(Sponsored Article) How to Finance an Overseas Property Investment

The current investment property landscape is rich with opportunities. The big question many have is if they should use financial leverage, and if so what international mortgages are available to them?
There are many ripening property investment opportunities around the globe. In many ways markets are experiencing an incredible aligning of the stars which provide the ideal timing for new income property acquisitions. Whether restructuring and optimizing an existing portfolio, or launching into real estate investing for the first time it is an attractive time to seize opportunities, ramp up property holdings, and it is always wise to be diversified.
Scaling a portfolio requires capital. Even for those who sometimes feel that they are burdened with too much capital, there are many advantages of using leverage to acquire more investment properties. This is even true today as global interest rates prepare to swing upwards.
So what international mortgages are open to global property investors today?
There are four main strategies for financing overseas investment properties to choose from.
Leveraging Existing Home Equity
Accessing home equity from an existing residence in a property investor’s home country may be one of the simplest solutions. This affords investors a straightforward, and easy to navigate process, often with streamlined processing. This is especially true for those with existing local banking relationships. Tapping into equity in a primary residence for investment purposes may not be highly recommended by many financial investment advisors for obvious reasons, and may be best suited to those planning to sell and relocate in the near future, as well as kept within moderation.
Lines of Credit
Both secured and unsecured lines of credit can be incredibly advantageous for financing overseas property. Lines of credit offer flexibility, eliminate third party hurdles to increase speed of action, enable investors to retain the benefits
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Why property agents are so important in your real estate investments

In 2012, when my wife and I finally decided to downgrade to a smaller HDB flat, we started to search for a trustworthy property agent to sell our five-room flat. At that point of time, we didn’t approach our friends or relatives for referral because we wanted to be discreet about our plan. So when we saw a flyer from my property agent, we dropped him a call and arranged for a no-obligation meeting.The first meeting went well because my agent was really transparent about the whole process. He provided us an insight of the market dynamics, assessed our financial profiles, determined our needs and advised us on the various fees (legal, stamp duty and commission fee) and proceedings. He came across as a honest chap and did not brag about his past property transactions. We had a good vibe about him and decided to engage him to market our first home after a few phone calls.

One thing I liked about my agent was that he was able to provide a “one-stop” services such as recommending us a banker and a lawyer to process my home loan and CPF transaction. Our case was a bit complicated because we opted for a private loan instead of HDB loan. On top of this, the buyer of my home gave us a maximum grace period of six weeks to vacant our home, so we needed to manage the transaction schedule closely with the buyer and seller of our present home to ensure my family has a roof over our head. Therefore, my wife and I were very concerned of any potential show-stoppers. But thankfully, everything went smoothly and we completed the transaction in time.

I know most Singaporeans want “value for money” for their investments and prefer to arrange their own housing

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How to grow money

Hi may I know if it would be wise to measure our portfolio including actual gains/losses? If so, is there any way to do it? Because the conventional investor would often tend to measure their gains or losses based on their current stock portfolio. Eg 8% growth for 2014. These are only paper gains/losses. However, it often neglects the ones that already have been sold for a profit or even receive dividends.

Thanks for your time and have a great day ahead!

I received the above email from one of my readers a couple of weeks ago. I fully agree with him that to be rich and successful in the stock market, investors should make the effort to note down the gains and losses made in their stock investments.

The principles behind such an endeavor is not really to track the actually amount of gains and losses, but rather, to serve as a form of discipline and instill a sense of purpose to your investments. Such a practice can help a newbie investor avoid many investment traps and empowers him to make better financial decisions in the long run.

stock investing

When I started investing many years ago, I would record every single gain or loss of my shares investments in a little blue notebook. In every entry, I would include some remarks or comments on the money that I have made or lost. Over the years, as the number of entries increased, my knowledge and experience grew as well.

As I became more motivated to be a better investor, I realized that penning down my thoughts allowed me to reflect on my mistakes and improve my thinking process. From my little notebook, I learned two important lessons which shaped my thoughts on money management and investing.

The first lesson is that

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Are Singaporeans really intelligent?

