I always encourage young people who just entered the workforce to build up their Emergency Fund as soon as possible. Life is always unpredictable. You never know when you will lose your job or encounter personal finance crisis.
The need to have adequate insurance cover really hit me hard twenty years ago when I was in secondary school. My dad, who was the sole breadwinner, suffered from stroke then and was unable to work. My family lost our sole income and to make things worse, my dad did not purchase any insurance covers. As a result, we went through a period of financial hardship. On hindsight, if my father had bought any life insurance policies when he was healthy, our family situation would definitely be better.
It is important that you insured yourself for the correct amount of protection. In addition, it is important that you buy the correct policies.
This year will be the 7th time I am collecting year-end bonuses. I will be receiving 2.5 months of bonuses, excluding 13th month. The amount is not big, but substantial enough for me to settle my renovation and insurance loans. I also intend to set aside some money for some investments and my baby’s endowment plan. I targeted to settle my car loan by next year-end, using next year’s bonuses. With that, I would only need to worry about my housing loan.
If you don’t like the process of developing an app but nevertheless would like to own an app, you can engage a developer for help.
Recently, on a flight to Japan for work, I watched Andy Lau and Deanie Ip’s A Simple Life. The heartwarming film is based on a true story of a producer and his servant. It is about a relationship between a young master called Roger (Lau) and the servant of the family who raised him, Sister Peach (Ip). I had a lot of mixed feelings after watching the film and decided to blog down my thoughts.
The culprit got the cheek to claim he got the money to pay the downpayment. Fine then go ahead and pay in cold hard cash please. By delaying the payment, the blogger is actually depriving another deserving Singaporean couple of a chance to own a HDB flat. My sister-in-law is among those who are affected by such scumbags.
This fellow needs a reality check but obviously he is still a student and has not stepped into the working world.
And to top it off, his younger sister of 21 years old is also applying for a HDB flat after getting into a relationship of 7 months. No wonder the government is implementing measures to prevent young couples from abusing the system.
I invested in YHM, formerly known as China Enersave, since 2008. Recently, I noted that it is currently one of the top traded stock in Singapore stock market. I would like to share with my readers my investment experience on this stock.
Back in 2008, China Enersave was a company that specialized in building and operating biomass generation plants in China. The business model was good as it collected waste biomass from farmers in China and used the waste as feedstock to generate electricity.
Because of these factors, coupled with the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the company was on the brink of being liquidated in 2011.
I suppose most of us would face financial difficulties at certain points in our lives. Sometimes we really need a helping hand from close friends to tide us over obstacles. I believe in this case, my friend genuinely needed my help but unfortunately, I could not support his request due to my family circumstances. I wish him all the best and hope things would turn out well for him.
I came across a blogger in The Finance SG and felt compelled to blog down my thoughts. Apparently this blogger and his girlfiriend had purchased a 5-room HDB BTO flat but had difficulty forking out $4000 cash for the balance downpayment. He is still a full-time student and has no income.
Lack of integrity
After reading his article, I can only said this blogger has no integrity at all. He bragged that he managed to fool the HDB into delaying the signing of the agreement lease for many times. This is because he don’t have the cash to pay the balance downpayment and has to depend on his girlfriend’s year end bonus and use her CPF savings to pay for it.
To me, this fellow don’t deserve the flat at all. Obviously he don’t have the financial capability to afford the flat, so HDB should have given the flat to more deserving applicants. In fact, I wondered aloud how in the bloody world did his Housing Loan Eligibility got approved? The couple’s monthly income is only $2400 and this guy is still studying. Either HDB is not doing their due diligence or this blogger is telling half truth.
Self-denial and overestimation of ability
One of the blogger’s readers pointed out that if he cannot even afford $4000, he has no business buying such a huge flat.
