Property Financing

In one of her articles, local blogger YP shared a real estate investment ordeal that she and her husband suffered many years  ago. Like many Singaporeans, they had bought a private property because her husband’s colleague had bought a newly-launched project. Fearing that they would miss the boat, they also bought a unit.
But unfortunately, they had to sell the unit in the end and suffered a loss. In her article, she listed 6 lessons learned from her failed property investment. But in my humble opinion, both of them committed a few major mistakes made by Singaporeans when it comes to buying properties.Most Singapore investors have a misguided belief that property is a sure-win asset that they should possess in their investment portfolios. But they don’t realize that during economic downturns, that asset could become a toxic liability that might lead to their personal finance downfalls. This is especially so if the investors lost their jobs or if the rentals were not enough to cover the mortgage installments. Always remember that in good times, bankers will be your good friends because they want you to borrow money from them. But in bad times, they will not hesitate to repossess your property if you fail to pay the mortgage on time.

Like blogger YP, many Singapore investor lost money from dabbling in the property game because their mindsets are not correct. First of all, to win the game, you must discuss with your spouse the key reason for buying a property. This is an all-important issue that must be addressed before you even step into the show-rooms. This is because the factors for “buying-for-living” and “buying-for-investments” purposes are different. Obviously if you are buying the property to live in, there would be emotional attachments involved and the criteria list that
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Singaporeans lost money in another bogus investment opportunity

According to the Channel News Asia, up to 1,500 investors in Singapore could lose a staggering $70 million after Brazil Embassy denied that property firm EcoHouse Group has any links with the Brazilian government. Apparently, EcoHouse had claimed to be working with the Brazilian government on a social programme and even promised fixed return of 20 per cent for a one-year investment contract. However, EcoHouse abruptly shut down its Suntec offices and many investors complained that they have not gotten their returns despite maturity of their contracts. In addition, some investors have begun legal actions against the company and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had placed the company on the Investor Alert List.Whenever I come across such articles, I feel sad for fellow Singaporeans. This is not the first time that Singaporeans fell prey to a money scam. A few years ago, many Singaporeans also lost millions of dollars in several elaborated gold buy-back scams. Indeed, many Singaporeans hope to make their money work hard for them but ironically ended up losing all their hard-earned money in bogus investment projects. Their greed and ignorance prevail whenever they were told that there are better ways to make money than putting their savings in the banks. In their heads, it never cross their minds the kind of risks involved in such projects. 20 per cent return is an incredible yield and investors should already be on their guard whenever they were offered such investment products. Yet, they chose to ignore the warning signs and now they tried to claw back their monies through legal help and enforcement actions from the authorities.

My opinion is that these investors are not going to get back a single cent of their money and this fiasco is going to be another sobering investment lesson

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Job opportunities & new products from BullionStar

Below is newsletter 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, with the aim of creating good job opportunities for Singaporeans. The salaries offered by BullionStar is really attractive and competitive. So Singaporeans should have no valid reason to complain the lack of good paying job positions in Singapore. Read on to find out more.
Discounted price for 1 oz Gold Philharmonics 2013 & 2014

Only spot price of gold + 3.9 % regardless of quantity bought.

Valid until 31 August or as long as stocks last.
The Austrian Gold Philharmonics is Europe’s most popular bullion investment gold coin and is well known around the world.

Available in limited quantity only. Get yours today!

BullionStar is Hiring!

BullionStar’s new bullion retail shop has been very well received by customers and stakeholders.

In view of rapid business expansion, we are recruiting! We seek individuals who are interested to work in a dynamic team-oriented environment. We are currently hiring a vault manager and a sales assistant. Get in touch with us if you are interested or know someone that is.

We are offering a sign-on/referral bonus of a 10 oz Heraeus Silver Bar if we hire you or someone that you refer!

Product News
We are offering a range of new products in our new shop. Among the new products are:
Gold Britannias – 1 oz 2014. Gold Britannias are produced by the Royal Mint and is the premier gold bullion coin of the United Kingdom. The

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17 Proven Currency Trading Strategies – How to Profit in the Forex Market

What is leverage all about and how do investors take advantage of money-making opportunities in the forex market to earn high returns? These two questions had been bugging me for many years since I started my wealth building journey.Indeed, most people are aware that trading in forex is highly risky and is considered not suitable for amateur investors. But I think to be a good investor, it is important to equip myself with knowledge on various financial instruments. My guiding principle in life is that if you don’t learn anything new everyday, you have a bad day.

With an average of $4.3 trillion exchanged daily, the forex market is considered to be the largest market in the world. Given the sheer size of this market, it would be foolish to ignore the impact of forex, never mind whether you are finance or business professionals who are not currently involved in forex trading.

