Category: Budgeting

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An Investment that Yields Outstanding Returns – And Lessons from Lindsay Lohan

Everyone wants high returns, and yet, every single conference or seminar I’ve been to neglects to mention the one investment that is the most lucrative and high-yielding investment out there. It is the foundation that Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Ng Teng Fong (Singapore’s once richest man), and other billionaires use which is almost NEVER talked about. Yet without it, they definitely would not be rich; instead, they would be among the high-earners who ended up broke or bankrupt. So what is their secret? (more…)

Water You Waiting For – How to Deal With the 30% Increase in Water Prices in Budget 2017

The 2017 Singapore Budget announced a water price increase of 30% starting from July 2017, which is the first price increase since 2000. Some have argued that this increase comes at an inopportune time, as the global economy is experiencing weak growth. Others have pointed out that Singapore already pays higher water prices than neighbouring countries, and that this increase is unjustified. But we must face the fact that, as an island-nation with no resources, we are not water-independent. We are indeed quite vulnerable. (more…)

The Most Important Takeaway Message Regarding the Singapore 2016 Budget

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The 2016 Budget – what was missing and what you need to know.
(Photo by GotCredit)

It’s “budget season”, and it seems that everyone wants a piece of the proverbial “surplus pie”. Businesses, particularly SMEs, want more support as they face a downturn in the economy. And families want more assistance as society becomes more complex and social matters become more demanding.

Budget 2016 has a whole slew of new grants, credits, schemes and other initiatives to address both sides. I’ll go over some of these in this article. And also list a few very crucial things that I think the budget was missing. Finally I’ll conclude with one BIG takeaway message that summarises what this budget should mean for you, your business and your family. (more…)

The Best Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make for Your Wedding

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This is not your “traditional Chinese wedding”…. or is it? (photo by Wikipedia)

When people ask me what was the best financial decision I’ve ever made, I start by telling them my second best decision. I chose to have an extremely simple, no-frills, stress-free wedding. Just how simple? Our guest list consisted of the minimum required to get married – five persons (i.e., 2 witnesses, 1 officiant, 1 bride, and 1 groom).

As a young couple, my husband and I both came from humble beginnings, were burdened with a substantial amount of debt from education loans, and were just starting our careers. So it didn’t make sense for us to splurge on a one-day event, which would have required us to dip into our emergency fund, or borrow from family members (or worse, from our future selves). Doing so would have made us unprepared for a future crisis. Or it would obligated us to comply with the “suggestions” of family members who would be bankrolling the wedding.

The goal was to have a good and long-lasting marriage, and it seemed that having an extravagant wedding would not achieve it; in fact, it may even undermine this goal. I also imagined that if we ever needed to ask for financial help, no one would come to our aid simply because we invited them to a spectacular wedding. On the contrary, it is very likely that no one will even remember the wedding a year later. I also thought that having a grand wedding might result in anticlimatic, impractical expectations, and possible disappointment later in the marriage. I’d rather have a cheap wedding and a rich marriage, than the other way around. (more…)

Why Money Resolutions Fail

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Who’s driving these luxury cars? The answer may surprise you.

It’s that of year again when we, with all our good intentions, list all the various health, self-improvement, and financial goals that we aim to achieve in the coming 12 months. Each year, the same New Year’s resolutions appear – make healthier food choices, exercise regularly, spend less, save more – yet most resolutions are broken within the first 2 weeks. It seems that we all know exactly what we need to do, but the knowledge-behavioural gap is wide, and translating what we know into actions is where we fail. So here are some ways in which this gap might be lessened, at least when it comes to meeting our financial goals. (more…)

Does Owning a Car in Singapore Even Make Sense?

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Once you’ve paid that big price tag, don’t forget that you have other expenses that really add up.

As the price of COE premiums fall (Cat A prices now at $61,000), some of my colleagues are considering buying a car. One of them decided to buy a used car with 3 years remaining on the COE (her old car was recently scrapped after 10 years). She’s in her 50s and figured that in 3 years time, she would either be semi-retired or have flexi-work arrangements. So she thought 3 years was more than adequate. But when she told me the price she paid on this supposed “good deal” ($35,000+), I was shocked and wondered if she had done the math. So I decided to in this post. (more…)

Easy Hacks to Lower Your Utility Bill

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How much are these vampire devices costing you?

This year, your January utility bill should reflect a lower price for the electricity tariff, which is now $0.2329/kWh (a decrease of $0.0199/kWh from December). This lower tariff will be in effect until 31 March. Then, it will be reviewed again by EMA (Energy Market Authority).

The new lower tariff translates into an average monthly savings of $7.93 for families living in four-room HDB flats. Though the savings is great news for everyone, it may give people the false idea that they are actually consuming less energy. We should all still do our part to practice good energy-saving habits for the benefit of the environment as well as our savings account. Here are a few easy hacks to further lower your energy bill. (more…)