Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

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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Money Bomb 2: The Renovation

Previously, I blogged about Money Bomb 1: The Wedding where I shared how we actually budgeted for our wonderful wedding. As the title suggests, that is likely to be the first of many money bombs I will be sharing (it also helps that the article was pretty popular). So since it is still relatively fresh in our minds, here we are with the second money bomb: The Renovation. By depicting them as money bombs, I appear to have attached a negative connotation to these events too. But truthfully speaking, they are actually some of the happiest moments in my life. If getting married to...

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Financial Behaviour That Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Economics isn’t named the dismal science for no good reason. In terms of the accuracy of its predictions, it has more in common with Astrology than Physics or Chemistry. Seriously, if you had based your investment decisions on their predictions on when the economy would turn, I wouldn’t be surprised to find you living in the streets today. The problem is, these economic models are based on the BIG assumption that human beings are rational. But are we really that rational? (I start to think of those big diamond rings and their price tags) Seems not, especially if you have been following the latest research and findings from...

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Get Rich With…Reading!

Unlike children of today, I didn’t have a computer, cell phone, tablet or even internet access until I was a teenager. And guess what? I am not complaining. I consider myself lucky to grow up in an age when there weren’t that many entertainment options. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t love to read as much as I do now and consequently, my English would not be good enough to churn out posts like these. During my kindergarten and early Primary school years, the highlight of the afternoon was those one hour re-runs of some SBC (prior to TCS and Mediacorp) serials which included my all-time favourite 早安!...

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3 Reasons Not To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

“Dear, are you sure we should take a 30-year home loan? Perhaps we should seriously consider a 25-year or even a 20-year loan instead. With our incomes, the higher monthly instalments shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, we could use some of our cash reserves to reduce the loan quantum. Somehow, stretching this debt to the time when we turn 55 doesn’t seem that great an idea to me” Mrs 15 HWW was really concerned when we collected the keenly anticipated keys to our brand-new BTO flat in Punggol. In exchange for a humble abode, we also had to commit to almost $300,000 of debt. All these at the...

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