Author: Finance Smiths

End of Jun 2016 Financial Update

I have just updated my net worth, portfolios, dividend & interest income and savings rate pages for end of June 2016. Since the first half of the year is now over, this financial update is a good way to see how we are tracking with our goals that were set earlier in the year. This will be set out in order of how these pages appear in my blog for easier reference. Net Worth The goal is to reach S$100,000 by 31 Dec 2016. As at 30 Jun 2016, our net worth is S$98,408 and it should exceed S$100,000 by 31 Jul 2016....

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Case for or against higher education

The next post after this is likely to be an end of the month and end of the first half of the year financial update. It should be an interesting one given how Brexit has shocked the foreign currency and stock markets. Given the number of articles and commentary on the impact of Brexit, I have refrained from writing about it since there is little I can value add on the topic. Nobody knows what’s going to happen and history will be the best judge of whether this turns out to be the right or wrong decision. In time, I...

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Hopes and plans after turning 30

After looking back at my life on turning 30, this post will be about my hopes and plans after turning 30. This is the start of my next decade and 10 years is a good time frame to set long-term goals and come up with ways to achieve them. Career path I used to do mostly tax compliance work when I was at accounting firms in Melbourne and Sydney. Now in Singapore, I’m doing mostly tax advisory work and much less tax compliance work. My wife has navigated herself to a projects role within the bank that utilises more of her strengths...

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Reflections on turning 30

I’m turning 30 this weekend and my 20s will be officially over by the start of the new week. It’s nothing quite like watching the first digit of your age turn that gets you into a reflective mood. Besides, I have been writing quite a few personal finance posts lately about income, expenses and investments. I thought it would be fun to write about my reflections for the past decade. I’m going to try writing these points in a chronological order as I take a walk down memory lane and I will also include life lessons that I picked up.  My next post, probably after...

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Increasing income vs cutting expenses

The previous post on our average monthly income & expenses in Singapore is useful in providing a context for this discussion on increasing income vs cutting expenses. It was a big step to reveal those figures but should be a good reference point as we update them going forward for changes in our lives. It’s always interesting to see how our income and expenses will evolve over time. Now that you have a better picture of our monthly personal finance position, it’s time for me to write about a topic that has been on my mind since we started tracking our net worth in...

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Monthly Income and Expenses

I have been reading the monthly income and expenses reports of personal finance bloggers around the world. It’s always an interesting experience because you get to see the impact of different tax systems, employee vs self-employed income differences, retirement fund scheme contribution variations etc. In the interest of contributing to the global personal finance blogosphere, I might share our average monthly income and expenses report in Singapore. The figures in the report are not exact and not for any specific month. Instead, these figures represent the monthly average since we started tracking our net worth in Jan 2016. For illustrative purposes, the current foreign...

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Monthly dividend income hits S$1,000

Once in a while, I write these numerical milestone posts to celebrate certain achievements with our asset portfolio and passive income. It’s a long and tough journey to financial independence and these results keep us motivated to keep going. Previously, I wrote in April 2016 about our monthly passive income exceeding S$1,000. This takes into account the monthly dividend and interest income that we receive. For May 2016, our monthly dividend income has exceed S$1,000. We only started to aggressively build our Share portfolio in late 2015 & early 2016 and most of the holdings pay their dividends in May 2016. It made sense for...

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How we manage our finances as a couple

I met my wife in our first year at university in Melbourne in 2007. As a student couple overseas, we spent a lot more time with each other on and off campus since we were in the same course and didn’t have any family there. We made our own and common friends, which allowed for social interactions as individuals and a couple. However, we were basically living together unofficially. After graduating in 2009, we moved in with each other and lived together officially. From there, we transitioned into a working couple and started building our careers in Melbourne and Sydney. The benefit of...

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Should we invest in a Gold ETF?

I was reading this guest post by Kim Iskyan on BIGfatpurse about 3 Good Reasons You Should Own Gold. It got me thinking about whether we should include Gold in our portfolio. Correlation between asset classes in our portfolio From our asset portfolio, there is a strong correlation between the ETF and Share portfolios since the Global and Singapore stock markets tend to move in the same direction. However, they have low correlations with our Cash, Wholesale Life Policies and Bonds portfolios. Given the size of the ETF & Share portfolio and the Other portfolio are about the same, this has helped...

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Should we invest in real estate?

I realised that my blogging frequency has been going down recently. It has been a busy time at work with the deadlines for the deliverables of a few tax advisory projects overlapping. I just want to get through this week before we fly off to Seoul (South Korea) for a short holiday. Looking forward to that! Anyway, I just read this post by Budget Babe on understanding home loans in Singapore and started thinking about our home loan. We bought our apartment in the East in 2011 and the interest rate then on our housing loan was 3-month SOR (Swap Offer...

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How much cash to hold in our portfolio?

I have discussed the cash component of my portfolio in some detail in my previous posts but I have not dedicated an entire post about cash yet. Given that about one year has passed since we started seriously investing in Singapore in May 2015, it’s a good time to discuss in more detail the role of cash and the amount of cash we hold in our portfolio. Why do we hold cash in our portfolio? In my asset allocation post, I discussed how we hold cash for the three main purposes of Emergency, Spending and Investment. I will give...

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Which retirement scheme do I prefer?

In my previous post, I gave an overview of my Superannuation in Australia and Central Provident Fund (CPF) in Singapore. This post will be about my personal opinion on which retirement scheme I prefer. It’s important to note that Superannuation and CPF serve as retirement funds in Australia and Singapore respectively where the cost of living, tax rates, lifestyle etc are different. It can be difficult to compare these two retirement schemes on a level playing field. This comparison might not be fair but it will be based on my experience and views. At the very least, isn’t it...

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Retirement – Superannuation vs CPF

My post on What are Retirement Funds is the second most read after the post on Monthly passive income hits S$1,000. It does seem like personal finance topics like passive income and retirement continue to be among the most popular. I thought it would be interesting to have a post about my experience with Superannuation in Australia as a retirement fund scheme compared to Central Provident Fund (CPF) in Singapore. Upfront disclaimer – I can only compare my experience with Superannuation during my 4 years working in Australia vs CPF during my 3 years working in Singapore. I’m aware...

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My hope for FinTech in Singapore

I update our Google Sheet regularly for changes in bank account balances, shareholdings, dividend & interest income received etc. As much as I like designing the templates, graphs and charts on the different spreadsheets (which is important in understanding your personal finance situation), I always think to myself whether it is possible to have a single window on all of our holdings. After all, we have multiple bank, brokerage and retirement accounts and it’s time-consuming having to login separately many times to access the information I need to update the Google Sheet. Plus the requirement to enter OTPs from devices and phone SMS...

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Monthly passive income hits S$1,000

I have been tracking our monthly dividend and interest income since 2015 and only started posting the figures from Jan 2016 on this blog. This is exciting for me to write because I just realised our monthly passive income has exceeded S$1,000 in Apr 2016. First milestone reached! We received a coupon payment from one of our corporate bonds and dividend income from our index ETFs and shares in one of the telecommunication services companies we are invested in. Together with the interest income from our bank accounts, our monthly passive income has hit S$1,000 for the first time. I...

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