BullionStar calls for a clear regulatory framework regarding Bitcoin

Below is an article published with permission from BullionStar, a Singapore online bullion company where you can buy gold and silver at competitive prices. SG Wealth Builder believes that no matter what assets you invested in, the only way to make money and become rich is to adopt a contrarian approach. Gold witnessed a major correction since last year and the price has become stagnant ever since. Investors should seize the opportunity to accumulate now before gold becomes expensive again.
BullionStar was set up in the fall of 2012 in the light of a GST exemption coming in to place in Singapore. Offering a wide range of precious metal products, and the ability to store the purchased products in one of the safest jurisdictions in the world, we have seen substantial growth in a very short period of time.We believe in making it as easy as possible for our customers to buy and store almost any amount of gold and silver whether your a small saver or large investor. We have achieved this by offering a one-stop end-to-end solution for purchasing and storing gold, silver and platinum at very competitive prices. We offer a wide assortment of physical bullion products including our unique Vault Gram® solution which offers a low threshold for anyone that wishes to start saving in physical precious metals.
All of this has been made possible because of the business friendly environment offered by the government of Singapore.

Bitcoin as a payment option and currency
We already before had four different payment options as we offered our customers to settle via bank transfer, NETS, check or by paying cash. Based on pent up demand from existing customers, we have now also enabled Bitcoin as a payment option for purchasing and storing precious metals with us in Singapore.

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Why Singaporeans should invest in gold bullion

This week, an article by Reuters reported that gold jewellery exports by India is expected to grow by 25% in the year to March 2015. This is an impressive figure given that last year, the Indian government raised the import duty to a record 10 percent and also make it mandatory for merchants to export 20 per cent of the imported gold. In Asia, various data released by gold analysts indicated that China and India will continue to be the leading consumers for gold. The key reason for Asian’s fascination for gold is because the Chinese and Indians understand the value of gold as a means to preserve wealth.

Over in Singapore, the government is beginning to appreciate the role of gold bullion in the investment fraternity and has been implementing policies to develop Singapore as a metal trading hub for gold. In 2012, the government removed 7 percent GST from investment-grade precious metals, hoping to spur Singaporean’s demand for gold.

BullionStar CEO

As a result of this policy shift, many gold dealers, such as BullionStar, has set up shop in Singapore. For many international and domestic investors seeking safe haven for their precious metals, Singapore is considered one of the best choices because of its reputation for being a safe country with low crime rate. BullionStar stands out from the rest of its competitors as it offers convenient, end-to-end solutions for the purchase, sale, storage and delivery of an assortment of bullion products through its BullionStar’s “My Vault Storage”.

Three ways to build your wealth with gold. You may buy “paper gold” such as gold mining stocks or gold Electronic Traded Funds (ETFs) through the stock exchange.  However, it is important to note that investing in these investment products carry substantial risks for average investors because of the potential risk

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How to become rich through property auctions in Singapore

Many Singaporeans want to make money and become rich quick but very few bother to acquire the investment knowledge needed to build wealth. Recently, there was an online article in Yahoo Singapore which illustrated how a Singaporean managed to afford a HDB flat despite having little investment knowledge and drawing an average salary. Apparently, he shared that the landed property was bought for a low price because it was a bank fire sale. He further shared that bank sales can be a good source of deals and revealed that he made a profit of $850,000 after selling it in 2011.

After reading the article, I was really impressed by how he built his wealth and was also heartened that he unselfishly shared his money secrets to Singaporeans . Unfortunately, there were many cynical and negative remarks given by readers in the Yahoo website. Many of them were jealous of his achievement and took the chance to throw brick bats at government policies that restricted them from becoming rich through property investments. Usually these naysayers are those people that would never ever become rich because they don’t appreciate good advices given to them for free.

Singaporeans must realize that to become rich, you must adopt the habits of rich people and arm yourself with knowledge. To learn how to make money through properties, you must first build up your investment knowledge. The key to successful investments is never about timing, nor through sheer luck. It is all about educating yourself on the nuances, tricks and avoiding the usual traps. To this end, one of the local finance bloggers, Property Soul is organizing an education seminar on Everything You Want to Know About Property Auctions and Mortgagee Sales.

