Work, Travel Insurance, CPF, business account, HDB.. what else?…

just got back from a long work trip, finally taking some personal down time to just sit back relax, kiao kar and zhuo bo time. But i wasn’t being idle, took this chance to sort out personal and family administration.

work : O&G exploration activities are picking up, albeit sporadic, mostly in the Middle East region. oil prices still hovering +/- $50 for the longest time ever, which is neither here nor there.   gone were the days where oil companies were splashing out the moolah extravagantly, with long term contracts, but now they are mostly going on trial well basis, or per X number of wells. its really shitty terms, and the margins are so razor thin, its almost like working for free. and those are furthur down the foodchain aka yours truly, the pie gets  so minutely small, that you might need a microscope to see where the pie crumble fell off.  those interested to get deep insights on the O&G should read Rolf Suey blog. He has some really good insights. He may come across as always seeing the glass half empty at first, but after you read and when you delve deeper, it is enlightening.

CPF: Parents were asking me what to do with their CPF; since they dont need the money  at the moment. Due to the ever changing cpf rules , and depending on how old you are, there are certain rules that may or may not apply to you. i tried to read the website, but its too frustrating and gave up coz myself and both my parents, have differing rules. we decided to make a trip to the nearest cpf branch. next day, we went in late morning and waited 15min for our turn. people waiting were 95% folks above 55 (duh), and surprisingly quite efficient and organized. the whole discussion with the cpf officer took about 90min, and ate into her lunch time. oops.

anyway, the conclusion was to to max their limits on their MA and RA to ERS. there are still 6 months to end of this year, so lets see how much interest they will get come 2018. I believe it is going to be bountiful =).. one thing to note though, if one is still working, dont top up max; do leave a buffer of at least 7K , so that you can do a VC to claim personal tax relief of the same amount.

there is also this little known rule, which i didnt know: if one has >$4000/yr in income (rental, work, etc), there is no 7k personal relief for the sender. so unless your recipient is house maker with  no declarable income, then this 7k is very useful.

btw, since i was there, i went  ahead  with my CPF nomination too…  i got that idea when i read about it at B’s blog (CPF) previously, and i thought,  why not. since i have no dependents, i just nominated my siblings.

biz account: I registered a sole proprietorship (SP) business with ACRA, $165 for 3 years, including the entity name. I wanted to segregate the monies from my personal account, so researched into what time of business account for small time biz, esp for SP.  i guess if you open a separate savings account, should do the trick. But i wanted the SAL giro code to be reflected in case, i do decide to pay out a salary in the future. I went with Maybank flexibiz account.as it is the most simplified; no min bal, no monthly fee, ibanking available, its a pay-if-you- use feature.  i must say, its quite headache free and simple.

there is good blog post to compare the 3 most common biz account (3-top-choices-startup-banking-partners)

USD account: Ever since DBS started charging for OTC USD transactions early this year. i stopped using their multi currency account (MCA) for moving USD. i withdrew the USD in cash and kept it home collecting dust.  Recently  i found out about the SCB high account (USD), which seems to be actually even more  practical than DBS MCA. ie they provide a debit card which means, purchases on US website is direct deducted. so no need for shitty fx rate from visa/mastercard/paypal. and also a cheque book, which , to be honest, not sure what i am going to use it for.

the other useful part, which to me is the best;  you can use these USD funds on the the SCB trading platform, to buy US-denominated equities. SCB is known for their lousy internal fx rates.

interest rate is paltry, so don’t bother to ask. that’s not the point for opening this account anyway.

update: just received the USD debit card in the mail today. only 2 days after i opened the account. impressive.

travel insurance: a months before my annual plan was coming up, i was shopping around, i usually just take the cheapest one, since there is not much loyalty ie NCD that kinda stuff to stick to one company. last year i was on direct asia (DA) about 230+ / year, worldwide. there premium increase abit more like 10+ bucks, which is not much.

for those who travel more than once a month for work or leisure, i strongly urge to get your personal  travel insurance. maybe your company provides travel insurance, but it is usually only on TPD situation. but thats another thing altogether. for me the insurance is to give me a piece of mind, esp nowadays, when you can get bumped off the flights, delays are getting common. (a few days ago, T2 got shutdown. can you imagine the start of the holiday getting delayed, and the domino effect?)

there was an incident many years ago, that luggage on my maiden trip to latin america was misplaced. as there was only a daily flight. my luggage will only turn up 24hrs later. usually the standard is $200 per 6 or 8 hour block of delay (depending on which company). so you do the maths. just one incident like this is enough to cover the cost of the insurance and still left over for a impromptu early shopping trip to the nearest mall.

as i was comparing the different offerings (there are too many! and they all have different disclaimer on the types) i didnt bother to look at the death payout. i whittled it down to the benefits of the travel inconvenience; narrowed to baggage delay, travel delay, medical claims overseas, loss of valuable etc. these are the most likely to happen. at that time, i have not decided which one to go with yet.. but few days before i was due back home, i had some personal claims due to travel. and, my personal experience with DA has been  surprisingly nothing short of amazing. you would think that the insurance coy will drag their feet on claims and payout. but their claims officer is very prompt and the best thing, is you always deal with the same person, so no need to keep repeating the same thing over the phone to different operator. after submission of the proper docs, i got the cheque in my mailbox in <10 days. sweeettttt…

needless to say, i renewed with the next day =) **btw, this not advertorial. i don’t get any nuts for it.

