Author: Lizardo Realm (Investment)

Amazon Prime – The Scam (a.k.a. Electronic Bills are Evil 2)

I have to say it again: Electronic Bills are Evil. My daughter is a Gen Y.  Gen Ys can’t be bothered to check their bank accounts regularly. They snapchat, and everything is just a passing memory. Am I generalising or am I right? Anyways, happened to check on a random day and realised that she has been charged since January 2019 for Amazon Prime membership fees. Yet apparently, she had terminated her membership since mid-2018.  Seems for the past three months, she has been billed GBP3.99 by Amazon.  That’s randomly ~$7 a month. Sneaky. Scam? The good thing is that...

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How Much Do We Need in Retirement?

When you start getting old (older), you start thinking about this kind of question. But really, should start thinking early. The trick is to start early. Very early. Anecdotally, it seems like a comfortable retirement lifestyle will require $3,000 per month. Of course, if you’re going to live a retirement drinking only tap water, living on a remote isolated kampung on a distant island, and eating fish fished from the sea everyday cooked any number of ways, maybe you need a lot less, But that’s not the kind of lifestyle I’m thinking of. For a couple, that works out...

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End of the Road for Travel Smart Rewards

So sad. I’ve been clocking points that get converted as cash rebate to top up my transportation card (see Insinc with the Times; subsequently changed to Travel Smart Rewards). Effectively discounted travel. But I have just received this e-mail: — Dear Travel Smart Rewards user,Thank you for your support of the Travel Smart Rewards (TSR) thus far. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has reviewed the Travel Smart Programme to take into account rail network enhancements in recent years and changes to commuter travel patterns. Following the review, we will be concluding the TSR programme. Please see http://bit.ly/2VWe2rt for more information....

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MOM Foreign Worker Tenant Enquiry – The Resident Who Isn’t

Foreign worker with address tagged to your home? Scary. Worth checking out if there has been something fishy done. Check it out:Ministry of Manpower – Foreign Worker Tenant Enquiry I’d absolutely HATE to have something like that happen to me. I’m sure MOM will close whatever loophole that allowed such things to happen, presuming it did indeed happen and it wasn’t some Fake...

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TPG, the upside

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. There are plenty of bandwidth hungry apps that consume massive mobile data. It’s pretty addictive. I guess it’s a form of lifestyle inflation? Or is it a practical reality of digital norms, a sign of “progress”? And so TPG (https://www.tpgmobile.sg/) appeared on the local scene, coming in as the 4th Telco. The net effect was that my Singtel shares went south, somewhat. Starhub is already struggling from their self-induced escalating impact of high dividend payout. And M1 is being taken private. The saving grace is that TPG is offering a one year $0 plan as they...

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ElderShield – A Severe Disability Insurance Scheme

Well, so as expected, and rightly so, CPF Board cannot release information of its member without being authorised by the member. [Dilemmas Dealing with End-of-Life] But what CPF Board was able to accede to was to check if she is covered under ElderShield.  Must say CPF Board was responsive and helpful.  So here’s an extract of their response: “ElderShield was first launched by the Ministry of Health in September 2002 as a severe disability insurance scheme which provides basic financial protection to those who need long-term care, especially in their old age. It provides a monthly cash pay-out of...

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Dilemmas Dealing with End-of-Life

It’s complex enough building up a wealth portfolio towards financial independence. I think the end-of-life part gets equally complex and deserves attention. Here’s the scenario and I welcome any suggestions how to go about it … My 90-year old mother lives with two of my siblings. She has not been in the best of health in recent years. Most recently, she suffered yet another fall at home and was evacuated to A&E. While at the hospital, she suffered a stroke. She is now bedridden and totally unable to communicate, or do anything whatsoever on her own accord. Nobody in...

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10 Years @ 8.6% and a Year of Zero

So ends 2018, and with that, my 10th year of investing in the stock market. I guess 10 years can be seen as long term enough for investing? For 2018, STI has been down -9.8% (not inclusive dividends). My portfolio has achieved -6.4%. Kind of oxymoron to use the word “achieved”. After all, what is achievement here when it has been negative? Can I console myself that I over-performed the STI by 3.4%? Oh wait, but my dividend yield for the year happens to be precisely 3.4% too. That means I only matched the market? Nope, most definitely a...

