A New Chinese New Year

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A New CNY

A year has passed and the fight with Covid-19 is still ongoing today. The biggest festive of the year is coming in February 2021 – The Chinese Lunar New Year. How great things are going to be for the upcoming event. With a max of 8 pax per household, things will change for a while now. Zoom meetings are going to happen more instead of the usual activity.

Inside me, there is a little me shouting out in joy. To a certain extent, I dread those meetings with some of my extended families so it is indeed a relief for me and also less hassle for my family. 2021 is going to be a good year, as it is always when there is a new start. I get a lot of comments about giving out ang pows during CNY all the time. Frankly, the bulk of those good luck money goes to my family (Really close ones) That makes up about 80-85% of the budget? roughly. The balance 15% goes to friends and extended family so it isn’t really that bad.

Festive Season Again

The last few years has been great and I felt like I do enjoy the festive celebrating with my real and close and extended family. Now the reason for bringing CNY up is that usually it takes us one month in terms of preparation. The washing, cleaning up and preparing new notes. I think that for this year, many things will change including how I hand out the good luck ang pows. (Red Packets)

There is something which I would like to address though. The idea of red packets has been misconstrued for such a long time. Generally kids would enjoy this period since it funds their “wants” but my views about giving is that you should not be pressured into giving more in your red packets than you actually can afford. I can understand that kind of pressure sometimes but it defeats the purpose of giving.

Like many wedding red packets, there is a standard but is there really a need for a standard. It is good to know but it should still be a level of affordability as well. I mean I do understand that it is good to know what is the market rate but to understand that it is a matter of affordability to some, it might have been overlooked to a certain extent.

Objective

The objective of passing a red packet to someone younger is to wish them well. If you wish to, you may also extend that red packet to someone who is elderly. The amount should not matter that much, instead the intention and thought is what matters. Maybe many beg to differ but that isn’t really a correct or wrong way to do this.

The purpose to give a red packet follows a well wish depending on what one would want to wish for:

  • Good Luck
  • Happiness
  • Prosperity
  • Fresh Start
  • Health
  • Education
  • Promotion and Good Career

However if you really want to know the market rate, Seedly has a write-up here: https://blog.seedly.sg/chinese-new-year-cny-ang-pao-red-packet-guide/

As I have always been advocating, don’t always look for the “Best”. A guide is always good but it warps the conception and mindset once you have taken that look. Well, I can’t speak for everyone but I definitely can’t erase what I have seen once I see a sample or a blueprint or a guide.

Disclaimer

Whatever I blog about is purely my own opinion. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. For me, it is always about the whole package. Like minded people can flock together to create good and powerful things.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do check out my shop or drop me a note here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

Thank you in advance for the support.

The pictures were taken from the respective websites for this article.

2020 – The Year in Review

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2020 is going on by quickly as with any other year. Especially this  year, with the Covid-19 announced as a pandemic. The world went into a global communism, shutting off the doors everywhere quickly. It feels like Industrial Revolution version 0.0 but yet you have technology that kind of connects you with the rest of the world as well. What makes it different is that some industry do well, some medium, some would benefit in the longer term. Irrelevant businesses would eventually shut down while new ideas continue to grow in the market.

Looking back there have been some hits and misses and while things didn’t shape up nicely. The year ended off with a small little cheer that can light up our faces.

There are some segments I would like to focus on in review. That would help me to understand what I have done right, do better or not to do at all. This very blog started on the basis of money matters and personal finance – This shall be the basis of the review. Christmas and the New Year is coming and so I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Holidays. I am for once looking forward to the coming year and for a great 2021!

Thank you everyone who reads my blog or thinks that it is worth looking at. I am humbled by anyone who actually stumble or read what I have penned down online. Hopefully, the coming year would see some interesting moments for my blog or perhaps even more interesting concepts.

Money Decision

The Good

  • The decision to enter the market during the market dips in March 2020.
  • The decision to divest funds into StashAway, Endowus, Syfe, MoneyOwl and Autowealth. This has proven to be an asset for the long term.
  • Full contribution to the SA account for both Tax Rebate and Retirement Fund in CPF.
  • Usual contribution to SRS account which supplements the Retirement Funds.

The Bad

  • Didn’t save as much as I wanted due to a lot expenses. Staying at home also meant that there were more expenses for food deliveries.
  • Celebrations were a little more elaborate due to the covid. More shopping and gifting at home since there wasn’t any travelling that can be done in the next year or so. Which I kind of miss and it has been taken granted for.
  • Not too sure if it is actually is a good or bad thing that Covid hits the business. We are actually pretty resilient to the situation.

