Gearing up for children's further studies
In this fourth instalment of a six-part series brought to you by Manulife Singapore, we explore the topic of preparing for retirement at different stages of your life
FEDERICK KOH, 48
HE STARTED his landscaping business as a one-man show in 1998. Today, it has grown into a company with 14 staff. But life was not always smooth sailing for Federick Koh.
The owner of Splendor Horticultural once had a company selling health-care products which racked up losses of $300,000 and was wound up in a year.
"It was very painful but a good lesson learnt... I'm more careful with my money now," Mr Koh said.
After the setback, the former army regular said a friend piqued his interest in horticulture - a field which he admitted to having no knowledge in, but which he has grown to love.
Mr Koh said he now adopts a more conservative approach in expanding his landscaping business, whose clients range from those who live in private homes to condominium owners.
Mr Koh is married to an accountant and the couple have two daughters, aged 16 and 20.
WHAT ARE YOUR RETIREMENT GOALS?
I don't intend to go into full retirement...but, by age 65, I hope to take a back seat in the business
This also depends on whether my daughters want to take over.
Otherwise, I may sell it to a friend to run and become a consultant for the business.
WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS?
Besides life insurance, I have a few endowment plans. These will mature in about 20 years, after which I'll receive a lump sum with some interest.
Having these plans is a good idea because I have my retirement funds locked away. Sometimes, I may lack discipline, and reach into my own savings for the business.
I have also put a small amount of funds into investment-linked plans, which invest in unit trusts and shares.
I'm not a spendthrift and save regularly. In my life, I have pampered myself only twice.
One was upgrading my 18-year-old Honda Concerto to a brand new Toyota Camry, and the other was spending $2,500 on a golf set.
HOW ARE YOU PLANNING FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S FINANCES?
My younger daughter, 16, will be taking her O levels this year, while the elder one, 20, is waiting to go to a university.
When my daughters were infants, we purchased endowment plans for their studies.
As local university fees are higher today, my wife and I are prepared to top up any excess school fees not covered by the endowment plans.
We want to provide our daughters with the best education which they can attain.
WHAT KIND OF LIFESTYLE DO YOU ENVISION FOR RETIREMENT?
I want to live a dignified life, and not have to depend on others. I still intend to teach horticulture classes, and would like to spend more time on music, art and calligraphy.
Of course, I want to play golf in peace and not have my mind wandering around when I'm on the golf course.