Sunday, 19 July 2015

#30 Financial Freedom Reality Check @ July 2015


It had been a long time since I updated this blog.

It is really fun working as a Relationship Manager @ DBS Bank.

First of all, I would like to say not many people plan their finances ahead and older generation typically rely on insurance saving plan for wealth preservation. It is not wrong, but from my perspective since I am younger, there is a much better way to do it.

My general observations while being a Banker:

Savings - Not many people have a discpline way of saving, thus throwing them any insurance saving plan will do them more good than bad. That's my belief. The generic way of saying is, doing a financial needs analysis before deciding, yay? We all know right? Analysis before recommendation!

Investment - To invest, you need to understand the fundamental of market movement and correlation to a certain extend for better judgement. It is shocking to come across many people whom do not have slight interests about finance, but talk to them about Kpop, they are SUPER GOOD!

The truth is, for "end users" whom are not rich, you are not given an opportunity to many "atas" investment vehicle. Thus I can really see that the rich will get richer, poor will get poorer. In general, I could see richer clients are more "hardworking" in a way, which they do their homework, they calculate to dollars and cents in a way to maximize their wealth. Whereas people whom are not so high networth think its okay, just be happy will do. I mean there is no right and wrong and I am not someone qualify to judge, just some observation.

Moments of truth - The generic truth is, richer people have longer life. Happy or not, that is subjective to unique individual. Richer people do not have to worry on small things, do you even have to worry on sitting taxi? Do you worry on buying qualify food? Such as blue berry it is expensive but it is very nutritious. There are many hard truth I see while working in a bank, life is never fair, but we can work hard right?

My impression of "Relationship Manager" or so called "Wealth Planner" changed. They are not as high up in the eyes of mine. There are no one whom give you a very unbais and dynamic view. There will always be conflicting of interests including myself.

Some customer, advicing them to top up their CPF SA will be a better choice, but nobody will really do proper analysis for you and advice you this method. Most of the agents create fear in CPF, saying that YOU SURE WANT TO TOP UP CPF? SIAO BO?

I am glad that I am a RM in a bank, as well as someone really passionate about personal finance.
Judging from my personal finance, I am on track for early retirement @ 50 years old.
The very simple theory for myself is to invest at least 20% of take home salary every month.

Will be updating an article to illustrate why CPF-SA top up at young age is very much ideal than to buy an endowment plan. But that is subjective because CPF-SA game play is targeted at 55 years old, subjected to political risk too. Shall discuss that another day.

Contact me at capsulemoney@gmail.com

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

#29 DBS Graduate Associate


As promised, I will do a write up on DBS Graduate Associate Program that I am in.

The official website from DBS: HERE

There are 4 GA program from DBS, they are:

1) Technology and Operations
2) Retail Banking (Management)
3) Retail Banking (Sales)
4) Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Banking

Copied from the DBS official website as of 28 October 2014:

1) Technology and Operations

We know that innovation is key to staying ahead. That’s why we’ve developed a specialised 2-year programme in technology and operations targeted at candidates with a passion for generating new ideas.

As a Graduate Associate, you will be given extensive training in the areas of banking and finance, project management, and personal development to help you spearhead projects and lead teams that drive innovation at DBS, Asia’s leading bank.

The programme starts with a four week induction period to give you an overview of the fundamentals of banking, followed by two 11-month stints across different areas within either Technology or Operations divisions.

We’ve designed this programme to give you the best in-depth knowledge of operations and technology as a core function of our banking services. Mentorship, networking sessions with our senior management and playing key roles in projects will allow you to harness your potential and chart a career towards being a leader of technological innovation in the banking industry.

2) Retail Banking (Management)

If you prefer working on the frontlines of our businesses, this management programme for degree holders is a specialised mentorship and training package designed to fast-track your career in the sales and service tracks of retail banking.

Over the course of 36 months, we will train you to become an expert in product sales, customer service, processes, systems, and compliance regulations. Top performers can expect to take on management roles such as Assistant Branch Business Managers or Deputy Branch Service Managers upon completion of the programme.

3) Retail Banking (Sales)

For degree holders with an interest in wealth management, this innovative programme is tailored to speed up your career in our DBS Treasures, DBS Treasures Private Client, and DBS Private Bank businesses.

