My first CPF top up

Lifetime Membership Last weekend, I made my first CPF top up to my spouse’s CPF Special Account. The cash top up of $8,000 was meant to be a birthday gift to supplement her retirement savings but I have decided to do it on an annual basis going forward. Previously, I have written in this blog that I would never do a CPF top up for myself nor my loved ones. This is because CPF top up is irreversible. In this article, I will share the reasons for the change of heart.

By making CPF top up to our Special or Retirement Accounts, we can grow our retirement savings through attractive CPF attractive rates. In doing so, we will enjoy higher monthly pay-outs when we retire. Currently, savings in the Special Account (SA) and Retirement Account (RA) earn interest of 4% per annum. The first $60,000 of your combined balances (capped at $20,000 for Ordinary Account) earns an extra 1% interest per annum. If we start young, the compounding effect of the interest rate could snowball our retirement savings to a significant amount through the decades.

CPF top up

Apart from growing our retirement savings, CPF top up also allows us to enjoy tax relief.

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UOB share price in royal rumble with DBS and OCBC

It is the 3Q financial reporting season for the banks again. Will UOB share price edge over DBS and OCBC? With only 3 branches in Hong Kong, UOB Group has significantly smaller exposure to the Hong Kong civil unrests as compared to DBS and OCBC. But this is not to say that it is going to be a jolly ride for UOB share price.

For UOB share price, the real battle to be fought is actually the home ground – Singapore. After all, Singapore market is responsible for more than half of its operating profit. With Singapore economy slowing down in 2019, the outlook for UOB seems to be challenging.

UOB share price

By and large, 9MFY2019 results reflected a resilient performance as net interest income and net profit grew 7% and 8% respectively on a year-on-year basis. The report suggests that the strategy by merger wizard, Wee Cho Yaw, to focus growth mainly in Singaporean and South East Asia region had been prudent. As a result, I do not see UOB share price being shattered by the on-going fallout from the Hong Kong protests. The situation is different for DBS and OCBC, which had extensive businesses in Hong Kong through Dao Heng and Wing Hang banks respectively.

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Singapore Memories: Chinese TV Drama – The Unbeatables

As we celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday this year, I can’t help but look back at how much our society has transformed and progressed over the years. I grew up in the 80s, a time when smart phones and Internet were non-existent. Though life was simple, the pace was also less stressful. In fact, my generation’s main sources of after-dinner family entertainments were television and radio only. To capture the memories of this past generation, I decided to blog about this beautiful chapter of my life in a series of articles starting with this one.

Widely seen as the trail-blazer TV drama serial in Singapore’s Channel 8, The Unbeatables was the first show that featured gambling as the core theme and took the Singapore’s audience by storm more than twenty years ago. Even though the show was produced in 1993, an era without the distractions from cable TV and Internet, most Singaporeans would agreed that it was one of the greatest shows that SBC (the predecessor of Mediacorp) has ever produced, even until today. In my view, I would say that The Unbeatables, was truly unbeatable, and had set the gold standard for the media industry. For more than two decades, no other shows had come close to matching The Unbeatables’ quality, class and enthralling twists.

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July’s Stock Markets Outlook

Guest blogger Argutori is an avid blogger who manage a private portfolio. His fund pursues a fundamental value oriented strategy focusing on developing and frontier markets in the Asian region. The fund focuses on countries that have progressive foreign investment policies, young and growing populations, and stable or improving economic situations. The aim is to find and invest in companies that have stable franchises for good prices before the masses.
While my blog is largely focused on Southeast Asian stock markets, I also try to keep things in perspective and consider the global situation. Stock markets have had a relatively good run so far this year and there is a lot weighing on the US recovery, which has spilled over to emerging markets. I’m struggling to piece together the economic data, media commentary and market movements, which appear to me to be disjointed. Which lead me to ask “What’s really going to happen with equity markets for the rest of this year and how can I best position my portfolio?”


It feels like the world’s gone crazy and the markets aren’t acting in line with rational expectations – worse than anticipated economic data sends the markets up because it means that the Fed will have to keep pumping dollar bills into the system. 
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Press release: The End of Ethics and A Way Back

How to Fix a Fundamentally Broken Global Financial System
by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch and Jordan D. Mamorsky
SINGAPORE, April 26, 2013 – In this new book by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, Research Professor for the Spiritual Capital Initiative at Yale University and Jordan Mamorsky, attorney and Yale University postdoctoral fellow, The End of Ethics and a Way Back makes an impassioned call for an end to corrupt and irresponsible practices and the restoration of a more virtuous, ethics-based version of capitalism. It delivers a penetrating, at times controversial analysis of the demise of virtuous capitalism, and a road map for achieving a return to ethics, virtue, and sustainable economic growth. The End of Ethics and a Way Back is a must-read for lawmakers, financial regulators, financial advisors and auditors, journalists and media commentators, and all thoughtful observers of current affairs.
The authors explore some of the most outrageous recent examples of financial vice, including the London Interbank Borrowing Rate (LIBOR) scandal, the demise of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, ratings agency corruption, John Corzine’s MF Global, Tyco, and Bernie Madoff’s two-decade Ponzi scheme, among others. In a series of compelling case studies, Malloch and Mamorsky chronicle how those organizations and their leaders lost their way and the havoc their reckless, often criminal activities wreaked globally, before offering a set of structural and holistic solutions for our current ethical crisis in global governance.
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New law slams deceptive showflats

The following is an article courtesy of PropertyGuru

In a bid to ensure transparency, Parliament recently amended the Housing Developers Act enforcing strict regulations on marketing and information disclosure.

