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.

Best time to Invest Now?

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More often than not, I read articles and comments and many people ask about if it is the time to invest now. Markets are too high…What asset class to invest into and should I invest now? I only have $100, $500, $1000 (It doesn’t matter how much you have. It matters to start early and depending on which stage you are at. It might be better for you to start an emergency fund first before you invest)

Just this morning, I was listening to Kiss 92 radio channel and I heard that there was a miracle. A fan fell down and went into coma for 23 days. While he was a in a coma, the morning show DJs started to call and talk to him. While they wished  for a miracle, they kept it real and thought that it might not happen. This then sparked a little thought – something we all know but fail to execute.

The story is such a good one that it kind of send me teary eyed for a short while. While we know that miracles do happen, we also know that miracles don’t happen all the time. However, it is important to keep believing that thing will happen the way you want it to no matter how far it seems. Never say never. Be practical but sometimes there are no explanations.

When is it really time?

You will never know when is the time you may lose your loved ones so treat them well and shower the love. Similar to investing, we will never have the crystal ball that tells us the future. If you do have one, I think there isn’t a need to seek financial independence anymore. No matter how accurate, lucky or correct one can analyse – there are no shortcuts. All things take time.

Spend time not focus purely just on money

Spending time on your loved ones is more important than making money. Money as what I alway advocate accelerate the process to many other things. Spending that time not also allows one to connect socially with family as well as reconnect with the young and old. Crossing generations also gives you fresh perspectives and new ideas. Don’t write them off.

Investing takes up a lot of brain cells if you are always exploring for new ideas. These perceptions will provide options and aide in that journey.

Family is family

Whatever your situation is family is always family. What you represent eventually will be translated down to the next generation. There isn’t a guide or way to do it but everyone is a parent for the first time so cut some slack on yours. After all, they were in different times as we did today. Family time provides connectivity that helps one mentally while providing that support. Some may call it safety nets in the finance world but personally I prefer to call that emotional support group. Perhaps friends might be as close to family but everyone’s comfort level is different.

With a section of the mental support covered, naturally one’s focus will be freed of distraction. However, there should always be a balance.

Is it the best time to invest now?

It is hard to say all of that with so many conflicting articles that talk about an all time high and that an impending correction is coming soon. That is all technical and feel. There are no scientific rules as to why markets goes higher or lower. Only interest rates and bond prices are inversely proportional. Other than that, there are no fixed formulas and no one can single handedly control or manipulate the markets.

As always, you can choose to put in some during the initial phase and stagger the investment on a regular basis. This is what most people know as dollar cost averaging.

The other way is really to split the amount that you wish to invest into 3 or 5 parts. Every time the market drops, just diligently put some in.

What ifs?

What if the markets were to increase by another 5% or 10% and you are not invested. That would mean that you will always be missing the market rallies. A medium and long term view of the market will definitely help in the long run.

The excuse

The contradiction will always be there. When you are young, your commitments are lesser but the disposable income is lesser too. Moving into middle age, your commitments increase but your disposable income depends on what you need to spend on. When you are slightly older, your commitments decrease but your risk level should not be like 20 years ago.

The concept

The whole idea is to really to invest early and invest regularly. A miracle happened for someone today but that doesn’t mean it happens to everyone. Some people missed their chance or opportunity and that would have been too late.

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 so that you can make use of money.

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.

Ways to make some money & Reviews

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This is not a click bait. I have always been interested to find out what is there in the market when I see such headlines but eventually it is usually click baits. One of the many ways to make some money online if you have time is actually through doing online surveys. The best part of it is that you can take your own time to do it.

Though you may miss out on some high value surveys but eventually it is suited to your own timing. I will review some of those, past and present and I have personally used them. Only if the time is worth your effort, you can proceed go sign up or use my referral link. It is totally up to every individual as it may not be worth the effort for some. However, if you have some time on hand – The answer is Why Not?

Make Some Money

I will run by the ones that i find the easiest to use and easy to cashout. Most importantly, you should sign up for a PayPal account if you do not have any. It is really easy to sign up, just visit https://www.paypal.com and there is no referral fee for this. Just for easy survey credits

Milieu Survey (Singapore)

Milieu Survey has a Singapore presence. Once you have chalked up enough points, you can either donate them away or Otherwise, you can choose to cash out via PayPal or PayNow. 

