Friday 27 December 2019

Integrated shield plan - To downgrade?

My mum has an integrated shield plan with NTUC Income and her annual premium just came this month. She had to pay in cash about $3000 plus.

To be honest, this amount scares her because it will continue to increase and she see the huge deduction from her bank account and of course, being a retiree with not that much savings, it can be quite frightening.

Read more: My mum resigned from her job, whats gonna happen next?

We were walking back home on Sunday after dinner and she was sharing with me that she is thinking of downgrading so that the premium will not be that high. She does have other insurance premiums that she is paying for but of course, they are not as much as this is.

For me, I do feel that downgrading will not be too good for her because I have heard of people downgrading and then something happens and they cannot claim for some things.

Insurance is really not something I am strong in and I know the basics of it but in-depth details are not that clear to me.

I would need to read up more and in the meantime, my mum wants to seek the opinion of her friends who are around the same age as her before she makes the decision.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Switching from POSB Invest Saver to FSMone ETF RSP

POSB Invest Saver is a regular savings plan (RSP) where you can invest $100 (minimum) every month which is dollar cost averaging where you invest a fixed sum of money periodically over a long period of time.

I also use it as part of the criteria for DBS multiplier account to achieve another category. If you have seen the dividends I received over 2019, I received dividends every month except for April so I can move my RSP over to FSMone.

Read more: November 2019 Portfolio Review

I chose to move my RSP over as FSMone can offer lower commissions and the main thing is that they can provide much more choices.

Currently, POSB invest saver allows you to buy 4 ETFs:

1. Nikko AM Singapore STI ETF
2. ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund
3. Nikko AM SGD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
4. Nikko AM-StraitsTrading Asia ex Japan REIT ETF

I have been planning to buy shares from other exchanges besides Singapore.And FSMone offers 40 ETF choices ranging from those in SGX, HKEX and also US stock markets.

For a start, I will be buying SPDR STI ETF (ES3:SGX) and Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund ETF Shares (NYSE:VT).

I like to embark on a more passive and also index investing because to be honest, my portfolio is not performing better than the index and I have decided to just follow the index since I am not beating it

I will slowly add on ABF Singapore Bond Index ETF (SGX.A35) to my purchase. This will mean I need to have an allocation for the 3 ETFs so that I can rebalance it once a year.

In this way, less time will be needed and I will not need to time my purchases as it will be automated.

I have tried the FSMone interface and I think it is rather simple to use. They even have an app that I can easily access to view my investment holdings. The app also allows me to make changes to the amount that I like to purchase each month.

I think automation really works wonders for me, after I started automating my savings to create an emergency fund, it made me realise how having automated deductions can really help achieve your saving goals as the money is just automatically deducted.

Of course, my first purchase will be done on the 8th of next month (start of 2020) so I am still not sure if all will go well.

We shall see how it goes! Here's wishing everyone Merry Christmas in advance and short work week ahead!

Monday 9 December 2019

Trying to give some financial tips isn't as easy as I thought

Recently, I had a chat with my aunt as she was just randomly asking me about using credit cards as ez link cards and that it is so much more convenient then the past as no topping up was required.

We slowly moved towards the topic of savings account, she currently just got back to work after taking about a 4 months break. I was explaining to her about a bank account that would allow her to earn more interest from her balance.

She was very receptive and was willing to find out more from me as she knew that she was missing out especially when I showed her how much interest she could get each year.

I was pretty surprised as most people I have have talked to about finances or like when I try to let them know about a good savings account, they would usually be like oh, and then brush off the topic.
On the other hand, I met up with my university friends the other day. And we were on the topic of managing our personal finances.

One of them mostly spends her money on food and she wants to know how much do we save per month and also what kind of investment do we do as she was interested in it as well.

So I kinda just slowly explain to her how and what I buy monthly using my RSP with POSB and that I also save a portion to be invested into other individual stocks.

I think at this point, I could see her face kinda like change cos it was a little too much for her. I knew and I just slowly made a conclusion.

I think to many, it is a chore to manage their own finances. But I believe that if you don't take care of it yourself, no one else will do it because it's not theirs. Unless you pay them to do it.

