CPF Retirement Planning

One of the financial mistakes made by Singaporeans is that we always procrastinate retirement planning until its too late. Money issues may dominate your golden years and affect your quality of life if you are not careful with financial planning in your early years.

As a wealth builder, I tend to make this mistake as well but I always force myself to think about what kind of lifestyle I want when I am in my golden years. To do so, mindset needs to be changed. This is because our needs and wants change with time. It may not be realistic to project your future income and expenses based on current situation.

The major reason for so much frustrations among Singaporeans on the CPF Minimum Sum is because most of us depend solely on the amount as the main source of retirement fund, which may not be sufficient given the rising cost of living in Singapore. You need to start investing early and develop sources of passive income, while constantly upgrading your skill and knowledge to achieve better salaries from your day job.

Indeed, you need to have discipline and adopt a long term view when it comes to retirement planning, especially if you have just embarked your working life.

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Profit Mastery Seminar

To succeed in your personal finance journey, you need to acquire the right knowledge in the various form of wealth building strategies. One of the ways is to achieve this is through reading. However, reading is a very passive form of learning because you are merely downloading information. There is lack of interaction and exchange of ideas which would otherwise, result in a better decision-making outcome.

That is why I believe that attending seminars would help to broaden a wealth builder’s perspective. Make no mistake, I am not advocating you to sign up for those investment seminars that attempt to hard sell you their so-called secret money making formulas. Neither do I believe that you pay thousands of dollars to attend a wealth building or internet marketing seminar.

However, I do think that there are many affordable yet credible money seminars in the market that offer investors the opportunity to learn and at the same time, network with successful investors. One of them is the Profit Mastery Seminar conducted by Wealth Directions.

The local company is celebrating their 5th year anniversary the best way they know how. That is to share their knowledge about financial planning and investment. During this one day event, they have lined up a few speakers that will talk about:

1)      Getting the right investment mind set

2)      Key to good retirement planning

3)      Market outlook and many more

Similar to past event, Wealth Directions is keeping the cost low to encourage more participants to join.

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CPF Special Account

For the longest time, there were several investment bloggers who had been talking up the merits of topping up CPF Special Account (CPF-SA) with cash or CPF Ordinary Account (CPF-OA). They gushed and purred about how parking those extra $7000 into CPF-SA can earn risk-free 4-6% of return. Apparently, many readers were so impressed that they were pretty sure that these two fellows had uncovered the sure-win secret formula to wealth building. One of the readers almost kissed the foot of one of the bloggers.

Finally, today SG Wealth Builder came across one fellow blogger who had the guts to stick out his neck and pointed out 6 Reasons not to Voluntary Top Up your CPF Special Account with cash or CPF Ordinary Account.

If you have not read the article, I would urge you to read it (at least once) because it is one of the most well-balanced investment article I have come across with regard to CPF matters. The author described the approach of topping up your CPF-SA as “dangerous” and cautioned Singaporeans to consider carefully before doing it. As a wealth builder, I fully agreed it!

SG Wealth Builder

I shall not list down all the 6 reasons written by the blogger but fundamentally, his points on cash-flow and business opportunity costs were exactly what I had in mind whenever I came across bloggers espousing the merits of voluntary topping up CPF-SA.

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The Wealth Dragon Way: The Why, the When & the How to Become Infinitely Wealthy

SG Wealth Builder is excited to be given the opportunity to review the book “The Wealth Dragon Way: The Why, the When & the How to Become Infinitely Wealthy (April 2015; Paperback; ISBN: 978-1-119-07783-1). The authors of this work, John Lee and Vincent Wong, reveal intimate stories from their past, right up to the present day.

I like many of the key money principles defined in the book because they are aligned to my philosophies as well. I agree with the authors that money solves the problem that not having money creates. In life, we cannot deny the fact that money plays an important role in our society and in many cases, can help to solve many of our daily problems.

The current haze situation in Singapore drives home the importance of what money can do for you. If you have infants or elderly at home, would you not spare some cash to buy air purifiers so that your loved ones can have better quality of life? Conversely, if you are financially struggling and have been living from pay check to pay check, would you not feel guilty for not doing anything for your loved ones?

Wealth Dragon

Having money certainly gives you choices, to either do good or to keep the money for your children.

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Buying gold and silver from BullionStar

SG Wealth Builder was alerted to an article written by fellow finance blogger on “Precious Metals: The warning signs are already here”. Personally, I like that article because it provides me value-added information on the latest updates on precious metals. The blogger highlighted that there is currently a tight supply of bullion even though the spot prices for gold and silver are falling. He also cited several notable reputable precious metal dealers to buy from, such as BullionStar. The challenge now is finding trustworthy dealers who have inventory to sell bullion to investors because of the huge demand.

