Takingstock @

I work in accounting and do balance sheets, budgets and cashflow @ work. In my free time, I apply what I learn in school and work to my personal finance and have learned quite a bit over the past 12 years. I feel I have reached a point where it would be really good to share some of the lessons I paid my tuition fees (ie lost $$), so that others could learn and benefit without paying those fees. =) I really think this would be a good way for me to contribute to society and hopefully help a few folks to get through in life.

Takingstock @

36Upvotes

About

I work in accounting and do balance sheets, budgets and cashflow @ work. In my free time, I apply what I learn in school and work to my personal finance and have learned quite a bit over the past 12 years. I feel I have reached a point where it would be really good to share some of the lessons I paid my tuition fees (ie lost $$), so that others could learn and benefit without paying those fees. =) I really think this would be a good way for me to contribute to society and hopefully help a few folks to get through in life.

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Takingstock @

36Upvotes
  • Answers (42)
  • Questions (5)
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CPF

Insurance

Investments

Retirement

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated 15m ago
Wah what is the private annuity? I think most insurers have said it was very difficult (if not impossible) to beat risk free 4%. Let me put forth these questions to you, assuming you do find such a plan 1) what is the cost / annual premiums required to achieve the same level payout as cpf life? 2) can you afford that premium? 3) how likely do you feel that the insurer may go bankrupt vs cpf board? 4) what is the rate of return they put in the policy? 5) what is exactly guaranteed in the terms and conditions of the policy? My first thoughts, most insurers cannot guaranteed they will beat 4% annual return. If you remember the 2008 financial crisis, there were a number of insurers that needed to be bailed out by US govt. And I doubt the t&c will write down that the company guarantees better than 4%.

Expenses Tracking

Lifestyle

Shopping

Family

Savings

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 30m ago
Haha same as most others 1. Family and kids!! So much joy to see my nephew laugh, or call me peh peh. Doesn't happen all the time, so treasure it while it lasts. 2. Hospitalization insurance 3. Learning and sometimes teaching. There's a lot of joy when you teach someone who has greater potential than yourself, and a lot of worry whether you could bring that person to his / her maximum potential. Its good to see them grow. 4. Me time and doing things I like, eg reading personal finance and economics. 5. Spending time with people you care about. Even if I'm buying dinner or beer. 6. Coming up with spreadsheets that can "do it all" lol. Or writing cool elegant codes. 7. Eating favourite comfort food!! Like carrot cake / chai tou kway?!? 8. Playing a cool game of tcg or magic the gathering. Still looking to build a cool Outlander or Commander deck to "kill" opponents with "debt".

Investments

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 48m ago
I also use stocks cafe. =) It's great (to the extent of available info), and I use its reporting to track and monitor when and how much dividends I get. And shared portfolios allow me to benchmark against other folks. But I guess your question isnt just about how to track and monitor the returns. One other useful feature is it sets an ES3 benchmark which I believe it assumes if you had processed your transactions using ES3 which is one of the Straits Times Index funds. So you can see if you are doing better or worse than if you had just bought the index fund? I think so, better ask Evan lol. There have been times I did worse than the index (in my srs investments). I bought qaf and accordia golf reading blogs, and I think that cost me a lot of tuition fees (ie 3k realized losses). I tried for quite a while to figure why I wasn't doing so well, and in jul 2018, I awakened / 领悟 the real way of investing and I have been doing at least better than the index since then. I am not sure if that's what you want to know though. I have put some of my investing logic in posts here and there. And it may not be the best, but I think it works for me.

Savings

Bank Account

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated 14h ago
Two bank accounts, one 360, and one Frank, both with OCBC. All incomes and major transactions all go thru the 360, but there is no ATM access. I transfer my monthly allowance from 360 to the Frank on 26th of each monthly (feels like pay day!!). The Frank account is the only one that I can access with my atm card. 1) I love this arrangement because everytime I go to the atm, I see available balance and am reminded how much left there is and whether to tighten the belt a bit. 2) the giro deductions can easily clear from 360, with no insufficient balance and 10 charge for failed transaction. 3) easier for bank reconciliation and how where your monies is going mainly by reading the flows in 360, and not the miscellanous small charges. 4) better security I guess. Its rather tough to touch my money in the 360, without going thru online banking, and even if so, 80% of the funds are locked down in savings goals. I used to want different banks for the two accounts, but I didnt feel it was a necessity. Besides when I do my qtrly balance sheets, I just need to login one bank. Also I consider if I have two much money in the bank, some of it must be not working hard enough. Invest the rest I say.

Expenses Tracking

Lifestyle

General

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 14h ago
Endowment and ILP policies. I thought it would be a good savings instrument, then I realized the insurance cost was very high for coverage I didnt want. I subsequently found it more financially attractive to just do minimum sum top-up, and SRS for tax reliefs and better returns. Last year I found that my own rate of return was a lot better than the fund in ILP, and I stopped the monthly premiums. On average, I found that my transaction costs were lower than the fund, I was sgd denominated whereas they changed the fund from SGD to GBP, and I still continue to beat the fund manager on YTD, 1 yr, 3 yr returns measures.