Mental Health

The Good

  • It has been pretty refreshing to work from home. After 3 months of working from home, things have been turning rather boring but it is family bonding indeed.
  • It is actually better to avoid a lot of negativity in some offices. Luckily for me, I don’t have that issue but it kind of helped for the family mentally.
  • Work has more flexibility and there isn’t that much of a rush so it helps me generally.

The Bad

  • It became kind of stressful with the wife and kids and in laws.
  • Working from Home became both good and bad because it has become rather boring where I miss the hustle and bustle of communicating with colleagues and networking with new friends.
  • There are no limits to when working hours end so I can keep on working throughout which isn’t that great. My place of relax now becomes a place where I need to focus and work.

Fitness

The Good

  • Definitely more time to do more crunches and jogs.
  • A change in lifestyle and a change in diet.
  • Exercising is actually an individual sport. Group exercising are sometimes counter intuitive.

The Bad

  • The diet and exercising kind of slowly died off and I see myself seeking more new ideas to be more active.
  • The holiday weight doesn’t help so I need to work harder to stay focus.
  • Group games are pretty impossible now so less options to stay in better shape.

Summary

The Good

  • Finally, after procrastination for years. I decided to put in the effort to pen down and build a personal finance blog. How far will I go? I don’t know but due to the Covid situation, I took some time during the wee-hours of the morning when I could not sleep to build in some hosting, webpage, WordPress setup and finally writing articles which I think people might like to read about.
  • I would like to thank those readers who picked up my codes for the services that I use. Hopefully, these services will bring the same level of expectation that I already have since I have been using them for a while now.

The Bad

  • I am still deciding whether I should attempt to write a book. A simple and funny one. It’s just to figure new projects to work out on.
  • A long-term objective is to explore alternative income/passive income
  • I’m still in the infant stage of this personal finance blog. The growth rate isn’t quite what i expected but hey I’m still learning and exploring so I’ll keep trying.

Conclusion

I decided against looking at winners and losers in the equity markets as time and again I have traded, won and lost. At least 3 or 4 cycles it happened. Using the right services to not let my emotions go wild or make irrational decision only to regret it later on. The focus of investing money should not just be money but also investing in yourself. There should also be time taken to upgrade ourselves, improve our own health and find out what matters to every individual.

Disclaimer

This is not a sponsored post. This is purely my own opinion after using their service and/or products. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. There is no one size fits all investment strategy.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

The pictures were taken from the websites for this article.

Being Angry for the things you have no control over. Does it help?

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There are many times when we are angry. Be it for the right or wrong reasons, there will be times where our own limits are being tested. Some people just cannot take it that they are wrong, that’s just more Alpha kind of folks. Some people are just generally angsty all the time. The slightest thing piss them off. However, when you are angry, who is it that is really affected? Are you venting to the person beside you though you are not angry at them? Or are you just shouting to yourself for someone else you are upset about?

The person whom you are shouting and angry about probably don’t even know. So, what is the point in getting angry. I get it, sometimes i need to let off some steam too but not all the time though. The other day, there was an angsty driver who couldn’t get on the main road because there were just too many cars. The other day, I heard someone banging the table downstairs while working from home. Shouting eventually came on and I could hear someone else shouting back.

Deep Thinking

That made me think a little deeper. When you are angry, the person who do not know you are angry at them. Should you really express it? Eventually, the question to ask is that if one can control their emotions. Not me I would say. I am human and I cannot control over worrying, being angry and also overthinking. I’ll say most of us tend to think that we are right but is that really true? Truth be told, that little arrogance sometime annoys me a little. All we need is just to keep our heads down, be humble and learn along the way. There will always be someone or something that is better than you.

Investing the same?

Similarly, your investment style differs. Emotions run wild in those events and each time you think that markets are coming off, you actually risk missing a chance to recover more than what you should have if you would have chose to do nothing.

The thing about personal finance is that whether one has just starting building your finances, middle stage of building your fund or at a late stage of taking on your retirement funds. Young, old, poor or rich in all categories – There is really no one size fits all and regardless if you are famous or not. There will be emotions involved in all situation.

Recently, I also fell ill and because of that I had to take some matters off my hand. At the same time, markets doesn’t care if you are ill or well and that kind of struck a chord that I need to do less of trading and more of passive investing. Looking back at some of the portfolios for 2020. All 4 robo-advisors returned double digits which is by far the best I have seen. Of course, trading returns have been the best returns for me but those are super high risks.

