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Kenneth Fong

Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.

Kenneth Fong

Product Marketing at Seedly

About

Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.

Credentials

Product Marketing at Seedly

Kenneth Fong

Product Marketing at Seedly

  • Answers (23)
  • Questions (2)
  • Reviews (5)

Insurance

Career

Lifestyle

Fresh Graduates

Do full time jobs allow employees to be insurance agents on the side lines? Has anyone done it before and can anyone share their advice on being part time insurance agents?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 27 May 2020
Hi anonymous, I'm guessing you're asking this question because you're experiencing reduced working hours at your full-time job due to COVID-19 and want to supplement your income? I can't answer the insurance agent part well because I'm not in the industry. But what I do know about employment in Singapore is that whether you can moonlight or not, depends on your employment contract. However, from what my friends have shared with me (as well as my personal experience with agents), being an insurance agent means you have targets to meet. And it's not really responsible being a part-time agent because after you sell whatever insurance package to your clients, it's your job to follow-up with them, do periodic check-ins, help them process their claims... you get the picture. And if you get into the financial planning part, reassess their financial situations, give advice, and be there for them as part of your service. Technically, you can just sell your plans, get your cut of the premiums, and disappear from their lives. But that wouldn't be very responsible wouldn't it? And since you want to do this part-time, you might find yourself in a situation (not now, but in the future) where your full-time job (plus any other commitments eg. a kid or family) becomes too much for you to handle and you have to give up your clients. That means transferring them to another agent who may or may not have their interests at heart. Frankly, it's a business that is based on trust. Building trust and reputation takes time, so whenever I have friends who ask me if they should become an insurance agent. I caution that they should consider this as a legit full-time occupation and NOT treat it as a temporary job because YOU are responsible for your clients' (and their dependants') lives and financial well-being. Even though, yes, they should exercise discretion before buying anything from you. But c'mon... They wouldn't know better, yes? I'm not saying that this is what you'll do, but there are bad apples who have done this without considering the future of their clients and they've inevitably given the industry a bad name. But if you actually enjoy being an agent and eventually decide to make it a full-time thing instead. Then good on you. That aside, in light of the COVID-19 situation, if you're looking for alternatives to make up for lost income. MOM has urged ALL employers to waive contractual prohibitions where possible, and I've detailed that in this article. ! This is to help employees make up for lost income and help them mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their livelihood. However, you have to ensure that you can take on both jobs without compromising the interests of both employers. And you have to be transparent with regard to the requirements of both jobs to both of your employers. With so many support grants and upskilling initiatives being launched by the Government, you might also find that your first employer might want to send you for further training during this period especially if you're experiencing reduced work hours (read: pay cut). So that might cut into the time you'd want to spend working your second job as an insurance agent. To get around this, you'll want to talk to both of your employers and figure out what's the best way to deconflict your work schedule and responsibilities (or conflicts of interest, if any). Alternatively, you might want to consider looking at options under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. Look for part-time or temporary positions which allow you to pick up relevant skills in the industry which you want to develop your career in. Whether that's the insurance industry or not - it could be underwriting and etc. For eg. if you're a programmer. Then you might want to seek a part-time traineeship in a tech start-up or data science related company to build more skills, make yourself even more relevant, or train yourself in cross-disciplines to become more versatile. You have the time and energy now as a fresh grad so make full use of your time to do something for your future . The best part of this? You get paid a training allowance as well. So this way you're supplementing your lost income from your first job while learning and upgrading yourself. Hope this helps!
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Career

Do I need a licence to sell home-made goods (food / drinks) online in Singapore?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 21 May 2020
Hi Charmaine, If you're planning to set up your own home-based food business , you don't have to apply for a license. And you don't need HDB or URA's approval either! You're basically setting up your business under the Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme . But there are some guidelines you have to take note though: ! And they mainly involve not being a nuisance to your neighbours, as well as not employing additional workers or staff outside of your immediate family and industrial equipment or appliances that are not meant for domestic use. But since you're thinking of setting up a food or drink related business, you'll need to adhere to some additional guidelines as set out by the Singapore Food Agency for food hygiene and the Fire Safety and Shelter Department for fire safety. If your business takes off (fingers-crossed that it does!) then you'll probably have to move out to a proper retail or industrial space, and have to apply for the appropriate food business license. Good luck with setting up your business and hope this helps!
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Lifestyle