Definitely, I know money is a pretty sensitive topic in Singapore and that even more so on how you manage your money.

But I believe to listen to others and to learn can really help an individual as they can see the many different ways to manage and can choose the best one.

I think what most of friends lack is the action part because I feel that once you go ahead and start, it will make everything seem easier as you have already taken the first step out.

Sunday 1 December 2019

November 2019 Portfolio Review

For November 2019, another 59 units of NikkoAM STI ETF (SGX:G3B) was purchased at a price of $3.3606. 


Switching over to FSMone:

One major change to my regular savings plan (RSP) is that I have decided to move it over to FSMone.

FSMone recently released their ETF RSP where commission rates are at only 0.08%, subject to the minimum amount for the various exchanges at S$1, HK$5 or US$1 respectively.

This makes it more worth it for me to purchase the ETF through FSMone. Also, since both POSB invest saver and FSMone will hold my ETF under a custodian account this means that comparing the lower commission rate, FSMone will be a better choice.

Another point is that I can purchase SPDR STI ETF (SGX:ES3) and also much more other selection of ETFs, both local and overseas rather than only NikkoAM STI ETF (SGX:G3B) through POSB invest-saver.

Of course, switching over means that I will need to set up a standing instruction for the amount to be deducted into my cash accoount in FSMone as it will not be auto-deducted from my account. But once, it is set up, it should be automated and that's why I prefer having a RSP.

I haven't had any deduction yet and the coming one will be on 8 Dec 2019 so I shall see what price it would be purchased at.

Will be having a separate write-up on it!


$15 was received from SGX in November 2019. The run up in SGX has made my portfolio look better as I purchased it at $7.22 and the current price is $8.85.

I am glad that my dividends has doubled since 2018, if I can keep it up next year, that will be great!

December will be quite a good month for dividends as Tai Sin Electric and First REIT will be giving out dividends. Great way to end the year especially when it's Christmas and there is lots of gift giving.

Monday 11 November 2019

Cleaning up my resume + how much am I asking for my new pay

I have started my job search and I have applied to 2 jobs that are quite similar to my current job. My resume hasn't been updated and so before I applied for any, I had to clean up my resume a little.

To be honest, the layout of my resume looks kinda childish. I try to keep my resume to one page to allow easy access for the interviewer and also because I am still at an entry level so my job scope really doesn't allow me to elaborate much.

I have seen many resume and they are all wordy with work experiences and job scope. I was thinking of what style to go for my resume. Currently, I am using a really simple template where my job and education is on the left side and my outside activities and interest on the right.

For the 2 jobs that I have applied for, I have asked for a 20% increase from my current pay. Comparing my current salary to the median salary for fresh graduates in Singapore (~$3500), I am actually earning much lower than that.

Even if I do get the 20% increase, I would still be earning lower than the median salary for fresh graduates.

Of course, my main aim for the new job is that I want a permanent job and best if they can match or offer me a higher pay.

Being a contract worker really worries me every time we are nearing the end as I need to see if my boss still has headcount and whether or not I will be extended.

But for me, I believe that you need to be in good spirits for an interview as the interviewers can really feel your energy and if you appear to be in bad spirits, it does affect the whole interview in some way.

Read more: Vulnerability when we lose our jobs or can't find a job

I am hoping to hear some news soon although they have mentioned that the processing time would be more than 2 weeks but I do hope to be at least selected for the interview. In the meantime, I will just do my best at my current place and enjoy what's left of 2019!

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Meeting up with a financial advisor

Recently, I met up with a financial advisor and to be honest I am usually lazy to meet them as I feel that they will try to sell you products and I find it tough to say no sometimes and I have to like meet them after work or during weekends.

However, I had to meet this advisor as it was related to my company insurance and so he came to my office to talk to me about it.

Slowly during the conversation, we talked about personal insurance and I have actually always wanted to figure out the protection that I currently have.

I do know that I have the basics covered but would like to understand my policies more in-depth. Most of my agents are my mum's agents and to be honest, they don't follow up often.

Since there is an opportunity now for someone to review my policies, I shall give it a try and see how he is with his knowledge.