The 18-month programme includes classroom sessions, service rotations, and on-the-job training for a comprehensive learning experience. From product sales and customer service to the required certifications, we will equip you with all the skills you need to become a leader in the industry. Upon completion of the programme, you will join our bank’s elite team of Relationship Managers.

4) Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Banking

If you have a passion to help Singapore’s entrepreneurs grow their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this specialised programme for degree holders offers an accelerated path to build a career in SME Banking.

Comprising a rigorous and intensive schedule of classroom training, front-to-back rotation in different business areas, mentorship and on-the-job training opportunities, the 12-month programme is structured to give you the best, all-round exposure to the banking needs of the SME industry. Areas covered include core credit and financial knowledge, as well as other services that are essential to help small to medium companies grow their businesses.

There is also Management Associate, it's one level above GA programs, take it as GA are SGT and MA are officers. Guys who served NS will know this "logic" very well. Not saying that GA is not good, but MA is pretty much prestigious and also valued in terms of dollars and cents.

The above write up from the DBS website is pretty much self-explanatory, I will just talk about the program I am in, which is Retail Banking (Sales).

I know many people get kinda lost when they see Retail Banking (Sales) and (Management).  There are a few pointers that I will point out and this is solely for discussion purpose.

Comparison 1 (Job role and responsibility)
[Sales] - Your main KPI is your sales revenue, you do not get bonus points or brownie points for doing a good service and such. That good service is expected from you and getting a complain will only affect you.
Sales role revolve mainly on numbers, the money you generate for the bank. Different products you sell have different "revenue points". Although the Bank do emphasize on fair dealing and such, but at desperate times to hit target due to pressure, sometimes sales person might still mis-sell products to hit their KPI.

[Management] - Unlike sales which the KPI is mainly on numbers, your role is to become manager. Unlike sales whom primary focus is about figures, the role of a retail banking management consist of more than numbers. In other words it's pretty much stressful and more responsibilities. You will do 1 year of service, meaning teller role in the bank, counting cash, doing cash and non-cash transaction, followed by 1 year in sales role, meaning doing the job of a Relationship Manager role, selling products. The 3rd year in the job you will become ABBM or DSM, this is of course subjected to performance.

Comparison 2 (Salary Package)
[Sales] - You get a fixed pay say $X + commission. You will only receive commission only if you sell above the threshold. For example, your threshold is $100k, above $100k sales then you get a certain percentage from the sales you generated. All DBS staff enjoy same medical benefits and others depends on your corporate rank. Your commission is based on every quarter (3 months).
A strong emphasis on the salary package is you do get so called "sales allowance", a small sum every month regardless of your sales target.
Please remember that sales staff do not have any bonus, they rely solely on commission. Some people think they earn reasonable, however they forgot to factor in the matter of fact that sales people do not have any bonus. A better way of calculating wages is the ANNUAL GROSS INCOME. Compare the net amount you earned in a year after CPF.

[Management] - Similarly as the sales, you get a fixed pay, but this fixed pay is much higher than what the sales guys is getting, in fact it is about 26% more than sales staff for a start excluding bonuses.
Unlike sales person, you get no commission, but you are rewarded with variable bonus. There is no AWS for all staff for Analyst and above rank (In other words, they rely on VB). Typically how many months, it is subjected to performance and economy, shall not comment too much on that.

Comparison 3 (The corporate ladder)
I think this is extremely important, set your expectations right.
[Sales] - What you are aiming for is to enter priority banking or some called privilege banking. In DBS they called it DBS Treasures. It is just different names. However for the program retail banking (sales), you will start from mass banking meaning standard DBS or POSB branches in Singapore as a Relationship Manager. End of the day, for sales it is all about numbers. If you can hit your numbers you can get promote fast provided your bosses gave you opportunities.
The sales GA program is 2 years contract, the bond is kinda long, but it seems alright for me. My resume won't look good if i just stayed for 1 year anyway, unless i don't really suit the role.
Lower basic + commission (Depends on performance, you might get none).

[Management] -  Unlike sales, you might want to focus on the real management of sales staff, service staff and also on compliance issue to maintain a good audit score. Banking industry is a heavily regulated industry, you need to know things like AML, CFT, those paper work and stuff.
What you really want to leverage on for the responsibilities or job roles.
Higher basic + variable bonus (You most probably get some bonus, unless you really did something really bad).