Savings

Loans

General

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 1d ago
When you start comparing with others, you will probably feel discouraged at some point, because everyone starts out differently. Eg what if one day you want to benchmark yourself against Lee Hsien Long, Donald Trumph or Warren Buffet. Over time, I have come to terms that the best comparison and benchmark for yourself is yourself (albeit maybe 1-3 yrs ago). This is the best and fairest approach. I have already started on this, and come up with a goal to beat my prior year budget at least by 2k on an annual basis. At least I know I am striving for improvement. And I know I am getting better, not as much as I like to, but still better. Dont give up.

AMA SG Young Investment

Expenses Tracking

Savings

Fresh Graduates

General

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 2d ago
In the question, you have two key points - balance social life and enjoy with the energy now. I would say just budget and spend within your means. Though its really taken a while for me to find this balance because so few talk about it. Since six years ago, I started saving for travel. The travel bank account accumulated about 11,000 at one point. I have now changed this to a Rewards savings goal, 500 per mth, and it covers travel, buying tech toys and basically anything I could want and not need an approval from myself to spend it. Sounds a bit weird hor. But its worked out for me. Coz I really hate to waste money. I dont believe in trying to keep up with the Joneses and spend money on things you dont like or enjoy. This savings goal has helped me be more focused, and balance priorities. I know I have a pot there, and sometimes I deliberately am not choosing to spend, because I thought about those things and decided they weren't a priority or must have. I am saving the money for my bucket list, and eventually some travels with the one. Still not found lol.

CPF

HDB BTO

Savings

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated 3d ago
Is your savings including investments? I also worry about the loans, and I have been thinking many months about the issue as I worry about retrenchment. I could share some of my thoughts and plans. 1) I revamped my cash investments to be mostly good paying and steady reits that pay 5+% cash dividends (but I bought most during downturn last yr). I have been counting on these reits to be a cashflow generator with the plan of having those dividends to help pay some of the loans. 2) for oa, I have also been doing some investments. There are two ways to go about here, using the oa as a reserve to pay the loan (backup plan), and decent investments where over time, the dividends may grow to help pay the loan too, and when that happens, you could switch the loan to be paid from oa. In my humble opinion, maybe you can explore using the cpf oa as buffer, and evaluate if your investments and dividends can take up the role as 2nd income to hopefully pay the loan on your wife's behalf. Takes good investing though. If your monthly household expense is 4k, and clearly your income is above that, then I would A) first focus on checking you have enough cash / cpf oa to cover for 12 mths payments B) slowly evaluate and change ongoing investments to those that pay decent cash dividends to offset the expenses / loan C) among the tips I shared on savings hacks, the two with best payoff is reviewing tv / internet / handphone expenses to shave off those you dont need, then check your insurance and see if changing from monthly to annual payments could save you a few hundred / thousand per year? These savings would greatly help. If your savings are 100+k, then managing the cashflow timing shouldnt be an issue. Focus on slowly increasing the loan buffer till at least 6 mths, then slowly increasing cash dividend / interest income to offset your cashflow. If you do it well, this would make your cashflow better to manage / reduce the impact of the loss of one income. When the kids go to primary school, maybe your wife would be ok to go back to work so that could be another alternative. That would reduce your stress to maybe about 7 yrs or less? Dont pay down the loan immediately, but focusing on increasing the buffer and improving cashflow until you start having excess cash that you can do partial payment every two or three years. Its about ensuring survival for the long term. No cash on hand could be worse for you when the unexpected happens.

Resale HDB

Property

CPF

AMA 1M65

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated 3d ago
If you can, I would say pay cash instead of cpf like Cheng Chuan said. But on your question, I wont transfer all of OA (above 20k) to SA. I would suggest you leave 6x (or maybe even up to 12x) monthly loan payment amounts in OA, so that in event you lose your job or main income, you can activate the OA to pay the loan and tide over the tough times while you look for the next job. This is my plan B. My plan A is to redeem some of the SSBs that I buy to offset against the loan payments. Something for you to think about. I always put keeping the house as a priority and to never default on the loan. Peace of mind. You dont have to do this in one go, I started my plans with one-three mths reserve in oa / ssb, and then budget to increase by one mth each year to steady and fortify these buffers until well I get at least 6+6 mth buffer.

Investments

Takingstock @
Takingstock @,
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated 4d ago
The transaction cost for ssb is $2, highly redeemable, and 10 yr average yield is slightly above 2%. In the case you cited, pay 100k of premiums to get 2+k payout, return is also 2+% (but this is likely excluding transaction cost). So it would seem that the SSB should be the better choice (considering lower transaction costs)? After factoring transaction costs, ssb would probably be better. Why are you looking at the fund again?
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Level 4. Prodigy
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