An Empty House

Financial bloggers always use rationality to convince readers. I think there's another tool that is seldom used to persuade, and that is through story telling. I can blog out an article with 5 pointers, complete with reasons and supporting evidence, but it will not tug at the heart strings of my readers. It's emotionally dead and will reside in my blog as one of those useful but useless advice … [Read more...]

Rote learning is under-rated.

Occasionally when I teach students, you tell them to do certain things but they will counter by saying that they won't do it now but will remember to do it during exams. It's always those seemingly small and minute details like writing some key words in their answers, or writing a + or - sign before their answers. It seems that this minute details are so painful for them to do it on a routine … [Read more...]

I’m grateful for my bout of flu

Recently, I've been struck by a very bad case of flu. It comes together with its usual symptoms, like sorethroat, cough, sneezing and fever. My usual treatment is not to see a doctor, but to eat fruits and drink water and sleep like a baby to wait it out.My philosophy in life is that whatever happens, it happens for the best. It's a better way to live that way instead of playing the victim's role. … [Read more...]

Thoughts after 1/2 yr of managing my parent’s money

I recently handed a cheque of $600 to my father. It's his half yearly 'coupon' from buying LP's bond with a principal sum of 60k. It's right on track to deliver 2.5% to 3.0% returns per year. Actually it's more than that, but LP's bond is capital guaranteed, I've to reserve a certain amount of cash paid out in the event of redemption of bonds that I've bought above par value to cover the capital … [Read more...]

To change yourself, first change your environment

People who are not good in personal finance are usually in the presence of people who are not good in personal finance too. Birds of the same feather flock together, so they say. I think this phenomenon is due largely to the fact that we like to be with people who are similar to us, so that there isn't a lot of peer pressure to match up to the group's average. Imagine you are thrifty, but you are … [Read more...]

The Can of Soup with Better Value

I saw this question when I was teaching a student. It's not new and I've seen it a long time ago, but it always tickles me whenever I read it. The link is here but I'll type it out here too: Two different sizes of tins of soup are shown. The mass of the soup and price are given below: SMALL can : 415 g @ $1.04 LARGE can: 815 g @ $1.98 Which size of tin gives the better value? … [Read more...]

Is it worth it financially to reduce taxes through donation?

In Singapore, if you donate to Institutions of a Public Character (IPC), you'll get a 2.5 times deduction of the amount donated to your chargeable or assessable income. This tax deduction period of 2.5 times is extended in 2011 and will last until 31st December 2015. I was teaching a student about tax because it's covered in the syllabus. The syllabus is actually quite simplistic, so I took the … [Read more...]

Starburst IPO

I happened to chance upon this soon to be IPO-ed catalist listed company called Starburst. I must have found what they are doing interesting because during my last reservist, I went to a indoor range with artificially controlled lighting (that means you don't have to wait for night for night shoots) and was suitably impressed with the construction and professionalism (I think they are run by … [Read more...]

My salted fish had turned over

First of all, sorry for the long hiatus. This had been a crazy June holiday, so all my free time is sucked up into never ending work. I'm very glad that June holidays is over, to the dismay of all school teachers in Singapore, lol! Recently, I noticed that one of my salted fish had turned over (咸鱼翻身). Yup, you heard me right - that's when a stock that you had bought long long ago, and had … [Read more...]

The holy trinity of returns, risk and liquidity

There's been much talk about the CPF rates being very low. About 2.5 to 4% depending on which account you're talking about. It's kind of hard to get higher returns than that while maintaining the same risk as that of a fixed deposit. What risk am I talking about here? It's the risk of capital losses. And I'm not just regurgitating this - I've actual experience in maintaining a retirement fund for … [Read more...]

So far so good

I've been using YNAB, a software that allows me to track expenses and all my cashflow in different accounts with great precision and accuracy, since Aug 2013. Almost a year now. It works very good for me because there's so many times that I've missed out on something and I didn't know about it until the end of the month when I did my month-end accounting and found out that things don't add up. I'm … [Read more...]

The Amateur and the Pros

This is a post inspired by our Man of Leisure here.   If you've heard a amateur and a pro playing from the same music score, you'll find that there's a difference. Sure, the amateur can hit every note, even on time, but there's a certain degree of interpretation which defines the amateur from the pros. I don't profess that I'm a good musician (I'm not, I don't even play the piano … [Read more...]

Comfort is the place where dreams die

I love Greek mythology. So in the past, hence it is now. There are many many parallels that you can draw from them. Some serve as warnings and some as inspiration. This one that I'm sharing is quite a well-read one. This is the specific part about Homer's Odyssey. Odysseus, after losing his ship and his entire army, drifted in the open sea for days until eventually rescued by Calypso in an … [Read more...]

Invest in yourself first before investing in stocks

I'm not in favor of young people getting into investments in general. It's so prevalent now that it's almost fashionable to say that you're into stocks when you're at a young age. What business do people who are still studying have in the stock market? None, in my opinion. They should focus on what they should be doing, which is studying. To me, there's a time for everything. I'm quite sure I'll … [Read more...]

Re-framing the savings problem

Sometimes, to convince people, you have to re-frame the problem to fit into domains that motivate that person rather than motivate you. I saw a lot of bloggers posting ways to save money, which is all well and good as an individual, but shouldn't work too well if they are a couple. I know that as a fact because months can be spent before I buy a single article of clothing, but for my wife, money … [Read more...]

MR loh!

I've recently finished the last leg of my national service, the much coveted MR (Mindef Reserve) parade. It has been a very long journey - 13 yrs to be exact - since I was enlisted as a recruit when I was just 18. Some of the people whom I've met when I was 18 was still with me when I went MR. Frightening thought, isn't it? How many 18 yrs do you have? I knew these people for half of my life! … [Read more...]

How to party a chaotic good character with a lawfully neutral one?

I read an interesting article from wall street journal by Charles Murray here. In his article, he wrote that punctuality, orderliness and thriftiness are the top three personal habits that may make or break your relationship with your other half. I totally agree. Usually these 3 things are the ones that me and my wife would argue about when we first started our journey together. We're like … [Read more...]

What’s good about owning a car?

I had a car for about 2 years now and I dare say it's one of the best things I've bought. This is in sharp contrast to other financial bloggers, who are mostly too quick to dismiss car expenditure as something frivolous and definitely under the category of "wants" and not "needs". I thought I should share what's so good about getting a car in Singapore, rather than just focusing on the dollars and … [Read more...]

Which method of savings will you adopt?

I wonder how many people feel the same way that I did. Whenever I'm busy earning more money, I spend much less time outside shopping or eating at restaurants, so my income shot up and my spending shot down. This resulted in my savings rocketing skywards with a boost in earned income and a drop in expenditure. Conversely, when I'm more relaxed and have more free time because work winds down, I … [Read more...]

How to ride through the bicycle of life

I went for a course on learning how to ride a bicycle recently. The course last for 2 days and I just completed the course on Monday. It was great! The experience is well worth the money ($190 per person, including rental of bikes) and is further enhanced by the fact that I'm doing it together with my wife. Coincidentally, both of us didn't manage to learn how to ride a bicycle when we're younger. … [Read more...]