SG Wealth Builder

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Category: personal finance

Learn from Singapore government on how to use your CPF monies

CPF

The recent article by Dollar And Sense on how you can build one million dollar wealth using CPF by 65 certainly created a storm among netizens. While I do not dispute that this feat is definitely achievable, such an article does not paint a holistic picture and probably created plenty of false hopes to those who just started their financial journey. Let me share my insights in this article and how you should learn from Singapore government on how to use your CPF monies.

To put things into perspective, the author, Timothy Ho, is the founder of Dollar And Sense. Being an entrepreneur, it is unlikely that he contributes to his Ordinary Account. I may be wrong on this point and if so, I stand corrected. Therefore, when he encouraged readers not to use CPF monies to finance properties, he is probably speaking from his own experiences.

Okay fair enough, there are thousands of self-employees like Timothy who don’t have much CPF savings. Just think of taxi drivers, entrepreneurs and hawkers. But hey, the article was on how to build one million wealth with CPF right? Thus, what I am advocating now is managing your CPF monies to build a …

Top 5 Personal Finance Blog Articles

CapitaLand Mall Trust

As the year draws to a close, it is timely to review how you have fared financially for 2017. Are your personal finances in order and did you grow your wealth? In this article, I will share my journey for the past one year and also the top 5 personal finance blog articles (in terms of traffic).

This year has been an exciting one for my family as we have finally moved into our new home. The motivation to upgrade from a 3-room HDB flat to an executive condominium was not purely a financial reason. Sure, the potential to “cash out” after the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is tempting. After all, ECs are sold at subsidized prices and home owners stand to make handsome profit after selling their homes. But the case for my family is different. We wanted our children to grow up in a better environment and forge a better future.

Due to the upgrade, I have done extensive research relating to home ownership, property taxes, home loans and financial matters relating to CPF. The analysis and strategies were subsequently shared in this blog. Many readers had feedback that they found the articles useful and insightful. Their comments …

GST should be raised to 12%?

BullionStar

On 6 August 2015, the Ministry of Finance took a rare step in refuting claims “the Government planning to raise the GST after the next General Elections”. Singapore government slammed online websites for spreading baseless claims that the GST would be raised from 7%. Personal finance website, Dollar And Sense, also rubbished the notion that GST would be raised to 10% on 22 September 2015.

Well, they could be wrong as PM Lee Hsien Loong recently dropped big hint that there could be impending tax hike due to increased government spending.

In my perspective, I feel that there could be a grave need for the GST to be raised to 12%. Yes, it is 12%. Why so? Am I crazy? After all, it had been 10 years since GST had been raised from 5% to 7%. That GST hike had been perceived to inflate the cost of living and many people feel that the tax is regressive because the poor would be affected the most.

Before dismissing this article, it is important to look at the big picture and understand the macroeconomic dynamics. In doing so, Singaporeans can then better understand the insights of our leaders before …

Biggest myths about CPF Nomination

SRS

The Chinese has a saying “You come to this world with nothing, and you shall leave this world with nothing.” Death is an inevitable phase of life which everyone would have to go through. While your CPF savings certainly belong to yours, the ownership would cease upon death. This is a fundamental universal truth. However, being a responsible wealth builder, I believe in forward planning. In this article, I will share my thoughts on the biggest myths about CPF nomination.

Recently, I have made my CPF nomination. The process was incredibly simple and easy. It is also free of charge. I was very impressed by CPF Board’s efficiency and service standard. Within three days, I got a follow-up call from a CPF officer confirming my nomination details were in order and within a week, I got an official letter from CPF Board.

CPF nomination

Will versus CPF nomination

The biggest myth about CPF monies is that you can make a will on it. Many Singaporeans are not aware that CPF savings are not covered under will. According to CPF Board website, CPF savings are not part of your estate. The policy intent is to protect from creditor claims on any outstanding …

What will happen to your CPF monies upon death?