Her gullibility is not representative of intelligent Singaporeans – anonymous reader.The criticisms in response to my previous article reflected how shallow and ignorant most Singaporeans are when it comes to  issues on money management. Make no mistake, it is perfectly okay to have different views on money but I expect more substance from my readers when they comment in my blog. After all, I have been promoting best practices on money management for several years already. So I am disappointed and at the same time, surprised that many Singaporeans choose to indulge in self-glorification and refuse to accept the hard truth that we are not genetically engineered to be financially smart. Singaporeans forgotten the fact that the majority of our Chinese forefathers hailed from one of the provinces of China, Fujian. Our ancestors were mostly uneducated farmers and hence, most of us are endowed with intelligence lower than Hong Kongers and Taiwanese. This is a historical fact which cannot be changed, no matter whether you like it or not.

Several readers had dismissed Madam Goh’s unfortunate ordeal as an isolated case and loathed to accept that Singaporeans are gullible and not good at managing money. Without even following my blog, they claimed that I generalize issues and linked different issues with no basis. What they failed to realize is that they have really short term memories and are unable to raise their IQ to analyze important issues.

Several years ago, I commented many “intelligent Singaporeans” who lost their hard-earned money investing in MiniBonds and then subsequently, in gold-buyback schemes. In addition, there are many, many reported cases of senior citizens who lost their life savings to con artists. As a result, many Singaporeans turned to government for help. Sure, in Madam Goh’s case, 70 good souls had came forward to

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BullionStar opened new store in Singapore with a bang – free 1 gram PAMP gold bar!

Dear all,
We are pleased to announce that our new bullion retail shop has opened. Yesterday, 14th July marked the opening day!BullionStar’s CEO, Mr. Torgny Persson, congratulated our first customers Mr. & Mrs. Lim at the new shop with
a surprise gift, a 2.5 PAMP Suisse Gold Bar!

The new venue is worldwide unique. Nowhere else can you view, buy, store, deposit, audit, value, sell and
physically withdraw bullion in a one-stop shop.

Address of the new retail shop:
45 New Bridge Road
Singapore 059398
The closest MRT station is Clarke Quay which is a 2 minute walk across the road.

Opening Hours:

Monday to Thursday: 11.00 am to 8.00 pm
Friday: 11 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Walk-ins are welcome.

There is no longer any need to set appointments for picking up pre-paid bullion, selling bullion or making payment.
Promotion – FREE Gold Bar

To celebrate our big move, customers who purchase physical bullion for SGD 10,000 or more in a single order during the period from 14th July to 13th August, will get a PAMP 1 gram Gold Bar for FREE while stocks last.*

* Limited to one gold bar per customer and not valid for Vault Gram purchases.
We look forward to serve you at our new venue! See below for more pictures of the new venue.
BullionStar’s Storefront Bullion Showroom                                              Showcase display with 10 kg Silver Lunar Horse coin
Gold Trends Video
BullionStar’s CEO Torgny Persson recently held a presentation at the Passport to Freedom conference in the US.
See the video here (scroll down to 4th video).

Blog Posting
We are happy to announce that the renowned precious metals blogger, Koos Jansen, will post blog posts
and articles at BullionStar.com here.

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How to establish a personal finance blog

Over the past few years, there were a number of new personal finance bloggers joining the community. I appreciate their presence as they provide new ideas, thoughts and information for the readers. Such a development is good for Singapore because it helps to cultivate and strengthen Singaporeans’ personal finance literacy.

But I think one of the many blogs that stands out from the rest is The Finance.sg, a collection of local personal finance blogs in Singapore. The owner, Derek, believes that by consolidating quality sites and articles, the content can reach out to a larger audience and encourage like-minded people to share their views, thereby creating a vibrant community.

