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How to Start Investing As a Student in Singapore

Ramen noodles for lunch again? Been there, done that. But what if those leftover dollars from your instant meals could turn into something more? Like that killer music festival ticket you’ve been eyeing, or maybe even a head start on that post-grad trip. While saving is crucial, investing as a student can help you reach your goals faster. Investing might seem like something for fancy suits on Wall Street, but it can actually be a powerful tool for students like you, even with limited funds.

Think of it this way: investing is like planting a money tree. You put in a little now (those leftover ramen bucks!), and over time, it can grow into something much bigger. This guide will be your step-by-step manual to navigate the world of investing in Singapore as a student, ditching the confusing jargon and replacing it with student-friendly tips. So, ditch the ramen regret and get ready to unlock the potential of your money!

Building a Strong Foundation Before You Invest

Building a strong foundation before you invest as a student is like preparing for a rocket launch. You wouldn’t blast off without a sturdy base, would you? The same goes for investing. Here’s how to ensure your financial journey takes off smoothly.

Emergency Fund

Before diving into the world of investing, it’s crucial to establish a safety net – your emergency fund. This acts as a financial buffer for unexpected expenses like medical bills, car repairs, or even a sudden trip home for a family emergency. Having this safety net in place prevents you from needing to tap into your investments, which are meant for your long-term goals. Ideally, aim to save 3-6 months of your living expenses in your emergency fund.


Knowing where your money goes is essential for making informed investment decisions. Budgeting helps you track your income and expenses, allowing you to identify areas to save and free up cash for investing. Many budgeting frameworks such as the 50-30-20 rule & envelope budgeting are popular in Singapore to help you manage your finances.

Setting Investment Goals

Investing isn’t just about accumulating money; it’s about achieving your financial goals. Whether it’s that dream post-graduation trip to Europe or saving for a future down payment on your BTO flat, having clear goals will keep you motivated and focused. Short-term goals, like a trip in the next year, might require slightly higher-risk, shorter-term investment options. However, for long-term goals like retirement, a lower-risk, long-term approach is generally more suitable. The key? Compound Interest.

Think of compound interest like a snowball rolling downhill. It starts small, but as it gathers momentum, it grows bigger and bigger. In investing, compound interest works by earning interest on your initial investment and the accumulated interest from previous periods. The longer your money is invested, the more it benefits from compound interest.

Risk Tolerance

Risk tolerance refers to how comfortable you are with potential losses in your investments. Imagine riding a rollercoaster – how comfortable are you with the ups and downs? Similarly, are you risk-averse, preferring a safe and steady approach, or are you more comfortable with some volatility for the potential of higher returns? Identifying your risk tolerance allows you to choose student investments that align with your comfort level.

Getting Started: Tools You’ll Need

Imagine you’ve just landed your dream internship and scored that first paycheck. Exciting, right? There’s a similar sense of accomplishment that comes with unlocking the world of investing in Singapore as a student. But before you dive headfirst into the stock market, you’ll need a few essential tools – your investment toolkit!

Central Depository (CDP) Account: Your Investment Vault

Think of a CDP account as your secure fortress in the heart of Singapore’s financial district. This is where all your stocks, bonds, and other investments will be held safely. Opening a CDP account is a simple process, and luckily, there’s a helpful guide to walk you through it step-by-step here. While some students might confuse a CDP with a custodian account, this article on CDP vs Custodian Account explains the key differences.

Choosing a Brokerage Platform

Imagine a sleek, user-friendly platform where you can buy and sell investments with just a few clicks. That’s your brokerage platform – your online headquarters for navigating the Singapore stock market.

When choosing a platform to invest a student, consider factors like fees (commission fees for buying and selling), minimum investment amounts (how much you need to start investing), and user-friendliness (how easy is it to navigate the platform?). Popular student-friendly platforms in Singapore include Moomoo, Tiger Brokers & Interactive Brokers. I’ve also done a review on Saxo Markets, but personally, I don’t recommend this platform to students as it is too costly.

Remember, a user-friendly interface is key, especially for beginners, so prioritize platforms known for their ease of use!

Investment Strategies for Students

The Singapore stock market might seem like a complex jungle, but even students can navigate it with the right strategies. Here are some student-friendly approaches to get you started and build your wealth over time:

Start Small & Gradually Grow

Let’s face it, as a student, your income might be from allowances, part-time jobs, or maybe the occasional lucky angbao.

There’s no pressure to jump in with a huge sum. Begin with a manageable amount you’re comfortable with, like $50 or $100 a month. Remember, every dollar counts! As your income or financial knowledge grows, you can gradually increase your investment amount. Consistency is key – even small, regular investments can add up significantly over time thanks to the power of compound interest (remember that snowball effect we talked about earlier?).

If you’re keen to accelerate and earn more income, you can check out my guide on side hustles for students in Singapore.

Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA)

Imagine buying a delicious fruit smoothie – you wouldn’t pay the highest price for all the ingredients, right? Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA) works similarly. It’s a strategy where you invest a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, regardless of the stock price. This helps manage market volatility, which is especially beneficial for students with long-term goals. Think of it like averaging out the cost of your investments over time. During market dips, your fixed amount buys more shares, while during highs, it buys fewer. This way, you avoid the risk of buying in at the peak!

Focus on Low-Cost Index Funds: Spreading Your Eggs (Safely) Across Multiple Baskets

When you’re just starting out, picking individual stocks can be risky. That’s where low-cost index funds come in. Imagine an index fund as a basket filled with a variety of stocks from different companies around the world, like a well-diversified portfolio. This reduces the risk associated with any one company performing poorly.

These funds also typically come with lower fees compared to actively managed funds, making them a budget-friendly option for students. A popular choice for Singaporean investors seeking global exposure is the Vanguard FTSE All-World ETF (VWRA). This tracks the FTSE All-World Index, offering exposure to thousands of stocks in developed and emerging markets. You can find more information about investing in VWRA here.

While the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (CSPX) and Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) are great options, they focus solely on the US market. If you’re a student looking for broader global exposure, VWRA might be a better fit. This article here offers a helpful comparison of these two ETFs in case you’re interested in the US market specifically.


So, there you have it! This guide has equipped you with the tools and knowledge to navigate the financial world and turn those leftover kopi money blues into travel fund cheers! Remember, investing is a marathon, not a sprint. With dedication and the right approach, you can watch your money snowball into something much bigger, paving the way for that dream European adventure or a secure financial future.

Continue reading my blog for more student-friendly investment tips and tricks! I’ll cover everything from picking the right platform to mastering investment strategies

Eugene Chai

With five years of financial experience (and maybe a few too many all-nighters fueled by cold brew and craft beer), Eugene tackles complex financial concepts and breaks them down for young adults. Featured on Investment sites and CNA's Money Talks, this self-proclaimed "Finance Whisperer" isn't your stuffy suit. He uses relatable narratives (think "adulting, but make it money") to turn numbers into your financial BFFs, guiding you towards smart choices with your hard-earned dough.

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