COVID-19

Where do you get the cakes for birthdays now since the circuit breaker rules are tightened with no confectionary shops and home bakers available. Do you use replacements or do you bake them yourself?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 29 Apr 2020
Hi anonymous, Here's a bit of good news~ We just published an article with a list of cake options available online (from cafes and restaurants & even hotels) that still deliver during this Circuit Breaker period! ! You'll need to pay a little premium to get the cakes delivered, but if you throw in a meal or two with your order (might as well if you're celebrating someone's birthday or Mother's Day perhaps?) then you might be able to qualify for free delivery. My personal favourite from the list is Olivia Restaurant's Creamy Cheese Cake, it's a burnt cheesecake made with blue cheese and cream cheese and is arguably one of the best cheesecakes I've had in Singapore. If you're looking for a chocolate cake, then Awfully Chocolate and P.S. Cafe (Double Chocolate Blackout Cake) has a pretty good selection too. Hope this helps!
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Retirement

Investments

FIRE Movement

Is retiring in Thailand a viable option for most Singaporeans?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 26 Feb 2020
Hi Anonymous, I'd say it is. But here're a couple of things you might want to think about. I've personally worked and stayed in Thailand, Pathum Thani (about 40mins drive north of Mochit aka where JJ Market is) specifically for 6 months, and I have thought of retiring there too. The climate is pretty similar, but they do have slightly colder winters if you live up north. Food-wise, it's pretty agreeable because you're still in South East Asia (I'm presuming you're Singaporean). And if you're happy with street food or the small Mom & Pop, hole-in-a-wall eateries you can find almost everywhere, they're cheap and decent too. A meal (rice with meat and some veggies) will probably cost you SGD$2 to SGD$3, or even less - depends on which province you're in, big cities will charge more. I can't say much about healthcare, but you might want to check if foreigners have to pay more if they seek treatment at clinics or the A&E . This is extremely important as you'll be retiring there in your golden years, and the last thing you want is to (touch wood) go to a hospital after you fall in your bathroom and be charged a ridiculous amount of money for an X-ray and a plaster cast. If you're planning to have children, the best university there is probably Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok . But the more affluent locals (mostly Thai-Chinese) usually send their kids overseas. At least that's what I noticed since most of my Thai colleagues have degrees from all over the world, while local grads are far and few - in case you're wondering, I was working in the National Science and Technology Development Agency (like an A STAR of sorts for Thailand). So that means that you'll need to factor additional costs to send your kid to local, international schools in preparation for higher education. Or be prepared to send them overseas for their education from the get-go, which also means you'll need to take care of their tuition fees, boarding, and lodging (read: not cheap). Local transportation is cheap if you travel by bus, tuk-tuk, MRT, boat, motorcycle. And it's not too bad either if you decide to buy and own a car. Most of my colleagues still take public transportation because traffic is usually bad - yes, even in the small towns because some of the roads aren't as wide as SG - and are the worst in big cities. Finally, since you're looking at retiring, you'll probably want to learn more about Thailand's retirement visa. ! In a nutshell, you'll be applying for the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa (Long Stay/Retirement) visa which is renewable every year. But the catch here is that you'll have to be 50 years or older to apply for this visa. Here are some other conditions you'll need to meet: - A minimum of THB800,000 in a Thai bank account for 2 months prior to visa application - A minimum of THB65,000 monthly income (can combine with assets in Thai bank account to meet that min THB800,000 requirement) Oh, and you'll need to report to Immigration every 90 days to verify your current address . Yes, I know. It's a hassle, but those are the rules if you wanna retire there. If you're thinking about retiring overseas, I've written an article on Retirement Visas to other places around the world. Feel free to check it out if you'd like to keep your options open! Good luck with your retirement dreams and start planning now if it's your ultimate goal!
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Investments

Career

Stocks Discussion

Hi guys Iā€™m an aspiring financial writer. Is there any tips for what content are best to write about and what thinking framework I should adopt?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Answered on 28 Dec 2019
Hi Anonymous, It's great that you've decided to start writing! Everybody has to start somewhere. If you have a particular niche in personal finance that you're well-versed in or have strong interest (maybe you're from that particular industry and have subject matter expertise), I'd suggest creating content with regard to that. For example, if you've always been fascinated with owning property or have an insight as to how the average Singaporean can work towards owning multiple properties. Then maybe you'll want to focus on property and helping your readers attain their home ownership goals. If you're a parent who's done it all, then maybe you'd like to chronicle your experiences and the costs involved in raising children. Heck, kids always do the most amusing (and unexpected) things and that would make for pretty interesting content - especially since Singapore is notoriously expensive to live in, much less raise a child. I guess where I'm going with this is: 1) know what you're good at, and 2) know your target audience Start there, keep tweaking, and see where it goes. But most importantly, think about bringing value to your readers. This could come in the form of your personal opinion on a contentious subject, a personal anecdote to help people relate better to a certain situation you're talking about and etc. Anybody can rattle off the pros and cons of doing a voluntary top-up to your CPF special account. Just do a search on Google. But if you can value add by illustrating how doing so (with numbers and figures) helps you to better plan your retirement wish to travel the world, for example. Then you would have helped someone who has ambitious plans to see the world in their retirement. It's not just generic advice that you know you should do but aren't really sure why you should follow in the first place. This is known as: 1) context (or creating relevance for your readers) If your readers find relevance in what you write about, and can appreciate your knowledge... you'll have a winning formula there. All the best!
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Investments