Sure, there are many other blog aggregators in Singapore but I think the success of The Finance.sg lies in its simplified presentation format. The articles are published in an uncluttered manner, with a short teaser related to the main content. So if the reader is interested in finding out more about an article, he can click on the “read more” function and will be directed to the guest blogger’s website. A lot of my blog’s traffic has been directed from The Finance.sg and henceforth, I appreciate the work of Derek. But beside giving credit to Derek, I would also like to contribute to the personal finance blogging scene by sharing with everyone on how to establish a high traffic website, or a blog for that matter.

buy gold Singapore

A lot of bloggers thought that coming up with a good blog title is secondary and that writing good content is more important. Don’t ever fall into this trap. You may be able to have a well-written or insightful post but if your title lacked attraction, no one would ever bother to click on your article and find out how good your post is. So

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Building a Win-Win Relationship with Your Property Agent Education Seminar

Two years ago, my wife and myself engaged a property agent from Propnex to sell our five room HDB flat. At that point of time, HDB had already implemented a slew of cooling measures to tame the bullish real estate market, so we are aware that there was a need for us to engage the services of an experienced property agent to assist us to navigate through the myriad of HDB rules. We also did not want the hassle of spending too much time on researching the HDB rules as my wife just gave birth to our daughter. Fortunately, the property agent was very experienced and he helped to ensure that the whole process of selling and buying transactions were smooth sailing.Most Singaporeans far underestimate the role of property agents in their property transactions. A good property agent will do a proper financial planning before proceeding to market his services to you. This is important as there are many investors, down-graders, first-time sellers/buyers in the market and everyone’s financial situation is unique. In view of this, property agents cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy in approaching would-be property sellers/buyers. Basically, a competent property agent must be able to assess and help you plan your finance at first-hand opportunity to ensure that the transaction can go through. Take for example, during our first meeting, our property agent defined the potential show-stoppers in our transaction, such as  our accrued CPF interests for our existing property, whether we intended to do “contra”, what was our expected cash-over-valuations and etc. If you are clueless on the terms highlighted in bold, then it is important that you seek help because these are important factors that might make or break your property transactions.

I counted myself to be fortunate because our agent was knowledgeable in the
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My money portfolio mid-year report

After reading fellow blogger B’s article on his “Mid Year Goals Review”, I was inspired to craft this post. I think it is a good practice to note down the progress made in our financial journey because it can help to crystallize our thoughts and at the same time, provides visibility of our financial status. I am not the type of person who will track my daily or monthly expenses. Neither do I make long term planning for my personal finances. But I believe setting financial goals can help to chart our progress and highlight areas to improve.Health Insurance
Earlier this year, I reviewed my NTUC Enhanced Incomeshield and felt the need to upgrade my current Basic Plan to Private Plan. This was after I read from the news that public hospitals in Singapore are overcrowded nowadays due to the mass influx of foreigners. In fact, Changi General Hospital had to even set up temporary tents outside the hospital in order to address the shortage of hospital beds. I was told that if the beds in the public hospital are fully occupied, the hospital staff would transfer you to a private hospital for treatment. When this happened, you have no choice but to pay the bills for the private hospital stay, which can be really expensive. I hope this would not happen to me but I am not going to take chances. So I visited NTUC Income website and read up on their policy on pro-ration factor.
For in-patient, day surgery or Out-patient Hospital Treatment
Pro-ration factor on claimable bill
Preferred Plan
Advantage Plan
Basic Plan
Enhanced C
Private Hospitals/Private Medical Institutions
Restructured Hospital Ward Class A
Restructured Hospital Ward Class B1

I found out that

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The Meteoric Rise of OSIM

In my previous post, return on equity (ROE) was highlighted as an important indicator to measure the management performance of a company. But one of my readers pointed out that earning per share (EPS) is also useful for investors to determine the value of a stock. I totally concur with him and would like to emphasize that both are needed to evaluate the value of a stock.Undeniably, valuing a stock is more difficult than assessing the financial health of a company because the former is a combination of art and science, while the latter can be found most of the time from the annual reports. In this article, I shall attempt to share with my readers how I value a stock, using the well-known OSIM as an example.