Do you know why some seasoned investors like to buy and sell

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Civil Service Mid Year Bonuses

 Mid-Year Annual Variable Component of 0.5-month for all civil servantsIn addition:

Division IV officers to receive a wage increase of $70 in monthly salary, and
Division III officers to receive a wage increase of $30 in monthly salary, over and above their annual increment in 2014.

The Singapore economy grew by 4.9% on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2014, unchanged from the growth recorded in the preceding quarter. Global economic growth is expected to improve in 2014, supported by continued recovery in the US and the Eurozone. The overall unemployment rate in Singapore remained low at 2.1% in March 2014.

Against this backdrop, the Government has decided to pay a mid-year Annual Variable Component (AVC) of 0.5-month.
The Government also supports the National Wages Council’s (NWC) recommendation to grant a built-in wage increase to raise the wages of low-wage workers. The Government will give a built-in wage increase to Division IV and III civil servants. This will be in addition to their annual increment in 2014.

Division IV civil servants will receive a built-in wage increase of $70 in their monthly salaries. This will benefit around 3,500 Division IV civil servants. Division III civil servants will receive a built-in wage increase of $30 in their monthly salaries. This will benefit around 5,500 Division III civil servants.

In all, the Civil Service’s NWC adjustments will benefit about 9,000 Division IV and III civil servants. This signals the Government’s continued commitment to help raise the salaries of lower-wage civil servants, in line with productivity growth and private sector salary benchmarks.

The mid-year AVC and the built-in wage increase for Division IV and III civil servants will be paid in July 2014.

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Why you should not quit without a job in Singapore

Recently I read that one of the fellow bloggers has resigned without a job. When I saw his article, I immediately commented to him that doing so was a terrible career move. Obviously people resigned for various reasons. The push factors could be because of bad bosses, poor company culture, lack of motivation to work or being overlooked for promotion. Whatever the reason it might be, you should never quit without a job, unless you are cocksure that you are going to be your own boss. Ten years ago, I made this career mistake, so now, I am going to share my experiences to young folks who feel like quitting from their jobs. Read on before you take the plunge.

Ten years ago
I resigned from my first job almost ten years ago, after deciding that I had enough of the stressful manufacturing environment I was in. As a young engineer, I could not imagine spending the rest of my career doing the mundane stuff I was doing. The pay was not bad, but not good enough for me to do over-time every week. So after quitting, I was very relieved and ready to venture out to another new job. I went for a few job interviews and the first question that the hiring bosses asked would be why I resigned from my previous company without a job. I had a hard time answering them because on one hand, I did not wish to bad-mouth my previous employer, but on the other hand, I felt like telling them how bad the environment really was.


I got my second job two months later, but it was actually though my ex-colleague’s recommendation. The hiring manager was a good man, and the first wisdom he shared with me was that: never quit without

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Singaporeans’ misconceptions on the CPF System

Last Saturday, there was a protest against the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system, drawing almost 3,000 people at Hong Lim Park. During the protest, the speakers demanded amongst many things, a better CPF interest payout, the allowance to draw out their CPF savings at 55 years old and to be able to opt out of CPF Life. The protest highlighted certain misconceptions on the CPF System which I find worrying for fellow Singaporeans. Obviously most Singaporeans don’t understand how to manage their monies.

Higher returns, higher risks

According to the CPF website, an additional 1% interest will continue to be paid on the first $60,000 of a member’s combined balances, with up to $20,000 from the Ordinary Account (OA). The additional interest received on the OA will go into the member’s Special Account or Retirement Account to enhance his retirement savings.
Personal finance
If a member is above 55 years old and participates in the CPF LIFE scheme, the additional 1% interest will still be earned on his combined balances, which includes the savings used for CPF LIFE. Savings in the Special and Medisave Account (SMA) currently earn either 4% or the 12-month average yield of 10-year Singapore Government Securities (10YSGS) plus 1%, whichever is the higher.
The interest rate on SMA savings is adjusted quarterly, based on interest rates on 10YSGS over a preceding 12-month period. The average yield of the 10YSGS plus 1% from 1 March 2013 to 28 February 2014, works out to be 3.19%. Accordingly, the SMA interest rate payable to CPF members from 1 April 2014 to 30 June 2014 will be maintained at the current floor of 4%.
Detractors of the CPF Scheme failed to realize that the golden rule in the world of investment is that to expect higher returns from your investments, you must
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The Little Book of Market Wizards: Lesson from the Greatest Traders

Being a value investor, I buy shares of growth stocks at a price below or near it’s intrinsic value. Even though I am not a trader, I believe it is important to keep an open mind and understand the insights and strategies of traders. This is because  whether you like it or not, there will always be speculators and traders in the markets. Their behaviors and actions will invariably affect market performances and impact the way you make money in the markets.