Robotic in Nature

The idea in letting someone trustworthy to manage your funds are hard to come by. Banks are driven by profits and their pockets matter more than what money you have. Even if they did, they would have another agenda. Nonetheless, the idea – You get it! Only services make revenues.

Convincing Strategy

I’ve been convinced by the way Endowus and StashAway have been working for me as a portfolio:

  • Fee wise it is always all inclusive.
  • ETFs or Fund investing has always been the way to invest regularly. They track index and replace those companies who underperform along the way.
  • In particular, Endowus provides that 100% trailer fee rebates. It is the best one I’ve seen so far to not take a dime that is not transparent to the consumer. On a side note, your funds are in your own name (invest and managed via UOB Kay Hian but through your own channel) If anything happens to Endowus, your money is safe in that sense.
  • Such portfolios are not timing the market and look further into the long term. You need to be disciplined in that manner.
  • I mean especially for Endowus, they charge you a small fee which keeps them running. They invest into some fund types which are institutional in nature. Layman, it means as a normal consumer – you probably could not access these funds.
    • Usually but not always, the so called “hidden fees” are reduced due to economies of scale (Institutional class – Imagine Sovereign wealth funds)
    • Special corporate classes which have a minimum to invest. By using Endowus, collectively as retail investors normal retailer investors can put their money in at a fraction of the cost.

Agree to Disagree

Some points I kind of read and agree but disagree:

  • Yes, I read and heard that you can mimic trades and portfolios but my question is that if you have the economies of scale. How big are your trades?
  • Forex Exchanges rates especially in USD. Can you really accept using another channel to make the exchange or accept the market rate in your brokerage?
  • Replacing and re-balancing your portfolio. I think time matters more to me than doing these stuff which is time consuming. There are people who love doing this and do not mind doing so. So, leave it to those who does the best in their jobs.

This image was taken off Seedly and taken as a reference. Frankly, minimal investment amount should be the last thing on your mind. Fees, rebates and what is the company trying to achieve should be the top priority.

Disclaimer

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes for other services at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

a. Use my Endowus referral link and both you and I will get $20 credit to our account: Endowus Robo-Advisor to sign up now.

b. Use my Stash Away referral code and both of us are entitled to a 6-month management fee waiver, for up to $10,000 SGD of assets invested. Visit Stash Away Referral here to sign up now.

SGfindex – The all in one consolidated banking view

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This is really a nice initiative from MAS to combine all the bank data but I do have some gripe over it and there are nuances which I find myself complaining all over it. Before I do, I shall not and since this is something interesting to see, I would suggest everyone to try it.

Due to the technology involved in this, I wouldn’t suggest those who are not too savvy to attempt. You will get more frustrated from this. Technology do help us but also complicate our lives so much more. It’s just removing a a middle man to reduce pricing but then re-introducing the middle man as  multiple stores and having different shop fronts and products which differs a little from one another.

What is Findex?

If you give your consent to the platform, you can share your personal financial data across Citibank, POSB/DBS, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB, plus government agencies like CPF, HDB and IRAS

This system is jointly developed by GovTech and I suppose SingPass is the security gateway to this capability. It is also stated that personal data is not stored.

I find that this is really in the infant stage of the launch and the applications can be developed into something more. That’s more GovTech and the merchants to find out.

What is the buzz about?

Consolidated bank accounts into one app. Let’s put it this way.

If you have a Standard Chartered bank account, choose the sgfindex option, login to Singpass and link your other bank accounts.

And if you have a OCBC bank account, choose the sgfindex option, login to Singpass and link your other bank accounts.

If you have a DBS bank account, choose the sgfindex option, login to Singpass and link your other bank accounts.

Okay, I think you get it. It is manual and you will need to endure with the lag, error 404, missed linked, etc….

I mean yeah, you get to see all your accounts in one app. All your credit cards, loans, selected government related accounts will be on it and that’s that.

Meanwhile, if you manage to come to this part of the reading – Thank you. If you are keen on getting $5 from Standard Chartered Bank. Do run through their exercise and also read their T&Cs at https://www.sc.com/sg/bank-with-us/sgfindex/

Don’t expect too much though.

Disclaimer

This is purely my own opinion after using their service and/or products. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. There is no one size fits all investment strategy.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

The pictures were taken from website solely for the purpose of illustration. Remember not to be a slave of money but make as much as you can.

