Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

Debunking 7 Myths Of Bank Home Loans

Background In early 2013, when I first received the keys to my BTO flat, I had a mortgage of about $255,000. Like most first-time BTO owners, by default, I was on the HDB Concessionary Loan (HDB CL). Even in 2013, there was nothing “concessionary” about the mortgage rate of 2.6%. SIBOR rates were hovering at 0.5%-0.7% then and most banks were offering home loans at rates wayyyyy below 2%. With a loan period of 30 years and at the “concessionary” mortgage rate of 2.6%, I found myself paying about $1,020 a month. (Using this calculator here.) A few months later, I decided to...

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Portfolio Update: July 2017

There’s a little bit of euphoria in the market in the past few days as the STI Index breached the 3,300 mark temporarily yesterday. However, organically, the 15HWW portfolio actually shrank a little, due to the strong Sing Dollar which appreciated against the USD and HKD. Not to mention the anaemic performance of gold. Despite the local market doing well, the overall portfolio only rose by two thousand bucks to $414,000. Another no-transaction month and I am looking to make a couple of sales if the market pushes up a bit more.  1. 15HWW Permanent PortfolioThe SGD appreciated against...

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Ditching OCBC 360… And Moving Onto UOB One?

Dear OCBC 360,  It pains me to write this break-up letter. I have actually developed real feelings for you during the past 3 years. Over this period, even though you have decided to gradually give fewer in this relationship (from 3.05% on April 2014 ⇒ 2.25% on May 2015 ⇒ 1.85% on April 2017), I have continued to stick with you. Even when so many others (here, here and here) have told me to move on, I have waited till this point. You were definitely not a fling to me. But it appears now that our relationship is truly broken....

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Expenses Update: June 2017

We spent about $4,300 in June and yes, even after May’s large travel expenditure, this month includes air tickets too.  After including this month’s expenditure, our average expenditure this year has settled at around $4,593 for each month. If we were to stick to a budget of $42,000 for this year, it would leave slightly about $2,000 for each of the remaining six months. Which, if we were to keep, would in all likelihood leave us very miserable. So the odds are that we will spend the remaining $14,000 or so within the next three months and that we are going...

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Most Achievements Are Simple, But Not Easy

I read this post written by Lionel from Cheerful Egg about a week ago and it struck a massive chord with me. It actually surprised me that Lionel preps so much for his pitches and presentations because the impression he gave was that “he’s just naturally really good at it”. To think that I thought I was the only one who had to prepare a script word-by-word, rehearse it to a T a few times, before being able to step out with any semblance of confidence. So I guess for the benefit of everyone, I shall come clean with everything. No...

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Investors Exchange 2017 (29 July)

I often get emails from readers asking me “How/What/Where Should I Invest?” Honestly, it’s tough to give anything more than a generic answer. Even when the reader provides me a bit more in terms of details or context, I am only just able to value-add a little (at most). After all, I am just one individual and I am definitely no expert in investing. Moreover, I also believe that no individual has a monopoly on all the good investing ideas. Therefore, if you are looking for more information and more help with regards to investing, I cannot think of...

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Portfolio Update: June 2017

The 15HWW portfolio reported good and steady increase for yet another month in this slowly rising market. The organic growth contributed about $2,000 with monthly savings responsible for the remaining $4,000. Standing at $412,000, maybe, just maybe, I might have to update the Y-axis before the end of the year. =p There was no transactions for the past month and honestly, the next stock transaction is more likely a sale rather than a buy at this point in time. 1. 15HWW Permanent PortfolioBerkshire B was responsible for most of the gains in the 15HWW Permanent Portfolio this month as...

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The Plight Of Low Income Singles Without A Home

Over the past few weeks, as preparation for an upcoming talk, I have been gobbling up literature regarding housing affordability in Singapore. And almost everything I have read so far ponder over the situation of a married couple. But what about the singles? Especially singles with lower income. In our society, most singles in their late twenties or early thirties are likely to be staying with their parents. However, there is a small segment (for whatever reasons) who are living on their own. The likelihood is that they are renting a room for between $400-$700 a month. If I...

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Expenses Update: May 2017

We spent about $6,700 in April and the bulk of it, $3,500 was due to vacation expenses. After including this month’s expenditure, our average expenditure this year has risen to about $4,655.  And seriously, due to a quite unexpected bumper year in terms of work income and investment returns, there is a strong likelihood that we might celebrate the end of the year with another overseas trip. At least it’s not a trip once every quarter, right? =p Eating Out: $484.70 Hawker ($149.90) – I did not go to the market for two weeks in May and it showed. Besides a small increase...

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Portfolio Update: May 2017

I am just back in Singapore after a week long vacation and it’s nice to find out that it’s another “slow and steady” month on the portfolio front. The 15HWW portfolio increased by $6,000 to reach $406,000. The bulk of the increase comes from savings and the organic portion from the growth of the portfolio accounts for less than $2,000. But I am not really complaining since the market has run up a fair bit and it’s only appropriate that it takes a breather. As the warchest dwindles with two more stock purchases, building up cash could be the default...

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The Big Three: Food, Housing & Transport Costs

We have averaged about $50,000 worth of annual expenditure for the past few years. Even though I have set a budget of $42,000 early this year for 2017, the likelihood of us achieving it is really quite low. With plenty of luxuries like travel, dining out and buying new clothes, a $50,000 budget was always much more realistic and reasonable. But that said, if our incomes were to drop off a cliff in the future, and that cutting our expenses became more necessary, how would we do it? Or what if our incomes explode and there’s more slack to spend on the “finer” things...

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Portfolio Goals For The Next Decade

Ok, I know, I know. Systems are all the rage these days and goals are so passe. Not to mention that investment returns are largely out of our control. In a bull market, it’s really hard for a portfolio to turn red and in a bear market, the reverse holds even truer. But I still feel that there is some value to be had from establishing some sort of a yearly target to aim at. Perhaps if I put it out there, the universe will align itself and help us to attain it? More likely, with a target/goal, we will...

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Expenses Update: April 2017

We spent about $3,470 in April and it was actually below the monthly budget of $3,500!  After including this month’s expenditure, we have managed to lower our average expenditure this year to $4,150.  The expenditure on categories like food, groceries and clothes remain pretty wanton. There’s really no conscious attempt to curb those shopping instincts when I am at NTUC or Uniqlo and the Mrs was pretty accommodating since it was my birthday month! So looking forward to a break in two weeks’ time when all the mid years will be over and we would be jacking up the expenses in...

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Freeing Up More Time And A Slower Accumulation Rate

I am celebrating my 31st birthday in a couple of days’ time and I will be getting my best present ever. More of the Mrs’ time. Freeing Up More Time Together Yes, the Mrs will be leaving her job very soon. Probably still two more months of notice to go and after that, there is a strong likelihood that she would be enjoying a 15 hour work week from July till the end of the year. With a heavier workload since the start of the year, I have been recommending more and more students to the Mrs and I think...

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Useful Thought Experiment: What If You Were To Die Exactly 10 Years Later?

All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there – Charlie Munger What’s both fascinating and cruel about life is how unpredictable it is. And at the heart of it all is not knowing when we would leave this world. Death tends to scupper the most well-laid of plans. I find it very interesting that we tend to underestimate our longevity but overestimate the odds of being alive moments later. It’s hard to imagine living till my 90s but I am (erroneously) absolutely certain I would still be around a few days later, a...

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