With the new laws, developers can no longer portray showflats that look larger than the end product through the use of glass panels instead of higher ceilings or brick walls, reported news portal Asiaone.

Furthermore, transaction prices reported should reflect all forms of rebates and discounts, including stamp duty refunds and furniture vouchers.

Errant developers could be fined up to S$100,000, and have their showflats inspected and if needed closed down, by the Government.

Senior Minister of State (National Development) Lee Yi Shyan, said the Bill will safeguard the interest of home-buyers and also enhance professionalism within the residential property industry.

“A home is, in most cases, the single largest investment in one’s lifetime. It is only right that home-buyers are provided with the appropriate tools and legal safeguards to make informed decisions,” he said.

Shabnam Muzammil, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact her about this or other stories email shabnam@allproperty.com.sg

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How to be rich in Singapore

While we may not have investment acumen like Warren Buffett, we can still become rich through buying distressed assets in Singapore. There are always bargain around us and its only a matter of patience for the right opportunity to come. As I mentioned in my previous posts, the best time to “strike” is when the economy takes its periodical dips.

Some of you might remember that during the mid-1980s when Singapore economy went through a very sharp downturn, some condominiums in the posh Balmoral areas were selling at $170 per square foot. In two years, the prices doubled and then in 2008, some units could command around $2000 psf. As the world financial market became so globalized, the sudden need for fund managers to sell institution’s assets created good opportunity for those with financial means and knowledge to purchase assets at good bargain.

Many of us often hear stories of colleagues or friends who manage to pick up such good buys but if we make the conscientious effort to keep ourselves well informed and have the money to pump in when bargains present themselves, we can just be as successful. As the saying goes, the time to buy is when blood is on the streets!

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Ten habits of highly effective entrepreneurs

1. They note down their ideas (just like my Investment Notebook). If there is an ah-ha moment, they would quickly note it down and revisit the idea again.

2.They think through their ideas over and over again to see if they can be successful. Sometimes their ideas might have been implemented by others. But if they are able to develop a better and more cost effective way of doing it, then they stand a higher chance of winning.

3. They do their homework and spend tonnes of effort on researching. After all, no generals would like to fight a losing battle.

4. They can sell their ideas effectively. In business, if you cannot sell, you are finished. To make money, you must know sales tactics.

5. Passionate about their ideas. Conviction and belief are key to a successful business idea. A successful entrepreneur would always speak with a belly of fire whenever they touch on their projects.

6. They have no qualms in making revisions to their business strategies and adapting to changes if it means to making more money.

7. Great entrepreneurs are fiercely resilient and do not give up easily without a good fight. They are not affected by setbacks and would do anything to win.

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Three ways to become rich in Singapore Part II

In my previous post “Three ways to become rich in Singapore”, I have some readers providing feedback and comments. I appreciate readers for taking precious time to read my blog postings and provide their valuable comments.

One of my readers commented that “dividend investing” can also make you rich. Whilst I agree that investing in fixed income, be it stocks or unit trusts, is considered a source of side income, it does not really make you “rich”.

In my personal context, being rich means to enhance one’s wealth substantially. Dividend investing may provide additional fixed income but it also have its risk – decreasing stock prices and liquidity problem.

I still believe that the best three ways to become rich in Singapore is to invest in property, do business and work in the sales line.

Join me in my investment journey and read my financial adventures for free! You can opt to subscribe email updates on my articles for free by entering your email address below.

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Magically yours,

SG Wealth Builder


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Funding options

I was doing some research on funding options for entrepreneurs in Singapore and decided to blog down some of my newly-acquired knowledge. We have often heard about angel investors, venture capitalists, seed funding and incubators. Many question and wonder the roles, involvement and motives of these various categories of investors with regards to the development of enterprises. Hope this article can bring some form of clarity.

Basically there are two ways an entrepreneur can obtain funding: either through debt financing or equity financing. Debt financing is usually secured against certain assets and the creditor has the power or rights to demand repayment of any money owed, should the company be forced to close down. On the other hand, an equity capital involves the exchange of shares in the company for funds. The equity investors bear the risk of losing their investment should the company failed or benefit through participation in profits. Below are some common form of equity financing:

Angel investors
Angel investors are private investors who are wealthy individuals looking to park their excess wealth into new ventures. They usually provide capital for commercial start-ups, in exchange for equity or convertible debt and they typically invest between $25,000 to $500,000.

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Investment 2011: A Volatile Year for the Stock Market

On the last trading day of the year, the local stock market, STI, ended with a drop of 1%(-26pts). Volume was low,with 437 million shares traded. The anemic action showed that investors were staying on the sidelines on what was typically the lowest volume sessions of the year. This could be because many brokers were still away for the Christmas and New Year holidays. It could also be due to the fact that most investors are trading cautiously nowadays and adopted wait-and-see investment positions for the coming year. After all, 2011 had been such a incredibly volatile year and most investors can’t wait for it to be over.

