Your relationship with money

Different people have different concepts on money. Some people define being financial free means not having to work or free from debt. Some people deemed being financial free as doing what you enjoy for a living.

Whatever the case is, it is important to define what your relationship with money is. Is your relationship with money based on fear, greed or ignorance? I came to realize that if we do not establish our relationship with money early on in our life, then we will forever have unfinished business with money. Allow me to elaborate.

Most people’s relationship with money is based on fear. We are socially conditioned to think that having a job provides us a secure income and that having a job is the only means of bringing food to the table to feed the family. However, ironically, very often we fear of being retrenched by the company during economic downturn.

We also fear of being sacked by the company when we reached our fifties and could not find another job to support our families. It is this sense of insecurity that most of us hold on to our job. To overcome this fear and insecurity, there is a need to internalize what your passion and aptitude are.

Money

Only if you capitalize on what you are good at and what you like to do, then can you excel in your job and create a niche for yourself. If you are good and always in demand, then you need not worry about being sacked by your company. Even if you are being sacked, if you have niche skills, you can always set up your own business.

Another form of negative relationship with money is greed. If you are obsessed with money, it can become detrimental to many aspects of your …

Read more

Creating Sources of Passive Income

Lately, my wife has been asking me what does passive income mean and how to create our own sources of passive income.

To most working adults, the concept of passive income can be quite alien or new, especially for those who are not financially educated. This is because most of us were brought up with the conventional thinking that we should study hard and then secure a good job that pays well. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this traditional thinking but following this route will probably not set you on the path to financial success. In today’s context, with so many graduates (local and foreign) flooding the market, you need something special in order to be ahead of the peck.

Coming back to the main topic, passive incomes are sources of incomes which do not require you to actively work or labor in exchange for monetary rewards. Effectively, you are making money even when you are sleeping. Of course there are trade-offs to make. When we are working for a pay check, we are exchanging our labor or time in exchange for monthly salaries. Likewise for passive incomes, we are exchanging intangible commodities in return for monetary rewards. For example, in Singapore, one of the easiest way to make passive income is to sublet empty rooms in your HDB flat. In exchange for the rental fee, you sacrifice your personal space. Another example would be dividend investing. In exchange for principle capital spent on the stocks, you collect dividend every year from the companies.

money
The beauty of passive income is that it allows you to focus your energy to actively work for your main income and at the same time provides you additional sources of incomes. Some of my readers have lamented that “its easier said than done”. …

Read more

My views on the job market in Singapore

It’s that time of the year again when local fresh graduates enter the job market. I still remember the trepidation and fear I had when I graduated 7 years ago.  On one hand, I was pretty excited about having an income, being financially independent from my parents and having my own purchasing power. On the other hand, I was also worried about securing a job that comes with great prospect and good pay.

Many jobs but one career
First, the good news for fresh graduates: in this day and age, it is okay to job hop. The older generation of workers tend to believe in loyalty to company and would not jump ship for higher pay or job title.

In today’s context, employee loyalty is longer relevant in view of shorter market cycles. Nowadays, companies are quick to retrench workers during downturns, so if you overstay in your company, you might be the next one on the hit list. So it is alright to switch several jobs during the first few years of your job journey. But make sure you gained enough competencies, skills or niche knowledge from each job taken.

job market

For fresh graduates, nothing is more important than gaining work experiences. Don’t be trapped in your own comfort zone. Jump if there is a need for career progression or pay rise. Remember, you can have many jobs in your job journey but ideally should have only one career. For example, you can be a teacher, head of department, principle, private tutor, etc, but ultimately, its a career in education.

You plan your own destiny
If you belong to the category of workers who believe that your boss or company plays a pivotal role in your career development, I think its time you wake up to the harsh reality. …

Read more

Difference between miser and smart spender

I always like to browse through some of my fellow blogger’s postings. I find many of their postings informative, useful and at times, engaging. In fact, their articles help to shape my current philosophy on life, personal developments and investments. I am just so glad to have embarked on this learning journey because it just keep making me become a better person. In this article, I am touching on the difference between miser and smart spender.

One of my favorite blogs is Janny Cole’s “How to be Rich, Happy and Free from Scams”. One unique aspect of her postings is that she covered both United States and Singapore financial tips and news.

In her latest posting, I learned something new again and that is the difference between miser and smart spender. I agreed with her wholeheartedly that time is money and that if your hourly income is more than what you would pay for someone to do the household chores, then hiring domestic helper makes perfect financial sense.

Smart spender

Working or doing business in Singapore is already so stressful and at the end of a busy tiring day, the time saved on doing household chores can be invested to relax, build bond with family or brainstorm new investing ideas.

I like that part about outsourcing household chores in order to spend time on planning our finances or investment strategies. Most Singaporeans are so engrossed in their daily lives and work that many fail to take time off to reflect on our present financial situation. I am no exception.