HDB: still looking around for a 3~4BR HDB resale near my parents. went for viewing but the resale prices still seems on the high side. dohh.. the resale index sis misleading man

For the financing part, my plan (for now), is to use as much cash as possible for the D/P and use bank loan, instead of hdb loan. solely basing on the difference in interest rates. not sure if this will be a wise move, since hdb loans are more flexible than bank loans. have to study that part abit more. my preference is to leave the cpf untouched as much as possible. i did a transfer of roughly half from OA to SA/MA previously to let it slowly compound till my withdrawal age. In any case, i intentionally left the balance in the OA that will be enough to pay for at least 2 years of installment.

not sure if any readers out there have insights on HDB subletting: if i get a resale, and i want to rent out just a room, do i need to fulfill the 5 year MOP? ie, i buy today, can i rent out one room tomorrow. i know for sure, if whole flat, you will need the 5 year MOP. not sure about if its just a room.

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Ready, get set, ggooo… 2017

Time flies when you are having fun eh… almost 2 months since the last post, and we are already midway into the second month of 2107… this year’s CNY seems to be extra busy….  “chap goh mey” has just past too..

the market has been running up pretty good, and took the chance to offload some counters  late Jan/early feb..ie OCBC, valuetronics, hock lian seng… quite happy, with the few Ks of gains… till i saw today’s closing price, and wow… OCBC and valuetronics actually went up at least 5% more… oh well, i always remind myself to be contented with the small blessings

another extremely interesting thing that happened, which is definitely worth a mention, during the 3rd day of CNY,  i actually met up with a fellow finance blogger.When i started out this blog, it didnt occur to me that i would be interested in meeting fellow bloggers.. but hey, birds of the same feathers flock together (pardon the corny pun , since we are in the year of the fowl)

Lets call him LF for now… (which is extremely weird, since i have the same exact initials too.!) Fortunately, we were both back in Sgp around the same period and our schedules fell into place nicely,  thus we arranged to meet at the West… LF looks very young, and have to say, impressed with his knowledge for someone his age… we had a short coffee catch up, chat and put a face to the name… i believe he is one who values his privacy alot , so i wont say much about his private life, other than the fact that he is a fellow Singaporean living in a certain part of Europe.

anyway, below is his blog. And  if anyone should happen to swing by his part of Europe. no harm to check out his airbnb listing, and i am sure he will be a nice host to bring you around. =)

i always enjoy meeting fellow Singaporeans when i am abroad. somehow everyone just clicks, just like long lost relatives.

http://www.livingafreelifetoday.com/blog/

 

Dec review

Peering thru my window and just thinking to myself, wow, another year flew past. it had been pretty challenging and eventful for me and my industry. Thank God that everything work out relatively well, compared to many others; and at the same time, reminding myself to be thankful for every blessings, no matter how small it may be.

decided to do the review of 2016, and as i tally up the dividends for 2016, i was pleasantly surprised that it was more than the previous year, since most of the counters that i held seems to have cut their payout. it didnt increase by alot (+15%) compared to the previous year , but hey, when the outcome was not expected. it is kinda of a bonus. i did increase my purchase, but not significantly, due to limited warchest  allocated to  other commitments.

  • 2015: $23,718
  • 2016: $27,466 (15.80%)

how did the rest of you guys do for 2016?

2016-divd

eVIMC course review (BigFatPurse)

currently stuck in the hotel in Bahrain while processing some work documents. was wondering what else to do, other than work, and i remembered i signed up for the eVIMC few weeks back. finally got the chance to complete the course today.

coming from an engineering background. i find the course quite refreshing (maybe those with fiance background may think otherwise).. Engineers have a tendency to prefer to look at numbers, excel sheets, so to me, i like the way it was presented.

in a way, kinda remind me of uni lectures.

pros:

  • presentation is clean and neat
  • user interface is straightforward
  • lessons were short and sweet. not too long, that will bore you
  • simplifying the concept of CNAV
  • establish a set parameters to follow
  • very good introduction for those starting out investing
  • can relate to the 2 x SGX eg mentioned in the course

cons:

  • to be honest, i was a little disappointed that the 2 stocks CNAV revealed at the end were not SGX stocks.
  • perhaps a tad expensive? can be cheaper, since this is pretty much the most basic course in the product line (ok ok , i know i am a cheapo)

overall, i would recommend those who are starting out investing, and trying to find their footing and establish their own investing method. but probably those who already have their own method of screening and have been successfully identify winners for the past 5 years, probably can give this a miss.