Inflation

Shouldn't the government's goal be to seek to make inflation 0%, not 2%? I don't understand why they want prices to appreciate, won't that be bad for everyone?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 04 Dec 2019
That's a good question! Shouldn't the government be reducing inflation to 0%? That way, we won't have to spend so much money on stuff what! Well... Yes, and unfortunately, No. I'm going to explain why inflation is important using something we're all familiar with: ice cream. ! TL;DR: Why Is Inflation Needed In Our Economy? Many economists, businessmen, and politicians believe that inflation, or the gradual increase of prices over time, helps keep businesses profitable and prevents consumers from simply waiting for lower prices before making purchases. On the other hand, rising prices also makes doing stuff like saving money harder. It causes individuals to engage in riskier strategies in order to increase or just to maintain their wealth. And as with anything that is remotely linked to the government, people are sure to suspect that inflation is just an excuse for some businesses or individuals to benefit at the expense of others. Defining Inflation Imagine that it's after school. And there are 10 kids who all love ice cream. The ice cream uncle standing outside school, only has 5 servings left in his cart. And he is selling them at $1 each. Each kid has $2 in hand and all of them want to have ice cream. The enterprising uncle realises that he can get more for his ice cream so he jacks up the price to $2. This $1 increase is a result of Demand Pull Inflation or excess demand of a scarce good. The next day, the uncle heads to the ice cream factory to get a restock of ice cream. The supplier informs him that milk prices have increased, so he is selling 10 blocks of ice cream at $100 instead of $80. The ice cream uncle knows that he gets 200 servings of ice cream from 10 blocks. And this $20 increase means that if he wants to make the same profit, he must now sell his ice cream at $1.10 instead of $1. This is a result of Supply Push Inflation , which is caused by a substantial increase in the cost of important goods or services where no suitable alternative is available. After all, he can't make ice cream out of water right? So bobian, he has to buy the product in order to make a living. Inflation In The Real World When everyone in an economy is expecting say... A 10% inflation, everyone adjusts their prices upwards by 10%. Suddenly your pint of milk costs $1.10 (from $1), your loaf of bread costs $3.30 (from $3), and your McSpicy meal costs... Well, you get the picture. This was EXACTLY what happened in the States during the 1970s where everyone expected double digit inflation due to high oil prices . In fact, people started factoring this inflationary expectation into their wages and prices of goods. Unfortunately, this expectation was allowed to develop and continued without significant economic growth which resulted in Stagflation . The result? Unemployment rates rose to an astronomical high and the US economy went into a recession. The world has learnt from this mistake though. So as a result, governments try to limit inflationary expectations by stating outright what the target inflation rate for the year is. This is why you'll notice that MAS makes a huge point every end of the year to announce what the target inflation rate for the next year will be . It'll usually be a sustainable and healthy level of inflation. Not high enough to turn your cash savings into "banana money" (read: currency used during the Japanese occupation which became worthless due to inflation). ! But high enough to create a sufficient buffer before deflation happens. Asset Bubbles: The Calm Before The Deflation Storm Asset Bubbles occur when Demand Push Inflation causes assets to become overvalued. Let's say all the cool kids at school think that having an ice cream after school is the trendy thing to do. The uncle decides to up the cool factor by branding his ice cream with a trademarked logo and prices his ice cream at $10 (remember that it only costs him $0.80 to make one before the supplier increased the price of ice cream). It's all the rage amongst the kids, and every one at school is either begging their parents to get them this "branded" ice cream or are saving up their pennies just to buy one. One day, the popular kids are sick of the uncle's ice cream and refuse to even pay cost price for the ice cream. The asset (ice cream) bubble has just burst, and what follows is deflation . Cue (ice) screams Sorry, couldn't help it. The Problem Of Deflation Remember the 10 kids who used to buy ice cream from the uncle? They all still have $2 to spend, but they're no longer interested in spending it on ice cream because it's not trendy anymore. Instead, they're buying Korean instant noodles because that's what all their K-Drama idols are eating. ! On Monday, the uncle sells his ice cream at $1. The next week, he drops it to $0.90 because the kids still aren't buying. A month in, he drops it to $0.80 out of desperation. Some of the kids start to wonder if they should have ice cream, because it's cheaper at $0.80 now. But they also can't help but wonder if it'll drop to $0.50 and that's when they can have 2 ice creams for the price of one . "Shiok! Deflation is great! I can buy 2 ice creams sia..." Gerald, one of the kids, exclaims. A couple of months later, 90% of ice cream uncles in Singapore can't afford to keep their carts because they can't pay for the ice cream distribution license. Gerald's dad, who also happens to be an ice cream uncle loses his job. And guess what? Gerald now has no pocket money for ice cream or Korean instant noodles... Closing Thoughts Inflation is a 'necessary evil' that helps keep the world economy functional. If you're concerned about inflation eating up the value of your dollar, Seedly has a great piece written on why investing can help you to overcome inflation. Do check it out.
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Financial Planners