Human Nature and Psychology

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Humans are interesting. Technically and Fundamentally. There has been a lot of discussion around behavioural finance but I tend to see that as behavioural psychology. For the human mind, there is a sense/emotion that triggers a good feel or bad feel and that triggers almost every decision we make. I’m no exception but it very strange. How does this affect us? I believe it affect our decision to buy a company, invest a counter, sell a counter, buy a long-term product or even purchase a new gadget even though we don’t need one.

Needs versus Wants

The most old school human nature is the needs and wants. I kind of feel that this is forgotten after being used so extensively for so long. We are forgetful creatures so we have to be constantly reminded into the basics. As defined:

Needs – They are necessities and compulsory. These should be our main focus when living life to the greatest. As I have always said, there has to be a balance as well. Sometimes, it is good to take a step back and don’t follow the sense or what seem logical to be doing. It takes routine out of norm momentarily.

Wants – They are good to have and not mandatory. However, they are stuffs that has an alluring sense to being able to own it. It does not happen all the time but these are mostly things we want to own.

More often than not, we make our goals in order to achieve our wants. Those stuff are not sustainable. They make one feel good or even give a great sense of achievement.

Herd Theory

This is probably an ingrained set of behaviour that has always been affecting human being. If we win, we win together and if we lose, we all lose together so it isn’t that bad. But com’on, that isn’t really correct technically. Herd doesn’t give you immunity to anything. No one gains from the same damaging impact (If the end result is negative) but on the flip side the herd tends to celebrate when there is a success during the end goal.

It also doesn’t mean that by following analysts call, it is always the right call. How much of those really do impact your decision. I would like to think that most people decide to delegate the job of choosing a counter to the “experts”. However, it just means to always do your due diligence. If it matters to someone, you will take that extra effort to do so.

Investor Psychology

These days the market doesn’t just pick up everything from one big investor call. Geopolitical tensions and psychology plays a huge part in everything as well. The talk about the famous words Warren Buffett once said that it is wise for investors to be “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” This is a little overused but it makes absolute sense. However, this need to be taken into context as well. Is this the typical trader or the long term portfolio building strategy? We can’t typically pull a rabbit out of the hat and apply this to every scenario.

To date, I still find too many irrelevant quotes applied to conditions that are simply not apt for the scenarios. Even when the scenario seems apt, it may not be because of the situation every individual is in. Which is why, time and again I emphasize that there is no one size fits all strategy but building and learning from each other.

The $1 million investable asset versus the $100k versus the $10k versus the $0 can really learn from one another. It is never too late to do so but by not doing anything, that’s not doing yourself the favour to plan ahead.

Disclaimer

If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. There is no one size fits all investment strategy.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

Let me know what kind of articles resonates with you and what you would like to see or hear. I’ll try to make those more frequently. After all, the main objective is to create a community of sharing and learning from each other. The end goal is to be financially free.

Everest Gold

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The sound of Everest Gold is not exactly sound and safe at first notice but they are a new digital trading platform. You can trade gold digitally now, akin to a stock brokerage account. There are a number of articles out there from bloggers and online news that talks about Everest Gold.

Trying it out

To try it out, you do not need to put in any money. All you need is to use my referral code and your will be awarded 200k points which is approximately USD 20. These rewards can be used to subscribe for gold during their events.

  • No need for any transactions. Just make sure your details, bank accounts and everything is verified.
  • Referral is limited. Not sure if they will be bringing this back but in Oct 2020, the fee was 300k points which is approximately USD 40.

Referral

Use this link to find out more if you are interested at Everest Gold or use this referral code when you decide to sign up: TZLLE. Both of us will get more rewards for subscription.

History

A little dig up of the company. Everest Gold is a Singapore-based  fintech gold trading form. The creation of such a service is to digitise gold trading and makes it easy for both beginner and expert investors. It is suitable for anyone who have interest in gold trading. I personally have also tested their customer service team and response is pretty decent.

Everest Gold uses 999.9 pure investment grade gold. 1kg bard are from a refiner in switzerland. You can also download them from an app and investing starts from 1 gram. From what it seems, anyone can trade and liquidate almost immediately. Physical gold assets can also be collected from their depositories by submission of a request in-app.

Disclaimer

I do use this service and by signing up as a referrer, both you and I will get some benefits.

As with all investments, there are risks involved so please do your own diligence.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes for other services at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

The pictures were taken from the Everest Gold website for this article.

