You might not recognise him by his face, but you’d know him by his voice – we’re talking about local radio DJ Andre Hoeden. And behind this cheerful voice is a down-to-earth dad to three young kids, and he’s got his own special way of teaching them about the value of money.
Andre has his parents to thank for his disciplined savings habits. His parents never spent beyond their means: “We were not rich at all. Growing up was comfortable but not extravagant for sure.”
“My parents always saved for stuff. We had no car and we lived in a four-room HDB flat,” he says.
His parents’ simple lifestyle has rubbed off on him. Material possessions are not important, he says, and he does not own branded goods like designer watches.
Knowing the importance of thrift, Andre, 42, has started imparting his money values to his three young children – Sarah, eight, Matthew, five, and Russell, three.
A business graduate of Curtin University in Australia, Andre worked in sales and marketing jobs when he returned to Singapore. His broadcast career began in 2007, two years after doing a weekly comedy segment on a radio show. Apart from working as a radio presenter and executive producer on Singapore Press Holdings One FM‘s #1 Breakfast Show on 91.3, he’s also a show host and emcee.
And if that were not enough, he also juggles his other job as a real estate agent for private residential properties while being a brand ambassador for adidas, TaylorMade Golf and Oakley.
It’s no wonder that his children often wonder why their father has such a busy work schedule.
“My kids always ask me why I work seven days a week and I tell them because we all eat seven days a week,” he says.
Andre makes a conscious effort to help his kids understand about money from the time they turn four or five years old. “I teach them about money every day and how difficult it is to earn it. I usually let them pay for stuff at, say, the supermarket and food centre, and they work for small rewards.”
At home, when they help the domestic helper clear the table, they might get 50 cents to a dollar. The reward also depends on their attitude and quality of service. Was it done cheerfully or grudgingly?
And they may be rewarded if they help to turn off the lights and air-conditioning when no one is using them.
“Last Sunday, we were at a food outlet and I gave Matthew $2 and said: “Go, buy your own drink.” Then I watched as he figured out how to order and get the change.”
“My priorities are definitely teaching my kids to be good people first, then good students,” Andre muses.
When asked about his investment portfolio, Matthew replies, “My kids and my home.”
Where money is worth spending – for one, on his children – Andre is nothing short of giving. “Matthew takes golf lessons from me and he learns tennis from a coach, while Sarah is taking art lessons, which she enjoys.”
And while he cites his home, a freehold townhouse in the east, as a profitable decision, he shares, “I will fund their education with our savings and I’m willing to downgrade to a small residence and use the surplus if I have to.”
By Lorna Tan, The Straits Times, December 2017
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