I think that's all I am willingly to share over the Internet.
I will list down a few "FAQs" I get from my friends:


Q: What are the requirements and GPA needed?
A: A generic good degree is sufficient from a good University. I do not know how DBS define good University. It depends on HR.

Q: Which retail banking program is harder to get in ? Management or Sales ?
A: I shall reserved my comments and leave it to you to find out.

Q: If I am not from finance background can I apply?
A: Definitely, I am from Information Systems degree with a Second Upper from University of London. I took the full 11 financial papers as required by DBS to fulfill my role as a RM in DBS. I passed all 11 papers on first attempt within 2 months plus working. It is difficult yes, but you must have the interests or passion in finance.

Q: What are the 11 financial papers and are there exemptions?
A: The 11 papers are:  Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services (CMFAS) - M1B , M5 , M6 , M6A , M8 , M8A , M9 , M9A
Personal General Insurance Certification (BCP , PGI)
Health Insurance (HI) Module

Exemptions if you studied finance module or finance degree (i.e. Banking and Finance).
Check IBF website for the exemption list.

Q: How do I know if I am suitable for the program?
A: As a graduate, you need to be sure what your career path is. Do not hesitate, if you are thinking or asking this question, you better wake up your idea.

A Graduate Associate is one of the many methods to start your banking career. There are some things that I cant shared online due to sensitive topics and comparison. One thing I am sure, the world is never fair, so comparing with your peers in the same bank or different bank gets you no where. Just focus on where you are standing and try to climb the corporate ladder. The journey is tough, but it's an enriching journey.

I know there are real cases where friends entered private banking straight away, or Treasures or Treasures Private equivalent. All i can say is, you need to build relationship. It matters alot if you are focusing on sales. However if you are looking for management type of role, make sure you got a good degree with First Class Honors and extremely good CCA records. Best is related to finance degree from a local U. Try to apply for DBS Internship position, that will strongly increase your chances for a MA program or GA program.

For University students who is thinking of joining retail banking, be it sales or management, you can always buy me a cup of Starbucks coffee and I can spend sometime sharing my experience with you for you to make a better decision.

For referral, I think the HR do pay me a certain incentive if the person i referred to DBS stayed for like 8 months or so, after confirmation. But I am not biting it, because referring the wrong person might have some implications.

I can be contacted at capsulemoney@gmail.com if anyone needs second opinion.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

#28 Most Marketable Skills

Hi Guys!

I will be posting the information on DBS Graduate Associate (Retail Sales Banking Program) in my next post.

For this post, as requested by Bob from webucator, I will be writing on the "Most Marketable Skills" in today's job market from my perspective.

Some quick background information about myself before I start the post. I am 26 this year, served 2 years in the Air Force (mandatory for every Singaporean's son, you may be posted in either Army, Navy or Air Force). I was all along in IT industry before switching over to banking industry, I am a strong believer on your actions and determination will create a path for you.
If you are interested to view my profile, you can view it here.

Alright, lets start.

Without any reference(s), I will phase this in my own words for maximum openness and realistic.
To me, marketable skills are skills which your employer will value. You might have 1 or 2 valuable skills but if those skills do not translate to value, it is meaningless and viewed as useless in the eyes of the employer. For example, if you could juggle 5 balls at 1 time, and you are working in the line of IT, do you think this skill directly or indirectly translate value to your employer? You might argue yes in a way, but in a nutshell, the answer is a straight NO, no value. This is from my perspective from the employer shoes and from HR. Good to have, but not necessary.

Understand what is the job you want, and understand what is the job scope and skills required and market your skills accordingly.

Technology Skills - 
The minimum basic I would expect executive level and above to know is Microsoft Office skills. This includes MS Word, Excel and PPT, the main 3. It would be embarrassing to say you do not know how to use Excel to plot some chart and input in the PPT. If you do not know how to insert a document, say a PDF into your PPT, it is the time now to try to learn these skills.
You might think your job do not require it at the moment, but as you proceed to higher level to middle or top management, presentation and documentation preparation is generally useful and advantageous if you could prepare it in a nice manner to your boss.

People Skills - 
Connecting with people below you, same level with you and your bosses. The approach of these 3 levels are different. It is very hard to actually describe how you should connect with people as it is intrinsically subjective to individual, but you get my point.

Do not use the hard approach all the time. In a corporate world, sometimes using "friendship" or "peer pressure" might be a better weapon than the traditional hard appraoch.