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Bit by Bit, the Coin that wasn’t

So the euphoria of BitCoin and all variants of cryptocurrencies appear to be going the way of the dodo bird. I must say it took a lot of conviction to resist from throwing some money into it when it looked like it was never going any way but up over the past two years.  Up, up and away. But what kept me on the sidelines were those exponential graphs of its jet-thrust trajectory.  It reminded me of similar graphs of the Dot Com era, the S-Chips craze, etc. They always have the same consistent look. All good things must...

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When My Luggage Went Wandering

Wifey and I flew from Singapore to Belfast recently on British Airways, transiting through Heathrow Airport. It was a luxe trip as we decided to go with business class for the outward bound flight. We figured we could splurge and have a decent sleep on the way there, especially as we would be arriving in the morning and had to drive up from Belfast to our eventual destination. It was a decent trip. The British Airways lounge at Changi wasn’t something to crow about. Decent, not too crowded, but limited food options (although decent tasting) and we felt, drab...

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When My Luggage Went Wandering

Wifey and I flew from Singapore to Belfast recently on British Airways, transiting through Heathrow Airport. It was a luxe trip as we decided to go with business class for the outward bound flight. We figured we could splurge and have a decent sleep on the way there, especially as we would be arriving in the morning and had to drive up from Belfast to our eventual destination. It was a decent trip. The British Airways lounge at Changi wasn’t something to crow about. Decent, not too crowded, but limited food options (although decent tasting) and we felt, drab...

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Age of Disruptions

Nothing lasts forever when change is a constant. Oh wait, that’s a lot of cliche in one sentence. Overdose of it perhaps? Getting back to the subject … ComfortDelgro is being disrupted by the likes of Uber and Grab. SPH‘s print media is being disrupted by digital media, even as it plays catch up while diversifying into retail malls and community care facilities. SingPost snail mail is being disrupted by e-mail, while its eCommerce offers patchy slivers of opportunities. Singtel is shifting from a pure play telco into a digital technology company. It’s hard for an incumbent business to...

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Age of Disruptions

Nothing lasts forever when change is a constant. Oh wait, that’s a lot of cliche in one sentence. Overdose of it perhaps? Getting back to the subject … ComfortDelgro is being disrupted by the likes of Uber and Grab. SPH‘s print media is being disrupted by digital media, even as it plays catch up while diversifying into retail malls and community care facilities. SingPost snail mail is being disrupted by e-mail, while its eCommerce offers patchy slivers of opportunities. Singtel is shifting from a pure play telco into a digital technology company. It’s hard for an incumbent business to...

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Multiple Streams of Income

A stocktake of income streams … At age 55, excess funds in CPF after deducting for CPF-RA (to fund CPF-Life) From age 62, Supplementary Retirement Scheme From age 65, CPF Life And throughout, complemented by passive income streams from … Savings accounts – interests (<0.5%) Money market funds – interests (0.5-2%) Savings account with special/high yield – interests (1.5-2.5%) Shares – dividends (3-4%) Preference Shares – dividends (4-6%) REITs – dividends (5-7%) Bonds – coupons (4-6%) P2P Loans – interests (12-25%; effective interest is lower due to defaults) Blogging income – click-ads (pathetic) Additional sources with constraints … CPF-OA...

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Multiple Streams of Income

A stocktake of income streams … At age 55, excess funds in CPF after deducting for CPF-RA (to fund CPF-Life)From age 62, Supplementary Retirement SchemeFrom age 65, CPF Life And throughout, complemented by passive income streams from … Savings accounts – interests (<0.5%)Money market funds – interests (0.5-2%)Savings account with special/high yield – interests (1.5-2.5%)Shares – dividends (3-4%)Preference Shares – dividends (4-6%)REITs – dividends (5-7%)Bonds – coupons (4-6%)P2P Loans – interests (12-25%; effective interest is lower due to defaults)Blogging income – click-ads (pathetic) Additional sources with constraints … CPF-OA – interests (2.5-3.5%; subject to policy changes)CPF-SA/RA/MA – interests (4-5%;...

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