Category: Debt & Taxes

Why You Shouldn’t Hate Taxes

As many of you know, I grew up poor while living in the States. Up until high school, I benefited from public assistance in the form of free school meals. My single mum’s job had to support the four of us. Her pay was less than my first internship while in uni. But you know who hated taxes? My mum. She, like so many others in her cohort, were convinced that taxes were evil, oppressive, and unfair. In the ’80s, when income tax rates for the highest earners were at 70%, she voted to cut taxes. But how much did she pay in (income) taxes? Zero. How much did other people’s taxes support her and our family? A lot!

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Your Loan/Mortgage Can Reshape Your Future In Unforeseen Ways

Upon graduation, many of my friends had big dreams to do good things in this world. They realised how privileged they were and wanted to use their knowledge and skills to help the less privileged. They wanted to help the needy, build homes for the homeless, or provide medical care to the disadvantaged. But after a decade, none of them did this. Why did they not “follow their dreams”, and what forces caused them to drastically alter their life and choices?

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What We Should Worry About vs Our Actual Worries

My husband still feels very uneasy being on a plane. Telling him that more people die by falling down ladders or by fireworks accidents than by plane crashes doesn’t help.  The odds of dying in a plane crash are 11 million to 1 (similar to TOTO), but that still doesn’t comfort him. As complicated beings, sometimes we worry about things that don’t make sense and are unlikely to happen. Yet there are some things that are very likely to occur that we don’t think twice about. Here’s a comparison of what people commonly worry about versus what they ought to worry about.

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Onelyst – A simple way to compare loans from licensed money lenders

If you need $1000 for an emergency – to pay for health-related expenses, school fees, a funeral, or (heaven forbid) ang bao money – there are only a few ways for you to get that money. You can earn it, save it, find it, ask for it (through donations, grants, crowdfunding, etc.), steal it, win it, trade it (through selling/pawning an item), inherit/receive it as a gift/acquire through marriage, or borrow it. Most people would perceive the last option to require the least amount of effort, risk, and/or luck. But borrowing money in Singapore can be tricky and can require more effort than what you might expect.

Unfortunately, the “easiest” loans to borrow are from loan sharks and unlicensed moneylenders who charge outrageous rates and have the reputation of engaging in nefarious, unlawful practices. Fortunately, with Onelyst, you can compare loan rates easily and quickly across all licensed money lenders in Singapore (over 160 of them), and even apply through their online platform.     

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Would You Ever Steal…. From Your Own Future?

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Debt can bond or restrict your future.
Photo by Simon Cunningham

There’s a deadly epidemic that hardly anyone talks about. No, it’s not Zika. It’s happening mostly to Indian subsistence farmers (but please read on to see how this relates to you). And what’s causing their deaths is not a virus but debt. The livelihood of the vast majority of rural Indians depends on subsistence agriculture. Because of this, they are very vulnerable to weather conditions (that affect their crop yield) and also susceptible to market conditions (for the extra amount they produce to sell to the market). When they have misfortunes, moneylenders quickly come to their aid.

There are also times when a subsistence farmer is allured by a promise, such as an advertisement of a service or product claiming to improve their standard of living. Whether the promise is real or false, many are tempted to go into debt to improve their quality of life. But for them and for many others, debt can spiral out of control and sadly, the only way out that many of them see, is to take their own life(more…)

Refinancing – Where to Start and What They Don’t Tell You

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Short-term teaser rates versus long-term effective interest rates.
Photo by Hans Splinter

Before you refinance your housing loan, please think carefully about all the factors which may affect you. Many of these factors I covered in a previous post.

A lot of them will appear in your contract (mostly in the fine print). But I find that very few loan consultants will take the necessary time to explain all the fees and terms. At times, refinancing could be a very frugal and prudent decision. And at other times, it can mean trading short-term gain for eventual long-term pain. Below is one of many real-time up-to-date loan aggregate search platforms.  (more…)