Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

MediShield Considerations For The Next Few Decades

Raising Of Premiums When I heard this piece of news that meant all insurers were effectively raising the premiums of their Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), I knew that I might have to reevaluate my health care insurance strategy. After all, according to the same report, “Claims for IPs covering treatment in private hospitals have risen by 17 per cent a year in the past few years” and in case you did not know, insurance companies are profit-making in nature (there are shareholders) and when their costs increase, they are just going to pass it on. So I expect premiums to be raised again in a...

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Expenses Update: March 2017

We spent about $4,250 in March and it was actually another rather frugal month by our standards. If we excluded the $700 that we paid for the day trips in Melbourne, the number would be much closer to $3,500. After including this month’s expenditure, we have still managed to lower our average expenditure this year slightly to $4,371.  This also means that when we take our trip in May, there’s only accommodation and the daily expenses to deal with. So the expenditure is unlikely to explode in that month when we “amortise” the trip like this. But it’s notable that...

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15HWW Origins: Illness And The Passing Of My Mum

My Mum was the closest kin I had, by millions of miles. If my Mum were still alive, we would be celebrating her 54th birthday today. If only. She had passed away 6 years ago, after a one year struggle with ovarian cancer. My Mum My Mum was one of the kindest and most responsible person I know and she sought to instil those qualities in her children. No matter what happened, she would never blow her temper at low-paid service staff because she had worked those positions before and could empathise with their difficulties. And whenever I borrow anything from anyone, I will be able to...

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Portfolio Update: March 2017

This can be considered a flat month although the total value of the portfolio increased by about $3,000 to end up at $393,000. The appreciating SGD against USD and HKD mitigated some of the stock market gains and it’s interesting that the consensus I sense is that the market appears more frothy than 2 years ago. That’s when the STI was near 3,500 compared to 3,200 right now. But the difference is that the US market continues to pull away and I guess many are just waiting for a pullback or even a crash in the US market to derail the...

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Expenses Update: February 2017

This update is at least a week late as I was simply too busy with the earlier posts. I honestly thought that there was a good chance we could spend less than $3,000 this month. Firstly, this is a short month with only 28 days and secondly, we managed to keep to within $500 for the eating out category, which is easily 50% lower than the norm. But some big purchases and gifts meant that wasn’t to be. However, at the very least, we still managed to keep the expenses within $3,350 and this has lowered our average expenditure this...

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Learn To Optimise Your CPF

CPF is something close to the hearts of Singaporeans. In fact, it is hard to meet an adult Singaporean without strong views on CPF policies or issues. Be it the inability to withdraw your CPF funds until age 55, interest rates on CPF funds, CPF LIFE or the compulsory Medisave contribution for self-employed (just ask any taxi uncle about this), few would sit on the fence. Much as we dislike some of the policies, there’s nothing we can do as individuals to change them. But what’s within our control is to optimise our decisions and actions within the CPF system....

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Thoughts On The BluePrint For Singapore’s Future

For the past couple of weeks after Budget 2017 was released, everybody’s mind was fixated on the 30% water price hike. In my humble opinion, if the intention of the water price hike is to shock Singaporeans into realising how valuable water should be, the government should probably be considering an even bigger percentage hike. Afterall, for the average Singaporean family (the 4-room dwellers), net water bill will increase by only $5/month (after U-save rebate). And this issue is distracting us from bigger strategic concerns. [embedded content] During the National Day Rally last year, PM Lee spent a big...

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Why I Am Staying With OCBC 360… For Now

I received an SMS from OCBC about the new updates to the OCBC 360 account and after a couple of clicks, I was greeted with this: Basically, OCBC 360 has regressed from an amazing product three years ago to a good product two years ago and is now just an ok product at best. This is reflected by the many (somewhat vitriolic) blog posts about this change during the past 24 hours. Although I am definitely disappointed by the reduction in the interest rates for the payment and spend part, here’s why I am taking quite a different position...

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Pursuing Financial Independence Is A Privilege

It is hard to deny the importance of money in modern capitalistic life. More often than not, money is the carrot that is dangling in front of us, making us wake up at ungodly hours or rushing to appointments that we would rather not attend. I reckon most people have resigned themselves to a lifetime of the above. Although I simply refused to. And I always thought the option to Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) is available to most residing in a developed country such as Singapore. Of course, I still earnestly believe everyone can start with the man in...

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Portfolio Update: February 2017

Markets are climbing slowly and as I am typing out this update, the STI has actually breached 3,100. The total value of the portfolio right now is $390,000 and it is actually up by $10,000 from the previous month. $7,000 was from capital gains and another $3,000 represents capital injection into the warchest. 1. 15HWW Permanent Portfolio Interestingly, STI ETF, Berk B and Gold prices are all up slightly this month, contributing to more than a $2k gain in this portfolio. USD-SGD Rate: 1.42 UOB 50 Gram PAMP Gold Price: $2,815 x 6 = $16,890 2. Personal Picks About 3...

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Thank You, My Mrs

As I logged into Facebook this morning, I was prompted to send a Valentine’s Day card. And then as I started counting, I realised that this will be the 10th V Day since I got together with Mrs 15HWW. Ironically, we have never ever celebrated the occasion on the actual day. Even on our first V Day, I communicated clearly my lack of enthusiasm for crowds and overpriced dinners and flowers, suggesting to celebrate the occasion a few days before 14th Feb. The bouquet and dinner still cost upwards of $100 but at least the restaurant was not packed like sardines. So...

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Get Rich With … The Escape Artist

Instead of tapping away on my keyboard, I have been enjoying some reading on the internet recently. I managed to stumble onto The Escape Artist one week ago and I have not been so engrossed in reading through a blog’s archives ever since my online encounter with LivingaFI two years ago. The Escape Artist is a Brit who managed to escape his prison camp about two years ago when he was in his early 40s. In my humble opinion, the quality of his writing and experience is up there with Mr Money Mustache, Early Retirement Extreme and LivingaFI. Just that instead of...

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Expenses Update: January 2017

Just a month ago, we actually established a budget of $42,000 for our expenditure in 2017. This translates to a $3,500 monthly budget and to give ourselves some leeway in the first few months, I gave an additional $5,000 buffer. Unfortunately, in this month alone, we have used up $2,000 of the $5,000 buffer as there were plenty of birthday/wedding celebrations and Chinese New Year was also in January this year.Furthermore, we paid another $1,100 for two air tickets to Melbourne. So honestly, the higher expenditure is not unexpected. I had actually anticipated our expenditure to be above $6,000 this month...

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The Millionaire Teacher

Nope, I am not talking about myself. I consider myself a teacher but I am definitely not a millionaire yet. (Although I do reckon our $380,000 portfolio should have a good chance of hitting that million mark in 10 years’ time.) The person I am referring to is Andrew Hallam, who wrote a best-selling book titled “Millionaire Teacher” five years ago. He’s back with the second edition of the book and I was really honoured when he contacted me about a month ago. A snippet of the message: “I would like the publisher to send you a paperback copy, for possible...

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15HWW Annual Investment Performance Update: 2016

I started this journey in late 2010 and even after 6 years of investing in the market (hopefully not 1 year of experience repeated 6 times), I still regard myself as a beginner. Nonetheless, I would say that I am learning. If not more about the market, then at least more about myself. The stock market is notoriously one of the most expensive places to find out who you are and I really hope I don’t get hurt in the process! This is the fourth year I am updating my annual investment performance on this blog and you can refer to the earlier...

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