$10 can be redeemed with 9500 point and $20 can be redeemed with 18000 point.

Once you complete 7 surveys, both parties get 500 points each.

Key in the referral Code: DbKjxMP 

Google PlayStore – https://goo.gl/eTHTya

Apple Store – https://apple.co/2MmnprL

YouGov SG

YouGov is based in London but they also have a Singapore presence. Surveys doesn’t come as frequent as Milieu but once you accumulated enough. 5000 points redeem a S$25. There are also alternative but to me cash is always King. There are no referral benefits so click the link to sign up.

https://sg.yougov.com/en-sg/account/login/

Google Opinions

This is rather tricky as it is not for Apple/IOS users. Android Users will be able to download and setup their account. Surveys come at random and you can also set a notification. Once you reply, it varies from S$0.10 – s$1.50 or so. You can’t cash out these but you can use these credits to supplement subscriptions or pay for some paid apps that you wish to buy off. It’s just easy to use, answer and keep. Practically no upkeep. There are no referral benefits so click the link to sign up.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.paidtasks&hl=en_SG

Valued Opinions SG

This requires a little more effort but as for the rewards, I personally find it rewarding with Zalora or Cold Storage vouchers (via Edenred voucher redemption). However, with the recent covid – They seem to be less productive or less efficient. Vouchers redemption seems slower and also seem to be out of stock faster. There are no referral benefits so click the link to sign up.

https://www.valuedopinions.sg/

Rakuten Insight

Rakuten re-branded a few times in the past. Their surveys take longer than most but once your accumulate 150 Epoints or more, you can redeem $10 via PayPal. Redemption starts from 75 Epoints for $5.

https://sg.m.aipsurveys.com/

Disclaimer: These are just solely opinions of mine. You should try them out first to review if they are suitable for you. These works for me as I have tried out more than 20 of these during my free time.

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 respective websites for this article.

New Changes to MoneyOwl Fees

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MoneyOwl is an initative from NTUC Social Enterprise. They are sort of a Robo-advisor coupled with a suite of wealth planning tools such as will writing and insurance solutions. What really attracted me is their rather simple way of investing and using Dimension Funds as part of their portfolio construction.

As a retail investor, you will most likely not be able to access such funds. When the market tanked sometime in Feb 2020, I picked a few Robo-advisor to invest into and look into performance a few months later. Almost six months has passed now and I will most likely show some of the performance in my later posts but I must say, by doing nothing much, all advisors reported positive returns as compared to my own stock picking.

Changes to MoneyOwl

Recently, MoneyOwl announced that they have lowered their investment advisory fees as well as absorbing the platform fees.

a. For Asset under management S$10,000 and below, there will not be any fees through 31 December 2021. This fee will be rebated back to the portfolio. So take note that only Cash investments are eligible for this rebate. The cash management accounts do not have these in place and your total portfolio value has to be above S$50.

b. There is an introduction fee of S$99 which is worth about S$535 for a comprehensive Financial Planning. Money Owl’s advisors will sit down with you to review your portfolio with detailed report and recommended next course of action. (~2 hours)

c. Additionally, they are introducing free financial resilience workshops to focus on cash flow management and debt management. Likely through Webinars and anyone can join in.

It is nice to see that as a partner to our national social enterprise, they are making moves to help Singaporeans. The reduced fees on investments which is one of the key points in long term investments. The more fees you pay, the more it affects your own portfolio performance.

However, they should really look into improving the interface. (for e.g. making it into an app) They also introduced a referral fee scheme or some promotional fee scheme for new sign ups. Not much complains other than that.

Follow us visit my blog if you like what you read at https://lifejourney.blog

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 for other services at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

The pictures were taken from Money Owl’s website for this article.

When is it time to invest?

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We hear a lot of this all the time. Our parents, our friends, our colleagues and everyone. There isn’t any in my opinion. Some may beg to differ but there really isn’t any the way the see it. There is an actual science to this because it really depends on what kind of person you are. No one will manage your money better than yourself. There are three dimensions to this how I see it.

Your Life Cycle

Life-Cycle – Depending on which part of the cycle one is in, you will change the way you invest and how you want to invest. Different stages in life provides you with different perspective and capability to do certain aspects of financial tweaks. Some get a head start while other don’t but that is not the end goal. It is your objective that is key – No one should just carbon copy a portfolio or process. This is customised and should be based on your own circumstances.