On 10 Oct 2012, I wrote an article on “The state of healthcare in Singapore” and criticized the limitations of 3M (Medisave, Medishield and Medifund). Two days after my blog posting was published, the Singapore government immediately announced changes in the Medishield, our national healthcare insurance. Among the changes included the coverage and claim limits for policyholders.
Readers might call it pure coincidence. After all, the changes would take effect only in March next year, even though it was announced two days after my blog posting. I would like to think so but more importantly, the response validates my concerns of the state of healthcare in Singapore. In my previous posting, I had criticized Medishield’s fine print of “SGD50,000 maximum claim per policy year”. The government noted that and stated that they would increase the cap to SGD70,000 next year.
Some readers may argue that enhancement is incremental only but I feel that at least the government is moving in the right direction. In fact, the announced changes in the Medishield only served to reinforce my argument that it is time for our national insurance policy to be enhanced. Going forward, I feel that the next step should be to relax the ruling on the use of Medisave and also to review the eligibility requirements of Medifund.
The $8.00 operation
I recalled in 2010, one of our Singapore ministers had a heart bypass operation and he bragged to the whole world that he only paid S$8.00 for the hospital bills.
The objective of my previous blog is never to provoke anyone. If readers find my blog offensive, there is always a choice not to patronize my blog. Now, if you ask me again, I would still say those who lost their money in the Genneva fiasco deserved it. In fact, I hope they don’t get back a single cent at all. Why?
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The company had received only 77.62% of the total number of issued shares, way below the required 90% for the proposal to go through.
Extension of offer closing date
I was quite annoyed with GKB Holdings for extending the offer closing date TWICE. I thought the management of GKB Holdings was quite disrespectful to the minority shareholders when they extended the offer closing date without even improving the offer.
Being a long-term investor and loyal supporter of the company, I am disappointed with this recent turn of events.
Muddling through the years
I am not surprised that the US Fed announced this QE3. This stimulus measure comes at a time when the US citizen is voting for a new president. President Obama’s job is on the line, so he has to make a last-ditch attempt to win votes and placate the citizen’s rising unhappiness over the persistenet high unemployment rate.
Singapore Number 1 investment blog
I often analyze statistics for my blog readership and noted that up to 70% of my readers were derived from The Finance (www.thefinance.sg), a local blog articles directory on investment and personal finance topics. Normally I don’t write reviews on other blogs but I think I owed it to The Finance for my blog’s success so far.
Recently, I came across an article featuring “Letter about leaving Singapore”. I felt compelled to blog down my feelings as the letter struck a chord with me.
Like the author, I feel very jaded living in Singapore. In fact, last year, my wife and me were seriously contemplating leaving Singapore for Australia. In the end, we aborted our plan because of our aged parents. We love them too much and thought that we should not be so selfish and left them behind in Singapore.
The rich get richer, the poor get poorer
Friends and colleagues often tell me that Singapore has become a playground for the rich people. To a large extent, I agreed with them. Very often, there were articles of rich tycoons snapping up landed properties in prime district area or making big profits from stocks and shares. The rich get richer.
On the other hand, many middle-income and low-income earners hardly get by in Singapore with their incomes. Many of them are in debts, have hefty hospital bills to settle or just not earning enough to survive. How can you be happy and live a fulfilling life if you are constantly worried about bills, loans and debts? How can you remain motivated if you are hungry and desperate?
I have been tracking K1 Ventures for more than 7 years and had invested in the stock over the years. K1 Ventures is an investment holding company invested in diverse sectors such as finance, transportation leasing, education and oil and gas.
Those who are vested in this counter would know that this is an excellent stock which had paid out huge dividends over the years. Since FY05, it had consistently paid out dividends amounting to a total of $0.2275 per share.
If you had bought the share 7 years ago at $0.33 and hold on to them till now, you would have an incredible yield of 68.9%. Now, how many stocks in SGX are capable of giving this sort of dividends nowadays?