CPF monies

Recently, my colleague passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind two young daughters and wife. His wife is a full-time housewife. In grieving his death, I wondered whether my family would be able to cope if I suffered the same fate. Like my late colleague, both of us are sole breadwinners. So, I can imagine the family’s financial concerns and the fundamental questions on the destiny of CPF monies upon death.

Most often, there are misconceptions on the distribution of CPF monies upon death. There were even false rumours that Medisave savings go to the government after death as they are not included in CPF Nominations. In this article, I will attempt to explain the framework and try to gain a better understanding of the system. Again, I must put a disclaimer that this article is not meant to be a legal nor financial advice. In case of any doubts, please seek advice from licensed professionals.

Upon death, you would want your loved ones to have access to your CPF savings. This is especially so if the family’s financial situation is not so ideal. You don’t want your family to undergo financial hardship after you passed on. Ultimately, how you plan your …

CPF Nomination and Making a Will

Astrea

The recent saga involving the will of the late founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, has cast a spotlight on will. Of course, it is ridiculous to question the validity of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will as he was a trained lawyer. But most Singaporeans are not lawyers by profession. So, it is important to understand the legal framework to avoid the devastating outcome of making the wrong will. In this article, I will also share what is the outcome if you did not make a CPF nomination.

Basically, a will is a legal document that indicates the instructions on how you wish to distribute your assets after you passed on. Technically, everyone can craft his own will without the aid of legal advisors. Although this is the case, it is not advisable to do so because most of us are not familiar with the laws in Singapore. I have seen so many sad stories of legal disputes involving the challenges on the validity of wills. The biggest tragedies are often the broken ties and damaged family relationships.

CPf nomination

Before proceeding, I need to clarify that I am not a lawyer by training and this article is not meant to …

Cancer in Singapore

trading

Cancer. The mere mention of it strikes fear in many people. Yet most of us would never imagine ourselves being inflicted by this horrible illness in our lifetime. Recently, an ex-colleague of mine died from stomach cancer. His death caused a stir in the office because he was young (in the mid-thirties) and had everything going well for him. What is it like for a wealth builder to be struck by cancer in Singapore?

According to data released by Health Promotion Board (HPB), cancer is currently the leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for 29.7% of deaths in 2015. In the investment community, ex-SGX CEO, Magnus Bocker died from cancer last month. Prior to that, founder of SharesInvestor.com, Dr Michael Leong lost his battle against colon cancer.

It seems like cancer is on the rise in Singapore. According to the HPB report, it was estimated that the lifetime risk for developing cancer in Singapore population is approximately 1 for every 4-5 people. This is not surprising as Singapore has an ageing population, so the number of people diagnosed with cancer is expected to rise.

Cancer in Singapore

In terms of statistic for cancer in Singapore, the number 1 cancer for males is …

Wealth destruction from CPF Accrued Interest

CPF Accrued Interest

Your CPF savings can be your best friend. But it can also be your worst enemy if you don’t manage it well. For some unknown reasons, some readers attacked me in my previous article, claiming that I wrote “misleading” and “nonsense” information on the CPF Accrued Interest. They refused to believe that CPF Accrued Interest could lead to potential wealth destruction if the game is not played correctly.

First of all, CPF Accrued Interest is of course your money! I have never disputed that in my previous article and I don’t know why some readers tried to stir up negative emotions without getting their facts right. I read my article over and over again and verified that I did not write that CPF Accrued Interest is not our money.

But then again, so what if readers know that CPF Accrued Interest belongs to them? Of more useful to them should be the understanding of the mechanism of CPF Accrued Interest right? Not understanding the law can cost you an arm or leg. In this article, I am going to discuss how wealth can be destroyed if Singaporeans mismanaged their CPF monies.

