Monday, May 26, 2008


Two natural disasters rocked Asia recently - a cyclone in Myanmar, and an earthquake in China, which brings me to the topic of raising money for charity.

Raising money for charity is essentially about earning money for a cause you believe in. And you're never too young to start helping out with various causes. But how do you go about it?

First, find a cause that you personally find worthy, and can get excited about.

Then, contact organisation or organisations that work within that area. Find out whether they have existing fundraiser projects that you can join. That is a good way to start -- to join others who are already experienced in fund-raising.

Read up on how to organise fundraisers and how others have successfully done so.

Once you gain some experience, try coming up with creative projects for raising money. You are likely to raise more if your fundraiser moves people in some way, or creates a dramatic impression. For example, if you're working on a charity for pets, you might want to organise a pet competition so that you can get pet-lovers together, and tell them about all the good your chosen charity is doing.

Submit your proposal to your charity, and gain approval. People are more likely to donate if they know you are officially affiliated to the charity.

And don't forget to advertise your event. Get your friends and family to pass out flyers. Ask if your local community newspapers will put your event in their listings. etc. etc.

Make sure you plan and organise your event so that it runs smooothly. You'll have to calculate how many people you need to take care of booths, games, competitions, etc, and source for volunteers. You'll also have to remember to train your volunteers. Also, since your main objective is to raise funds, make sure you have persuasive people in charge of talking about the charity and collecting donations. You may also want to approach local businesses to sponsor prizes, etc. in return for acknowledgements in flyers or billboards at your event. Approach your local media to see if they're interested in covering your event -- that could give valuable publicity to your charity.

Lastly, at the end of the event, keep a careful account of how much has been collected and arrange for it to be delivered to your charity.

Are you thinking now that raising money for charity is really not much different from starting a business? You're right. When you raise money for charity, you're learning all the different skills that you'll need to succeed in the business world.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I thought I'd talk about earning money this week, following on from my article on Compound Interest which highlights the fact that the earlier you start accumulating money, the more you stand to gain from your savings.

To add to your savings, you can do more than rely on on your allowance. Some common ways of earning money for young people:

1. Baby-sitting.
People would be relieved to have someone help out and take care of their young kids once in a while so that they can take a break, or run out to do some errands.

2. Doing chores for family and neighbours.
Look around for a need and ask if you can fill it. For example, if a neighbour has an overgrown lawn, ask if they'd like you to take care of it.

3. Tutoring those younger than you.
This is a great way to earn money, and learn something yourself. Tutoring helps reinforce what you yourself learnt, and you'll be honing your communication skills at the same time! Even better, you'll be helping someone else do better in school.

4. Starting a small business using your skills.
If you're especially talented at making something, you may want to look into selling what you make.

5. Part-time job
A great way to get a steady income. Check out jobs around your neighbourhood. You can usually find jobs helping to stock stores, or cashiering duties, sales assistant jobs, etc.

Have you found other great ways of earning money? Do share with us here.

Gentle reminders:

* Make sure that your studies don't suffer as a result of all these other chores/jobs/schemes. After all, as we've discussed before, education is one of the surest ways of earning a higher income in adulthood.
* Also, don't be tempted to make money by illegal means.
* Get-rich schemes are usually too good to be true. So don't be taken in by those.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm sure you know that when you keep your money in the bank, it pays you interest.

But did you know that the longer you keep it there, the greater the magic of Compound Interest?


Let's say your grandparents gave you $10,000 at the age of 10, and you put it into your savings account. The bank's interest rate rate is 3% per year. And it remains at 3% over the next three years.

Year 1:
The first year, you'll earn $300, or 3% on your $1000.
So the total in your savings account is now $10300, without any effort on your part!

Year 2:
Leave your money (including the interest) in the bank for another year at 3% interest, and you'll be earning interest not just on your initial deposit of $10,000, but also on the $300 interest that you earned at the end of the first year, ie, you'll be getting interest on $10,300.
Remember: Compound interest is interest on your interest.
At the end of 2 years, the total in your account is now $10,609.

Year 3:
And that's not all. The longer you keep the money in the bank, the more compound interest works in your favour. Leave the money and the accumulated interest in the bank yet another year, and you'll be earning interest on the accumulated total of $10609, 3% of $10609 = $318.27.
So at the end of 3 years, you will have $10,927.27.

At the end of 10 years, you'll have$ 13,439.16
At the end of 20 years, you'll have $ 18061.11
At the end of 30 years, you'll have $ 24,272.62

As you can see, the longer you leave the money and the accumulated interest in the bank, the faster your money grows. In other words, the earlier you start saving, the more you can make your money work for you!

COOL TIP -- THE RULE OF 72. There's an easy way to estimate how long it will take you to double your money if you put it into a bank and let compound interest work for you, at a particular interest rate. Very simply: Divide 72 by the interest rate you expect to earn. For example, say you expect the interest rate to be 3%. 72 divided by 3 is 24. That means that it will take you 24 years to double your money.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I was talking to my friend yesterday, and she was telling me that due to various health problems, there are so many types of foods that she can't eat. She regrets so much that she was so thrifty when she was younger that she never ate all the foods she enjoyed. And now she can't.

The point of this little anecdote is, just as it is very important to learn to save (and earn), it's just as important to set aside money to just 'live' today.

Don't make money be an end in itself. Don't let watching your money grow and grow become an obsession, like the fictional Silas Marner. It's important to experience life as well, because that's how you learn. So watch a movie, or have that treat that you've been craving for. Buy that present for your friend. Take that holiday.

The key here is Balance. Save and Earn, but know also that money is just a tool for us to use to make our lives more secure and more fulfilling.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


In my earlier post on Long-Term Goals, I mentioned that Education is one of the most important long-term goal for a young person, as educational level usually correlates with higher earnings in adult working life.

Along the same line of thinking, start studying marketing right now, even if you don't aspire to a career in sales.


I've observed that marketing is a skill that's extremely useful in everyday life:

1. INCREASES YOUR EARNINGS. We need it to learn how to make the best impression on employers, and thus get the best raises come review time. We need it to sell our ideas to management.

2. HELPS YOU TO COMMUNICATE YOUR BEST QUALITIES. Marketing and especially branding skills can help us to identify our best qualities, and communicate clearly to others who we are, and what our abilities are.

3. HELPS YOU WISE UP TO TRICKS AND TRAPS MARKETERS USE ON YOU. Knowledge of marketing skills and techniques also enable us to spot the tricks and traps that marketers use on us, and thus help us to save money in the long run. For example, when you sell a house, know that the aim of the agent (despite his or her sales pitch) is usually not to get the best deal for you, but to make the most commission with the use of least resources on their part.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


We talked about short-terms goals earlier here. Also very important to our financial future are long-terms goals.

One of the most important long-term goals we can have is Education. So start planning for it early.

Step 1: Study possible educational options.

Step 2: Calculate how much it will cost to attend the course that you want.

Step 3: Ask your parents if that is within what they have saved for you.

Step 4: If not, visit your career counselor at school, and try to work out what options you have for getting the additional money needed for your further education -- scholarships, part-time work, loans, etc. Work out a plan to get where you want to go.

It pays to think of your education early, because in most cases, your level of education will correlate with the level of your earnings when you enter the workforce. And therefore have an impact on your financial security.