Most Singaporeans would know Loo Cheng Chuan from his 1M65 social movement. Built around the strategy of leveraging the Central Provident Fund (CPF) account to save a million dollars by the retirement age of 65, the movement gained popularity for its simple and low-risk approach to help Singaporeans achieve financial security in their golden years.
Together with his daughter Kate, this passionate financial educator taps on various social media platforms like Youtube to share his personal knowledge of financial literacy. Married for 25 years to his junior college sweetheart Lee Bee Yee, Cheng Chuan is also dad to three young adults – Kate, 21, Ben, 19, and Emily, 18.
Life partners and teammates
Besides being life partners for over two decades, the couple are also business partners in an e-commerce business that Bee Yee set up in 2014.
As Cheng Chuan shares, “We see each other as teammates and we complement each other well – what she’s good at, I’m not. Similarly, the areas I excel at are not her strengths. She is detail-oriented and good in managing operations, while I’m more of a marketing and ideas person”.
Bee Yee plays the supportive spouse in her husband’s work. Despite its non-profit nature, Cheng Chuan has given over a hundred talks on financial literacy since the 1M65 movement started in 2015. His wife attends the majority of his talks and encourages her own social media followers to listen to them.
From protector and playmate to mentor and life coach
For Cheng Chuan, his father was an influential figure in his life when he was growing up. “My father is extremely family-oriented. He took care of the family very well and taught my siblings and I the value of family and thrift”, he says.
This has shaped his own parenting philosophy. When his kids were young, he was protector, provider, disciplinarian and playmate to them. When they got older, he shifted into the role of a mentor, life coach and role model.
“I prepare them on how to deal with life. As they grow into adulthood, I become more of an advisor and a guide. I let them develop the ability to think for themselves.”
Building on strengths and interests
To Cheng Chuan and his wife, their role as parents is to help their children identify their strengths and passions and give them the opportunities to build on them. To give his firstborn Kate a chance to develop her oracy skills, he started involving her in his Youtube videos. Kate, with her extroverted, livewire personality, is a natural presenter in front of the camera.
When Kate decided to take a 6-month leave of absence from her university studies to learn the ropes at their e-commerce operations, the couple supported it. As Cheng Chuan notes, exposure to the different roles and processes of a business is an invaluable learning opportunity in itself.
He adopts a similar approach for his two younger children, looking for ways to let them develop their interests in other areas, whether it is in music or finance.
For kids to learn good money management skills, he emphasises that it was crucial to start young. His tips are basic yet practical: First, teach them the value of thrift. Second, share with them the importance of a building a financial safety net. Finally, show them how compounding works to grow wealth.