Firstly, P/E refers to the price earning ratio, It can be derived by dividing price-per-share over earning-per-share (EPS). For example, OSIM is currently trading at $2.71 a share. Based on the 2013 report, the EPS for 2012 was $0.12 and for 2013, it was $0.14. Given the latest quarterly report, the full year EPS should be about $0.16 for 2014. The P/E ratio had also been decreasing since 2011, from 30% to 20%. This meant that earning has been rising faster than price appreciation. Based on my forecast, the P/E ratio will continue to drop to 18% for FY2014. Using all the above data, I derive the forecast value of OSIM to be $3.30 by December this year. Thus, OSIM can potentially increase in value by $0.60 per share. As for the ROE, it averages about 40% since 2011. This is an impressive figure for a growth stock but going forward, it might be difficult to sustain at the same level.

Beside financial analysis, I also do qualitative analysis of a

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BullionStar’s New Bullion Shop, Showroom & Vault at New Bridge Road, Singapore

Below is an announcement from BullionStar, a Singapore online bullion company where you can buy gold and silver at competitive prices. BullionStar was established in 2012 after Singapore government exempted investment grade precious metals from the goods and services tax (GST). I have interviewed the CEO, Mr Torgny before and found him to be an honest guy with a strong conviction in the prospect of bullion. His business expansion coincided with the slew of governmental policies to drive gold liquidity in Singapore (Metalor’s gold refinery and new vaults in Singapore Freeport), thus reflecting the growing demand for gold in Singapore.

We are pleased to share with you that we are moving to our new bullion shop, showroom and vault on 14th July 2014.
In our new retail venue, you will be able to view, buy, store, deposit, audit, sell and physically withdraw bullion in a one-stop shop.

The address of the new location is:
45 New Bridge Road
Singapore 059398The closest MRT station is Clarke Quay which is a 2 minute walk across the road.
The new extended opening hours are:

Monday to Thursday: 11.00 pm to 8.00 pm
Friday: 11 pm to 5 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

Our phone number +65 6284 4653 will remain the same for any queries.

Walk-ins are welcome. There is no longer any need to set appointments when picking up pre-paid bullion, selling bullion or making payment.

Promotion – FREE Gold Bar
To celebrate our big move, customers who purchase physical bullion for more than SGD10,000 in a single order during the period of 14th July to 13th August will get a PAMP 1 gram Gold Bar for FREE whilst stocks last.*

* Limited to one gold bar per customer and not
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The case of Madam Goh Kah Keow vindicated the merits of CPF Minimum Sum

‘I wish the banks had stopped me from withdrawing all my money!’ – lamented Madam Goh Kah Keow who lost $400,000 life savings to con artists from China.
I wish the banks had stopped me from withdrawing all my money. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/more-lifestyle-stories/story/400000-gone-day-20140629#2

In my previous post on the merits of CPF Minimum Sum, one of my readers Fred Khoo pointed out that the CPF Minimum Sum (MS) scheme is a national failure and that the government should not “lock up” Singaporeans’ CPF monies. Well, one thing for sure is that most Singaporeans would have strong opinions on the CPF scheme but it does not mean that the CPF MS scheme is a flop. Indeed, there are flaws and improvements that can be made to enhance the policy to better suit Singaporeans’ needs. However, it should be noted that the merits of CPF MS far out-weigh the flaws. The recent case of Madam Goh vindicated my point.

As a cleaner, Madam Goh lives alone in a studio flat. After working for 60 long years, she managed to scrimp and saved more than $400,000 of life savings. This is an amazing achievement as apparently, she is uneducated and does not possess any skill. I reckon many wealth builders in Singapore are confounded by the amount of her nest egg. But unfortunately, she lost all of it in one day to 5 con artists from China. In my heart, I was wondering how heartless these PRC Chinese can be but that is beside the point here. Anyway, these con artists must have targeted her for quite some time before committing such a heinous act. They must have gathered a lot of information that she is cash rich and does not have social support, hence this made her an easy

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Singaporeans need reality check before asking for $6,000 salary

According to a recent survey conducted by Jobstreet.com, it was revealed that 83% of Singaporeans were not happy with their income. The report also stated that Singaporean workers felt that their pay should be increased by 10 – 20 percent and that their ideal monthly salary should be at least $6,000 in order to sustain the current cost of living in Singapore.
No, I am not crazy but which company on earth would give you this kind of salary increment just because of rising inflation? Singaporeans seriously need to have their head checked and get a reality check.

