How to find Peace in a Highly Digitised Finance Space

In episode #83, Reggie shares 3 tips to find peace in a highly digitalised financial environment. Over the years, things have changed as all kinds of online aggregators, like Robo-advisors, shopping apps, payment channels enter the market. And we are experiencing a shift in the way we interact with finance and the digital world. Tag with increasing online tools, choices and access, there is also a lot more information out there. And it can be pretty scary. So how can we maneuver ourselves in this highly digitalised space?

Tune in as we share how to find peace in this highly digitalised space. What are some habits to adopt? Why should you go deep, not wide? How can you block out digital noise better?

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podcast Transcript

Okay today, we’re going to do something simpler. Not every day must talk about very deep personal finance or investment-related content. It is a special fifth Tuesday of the month, so we’re going to spend some time to talk a little bit about finding peace in an era of highly digitalized finance space.

I think things have changed for sure, with all these kinds of aggregators, robo-advisors and shopping apps, payment channels are so so easy and we are experiencing a shift in the way we interact with finance, interact with the digital world and how our money, investments, everything is changing. So I thought let’s take this time to wind down a little bit and talk a little bit about some of these observations that I have and how do you manoeuvre yourself through this highly digitalized finance space. Welcome home.

Good morning everyone. I welcome you to another day with The Financial Coconut. In our podcast, we are debunking financial myths, discovering best financial practices and discussing financial strategies that fits our unique life. You get it… ultimately empowering us to create a life we love while managing our finances. Well, today we’re going to spend some time to talk about finding peace in a highly digitalized financial environment.

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Okay I’m sure by now you have realized that there are all these kinds of quote unquote “FinTech” apps, right? There’s really a lot more “Fin” than “Tech” lah huh, but anyway, they have come on to kind of increase our access to investments. Whether is it true, like, brokerages or robo-advisors or they have come on to increase our ease of moving money around with PayLah!, PayPal, with Revolut, transfer wise. They’ve all made it easier, cheaper, and for lack of a better way to put it, they’ve made moving money around just a click away, just a face scan away. So it’s much more accessible. You have a lot of choices, you have a lot of tools out there.

But also, to tag along with this increase of tools, increase our access, increase of choices, increase of options out there, there’s also a lot more information that you need to work with today. All of these investment gurus, all these promotion hacks and there are like websites just doing promo codes. Amazing right? All your miles and whatnot… so there’s just so much information and so much access out there that honestly, it’s pretty scary, pretty jarring. How do you go about living a life like that… and especially if you’re always on Instagram, you’re always on Facebook. Like for me, I’m not always on but I’m… You know, quite active because I have to talk to you guys. It’s a little bit like a part of a job kind of thing? 

But importantly, I’m still relatively active, and sometimes when I see some of these posts, I see some of these things that people talk about, I’m like, “wow, you guys need to chill”… like go to Bishan Park, okay? Just chill there. Don’t so kancheong, like… relax. Everyone is trying so hard to maximize the upside potential, try to make more and try to minimize their costs and they’re comparing fees and whatnot. Like, wow, crazy… Aiya but okay, I get it right. We are humans. We want to get the bang for our buck. We want to get the most, but at some point in time, you got to ask yourself what is enough, right? 

And in an era where finance is highly digitalized and easily accessible, if you just have a smartphone, it’s pretty hard to find some sort of peace and tranquility and recognize that money is a means to the end. It is here to serve us and help us. How much more do you want to worry about it, after you have a plan? Just relax. So the very first strategy, I’ve talked about this a lot of time and I want to reiterate: how do you find peace in an era of a highly digitalized financial markets is turn off all your notifications, turn them all off. Whether is it your brokerage, a robo-advisor, your insurance platform, your payments platform, your shopping apps.. Shopping apps is the worst. Turn off all of them. Your Carousell, your Amazon, your Taobao, Shopee, turn them all off …the notification. These days, if they want to get that information to you, they will use advertisements, they will use all sorts of ways to get to you. You don’t need to give them easy access. True? You know, these kinds of push notification… you need to understand how push notification works. 

This is something that I think a lot of people don’t recognize. The moment you download an app and you give them access to push notification… because I worked in an app company before, I know that I could just engineer a push. As long as I don’t push you too much to a point whereby you delete the app, I will find patterns to push. I will find the right time to push notification to you, whether is it a certain particular timing, a certain event out there, or I write a certain copy to get you attracted. Instead of saying “Oh, there’s a 50% discount”, I’ll use things like,” 1-for-1, limited today” or something like that. So there’s a lot of copy… the way things are being done, it’s out there to engineer your attention. They want to get you. 

