What is it like to be 50 years old and jobless?

Yesterday, the government released a White Paper projecting that Singapore’s population would be 6.9 million by 2030. I suppose this is a hint that the government is going to open the floodgate to import more foreigners in order to meet the population target. After all, going by our nation’s current low birth rate of 1.2%, it is not possible to reach this goal through natural replacement.

The government’s rationale for importing immigrants is because Singapore needs foreign talents to support the economy. Our unemployment rate has been consistantly low for the past few years, hovering about 2-3%. Yet many Singaporeans, especially PMETs, have complained that foreigners compete with them for jobs in recent years. This made me wonder aloud whether the influx of immigrant should be calibrated.

I mean what kind of foreign workers do we really need to import to sustain our economy? I agree that we need foreign nurses and construction workers because they do jobs which Singaporeans do not want to do. But do we really need additional one million nurses or construction workers? Besides foreign labourers, are we really short of talents in Singapore that we have to resort to mass import of immigrants? During market downturn, what is going to happen to these foreigners or PRs?
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Unconditional love

In my previous article, I chronicled the life of Dad and wrote about his demise two weeks ago. In this post, I would like to share with my readers on a few reflections of mine. No doubt many of us are busy making money, but I think it is important that sometimes we pause down and reflect on events in our lives.

Importance of protection
I am not an insurance agent and I don’t work in the finance industry. But you might be aware that in my previous articles, I have always encouraged my readers to insure themselves adequately. It is also important to educate yourselves on the type of insurance that best suit your needs. In my father’s case, when he was healthy, he ignored the importance of buying insurance. It was only after he suffered from stroke, then he regretted and realised his mistake. By then, no insurers would offer to protect him because he was considered a high-risk personnel to insure. Even Great Eastern rejected his Dependent Protection Scheme and returned his pro-rated premiums. So do make sure you are protected adequately and purchase insurance policies when you are healthy. My view is that term insurance policies offers the best protection value because for a low amount of premium, you can be insured for a large amount of money.

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Living with stroke for 20 years

On 5th Jan 2013, Dad passed away peacefully at home. He was only 58 years old. His demise ended 20 years of suffering from stroke. I am writing this article to pay tribute to a great man who had struggled and sacrificed so much for my family.

My father did not receive much education and worked as a lorry driver in his youth. He was a very hardworking man and worked every single day of the year, except for Chinese New Year. As he was the sole breadwinner, he was also very careful with his money but always ensure that my siblings and myself received good education. There were frequent quarrels with my mom over money issues but he always ensure that my mom has enough to spend for the household. In the eighties and early nineties, Singapore construction was booming with many projects in the pipeline. Dad’s small lorry business began to do well and we were not doing too bad either. There were frequent family outings and durian treats at home. In those days, under the old scheme, COE was even higher than today, but my dad managed to buy a second-hand Toyota family car. Things were looking pretty well for us.

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7 in 10 Singaporeans plan to change jobs in 2013

According to a survey done by online recruitment firm Jobstreet.com, nearly 75% of Singaporean workers are considering changing jobs in 2013. This is despite the anticipated economy slowdown and forecasted sluggish job market in Singapore. Among the top pull factors for a job switch are salary and career progression.
Money still rules
The report confirmed my view that in order to draw a better salary and climb up the ladder, there is a need to switch job. Typical salary increments in Singapore average about 3-5%. With this kind of increment, normal salaried Singaporean can barely meet the inflation and maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
Even if job promotion is factored in, the increase in salary is probably $500 to $800. But if a better job offer comes along, the quantum increase is usually much higher. As a rule of thumb, job seekers should only consider switching job only if there is 20% hike in salary. There is no point switching companies for the sake of a few hundred dollars increment. You are better off staying in your current job and continue to build up your skills and networks.
When to jump ship
The report stated that the majority of the respondents singled out the first quarter as the best time to start a job hunt.
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The Best Property Cooling Measure for Singapore

Today, the Singapore government announced a slew of measures to cool the residential property market. It also introduced a Seller’s Stamp Duty on industrial properties for the first time, to discourage speculative activity in the industrial market.

Measures Applicable to all Residential Property
The following measures will take effect on 12 January 2013:
a)      Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates will be:
i)       Raised between five and seven percentage points across the board.
ii)      Imposed on Permanent Residents (PRs) purchasing their first residential property and on

Singaporeans purchasing their second residential property.
b)      Loan-to-Value limits on housing loans granted by financial institutions will be tightened for individuals who already have at least one outstanding loan, as well as to non-individuals such as companies.
c)      Besides tighter Loan-to-Value limits, the minimum cash down payment for individuals applying for a second or subsequent housing loan will also be raised from 10% to 25%.

SG Wealth Builder

Measures Specific to Public Housing
The following measures will take effect on 12 January 2013:
a)      Tighter eligibility for loans to buy HDB flats:
i)      MAS will cap the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) for housing loans granted by financial institutions at 30% of a borrower’s gross monthly income.
ii)      For loans granted by HDB, the cap on the MSR will be lowered from 40% to 35%.

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Money & marriage

I saw an interesting article by fellow blogger AK71 on the topic of money and marriage. In his article, he illustrated a married person in his early 30s who keep borrowing money to support his family of four and pay monthly housing loans. The person’s gross income is $28k and he is the sole breadwinner and has two kids. AK71 wrote that the person “should not have gotten married” and that he should not have bought a 5 room flat, given his dire financial situation. I have different views from AK71.


Married for the wrong reason?
Firstly, I can understand what the person is going through. After all, I live in a 5 room flat, is a sole breadwinner, my wife is a full time housewife, have a baby girl, support my parents, support my in-law and own a car. So the burden on my shoulder is no less than the person in question, albeit I drew a much higher salary.

But in my opinion, his current financial plight is not caused by his decision to set up a family. In fact, it is a misconception among many Singaporeans that “if you don’t have money, you should not get married in the first place as marriage requires financial commitments”.
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