Kenneth Fong - Seedly
 
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

Editor at Seedly

64Upvotes

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

Editor at Seedly

Kenneth Fong

Editor at Seedly

64Upvotes
  • Answers (17)
  • Questions (1)
  • Reviews (5)

HDB BTO

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Editor 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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Savings

Shopping

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Editor at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 08 Jul 2019
Where to find the cheapest ON whey protein, you ask? I gotchu fam. TL;DR: Protein Powder Price Comparison - The lowest price per serving of a quality protein supplement like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is $1.04 (buy through Lazada) - If you utilise cashback sites like ShopBack and optimise your order amount to qualify for free delivery, you can reduce it to $0.98 per serving (if you buy through Lazada) I did a comparison across 10 different online stores and got this: ! For more info, you can refer to this blog article: Ultimate Protein Powder Price Comparison 2019!
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SeedlyTV EP03

Savings

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong, Editor at Seedly
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
Even when both of you are still dating, it's never too early to start thinking about your life together. Or... a life without each other for the matter. Here's why. When Should You Talk To Your Partner About Money It's going to be a little creepy talking to your partner about saving for a wedding and a life together, especially if you've ONLY just met. Case in point: ! Source: knowyourmeme Don't do that. Unless he or she is totally into that, then... Erm. Congrats you two...? Instead, give it a couple of weeks, or months, or years in fact. Get to really know each other before deciding if you would really see yourself growing old with the person. And usually, this would entail finding out pertinent stuff like money habits and your individual views about money. THIS is when you know that it's time to get serious about saving for a life together. If you're curious about how you can broach this topic with your significant other, Seedly has a great post about how to talk to someone about money without dying. Should I Still Be Saving In The Meantime? Yes. Whether you see a life together with your partner or not. Both of you should still be saving regularly . In the worse case scenario where you both don't work out, your savings will still allow you to wallow at home, while you watch reruns of Friends, and stuff your face with ice cream till you feel like you can socialise with people again. Or to pay for important stuff in your life like: - A school study loan - A car loan - A life-sized replica of the Iron Throne - Your insurance - Your healthcare plans - Your parents' living allowances, and etc. And in the best case scenario where you both decide that "Yeah, I'm totally cool living with this weirdo for the rest of my life," you'll have a solid base of savings to begin with and can continue to build your life upon it.