PS: this is author’s personal view. oh, yes, no rewards or monies were paid.

those who have also taken the course, what are your thoughts? managed to find any CNAV stocks that fits the bill?

 

Single Resale, or not?.. hmm..

I was thinking about this while on the plane.. hope fellow readers can enlighten me

 

Now that I am eligible for to buy a resale hdb (ok yes, that’s a dead giveaway on my age)

And  my budget is around 300k for a 3BR (so comes with 1 master BR + 1 common BR)

Maybe some minor reno to touch up, say +10k?

 

20% downpay = 62k (cash + cpf)

Monthly mortgage will be paid by cash, since I have no cpf.

 

my plan is to rent it out. (sublet the master BR, since I don’t intend to live there.  I cannot rent out the whole unit either, since I have not fulfilled the 5 year MOP)

assuming, I can rent the master room for 1k/mth. ( location; non-matured estate in the west. ~500m to MRT))

 

Rent = 12,000

Expenses  = 1600

  • Utilities – 600/year
  • 1month commission to agent – 1000

Yield = 12,000 – 1600  / 310,000 = 3.3%.

 

Questions:

Is it better to take a HBD loan or bank loan?

Are my calculations too simplistic?

Anything else I missed out?

Or, is it better to leave the funds in CPF? Or just move it from OA to SA acct to get 4% guaranteed?

If let’s say, I do settle down in the future, does buying a resale hdb (while on single status) put me in a disadvantage or whatsoever?

Any other comments?

Wake me up, when September ends..

Feels like it is  going to be a quiet September, at least for me, since i will be travelling overseas for work tomorrow

So what did i do over the long weekend?… went online shopping for a couple of HDD for my Synology NAS from the comfort of my home.  Now i totally understand how our shopaholic counterparts feel;  Don’t need to change out of PJs, don’t need to brush your teeth, sipping coffee while browsing online.. no crowds, no worry of rain (biker’s nightmare) etc ..

this time i tried Lazada (via shopback => *referral link alert*) … and surprisingly, it is much better platform than Qoo10. the sellers are more reputable, and shipping is so much faster (some of them offer free shipping too) than the latter. There was a $30 voucher over the long weekend + shopback  1% + amex 3%.

Then i suddenly thought of marvelous idea (ok, maybe not so marvelous, perhaps alot of people are doing it already? i was just slow to the party)

I used my primary email account to refer myself to the secondary  to signup a new shopback account. Hence, second purchase = $30 voucher + shopback $5 (first timer) + shopback 2% (first timer) + amex 3%

i was so proud of myself.. i think i save about easily ~$80  in total.

the only bugbear about shopback is that it needs 75days for the rebate to be credited to your account and thereafter, you need a min of $10 to cash out. Oh well, money saved is still better than none.

 

hmm, what else, did i do?…

  • send out the CDP letter for Croesus DRP
  • apply for the Soilbuild PO. Forgotten my pin, as rarely use OCBC so had to visit the nearest branch (Dear soilbuild managers, if you are reading this, can you please also include POSB/DBS atm? first time i come across scrip that only has OCBC & UOB atm?!)
  • Sold 19k USDSGD.
  • bought Ringgit (finally cross the psychological 3 mark again)

 

last but not least, i shall leave you with the song from Greenday, which is also the title of the of the post.  (you can go straight to 1:48, if you don’t want to hear the sappy part)

.…Make Love, not War…

August updates

wow, just realised what i long time i haven’t actually blogged.  past few months have been quite trying; job wise not so smooth sailing due to the current weakness in oil price, hence  jobs have been far and few. (in fact, only once to the Middle East, but that didn’t turn out too well either) Hope things get better in the 4Q. Otherwise, income will be taking a pretty big hit for 2016

So let me see, what have i been doing for the past few months?