I do think that it is good to understand the policies you have especially to be sure what you are eligible for based on your plan.

My mum's friend has a history of high blood pressure and recently, she felt very heavy pressure in her that she had a very bad headache.

She went to government hospital for a check and they sent her home instead as they mentioned that she take a rest before deciding if it was severe enough to be hospitalised. Over the next few hours, she couldn't take it as the pressure was getting to her.

She went to a private hospital and after further checks, she needed to do 2 stents and 1 balloon for her heart to reduce the pressure.The doctor asked if she wanted to do a bypass or to do the stents and balloon but as her older brother died in a bypass operation so she opted for the latter.

Her total bill came up to $50 000 including a few nights stay in the private hospital, doctor consultation and the operation. Of course, it is quite a huge sum for her. My mum told me that she could some subsidies but it wouldn't be much as she went to a private hospital and her insurance coverage is very limited as she has no rider.

I was thinking wow, if I was ever in that situation, I would be in debt as I don't even have $50 000 right now. And she needed to pay first before they can process the total subsidies and then refund her if there were any.

I think that really set me thinking as my mum is getting old and anything can happen, so for now, her insurance coverage looks fine as she has listened to her agent and got what she needed early, so now it's my turn.

Friday 1 November 2019

October 2019 Portfolio updates + Dividends - Bought some OCBC

October is over and we are now only left with 2 more months before the end of 2019.

Time flies when you work and I realized that this year just flew past. I will reach my first year anniversary of working full-time on 18 November 2019. HAHA, an achievement for me as I really didn't expect myself to stay one year in this job and also to have my contract extended.

Read more: I thought I will get rich once I start work + Updates on my life

Of course, as the year ends, more uncertainty awaits me and I will need to do something about it as well.

Read more: Vulnerability when we lose our jobs or can't find a job

For this month, I added 100 units of OCBC to my portfolio at a price of $10.65 each. I have been wanting to add bank stocks to my portfolio. And OCBC was at a right price, I will slowly accumulate more but I think I am done with purchases this year as I want to hold more cash on hand.

Office atmosphere has been great so far as it approaches December where the festive mood will lift up everyone's spirit. Our annual Christmas party is well on its way but the toughest question arrives and that is what gift to get for everyone........

Home has been good too but I have slowly realised that my mum and I have slightly drifted apart as I am always tired after coming back from work and we really talk a lot lesser nowadays.


Dividends received:

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Wrongly charged on credit card

So recently I went on a trip to Korea and booked all my accommodation through a booking agent. I previously had very smooth bookings with a booking agent and so that's why I decided to use them again.

For my Seoul hotel, I booked a hotel called Hotel PJ Myeongdong initially however, due to some technical error, the booking agent called me and mentioned that it was cancelled.

So I took it as being cancelled however, when I received my credit card bill at the end of the month, I realised that an organisation called OIL TOURIST SEOUL had charged me SGD 210.

I was quite shocked as i tried to recall what did I purchase on that day as most of my things were already paid up for the trip. I decided to call the bank and they told me that it was under a hotel transaction and told me to check with the booking agent.

This was when everything just went bad, I had to email the booking agent so many times about it and they were so adament that it wasn't booked as their system showed that it was cancelled.

In the end, I had to google maps the location and it matched hotel PJ and I sent the screenshot over. Only then did they help me to check with their supplier and the amount was eventually credited back to me.

I used to always ask my mum to GIRO her bills so that she would not need to worry about not paying it but I guess it is really important to look through your bills and make sure that you are not being wrongly charged for anything.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Self Doubt and Dilemma when faced with a job offer

I was having a meal with my colleague recently and she told me that she has an offer from another company but she is in a dilemma on whether she should accept it.

Some basic background is that she has been working in the current company for 5 years and is in her late 20s.

She actually wants to change job as her current job demands a lot of overtime and also many supervision on her fellow colleagues who are as experienced as her.

Overall, she is a valued team player but she does feel that she is paid a lot lesser when comparing with her friends and seeing how her compensation is.

That's why on one hand, she is considering changing her job due to the compensation but on the other hand, she is very good in her job right now and is comfortable in her position.

