Year: 2014

(Sponsored article) Confused Now – a free-access forum to share and compare insurance plans

I do have a bad experience with a few insurance agents.  They are selling you plans which have a higher commission rather than a plan which you actually need. They attempt to hide some agenda and it is difficult to understand the plans through the web. I believe in asking people who have purchased similar insurance plans which you are looking for. Through questions and answers, you hold a better understanding which policy is right for you. Take those opinions and clear your doubts when meeting your insurance agent.
 
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BullionStar introduces the 2015 Perth Mint Lunar Series coins

Below is an article 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 am eagerly waiting for the 2015 Australian Lunar Gold Goat to be launched for sale because I hope to buy one set for my baby girl. Nonetheless, I am surprised that BullionStar is already selling the silver coins so many months before the Chinese Lunar New Year!
Introducing the 2015 Perth Mint Lunar Series coinsThe 2015 Australian Lunar Silver Goat is now available in stock for immediate delivery.

The Chinese Lunar Calandar
The ShengXiao, is known in English as the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is a system that relates each year to an animal according to a repeated 12-year cycle. It is based on the ancient 12-year Chinese Lunar Calendar, which dates back beyond 2,600 BC. The Shengxiao includes animals in the following order :
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, Pig.

Each animal is associated with certain characteristics and in 2015, we will usher in the year of the Goat.

2015: Year of the Goat
The goat is the eighth of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac. People who are born in the years 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 and 2015 are considered born in the Year of the Goat.

People born in the year of the goat are said to be mild mannered, pessimistic, shy, and sympathetic. Personality traits, such as creativity, dependability, intelligence, and calmness make them great companions and friends.

In 2015, the Perth Mint will continue minting the Lunar Series in both gold and silver. For gold, the sizes for the coins will range in weight from 1/20 oz all

Singapore best investment blogger

In the past, I’ve been thinking about how to achieve financial freedom and be a millionaire by 35 through property investment. But I have long passed this stage. I begin to think about my relationship with this society and how I can contribute and give it back – Property Soul, Founder of Property Club Singapore

The above are words of wisdom extracted from one of the email exchanges I had with Property Soul a few months ago when she approached me to do a book review on her new book “Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth Through Properties”. For the uninitiated, Property Soul is one of the local finance bloggers who specialize in real estate investments. She is quite well-known in the local finance blogging community and she shared a lot of useful tips on property investments in her blog. Many Singapore readers benefit from her sharing and obviously she has a lot of fans.

I believe there is no award for the best investment blogger in Singapore, but if there is, I would definitely nominate her. Why? Simply because of her passion and contributions to our society. Unlike other bloggers who are actually property agents trying to sell projects online, Property Soul is a thought leader who strive to drive the right principles among real estate investors, especially the novice ones. She has a day job in a different industry but yet she is able to start a successful property investment blog, launched a book, found a club and even hold seminars. So when she wrote that her aim is really to give back to society, I believe her. In that poignant moment when I read the above paragraph written by her, I was very touched by her lofty goal.

Far too many Singaporeans, including me, are

My late father’s experience with Eldershield

One of the readers of AK71 solicited his views on Eldershield in his blog, “A Singapore Stock Market Investor”. In his post, the author wrote that he don’t need the Eldershield protection but nonetheless, had not opted out of the scheme due to his “friend’s persuasion” (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) with Medisave accounts are automatically covered under ElderShield at the age of 40).

In his article, AK71 also downplayed the importance of Eldershield, stating that he don’t need disability insurance as he is a “Superman” with self-generating assets. After reading the article, I was unimpressed and thought it was ridiculous that a finance blogger could write such warped immature material on Eldershield without even having first-hand experience with the scheme. Such an article only serves to reinforce the ignorance among Singaporeans on insurance.

Make no mistake, I hope that none of my readers would ever suffer the ill fate of being eligible for Eldershield payouts. Neither am I trying to sell insurance policies from this article as I don’t work in the financial sector. But I feel that it is important that Singaporeans have the correct mindset on disability insurance. So today, I am going to share my late father’s experience with Eldershield. Read on to find out if you are keen to know my late father’s destiny.

Like many Singaporeans, my father didn’t believe in the merits of insuring himself and had a typical old-fashion understanding of insurance. He felt that buying insurance was a sheer waste of money, after all, he was young and healthy. So why bother to waste money? Like many Singaporeans, he worked hard. In fact, he worked so hard that every weekend, he had to work at various construction sites. In the early nineties, Singapore’s construction industry was booming and my

BullionStar: New bullion products and job opportunities

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. 

 Lunar Silver Goat 2015 in Stock!
As one of the first bullion dealers worldwide, BullionStar has stock available for all of the below sizes for the Lunar Silver Goat 2015!1/2 oz, 1 oz, 2 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz and 1 kg.

All coins are available for pick up in our bullion retail shop Monday 1 September 11 am and onwards. Available in limited quantity only. Get yours before we run out of stock. The coins are offered on a first ordered, first served basis.

Other New Products
We continue to steadily increase our range of different products and brands available. Below are the latest additions.

Australian Gold Lunar Horse 2014 – 1/10 oz, 2 oz & 1 kg 
We have finally managed to restock the popular Australian Lunar Gold Horse 2014 with coins in different sizes.

As Perth Mint has ceased production of the coins, we will not be able to restock the item again so this is your last chance of laying your hands on the beautiful Lunar Horse Gold coin.

Australian Silver Kookaburra 2015 – 1 oz
The 2015 edition of the 1 oz Australian Kookaburra is particularly

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

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

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

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

Trading
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

REITs

StarHub share price
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

CPF Investment Scheme for gold bullion

BullionStar

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.

BullionStar

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

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

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

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

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

(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

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

How to grow money

SGX stocks
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

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

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.

How to establish a personal finance blog

buy gold Singapore

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

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

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
N.A.
65%
50%
15%
Restructured Hospital Ward Class A
N.A.
N.A.
85%
20%
Restructured Hospital Ward Class B1
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
40%

I found out that

The Meteoric Rise of OSIM

SGX share price S68

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.

OSIM

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

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

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

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

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

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

BullionStar
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.
Gold
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

Much Ado about Wealth-Building

Dear Gerald,
I must first of all confess to you that even as I write, I’m filled with scepticism on how this correspondence will go. So am seeking advanced forgiveness for any sort of offence I may unwittingly create, and I also seek your patience in reading this email.
 
I am a 9-to-5 desk bound office worker. Through years of being with the same company, I’ve managed to earn my seniority and experience in dealing with international environmental agreements. I am happy with my wage – After all, I’m duly employed and these days in this unpredictable climate, it is a situation that I’m very grateful for, being gainfully employed, that is. 
 
But everyday there is something nagging at me to do something to increase my resilience to the changing world where everything seems to get more costly and so quickly, and where, quite frankly, money helps to take the discomfort out of our lives where necessary. I’m not trained in any sort of financial discipline, nor have I ever had any mentor whom I could approach, but I see the need for me to start thinking seriously about embarking on building up my savings and eventually being able to call it wealth. 
 
I know next to nothing about investment and I’ve just ordered a book to start off my awareness of it. But as with most books, I think it all but gives very little details about doing the right homework and research. To my naive mind, I hold an instinctive belief that as with all things in life, we need preparation and this requires doing tons of homework just to make one right move – or at least one that mitigates the most risks. The point is – I don’t know how to do such homework. I try