Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

Expenditure Update: October 13

The start of a new month also means that all the expenses for the previous month is in and so it’s time for another expenditure update. I understand that this is unlikely to be the most interesting post to most people. But well, at least you will know when to avoid my blog, right? I just read Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich (again) and he mentioned that most personal finance writers who advocate budgeting or recording expenses are living in a utopia of their own because readers would just gloss over their advice. But seriously, it isn’t that...

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Stoicism And Its Positive Influence On My Life

Slightly more than two weeks ago, besides sharing an article from Alex Green’s The Secret of Shelter Island, I also trumpeted the benefits of reading the book and how it introduced me to other interesting materials. And I have little doubt that among the most important is to be acquainted with this ancient philosophy: Stoicism  After reading one of Alex’s amazing articles that briefly touched on Stoicism, I was piqued by this ancient philosophy of life and it helped that he also suggested “A Guide To The Good Life, The Ancient Art Of Stoic Joy” written by William Irvine as a further reading material. Picking the book...

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Is There An Optimal Amount Of Emergency Funds To Keep?

Yeah, wouldn’t it be great if there’s an equation out there that tells us how much emergency funds we should keep? Like f(x) = x^2 +3x – 2 So lets say I am a Type 2 person and x = 2, so I should be keeping 8 months of my normal expenses as emergency funds, just like what Suze Orman recommended? Sounds silly right, but at the very least, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach like what she preaches, isn’t it? But first of all, I am going to argue that an emergency fund isn’t necessary for everyone. Afterall, there’s gotta be...

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Clarifications On My (Or Lack Of) Emergency Fund Situation

From the outside looking in, I guess many might view me as a young, brash and authoritative wannabe (from the way I write) who has crashed into this increasingly saturated personal finance blogging sphere. After all, with only 2-3 years of both working and investing experience, what gives me the right to be arrogantly dispensing personal financial tips to the reading public? Seriously, what can I offer? “What, no emergency fund?! He must be one of those Gen Ys who expects a shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn. Life isn’t that perfect, dude. Wait till you get hit by life’s inevitable disappointments and tragedies.” I will be the...

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Know Your History To Predict Better

Nothing is certain in this world because anything can happen tomorrow. Don’t believe me? Let’s see. Death is one of the two notorous certainties in life, right? But no one can safely eliminate the chance that we could all wake up tomorrow and turn invincible (i.e won’t die and won’t age) just like Wolverine. And perhaps the sun might never rise again after we sleep if the Earth suddenly stops spinning. It just takes one observation (aka black swan) to disprove a physics theory. Before you think I am going bonkers, my point here is that all of these “facts” that we...

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Why We Don’t Keep An Emergency Fund

Mainstream personal finance experts advise us to maintain an emergency fund for unforseen negative events in our life. And it should ideally be in the range of 3-6 months of our income/expenses (the wiser ones choose expenses; more on that later). This concept is so important that some of them even advocate that building an emergency fund should take priority over paying off credit card debts (like really?!) But the 15 HWW household, for one, doesn’t believe in having an emergency fund at this stage of our lives. Here’s some reasons why: ==================== Adequate insurance coverage Most of the emergencies that I can...

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Passive Income Update: September 13

Instead of spending the start of every month preparing for (and boring you with) both the expenditure and passive income updates, I have decided to provide the latter only during the middle of the month, like now. This way, I am able to use more accurate figures (Sep statements that arrive only in early October) and also provide the amount of dividends I actually received for the past month. After all, I have to admit the dividend figures on the My Passive Income page are just estimates or forward indicators of the income I would receive. The markets rallied in September (up >10% within a few weeks) after...

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Book Review: The Secret Of Shelter Island

I still recall that day (more than 3 years ago) when I was planning a quiet weekday afternoon (one of the perks of university life) in the lovely Jurong Regional Library. I was originally looking out for some fiction but I still found myself checking out the personal finance section first, even though I had already read most of the collection by then. If you’re a regular to the books with the 332.001 code, you should be able to understand why I am so amazed that there are so many books that talk about the same thing. Seriously, how do so many of them become bestsellers? After all, there’s only...

