Category: Work-Life Balance

Government Personal Income Tax Relief – Simplified!

Taxes are not evil. As humans, our progress, survival, and even wellbeing depend on benefiting from and contributing to a group. And in a sense, taxes are the “membership fee” to belonging to this kind of organised society. A society where a government is put in charge of certain civil aspects that cannot be entrusted to the private sector. These include aspects such as utilities, healthcare, education, environmental protection, security, and defense. But with any group, some members will end up contributing more, while others receive more. Yet at any time, these tables can be turned. This article attempts to simplify the various tax reliefs available for individuals. Many of these tax reliefs benefit families and the “sandwich generation”.

(more…)

Government Policies on Family Benefits – Simplified!

“I don’t know what resources are out there” and “Why can’t the government just make things easier to understand?” are two common complaints I hear from the public across all ages, races, occupations, and gender. It has becoming increasing apparent that government schemes, like all messages, cannot be successfully communicated without addressing the UI/UX (user interface/user experience) issues. And yes, I do agree that there needs to be a better way to disseminate information in a more clear and easy-to-understand fashion. But to be fair, just saying “this is too complicated and until they make it easier, I give up” is a bit like saying speaking Mandarin is hard or driving is complicated, yet so many people do it all the time. We too, need do our part to facilitate our own understanding through repeated exposure, practice, and patience. And this is my attempt to help in this process:

(more…)

When Free isn’t Free – Don’t Be Penny Rich and Pound Foolish

I was recently invited to a grand opening of a restaurant in Singapore. As part of the grand opening celebration, the restaurant was providing free food and beer. But the food was mostly “junk food”. Most people were happy with free flow beer, but since I don’t drink anymore and I didn’t consider the “junk food” to be a proper meal, I stayed a bit to revel in the atmosphere, and then left to have dinner. (more…)

Is Having a Maid Frugal?

smartphone stock photo
In addition to ordering food and booking a taxi, now you can get domestic help via your mobile.

I’ve been asked this by some couples who are full-time professionals. And my opinion on this is somewhat unconventional among my peers. I grew up in the West, and having a live-in maid was only an option for the very wealthy. This is because domestic workers in the West get the same employment rights as other workers. They get overtime pay, paid time-off, sick leave, health insurance, Social Security (which is similar to CPF), and regular holidays. Having a maid in Singapore, however, is far more affordable as cheap migrant labor is abundant in Southeast Asia. And they don’t have the same employment rights. (more…)