In The Little Book of Market Wizards: Lesson from the Greatest Traders by Jack Schwager, I realized that there are many relevant investment principles that are useful for investors and wealth builders. For example, to be a successful trader, you need to manage your ego and develop a set of trading methodology that best suits your character. The important thing to note is that losing money is part of process and you can never win all the times. This principle is applicable to investing as well. Most traders and investors lose money in the stock market because they try to avoid losing money. On the other hand, professional traders who become rich from stock market understand that they have to take losses in order to win the game.

Another reason why average trader lose money in stock market is because they don’t have the patience to wait for the right opportunities to arise. Far too often, I have seen many financial bloggers unable to resist their temptations to trade frequently. In the book, money guru, Jim Rogers highlighted the importance of trading only when you have strong convictions to do so. I reckon many Singaporeans tend to have herd mentality when it comes to investing in shares. Many Singaporeans claimed to be “long term investors” but whenever

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How much are you saving on property by riding the North-South MRT?

SG Wealth Builder is pleased to form a partnership with SRX Singapore Property to bring you the latest information on how to build your wealth through property in Singapore. Below article is based on information provided by SRX Research and readers must not interpret it as a form of financial advice. Check out how to be a successful wealth builder in Singapore.

Yesterday, you moved into a 1,000 square foot condo in Novena.

Today, you board the North-South line for your office at Raffles Place.  For every minute you are on the MRT, you have saved $81,479 on the purchase of your home compared to someone who has purchased a comparable unit within a kilometer of Raffles Place.

$81,479 a minute.

For the first time in your life, you wish you had a longer commute.  In your case, Novena is 11 minutes from Raffles Place.  You saved a total quantum of $896,269 by living within a kilometer of Novena MRT.

$896,269.  Not bad for an 11 minute commute.  And, think of how productive you were in those 11 minutes.  You probably read the Today paper and answered your emails.

Or, perhaps, you listened to some music while you dreamed of how you’re going to spend the $896,269.  You could buy another home or put 3.7 kids through four years at Harvard or drink 746,891 cups of coffee from your favorite hawker stand.
In life we make choices.  When it comes to property, location’s the primary determinant of how much we pay.  In the case of the North-South line, the general rule is that the longer your commute, the more you save.

So, after a long day at the office, instead of dreading your 38 minute commute to Woodlands, plug in your earphones, sit back, and dream about

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How to get your CPF monies before you turn 55

Recently, there are a lot of debates on the merits of CPF Minimum Sum (MS) Scheme. Many Singaporeans are upset that the CPF MS has increased yet again and there are certainly anxiety among Singaporeans who are concerned whether they are able to retire comfortably. This has prompted Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin to come out and defend the CPF system.Well, let us be clear what CPF MS is all about. According to the CPF website, “The CPF Minimum Sum (MS) Scheme provides members with a monthly income to support a basic standard of living during retirement. For members who are unable to set aside the full MS in cash, their property bought with their CPF savings will be automatically pledged, for up to half of their MS. Members may also join CPF LIFE with their MS so that they may have a stream of income for life. Alternatively, they may continue to keep their MS with the CPF Board to earn 4% interest per annum currently. The interest rate is revised yearly.”
The reason why many Singaporeans are disgruntled over the rising CPF MS is because they thought that their savings would be locked in their CPF account forever and their money could not be extracted early or prematurely. But is this really true? Apparently this is not so. Generally, there are two ways the money could be disbursed from your CPF account before you hit 55 years old. Firstly, you can withdraw your CPF if:

1) You are a Malaysia citizen and have left Singapore permanently to reside in West Malaysia;
2) You chose to migrate out of Singapore

Alternatively, your CPF monies would be released if you pass away. In this case, your CPF savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee for distribution to your family

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BullionStar: The Chinese Gold Rush continues

Below is an article published with permission from BullionStar, a Singapore online bullion company where you can buy gold and silver at competitive prices. SG Wealth Builder always believe that every wealth builder should have bullion in their portfolio. Over the long run, the outlook for gold is still bright, especially in Asia context.
 While 2013 was an exceptional year for gold demand in Asia, with shortages of minted physical gold bullion products and gold itself, according to some, 2014 continues to show robust gold demand according to the World Gold Council’s Q1 report.At BullionStar, we can testify about the growth in gold demand that we have seen in the last year. Whereas investors in the Western economies have shunned gold because it carries no yield or return on investment, regional physical demand in South East Asia has been very strong and is spurred by other factors.