Due to the relative small market size, STI’s performance has always been affected by global stock market’s condition. As a result, there were much volatlity this year caused by the Europe debt crisis, upheaval in the Middle East (Arab Spring), a devastating Japanese earthquake and a struggling United States economy (high unemployment). Stock markets throughout the world were battered by negative news weeks after weeks and investors were made to seek safety in other forms od investments such as dividend stocks, blue chips, gold and Treasuries.

As we look back 2011, most of the problems seemed to be contained or resolved.

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2011 In Review

The year 2011 is coming to an end. On reflection, I realized that I had deviated a lot from my resolution set earlier in the year and found that my savings is depleting fast. This is in part due to the fact that I got married, bought my 1st resale HDB flat, bought my 1st pre-owned car, sold my car and then bought my 2nd pre-owned car. All of these took a toll on my savings and affects my financial planning. My only consolation now is I am still holding on to my job. Not sure what 2012 may bring.

Magically Yours

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India Sourcing Fair (Dec 6-8 2011, Suntec City Int’l Convention & Exhibition Centre))

Hot on the heel after the recently held China Sourcing Fair in November 2010 is the India Sourcing Fair. It would be held in Singapore’s Suntec City Int’l Convention and Exhibition Centre from Dec 6 to 8 2011.

You may use this opportunity to diversify your supply base with new manufacturers from India.With various suppliers from different industries, the India Sourcing Fair in Singapore can help to add variety to your product line and differentiate your business. You may also use this chance to target a niche market – the Indian’s market in Singapore. The opportunities are aplenty, it depends on how you strategize and play your game.

The various products on offer are:
1) Home products
2) Gifts and premiums
3) Fashion and accessories
4) Garments and textiles
5) Food and beverage
6) Hardware and building materials
7) Machinery and industrial supplies

For more information, check out http://tradeshow.globalsources.com/TRADESHOW/SINGAPORE-INDIA-SOURCING-FAIR.HTM. Please note that this fair is for trade only and strictly no retail or sample sales. Attendess must be 18 and above.

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Mobile Application Developer

With increasing ownership of smartphones in Singapore, there is a growng number of mobile apps developers seeking a slice of the action. According to iMerlion, there are about 100 developers in Singapore, up from zero 2 year ago. Many of these apps have no real life applications but a lot of them are popular due to their entertainment values.

Many app developers are seduced by the fact that they can earn money while working from home. Apparently, the seduction is strong enough to make several successful executives quit their high-paying full-time jobs. According to The Straits Times, dated 6th November, a Mr Lim Thye Chean actually resigned from his job as chief technology officer with a Malaysian technology firm to start his own app programming company.

Just how lucrative the market is? Well according to the article, you can potential earn $10,000 in a few months if your app is in demand. If you have an unique idea and wants to develop an app, it doesn’t matter if you have a computer science background or not. You just need to spend some time learning the programming code and there you go!

What are you waiting for? Catch the app craze while it lasted!

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Wedding Emcees Website

My partner and me are currently in the midst of preparing for our wedding next year and we are considering whether to engage a professional emcee or seek our friends’ help on our big day. The problem is, I do not have any guy friends who are comfortable being a wedding emcee and we feel that the market rate for a professional wedding emcee is too expensive. I thought that even if an emcee was recommended to me by words of mouth, I would like to know his style, looks and rate in advance before engaging his services. After all, nobody likes to engage a balding fat uncle to be their wedding emcee even if he is very good!

I thought that it would be a great online business idea to have a website that promotes a mixture of up-and-coming and popular emcees. Ideally, the website should post their photos, track records, emcee rates and their selling points for users to consider. Of course the website should also contain contact numbers or email for couples to make arrangement with the emcees to discuss the details or to check their dates of availability. You can earn money by either charging commission fee for each successful booking or charge listing fees from the emcees. 

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Creating an online pharmacy

Have you ever woke up early on Saturday mornings or having to rush off from office just to purchase some healthcare products from the hospital’s pharmacy for your family members? Don’t you just wish for a 24/7 pharmacy store? With Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, an online pharmacy definitely serves a niche demand for the busy working executives taking care of their elderly parents.

CGH mypharmacy
Enter CGH’s mypharmacy, Singapore’s first online pharmacy store. I have been using mypharmacy for the past 4 months to purchase continence products for my dad and I totally love it! I no longer have to wake up early on Saturday mornings or rush down to the hospital from work.The key reasons why I like mypharmacy:

1) Free delivery for minimum purchase of $100 items
2) You can choose to pay by cash, cheque or credit card
3) Loyalty points for redemption
4) Wide range of products
5) Very transparent shipping policy (you can check out the shipping schedule for the expected date of arrival of your purchase).

Online Business Idea
There is definitely a demand for online pharmacies given Singapore’s greying population. If you are interested, you can focus on selling healthcare products rather than healthcare supplements/medicine.

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