SeedlyTV EP03

HDB BTO

Loans

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
This is a very important question for most Singaporeans to consider, especially since the majority of us will end up calling an HDB flat, home in the foreseeable future. Why Am I Buying The HDB Flat? Before we talk about home renovation and home renovation loans, you need to consider why are you buying the HDB BTO in the first place. 1) Buying To Sell Are you planning to buy the HDB flat, hold it for its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) then sell it in hopes of upgrading to, say, a condo? FYI: for an HDB flat, you must occupy it for a minimum period of five years before you can sell the flat in the open market. If yes, then you wouldn’t want to spend so much on renovation. 2) Buying Your Forever Hom Are you planning to buy the flat and make it your ‘Forever Home’? Then you’ll probably want to spend a little bit more money to make it nicer since you’ll be living in it for a long time. ! Yeah... Preferably NOT like that... How Much Money Do I Need For Renovation? This is highly subjective and dependent on the aesthetic that you’re going for. 1) Buying To Sell If you’re planning to sell the flat in a couple of years, then you wouldn’t want to pour too much money into it. But hey, you’ll still need to live in it in the meantime so you’ll probably need to do some minor renovations. Let’s say you wanna go budget and don’t really care about creating a “dream home”. Then maybe you’d like to consider opting in for HDB’s Optional Component Scheme (OCS) . ! FYI: Not THAT OCS tho. What the OCS offers will differ between housing projects and can cost anywhere from $5,000 and up . For reference, the OCS for my 4-room HDB BTO (in a relatively mature estate) that was completed in 2017 costs $8,000 to $9,000 – depending on the types of fitting you choose. It's also important to remember that you have to opt for your OCS upon selecting your flat. Which means that it'll be 3 to 5 years before you see your flat. And by then, you might change your mind with regard to what you want your place to look like. #justsaying I've had plenty of friends who went for the OCS only to decide that they would rather overlay tiles or change out the doors and shower sets for something more their style. And that means extra cost. 2) Buying Your Forever Home Congratulations. 🎉 Now comes the hard part: saving and budgeting. If you plan on creating a home with built-in carpentry like kitchen counters and wardrobe cabinets, floors with homogeneous tiles, and maybe get some electricals and wiring done… Basic stuff really. Be prepared to set aside at least $40,000 (this is based 4 room BTO reno prices which my friends have paid). For reference, the renovation for my place was more than $60,000 . I've got friends who paid even more... ! You can definitely achieve a lot for lesser depending on what you prioritise. But I’ve seen what ‘lesser’ can get you, so at least find a contractor or ID who you really trust or has really good after sales service . So... Should I Take A Home Reno Loan? There are two schools of thought: 1) Take The Home Reno Loan Take the loan if you believe that you can grow your money at a much faster rate than the interest charged . Looking at the market rate now, loan interest usually ranges between 2.88% to 5.8%, with a tenure of 1 to 5 years. Basically, this will depend on how confident you are at beating the prevailing rates when you apply for a home renovation loan. The fact that you would like to do up your house nicely is also an equally valid reason, albeit within a reasonable budget of course. Because technically, this would be more of a want than a need. 2) Or… Start Saving Now I didn’t take a home reno loan because my investment horizon is way longer and I wanted to only spend what I could afford. Call me old fashioned or conservative but I didn’t want the nagging feeling of owing the banks more than I have to . So how did I do it? I started early. 5 years early to be exact – remember that I said I collected the keys to my home in 2017? When my wife (then girlfriend) started her first job, we decided that we would each put $1,000 aside every month. At that point, we decided that this amount would be saved for our future. Naturally, we wouldn’t have known how our relationship would work out, but it’s an amount that we decided is good enough. The caveat being this was for a future, with or without the other individual : 5 years x $2,000 = $120,000. With this amount, we had more than enough to cover her university school loan, our wedding, our honeymoon, and of course, our home reno. The more investment inclined readers will point out that it’s a lot of money which could be put towards growing a portfolio, and that’s true. But at the same time, nothing beats having a peace of mind when it comes to paying for big-ticket items like these. More About Home Reno Loans If you'd like to read more about the existing home reno loans in the market and which is probably the best one for you, Seedly has a pretty good article which you should check out: https://blog.seedly.sg/renovation-loan-interest-rate-singapore/
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Electricity Market

SeedlyTV EP08

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
This is a very common question asked by those who're looking at the open electricity market. Also, I'm presuming you're asking about the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter. Lucky for you, I have an unhealthy obsession with understanding everything there is about the electricity industry. ! The short answer is: No, because everyone will get an AMI meter eventually. About the AMI Meter According to Energy Market Authority (EMA) Singapore, advanced meters or AMI meters allow electricity consumption to be measured digitally at half-hourly intervals. If you’re wondering, “Wait a minute. Then how is SP Group currently taking electricity readings?” Well… It’s done manually. cue gasps_ An SP Group rep comes down personally, once every 2 months to take a reading via your analogue meter. The first month is an estimation of your consumption, while the second month will be accurate to the reading taken. The new AMI meter will eliminate the need for physical readings to be taken because everything will be done digitally. And just in case you’re wondering what an AMI meter looks like: ! Also, here are some commonly asked questions: 1) Do I Need To Install An AMI Meter If I’m Switching To An Electricity Retailer? No. It’s completely optional. In fact, I contacted SP Group and learnt that in the not too far-off future there will be a nationwide upgrade of analogue meters to AMI meters . 2) How Much Does It Cost To Have An AMI Meter Installed? And How Do I Go About Doing It? If you wish to have an AMI meter installed, you can apply for it through your chosen electricity retailer. In turn, they will work with SP Group to install the AMI meter for you. It will cost you $42.80 (after GST) regardless of which retailer you approach for the AMI meter installation. 3) Can I Have An AMI Meter Installed If I’m Still On SP Group? No. You can only choose to have an AMI meter installed IF you choose to purchase electricity from the open electricity market. If you’re sticking to SP Group, then you’ll just have to wait for the eventual upgrade – which is free by the way – to get an AMI meter. 4) How Do I Know If I Have An AMI Meter Currently Installed On My Premises? Erm... Just go outside and look? jk jk... If you’re still unsure after looking at your electricity meter, all you have to do is contact SP Group at [email protected](mailto:[email protected]) or 1800-233-8000 to find out. And hey, if you're interested in reading more about the stuff which the electricity retailers DON'T tell you (they're always only screaming about their prices 🙄), here's an article which you might like to read: https://blog.seedly.sg/oem-electricity-retailer-terms-and-conditions/
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Lifestyle