So in other words, it’s disproportionately disadvantage to you if you turn on your notification, right? They have so much data that they know how to take you…how to get you, and sometimes you end up buying things that you don’t need. You end up shifting your portfolio, as and when..it does not really matter. You cannot sleep because the stock market move and it’s not very healthy. If you’re trying to manage your money long term, if you’re trying to manage your long-term financial health and mental health and life, then you should really not be too in touch with these apps. And just to put it bluntly, you will know when something has happened. Like these days, promotions is every week, every month got promo. And last time, 10.10, 12.12, 11.11, now 1.1, 2.2, 3.3, 4.4… everything is coming. So you will know when these apps want to connect with you or when there’s a big market movement, there’s some sort of shift, you will know. You don’t even need to have these apps to disturb you. I generally turn off all notifications on almost all apps, my social apps and everything. But I definitely recommend you to turn off all these so that you find the peace and you don’t get too emotionally riled up by a lot of these guys, okay? 

So that’s one way to go about finding peace in a highly digitalized era, other than your yoga, meditate, spend time in the real world and all those kind of things, you know, I’ve said it enough. I will not say them again. So that’s that. Point number two, how do you find peace in an era of highly digitalized financial space is that you need to go deep instead of going broad. Very, very cheesy, right? I will talk to you more after a word from our sponsor. 

So what I mean by going deep instead of going broad… these days everybody is a pro. Everybody act like they macam pro because they read an article here, they watch two YouTube videos there and they go from “this week, I’m going to do investment in the stock market”, and then after that ” Oh, I’m going to go for growth stocks”, suddenly then talk about crypto. Then they come back, they look at the bond market, then he told me about treasuries. It’s like wah piang, let me just put it very bluntly to you. Most people in the financial space, they are expert in one or two tools, or one or two themes. That’s it. People that pick stocks, they don’t usually look at the macro trends. People that look at macro management, they don’t look at how to study the fundamentals of certain companies. Or people that are invested in the gold, silver market… these professionals, I’m talking about the professionals ah, the guys that you may not love, that work at Shenton Way, work at Wall Street, work at wherever, these guys are very focused. If they are full-time precious metal traders, then they will only be in the space. They rarely cross field, they rarely go anywhere because they understand that every tool has its nuances, every tool has its way of making things work. And it is not, uh, you know, “I watched two YouTube channels, suddenly I know how to do this shit”. 

Which is why I feel like, if you are looking at investing in this digital space, a highly digital era, then you really got to go deep. You really got to learn what is going on. You really got to understand how do index funds work, what are the major funds out there, what to look out for and a lot of these things. You don’t need to be super pro, you don’t need to learn how to engineer an index fund or engineer a theme fund, or build a portfolio on your own. But you need to understand sufficiently deep to be able to have a good interaction as in like how do you determine a good bond fund, determine a good company. 

If I try to pick stocks, how do bonds actually work, how do fixed income work… you know, all those kind of things and you want to be able to focus on a few things and be very good at it over time. You can learn this for a few years and then you pick up another thing over a few years. It’s a time thing, right? And when you go deep, you tend to be able to block out noise because you understand what you are doing. You understand what you are trying to achieve, you know what you are after. You don’t get so riled up by all these media circuit and all these promotion and whatnot that’s just trying to grab your attention. No offense out there, you know, maybe some people are already offended but you know, if you’re just trying to jump from one thing to another… highly likely you don’t know what you’re doing lah. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will find very hard to do it in this space, because like I’ve said previously in the past, your investments, your money is very far away from you.

You have to withdraw money from an ATM, you have to get contracts and arrange for professionals to manage your money. But these days you can do it on your own, it’s just a click away. So if you are especially uncertain about what you are doing, you just hear a bit of news there, you hear… you read a bit of things here, and then you do it, chances are you will fumble. Instead of going broad and learn all these different things out there, why not give yourself a year or two to learn deep about one thing and then go into another thing later and go into another thing later, right? There’s no lack of opportunity in the market. This is true and I personally feel so that there’s no lack of opportunity in market. If you know what you’re doing, even the most mundane tools can be very, very interesting and very exciting. If you think about it, the pros out there, they only use one or two tools and they build a lifetime of profit. Think about it. 

Which brings me to point number three, and that is fundamentally, you got to define what is enough. You really have to define what is enough, because like we’ve said, you know, in this era, there is an increase in access to tools, increase in access to investments, to all these different apps, and everybody’s trying to get your attention and the way they get our attention is like, “oh, we are even lower, we are giving even higher interests, we are doing this, this, this…” It’s always like “more, more, more”, or like “cheaper, cheaper, cheaper”. So if you don’t know what is enough, many of these platforms will be able to grab your attention, stir your emotions and they will affect your plans lah, which is not actually a problem per se.