Being the sole breadwinner and I spent long hours at office. At the end of a long hard day, I have only time for my family. I consider my wife and my baby daughter the greatest pride of my life and they mean …

Read more

What does it mean to achieve financial freedom

In my previous post, one of my readers, CreateWealth8888, commented that my ex-colleague might have achieved financial freedom and therefore resigned from my company without a job.

Well, I am not going to dwell on the issue of his resignation reason but I think CreateWealth8888 brought up an interesting topic and that is being financially free in Singapore.

Everyone has his own definition of financial freedom. For me, being financially free in Singapore means you need not work but can still live comfortably without having to worry about the bills. And I think this is an important fact.

Most Singaporeans derive their incomes from their jobs or businesses. It is crucial that after we retired, retrenched or resigned from our jobs or businesses, there are financial mechanisms or means in placed to ensure that our quality of lives do not suffer as a result of the lack of mainstream income.

salaries
There are a few who became rich overnight after striking lotteries or inheriting assets, but normally this sort of wealth do not last. So essentially, being financially free does not mean you have to be rich. But what you need is to equip yourself with the know-how on how to kick-start your life journey to financial freedom.

The reason why I used “journey” is because achieving financial freedom is a continuous learning process that requires you to learn and earn. It is hard-work and requires you to remain curious on different aspects of life. In return, you gain a life-skill that can potentially bring you much intellectual and financial fulfillment.

So what are the key aspects of financial freedom? Well I am still learning the process but perhaps would like to share my thoughts with the readers. The first key element of financial freedom should be having safety nets in …

Read more

The peril of quitting without a job

Recently one of my colleagues tendered his resignation letter. I do not know his actual reason for resigning but apparently he was unhappy that he was overlooked for promotion, so I supposed he quit to register his unhappiness. As he resigned in an abrupt manner, I can only postulate that he has not found a new job. He is 40 this year, a bachelor and held only executive positions throughout his career. He does not have management experience nor post-graduate qualifications.

Career suicide
I am no HR expert, but I think my ex-colleague just committed a career suicide. Quitting at the age of 40 is a bad, bad career move. Even though he is single, with no family commitments, given his age, he may not be able to find jobs that pay him similar salary.

This is because firstly, his bargaining power during salary negotiation for his new job will be greatly reduced as his prospective employer will know that he has no income.

Secondly, quitting without a job will surely not go down well with his prospective employer who may wonder if he has character issues. In this day and age, organizations look for employees who are team players and can fit into their organizational culture.

job

In this respect, I think my ex-colleague will have a hard time justifying his move to his prospective employer during interview.

Thirdly, even though unemployment rate is still low in Singapore, finding a job that fits his experience, expected salaries and qualification may not be easy. This is especially so in Singapore where there are just too many foreigners and PRs fighting for similar position. Most of them have similar qualifications and experiences but command lower salaries.

Quit for the right reason
People quit for various reasons. Some quit because of their bosses, …

Read more

Investment Insight: Fixed Income Securities

As mentioned in my previous posting, I am sharing my views on fixed income securities, which refers to financial products that offer investors a return in the form of fixed periodic payments (coupon) and the eventual return of principal at maturity. Example of fixed income securities include government bonds and preference shares issued by companies.

Benefits of Investing in Fixed Income
Historically, the returns of stocks and bonds moved in opposite directions at the same time. Investors can reduce their portfolio risk through diversifying their investments on fixed income securities, which offer investors a predictable income stream during times of market volatile.

investment

Fixed income securities are very transparent in the sense that investors would know how much interest they can expect to receive, how often they will receive it and when they can get back their principal investment monies. Investors can also check the prices in real-time and the volume information from SGX website and their broker’s trading platforms. Fixed income securities also operated like shares and investors can buy and sell them through broker anytime during trading hours.

How does it works?
Issuer borrow principal amount from investors and repay the money at maturity. In exchange, investors receive coupons (interest payments), usually paid in twice-yearly installments. For example, a $1000 bond paying $45 a year as a $45 coupon, or a coupon rate of 4.5%. Investors can also choose to dispose the security for capital appreciation. 

What are the risks?
Like all other investments, fixed income investments is not risk-free. The bond’s value will fluctuate with market conditions. For example when interest rate rise, bond prices fall. However, you need to be concerned with market risk only if you decides to sell the bond before maturity date. There is also a possibility that issuer may not be able to …

Read more

The correct way to invest your money

In life, besides working hard for money, you have to also ensure money work hard for you. This is especially so in this era of low saving interest rates. Currently the inflation rate is about 4 to 5% in Singapore and the bank saving rates are below 1%. So effectively, your purchasing power is eroded. So how do you go about beating the inflation and make sure that money is not slipping away from the pocket? The key is to invest your money correctly.

