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/

 

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?

 

6m “Fix Deposit” – 2.08%pa

came across this DBS/POSB promo..  all you need is to fulfill $4800 for 6months. which is not exactly difficult to hit…

base on my calculation, it is 2.08% pa. which is as good as it gets in current FD markets. most of the banks gives you 2%, but you need to be priority banking member or higher tier, with a min 6-digit outlay for 9-12 months.

the best thing is that everything is done online, and the deduction is automated too. so there is no need to dropby the branch. takes you 10min, or 15min max, to set everything up.

to some, $50 may not be much, but hey, in this economic climate. every cent counts. 50 buckeroos can buy a weeks worth of groceries?

dbs50

 

 

All Terrain Gear (ATG) – Singapore & Asia Pacific

Disclaimer: * I have a vested interest in the product. as i am the ATGear distibutor in Asia Pacific. *

I was introduced to ATGear by a South African colleague of mine, he does enduros and MX as a hobby. its a great product, designed by the parent company in South Africa. Personally, i bought one myself, and i liked it so much, i decide to distribute it. i  ever used it to carry my laptop in the rain, and it worked like a charm. it takes a while to get used to the velcro webbing, somehow when i wear it, it feels like the old school type of SAF bra (SBO).

I am getting people to review this.

ATG outdoor products for sale ( *official distributor for ATG products in Asia Pacific* )

ATG30L.JPG