If there are certain platforms that are definitely better or they are doing much better and you really feel like what they are doing is more aligned with what you’re trying to do then okay, by all means you can shift. So the problem is not with changing platforms, the problem is not with access to tools. The problem is when you don’t understand enough and all these digital platforms are using all these kinds of media and advertisement to get your attention, it’s very easy for you to switch around, incurring extra costs or switch around thinking that there’s a better deal but turns out that eh, maybe it’s not the case. So in this era, things change very, very fast and advertisements chase you around. In the past, you can don’t engage with the advertisement if you think about it. You can see the ad and you walk away, it does not happen. But these days, the ad comes in 10 different angles and they will chase you on Instagram, chase you on Tik Tok, chase you on Facebook and chase you everywhere. So…aiyo, it’s very hard. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what it is enough for you, it’s very easy for you to get riled up. So I think you really need to define what it is enough and give yourself a pat on the shoulder when you have hit it.

And I fall into this, um, actually a lot, you know, you’re not alone. I face this thing also. Sometimes when I already hit my goals, then I have this shifting goal post problems. I already hit it, why not hit a bit more right? But when I backtrack and think and look at this, then okay lah, I’ve already hit it. Let’s just give myself a break, give myself a pat on the shoulder. Hey, you’ve done a good job, let’s take a break. Don’t need to be always chasing for more. And I’m here to go into pledge night. I want you guys to go think about this and say to yourself “I’m enough when I saved $10,000 a month, or $10,000 a year… wah $10,000 a month quite enough [laughter] I have enough to get 20% year on year returns, I have enough to be able to visit a cafe once a week. So be able to define what is enough for you. You don’t need to be very, very clear, but over time, over time, be clearer and clearer and define for yourself what is enough, so then you don’t get riled up in this highly digitalized environment, okay? 

So, um, short and sweet episode, I’m just going to sum up everything today. How do you find peace in a highly digitalized financial era? Number one is to turn off all the notifications so that they don’t get easy access to you. Trust me, if they want to get to you, they will find ways. Promotion, advertisements, a friend sharing giveaway… all sorts of ways, because we also do that, so we know what’s going on… what is the matrices behind these things. 

Number two is go deep instead of go broad. Don’t try to act like you will know a little bit of everything. That thing does not help you. Go and choose one or two strategies that you want, go deep, learn. You’ll be in a much better place, you will know what you’re good at, and then you can work from there over time, you pick up new tools. 

Number three is defining what is enough because when you know what is enough, it’s very hard for people to rile you up with more or cheaper or whatnot. So I hope you find peace in this space. Of course, go for your walk in Bishan Park, meditate, do your thing. Spend time with friends. All those things are fundamental and it will promote a better mental health broadly and make your life better. So I hope you learnt something useful today.

I hope you learnt something useful today and truly appreciate that you take time off to better your life with The Financial Coconut. Knowledge, it’s that much more powerful and interesting when shared, debated and discussed. Join our community Telegram group, follow us on our socials, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Everything is in the description below. If you love us and want to help us grow, definitely share the podcast with your friends and on your socials. Also, if you have some interesting thoughts to share or you know someone that you would like to hear from, reach out to us through hello@thefinancialcoconut.com. With that, have a great day ahead. Stay tuned next week, and always remember personal finance can be chilled, clear, sustainable for all.

Hey guys, so yup I hope you learnt some cool stuff today. I think there’s a lack of discussion in this space, about finding peace in a digital world, because things are just moving so fast and so fast and so fast. And next week, we’re going to talk a little bit more about the future of work. I mean, that’s a whole new theme for April. But for later this week, I get to spend some time with the guys on Zilliqa. So Zilliqa is essentially a blockchain ecosystem that is trying to do all the smart contracts kind of thing. So think of them like Ethereum, but supposedly better because they can manage more transactions.

So we’re going to spend some time with the commercial officer Colin and yeah, he has a… quite a strong accent, but I think he has some good juices to share. So I hope that you can get what he’s trying to say, but that will come later this week. And if you have any questions about blockchain, Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies… hey, come to the Telegram group and we’ll help you along. And if you really liked this content, I know we spent a whole month talking about this… if you really like these kinds of content, definitely let us know, drop us an email, DM us, talk to us on Telegram, and then we can decide if we want to kind of spin off another podcast because that is something that’s on our head. But we’re not too sure about the response, so yup. Meanwhile, take care. I hope you learnt something useful. See ya.

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