Grab Invest (Robo)

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During the earlier part of 2020, Grab announced an acquisition of a wealth start-up, Bento. The have since re-branded them to be GrabInvest. It looks like they have ambitious plans to expand into South East Asia with Singapore as its base. We have seen quite a number of new services and products that Grab has been rolling out. That is the benefits of having strong backers as well as a branding that aims to disrupt some industry. I’m not too sure how big they can become but they have been throwing marketing dollars for some time to build their brand. You can read more about the acquisition here at Bento As GrabInvest.

Invest, Save and Grab

It sounds like Grab is going to bring out the brand in their app once more. They probably want to integrate this into the Super App that we often hear about. The tag line is pretty effective I say.

Almost No Barrier to Entry

It takes only a small amount to start investing. I don’t think Syfe and StashAway has a minimum amount to start investing but this set them apart from the usual investing through micro-investing. I’m not too sure about the effectiveness though.

Saving Money

Each time you use the app to do certain actions, you get to choose an amount that will be used to invest automatically. Good habit though.

Spend

There is no lock-up for your funds so you can transfer your money back to the wallet anytime. Talk about flexibility.

Underlying Investments

Okay, looking at how things are. This is similar to the other robo-advisors as to their cash solutions. The underlying funds would be Fullerton Fund and UOB asset management. My guess is the usual short duration bonds or assets as close to cash funds. Due to the nature of the expected returns projected at 1.8% p.a., it is most likely the case.

Fees are simple at 0.45% p.a. Similar or higher than other solutions. If you ask me, I’ll go for Singlife account where you can deposit up to S$10k at 2.5% p.a. and it is SDIC protected. Micro-investing versus Singlife – Singlife wins hands down but integration wise and branding, Grab edges forward a little more.

Read about my previous post on Singlife here at Where to Park Your Funds? Singlife

For excess funds of more than S$10k, get into Dash and Earn. The first year will be at 2% p.a. capped at $20k. Then go for Tiq Gigantiq at 2%p.a. (For the first year) capped at S$10k. On the options available, I’ll give grab a miss unless I have too much spare cash in their wallet that I can’t take it out.

Conclusion

It seems like it is a hype for now. Other for convenience, I can’t find much differentiation from the rest of the many options available in the market except for convenience. It doesn’t help that Grab is trying to take over the world by trying to integrate everything. I don’t support a monopoly so that is a minus. However, I do think that there are other services which will show up on the app in the near future. Coupled with the fact that digital banking license will be announced in Q4 2020 or in 2021 should there be any delay. As a consumer, we should be happy about competition.

I do see more pros than cons though, given their history of data breaches and bad marketing. Also, I don’t see that they are MAS licensed or approved nor are they working with any financial institutions other than the mentioned fund houses or asset managers. On top of that, monies are held in custody of Grab. Reading their Terms and Conditions, it seemed like they got their own ass covered as compared to the consumer so I’m not too sure about that.

I still don’t see it on my Grab App even after updating the app so I’m wondering how buggy their app can be over time.

Disclaimer

This is not a sponsored post and purely my own opinion that I am writing about in my thoughts. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. Don’t be too fixated with what is the best.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes for other services and products here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

Images seen in this article were take off the relevant websites for illustration purposes only.

The Price to Owning a Car

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Whenever we touch on the topic of owning cars in Singapore, there will always be a ruckus. The ambitious demands of ourselves would deem that we wish to own a car, a branded German Luxury for most. However, as much reasoning that we give, owning a car here is as good a depreciating asset or in more negative context, a liability. Owning a car isn’t exactly rocket science but there are some things to take note and the extra costs that comes in regularly. A piece of transportation that brings you from A to B, that’s something everyone appreciates if you have the luxury to do so.

Own or Grab?

Hands down, taking grab rides, gojek or comfort taxis wins owning a private car. It gives one the luxury of leaving home at any time and going anywhere without any restriction or so to say no stress. That comes with a price like any other thing.

Perhaps for a start, what are the tax and pricing related to car?

1) Open Market Value (OMV)

OMV is the price paid or payable when a vehicle is imported in Singapore. The Customs assesses the price and is inclusive of purchase price, freight, insurance and all charges. Different cars have different OMV.

2) Additional Registration Fee (ARF)

ARF is the tax payable when you register a vehicle. ARF is based on a percentage of the OMV. This is just another layer of tax on top of all other fees and taxes.

