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In 2015, Jon started Zendyll Productions, a recording studio and sound design company. It only came about after years of arduous saving, and he sees the business as a form of long-term investment.
His parents played a big part in all of this too. Since young, they have taught him to save, and consistently impressed on him the value of money. It has carried on to his adult life, helping him build his career with calculated moves, including financial ones.
A piece of advice he will never forget: to always be genuine and authentic with himself, especially when it comes to making financial decisions.
Staying true to our newest mantra, Jon candidly shares his beliefs about Saying It As It Is and how it applies to him.
“More often than not, as younger people, we tend to spend a lot and hardly think of what's going to happen tomorrow — I earn this amount today, I spend this amount.
Saying It As It Is teaches you the right values and sets you up for a good financial future. It tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear. The whole idea of saving smart and spending smart at the same time is something that we ourselves are not very aware of, unfortunately. But when someone is direct and says it as it is to you, it helps you be a little more conscious of how important that balance is.”
“Most people think that musicians are living the high life, but most of the time it's not really the case. When I first started off as a musician, it was dollar for dollar, cent for cent. But I made sure that come what may, I saved money. And I still do today.”
Saying It As It Is teaches you the right values and sets you up for a good financial future. It tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear.
Jon's two cents about money
When did you start giving serious thought about getting your financial life in order?
I started getting wiser with my money when I was serving my National Service. For most Singaporean guys, that's where we get our first taste of income. But for me, it quickly got out of hand. On weekends, I would go out and party hard. There was once it got so bad that I didn't even have enough money to withdraw from my bank account. That was the wakeup call, when I realised I had to better handle my finances.
I started saving and planned my spending a little more. I started working more too, taking on more jobs after completing my National Service, while I was in school. I used to play at bars and clubs at night, in my attempt to save.
It also helped that my mom had always reminded me about being careful with how I manage my money. I realised that I shouldn’t be spending it frivolously, but should instead make smarter decisions in general, on top of the right investments.
It's something that I'm very wary of now. Every dollar I spend, I spend with purpose.
What, in your opinion, is the biggest financial mistake you’ve made, and what have you learnt from it?
My biggest financial mistake would be my lack of planning when I first started my recording studio. I overcommitted by purchasing an excessive amount of equipment, and worse still, I wasn't aware of the right insurance to cover myself.
There were just so many things happening, and money went out just like that. It's so much easier to spend than to save. That actually taught me that it's not easy to make money and spend wisely at the same time. But it is vital to learn how to get it right.
Looking back, what would your advice be for young people trying to figure their financial life out?
It's never too early to start. Most people think that saving money only applies when you want to start a family or buy a house or a car. I used to think so too. But I soon understood that starting early is important. It’s not just about saving money, it’s about discerning the balance between spending and saving wisely in the whole process of becoming financially literate.