Asian Gold Mindset
The Asian mindset to gold is different from in West says Managing Director of the World Gold Council, Mr. Albert Cheng, at the presentation of the World Gold Council’s publication “Q1 Gold Demand Trends” to which BullionStar was grateful to be invited. Many Asians view gold as a conservative way of saving. With the economic growth in China, the increased gold demand is a result of the wealth effect continues Mr. Cheng.

Gold demand in the first quarter of 2014 was 1,074 tonnes, almost unchanged compared to Q1 2013. On the shortages which appeared during 2013, Mr. Cheng comments that it was the minting capacity that was limited rather than the supply of gold itself. The reason for the shortages last year was that it takes time for the delivery of 400 oz gold bars from the London vaults, through Swiss refineries minting 1 kg bars, before delivery can

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Important skill

In my previous posting, I highlighted that the most important skill that every employee must acquire is the ability to sell. You can be a sales manager, engineer or accountant in your organization but no matter what your job scope is, it is important to know how to profile yourself and be seen as able to sell your ideas effectively to your colleagues.
But then again, to be successful in our careers, what other skill-sets are needed? Recently, BBC wrote to me and asked me to write an article on what is considered to be the most important skill. I thought hard about it and decided to blog down some of my thoughts with regard to the skill indispensable for people just entering into the workforce.
Singapore economy
Many people claim that they understand the importance of prioritizing their work but not many know how to practice it effectively. For fresh graduates just entering the workforce, mastering the art of work prioritization is of utmost importance. This is especially so in Singapore context, where employees are expected to multi-task and take on additional assignments not related to their core duties. Those with positive mindset may treat such challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
But then again, even the most energetic and positive employees will grow weary and fatigue if they are continuously expected to take on time-consuming tasks or projects. So to be efficient, there is a need to focus on the task priority and accomplish them in the order of importance.
Mediocre workers would often complain shortage of time to complete their tasks but actually, it is a matter of sorting out work priorities. Many of us don’t have discipline when it comes to managing time effectively at work. We often overlook the fact that the ability to manage time
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Jobstreet.com: Singaporeans not ready for retirement

The following article is published with permission from Jobstreet.com, a leading online job site presently covering the employment markets in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam. The survey done by Jobstreet.com revealed that Singaporeans are financially not ready for retirement. I am not surprised by the results of the survey at all because in general, I find that Singaporeans tend to procrastinate or avoid planning for their retirement. Many Singaporeans don’t appreciate the importance of building wealth early on in their career journey and the worst thing is that many of them are lazy or cannot even be bothered to study the art of making money. Singaporeans have to wake up to their idea that if they chose to work for others, which is nothing inherently wrong, then they must learn how to invest to ensure that they can enjoy their retirement.

With the increase in life expectancy in Singapore, senior workers are considering to postpone their retirement beyond the country’s statutory minimum retirement age of 62 years old. JobStreet.com recently conducted a survey to find out if employers in Singapore are willing to accommodate them. Responses were gathered from 150 employers and 1,400 Singaporean workers aged 40 years and above . The survey was conducted in March.

Key Findings:
        Singaporeans want to keep working even after reaching retirement age

58% of workers indicated they plan to continue working after they reached retirement. 12% said they preferred to continue working with their current employers and would ask for an employment extension.

87% of employers responded that they are open to postponing the retirement of existing workers. 69% of the employers even mentioned that they were willing to offer the same remuneration and benefits upon re-employment of the retired staff.
Employability for seniors

88% of employers said that

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Property Cooling Measures Freeze District 9

SG Wealth Builder is pleased to form a partnership with SRX Singapore Property to bring you the latest information on how to build your wealth through property in Singapore. Below article is based on information provided by SRX Research and readers must not interpret it as a form of financial advice. Check out how to be a successful wealth builder in Singapore.The below data vindicated the principles that Property Soul has been trying to highlight in her book “No B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth through Properties”. Before you decide to buy a second property, ask yourself whether you want to live in it or rent it out for investment purposes. It is important that you are clear of the purpose because the consideration factors for buying a house for living and for investment purposes are very different. No B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets To Building Wealth Through Properties is available now in major bookstores such as Popular, Kinokuniya and Times.