Henceforth, I was pretty upset that GKB recently made a voluntary offer for K1 Ventures at $0.135 per share. For the uninitiated, GKB is an investment vehicle owned by Keppel Corp, CEO of K1 and BV Singapore. The consortium currently owns a combined stake of 62% in K1 and will own 100% on successful takeover.
The offer was so low that I didn’t even bother to think twice on whether to accept it. After all, if I hold on to the stock, over the next few years, I could potentially receive dividends well in excess of the current stock price, bearing in mind that many of the investments of K1 Ventures are riped for divestment.Read more
Some time back ago, I received a query from a reader asking for my views on Far East Hospitality Trust IPO. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, normally I refrain from giving advice on IPO, especially business trusts or REITs.
I must admit that my knowledge in business trusts and REITs is lacking. But then again, investors need to understand that business trusts and REITs are very different from shares trading in the stock market.
The structure and nature of the business model can be quite complicated for the man in the street to comprehend. For example, investors need to know that REITs are actually managed by external managers and are backed by sponsors which are usually major property developers or shipping companies.
Sometimes, there may be non-transparency concerning party-related transactions, so there might be cases of poor disclosures to investors. In addition, the assets are financed not only by unit holders, but also through bank loans as well.
Borrowers have to top up their loan facilities, should underlying asset values fall below a certain point. So investors need to understand the leveraging risks of business trusts and REITs as well and not just be seduced by the compelling yield.Read more
A recent survey released by Hay Group last week revealed that fresh graduates are drawing higher starting salaries compared to 2011. Those without Honors drew S$2, 678 while those with second upper Honors and higher drew S$2, 766 and S$2, 882 respectively. It also revealed that those working in the engineering sector drew the highest average salaries of $2,777 without honors. Jobs in research & development and merchandise operations ranked second and third, with the graduates earning S$2, 764 and S$ 2, 742 a month, respectively.
I am actually quite surprised by the survey as I always assumed that those working in the finance sector are usually paid well and would be among earn highest earners. But the results of the survey showed otherwise.
Based on the results, I think engineers are still in demand and would still command respectable starting salaries. I am heartened by this as my degree is engineering and I hold an engineering job. I would like to think that my engineering career can still last for another 10 -15 years, unless I decided to do a career switch or switch to entrepreneurship.
Another interesting fact is that the starting salaries for non-honors engineering graduates are quite high (at $2,777).Read more
I was shocked to learn that Dennis Ng has died suddenly of heart attack on 26th July. Dennis was well-known in Singapore to be a personal finance guru. He was the author of bestsellers, Mastering Your Personal Finance and What Your School Never Taught You About Money.
He was also the co-founder of HousingLoanSG.com, an independent mortgage consultancy portal. This article is dedicated specially to the man who have contributed greatly to personal finance literacy in Singapore.
I read from fellow bloggers in the investment community that he was someone who was willing to share his financial expertise and knowledge to novice investors. There are not many financial gurus, especially in Singapore’s context, who are willing to do so. Therefore, his demise is indeed a great loss to the investment community.
He is a role model of whom I aspire to be in the next 10 years. I don’t fancy myself as a guru, but it is my intention to share with my readers, my experience and lessons learned from investment mistakes. I hope that in the long run, I can reach the same level as Dennis Ng.
Thank you so much, Dennis Ng.Y
You shall be missed.
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Many times, we took our health for granted. It is only when we lost our health, then we truly appreciate the beauty of life. I chanced upon this blog by a Singaporean girl called Adelyn Xinhui. She is born with cornea defect. I think many Singaporeans would recognise her face as she appeared in several Mediacorp charity shows before.
Xinhui has just released a music album, hoping to raise money for a cornea transplant operation. The operation cost more than $40k for each eye. Please read her story in (http://adelynxinhui.blogspot.sg/). In a gesture of support, my wife and me had bought one copy from her mom. Please help to spread the words around.
This operation may offer the girl a chance to lead a new lease of life and she genuinely needs help from fellow Singaporeans. I believe most of us can spare $20 to do a good cause.
