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Part 1 of 3: Achieve financial wellness with your first three pay cheques

Part 1 of 3: Achieve financial wellness with your first three pay cheques

  • 14 June 2023
  • By OCBC Wealth Advisory
  • 10 mins read

In this three part series, learn more on how you can achieve financial wellness with your first three pay cheques as a first jobber.

Starting your first full-time job is a thrilling and life-changing milestone. As a first jobber, what will you do with your first pay cheque? Treat yourself to an expensive meal? Get your first Chanel bag or Prada wallet?

Being able to handle your money responsibly, alongside your newfound financial independence, is critical in building a solid foundation for yourself, and most importantly, overcoming downturns in life.

Do you invest more than you save?

In 2022, OCBC surveyed Singaporeans aged 21-29 on key personal finance metrics, including saving, investing, managing debt (Figure 1). While the OCBC Financial Wellness Index survey showed an impressive 86% to have started investing, more effort is needed to encourage saving among this group. Furthermore, an average of only 49.5% have put money aside towards building an emergency fund.

Figure 1: Young Singaporeans aged 21-29 prioritise investing over saving

Source: OCBC Financial Wellness Index 2022

These are important gaps to address, as saving is a low-risk way of growing your money. Having sufficient money can provide a peace of mind in those moments when you need to bear the cost of an unforeseen expense. Rather than liquidating your investment (which may lead to losses), you instead pay through your savings.

Emergency funds, as the name suggests, is having sufficient cash set aside for unexpected life events, such as a medical emergency, or the financial burden of a sudden job loss. This is a separate pool of money from your savings. Not having an emergency fund can lead you into debt, as you may resort to interest-bearing personal loans or credit cards to settle the payments.

How can young Singaporeans like yourself set aside enough money for an emergency? In this piece, along with the upcoming two articles, let us discover and explore how we can use our first three pay cheques to make smart financial decisions when the time comes.

First pay cheque: Building an emergency fund

Your first pay cheque is certainly an exciting moment, but it is also an important moment to strike a balance by making smart financial decisions. Simply put, it is perfectly fine to reward yourself with an expensive treat, but the key here is to not think short term but plan for the longer term. Ensure that you budget your purchases in a sustainable way, to avoid diminishing your money at a rate faster than your pay cheque drops into your account.

A quick and easy way you can start is by adopting the golden 50-30-20 rule, which divides your pay cheque as follows:

  • 50%: Daily living expenses
  • 30%: Entertainment and miscellaneous
  • 20%: Personal savings and investment goals

Specifically on savings and investment, you can take a first step in assigning 20% of your first pay cheque towards building of an emergency fund. Ideally, grow this fund to cover at least three to six months of your living expenses, in a bid to weather through unexpected downturns.

Rather than simply saving through a regular savings account, explore the use of a high-yield savings account. The OCBC 360 account is a fantastic choice, allowing you to earn up to 4.65% per annum, on the first $100,000 when you credit1 your salary, save2, and spend3, coupled with the possibility of earning an extra 3.00% when you buy eligible insurance and investment with OCBC Bank.

Kickstart your journey to financial wellness with OCBC. You can also learn more on how you can better utilise your second pay cheque as a first jobber to better manage financial risks.

1 Credit salary of at least S$1,800 through GIRO

2 Increase average daily balance by at least S$500

3 Charge at least S$500 to selected OCBC Credit Cards each month


Open your 360 Account today

For Singaporeans and Permanent Residents:

NRIC and an image of your signature

For foreigners:

Employment Pass (EP) or S-Pass or Student Pass

Initial deposit:


Include any one of the following documents:

Phone bill
Half-yearly CPF statement
Any bank statement