If you want to see out how impactful the government’s cooling measures, look no further than District 9.

According to the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), the median Transactions-over-X Value (T-O-X) for District 9, which consists of Orchard, Cairnhill, and River Valley, was NEGATIVE $130,000.
Each month, SRX computers compare the actual transacted value for each unit in a district with its X-Value.  The X-Value is a computer-generated estimate of the market value for a home.  The difference between the median transacted price and the district’s X-Value is the T-O-X.
In District 9, more than half of the buyers paid below market value. In fact, 50% paid at least $130,000 below market value.
In contrast, the T-O-X in District 10, which covers
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The risks of Silver

In many of my previous articles, I have always encouraged Singaporeans to buy precious metals such as gold and silver bullion as a means to build up wealth in Singapore. This is because I have always believed that wealth is more secure in the long run when invested in physical bullion than in the current stock market, which I think is long overdue for a massive correction. But the perennial question is: is it worthwhile to buy silver or gold bullion? How do you build wealth with silver and gold bullion? To answer this question, it is important that Singaporeans understand the risks involved in silver investments.

Many novice investors thought that prices of silver tend to go in tandem with gold. This is not true and history has validated this point. During the Great Depression in the early 1930s, many people were buying gold to preserve their wealth, resulting in surging gold prices. But surprisingly, silver demand declined sharply during that period. Also, during the Civil War in America during 1860s, silver fell while other commodities like steel and rice soared. So the gist is that unlike gold, silver should not be mistaken as a form of wealth preservation during turbulent times. Unlike gold, it is not a sure thing that the price of silver will go higher during crisis times. History has proven that in terms of investment track record, gold fared much better than silver.

One of the key reasons why silver bullion is not featured in many professional investors’ portfolios is because silver is a very volatile investment. It can surge more than 5 percent in one day and therefore, not many people can stomach this kind of volatility. In fact, silver reached its peak during 1980, valuing about $50 per ounce. 34 years later, it

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Property Investment: Location. Location. Location.

SG Wealth Builder is pleased to form a partnership with SRX Singapore Property to bring you the latest information on how to build your wealth through property in Singapore. Below article is based on information provided by SRX Research and readers must not interpret it as a form of financial advice. Check out how to be a wealth builder in Singapore!What are the three most important factors in determining the value of a home?  Location.  Location.  Location.
This is a very old real estate joke that has survived the years because there is so much truth in it.

Another piece of advice that has persisted through time is buy the worst house in the best neighbourhood you can afford.
Both of these ideas point to the fact that location is by far the most important of all the factors that determine the value of a home.  While the quality of a building and its interior impact price, it is the location that ultimately drives the value of a home.

For example, savvy buyers and investors are combing through Geylang in search of bargains that will rise in value as the area upgrades.  They see opportunities to buy at a dip in the price.

Geylang is situated in an excellent location, surrounded by expressways with quick access to downtown, Marina Bay, East Coast Park and other points of interest.  All Geylang needs is some rezoning and a facelift, and it will be competing with the more fashionable neighbourhoods of Singapore.

Other areas, like Novena and Balestier, are making their play for under-appreciated neighbourhoods that are up and coming.
These neighbourhoods have several things in common.  First, they are located next to expressways and MRTs with quick access to places of work and shopping.  From a transportation standpoint, they are

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Cooling Measures Property Sale? Yes!

SG Wealth Builder is pleased to form a partnership with SRX Singapore Property to bring you the latest information on property trend in Singapore. Below article is based on information provided by SRX Research and readers must not interpret it as a form of financial advice.