CPF Accrued Interest

Fundamentally, CPF’s principle is that whatever amount of CPF …

Devastating HDB Loan and CPF Accrued Interest

overseas properties

Be afraid. Be very afraid after reading this article. This is an article that all aspiring and existing home owners can ill-afford to miss. And I do mean it because you may live to regret for dismissing the message in this article. Today, I am going to share with readers the devastating effect of HDB Loan combined with CPF Accrued interest.

Many financial bloggers wrote about CPF accrued interest and HDB Loan. However, they may not have the real experience of purchasing an HDB flat or obtaining an HDB loan before. Most of them merely touched on the interest rate figures without providing much analysis on the bigger picture of the housing scheme framework in Singapore. In my perspective, this is dangerous as not knowing the full picture of the law can cost you an arm or leg.

However, I am different because in this article, I am going to provide some basic analysis and share with readers the frightening aspect of the HDB Loan and CPF Accrued interest. At the end of the day, I hope readers can avoid the financial pit-falls and grow wealth with me together. So, if you do find this article useful, please lend your …

Exemption from Home Protection Scheme (HPS)

HPS

One of my missions of starting this finance blog is to share with readers some useful tips on financial matters. In relation to one of my previous articles, a reader has raised a very good question on Home Protection Scheme (HPS). So today, I am going to share some information pertaining to how you can apply for exemption from HPS.

First of all, HPS is compulsory if you are using your CPF savings to pay your monthly housing loan installments on your HDB flat. Of course, there are some residents who are cash rich and do not use their CPF savings to pay their HDB mortgage payments. For this group of people, HPS is not compulsory.

But assuming you are using your CPF savings to service monthly HDB loan and would like to apply for exemption from HPS, then you may apply to CPF Board for exemption.

Most people thought that they should write to HDB when applying for exemption of HPS. The confusion is probably because when applying for coverage under HPS for HDB loan, you can apply for HPS cover at HDB Hub or any HDB branch office when you are applying to use your CPF for the …

Money values

silver

The recent court case of a Singaporean technician who stole to finance his wife’s chemotherapy set me thinking. Money, or the lack of it, has always been the root cause of many family tragedies. This tragedy certainly reinforces the importance of having the right money values.

The accused worked as a technician in the same company for 23 years and drew a salary of $1210. Having to support two school going children and his ailing wife who was diagnosed with cancer, the technician was driven to desperation to steal copper wires from his employer.

Like many readers, I sympathize the plight of the accused and can fully empathize his situation because I have been through similar rough patch in life before. Thus, the objective of writing this article is to highlight the lessons we can learn from this tragedy.

silver

Dignity in poverty

First of all, being poor is not a sin. But the Chinese has a saying that goes “dignity in poverty”. It simply means that even if one is poor, one must have dignity and not let poverty erodes his values in life. Indeed, our money values define our legacy and whether you like it or not, stealing is …

Online frauds in Singapore

OUE

Recently, SG Budget Babe wrote a very interesting article on online frauds in Singapore and I thought it would be useful to share a quick post on the same topic.

But before that, it is important to note that like many fraud victims, I share the same perspective and argument if I am in their shoes. But for argument sake, this article shall attempt to strike a balanced viewpoint from the perspective of the service provider (the bank) and the consumer. Hopefully readers can benefit from this sharing and avoid the undesirable fate of being a fraud victim.

Understanding the law

In Singapore, the law that governs electronic transactions is the Electronic Transaction Act (ETA). This law covers two important components of online transactions – Electronic Signature and Secured Electronic Signature. For an electronic signature to be legally recognized, it needs to be able to authenticate the person signing the document and ensure integrity of the document signed. However, if the service provider implemented secured electronic signature, the law automatically presume that these requirements are fulfilled.

SG Wealth Builder

The 2-FA authentication used by many local banks is deemed as a form of secured electronic signature and the system works based on “what …

Three things about growing wealth

SG Wealth Builder

This will be a short post to capture my thoughts about growing wealth in Singapore. In light of the recent Budget announcements, water prices will hike by 30% in two phases over two years. Thus, it is not matter of choice for Singaporeans to consider growing their wealth to beat the cost of living. All Singaporeans must start the journey as early as possible.