General

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
"We buy things we don't need, with money we don't have, to impress people we don't like." (Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club). I'm going to break my answer into two parts. ! 1) Does Carrying Or Owning A Branded Item Signal Status? Yes and no. Economists term this phenomenon of spending on luxury goods as "conspicuous consumption"'. Conspicuous consumers revel in the obvious brand recognition that comes with their purchases and will sport readily identifiable luxury goods as an indicator of their affluence . It's like a subtle flex to show everyone that they've "made it in life". We can see this phenomenon happening on Orchard Road where youths in their twenties are somehow walking around in sneakers that cost upwards of S$5,000 on the resale market. ! Fashionably dressed women carry questionably tiny, leather backpacks with huge brand logos emblazoned on them. ! You'll also be familiar with the loud screech of tires as a driver makes the 10m dash from one traffic light to another in a S$800,000 Ferrari. Which you can also easily do under the same amount of time... In an $80,000 Toyota Vios. The more recognisable the brand and the louder your possessions are, means the more likely that you're the shizz, right? Not exactly . For members of the general public who recognise what you're wearing, then sure. But they might not be thinking that you've made it . In fact, they might entertain thoughts like: - Sure bo... Is it fake? - Where does this person get the money? I bet he or she sells cocaine for a living. - This person confirm plus chop broke AF. Now in the eyes of the cognoscenti (people in the know), it'll be different. When it comes to luxury or branded goods, the more obvious they are, the less affluent or socially well connected the wearer or owner is likely to be . P.S. I'm looking at you, financial advisors, wealth managers, and insurance agents who wear Hermes belts. ! By the way, that's NOT part of their uniform or a gift for having graduated from (H)arvard. You too can own one for a mere S$2,000. The social elites are used to luxury in all its forms and will know that you're carrying a Bottega Venata without being told. ! See? No visible branding at all. Unless you recognise the pattern of the woven leather. I would even say that it's a social faux pas in their circles to be seen in an outfit that is informed by the aesthetics of Ed Hardy and Von Dutch. Remember this? ! So the truly wealthy elites will appreciate that you're listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons in your car because they have the cultural knowledge to appreciate it. They will recognise that the painting on your wall is a Matisse without needing a 24K gold plaque next to it that screams where it's from. And they will appreciate that super soft £59.00 (S$104) plain white Sunspel T-shirt that you're lounging at home in, because they too, have 10 of the exact same T-shirts... Which they use as pyjamas. However, the general public might not be able to discern the difference . They will probably be able to recognise an Off-White T-shirt (costs S$500 on average) because it says "Off-White" on the back, front, sleeves, hem... You get the picture. ! Or know that a bag is Louis Vuitton only because it screams LV all over. And will probably not recognise its more discreet, and sometimes higher quality counterpart, which costs $500 more and looks like a plain, black bag. So, Does Carrying A Branded Item Signal Status? Yes, but you'll need an easily recognisable one in order to appeal to the general masses in order to maybe get their validation (y tho?). But seriously, they may or may not appreciate your 'taste' fully to understand why you spent $5,000 on a pair of shoes. And also, no, because that overtly branded luxury good will only signal your poor taste and lack of cultural knowledge to the social elites or those in-the-know. So why even bother? 2) What Do You Think Is Worth Spending Money On? I've established that splurging on luxury or branded goods is a relatively poor investment when it comes to showing off your wealth and status. Now, let's look at the commonly held theory that a reputable brand makes better quality items. Is that true? Well... Most of the time at least. Unless you can tell the difference between full-grain leather (read: not treated to remove imperfections), nubuck leather, or pleather (plastic that is made to look like leather). You're not going to be able to discern the actual value of a S$500 leather wallet, when in reality it probably costs: - S$100 to make it - S$200 to slap on a ridiculously huge logo, and a - S$200 mark up (for the lols) just to see if anyone is stupid enough to buy it ! What I'm trying to get at is this: Buying from a reputable brand does not necessarily mean that you're getting a high quality product . You still have to be discerning enough to tell the difference in the quality of materials used FIRST. And then have the discipline to ask yourself if it is really worth splurging S$1,000 on a handbag when a S$100 one would also serve the same purpose. Yes, I know the the more expensive one is probably nicer. But nicer for who? You? Or for the people who will see you carrying it? And hey, that additional S$800 that you didn't spend on the handbag could be better spent on: - Self-improvement (eg. coding classes to get that dream job you've always wanted) - Experiences (eg. a holiday with family and loved ones) - Saving for your retirement at 55 But that's not to say that we can't buy nice things for ourselves. Heck, who doesn't appreciate the finer things in life? We just need to remember to spend within our means and not reach for things outside of our financial lane.
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Career