Cryptocurrency

Personal Finance 101

What is blockchain exactly, and is it different from cryptocurrency?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 04 Dec 2019
That's a good question, and a more common one than you might think. ! TL;DR: Making Sense of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Blockchain is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency, amongst many other things. Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the SGD for example. Except that it's digital and uses sophisticated encryption techniques to govern the creation of individual monetary units as well as to verify the transfer of these units. The most well-known cryptocurrency is... You guessed it: Bitcoin. A Bit More About Blockchain A blockchain is, in the simplest of terms, a time-stamped series of immutable (unchangeable over time) record of data that is managed by a cluster of computers, that are not owned by any single entity. Each 'block' of data is secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles aka the 'chain', hence the name blockchain. So... What's So Special About Blockchain? 1) Since a blockchain network is a shared and immutable ledger, the info is open to anyone and everyone to see. As a result, everyone who is involved is accountable for their actions, and there's really NO NEED FOR A CENTRAL AUTHORITY to govern it - which is also why MAS is having a field day trying to regulate cryptocurrency. 2) There is no transaction cost . There'll still be infrastructure costs involved though. So why is there no transaction cost? Simple. It's all data , there's no middle man or third party involved who needs to be paid. When one party makes a transaction, it initiates a process by creating a 'block' of data. This block is verified by thousands or even millions of computers in a network. Once the verified block is added to the 'chain' and stored on the network, it creates a unique record with a unique history. To falsify one record means falsifying millions of records across the millions of computers in the network - and that's virtually impossible. Why Should Companies Like Airbnb Be Afraid Of Blockchain? ! For Airbnb, we book rooms via an app or their website. They take a cut for "match-making" the host to a renter. And when we pay for the transaction, the credit card company takes a cut as well. With blockchain, we can save on credit card processing fees and even move the entire room/home booking process off Airbnb. Here's how. The two parties in the transaction are the host and the renter. The room is the 'block', which will be added to a room blockchain. Just as a monetary transaction on blockchain is unique, your booking of the room between the host and you (the renter) is also unique, verifiable, and cannot be falsified. Best of all, this process is free. Not only can blockchain transfer and store "money", but it can also replace all processes and business models which rely on charging a small fee for a transaction . If you want to read up more on cryptocurrency, Seedly has written a pretty good article on it: https://blog.seedly.sg/a-quick-singaporeans-guide-to-cryptocurrencies-and-factors-affecting-the-price/
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Lifestyle

