1 billion in revenue from newspaper and magazine business. In addition, Singapore Press Holdings generated approximately $200 million from their property development business.

This is a great lesson that as individual ought to learn. We should endeavor to have more than one source of income. Besides your
day job, think of other ways you can raise revenue for yourself and your family. You can invest in a blue-chip, dividend paying stock, Invest in property market, or even writing as I do.

3. Wise Expenditure: Asset Investment

The next thing you need to do after revenue diversification asset investment. A close look at the statement of financial position (balance sheet) of an entity will give you direction on how to spend your income. The balance sheet usually starts with Assets both non-current and current. The non-current assets are usually huge in figures.

They may include Motor Vehicle, Property Plant and Equipment (PP&E), Free-Hold and Leas Hold buildings etc. Other assets include Cash and intangibles. These assets are basically the “needs” of the company. They are responsible for generating income for the company.

As individuals we also have “needs” that need to be taken care of. Note clearly I’ve intentionally used the word “needs” and not
“wants”. Your needs are the necessities of life: affordable home, expenses on food, utilities and transport. Invest your income on assets that will help you meet your needs.

For example, Investing in bonds and stock, commodities and property is a great way of helping you meet your needs both in
the short-term and in the long-term. Your degree certificate fits well in the description of an Intangible Asset. It is essential when you are looking for employment or even advancing your career.

Your personal and diversified revenue may sometimes not be enough to finance your assets especially when it comes to huge capital based assets. In this case, you can approach a licensed money lender like a bank and take up a loan. A good example is a personal loan or payday loan.

There are things that will never fit in the personal balance sheet. Things like honey moon trip, birthday bash, and amacallan bottle at Zouk, $5000 worth of matrimonial bed, $4000 worth of leather seat etc. Such items cannot help you generate income.

4. Tax Break Maximization

A tax break is a savings on a taxpayers’ liability. It provides a savings through tax deductions, tax credits, tax exemptions and other tax incentives. You may have noted that big companies hire tax consultants to assist them in maximizing the available tax breaks.

From a personal level, you may not hire a consultant to assist you in your taxes. Nevertheless, some self-education on tax matters
can go a long way in helping you save significant money in the long run. Do not despise the little money you can save by just conducting some research just to gain knowledge. Always remember that knowledge is power.

If you are a victim of arguing with your credit card operator on waiving your penalties, consider spending more time educating
yourself on personal tax matters in Singapore and keep yourself updated.

5. Priority Expenditure

If you engage a business person whether in a MNC or SME, they will tell you that they have an endless list of items they need to
purchase. This could include new equipment to replace an old one, new computers, a nice pantry, a modern meeting room etc.

It is of critical to note that the needs of one organization will vary with the needs of another organization. For example, new
equipment will rank higher on the purchase list of a manufacturing company as compared to a company in the advertising industry.

This is not exceptional when it comes to individuals. It is a crucial discipline that needs to be cultivated. You need to categorize your expenditure in the order of their priority. Just as the organizational needs are different across firms and industries, individual needs vary.

Top-class education for the children may be on the top of the list of a certain individual and to another, a car is on top, and yet to another a house tops the list of the things to purchase. My needs will never be your needs but the most important lesson is to always prioritize your expenditure.


It is almost certain that we have come across some, if not all, of these financial management skills. This is a wake-up call to all
of us. It is time to put the learned financial skills into practice in our individual lives.