Always remember that capital flows into a country first before it flows into any financial assets. This is the reason why some local listed companies declared their earnings in foreign currencies in their annual reports instead of Singapore dollars. The exchange rates can have significant impact on the business impact and this is something that investors and business owners can ill afford to ignore.

With the above in mind, I gained a lot of interesting insights on forex from Mario Singh’s 17 Proven Currency Trading Strategies – How to Profit in the Forex Market. Forex is a game but investors must observe the rules, otherwise the rule will break you, notes Mario Singh, founder and CEO of FX1 Academy, who humbly invites ordinary folks outside of the finance industry who are looking to create a powerful second income to consider this opportunity.
His new book, 17 Proven Currency

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Singaporeans’ obsession in property investments is well-known for many years. Since property prices are currently so sky-high in Singapore, the next best way of owning a property is through REITs.
Many Singaporeans typically invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) with a view of diversifying their portfolios and for the dividend income. But what is exactly a REIT and do investors realize that REITs do carry market risks? Many investors assume that REITs are low risks and that dividend income is recurring. Is this true?
In this article, I would touch on the key aspects of REITs and what we should look out for before investing in REITs. I need to clarify that I have never invested in REITs before and do not believe in the merits of investing in REITs as well. This research on REITs is primarily for awareness sake and is not meant as a form of inducement to buy REITs.
According to SGX website, a listed REIT consists of multi-properties, such as office, shopping malls, hotels or serviced apartments. The revenues generated from the underlying assets are distributed to unit holders at regular intervals. Units of listed REITs are bought and sold like any other securities listed on exchanges at market-driven prices.
Some investors may confuse REITS with unit trusts. This is because, like unit trusts, REITs are managed by approved fund managers and involve trustees approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The key difference between the two financial instruments is unit trusts normally own a portfolio of securities, while REITs primarily own physical real estate assets and real estate-related assets.
In addition, unlisted unit trusts can only be bought and sold through the manager of the unit trust fund at prices usually quoted at the end of each trading day. Listed REITs, on the
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CPF Investment Scheme for gold bullion

In my research on gold bullion investments in Singapore, I found out that Singaporeans can actually use their CPF Ordinary Account to invest in gold bullion. Interestingly, UOB is the only agent authorised by CPF to sell physical gold using CPF savings and if you wish to invest in gold, you need to set up an investment account with UOB.

There is a limit to the amount you can use for gold investment and it is capped at 10% of your investible saving for gold bullion (if you have more than $20,000). Now, a few questions had been bugging me.

What if I sold the gold bullion bought from UOB to another dealer? How is CPF going to make me return the proceeds back to my CPFIS or OA account? If the policy does not address this aspect, does this mean that this is a potential loophole for investors to liquidate their CPF monies before turning 55 years old (without giving up their citizenship or ending their lives)? Out of curiosity, I wrote in to the CPF Board to find out more details. If you are interested to know more, read on.


Dear Gerald,
I refer to your email of 2 August 2014.
We are sorry that we are unable to advise.
You may wish to check with UOB directly.
I would be pleased to help you if you need clarification or further assistance on CPF matters. Alternatively, you can call us on 1800 2271188 from Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 5.30 pm. Thank you.
Yours sincerely
Michelle Thoi (Ms)
Customer Correspondence Unit

Central Provident Fund Board

When I saw the initial response from CPF, I was pretty upset because of the heck-care reply from the CPF customer service unit. As public servants, they are supposed to serve the

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SGX announced major changes to share trading

On 01 August 2014, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Exchange (SGX) announced major changes to the securities structure and practices. The rule changes are aimed at reducing highly speculative trading, in light of the penny stock rout in last year. Below are the four major changes quoted from MAS’ media release which may impact Singapore investors:(i) Minimum trading price. To introduce a minimum trading price of S$0.20 as a continuing listing requirement for issuers listed on the SGX Mainboard. This is to address risks of low-priced securities being more susceptible to excessive speculation and potential market manipulation. A transition period of 12 months will be given to affected issuers to undertake corporate actions to meet the new requirement. This proposal will, over time, improve the quality of issuers listed on the SGX Mainboard.
(ii) Collateral requirement for securities trading. To require securities intermediaries to collect minimum 5% of collateral from their customers for trading of listed securities to promote financial prudence. This will help mitigate the risk of excessive leverage assumed by investors. It will also reduce reliance on remisiers to manage the credit risk exposures of customers. Institutional investors, trades settled through delivery-versus-payment mode, and funds from the Central Provident Fund and Supplementary Retirement Schemes will be exempted from the collateral requirement.(iii) Short position reporting requirements. To implement aggregate short position reporting to further enhance transparency of short selling activities in the securities market. The value threshold has been adjusted upwards such that only short positions that exceed the lower of 0.05% or S$1 million of issued shares will have to be reported. Aggregated information will be released on a weekly basis.