Give your appreciation by saying Thanks and choice of words used is important.

Leadership Skills - 
No matter what level you are in, there is a high chance that somebody will be under you. Be it an Intern or a few workers. To effective lead a team, I believe in morale authority plays a very big part of it as far as what I experienced. A leader do not order their man to walk, a leader walk with the man and lead them. To lead, you must have a vision and be 3Cs, which are Clear, Correct and Concise. If in doubt ask your higher management, be a man of example and your man below you will trust you.

I will be only mentioning about these 3 important skills that personally I think it is extremely important. As the conversation goes, I could easily branch more "skills" that are seems marketable like, "adaptive skills" , "Networking skills" and such.

Apart from the skills that I had mentioned, the way you speak, eye contact, your dress code plays a part as well. It is a "whole package" and people judge you for that. I understand that many people dislike people judging you, but the ugly truth is everybody judge in a way, be it consciously or subconsciously.

It is a life long journey for everyone including me, I am only 26 and there's much to learn from one another, be it your junior or senior.

My last advice is LISTEN, no matter it is bullshit or words of wisdom, listening is one skill set that is important because you get to meet all types of people in life, by listening you will understand something in a way or another.

Be Thankful with what you have and move on in life despite there are some hurdles along the way. A strong network of positive friends will be helpful. Being in a group of positive friends encourages you and guide you along the way rather than negative people whom will only try to discourage you and dampen your mood to move further.

Stay strong and stay healthy!


Thursday, 2 October 2014

#27 Working Towards the 100k before 30 years old

A very cliche post on how I plan my first 100k before 30 years old.

I am working with POSB now, training to become a Relationship Manager (RM), I need to clear 11 financial papers and also clear internal papers before I get certified by both MAS to get a RNF and also a internal clearance from the bank.
For more details of my job, I will post more information in the next post for people who are interested.

There is no magic, simple formula from the very basic.

(Earnings) > (Spending)

Take that average out and use to invest!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

# 26 Officially a Graduate awaiting for results

It's been a long time since I visit this blog again.

Been busy with FYP and studies, completed my last examination at late May and went for a few overseas trip. Visited Taiwan, Malaysia and Korea.

I had been offered a position at DBS as a Graduate Associate (GA) and had signed the contract.

Would be looking forward to work in a strong Asia bank.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

#25 CapsuleMoney Comprehensive guide for PM

Firstly, i would like to apologize the slow (or maybe no) updates on my blog, as i was busy preparing for my Uni year 2 examinations.

As promise, I will try to write a comprehensive guide for newbies. The target audience for this guide is mainly targeted at age 18 to 40 with little or no knowledge about physical Silver and Gold.

This guide is Version 1.
@19 May 2013 - Creation of guide

Table of Content:

- Introduction
- What is physical Silver/Gold?
- When should i be buying it?
- Where should i buy it?
- Who should i approach to help?
- Which brand to buy?
- How can i buy?

-What should i look out for?



If you are reading this, there wouldn't a need for me to even give an introduction :)

Making this very "academically sound", i will be using 5W1H on this guide.

I am a lazy person TBH, i had briefly written some introduction to PM 1year+ ago.
This is the link: Introduction to Precious Metal

What is physical Silver/Gold

They are basically something that you can hold and admire, unlike Silver/Gold ETF, which are paper trades.

When should i be buying it

I guess most people, or maybe myself tends to tell/share people that buy Silver or Gold only when it plunge. I had told some of my friends to get some Gold at 12xx USD at spot price, and some of them took advantage of it.

However, from my humble perspective. My views on PM (Precious Metal) changes. Let me give you my proper definition of Precious Metals (My POV).

Precious Metals is one of the investment tools that empower investor to TRY to retain the value of wealth.

Well, just a short definition of PM from my POV. PM in general do not give you dividends, and it is really just one out of many tools available in the market. For instance, housing is one of the tool to preserve wealth (In Singapore context).

My POV on when you should buy, is only when you needs it. Professional had always recommend a healthy 5 to 10% of your total investment portfolio into PM, which i sorta agree. However, if you could take more risk, I prefer stocks, as the potential growth is much more, and some of them give you dividends. Re-balancing of portfolio is also MUCH easier.