Stop tracking expenses

Early on in my wealth journey, I confess that I did track my monthly expenses and personal income religiously without fail. But I had stopped doing so after three years because I noticed there were no significant improvements in my personal cash-flow. Instead of enhancing my wealth, the quality of life inadvertently dropped as I suffered from guilt pangs whenever there were unexpected expenses incurred from friends’ outings or wedding dinner red packets.

After a while, I began to realize that my life should not be controlled by a spreadsheet. I need to be larger than life and start living a life. After all, we only live once. We are born into this world to enjoy, not suffer. With the change in mindset, I started to empower myself by focusing on how to …

Phone scams in Singapore

BullionStar

Times are bad and conmen are out in full force. Be aware of phone scams in Singapore. In a recent media report, a couple in Singapore lost $70,000 to a phone scam.

Apparently, the conmen posed as policemen and called the wife to inform that her credit card had been used for criminal activities in China. She was led into giving her online banking PIN number to facilitate investigation works. Subsequently, both husband and wife realized they had been conned and their savings had been wiped out within hours.

The speed at which the criminals stole their life savings left the couple in a state of shock. Within a day, they had lost everything and even had to borrow from friend for family expenses. Complete disaster.

One thing to note is that such a tragedy can happen to everyone. The common misconception is that only the elderly or less educated people are susceptible to falling prey to scams. This incident vindicated that when it comes to scams, everyone can be fooled. We must all stay vigilant and must never reveal our personal bank details and PIN number to anyone, not even to the authorities or enforcement officers.

For the young …

My dream for fellow Singaporeans

silver

As SG Wealth Builder, my dream is for fellow Singaporeans to have an equal opportunity to build wealth. That is why I chose this name for my blog. Even though I don’t work in the financial sector, through my articles, I hope that readers can gain valuable insights and learn from my investment mistakes.

Building wealth is a journey and requires a person to have a correct mindset. There are finance bloggers out there who wrote that more money cannot buy you happiness. I certainly don’t dispute this wisdom but then again, being poor in Singapore will certainly make you unhappy and miserable. If you belonged to the lower income bracket, it is understandable that you feel stressed out and insecure just trying to make a reasonable standard of living here. I have being through that phase in life and can certainly relate to this sort of feeling.

gold and silver

One thing that I must qualify is that I have not achieved financial freedom, nor am I trying to preach to readers on how to live a life. In fact, I am still a struggling middle-class income earner. But I feel that if Singaporeans can step out and share our investment or …

Are you a motivated wealth builder?

OUE

One of the worst nightmares of a salaried employee is being retrenched. This is especially so for mature workers in their forties and fifties. The prospect of losing your job at such career stage can not only be frightening, but also damaging to your financial health. In this regard, are you a motivated wealth builder?

Recently, a Singaporean called Mr Chua is still looking for work 6 months after losing his job. His experience is not unique in Singapore and can happen to anyone of us, given the competitive job market. To mitigate the damages arising from job retrenchment, we must always strive to be a motivated wealth builder.

One of the most common perceptions is that you must be good at managing your personal finances in order to be considered an effective wealth builder. To this end, I feel that ensuring employability and job longevity play an important role in our wealth journey as well. Most of us tend to place too much focus in our job and overlook the importance of enhancing new skills or knowledge with the aim of developing a second career in the later stage of our working lives. We are always too pre-occupied with …

10 Easy Ways To Make Extra Money

Gold and Silver

Although money makes the world go round, you may find yourself in a spin by not having sufficient funds in your bank account. But if you struggle to make ends meet, feel as though your pay cheque doesn’t go far enough or simply want some extra cash to spend on life’s luxuries, then consider giving one or more of the following 10 easy money-making tips a try:

1. Forex trading

Short for foreign exchange, forex is the largest financial market in the world and allows anyone to take advantage of currency fluctuations caused by interest rates, inflation, government policy, and a wide range of other factors. It has fewer barriers than other forms of trading and is simple to get going.