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Aviva’s Term Insurance Promotion

My independent financial planner often sends me letters and emails to update me on some of the latest promotions on insurances and investments. Most of the time, I would just take a quick look before crumpling up the leaflets or hitting that “delete” button. After all, I presume myself to be already adequately covered and prefer to manage my own investments. However, earlier last week, this juicy deal caught my eye when I sieved through my emails and I decide to share it with you. Basically, Aviva’s offering a 25% discount on premiums for their My Protector Level Plus policy. Frankly...

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How We Keep Our Insurance Expenses LOW

After sharing on our costs of insurance of about $160/month (translates to <$2,000 a year) in our fixed expenses post, we got several comments from readers (with good intentions, I must say) that appear to suggest that there is a strong possibility that we were under insured, just like many Singaporeans. Many studies like this and that conclude that Singaporeans are not well-insured even though many are already spending a considerable proportion of their salaries (>10%) on insurance polices. Funny, isn’t it? But let’s just assume that these studies are right, even if they are commissioned by the very people who are selling insurance products (talk about...

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Understanding The Basics Of Insurance

Warning: Plenty of economics lingo in this post. It’s quite surprising to find that I haven’t really mentioned much about insurance since the birth of this blog. Afterall, besides having a strong interest in the subject (motivated by previous negative experiences), I was also an Economics major who even took a module on Health Economics. So short of claiming to be an expert in this area, I shall share my take on the concept of insurance. First of all, I would like to highlight that the main purpose of purchasing insurances is to hedge/transfer our risk, and at a small cost. In this natural form, insurance is a beneficial tool...

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Expenditure Update: September 13

Yes, it’s time to wake up to the breakdown of our discretionary expenses as September has ended! Expenses-wise, this is a pretty good month as we spent $3,153, which is also well below the target of $3,500. And even after including last month’s higher expenses, the running average is still a healthy $3,427. A case of what gets measured gets contained? We shall see in the next few months. =) Below is the detailed breakdown for this month’s expenses: ==================== Eating Out: $622.30 Since we rarely cooked in September (helping my parents-in-law with their house-moving preparations), this category was slightly higher compared to the previous month. Hawker ($261.45) –...

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What If I Need The Money 3 Years Later?!

As mentioned in many of the pages and posts on this blog, we started a Regular Savings Plan (RSP) with Philip Sharebuilder back in Nov 2010. To minimize the monthly fees of $6 to 1% of the investment, we also committed $600 to this product every month. Since the plan offered us the option of choosing two counters without additional charges incurred, we allocated $500 to the STI ETF and $100 to one of the local banks, DBS. Monthly statements were provided as an update and I was normally the one paying closer attention to them. Understandably, even though Mrs 15 HWW is the owner of this...

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Counter-productive For Performing Students To Have Tuition?!

Tuition has been a hot topic for the past week and having been a full-time tutor for the bulk of my university days (3 years to be exact), I also have some strong views on this hot potato issue. This perennial issue made the headlines (once again) after Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah mentioned that tuition was unnecessary. Her argument was that for weaker students, schools provided support with remedial and supplementary lessons. Whereas for better performers, she indicated her belief that tuition could add unnecessary stress and prove counter-productive. The typical view held by the man on the street is that...

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How’s The Blog Doing So Far?

Since the middle of this year, I have been thinking about starting a finance blog. And exactly two months ago, I handed almost $200 bucks of cash to Bluehost to create this website. This was my first attempt at blogging and I had to justify my purchase to Mrs 15 HWW. After all, I could have easily opted for free alternatives with BlogSpot & WordPress, right? I bullshitted my way through. I told her that readers wouldn’t want to be spotted reading a blog with misleading chat-line ads showing pretty and scantily clad women being just a call away. I also reassured her that in time, the whole Singapore...

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