Well, i know it is contradicting for someone to recommend you to buy PM, yet saying so many bad things about PM. Let me stop here for this section, I could go on and on like a busy bee, however there are some of the factors to consider when you should be buying:

1) Look at your portfolio, is it suitable for you?
2) Look out for alternative investment (Opportunity cost issues)
3) The economy (Micro factors that affect the price of PM and also your other investment)
4) The Premium of the physical PM ($ Buying price minus spot price)
5) etc

You shouldn't buy it because it is dirt cheap, always have a flow process (In business context, it would be business process). There is no hard and fast rule for the timing. Some people argue that timing is important, no matter what investment tool, the timing is the most important. However, you should look at many other reasons to justify your purchases to make it worthwhile from your perspective, not mine.

Where should i buy it

Time to do some reference from my blog post: Where to buy PM in Singapore

This basically sums out everything that i wish to share with you guys.

Who should i approach to help

Be very caution on some investment scheme.

Rule of the thumb #1: Never buy something you do not fully understand.
But once again, even if you fully understand there is a high probability that you might get cheated as well, haha. so I don't have any rule of a thumb to mention here.

I will just share my way of approaches:

1) Talk to almost anyone about it, listen to their views. Because by exchanging of different POV, we can really learn much more. Don't be stingy on your whatever TA, FA or even best purchases stories.

2) Meet liked-minded people from forums. Don't be shy to meet people in real life, be it purchases, lim kopi, or whatever. Always have some "guard", in other words, don't let other people sway your decisions. You are a separate entity (In Database concept, we call it Functional Dependency, where you determine What investment you invest, it is a normalized relation).

3) Be sure about your knowledge, apart from sharing between friends and relative, read more books, watch more youtube videos about Gold/Silver. How dow jones affect SGX? affect Gold silver? What are the co-relation?

It is always good to rely on people, however for a kickstart i strongly suggest you to do your own research first. Because you need to have a certain level of knowledge in PM before having an ease of conversation with liked-minded people who love PM. Just 1 simple question, how many grams is there in 1 troy oz Gold? These are just fundamental concepts (or maybe knowledge) about PM, make sure you do your homework.

Which brand to buy

I will refer to IRAS GST FREE link at : IRAS LIST OF NO GST PM

(a) List of qualifying gold coins
(i) America Buffalo
(ii) Australia Kangaroo Nugget
(iii) Australia Lunar
(iv) Austria Philharmoniker
(v) Canada Maple Leaf
(vi) China Panda
(vii) Malaysia Kijang Emas
(viii) Mexico Libertad
(ix) Singapore Lion

(b) List of qualifying silver coins
(i) America Eagle
(ii) Australia Kookaburra
(iii) Australia Koala
(iv) Australia Lunar
(v) Austria Philharmoniker
(vi) Canada Maple Leaf
(vii) China Panda
(viii) Mexico Libertad

(c) List of qualifying platinum coins
(i) America Eagle
(ii) Australia Koala
(iii) Australia Platypus
(iv) Canada Maple Leaf

(Correct as of 19 May 2013, Referencing the 3 Sep 2012 article published by IRAS).

Firstly, the brand of PM I recommend will be in the NO GST list. This is a generic guide for newbies, therefore i wouldn't really recommend numismatic items (Google it if you not sure this term).

Personally for Gold Coins, i would recommend Australia Kangaroo Nugget (UOB sells this), Canada Maple Leave and China Panda.

For Silver Coins, i recommend China Panda, America Eagle and Canada Maple Leaf.

Some reasons to choose those brands is based on popularity in Singapore's context and the pricing and easy availability and competitive pricing.

How can i buy?

It is mentioned at the earlier section: Where to buy PM in Singapore 

What should I look out for?

Apart from the 5W1H analysis, one major concern about physical is fakes. Make sure you are not a victim, you can check if it is authentic in various ways.

1) By weighting
2) By some special machine
3) By some test

I would suggest going for reputable shops + weighting. I assume you are a starter newbie, these should be good enough for a suggestion.

If you are really paranoid , i suggest you go to UOB Raffles place to purchase from bank. This is one of the 99.9% Risk Free thing. Just some premium, but they sealed it in their plastic, you cannot molest your Gold Coin that much.

The second thing is toning for Silver and red spots on Gold. The best way to store your PM is in a dry and cool place, best is those lock and lock air-tite box with some silica gel.