 2. Online surveys

Research companies are always on the look out for members of the public to answer online surveys and test new products. This can be done while watching TV or before you go to bed at night and will result in either cold hard cash or another type of reward.

 3. Sell your holiday snaps

You don’t have to be a professional to sell photographs, as stock image agencies constantly need new and novel images of far-flung …

CPF: 3 ways to avoid spending your golden years in “survival mode”

In recent years, there have been many articles of old folks in Singapore living in poverty. This prompted Dr Alexandre Kalache, former head of ageing issues at the World Health Organization (WHO) to voice concerns that Singapore still has much room for improvement in terms of helping elderly to age with dignity.  Whilst I do not have the data to illustrate the profile and root causes leading to the plight of these people, at the back of my mind, I wonder to myself what it is like to spend my golden years in survival mode. Can CPF savings be your ticket to retirement?

Perhaps one of the most controversial topics among Singaporeans would be – Do you really need your CPF to retire? Is the CPF scheme still effective in addressing the retirement needs of Singaporeans? To tackle these questions, one needs to trace the history of CPF and its original intent.

Implemented in 1955, CPF is a compulsory savings scheme that requires all employers and employees to contribute a portion of the employee’s monthly gross salary to their CPF fund. In those days, most workers depend solely on their personal savings when they retire and most employers did

Financial time bomb in Singapore households

Almost three-quarters of households in Singapore could face financial disaster in the future due to worrying levels of inertia around wills and life protection, a new survey by online matching service findaWEALTHMANAGER.com has revealed.

• 71% of affluent women in Singapore admit that they/their partner do not have an up-to-date will in place that reflects their current wishes
• Almost a further tenth simply do not know if this vital document has been kept up to date – this despite the fact that 38% of women say they take sole responsibility for financial decisions in their household
• Life insurance and income protection levels are also worryingly low, with just 60% of wealthy women confident that they/their partner have adequate provision in place
Almost three-quarters of households could face financial disaster in the future due to worrying levels of inertia around wills and life protection, a new survey by online matching service findaWEALTHMANAGER.com has revealed.

Currently, 71% affluent women in Singapore admit that they/their partner do not have an up-to-date will in place that reflects their present wishes, while a further 9% do not know if this vital document has been kept current.

Just as worryingly, almost a quarter (23%) …

CPF Medisave Minimum Sum to be scrapped on 1 January 2016

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in Parliament yesterday that the Medisave Minimum Sum will be scrapped next year January. For many Singaporeans who had been lamenting that their CPF monies “don’t really belong to them”, this is definitely a form of greater flexibility on the uses of their Medisave accounts. This is because when Singaporeans withdraw their CPF monies at age 55, they will no longer need to first top up their Medisave accounts to the MMS. Instead, they will only need to meet the withdrawal rules.

Another change would be the Medisave Maximum Ceiling, which would be fixed for each cohort of Singaporeans when they turn 65 years old. Mr Gan reiterated that the ceiling has to be raised every year to keep pace with rising inflation and increasing life expectancy. Given a choice, I would not touch my Medisave monies even if I am 55 years old now because the interest earned in Medisave account is so much higher than the current bank saving rates. However, going forward, the interest rate environment might change, so I really appreciate the scrapping of the Medisave Minimum Sum.

The revised Medisave rules is a sign that the government is beginning …

SG Wealth Builder’s Journey

wealth

As we enter 2015 and bid 2014 farewell, many of us are making new year resolutions to improve on areas which we would like to improve in the coming year. SG Wealth Builder is certainly no exception.

There were several ups and downs for me last year but overall, I think 2014 had been pretty good for me. There were also some lessons learned in my life journey which I hope to pen down in this blog, so as to remind myself not to repeat the same mistake again.

