More PMETs retrenched in Singapore

Recently, I saw an article in The Straits Times which reported the increasing trend of local PMETs being laid off in Singapore. It brought home the hard reality that professionals and skilled workers are no longer safe from being made redundant in their jobs. From the perspective of a wealth builder, it also reinforced the belief that in order to sustain in this dynamic economy, it is very important to build a solid personal finance foundation and master niche skill sets.

I always encourage young people who just entered the workforce to build up their own emergency funds as soon as possible. Life is always unpredictable. You never know when you will lose your job or encounter personal crisis. Having an emergency fund can help to provide short term security against market uncertainties. It allows you and your family to carry on life as per normal whilst you embark on the recovery journey. Without this sum of money as interim support, you have no choice but to borrow from friends and relatives. Personally, I don’t like to, and have yet, to borrow from my friends and relatives.

Of course, having this emergency fund is only one of the key elements of the personal finance framework. It would not help to enhance your wealth nor elevate you to another wealth level. Put it this way, it is just another money “shield” or protection. To build wealth and be rich and successful in life, you must develop niche skill sets. To know what are your niche skills, what you need to do is think about what you can deliver on your own. For example, developing a high traffic blog on your own without taking the help of others is definitely a type of niche skill. If you keep honing your skills, over

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The right time to invest in SMRT?

To become rich from your stock investments, you must do your research first before you invest. The following analysis covers one of the listed companies, SMRT, the largest rail operator in Singapore.

In recent years, every time the Singapore railway system broke down, it was like a nail to the counter’s coffin. Due to the service disruptions, SMRT stock price has plummeted at a frightening rate from $1.74 in 2012 to $1.02 in March 2014. Speculators must have lost a lot of money in this counter. This is not surprising because to invest in SMRT, you need to hold a long term investment horizon.

Fundamentally, even though SMRT has a monopoly in the public transport system, its business model is heavily dependent on government policies, and because of this, investing in this company is not so often straight-forward.


On 24 April 2014, SMRT share price rocketed 21% on rumors of CEO Desmond Kwek’s submission of new financing framework to Singapore government for the company’s assets. The increase was the biggest ever one day gain for the stock. I reckon that the CEO had to do something drastic to reverse the destiny of SMRT. In January 2014, the company reported a set of dismal results for the third quarter. The Fare business incurred a loss of $9 million, while its Non-Fare business brought in profit of $27.3 million. If not for the Non-Far business, SMRT would have incurred a loss in the third quarter. SMRT cited increasing operating costs as the key reason for the poor results. So going forward, if SMRT could not get the support from the Public Transport Council on train fare increases, the company need to derive new sources of revenue to sustain growth.

Investors should take note that SMRT has been going on a charm offensive

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Facing death

When you are facing death, what is the last thing on your mind? In a recent radio report by UFM100.3, it was revealed that two thoughts commonly fill the mind of dying people. On their death beds, most dying people worried that they would become a financial burden to their families and many were concerned on how their families could cope financially after their passing on.

As a wealth builder in Singapore, I think the survey was quite accurate because when facing death, probably you would not be thinking of how much money you have in your bank accounts nor would you be concerned about the assets that you would leave behind. Very likely, it is the thought of not being able to see your loved ones again that made the pain of death so unbearable.

Are they going to suffer as a result of your prolonged stay in hospital? How are they going to cope if you are the sole breadwinner? These are perhaps some of the worries that most dying people have in their last journey.

facing death

Death is an inevitable journey that everyone would go through and everyone is equal, regardless whether you are rich or poor. Yet most people refused to think or prepare for it. Many people thought that buying hospitalization plans and term policies is a waste of money but they overlooked the fact everyone would grow old and become ill one day. When that day comes, no insurance companies will cover you because you are deemed as high risk to insure.

That is why I always encourage young Singaporeans who just started work to buy private medical shield plans and term life policies. Nowadays in Singapore, the public hospitals are so crowded that they might not even have a bed for you if you

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X-Value a close approximation to HDB Valuation