Below is an extract from Adelyn’s blog:
My name is Adelyn. I am 10 years old. I was born with cornea defect called “Peter Anomaly”. I was sent for 4 times of cornea transplant when I was between 8 to 12 month old. However, all the cornea was rejected. Today, I can only visual lights, shadows and colors.Read more
In recent months, I have been receiving requests from media and event organizers looking to promote their events on my blog, SG Wealth Builder. One of them was an event organizer who wished to promote Robert Kiyosaki’s event “The Power of Financial Education” held at Singapore Expo, June 2012.
I was approached a couple of weeks before the event was due to take place and was at first a bit skeptical. I mean my blog, SG Wealth Builder, is not even a popular investment blog in Singapore, so why would the event company chose to promote their event in it? I told my wife about it and she also found it puzzling.
Anyway, both the event company and me didn’t manage to work out a deal on time and so I missed the opportunity to promote Robert Kiyosaki’s event. On hindsight, I feel that it is a compliment that someone actually approached me to help them promote their events. Even though the deal didn’t go through, I feel honored that my blog, SG Wealth Builder, was considered by Robert Kiyosaki’s event company.
For the uninitiated, Robert Kiyoski is the famous author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a motivational book on personal finance.Read more
SG Wealth Builder stormed past 51,000 page views today. This is a new milestone for my blog and to be honest, I am very pleased that my blog’s readership has been rocketing over the last six months. Although I started this blog three years ago, I stopped blogging for quite a while in 2011 because of work commitments. At the end of 2011, page views for my blog was 8500 only.
The increasing popularity of SG Wealth Builder is a compliment and serves to reinforce in me that this blog is going in the right direction. I hope that by the end of this year, my blog can reach 100,000 page views. I believe this is achievable if I continue to blog frequently and share with my readers my investment thoughts.
Maybe its a form of job hazard but I have a habit of reviewing my blog’s performance. If you noticed, I have changed my blog’s template recently. This is to give my blog a refreshed look. Even with this fresh look, my focus will still be bringing quality content for my readers. In this regard, readers can look forward to more of my stock analysis and outlook on the stock market.
I am no stock analyst but yesterday one of my readers emailed and asked about my views on the Ascendas Hospitality Trust impending IPO.
First of all, investors need to know that Ascendas Hospitality Trust is a business trust and not a typical real estate investment trust (Reit). In this case, about 80 percent of the assets will be in the business trust and 20 percent in the Reit.
To be honest, I am not sure how business trust works and normally if I don’t understand a business model, I would not invest in the company. This is not to say that Ascendas Hospitality Trust is not a good stock.
On the contrary, it can be a potentially good stock that delivers consistent yield for long term investors. However, I would not invest in such business trust because I will only invest in stocks with business models that I can understand. To me, investing should be kept simple and as a rule of thumb, you must be able to describe the business in one sentence.
Secondly, I usually do not invest in IPO. Most speculators or novice investors like to dabble in IPO. They might have made some money but I observed that many times, after the euphoria died down, investor’s interest in these IPO would also disappear, causing the prices to drop.Read more
It is often said that the rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer. Globally, the issue of social gap is entrenching in many cosmopolitan cities. Even Singapore, which is home to one of the largest concentration of millionaires in the world, is no exception. One of the key questions is how did the rich make their money and preserve their wealth in times of crisis? In one of the financial workshops I attended recently, the consultant briefly shed some light on how the rich made their fortune.
Every now and then, you would have heard about investment themes like renewable energy, technology, currency, property, ETF, gold/silver, investment-linked insurances and what not. These are actually hypes made by the movers and shakers to create bubbles so that small time investors like you and me will buy-in.
What happened was that years before the bubbles occurred, the ultra rich gathered their analysts and made them formulate new investment themes. After determining areas where they can reap in big monies, the rich dudes then pump in their funds.