Family

This year, there will be a new addition to my family! My second child is expected to arrive in late April this year. To welcome this bundle of joy, for the past few months, I had been busy making arrangements for his arrival. My wife and I initially were planning to hire a domestic helper because we fear that she may not be able to cope with my daughter and baby son.

However, after several months of discussion, we decided not to go for it because of the concern that the maid would create more headaches and issues for us to manage. We had heard and read so many horror …

How to start your investment journey

Investment journey

Hi SG Wealth Builder,

I am Ryan and I am currently still schooling. I have read your articles on your blog and I am very inspired by your investment journey. I would like to get advice from you on how to make my first step. I want to create an income source and at the same time, learn and gain experience in investing. As I don’t come from a very well to do family, I always face struggle when it comes to money issues, for instance school fees. I have saved up to about 1k plus dollars and would like to know how can I start learning and make my first move. Please give me advice.Thank you,
Ryan
I received the email from one of my readers a couple of weeks ago and made some editorial amendments to the original content. It took me quite a while to craft out this article due to my recent massive pay cut in my day job. I was in a really distraught mode and was not quite in the right frame of mind to blog.
Investment journey
Nevertheless, I felt obliged to response to this young man because I can relate to his motivation

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

Money Wisdom from Li Ka Shing

StarHub retrenchment

Many Singaporeans want to be rich and retire early in Singapore. But not many of them are keen to invest the time and energy to gain the knowledge required to be a millionaire. I came across a recent article by well-known Hong Kong billionaire, Li Ka Shing who shared some tips on how to become rich. Li Ka Shing’s story is one of rag-to-riches, so his success is particularly inspiring.

Like many of you, I share the same aspiration to achieve financial freedom. While I have not achieved Li Ka Shing’s wealth status, his strategy resonates with my philosophy of having a growth mindset. This means that one should put in the extra effort to develop new skills and knowledge. Take note that none of his pointers below encourages you to hoard money like a scrooge.

In that article, he outlined a unique plan that can help to improve one’s financial destiny. His approach is refreshing to me because so far I have not come across anyone with a similar approach. Basically, the gist is to split your income into five portions.

Li Ka Shing

1st portion (Expenditure)
The first set of fund is to cover your living expenses. He elaborated that one

Budgeting

silver
When it comes to personal finance, budgeting is an important element. Yet I observed that many young Singaporean working adults fail to understand the importance of budgeting and how to practice it in an effective manner.

This is not surprising as most students were not taught about how to manage money in schools and at home, most parents also seldom discuss household budgets with their children. As Asian, we also find it taboo to talk about money issues during social meetings. All these factors reinforce the notion that budgeting is not relevant to successful personal finance, which is totally untrue.

Many people thought that budgeting is all about counting beans and tracking your daily expenses. But I beg to differ. Sure, there are means and various mobile apps designed to track your daily expenses but I find that managing personal finance at such micro-level would take the kick out of living a meaningful life.

silver

Just imaging this: having to think twice about buying or treating your good pal that cuppa of Starbuck coffee. Or how about skipping a close colleague just to save that ang pow money? Money is important but we should not let it rules our lives and

When to Use a Credit Card and Not Cash

Many people still pay for goods and services with cash and this is perfectly fine. Cash transactions are quick especially when you’re only buying a few items at the grocery store or convenience store. Using cash also lets buyers and merchants avoid fees associated with using a credit card. However, credit card issuersoffer their customers many benefits that could make it wiser to swipe your card the next time you pay for something.

Rewards, Rewards, and More Rewards

Rewards and bonuses are one of the main features of credit cards. Retailers that offer their own credit cards have a lot of promos for their customers as a way to gain loyal customers. Retailers such as gas stations and specialty stores promise their customers rebates and special discounts when customers use the store’s special credit cards. Some petrol stations in Malaysia for example, give 8% rebate on gas purchases with store-branded credit cards. It’s best to study your expenses and see whether your favourite store offers their own credit card. You could be saving a lot by using their credit card or at least earn more reward points. This is especially true for frequent flyers who want to earn more

New credit card rules in Singapore

Personal finance
In recent years, there were various articles on increasing trend of Singaporeans defaulting on their credit card payments. I think this is a worrying sign in Singapore. Below is a press release on a new government policy to curb lending practices by local banks.