3) Excise Duty & GST

You need to pay customers excise duty to import and register a car and motorcycle or scooter. There is also a 7% GST payable to Singapore Customs based on the total cost of importing the vehicle.

4) Certificate of Entitlement (COE)

All vehicle in Singapore will require a COE. In order to register your vehicle, you need to place a bid for a COE in the different category. Once you have a successful bid, you get to own a vehicle to use on the road for a maximum period of 10 years. This is the upfront costs apart from all the taxes and fees.

5) Finally, the margins (The P&L)

After paying for all the taxes and fees, the companies who sell these cars need to cover their overheads, costs and make a margin on it.

The other costs

Now that you have paid for the car and you manage to drive it home. No, wait. Before you do that, you need to have a valid driving license.

Driving License

This costs roughly from $800 to $3000 depending on how good of a driver you are and if you take a private lessons or a driving school. The school definitely provides you with an all encompassing structured lesson but it also costs more. If you fail to get your driving license on the first try. That means more practical lessons and more cost. The upside to this is that, there is no expiry once you obtained your driving license until you are deemed too old. You will be required to complete a renewal test to ensure that you are fit to drive.

Car Insurance

In order to drive on the roads, you need to have a valid car insurance. The cost of insurance is renewed annually and depends on your age and type of car you own. You can have a comprehensive plan or a basic plan but in my opinion, you just need to go for the most comprehensive plan to get yourself covered.

Road Tax

Once you have paid for your car insurance, you will need to pay for your road tax. How is your road tax calculated?

a. Engine Capacity – The larger your engine’s capacity, the higher the amount of road tax (Payable 6 months or 12 months)

b. Age of your vehicle – Vehicles that are more than 10 years incur surcharge of 10-50% on top of the standard road tax. (For cars renewing beyond the initial 10 years of COE)

If you forget to pay your road tax, you will be liable for late payment and also for infringement since you are not allowed on the road. Yikes, more bills.

Car Loan

At the start of the article, I discussed about the price of buying a car. You can now loan up to 60% of the total cost of the sale of the car. Depending on the interest rate you can get, (Maybe around 1.88% p.a. at this point) that will be the additional interest payable on your loan amount.

Not too sure about you but it seems like the costs are piling up even before driving it on the roads.

The maintenance costs

It does seems like it doesn’t make sense to own a car anymore now but I still need to add on the maintenance cost during the 10 year life of owning the car.

Maintenance/Servicing

The initial 3 to 5 years should be an added benefit that your dealer will throw in when you buy that car. But take note that this is just purely servicing, meaning engine oil change and those point checks and tyre rotation. Any wear and tear are still liable to be charged at their retail price.

Typical servicing starts around the 1km, 5km, 10km mark or around 3-5 months depending on which comes earlier. I mean, if the car is new there wouldn’t be an issue. But if you don’t bring your car back to the dealer then the warranty that they gave you would be voided.

Inspection check

During the first 3 year of owning your car, before you renew your road tax, you do not need to bring your car to a registered inspection company such as VICOM or STA. After the third year, you have to do so to ensure that you do not change certain aspects of your car when you drive on the roads. It is a small cost but it does take some time to do so. After the initial 3 years, you have to go for an inspection once every 2 years until your 10 year mark is up. For cars more than 10 years, you have to do so annually.

Car Battery Change

If you do not own an electric car, you need to change your car battery 1.5 – 2 years regularly. Depending on what kind of car you drive, the number of batteries and type will also differ in price.

Wear and Tear/ Repairs

Any wear and tear (e.g. brake pads, windscreen wipers, tyre balding, rim change, air compressors, solenoid, repairs and more) will incur cost. After all, you need to make sure your car lasts for as long as it can given how expensive they are. Your tyres need to change every 3-5 years depending on how you drive your car and there may be small damages or even faulty electronics due to wear and tear. Also, our climate is pretty warm and heat will wear most stuff out when exposed over time.

Parking and Fines

Anywhere you stop your car, you need to enter a carpark. Parking your cars comes with a cost. You can’t just stop anywhere you want. If you get a parking ticket, that amount will pay for your 1 month’s parking budget.

Take note of red light and speeding cameras. Any breaches will set you back a few hundred dollars with demerit points. In the worst case scenario, you may be charged and your driving license taken away.

Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) and New Changes

Paying tolls have never been easier. (Sarcasm) Going through expressways and roads during peak period will set you back a few bucks per day when you drive through these to ease traffic flow. These will be replaced by a satellite distance-based ERP system in the near future.

