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Beyond the labels and her public person, Jemma Wei's story is one of drive and independence.
Like so many of us, Jemma dreamt of travelling the world while growing up. But she wasn't born with a silver spoon, so during her university days, she saved for a year, and worked three jobs to afford her exchange programme. Through this journey, she became inspired to start "The Broke Student's Guide to Travel", a running travel series on her blog, which is geared towards helping others fulfil their travel dreams without breaking the bank.
A self-professed workaholic, she believes in working hard for her money, as well as working hard to keep the money. Her readers constantly ask her for tips on how to manage their finances, and having saved with FRANK since entering NTU, Jemma is happy to share what she's learned over the years.
She admits it's not always easy to be financially disciplined, but if there's one thing that motivates her, it's the goal of being not only personally reliable, but also financially capable of supporting her family when the rainy days come.
As such, Jemma acknowledges that the whole discipline of 'keeping it real' plays a huge role in this brutal cycle of spending and saving.
Staying true to our newest mantra, Jemma candidly shares her beliefs about Saying It As It Is and how it applies to her.
"To me, Saying It As It Is means: tell me what you mean. You don't have to pretend. You don't have to be all corporate and put up a front.
I think it's about being completely transparent and communicating as though you have a real relationship with me. I want to be talked to with absolute honesty, no lies, no cover-ups. I think that's especially important when it comes to financial matters that can sometimes be very confusing."
Jemma's two cents about money
When did you start giving serious thought about getting your financial life in order?
I've always been relatively prudent, but it was during my first two years of university that I became a lot more serious about my finances. The turning point for me was when my mom had a very bad fall and suffered from a slipped disc.
This put her through a lot of pain for a long time and it was one of the most awful experiences I've ever had. She had to have two operations and the medical bills were insane. It was really by the grace of God that the doctors helped us, especially in dealing with the insurance claims. Although we managed to claim a large amount, the remaining was still significant.
That was when I realised that one day, if something should happen to someone in my family, I want to be able to come forward and say, "Yes, I can solve this". This feeling of assurance and security that I can provide for my family is something that I cannot put a price on.
We know that many of your readers and fans reach out to you for financial advice. What do you normally tell them?
Well, I try to share my own experiences and advise them to find a balance. For example, it's natural instinct to want to purchase things that you don't necessarily need, because everybody wants nice things. You just have to learn how to balance that instinct with pragmatic concerns, such as having savings, because it really is important.
To keep things simple, I always use this savings analogy: if you have a thousand dollars, don't spend that thousand dollars. Put it away and only when you have another thousand, you can start to spend the first hundred of the initial thousand dollars.
What is your experience with FRANK and how has it helped you in reaching your goals?
I discovered FRANK when I was 18, an age where managing money was relatively new to me. I would say that the FRANK website is probably the easiest bank website in the world to operate and navigate!
I think the Savings Goals feature is very underrated. For example, you can always tell yourself that you are going to save fifty percent of what you get, but realistically, whether you do it or not is a different story. So I think this feature helps to 'force' you to have some kind of financial discipline, which is really crucial and helpful in the long run. I even used this to stay on track when I was saving for my exchange programme!
As a whole, I think FRANK has definitely helped me in gaining a balanced perspective on finances. The tools, tips, and advice it provides has really helped me better myself in the complexity that is money and adulthood.