Most Singaporeans do not understand the principle of ‘perception’ at work. In our workplaces, we tend to have an inflated ego of our own abilities and do not realize that how we perceive ourselves is different from what others perceive of us. We tend to overestimate our intelligence and manifest our contributions to the organization. These are general human fallacies, but I noticed that Singaporeans are never satisfied with their income, no matter how good it is. We always want higher pay as if it is our automatic rights, without linking the increment to performance. Come on, inflation is not a valid reason for pay hike. Only good performance and increased contribution to the company can warrant a pay rise that meets your expectation.

Most of us label ourselves as “kiasu” but in my opinion, I tend to think that we have an individualistic culture. This trait lead us to have strong tendency to rate our abilities and talents too highly. In my career, I have come across Singaporean ex-colleagues who left the company after being over-looked for promotions. Some of them felt that they have become key players in the organization and started to display the classic “indispensable employee

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Investment insights: Return on Equity (ROE)

According to an article in Dr Wealth’s blog, there were more than 68,000 new CDP accounts opened in the past 12 months. Apparently, the number of people who now hold securities is at an all time high of 844,000 people.While it is a fact that more and more Singaporeans are interested in making money from shares, I am not so sure whether these Singaporeans are really investors or merely speculators. Given that the Wall Street is now at record peak, many existing local stockholders’ portfolio have risen in value. I reckon this must have attracted people to open trading accounts and take part in the actions as well. After all, many Singaporeans want to make money and become rich quick. But before newbie traders get carried away, it is important to build the knowledge foundation first.

Last week, one of my readers, Dexter Choo wrote in to me asking why I use Return on Equity (ROE) instead of Earning Per Share (EPS) to measure the financial health of a company. This article is written to clarify some of the strategies I use for stock analysis and hopefully readers can benefit from this sharing and went on to build their wealth.

Basically ROE reveals how much profit the management can generate with the money shareholders invested. Essentially it is a metric that measures how effective the management is in reinvesting the capital of a company. The formulas for ROE and EPS are as follows:

Return on Equity = Net Income/Shareholder’s Equity
Earning Per Share = Net Income/Number of Shares

As many readers know, shareholder equity is equal to total assets minus total liabilities. Sometimes, companies declare dividend payments and this will influence the ROE. This is because dividend payments will reduce the total shareholder equity in the balance sheet and decrease

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BullionStar Review: Singapore takes major step to become gold trading hub

Below is an article published with permission from BullionStar, a Singapore online bullion company where you can buy gold and silver at competitive prices. To be a successful wealth builder, investors must always stay ahead of the the curve and keep abreast on the latest development in investment trends. For the past few years, the government has been trying to establish Singapore as a precious metal trading hub. Clearly, there is an investment demand to justify such policy shift. Investors should therefore consider accumulating gold bullion on a long term basis before it starts to get expensive again.
It was announced last week at the locally held London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) forum that the Singapore Exchange will introduce a wholesale kilobar gold contract from as early as September 2014. The introduction of the contract for 25kg of 99.99 per cent purity gold underscores Singapore’s ambition to become a major player in physical bullion trading at a time when global gold demand moves to the east.
It was also reported that Asia’s strong demand for gold was the key driver for the introduction of this contract. According to the World Gold Council, Asia accounted for 63 percent of total consumption of gold jewellery, bars and coins last year. It is this trend of gold moving from the West to the East that many analysts believe that Asia should have greater influence in the price discovery of physical gold.
“This is a timely development given the increased requirements for reference prices to be transparent,” Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said in a speech at the LBMA forum. Echoing Mr Lim’s statement, SGX President Muthukrishnan Ramaswami said that this latest development “will enable the trading and clearing of the Singapore kilobar gold contract and establish a fully transparent price discovery
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