Author: Early Retirement SG

I get reminded how fortunate Singaporeans are

As I walk around Paris and take the Metro… I get reminded how fortunate Singaporeans are. And so many Singaporeans don’t realize it. Many Singaporeans own the latest phone. Not necessarily an iPhone, but a recently released phone. In Paris, I see many people are still using iPhone 4 or 5, I see some using those old school flip phones. I don’t see many people own branded bags, LV, Gucci, etc… They just don’t have the money to buy it after tax, rent, food, transport. Whereas in Singapore, everyone’s got an expensive bag. Look in the MRT, the aunties...

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Expense update 31 May 2018

It was quite interesting to have so many people coming out to comment in the last post. A lot of people look at CPF in their own different way. The main thing is that most people use CPF to buy their homes and use up their free cash on hand for lifestyle purposes. Many people who follow this blog highlight that if people invest their free cash in more than 2.5%, the person would be better off. This is true. I absolutely agree with this. However, I wonder… How many people actually actively save every month. Next, even if...

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What is the real cost of financing your HDB?

One of the most important points of this is the usage of CPF vs loan to pay for the house. I’m starting to have the idea that one should as best as possible pay off the loan as soon as possible with CASH. Using CPF to pay for the HDB MIGHT not be a great idea. *Special thanks to Robin for highlighting this* Think about it. Let’s say… Every year we pay $10,000 using cash for our mortgage. We lose $200 to interest. Assuming 2% interest rate. And if we use CASH. The story ends here. But assume we...

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What is value?

So as I wrote my previous post. And it slowly came to light that my HDB isn’t really an asset. It doesn’t grow in value. It’s always depreciating due to the lease. If I want to extend the lease by moving to another area of Singapore, I will have to give up size and location. Eventually as time passes, assuming I can live forever and keep trying to extend my lease by downgrading, I will end up in a super small place maybe just enough for a bed in the far ends of Singapore. If it’s a house for...

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The 99yr HDB lease time bomb

A request from a reader who’s concerned about the 99yr HDB lease problem. There’s a couple of ways to look at this problem, so I’ll cover a few scenarios. I won’t cover the situation where one can buy a freehold property. Cos if one has money, then this isn’t a problem. The issue most of us will have is that we aren’t really rich enough and are pretty stuck in the middle. The simplest scenario is a situation like me and my wife. We are a young couple. And we bought the HDB directly from HDB. We bought it...

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We can always learn new skills

When I visited my parents last week, my dad asked me if I still cut my own hair. And of course I replied… Yea of course I still cut my own hair. And he again marveled at how amazing it was and wondered how I did it and expressed his amazement. And I told him… I didn’t start cutting my own hair cos I can’t afford it. It’s around $10. That’s not much. And now that I go Malaysia often, I could get a haircut for even less. It’s not about how much it is… I started cutting my...

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This is how we all influence each other in consumption

As I flip through my Facebook, I realize, almost every post is marketing. They aren’t adverts. But almost every post is marketing in another form encouraging consumption, over and over again… Don’t believe me? Go to your Facebook. What do you usually see? Usually they are posts of friends doing stuff. I see friends bringing their kids to swim classes, bringing their infants to photoshoots. I see friends who go out to places to eat. Some good food, some expensive wines, they take pictures of the food, the wines, the place, etc etc… People take pictures of KFC, McDonald’s…...

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Why it’s hard for me to turn back into a normal consumer

It’s quite ridiculous really. After I embarked on my freegan journey… Note, as I said before. I’m not 100% freegan. I just get a lot of things for free and spend money on things that can’t be easily obtained for free. But yet I don’t desire much things so in the end, I don’t really spend much anyway. So most of my necessities are obtained for free or are paid for by the vouchers on the AIA vitality app. The thing is… After living like this for a couple of months. It becomes apparent. For me, it’s hard to...

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What is the Average Utility Bill???

My utility bill came couple of weeks back. As usual it hangs around $75-$85. Last month, it was $77.89. So I didn’t bother taking a look at it more closely. Today I had another look. In the usage graph, I’m always aware that I’m under my neighbour average and national average. But I never thought about what the numbers meant… I got a bit curious and decided to tabulate the numbers just for fun. Now please note, I did a simple linear estimation for the numbers in yellow. This is NOT accurate. Actual numbers should be MORE than my...

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I finally understand what it’s like to want to spend money

So many regular readers know that my desire for material things is pretty low. So I was really curious, I hear stories about people who like to spend money. When they have money in their pocket, they have a tendency to spend it. When they receive their salary, they have a desire to quickly spend it. There’s no sense of delayed gratification. Now for money, I don’t have much desire to spend it. There’s very little that I really want so money in the bank or in my wallet, I don’t have a higher desire to spend it regardless...

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What is $100?

So I recently went to high tea buffet as mentioned in one of my previous posts. The treat cost $108 after discount for the both of us. We sat there from 12pm to 5pm and effectively ate lunch and dinner there. And so as I sat there, I wondered. I spent $108 on 4 meals. (2 people, lunch & dinner) What is $100 worth? What can $100 buy and also how long do people take to make $100? So as I sat there spending $100 on 4 meals… $100 can be used for 5 weeks of my utilities. I...

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What if you lived your whole life NOT frugal?

I’ve lived my whole life pretty frugal. I don’t spend money if I don’t need to. I find good deals whenever I can. When I was young, we didn’t even turn on the airconditioning. I don’t really buy stuff that I don’t need. So now, if you asked me to induce spend $3000 within a normal month, it would be a tough task for me. Regular readers know on some months I have to induce spending or prepay my telco bills to push up my credit card spending to get certain rebates/bonus interest. Cos on some months, I can...

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What I learnt over the weekend

Since young, I’ve always been taught to be frugal. My family, we had some money, not a lot, but probably better off than some Singaporeans. But I’ve always been taught to be frugal, cos we aren’t really rich. So I always taught that I was frugal, cos I don’t have a lot of money to spend. Seems logical right? I don’t spend much, cos I don’t have much money to spend. So I think twice, trice, before I decide to buy any item, product, toy, food, etc etc. And I always thought maybe IF I had more money, I’d...

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What IF you DIDN'T plan for your retirement

Most people don’t really proactively plan for their retirement and don’t think they will ever get old. And many people may just save subconsciously or spend subconsciously. I think usually many people get a wake up call at around 55 and they realize they can’t be working forever and they start to rush to plan for their retirement. Or they hope that their CPF is enough for them to retire. So I was thinking… What IF someone doesn’t plan for retirement? How much will he need to survive? How much time will he need to turn the situation around?...

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What is the Best?

We have this obsession about the best. Provide the best for our kids, what is the best investment, the best charkwayteow, etc etc… And you know what… all this is pretty much rubbish. Not everything is quantifiable. It’s pretty easy if you’re talking about athletics. Who runs faster is the best… assuming no performance enhancers. But in real life, this term becomes really grey. Like when people say they want to provide the best for their kids. So they provide everything that money can buy, or organic food, or first class plane tickets… But is this really the best...

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