When did you know that you can afford a car?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 04 Dec 2019
That's a pretty good question that almost everyone in Singapore has asked themselves, at some point in life. I suppose it boils down to 2 things: ! 1) Is it a want? Meaning a good-to-have kind of thing because you just want to avoid squeezing with everyone on the trains and buses on your commute to work. Or perhaps you want it as an "indicator" of wealth - a relatively poor one I might add. Then it's a liability . 2) Is it a need? Meaning you depend on it for your livelihood or for your day-today living. A good example would be salespeople who need the speed and convenience a car provides in order to meet clients. Or perhaps you need it to ferry your ailing parents or grandparents to regular checkups and etc. It's still a liability, but also a necessary asset - in some sense. The problem with owning a car, in Singapore especially, is that it's ridiculously expensive . Especially with the COE prices, road tax, car park fees, fuel, and etc. If you identify that a car is a want. Then you're better off using the 50% expenses/30% wealth building/20% savings rule to figure out how much you can responsibly allocate to this expense/liability AFTER you have contributed to your wealth building and savings fund. If your peers are driving around when all of you are earning something within the $2,000 to 3,000 range, this probably means that they are over-leveraged and are not saving enough for their future. If you identify that a car is a need, well... You should still use the above 50/30/20 rule but probably have to consider other equally important things like, does it make more sense to own a car vs. getting a private hire car/taxi to go about your daily life? In terms of: 1) Cost (taxi fees vs owning a car; arguably cheaper for the former but the convenience of a car means you don't have to wait or get cancelled on at the last minute by errant private hire drivers) 2) Time saved by driving vs. taking public transport (will you put it to good use eg. self improvement or exercise or answer 5 more work emails? or waste it on video games and Netflix...) And potentially more factors, depending on your circumstances and how heavily do you rely on having a set of wheels to get around. Also, being able to afford a car, is also different from whether you SHOULD buy a car. If you're interested to find out how much a car will cost per month, and how much you should realistically be earning if you want to buy a car, Seedly wrote a really good article about this: https://blog.seedly.sg/buy-car-how-much-should-be-earning/ !
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šŸ‘ 2

Lifestyle

Family

What could be some of the most economical gyms to sign up for in Singapore?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 16 Nov 2019
Hi anonymous! It's good to realise that besides saving and investing, taking care of your health is one of the most fundamental things which most people neglect. As cliche as it sounds the age old adage of "Health is Wealth" is very true! Think about it, if you're working yourself to the bone and your health suffers... you'll end up spending more on medicine and health checkups to nurse yourself back to health. Which kinda defeats the purpose of working that hard right? The key here is to find options which are economical but most importantly are near or along your daily commute . That way you really don't have a reason not to go since it's just 5 mins away from home, or literally on the way to your office or back home. With these considerations in mind, we've also recently updated our " Cheap Gym Memberships Under $100 Per Month " article which should help you make your decision! ! Included are also a couple of options which might be near your workplace so there's no excuse for you to NOT get active! If you want to squeeze in a workout during lunch hour, then you might want to find options which are closer to your office. And as always, Seedly's got your back fam! Check out our " Affordable Fitness Classes Near Your Office For A Quick Workout ", and hopefully you'll find an affordable option near your workplace! ! Lastly, starting is always the hardest. But consistency and discipline is key to maintaining an active lifestyle. The first few day or weeks will be the toughest, but keep at it and you'll eventually find that it becomes part of your daily routine. All the best!
šŸ‘ 1

HDB BTO

At which stage of the BTO process do we apply for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant?
Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Product Marketing at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 13 Sep 2019
Great question! In order to answer this properly, it's best if you have an idea of what to expect at each stage of the BTO buying process, as well as the overall timeline. In fact, CPF created this very helpful infographic which should give you a very clear understanding of what the timeline is like: ! Source: CPF Now, to answer your question regarding which stage of the BTO process do you apply for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) . This happens at Step 4: Book A Flat. So what happens exactly? Booking A Flat Your BTO queue number will determine your priority in choosing your desired unit in the development your applied for. For the really popular launches, the number of people in the queue will usually exceed the number of units available. So if your queue number is damn cui, chances are slim that you'll get a unit - much less be able to pick the one you want. But let's assume that your queue number is pretty good and you're informed that you should head down to the HDB Hub to book/select your flat. You turn up with a few options in mind and select your unit by telling the HDB staff your choice. Once the staff locks it in, you'll have to pay an option fee on the spot. This will be $500 for 2-room flexi flats, $1,000 for 3-room flats and $2,000 for 4-room or larger. This is also when you will apply for your eligible CPF housing grants . Simply inform the staff that you would like to check and apply for the grants and they will assist you with the process. I'm guessing you already know this, but I'll just state it here for the benefit of readers who aren't aware: as of 11 September 2019 , you won't have to contend with the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) or the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) anymore because they've been replaced with the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) . Eligibility For EHG To be eligible for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant, applicants or their spouses must have been employed continuously for at least 12 months . This is in line with other HDB schemes and grants. More importantly, applicants must buy flats that they can call home until they reach the age of 95 . For flats which fail to meet this condition, the EHG will be pro-rated based on the extent that the remaining lease will cover them till that age. If you'd like to find out more about the EHG and how it might potentially benefit you. Seedly has a pretty informative guide to The New Enhanced CPF Housing Grant. There're also a few scenarios illustrated which you might find relevant to your BTO journey ! Good luck!
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