Cou­ples & Ca­reers:

As CATHARINA JEVRELL, wife of the Swedish Am­bas­sador to Sin­ga­pore, pre­pares to move onto their next as­sign­ment, she looks back at the lessons she’s learned while liv­ing here the past five years.

Expat Living (Singapore) - - Contents - BY MELINDA MUR­PHY

Re­flect­ing on five years as a trail­ing spouse

It’s re­ally un­fair to re­fer to Catharina Jevrell as “wife of the Am­bas­sador” be­cause she is such a strong and amaz­ing per­son in her own right. But like many trail­ing spouses, Catharina had to find a new iden­tity when she moved to Sin­ga­pore.

“My hus­band called me up – just hours be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tion for am­bas­sador was due – and asked me if he should ap­ply. I said, ‘Ab­so­lutely!’ My fa­ther was a diplo­mat, too, so I knew what the life would be, but it’s very dif­fer­ent be­ing the wife of a diplo­mat ver­sus the daugh­ter.”

A big part of that dif­fer­ence is leav­ing be­hind a mas­sive ca­reer: the head of pub­lic re­la­tions for Skan­ska, a Swedish con­struc­tion com­pany with 55,000 em­ploy­ees. The fifth largest con­struc­tion com­pany in the world, Skan­ska’s projects in­clude restora­tion of the World Trade Cen­ter, Lon­don sky­scraper 30 St Mary Axe, Metlife Sta­dium in New York and many more.

Catharina al­ways worked, start­ing her first busi­ness when she was just 17 years old. Be­fore Skan­ska, she had her own PR firm with clients such as Proc­tor & Gam­ble. “I ac­tu­ally learned so much about my­self when I moved here and my chil­dren were a big help. I quickly re­alised I had an op­por­tu­nity to spend more time with my teenagers. I al­ways made sure to be home when they came home from school and to have din­ner with them al­most ev­ery day. Peo­ple al­ways say it’s im­por­tant to be with your chil­dren when they’re lit­tle, but I think it’s even more im­por­tant when they are teenagers. So, I’m thank­ful for this time.” Spend­ing time to­gether of­ten meant hav­ing two din­ners, one with her chil­dren and a sec­ond at the side of her hus­band at of­fi­cial diplo­matic func­tions – and there are lots of those. They host two to three events at the res­i­dence ev­ery week and are in­vited to sev­eral out­side events each evening. But Catharina needed more than be­ing a wife and mother. She did some pro-bono PR work while she was here for places such as Hyper Is­land. She also cre­ated a PR team to work with her hus­band on pro­mot­ing the Swedish-sea Sum­mit in 2016. “It was su­per fun be­cause we got some of the ma­jor news­pa­pers and Swedish ra­dio to come to Sin­ga­pore and the SEA me­dia also cov­ered the sum­mit. Over­all, we had re­ally strong reach which was ex­cit­ing for us all.”

She and a Swedish friend then came up with an idea for a pro-bono busi­ness called En­no­ble.me, a com­pany that teaches eti­quette to teenagers, diplo­mats and those in the busi­ness world. It fits in per­fectly with her own per­sonal motto: “If you think ed­u­ca­tion is ex­pen­sive, think of the cost of ig­no­rance. If you think diplo­macy is ex­pen­sive, think of the cost of war.”

They orig­i­nally started En­no­ble. me to oc­cupy them­selves, but have found it very re­ward­ing help­ing peo­ple learn how to make a good pre­sen­ta­tion. They of­fer one-on-one coach­ing or small classes and cover ev­ery­thing from how to pre­pare for your first job in­ter­view to how to deal with dif­fer­ent cor­po­rate cul­tures to how to nav­i­gate a diplo­matic din­ner.

The good news is she won’t have to rein­vent her­self again as it’s a busi­ness she can take any­where. But she also knows that any­where she moves won’t be the same. “Sin­ga­pore is a coun­try where ev­ery­one is a diplo­mat be­cause it’s such huge hub for ex­pats, so you’re never alone and you al­ways help each other. Com­ing here was easy. Leav­ing is hard.”

“I learned so much about my­self when I moved here – and my chil­dren were a big help.”

Metal In­vest­ments

Ex­pats of­ten find them­selves with more dis­pos­able in­come in Sin­ga­pore than in their home coun­try. Many choose to in­vest in the stock mar­ket, real es­tate or sav­ings. But have you ever con­sid­ered buy­ing phys­i­cal bars of gold, sil­ver or plat­inum?

Bunker Gold&sil­ver is an on­line plat­form that al­lows in­vestors to buy and sell phys­i­cal bars at the best price through a process known as “bid-ask spread”. We asked the com­pany’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor CHRISTOPHE NUMA to ex­plain some of the ben­e­fits. “With the un­cer­tainty of the global debt and de­riv­a­tives mar­kets, our clients un­der­stand they need to di­ver­sify their in­vest­ment port­fo­lio with a phys­i­cal as­set and not put ev­ery­thing into fi­nan­cial or dig­i­tal prod­ucts like stocks, funds or sav­ings ac­counts.”

Un­like real es­tate, in­vest­ing in pre­cious met­als pro­vides an in­vest­ment you can carry and which is fun­gi­ble – or eas­ily in­ter­change­able – world­wide. Bars can be bought and sold eas­ily with a lower cost of trans­ac­tions – around one per­cent for gold ver­sus 11 to 15 per­cent for real es­tate.

All Bunker Gold&sil­ver bars are Lbma-cer­ti­fied (Lon­don Bul­lion Mar­ket As­so­ci­a­tion – the trad­ing mar­ket for gold and sil­ver) and they re­spect the very im­por­tant process called the “chain of in­tegrity”. This en­sures the pu­rity of the bars and safe­guards against dam­age or rob­bery. The se­rial num­bers on each bar are linked to an in­di­vid­ual ac­count. This guar­an­tees the same bar can­not be al­lo­cated to more than one client.

Bunker also of­fers its clients a lo­cal stor­age ser­vice in one of the most se­cured com­plexes in the world, Le Freeport near Changi. It’s lo­cated out­side of the bank­ing sys­tem in a free-zone area, in a com­plex where you’ll find other com­pa­nies such as Christie’s.

How­ever, as Christophe says, buy­ing gold is not as sim­ple as go­ing into a shop and grab­bing the first in­gots or coins you see. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand not only what to buy, as there are many dif­fer­ent types of gold prod­uct, but also where to buy and how to store your bars, as this can make a big dif­fer­ence to your in­vest­ment and fi­nan­cial fu­ture.

Christophe en­cour­ages in­vestors to com­pare the dif­fer­ent of­fers on the mar­ket. Bunker of­ten con­ducts sem­i­nars and en­cour­ages any po­ten­tial in­vestors to in­ves­ti­gate its op­tions.

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