  1. tidied up up excel portfolio, currently trying to streamline. excel sheet is getting too messy.
  2. still contemplating if I should move my shares from CDP to SCB? (basically, to take advantage of the 0.18% comms. but the sucky thing is there is a 10.70 per counter for transferring in. still in discussion if can get SCB to waive that bloody charge)
  3.  divestment on my counters that ran up
  4. divested some CPFIS UT that i bought during my early working years
  5. took up rights issue
  6. bought some bonds
  7. due to restricted cashflow, could not invest in more counters than i wanted
  8. read up on couple of  books while at work/travel/nua-ing
  9. renewed my term life policy
  10. set up a tiny family portfolio, with contributions from interested family member
  11. identified a few potential 3 or 4-rm HDB resale

 

since it was my birthday month;

  1. treated myself to a Synology NAS.
  2. transferred $24,000 from OA to SA (in anticipation for my 55th birthday when i retire)

 

Dividends YTD: $18,088( cash+SRS)                                                                                                    not too shabby, but also nothing to shout about either. unlikely to have much improvement from last year, since most of the companies i am vested in have cut their dividend payout. still a long way from my immediate target of $36,000 p.a.

Total (stocks): $423,599.38
portfolio is in the red due to the O&G counters i am vested in

Total (CPF+SRS): $253,846.53
growing slowly but surely.

 

last but not least, thanks for Rolf  for your kind advice =)

 

 

 

vezted; a simple corporate news aggregator

I came across this website (through Derek’s Thefinance.sg) and thought it was worth a mention.

Have you always wondered when is the CD, X’D or some particular announcement, for a particular coy, and then have to go SGX website , click this, click that….

I was playing around with this website www.vezted.com for a week… and initially, i didn’t have much expectations about it. but the more i used  it, the more useful I found it to be. For a start, if you want to know when a particular coy is going to pay your dividends. It will show you the payable date, as well as the DPS. (and the CD and X’D dates too.) see screenshot below

you can choose which coys to “follow”. just do a quick search using the name, and “follow” to have it on the RHS shortlist. Thereafter, the respective coy’s events are organised in a chronological order. Thought it was a pretty cool feature. As an engineer, I tend to prefer things to be in a certain order, like in a gantt chart type of deal =)

To some, maybe its too simple but I totally dig the clean interface and the ease of use. There is really not much too it, actually, other than the fact that all your vezted (pun intended) coys and those on your shortlist, can be viewed in one clear screen. I know some may find websites that allow you to track your portfolio more useful, but I believe most of us already do it, with a personalized excel sheet or some sort. I view vezted as more of a complementary tool to what you currently have.

Personally, there is only one bugbear; when you start adding more companies to follow, the news tends to load a tad slower. (maybe its my internet connection? since i am overseas.)

Not sure who the owner(s) of this website is, but keep on the good work. !!

PS:. no vezted interest in this website. just a goodie to share to everyone.

vezted.JPG

Decoupling; Part II

well, there you go.. the ST article on the so-called loophole, though HDB refuses to admit that it was a tactic used by 6000 HDB dwellers every year, since the ABSD rule came into effect in 2012.

lets low ball this figure and assume only 1000 dwellers out of the 6000 every year, bought a modest $1m private property. A quick calculation will show that the $210m (7% ABSD) of  ADSB lacking from the tax coffers. The paper-pushing president scholar sitting in the housing ministry should be promoted for discovering this loophole and thus saving millions for the government.

I blogged a short post on this a few weeks back. Decoupling loophole; plugged.

HDB trsfr

How to download free e-books from NLB

I recently found out that one can actually download free ebooks from National Library  Board (NLB). Hence I gave it a try on my android tablet. My intention is that i can always read this when on the train, plane, or waiting for a friend…

the instructions are listed at the end of this post. I admit, its kinda bit iffy. the process is not very streamline, as you need to both download and sign up two different accounts with Overdrive and NLB. Takes about 20 min, depending on your internet time.

After all the sign up and buggering around with the app, i realised you can also “borrow” books from other international libraries around the world. (didn’t try this, but if anyone did, please let me know if it works)

I dived straight into our own NLB and downloaded two books for my upcoming trip, so i can read it on the plane. I noticed there is also a 21day time limit. Not sure what happens after the 21 days though. automatically gets deleted? hmm…

Obviously, the list of books are not as extensive as physical books, but there are still pretty decent titles around. you can also out an alert of ebooks that are yet to be out,  so they will send you a reminder that you can download it, when it actually becomes available.

 

NLB has collaboration with several eBook vendors to provide eBooks to library members. One of them is OverDrive, a popular eBook vendor. To access their collection, please follow these steps:
– Go to http://www.nlb.gov.sg
– Select [Research] > [All Resources]
– On upper left, login to your myLibrary account, which is required to access e-resources
– On left, scroll to [Browse] and select [eBooks]
– Scroll down and select [OverDrive : a digital media collection]
– Search for a title of your choice
– On the book cover, click on [Borrow]
– Go to your [Account] > [Checkouts]
– Click on either [Download], if you are downloading the title to a computer, or [Add to App] if you are downloading to a mobile device.

Before proceeding to download your borrowed eBooks, please refer to the below link for guide on setting up your computer/mobile device to download eBooks.

http://help.overdrive.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1481729-getting-started-with-overdrive