(iv) Minimum size lots reduction. To improve retail investors’ access to a broader range of listed securities, particularly blue-chip stocks, SGX

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What does progressive income tax means to Singaporeans

In one of her recent posts, fellow finance blogger, “Lady, You Can be Free” posted an article on her income tax payable. She was shocked that her tax payable was more than $10,000 for this year and so she tried to figure out how to save on her tax through Supplementary Retirement Scheme. $10,000! When I saw the amount, I was impressed by her income because compared to her, my annual income is much lower, so my tax payable is only a fraction of hers. Unless you are a rich man in Singapore, this is not a small sum to be sniffed at, so it is understandable that she felt the pinch.Now, if you faced the same predicament as the lady blogger, congratulation! This is because you belong to the higher income earner. Of course this would come across as cold comfort to you, but going forward, the government has declared that the income tax system is going to be “progressive”. Under this new income tax system, the rich will have to pay more income tax compared to the less well-off.  In fact, from last year, the tax rates were adjusted for YA2012. If you look carefully at the rates below, taxpayers earning below $100,000 pay lesser tax in 2013 compared to 2011 and 2012. However, those earning above $100,000 has to pay more tax. Most Singaporeans, especially those who earned more in 2013, didn’t realize the changes probably because of the tax rebates dished out by the government in recent years.
The rationale for such a tax system was because data collected by Inland Revenue Authority revealed that resident taxpayers with annual income less than $100,000 accounted for only 11 per cent of all personal income tax collected in 2011. The remaining 89 percent comes from those who earned
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BullionStar’s opening ceremony

BullionStar's opening ceremony BulllionStar officially opened its bullion retail, showroom and vault Friday 1 August 2014 with many industry representatives being present. Guest of Honor for the opening ceremony was the Swedish ​charge d’affaires to Singapore Ms. Karin Öhman also helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony.Below follows a transcript from Mr. Persson’s speech from the opening ceremony together with some pictures.

Ladies & Gentleman,
I would like to thank you for your precious time attending BullionStars opening ceremony.

We are honored here today by the presence of our Guest of Honor, Ms. Karin Öhman, chargé d’affaires of Sweden to Singapore.

A special thanks to the Singaporean government and IE Singapore for your presence here today and moreover for facilitating for the bullion industry in Singapore.
I found out about Singapore’s bid to create a trading hub for precious metals in the spring of 2012 after Singapore’s finance minister, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, had announced the GST exemption for investment precious metals coming into effect 1 October 2012.
With the Asian demand for gold currently standing at 60 % of total global demand, and growing quickly, Singapore´s drive to create a hub for precious metals is well timed.

On my first research trip to Singapore in July 2012, I received the contact information to IE Singapore from a supplier of ours. I sent an initial email to them late night and got a reply in less than 5 minutes stating that that we were welcome to their office the next morning to discuss opportunities.

I was already aware that Singapore consistently rank top 3 in the world for business friendliness prior to my first trip here. The meeting with Kenneth and his colleague from IE Singapore however made a strong impression on us. Not only did they make it clear that we were welcome to

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Survey revealed that married Singaporeans are more financially secured than singles

According to a May 2014 survey done by Friends Provident International, 45% of married Singaporeans feel financially secure compared to 37% of Singaporean singles. The study also revealed that more than one third Singaporeans feel financial insecure as compared to last year. This could be attributed to rising cost of living as a result of high property prices and economic slowdowns in the western countries (USA and Europe). Not surprisingly, medical expenses had moved into the top three priority for saving needs. The survey was conducted on over 1000 affluent investors across Singapore and Hong Kong and highlighted interesting findings on their attitudes towards investments and savings.To be a successful wealth builder, we need to learn from the affluent people on how to invest and make money. The data showed that many married Singaporeans are in a financially stronger position than the singles. While I respect that one’s decision to get married is purely a personal decision and should not be based on financial factors, the survey has indicated that you might be financially better off if you are married. This finding may seem illogical because most people assume that having a family would set them back financially due to the increased in household expenses, child education, medical, etc. However, I do think that the survey results hold water. Off hand, I can only think of a few plausible reasons for this trend.

Firstly, most couples would probably discuss the merits of a big ticket investment before they make the commitments. Such discussions may help a couple to form better decisions because more angles are covered. On the other hand, singles are susceptible to making investment mistakes because of potential investment blind spots – overconfidence, laziness or greed. Very few singles would discuss their personal finance matters with friends

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