When I mean the correct way to invest your money, I do not mean that we should immediately  take out all our money from the bank and start investing in various financial instruments. Rather, we should do our homework first before making any moves. Always remember the mantra “Don’t be in a hurry to lose away your money”.

invest

I always believe that there is a systematic approach to investing and that laying a strong foundation is crucial for every investors. We should educate ourselves the way of financial wisdom, preferably at young ages, so as to give ourselves a strong head-start. Remember, the journey of investment is a long one and there are always many new things to learn, no matter how established you are. So, it’s essential that we pick up new knowledge along the way on how to invest.

Friends around me always lamented that to invest is to gamble. I bet to differ. Investing involves taking calculated risk and making tactical move. You can manage the outcome of your investments through analysis and doing homework. For gambling, most of the times, the outcome is beyond your control. For investment, you can reduce risks through diversification across different asset allocations, such as stocks, bonds, gold, ETF, REITs and property investments.

My personal view on …

Read more

Dangerous Investment Advice

One of my readers, Createweath8888, commented in my previous post that in this era of low saving rate, it is wiser to “invest well with most of our saving” instead of putting our money in the bank. Whilst I respect his view, I consider that a reckless financial advice. Simply because investment is never risk free. There is always a risk that you could lose a portion or all of your monies.

All of us must have a certain level of saving, then can we think or talk about investing. Depending on your comfort level, the amount of savings you accumulated can provide crucial safety net in times of crisis. Nowadays, with shorter financial cycles, you never know when retrenchment will strike. If that occurs, how prepared are you? Bear in mind that when you have no job, money will stop flowing into your pocket, but expenses will never stop. In such situation, I bet you would have appreciated that “Cash is King”.

It’s not that I disencourage investing. In fact, I agreed that we must all learn to invest in order to beat the high inflation rate. But before we jump the gun and pour our hard-earned savings into investment products, we must first build our fundamentals and learn to walk before we try to run.

I consider savings as an important building block of our financial asset. Without it, you will not have holding power to ride out the highs and lows of the market. It is also important that we build a diversified portfolio consisting of bullion, cash stocks and property so as to spread out the risks.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Magically yours,

SG Wealth …

Read more

The magic of compounded savings

Many people underestimate the magic of compounded savings. Two years ago, when I was wooing my wife, I gave her a plastic piggy bank as an anniversary gift. I noted back then that she had difficulty saving regularly because she needed to repay her student loan and supported her family.

So I gave her a piggy bank hoping that she developed the good habit of saving. She was pleasantly surprised to receive the gift and made a commitment to deposit only one dollar coins in it. Subsequently, I also bought one for myself and after we got married, we challenged ourselves who can save more.

savings

Recently, both of us decided to count the number of one dollar coins in our piggy banks as my wife’s piggy bank was filled to the brink. Before counting, it was obvious that I had lost as mine was only about one-sixth filled. Nevertheless, we were very excited to know how much she had saved over the last two years. In the end, we counted 2000 one-dollar coins for my wife and for me, its less than $200. Both of us marveled how much she had saved considering that she is now a full-time housewife with no income. When she was working, she don’t even manage to save this amount.

I suppose the amount of money that my wife had saved is nothing to shout or brag about. But the moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter how much income you earned or how much money you spent that determined the amount of saving you have.

Of course it is always a good thing to have high income, but at the end of the day, if you don’t make the conscious effort to save, you will not have much savings. Many people thought …

Read more

Attaining personal financial success in Singapore

Some time ago, I wrote an article, “Three Ways to Become Rich in Singapore”. Recently, a reader commented that I made it sound so easy to become rich in Singapore. In this article, I would examine how to attain personal financial success in Singapore.

Striking it rich is never easy, especially in Singapore’s context. After all, if most Singaporeans are willing to toll 16 long years to obtain a tertiary qualification in the hope of securing a good job, what make you think that financial success can be achieved in a couple of years?

Success

The hard truth is that the route to wealth is never easy and the ideas which I mentioned in my post, “Three Ways to Become Rich in Singapore”, merely explore how we can become rich. It was never my intention to spread the belief that attaining financial success is easy. After all, I am not a self-made millionaire (yet) and making money really requires lots of hard work. In this respect, I think its worthwhile to share a little bit more about my thoughts.

No short-cuts
I belong to Gen-X and believes in hard work and sacrifices to attain financial success. Nowadays, the new generation of youth think otherwise and many of them believe in quick success with less effort. They were fascinated by success stories of Apple, Google, Facebook etc.

But the reality is that the founders of these companies went through much hardship and made lots of sacrifices to reach the present position they are now in. In life, unless you are born with a silver spoon, there are no short cuts to attaining financial success.

We must have niche skill and knowledge to exchange for incomes. How much you earn, depends on how competent you are in your area of expertise. That is …

Read more