Many Singaporeans want to make money and become rich quick but very few bother to acquire the investment knowledge needed to build wealth. Check out how to be a wealth builder in Singapore!
In the world of shopping, it’s easy to spot a sale.  Big, bold red-lettered signs plastered all over stores’ windows, proclaiming huge discounts and savings!
But it’s not so simple in real estate.   To find a good deal, one needs to put in hard work and analysis.  To make matters worse, you must be brave enough to act before the herd mentality kicks in and recognizes the good deals, bidding the prices up.  It takes courage to buck the trend.
In February 2009 when the SRX Price Index (private, non-landed) was down 26% from the pre-financial crisis peak, there were some buyers who went into the market.
While the rest of the market was in a state of panic, these buyers did their homework.  They analyzed the situation and concluded that they could take the risk to invest in a down market.  My guess is that most of them were careful not to overextend themselves in the event the market continued to decline.  When the market eventually recovered, they saw huge gains.
The general mood of today’s market, like 2009, is one of pessimism.  Everyone seems to be griping about the market.  That is everyone but the shrewd bargain-hunters.  A quick perusal of project data in SRX Analyzer revealed that some buyers are purchasing homes in fundamentally-sound projects that are experiencing
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The New Retirementality

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118705122.htmlHave you ever wondered how to build your wealth effectively in Singapore? One of the latest additions to my blogroll was “Growing your tree of prosperity”. The author of that blog, Christopher Ng had apparently made enough money to quit from his engineering job and retired at the young age of 39. However, money is only one side of the equation. He is currently busy studying for a law degree to prepare himself for a second career in life. His story inspired me and resonate the teachings in Mitch Anthony’s The New Retirementality (ISBN: 978-1-118-70512-4)Originally written to get the attention of baby boomers, who were approaching 55, author Mitch Anthony started a revolution by showing people why they need to have a new attitude about retirement – a “new retirementality”. More than a decade later, many people are facing a very different retirement reality than previous generations – failing pensions, an endangered social security system, and inadequate savings. They have been forced to face the reality of a retirement that may never happen, or one that will take place much later in life than ever expected.

While most books focus on a “number”, this reliable resource shows readers that attitude is also an essential part of the equation. Including new research and studies on the latest retirement realities, The New Retirementality discusses what it means to retire on purpose; the expanding role of work in retirement; and how one can orchestrate their own future by recognizing their benefit needs. Mitch introduces readers with his latest concept, investing toward a greater Return on Life, to help people rethink the meaning of retirement and put them in a better position to enjoy the new “retirementality” they deserve.

Even though the book is written in the context of western countries with

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Why some Singaporeans are destined to be poor

Whenever I flip through The Strait Times, there are so many get-rich quick seminars advertisements on forex trading. It seems that the advertisers are targeting the growing aspirations of middle-class Singaporeans seeking to build their wealth quickly through forex trading. These seminars are often marketed as “enrichment classes” with catchy tag lines such as “Mr X makes 2,000% profit in one month, so can you!” or “Mrs Y turned $2,000 into $50,000 in three weeks, so can you! Also, during the seminars, the modus operandi is to highlight the opportunity to retire young and the chance to earn extra income. The organisers would use hard-selling tactics and misled people into the false impression that the trading techniques can produce good money. In return, consumers had to pay thousands for these seminars or buy their in-house trading software.

I do not have the figures on the profile nor the number of Singaporeans who attended these forex trading seminars, but I suspect that many Singaporeans had already lost a lot of money from forex trading. This is a worrying trend which I think Singaporeans need to be aware of. Firstly, forex trading is a form of high risk activity as you are betting the future movement of currency exchange rates. Sure, you can make a lot of money through leveraging your bets, but you can also lose a lot of money from it too. Secondly, to succeed in forex trading requires a lot of discipline, real-time market information, experience and capital. Beside these, you have to devote 100% of your time monitoring the market. Therefore not everyone is cut out to be a successful forex trader. Thirdly, always remember that if something is too good to be true, then it is. There is no such thing as low risk and high profits.

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Property Soul: Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth Through Properties


Many Singaporeans are obsessed with property investments but not many have been successful. Some have made a windfall, while many have lost a lot of money. Those who have become rich through property investments are reluctant to share their experiences and prefer to keep a low profile. This is understandable as who would want to reveal their secrets to building wealth? Therefore, I was a bit skeptical initially when Property Soul asked me to do a book review on her newly launched book No B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth through Properties”. I thought that she must be a property agent trying to market her services through publishing a book on real estate investments. But after a phone chat with her, I realized that I was wrong.

