Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Dear reader

Think about it. When was the last time you got a multi-bagger? Probably quite some time ago. And such things don't come by easily.

So do 50 dollar notes on the floor. So does getting a 1-digit ballot number at the BTO. They are things and opportunities that are hard to come by. 

But when such opportunities do fall onto our laps, we must first be able to recognise its presence. Not knowing that this is an opportunity could result in it slipping away even before we know it. It is thus important to widen your knowledge and be on top of current affairs and news all the time. 

Having the courage to grasp the opportunity is hard to do as well. Who would have dared bought stocks and shares during the financial crisis of 2009? Few did. And they had reaped much in terms of gains.

However, being able to recognise opportunities and having the balls to grab them is not enough. Do you have the money to buy in at that point? If your war-chest is less than adequate, any purchase would not translate into meaningful gains. 

Lastly, having some conviction is a great help. I know of people who took profits on their winners way too soon. A few hundred could have ended up as tens of thousands. 

Anyway, these are just words that would probably be lost on you. 

From Wikipedia, some luck

Thursday, 23 April 2015

40K VS 100K

Someone asked me what's the difference between having $40,000 and $100,000 in the CPF SA by age 35.

Here's the response, assuming a 4% compounding interest with zero contribution till age 55:

The current BRS is $80,500. I do not think it will remain as that sum in 20 years time.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Last week saw two things about Singapore that went viral globally...somewhat.

After being teased by the manipulative Cheryl, the world got bombarded by roses and broccoli ala-Chen Tian Wen's Unbelievable.

Most of the world probably thought Singaporeans must be mad to have such Math/logic based questions for its teenagers to attempt. The standards of tests must be very high. 

Then we get some over the hill actor who shimmies with roses and vegetables in a catchy retro number. The world must think we are not too serious with ourselves and can have a good laugh while at it.

I think it was a good thing. 

Singapore and Singaporeans can be serious, yet fun at the same time. That's a global advantage.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


When I last heard that more than 40% of people in USA do not have any savings at all, I was a bit disturbed, and curious.

How did Singaporeans fare at the savings game? A quick search on Google revealed the following.

Singaporeans fare only worse than India and China in savings at 24%.

But the crappy thing according to NUS is...Singaporeans do spend a lot of their money.

Money is meant to be spent right? Well, yes and no if you ask different people.

I have seen and heard of people who are always asking each other about the best places to dine, shop and holiday. Some even ask very casually, so when are you changing your car? What model is it going to be?

I used to entertain these suggestions and ideas posed to me in serious fashion. Nowadays, I simply laugh and shrug it off. Maybe it's the age, or maybe it's a sense of responsibility? I do not know.

But I do know one thing for sure, no one is going to help you when you are down and out to your last penny/cent. No one is going to remind you that you should not have splurged on that XXX holiday, or spend 1/4 of a million dollars on that XXX car. 

They are just going to think, what a dumb fellow, serves him/her right for overspending. 

And that is a fact of life. You are solely responsible for your own life, your own money and your own dignity.

Having no money hurts. And a lot of people do not realise that.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Not very bright I must say. And to keep up with its dividend payment of 7cts, I am not sure how much it is digging into its own pockets.

The more worrisome thing is this.

It may not be new. But it just makes the newspaper business much more of a concern for me. By lumping it with other media related subsidiaries and associates make things a bit more opaque. 

Look at it this way, circulation numbers have been the same over the years. But the Singapore population has been rising. 

What gives?

Monday, 13 April 2015


The weekend papers are usually dominated by retail, property and auto ads. The introduction of the ABSD and TDSR killed some of that revenue as property firms pulled ads given dismal sales.

This weekend brought new lows.

I remembered taking advertising and copy-writing classes many years ago....and the first thing they taught was USP. Or the Unique Selling Point of the product or service offered.

I guess in the case of Kingsford Waterbay, its USP is its cheapness. That ad came on Saturday.

The next day came more dismal news in the form of an article in the Sunday Times.

It would seem that people are not able to fork out cash or are willing to get into debt for their second bite at the HDB cherry. These folks have apparently counted their sums and realised that sales proceeds from existing flat would be less and thus affecting their finance and reno of the new flat in waiting. So says Chris from Chris International.

I think more of such pain would come. Or is this the proverbial 'bottom'?

I leave it to your own conclusion.

Thursday, 9 April 2015


After Iceberg Research was done with Noble, here comes Muddy Waters to screw the living daylights out of the agri group.



I used to have a handful of credit cards. Not that I used them all. I mostly stuck to the one which offered cashback for almost every purchase made. 

The cashback used to come to me in a cheque via snail mail. Now, it just gets offset from the current bill. On top of that, I clear my bills more often now. As and when there are purchases accumulated, I make some transfers via AXS online.

But I have also heard some stories on how some people get by with paying the minimum $50 just to roll over the payments at 24% interest. I cannot stomach that. Someone reminded me that is how some people live from pay cheque to pay cheque. Some even use credit cards as unsecured loans for big ticket items like luxury watches or even to pay for weddings.

All's well and fine if one could pay up on time. If you are not able to, I would suggest saving up a bit more before making that big purchase/decision.

Minister Lawrence Wong in a parliament reply to MP Foo Mee Har in Mar 2015 on her question pertaining to individual indebtedness - "However, an estimated 4-5% of borrowers may be above the 12-month borrowing limit." 

I dread the day when these 5% fall through the cracks. It would require much resolve and effort before one could crawl back to light. 

For more information on managing your money better, do visit MoneySense

Monday, 6 April 2015


This means anyone taking personal loans, loans for buying home appliances/furniture etc.

And oh. Credit cards as well. I spoke about it some posts back.

The good thing is the hit would be phased in. The inferred bad thing is, the situation on the ground is not all that rosy. But steps are taken with the relevant help agencies like CCS ever ready.

If you notice the phasing in period ends in July 2019. Perhaps that is MAS' take on when 'peak interest rates' will occur?

Sunday, 5 April 2015


I will not be sharing on investing ideas or what are the potential counters which I am looking at in this post.

Some people are more open in such matters, I am not. Perhaps I will provide some ideas to very close friends on what would be a good stock/company to look out for. But that's all.

Why so?

Because I will not be able to take responsibility for your losses, if any. And I do not expect you to share your winnings or profits, if any.

So, I am therefore quite ambivalent when it comes to sharing of such ideas. 

I have been provided some investment ideas in the past. I find them mostly inaccurate and created by rumourmongers to ensure that there are people who end up carrying the 'babies'. 

But those were the days long gone. The Singaporean investment climate had gotten a little more sophisticated, I hope. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015


A 1% drop for the first quarter flash estimates by HDB on resale flat prices continues the slide downwards. What does this mean for the man in the street? 

If the 1% decline is maintained for four quarters, that would conservatively shave 4% off prices by end 2015. Not a small sum I would say.

BTO pricings are in some ways affected and influenced by resale prices in the vicinity. Sure, a broad discount is applied on new offerings. But should the resale prices be on the down trend, could we possibly see cheaper BTOs being offered?

I am not sure. But it will help out on the pockets a bit for the new home owner. It's also any body's guess as to how sellers of resale flats would take this news.