SG Wealth Builder is pleased to form a partnership with SRX Singapore Property to bring you the latest information on property trend in Singapore. Below article is based on information provided by SRX Research and readers must not interpret it as a form of financial advice.Since the launch of X-Value on 20 Mar 2014, more than 60,000 homes have their X-Value calculated on and Agent Connect apps. Buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals have used it as a starting point in pricing their home.
In order to understand how closely HDB valuations track the X-Value, all SRX HDB transactions in 2014 with complete valuation data were used in a comparison study.
From 1 Jan 2014 to 30 Mar 2014, the study analyzed a total of 1,774 HDB transactions. 98.2% of all valuation prices fall within a +-10% range of the X-Value. 
Valuation over X-Value
Comparison with international standards
A guideline to assess where acceptable valuation margins stand is the judgement of J Coulson in K/S Lincoln v CBRE Hotels (2010). Source:
The Court found that the valuation was within a +- 10% margin and hence ruled that the valuation was acceptable.
In another Australian study done in 1983, the actual percentage of valuations within a variation range of < 10% is 95% for a ‘Simple Property’ done by valuers. Source:
Table of valuation margin of error
The equivalent table for the margin of difference between HDB Valuations and the X-Value is shown below.
Delta VOXProportion of all transactions
Within a +-5% range of the X-Value, more than 80% of the valuations fall within this range. This compares favourably with the Daniels findings of 50% of ‘Simple’ Property for a +-5% range. Likewise, within a +-10% range of the X-Value, more than 98% of the valuations are
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Opportunity is like a ball. Sometimes when the ball is passed to you, you may not have ample time to think and execute the ideal actions. A professional player will grasp the opportunity and went on to score crucial points. Mediocre ones will let opportunity slip.

Recently, I chanced upon, a useful website for entrepreneurs and Singaporeans to search and access publicly available data published by the Singapore Government. This website contains many wonderful data and apps, such as Activtify, EduChoices, etc. Besides government data and metadata, also offers a listing of applications developed using government data, as well as a resource page for developers.

Stock investing

In today’s context, whether you are an entrepreneur, an employee or full-time investor, data is important to help you forms important decisions. Those who are able to analyze the situation will seize the opportunity to grow wealth, build wealth and create wealth.

Take for example if you are choosing the university courses to enroll, the website is able to provide valuable data for you to crunch. If you are an investor, you would be interested in the health of the economy and business sentiments. If you are an employee, you may be interested in the data on job vacancies in the market. If you are looking for an HDB, you would be keen to identify the highest and lowest property prices so as to grab the opportunity to build a better life for your loved ones.

Over in SG Wealth Builder, I have started to analyze the data of my blog traffic. My analysis has provided me interesting trends and behaviors of my readers. This has allowed me to write content that are more interesting and relevant to readers. In view of this, I am taking actions to develop a new dimension for

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BullionStar: Job Opportunities and Bitcoin Payments

The following newsletter is from BullionStar, a Singapore online bullion company where you can buy gold and silver at competitive prices.We are excited to have released a number of new products lately.
Heareus Silver Bars 
The Heraeus Silver Bars are very attractively priced. The 10 oz Heraeus bar is actually comparable in price per oz to larger bars and significantly cheaper per troy ounce compared to 1 oz coins. We currently have Heareus bars available in 1 oz, 5 oz and 10 oz.

Singapore minted Gold Bars
These gold bars are unique as they are the only gold bars minted with Singapore themed design. We currently have three different motifs in stock – the 50 gram Singapore Orchid gold bar, the 100 gram Marina Bay Sands gold bar and the 100 gram Merlion gold bar.

Chow Tai Fook Gold Bars
We have limited pieces of the beautiful .9999 Chow Tai Fook gold bars. They have the popular Chinese creatures such as the dragon, phoenix and horse exquisitely etched into them. These gold bars are easily sold at a much higher premium at Chow Tai Fook retail stores.
We have the 50g dragon, 100g horse, 112g dragon & phoenix and 200g horse gold bars.
If you have plans to give gold bars as gifts, this is a great opportunity to buy these beautiful gold bars at a steep discount!

Payments for precious metals in Bitcoin coming soon!

We intend to start accepting payments for precious metals in Bitcoins before the end of April!

We will then start to quote prices in BTC and you will be able to pay us directly with Bitcoins. It will be just as simple and straightforward as other payment methods. We should be able to release your items within

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Hotel Investment Opportunities for Singaporeans

Brisbane Targets Singaporean Hotel Investors

Hotel investors, operators, developers and financiers from Singapore are being targeted in an on-going campaign to provide more hotel rooms in Brisbane each year for the next decade.
An active approach to attracting hotel investment has reaped rewards for Brisbane with more than 500 additional hotel rooms either available or coming on line this year, but many more are needed.
Speaking at the launch of the updated Guide to Hotel Investment in Brisbane, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said more investment in hotel rooms was needed to attract high spending visitors.
The Lord Mayor outlined opportunities for hotel operators, investors, and developers keen to establish a footprint in the city.
“Due to a shortage in internationally-recognised, full-service hotel room supply, Brisbane is forgoing about 121,000 visitors a year,” Cr Quirk said
“The shortage is causing the market to defer an estimated 278,000 room nights every year — about 14 per cent of current demand.
“This deferred economic benefit is largely contributed to the lack of hotel supply which in turn is hampering Brisbane’s ability to attract major events and conferences. This lost visitor expenditure equates to about 1100 jobs and AUD$114 million in economic activity that would otherwise exist.
“More hotel rooms are needed to realise this deferred demand, and enable the city to procure more international business events and conferences.”
Queensland’s Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Minister, Jann Stuckey, said that investment in internationally recognised hotels was a key part of the Queensland Government’s goal to grow Brisbane as a business and leisure destination.
“We are delivering a pro-business environment which supports new and renewed investment, as well as driving demand through attraction of new international airline routes, marketing campaigns and major events,” Minister Stuckey said.
“Brisbane’s events calendar is
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Internship Opportunities with Thomson Reuters