Property Soul was a Hong Konger who relocated to Singapore in 1998 (she subsequently converted to Singapore citizenship). She bought her first private property for rent in 2002 and within 4.5 years, managed to build up a portfolio of 5 properties. By 2008, her total investment value doubled. She sold 4 of her properties in 2010 and 2011 and made a handsome profit of 80 to 120 percent. She decided to share her experiences in property investments with Singaporeans and set up a personal blog called PropertySoul.com. Interestingly, that was the same year that I set up my personal finance blog, SG Wealth Builder (my blog’s predecessor’s name is SG Web Reviews) too. Our blog goals are pretty similar: basically to share our investment experiences and to exchange ideas with fellow investors.

It took me a few weeks to do this book review because I have been pretty busy in my day job recently and there were several vendors who were interested to advertise

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More PMETs retrenched in Singapore

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

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

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

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The right time to invest in SMRT?

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

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

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


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

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

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Facing death

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

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

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

facing death

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

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

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X-Value a close approximation to HDB Valuation

SG Wealth Builder is pleased to form a partnership with SRX Singapore Property to bring you the latest information on property trend in Singapore. Below article is based on information provided by SRX Research and readers must not interpret it as a form of financial advice.Since the launch of X-Value on 20 Mar 2014, more than 60,000 homes have their X-Value calculated on www.srx.com.sg and Agent Connect apps. Buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals have used it as a starting point in pricing their home.
In order to understand how closely HDB valuations track the X-Value, all SRX HDB transactions in 2014 with complete valuation data were used in a comparison study.
From 1 Jan 2014 to 30 Mar 2014, the study analyzed a total of 1,774 HDB transactions. 98.2% of all valuation prices fall within a +-10% range of the X-Value. 
Valuation over X-Value
Comparison with international standards
A guideline to assess where acceptable valuation margins stand is the judgement of J Coulson in K/S Lincoln v CBRE Hotels (2010). Source: http://bit.ly/PRlH4e
The Court found that the valuation was within a +- 10% margin and hence ruled that the valuation was acceptable.
In another Australian study done in 1983, the actual percentage of valuations within a variation range of < 10% is 95% for a ‘Simple Property’ done by valuers. Source: http://bit.ly/1h7toOI
Table of valuation margin of error
The equivalent table for the margin of difference between HDB Valuations and the X-Value is shown below.
Delta VOXProportion of all transactions
Within a +-5% range of the X-Value, more than 80% of the valuations fall within this range. This compares favourably with the Daniels findings of 50% of ‘Simple’ Property for a +-5% range. Likewise, within a +-10% range of the X-Value, more than 98% of the valuations are
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Opportunity is like a ball. Sometimes when the ball is passed to you, you may not have ample time to think and execute the ideal actions. A professional player will grasp the opportunity and went on to score crucial points. Mediocre ones will let opportunity slip.

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

Stock investing

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

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

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

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BullionStar: Job Opportunities and Bitcoin Payments

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

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

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

Payments for precious metals in Bitcoin coming soon!

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

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

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Hotel Investment Opportunities for Singaporeans

Brisbane Targets Singaporean Hotel Investors

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

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


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

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

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

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Tan Kin Lian’s career advice for young Singaporeans

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

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

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

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


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

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

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You Are Not Making Enough Money

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

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

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

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

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Singaporeans are self-centred and money-face

There was an online article written by a foreigner who described her experiences living in Singapore. Not too long ago, she came here with high expectations of Singapore and our culture. After some time, she was indeed happy with her life here, until she became pregnant recently.

She complained that nobody gave up the reserved seats in the train. Once, when she almost fainted at the train platform, nobody came forward to help her. She felt disappointed by Singaporeans’ lack of empathy and compassion.Being a local and having lived in Singapore for 34 years, I can concur with her that Singaporeans are basically self-centered and very money-face.


When her article was published, a lot of Singaporeans came forward to dispute her views and threw brick bats at her. Many claimed that what she wrote was based on an isolated incident and argued that it was unfair to judge us based on that single incident. Many also threw up lame excuses to justify our lack of compassion. There are very few locals who supported her views and many just dismissed her accusation as baseless.

When we come across such an article, instead of doing self-reflections, we are always quick to go into defensive and denial mode. In fact, this is not the first time that such an article was published online. What do we really need in order to make our citizens realize our bad culture? Instead of admitting our flaws, we are always quick to put down other negative opinions of us. We don’t admit our character flaws and shrugged off criticisms as “noises”. Personally, I am quite ashamed that even though our country managed to become one of the wealthiest nations on earth, our values are gradually degenerating.

Nowadays, we no longer look out or reach out for our

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