As a wealth builder in Singapore, whilst I have been tracking the prices of gold and silver for quite some time, I did not really note down the price premiums for the gold bars that I bought like what the blogger did. This is because I have always been confident on the long term prospects of both gold and silver, as such, I don’t see the point of monitoring the price premiums. Nonetheless, I was really impressed by the blogger’s research and I must say he really knows what is considered the “normal price premium” for different products.

BullionStar CEO

In his post, he wrote “Today spot silver is at $14.65, but American Eagles are selling for $29.16.

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Morningstar: Changes in Chinese Equity Market

Morningstar Asia Limited, a subsidiary of independent investment research firm Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), has published a research report, “Change is Afoot in China,” which examines changes in the Chinese equity market and the indices and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the market. Authored by Morningstar’s global manager research team, the report investigates:

 How index providers are changing the way they ”define” China;
 How some of these definitional changes may affect investors;
 Factors investors should be mindful of when evaluating Chinese equity ETFs; and
 How benchmark changes might affect investors in Chinese equity ETFs.

“Change is afoot in a number of respects from economics to demographics to the very definition of ‘China’ and investors need to be prepared as they consider an investment in Chinese equity ETFs,” Jackie Choy, ETF Strategist for Morningstar Investment Managament Asia, said. “Our research report can help investors navigate these changes and make better informed investment decisions.”

Key highlights of the research report include:
 Major index providers, including MSCI, FTSE Russell, and Standard & Poor’s, are considering adding China A-Shares, which are companies listed onshore either on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges, to their global benchmarks. MSCI announced that it will include overseas-listed companies such as Alibaba and Baidu in the MSCI China Index in November 2015.

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Importance of trust and reputation in the bullion industry

For many years, there were reported cases of Singapore wealth builders fallen prey and lost huge chunk of their wealth to various gold scams. This is not surprising as many bullion dealers set up shops following the implementation of GST exemption of investment grade physical precious metals in 2012. To avoid being ripped off by dishonest bullion dealers, always buy from reputable and trustworthy bullion brokers. Don’t ever go for the ones that offer the lowest premiums because good things don’t come cheap, and cheap things don’t certainly come good.

Developing trust is critical in the bullion industry. To this end, BullionStar has recently reported a good FY2015 report. Revenue grew 43.8% as compared to FY2014. This growth was remarkable given that it took place in the wake of falling precious metal prices. Asian demand had been strong as investors took the opportunity to accumulate bullion to their portfolios at a bargain. So clearly, BullionStar’s CEO, Mr Torgny’s bet on Singapore being Asia’s gold hub had paid off.

BullionStar CEO

In terms of financial strength, BullionStar had been profitable since FY2014 and FY2015. The company also has no outstanding long term debts to financial institutions. Going forward, the company foresee that FY2016 will deliver even better results with a slew several features going to be rolled out that would allow international customers to trade with BullionStar.

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Singaporeans should not depend solely on their CPF savings for their retirement

Singaporeans who thought that they can depend squarely on their CPF savings for their retirement need to adjust their mentality. Given today’s high cost of living, that amount of savings would probably last you a couple of years. So, before you and your partner knew it, there might be a need to press the panic button during your twilight years. Also, in today’s society where Singaporeans must compete with cheap foreign talents, all of us must not take things for granted and assume that we would be gainfully employed until the age of 67.

In fact, you are probably just one step away from financial disaster if you are hospitalized in ICU. The medical costs would probably wipe out all your hard-earned savings in your Medisave if you didn’t make a proper retirement plan. Clearly, Singaporeans need to establish alternative pathways to accumulate and build wealth so that we don’t have to suffer the pain of “money no enough” in retirement age.

CPFB employees guiding participants how to use the Retirement Estimator

Firstly, the purpose of this article is not to question nor criticize the merits of CPF. The aim is to highlight to fellow Singaporeans the importance of taking charge their personal finances and empower their future. Far too many young Singaporeans ignore the importance of retirement planning in their prime age and also tend to regard their CPF savings as their sole ultimate saving plan.

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SATS to join STI

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Singapore Exchange (SGX) and FTSE Russell announced on 3 September 2015 that UOL Group, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings and SATS will replace Jardine Matheson Holdings, Jardine Strategic Holdings and Olam International as constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI) following the conclusion of the semi-annual review.

The STI is widely followed by investors as the benchmark for the Singapore market and is used as the basis for a range of financial products including Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), futures, warrants and other derivatives.

SGX stocks

SATS Ltd provides gateway services and food solutions in Singapore, Japan, and internationally. The company’s gateway services comprise airfreight, baggage, ramp handling, passenger, aviation security, cargo, warehousing, perishables and cruise handling, and terminal management services, as well as ground handling and in-flight catering services.

Its food solutions include airline catering, food distribution and logistics, and industrial catering services, as well as chilled and frozen food manufacturing, and linen and laundry services.

The company also provides apron, flight operation and load control, aviation security, aircraft interior and exterior cleaning, and cruise center operation and management services. It serves airline, hospitality, healthcare, food, and airfreight and logistics industries, as well as the government.

On 17 August 2015, SATS Ltd.

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