For many years, aspiring local finance bloggers have been lamenting on how difficult it is to obtain jobs in the Singapore finance sector. There were also many young Singaporeans writing to me on how to get into venture capitalist, investment banks, fund management companies. In Singapore, while our local institutes of higher learning have been churning out finance graduates with good academic results, most of these graduates lack working experiences and track record in investments. So there has always been a gap in the investment industry. With this in mind, SG Wealth Builder is pleased to collaborate with TrakInvest to bring you the Thomson Reuters Challenge. Winners get to work in Thomson Reuters Singapore as interns! TrakInvest is a completely free virtual trading platform that allows users to hone their investment skills and at the same time earn money through monthly competitions.


2 students with the best investment portfolios will win an internship each with Thomson Reuters Singapore.*

TrakInvest and Thomson Reuters are pleased to announce “The Thomson Reuters Challenge” The online stock market challenge will be hosted on the TrakInvest (“TI”) platform and 2 winners will get the opportunity to intern with Thomson Reuters Singapore for a period of 7-10 weeks. The competition is from 15th April 2014 to 15th May 2014 and is exclusively for all Singapore University students.

Once you login to the TI platform you are provided with SGD 100,000 of virtual money that you can invest in stock markets around the world. As you begin searching for stocks, the platform tells you who else on the network is doing well in the stock and provides you with the ability to follow them. Once you follow the top leaders, you get real-time updates of their trading activity which you can

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Tan Kin Lian’s career advice for young Singaporeans

I used to enjoy reading Tan Kin Lian’s blog because it contains a lot of useful tips on life insurance and personal finance practices. In fact, he inspired me to set up this blog to share my thoughts on career and wealth building journey.

Somehow, after his failed presidential election in 2011 (he garnered the lowest vote of  4.9%), he became more vocal against the Singapore government. Out of ten articles, five of his articles would criticize government policies. Tan’s style of writing has also become more cynical and self-righteous. His articles have become such a huge turn-off to me that I did not follow any more since 2011.

However, in one of his rare articles on career advice, “How to build a long-lasting career“, I think there are some good take away which I would like to share with my readers.

Tan Kin Lian wrote that to be successful in your career, you need to choose a job that fits your skill set. Whilst I agree to this statement, this context may not be applicable to fresh graduates who lack working experience and relevant skills to prospective employers.


In order to embark on a long-term career, you must first work in a specific industry. Your first job will provide you a good feel on whether you will stay in that particular industry. If you don’t have that vibe, trust your instinct and don’t waste your time in that job. There are certainly “dead-end” jobs in the market that don’t offer any opportunities for employees to pick up skills or provide any form job progression. Don’t ever fall into such a trap.

Tan advised young Singaporeans not to be impatient when learning the rope. I fully agreed this point on picking up new skills that will last you

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You Are Not Making Enough Money

The following article is from Guest Blogger, Mike AdamsSales Performance Consultant, Corporate Fixer & Coach in Singapore. In one of my previous articles, I wrote on the importance of learning the art of selling in order to become a successful entrepreneur. This article resonates my thoughts that to be rich and successful in life, you must learn the rope of selling.I don’t know how much money you make but I am telling you, its not enough. You might make $100k a year or a $100k a month – it doesn’t matter, you and I need to make more.

If you are in sales and therefore have the ability and vehicle to write your own pay cheque, your duty is to go out and expand your income. Why? While it looks like the world economy is rebounding post 2009 it is in no way, shape or form back to boom times. Governments are struggling to find their feet and control debt and the government is not going to repair the world economy – business will! And it’s the sales people in businesses that can make this happen.

There is plenty of money in the markets; we just have to get it moving. We have to get it circulating and we, as sales professionals, can play our part. Sales professionals have the opportunity to make more money. Most other jobs are limited in their capacity to “create” more income through their direct actions. In sales you may not know how much income you are going to make month by month. For some that’s scary. Yet for others, knowing how much income they are going to make each month is scary! (knowing that it’s fixed/limited).

Economies need producers and consumers. People and businesses can do both – produce and consume. Don’t

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