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
What you're feeling now is completely normal, especially since the job involves new skills which you currently do not have. But have you asked yourself: What're you losing out if you played it safe and passed on this job? ! An Alternative Way Of Looking At Things Considering that the company offered you the job - and I'm guessing probably without having to test your proficiency in the platforms or tech that you mentioned - I presume that your role is not as expertise heavy from the onset as you might think. Unless you somehow managed to get a job as a brain surgeon without a valid medical degree or experience, then you're REALLY out of your depth here and that company or hospital is obviously not going to do very well. ! But I digress. Even if the job does involve tech or platforms which you do not have any experience with, the company probably believes that with OJT (On the Job Training), you'll be able to pick it up . I'm also guessing that they're banking on your projected " confidence and competence " to tackle this role head-on and believe that you'll be able to handle it. Perhaps they saw something in your previous experience , where you had to take on something completely foreign and managed to do it well? ! Remember: we all have transferable skills , so give yourself a little credit here. In the worse case scenario where the company and you have mismatched expectations with regard to your capabilities. Then there're two ways to approach this. Option 1: Forget Everything And Run Admit that you're lacking the relevant skills and give up. Option 2: Face Everything And Rise Admit that you're lacking the relevant skills and show the company that hired you, that you're working on it, and you're on your way to becoming "Employee of the Month" for 3,576 consecutive months. Speaking from personal experience, I always pick Option 2 because it's way more rewarding. So What's The Next Step Moving Forward? 1) Go online and start reading everything you can about the platform or skills you need to familiarise yourself with. Join forums and online groups, and seek out subject matter experts to gain insights into what you're going to get yourself into. In this day and age, you can pretty much learn anything from YouTube, Reddit, Twitter etc. if you're resourceful enough. 2) If there's a dearth of knowledge online, start looking and going for classes or workshops to pick up the skills you need for your job. Better still, talk to your managers or hiring manager to see if there're company-identified courses for the job that you've been offered. If you're really lucky, they'll even pay for you to upgrade yourself. 3) Reach out to peers in the same industry or company and find out what are their go-to sources of info. Or simply to tap on their experience. Learn from their mistakes and level up faster. Attitude Always Counts Skills can always be picked up and platforms can be learnt. But a person with the right attitude and thirst for self-improvement is someone whom companies would kill to hire . Since you like the job enough to even interview for it, and the company's willing to take a chance on you, why not do the best you can and see how far you can grow as a person and as an employee? At the risk of sounding cliche, here's a quote from YouTuber Casey Neistat that really speaks to me when I face situations like yours, "The most dangerous thing you can do in life, is play it safe." If the company is willing to take a chance on you, don't you think you owe it to yourself to take a calculated leap of faith and show them what you can do?

Cryptocurrency

Investments

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 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

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 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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Lifestyle

Wedding

Credit Card

Kenneth Fong
Kenneth Fong
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
A bit late to the game, but for anyone else looking for the best credit card when paying for a wedding banquet, you have a couple of options. First, ask if you can spread the credit card payment for your wedding expense over a few months. If you can, then: 1) For cashback/ rebates - UOB One Card Gives you up to 5% rebate on $2000 per month spent (min 5 purchases) but take note that you have to make payments for 3 months (based on qualifying quarters). If you need to make a lump sum payment eg. a huge deposit on your wedding banquet then: 1) For cashback/rebates - AMEX True Cashback Card You get 1.5% cashback on ALL purchases. Plus they usually have a welcome bonus of eg. 3% Cashback on up to a total of $5,000 spend in your first 6 months. 2) For miles - Citi Premier Miles Visa Card A new signup usually gives something like 30,000 miles if you fulfil a minimum spend ($7,500) within 3 months from date of card approval. I personally used this to finance our tickets for our honeymoon. Here's a good comparison done by Seedly: Save Money On Your Wedding Banquet: Credit Cards You Should be Using!
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