11 September 2013
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has finalised changes to credit card and unsecured credit rules aimed at improving lending practices by financial institutions and enabling individuals to make better borrowing decisions.

2. The policy changes follow a public consultation, in which respondents generally supported the proposals. MAS has taken the public feedback into consideration and adjusted the proposals where appropriate. Details are set out in the responses to feedback received on the consultation paper.

3. The key policy changes are as follows:
(a) Financial institutions will be required to review a borrower’s total debt and credit limits before granting a new credit card or unsecured credit facility, or increasing the credit limit on such facilities. This is to enable a more realistic assessment of an individual’s borrowing capacity.

(b) Financial institutions will be required to disclose to individuals who roll over their credit card debts and revolving credit facilities the potential cost

Preparing for the worst through CPF nominations

Personal finance
Life is fragile and unpredictable. Many Singaporeans are so focused in making more money but they often fail to realize the importance of planning for the worst. If you think that preparing for the worst is all about buying expensive life insurance policies from your financial advisers, then you are wrong.

My dad passed away earlier this year. It was unexpected and my family was totally unprepared for his demise. Like many Singaporeans, my father did not plan his estate distribution and left without a Will. So we had some problems trying to close his bank saving accounts.

Personal finance
We were also initially unsure how to claim his CPF monies. Thankfully CPF Board wrote to us and informed that he had made a CPF nomination many years ago, so we were able to withdraw his CPF monies within weeks. The lesson learned out of this episode is to have a proper planning for financial matters while you are still around. It is important that you set clear directions on how you want the money which you worked hard for in your life to be distributed according to your wishes after you passed on.

Intestate Succession Act
In the absence of a

Pay yourself first

buy gold Singapore

In recent years, there were various articles on increasing trend of Singaporeans defaulting on their credit card payments. This is a worrying sign in Singapore. In fact, one of my readers commented that he belongs to the group of credit card payment defaulters and is struggling to settle his mounting bills. I hope he managed to dig his way out of the hole he created for himself, but I suspect it is going to be a long and tough road for him. I believe this is also the case for many young Singaporean adults who just entered the workforce and spend lavishly. In this article, I will share my thoughts on how to pay yourself first.

Financial Discipline
When I just started out working, I always thought that credit card gives consumers a false sense of purchasing power. It was only until when my brother, who works in the credit department of an international bank, pointed out that the key to managing credit card spending is financial discipline. It was then that I corrected my thinking. Having many credit lines or credit cards is not a bad thing in itself. After all, we can make use of the various point

Filing of Personal Income Tax

investment linked policy
It is that time of the year for Singapore taxpayers to file income tax again!

Recently, the government announced several Budget inititatives that aim to improve the lives of Singapore citizens. Most of the Budget goodies are targeted at the lower income group and I suppose most of the less well-off households in Singapore will benefit from the 2013 Budget. As I fell into the middle-income bracket, the only Budget goodies that I may be entitled would be the GST Vouchers and the 30% personal tax rebate.personal finance

Difference between Income Tax Relief and Income Tax Rebate
In Singapore, citizens are eligible for various applicable tax relief and rebate. It is important that tax payers understand the difference between tax relief and rebate because it can help tax payers to save thousand of dollars. Essentially, reliefs are deductibles which you can claim on your total income taxable while rebates are offsets on your tax payable.

Obviously given the tier system for Singapore’s personal income tax, the latter would have larger effect on your income tax payable. For example, if a tax payer is claiming the $4500 relief for taking care of his/her parents in 2012, he can only offset $4500 from …
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