Lastly, thief. Physical PM requires security, if you want to store a lot Gold at home, that's a no-no to me, super high risk. At least have a safe, or store it at the bank deposit box.


My emphasis still lies on:

1) Looking at your portfolio , know what you need, when you need PM.
2) Don't get sway by people trying to throw their POV into yours
3) Don't trust boggy schemes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.
4) Buying PM is also preparing for SHTF  (Google if this is the first time you are hearing this)

Strong emphasis on #2. Just sharing my personal experience, as a newbie in the Precious Metal "world", i meet a lot of old birds. They tend to paint a wonderful picture on how good PM is, why you must buy PM, ask you whack ah, buy ah, now cheap buy ah. I really gonna endure those temptations, always know WHAT YOU WANT, versus WHAT YOU NEED.

People like those old bird, firstly, they have backup. Meaning either their parents, or siblings are into PM. What i meant by "into PM", meaning their holdings on PM is really alot, more then what you can imagined. If you are someone like me, who do not have much close friends researching about PM, it is a tough journey, but it does not mean it is an impossible journey.

Another reason why you cant trust old birds. We are talking about Physical PM here. They buy in bulks and do mass order to distribute. Their cost of investment is much lower than you. Provided if they have lobang or whatever, you can hardly benefit from it. Comparing this to stocks or other investment tools, most of the others have "fairer" systems. Because PM is a very different ball-game all together. It is hard to explain in full details in just one post.

I am not anti-old bird, but just some of them are too full of themselves, or they look down on newbie like me. Either they smile at you, behind talk bad about you, it doesn't matter to me anymore.

I have my own objective, they have theirs. I know what i need versus what i want. Most old-bird probably don't really like me, because I have a strong opinion and firm standing ground. There is this idioms that says One man's meat is another man's poison.

Make your wise decision on PM if you are really interested.

This post was written in 40-45mins, it's like an essay question during examination. Will try to come out with revised version with much more information. Please be patience! Thanks :)

Peace out,

I may be contacted at capsulemoney@gmail.com , be it discussion or TCSS, just give me a buzz.

Monday, 8 April 2013

#24 How to manage your Salary?

This post will briefly talk about ONE, out of many method of managing your salary.
My method is the "JAR" Method.

Assumption #1 - You are earning $X+CPF, take home $X
Assumption #2 - Your TOTAL monthly expenditure is $ME
Assumption #3 - Give parents $PA monthly
Assumption #4 - $IE insurance monthly

$X = Take home income
$ME = Monthly expenditure (Your total spending, include transport, makan, etc)
$PA = The money you give your parents

A "JAR" in this context equals to a bank account or a saving mechanism.
JAR #1
JAR #2
JAR #3

My method or recommendation is have at least 3 JARS, you can have more, it doesn't matter.

JAR #1 - Where all your income will come here
JAR #2 - This is your spending account (Can be same or different bank with JAR #1)
JAR #3 - Saving JAR, do not withdraw any money from this JAR no matter what.

Detailed explanation of example:

JAR #1  - $X amount deposited and $ME, $PA and $IE and other expenses is deducted from JAR #1. Whatever amount of money that is left in the JAR #1, we named it $LEFTOVER

February :
JAR #2 - Transfer the $LEFTOVER from JAR#1 to JAR#2
JAR #1 - Emptied, wait for salary to deposit.
JAR#1 - Salary deposit ($X)

IF JAR#2 less than $MinAmount - Do nothing.
ELSE IF JAR #2 more than $MinAmount - Do transfer the excess to JAR #3.

For example, the $MinAmount you set for JAR #2 is $1000 for instance, if your JAR #2 have $1234, then you should transfer $234 from JAR #2 to JAR #3.

Whatever is in JAR #3 should never ever, i repeat again, NEVER EVER be withdrawn, unless it is a life or dead matter.

In short conclusion, have separate accounts to mange your finance. Having a concrete plan don't really work for most of us, as at certain month, you spend more, some month you spend less, you can adjust the $MinAmount of JAR #2 according to your preference. Personally, i feel $2 to $3k is a good amount.

An additional of JAR #4 can be created for short term financial goal purposes, can be a saving account, can be a MMF account, can be a MSA account.

I know it's a little complicated to explain different approaches, there is really no 1 solution to this question, this is my best approach i found pretty comfortable for most people.