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.

career
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? The market is always cyclical in nature and we shouldn’t always base our growth statistics on current rosy scenario. These are concerns which I think the NPTD failed to answer in the White Paper.

How can you say that Singapore workforce would remain the core when half the population would be foreigners in 2030?

As a stakeholder, I am deeply disturbed by this issue. I am in my early thirties and is gainfully employed as a professional. But I shuddered to think the quality of my life in 20

Read more

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. Don’t waste your money on expensive whole-life or investment-linked policies. You are only fattening the wallets of insurance agents.

SG Wealth Builder

Quality time with family
A few readers wrote that they are making effort to spend quality time with their aging parents. I think that’s good and commendable. Recently, I came across several online articles that mentioned that we should “invest” time with our family. I don’t like the word “invest” because when we talk about investment, we expect

Read more

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.

SG Wealth Builder

Disaster struck in 1993 when my father collapsed at work in his lorry. I recalled one afternoon, Dad’s colleagues carried him back home. He was semi-conscious and could not move his left side of the body. My family was wondering what happened Dad as he had never came back home to rest in the afternoon. In the early nineties, awareness of stroke was also very low and my siblings and myself were too young to comprehend the implication of the incident. Eventually, we decided to send Dad to hospital the next day. He was diagnosed with

Read more

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.
career
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. This is not surprising as most employees would want to collect their bonuses before jumping ship. Most Singapore companies would have paid out their bonuses by the first quarter. Moreover, another factor to consider is that most job seekers would not want their bonuses in their new companies to be affected. If they joined their new companies later in the calendar year, their bonuses would be much pro-rated and reduced.

The report also indcated that “the market sentiment has improved from last year with only 50%

Read more

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%.

b)      PRs who own a HDB flat will be disallowed from subletting their whole flat.
c)      PRs who own a HDB flat must sell their flat within six months of purchasing a private residential property in Singapore.

Measures for Executive Condominium Developments
The following measures will take effect on 12 January 2013:
a)      The maximum strata floor area of new EC units will be capped at 160 square metres.
b)      Sales of new dual-key EC units will be restricted to multi-generational families only.

Read more

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.

money

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”.
Marriage itself is not the root cause for a person’s financial downfall. Rather, it is the person’s poor personal finance mastery that led to his current financial situation. If he, like many of my readers, have been following my blog over the years, he would not have landed in this state. In fact, he could be lending money to others and not borrowing!
How to get out of the pit hole?

So you must asking me how to help the fellow? Well if you have been following my blog for the

Read more