Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

What Does It Take To Be A Millionaire Next Door?

Once upon a time, I was a pretty big spendthrift. I would just open my mouth to plead for more allowances from my Mum in order to get the latest Deuter school bag, a new pair of Nike sneakers or to go on a nice dinner date with my then-girlfriend. Back then, I was under the misconception that the wealthy comprised of celebrities and property magnates. They were leading the high-life and it seemed that the only way to become a millionaire was to roll in tons of cash. On the other hand, frugality, strongly advocated by my mother, was only practised by...

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Get Rich With… Geographical Arbitrage in Johor Bahru

Many New Yorkers have the option of staying or retiring in lower cost states like Colorado and Florida within their home country. Although this isn’t strictly applicable in Singapore (although I have to admit that food centre prices in some mature estates tend to be cheaper?), we do have the option of travelling to our neighbours where the purchasing power of our Singapore salaries can be drastically increased, to enjoy some of the “finer things” in life. With the Singapore dollar appreciating strongly against the Malaysian Ringgit, it has breached the psychological mark of 2.5 RM to 1 SGD in recent months. Therefore, it’s not surprising that we...

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Observations Of Year End Bonus For Civil Servants

There was happy news for about 30% of our workforce on Thursday as the Public Service Division announced that civil servants will get a year-end Annual Variable Component (AVC) of 1.1 months. This was significantly higher than the previous year’s bonus (0.7months) and the mood in office on Friday was already approaching celebratory even though there was still more than a month to go before Christmas. Since I am employed by the public sector, I am a beneficiary too. And to be honest, this amount was slightly higher than what I had anticipated. Because of this, I also made some interesting observations of our behaviour...

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International Blogs I HIGHLY Recommend

Some readers might be awed about the amount of things I know (wishful thinking on my part?) or perplexed by the (somewhat extreme?) views that I adopt when writing some of my blog posts. If you are what you eat, it isn’t that far-fetched to believe that a man’s writing is heavily influenced by his reading. And just like many of you here, I am also a big fan of some blogs. Earlier this year, I had stumbled onto these three sites which have really intrigued me and I became a keen follower of all three blogs. They have inspired me to start a blog, re-evaluate my life and gave a purpose...

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Why I Am Not Too Keen On The Supplementary Retirement Scheme

The Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) seems like a cool financial phrase to utter these days. From the most recent Sunday Times which had two articles espousing the benefits of SRS to the latest blog post from esteemed personal finance blogger AK71 regarding an SRS promotion, everyone is talking about it. In fact, there’s even a blog that chronicles an SRS portfolio! And many other Singaporeans are getting in on the act too. Especially since according to that report in the papers, there’s >80,000 people who have OPENED (which doesn’t necessary mean putting in money) accounts with the three local banks. So it should be something beneficial for...

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Passive Income Update: October 13

The market was pretty flat throughout the last month but there’s still a healthy increase in the valuation of our shares. Excluding the monthly $600 injected into the Philips Sharebuilder Plan and the additional $2,000 parked in my CIMB StarSaver account, there’s still a $5,000 jump in value! This is largely due to significant price increases in Boustead, Challenger and Kingsmen. Together with the previous month’s increase of $8,000 in the valuations, the capital gains have been compelling. But this also means that the shares I own are getting more expensive. The good news is that the price of some Reits have been weakening and with bonuses coming in, I...

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Get Rich With… Walking!

For most, walking is an exercise. It’s likely to be either a walk in the park or one that requires more effort and speed on the tracks. However, due to our 40 hour work week, many of us are unable to set aside enough time for these activities. So instead, I turn it into another mode of transport for myself. Recently, a colleague who stayed in Sengkang gave me a lift home after a teambuilding session at an ulu place. He was quite curious about where I got my groceries and household supplies since there wasn’t any hyper mart in Punggol....

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Why Early Retirement Is Not Possible For Most

In theory, it really isn’t that complicated to achieve an early retirement. For this post’s sake, let’s agree that early is defined as below 45 years of age. This is reasonable and also considered pretty early for most, considering official retirement age in Singapore is currently 65. And by retirement, what I mean is that one is no longer obliged to work for a living. Here are the three steps involved: 1. Save 50%* of your total income (inclusive of bonuses) 2. Invest in a basket of dividend stocks that returns 7%-8% (3% to cover inflation and 4%-5% returned as dividends) 3. Continue doing this for about 17* years Then...

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Why I Don’t Really Enjoy Typical Vacations

Just slightly more than 2 weeks ago, we flew to Bangkok with Mrs 15 HWW’s family (parents and younger brother) for a short vacation. Bangkok is a top tourist destination, and for good reason too. Thai food is really delicious and flavourful (although pretty unhealthy), there’s plenty of sightseeing in the city and the nightlife is vibrant with night markets and uh-hum… interesting shows. And most importantly, all these can be done on the cheap since cost of living is pretty low (at least to tourists coming from developed countries). So I must have had a hell of a time there, right? Actually, it would...

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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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