They would hold press conferences and churned out quantitative data and charts to convince retail investors that their investment themes are the next big things.Read more
Recently, I have been doing a lot of reflections on how to deal with setbacks. Something nasty happened to me and set me thinking whether I should continue this financial blog.
When I started this financial blog three years ago, my intention was to chronicle my investment journey and captured the important setbacks and lessons learned. I hope to document down these lessons, not only to serve as reminders not to commit the same mistakes again, but also to share with my readers my investment journey. It was never my intention to offer any form of investment advice nor to induce anyone to buy financial products.
I feel that it is important to make this clear to all my readers that I am not a financial adviser offering investment advice nor am I a full-time blogger who blog for a living. I have a day-time job and I started this financial blog as a hobby.
Apparently, someone misconstrued my intention and claimed in a forum that I had been dishing out rubbish investment advice. He also claimed that I had a knack of writing load of stuff out of nothing and that my blog offers absolute zero value to readers.
Well I suppose he is entitled to his views and I leave it to my readers to judge.Read more
Recently I attended one financial planning courses sponsored by my company. It was a short two days course that touched on personal financial planning. In this article, I will share my views on bad mood fund.
One thing I like about the course is that the instructors focused on educating the participants rather than pushing financial products. That was why I enjoyed the course because I did not have to second guess whether the instructors was biased in his recommendations or whether he was trying to hard sell his company’s financial products.
At the end of the course, I learned quite a few things and thought that I just have to blog it down and share with my readers. One key takeaway was the “The Bad Mood Fund”.
In life, there are always ups and downs. Most of us faced challenges and obstacles in our daily lives. As a result, we can sometimes ended up feeling bitter, frustrated and angry. One of the best ways to “cure” your negative feelings, whether you are a man or woman, would be retail therapy.
Nothing beats buying something to pamper yourself at the end of a miserable lousy day isn’t it? I mean we all live only once and I think it is important that we pamper ourselves every now and then.Read more
In my previous blog, I mentioned about how to become rich in Singapore. One of my readers, Eric, replied that most Singaporeans faced the “need” to be “rich” now rather than in their fifties. While I agreed that most youth nowadays want instant gratification and quick results, I cannot agree that being rich is a “need”. Rather, the desire to be rich is a “want”, rather than a “need”. It is important that readers differentiate the difference between needs and wants. I shall proceed to elaborate.
In life, we can have many “wants”. We can desire for new and bigger cars. We can for desire designer-style apartments. We can desire to have a European honeymoon. Nothing wrong with these desires. But it is important to note that these are not essentials to our life. They are merely “wants” rather than “needs”.
For example, in Singapore, if you need a car for certain valid reasons, you can buy a pre-owned car rather than paying through the nose for a brand new car. If you don’t have the sufficient fund to go for a European honeymoon after your wedding, then probably the best option is to plan for a short trip instead. Therefore, before we purchase big-ticket items, spend some time to think through whether they are actually “wants” or “needs”.Read more
How to be rich? How to be rich quick in Singapore?
A few months ago, I wrote an article on how to become rich in Singapore. The articles has since garnered more than 2500 page views and remained one of my most popular postings. The article has also received several feedbacks from my readers. I suppose at the back of most Singaporeans’ mind, most of us wish to know what is the shortest route to being rich in Singapore. I shall attempt to discuss more about this topic.
I always pondered aloud, what is the defintion of being rich in Singapore? Does it mean setting a monetary target of $10 million in the bank or does it refers to the state of the mind? Just yesterday, I read an article from a local Chinese newspaper about the plight of a senior engineer who was addicted to gambling. The article stated that the engineer earned more than $10,000 every month but owed gambling debts of more than half a million. Unable to withstand the constant harassment from loan sharks, the engineer committed suicide. For most Singaporeans, a monthly salary of more than $10,000 would probably make us among the top earners in Singapore.Read more