Fuel Costs

Finally, you need fuel to run your vehicle. Basically, everyone is a price taker. You can’t not fuel up your car. Not having fuel in your car will do your vehicle more harm than good. After all, you are supposed to own some form of flexibility with a car.

Conclusion

Don’t feel that owning a car is beyond your reach now. There are different ways to do so. To always weigh the pros and cons about owning a vehicle, you will find the answer clearly but we still see a lot of vehicles on the roads. This part of our brain is unexplainable, the comfort and flexibility of owning a car outweighs all that reasoning. I have also read about the other options to owning a car but it really depends on individuals.

a. Lease (Instead of owning it, you pay a fixed cost per month for leasing the car)

b. Drive for a private hire (You get to moonlight during your free time but perhaps not so ideal during this covid-19 situation)

c. Own a car and lease it out/rent it via apps. This will cut your cost in owning a car

d. Take the public transport and Grab/Gojek. Times are different now, we are not at the mercy of Nazi Taxi Drivers.

Personally, I just am thankful during times when it rains. I get the comfort of going to somewhere at whichever time I wish without getting drenched. There isn’t any worries of price surge or cancellation. That said.

Disclaimer

This is not a sponsored post and purely my own opinion that I am writing about in my thoughts. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. Don’t be too fixated with what is the best.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes for other services and products here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

Images seen in this article were take off the relevant websites for illustration purposes only.

Value and the concept of Perceived Value

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Value is a very interesting concept. In the world of investing and valuation of companies, there is no one size fit of the valuation of a company. This also create an inefficiency into the market where there are enough buyers sellers to take in price and also to sell out. This is also a great definition to split up what buyers and sellers view certain companies or certain things. This is extremely interesting for me – Over the years there is no doubt brands bring out a certain stature in beings. (Beings as in humans) In Singapore – The last 10 years have seen a big bunch of folks growing with affluent wealth significantly.

Perspective

Let me just put things into perspective – many might know what a KIA Picanto is. Just about 7-8 years ago, COE prices were sky rocketing to above S$80k. The brand new Picanto actually cost cost to a S$100k here and I actually do know some people who own these. With the same S$100k, you can actually get a Toyota Vios or a car with a smaller engine such as the Toyota Yaris (Which is a sportier hatchback). To some, owning a car is just not feasible or it just doesn’t make sense. This is where things get interesting. For S$120k, you can almost get into the entry level continental cars such as Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen. Driving an Audi versus a KIA – what perceived value do you now have?

Concept

Before beginning on the concept, i need to have a disclaimer that I am not a qualified psychologist nor am I a specialist. I just find that stuff like Feng Shui, Human Psychology, Behaviours and Ideas are built on a single platform. This platform is known as Common Sense. While it is easy to understand, many may not practically use or realise until much later.

For me, I think that it is necessary to always stay an open mind. There isn’t really such a thing as a one man show, it is always a team effort to succeed in a project.

A Story to tell about

Side tracking a little about team effort. This reminds me about a story. I knew something who was working as a Management Associate working in a bank many years ago. The selfish bugger intentions were to let the higher ups know that he single handedly solved and produced many solutions for the bank. In reality, he simply used his intern or ex-intern to do so. In summary, he took all their work and claimed the full credit. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps for the money? Most likely that is the case.

Currently, he heads a department but he is an empty shell. This is simply because he gives no credit to those below him. That’s no way a good boss should behave. He is no role model and in no capacity to lead people.

Value

It is precisely because different people view value differently, the variation of behaviour changes from one to another. Even family members do not behave or think the same. This “unique” behaviour is partly why there are so many inefficiencies in the equity market. At any point in time, there are sellers and buyers in the market. That was how a buyer and seller market was formed. Then came the “trend followers” – Because everyone enters into a position, they create a buy volume or trend which pushes the momentum of the company. Often, that is translated to share price as well. However, always remember that the price on the stock market is the sentiment of an investor, not the situation which the company is in.

Herding

Over time, people behaviour will naturally act as a herd. When the momentum is to buy or sell, a natural phenomenon is to follow. If you follow, it doesn’t feel like you are missing out. This theory actually touches an emotional aspect of our being that we do not like to be left out. That sounds a little needy but as humans, we are generally weak in such situations. Hence, the word “FOMO” appeared. It means Fear Of Missing Out especially when cryptocurrency coins started to increase exponentially to 100x or 1000x. No one likes to miss out on a good deal.