She feels that she can't handle a new environment if she changes her job but to be honest, I think she definitely will be able to as she is rather capable.

She is still young and I feel that she should explore more options available to her as she has stayed pretty long in the current company and has learned quite a lot from it.

But I also understand that some people do really like being comfortable in their work environment and if the company is treating them well, then why not just stay?

For me, I do feel that being in the company for a long time can make your a little 'lazy' in that you get too used to the work and also the routine. So if you are still young and can adapt fast to new work, I think it is good to expand your horizons and learn more.

Of course, you need to be given the opportunity to do so and I do feel that my colleague has a very good job offer waiting for her. The ultimate decision still relies on her and what she wants for her career.

Monday 14 October 2019

2% interest per annum - Stan Chart Jumpstart

Last Sunday, I came across an article written by Heartland Boy about the Standard Chartered Jumpstart Account.

The account is a savings account with a main benefit that attracted me is that it will provide 2% per annum interest on your savings.

One main condition is that you have to be between 18 years of age to 26 years old, only then are you able to open this savings account.

I read through the conditions and found a few good benefits of the account:
  • 2% interest per annum on the account balance on first $20 000.
  • No fees and minimum deposit balance required. 
  • No lock-in. No minimum spends. No requirement for salary-crediting.
  • Cashback debit card with 1% on all eligible transactions, capped at S$60 per month.
1.  2% interest per annum on the account balance on first $20 000.

This is a huge thing that made me want to open this account. 2% per annum is not much but it is high for a savings account in Singapore.

Recently, Singapore saving bonds interest rate has not been so attractive, providing about 1.62% for the first year. So this means that this saving account can provide better returns for my money and also it will be easily accessible as it is a savings account.

2. No fees and minimum deposit balance required.

This means that no minimum balance is required and that even if your balance is $0, no fees will be deducted. Usually for savings account, there will be like a minimum balance of $500 or even up to $3000 and if you do fall below that amount, an amount will be deducted from your balance.

With no minimum balance, especially for those who are aged 18 years to about early 20s, it can really help.

3. No lock-in. No minimum spends. No requirement for salary crediting. 

With the other banks, a number of requirements need to be fulfilled before you can get 2% interest on your account balance.

For the Jumpstart account, whatever balance you have in there would be eligible for the 2% interest with no other requirements needed. Currently, many other accounts that can provide a higher than average interest requires at least salary crediting and other requirements, but for the Jumpstart account, no other requirements are needed.

4. Cashback debit card with 1% on all eligible transactions, capped at S$60 per month.

I have a colleague whose pay is not eligible for her to apply for a credit card. With this cashback debit card, my colleague can at least get some benefits.

This in a way is good for her as she is not able to enjoy the credit card benefits as she can't apply for one currently.

Of course, in it's terms and conditions, Standard Chartered has mentioned that they may change the basis and rates of the prevailing interest at any time with prior notice. All in all, I find that it is really a fuss-free way of getting that 2%.

Thursday 3 October 2019

September 2019 portfolio and dividends review

September has been a busy month as my brother was back from his first year studying overseas.

Since he came back, we took a short one week family trip to Korea and then after which he spent 2 weeks in Singapore and he just went back on Sunday morning.

September has been an eventful month especially on the topic of climate change as effects of climate change became more prominent due to the Amazon fires and the Indonesia fires as well that directly and immediately affected us through the haze.

For my portfolio, as usual not much movement except for the addition of G3B, Nikko AM STI ETF through POSB invest saver.

59 units were added at a price of $3.322.

Currently as of 29 September 2019, my portfolio is about $12, 835.82. I hope to increase it to $15, 000 by end of this year as I am already eyeing to buy some stocks.

My current portfolio: 

Dividends received this month: $81.91

1. Far East Hospitality Trust: $16

2. First REIT: $22

3. CapitaRetail China Trust: $44.30

For the coming Oct 2019 dividends, there will be SGX. Looking out and will be following news relating to Brexit that will be happening on 31 Oct 2019.

Maybe it will be a good time to snag some stocks?

Read more about my portfolio updates in 2019