Author: Unintelligent Nerd

Allocating edu-chest resources

I have done some additional thinking after my two posts on the Skillsfuture Qualification Award and the Post-Secondary Education Account. These are resources for us to utilize, to upgrade ourselves in the face of even greater uncertainty in the job market. Besides the SkillsFuture credit, I have found other resources which could be used as well. As a whole, this pool of resources could be conceived of as an “edu-chest”, a war chest of sorts to deploy for education/professional development purposes. In this piece, I will delimit “education/professional development courses” to refer to courses which range in cost from...

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Coursera’s Paywall: What you could do about it

I was trying out a Coursera course yesterday before being rudely interrupted by the paywall. Prior to this incident, Coursera courses are free to complete (unless you wanted to pay for a certificate). I’ve spent quite a bit on Coursera courses when I was still a noob who couldn’t differentiate between the quality of the courses offered. Once I’ve done my fair share of courses on the platform, I became far more discriminating in whether I would want to top up money to get a certificate. This time round, the finance course I tried out had all materials available...

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SCB e$aver Bonus Interest (1 Feb to 31 Mar 2017)

For those unaware, there’s bonus interest to be gotten from SCB from 1 Feb to 31 Mar 2017. For more information, see here. Though it is for a short period only, I’ve made the transfer to net me slightly higher interest than the CIMB FastSaver’s 1%. I used to wonder why other financial bloggers would bother transferring funds from one saving account to another to net additional interest income. With internet banking, it has become pretty...

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What is the Post-Secondary Education Account?

After Foolish Chameleon’s comment at my last post, it made me realize that public awareness of the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) is abysmal. In fact, I did not know about the PSEA until around 2 years ago. Back then, I was searching for short academic programmes to take and PSEA was one out of many payment options I could use to fund my education. So what exactly is PSEA? Where did the money come from? Is it related to Edusave? How do I know how much money I have in the account? The information is quite hard to find,...

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SkillsFuture Qualification Award: Not a free lunch for me

Ever since I’ve been told by my superiors that I’m eligible for company-sponsored training (about time yah? my previous contract jobs have no such benefits -.-), I’ve been combing the SkillsFuture course directory for courses that are relevant to my job scope. Incidentally, while browsing through the SkillsFuture website, I came across the SkillsFuture Qualification Award (see this link for details). Hey! Did I just hit a gold mine or what? There’s a whooping $1000 cash prize for people like me who have completed one of the qualifications detailed there. What’s more, I have used my Post-Secondary Education Account...

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Staying in First REIT or marrying just for the sake of marrying?

I must be getting old. I’m starting to get intrusive questions such as “Got girlfriend or not?”, “How come you no girlfriend?”, “Why are you still single?”, and “Have you considered finding a girl and settling down?” In a few weeks’ time, I’ll once again be on the receiving end of the same old fusillade. Apparently, a simple and logical explanation of my situation never goes through: 1). I have no permanent job (see here) 2). I have to “leverage up” to do my Masters first before I can get a permanent post With such an insecure cash flow,...

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2016 Reflections

I’m late to the game. Most bloggers have already wrapped up their reflections of 2016 and have proceeded on towards welcoming the new year. Investment Portfolio My dividend portfolio is chugging along just fine. Soon, the annual dividends will be able to cover the $200/month POSB Invest Saver plan which I am on as well. :) At a portfolio level, I am overweight on REITs (bad thing!). I have padded my portfolio with some more consumer staples and am looking towards adding more if the sector corrects. Meanwhile, I am eyeing some other ETFs and am considering SSBs. I...

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Top/Worst performers in my portfolio for 2016

It’s coming to the end of the year. In one week’s time, we will be ushering in 2017. So how did my income portfolio fare for 2016? I will officially be recording and tabulating the results on 31 December 2016, but it doesn’t hurt to review the performance of my counters thus far. I’m not the type who monitors the prices of my holdings daily, so some of the top/worst performers were somewhat surprising. I define returns as follow: ((Current Market Price + Dividends/Distributions received) – Purchase Price)/Purchase Price I have included transaction costs in the above calculation as...

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November updates

So what has Unintelligent Nerd been up to? I’m pretty much occupied with my new job and school. School work is tough. Considering my background, I think I got more than I bargained for by signing up for the 1-year programme in engineering school. For the first couple of weeks, the terms used by the lecturer flew past my head. My understanding has gotten a bit better since then, but there is still much work to be done. I’m done with 3 tests and am left with 2 more next week before the term closes for a much needed...

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瞒天过海 as my preferred self-preservation strategy

Being a Facebook user, I am observing more of my friends/peers/juniors taking an interest in personal finance. In my news feed, I see more of them liking the pages of personal finance websites as well as sharing articles on personal finance with one another. I think that is a good thing. It is good to pursue self-education in the arena of personal finance which, in turn, would set them up with a better foundation in their lives. However, I’m not going to talk about that group today. Instead, I will be talking about some other interesting folks who, through...

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Book Review: Singapore’s Real Estate – 50 Years of Transformation

In my previous post, I alluded to my interest in developing competency in REITs analysis. However, there is quite a limited selection of reading materials that delve into the topic. For this reason, I broadened my scope and began sourcing for real estate materials in the local bookstores. Today, I will be highlighting some of the points which I have gleaned from reading “Singapore’s Real Estate – 50 Years of Transformation.” – The Real Estate Development Life cycle illustrates how an empty plot of land is converted into a building: (1) Land Assembly and Preparation, (2) Planning and Approval,...

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Musings on life

One long-standing concern which I hope to eventually eliminate from my life is my lack of career stability. Since graduation, I have been holding on to contract jobs as a social science researcher. While there are the lucky few who managed to secure permanent research positions as a degree holder, the majority of organizations in my field are looking for Masters or PhD holders. With plenty of me-time in-between jobs this time round, I reflected quite a bit: Work/Colleagues I could never get used to this feeling of being a sojourner of sorts. Once I am finally comfortable with...

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Reading up on Cryptocurrencies

I have been reading up on Cryptocurrencies lately. This post will serve as a summary of what I have learned from my readings. Specifically, Don and Alex Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution and Prypto’s Bitcoin for Dummies. Blockchain revolution exposed me to the concept of the blockchain – the underlying technology that supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In fact, people should focus on the blockchain rather than on the individual cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin because of its potential applications beyond finance. I will be listing the points which stood out in my reading as well as my thoughts: – Blockchain technology could be...

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MAMA and Investing

No, I’m not referring to your mother. I’m referring to the words underlying the acronym MAMA – Moratorium Achievement Moratorium Achievement. Let me take a step back. How do individuals develop their sense of identity in life? When do they develop their own sense of personal identity? Is identity fixed or is it a fluid concept? While there are many psychological theories that aim to explain identity development in humans, today I will only be discussing the work by psychologist James Marcia. His thesis is that identity is a result of the dialectical interplay between exploration and commitment. In...

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Thoughts on the HI Module

Insurance is important and I know zilch about it. As part of my quest for personal development, I have spent the past 2 weeks studying for the Health Insurance (HI) Module offered by the Singapore College of Insurance (SCI). Why 2 weeks when I could have scheduled the examination at any time? Because I came across another blogger who shared that it could be done within 2 weeks. Well, I passed the module, but I now know I should allow myself additional buffer time when I do attempt the remaining SCI modules in the future. Hopefully, as I take...

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