Not saying yes to everything

Well, I can’t really say much about when is good time to buy unless you are an insider. That being said, it is illegal because it is not a level playing field. Eventually, you will be exposed so make money the right way. I guess that only successes and failures bring experiences.

You can’t just buy anything and everything. There’s the existence of curating for a reason. You have to understand and know what are you buying certain stuffs for and what is your exit strategy.

There are things eventually that you can take risks on and some you don’t. That does not mean that it is not a bad thing. I am an advocate that if there is something new that is worth investing or exploring. Try it out with an open mind. You can be disappointed for 99 times but it only take 1 opportunity to get it right.

Disclaimer

This is purely my own opinion that I am writing about in my thoughts. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. There is no one size fits all investment strategy.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

Images seen in this article were take off the relevant websites for illustration purposes only.

New Rules and guide to Price Transparency

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There has been a spike in digital transformation globally and in Singapore, this process has been drastically pushed forward in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the push on online sales, we are bound to see sellers who game the system. So recently, there is some new rules around price transparency and it is going to protect consumer. All retailer will have to comply as the rules will be effective 1 Nov 2020.

The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) has issues guidelines on price transparency and you can find out more here at CCCS Guideline on Price Transparency

There are four very simple points:

a. Drip Pricing – Display a headline price that omits mandatory charges and pre-ticked optional add-ons when the final price is higher.

Summary: Mandatory charges has to be inclusive and displayed together with the headline price. When add-ons are optional, it should not be pre-ticked and it should never be. Should there be pre-ticked options, it should be displayed prominently, disclose the price and Terms & Conditions.

The Objective: You can now raise complains should a retailer fail to comply with the above. By pre-ticking optional adds ons, it actually shows how sneaky a retailer is. Also, if a Nintendo Switch is going for $250 in the headline price. When you include other fees and charges such as shipping, handling and etc….it becomes $500. This is not allowed anymore.

b. Price Comparison – Compare prices with competitors to reflect a competitive price or price advantage.

Summary: Retailers have to ensure goods or services used for marketing comparisons are similar or equivalent by trading norms. Proof or record reference prices to price that it isn’t fake or misleading in nature. Periodically, retailers should check reference prices and amend the comparison accordingly.

Objective: If a competitor starts to say that another house is pricier, they can’t do that now. If they use a price that was aeons ago, that is against the rules too. Using an apple to compare against an orange doesn’t cut it as well. On a personal level, I just think that there is going to be so much fruitless argument on this topic. I can already see what retailers are going to use to argue their actions about what is the norm.

c. Discounts – Offering a price discount for goods and/or service

Summary: Retailers have to use genuine previous prices when making comparisons, record evidence of past sales and prices. If there is a time period of discount, it should be real and stated prominently

Objective: We often see a Usual Price and Discount Price but a lot of those U.P. was never really the Usual Selling Price. The classic, but 1 for $5 and 2 for $10 is finally not allowed anymore. They didn’t say anything about 1 for $5 and 2 for $20 though but I’m pretty sure that is illegal. Often, we see limited period sale to engage consumers in panic buying and scarcity but the truth is that there is none or available for an extended duration instead. Some unscrupulous retailers also advertised her products at a low price with no stock or supply. The whole idea is most likely to attract leads and cross sell other products. All these are not allowed anymore.

d. Use of the Term “Free” – Enticing consumers “Free” products and services to entice them to try it out and eventually buy it.

Summary: Include and specify all fees and costs clearly and prominently with the the free representation. If there is a free trial (Period), there is a need to inform consumers before the end of the free trial and provide clear instructions on how to cancel or stop the deduction.

Objective: There will be retailers who are out there to make consumers pay for goods and/or service that were supposed to be “free”. Some retailers might increase the price or reduce the quality of a product or service to recover the cost of “free”. In my opinion, that isn’t free. Including the free service into part of the package price is not allowed although how are we to know that is the case? Similar to point (c), some retailers might offer some free product or service when they don’t have or do not intend to do so.

My Thoughts

Overall, it is great to see that there is some form of price ruling around how retailers market to consumers but if one is naive enough, it still doesn’t help. Although the specifications are there, it sounds almost like “I told you not to do this” and when they get caught, they will get smacked with charges and fines. I don’t see how consumers are being protected more but instead I see more unscrupulous retailers would argue their way out of this.

Disclaimer

This is not a sponsored post. This is purely my own opinion after using their service and/or products. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. There is no one size fits all investment strategy.

If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/ for the services.

Images seen in this article were take off the relevant websites for illustration purposes only.