How much you have to invest?

How much you have – This is really a sticky question because the real fact is that no one knows. I am of the mind that your own networth and liquidity is for your own to know and manage. Unless you own the millions that you can’t manage because time is what you need, this would apply to at least 90% of the folks out that. How much can you afford to save or take out that does not affect you paying off your bills on time depends on your financial situation. I remember when I first started out, the salary I have is for my own takings. The very first thing I did was to spend almost all of it. It isn’t smart but we all learn.

Paying yourself first

Paying yourself first is essential in building a bigger pool. The first $1k, $10k, $25k $50k, $100k will be exponentially easier with every milestone. However if you don’t start, then the milestone will not be met. Regular saving plans/investment does help in this process. Using the envelop technique is also recommended for guys who are really starting out.

Time – This is a large and essential part of everything else.

First, you need to find time and give time to learn and experience. No one grew up knowing everything, all of these lies with exposure and experience. Some gets it faster than the rest while others manages this slower. Like an exercise buddy, the journey is long but if you persist and encourage one another, it will ride for a long time.

No excuses – Is Netflix and the next PlayStation more important every other day? Educating and understanding finance takes time and effort. Even if you hate it, try it in a smaller scale model and gradually increase it over time. I can certainly say that over a time period, it will become second nature.

Second, You do not have a warchest overnight. You need to build it. No one knows when is the next drop, what is the next promising industry to go into. No one knows who is the next unicorn or donkey but through time, you will eventually find out about your own strength and sense of investing.

My four points on a good time to invest

These four points in my opinion sets the basis of what is a good time to invest. TLDR:

a. Anytime is a good time to invest as long as you have a plan and you know what you are doing

b.Do not invest more than what you require to pay your bills.

c. Start early, start young, the later you start – the tougher it is. It is never too late but the results will be less than one would expect.

d. Learn as much as you can so that you are well-equipped. Today, there are too many tools around to learn and see.

I also do understand that by saying “When is a good time to invest?” It will attract criticism as to “timing of investment”

Timing the Market?

I would also want to address this issue of timing. It does no one any good if you time the market. No one has the crystal ball.

a. Start by splitting your warchest into different portions. Be disciplined and when market drops, buy some then don’t expect these to turn unto profits overnight.

b. Keep an eye on what you are investing especially if you are buying into a company. Investing into index funds leave you to a more passive investor. We shall not talk about Core and Tactical management of investing this round.

c. Regular investing also helps. Find mutual funds or portfolios who have in-lined principles to what you belief and stick by it.

d. Remember to always review. Things change and so do us as humans during different life cycle.

Small Note

P.s. As you can see, my beliefs is as such that all things work in an ecosystem (Before it gets disrupted). Smaller efforts gives greater confidence and these translate into positive energy, mindset and clear mind. Then, this brings you to another aspect. When this Eco-system is in place, many of the things we have discussed earlier will be a second nature and you would know how to react accordingly.

My Take on Robo-Advisor

Personally I like to use some form of Robo, systematic investing such as Endowus. It also cancels out my liking of timing my Buy-in timing.

  • Most importantly, the cash related funds uses a big institution related fund manage such as Dimension Fund which is not readily accessible to retail investor.
  • They have shown that they return the rebates they receive from the fund houses instead of absorbing it to pay fees to Banks/Financial Institutions as recurring revenues
  • All funds invested are held on behalf by UOB Kay Hian and held in my own name so funds are safe I say.
  • My only grip is really about the buy time which I have no control over. By the time the markets drop, I’m not sure when my funds are invested but on the bright side, it means it is consistent and disciplined trading.
  • Relatively lower management fees which means more compounding interests for all. That is good news.
  • I also like that they only debit the management fees at the end of the quarter instead of taking money at the start. Tells a lot about how they want to be different. Say no to upfront fees.
  • The first Robo-advisor to be able to invest using CPFIS. I think they were also the first to be able to use SRS to do so as well. That makes one more level up as CPFIS only approves certain funds that you can invest in. This makes it flexible to invest using Cash, SRS and CPFIS.
  • If you use my referral code to sign up and invest minimum S$10k, we both get $20 each which can be used to offset the management fees to keep their lights running: https://endowus.com/invite?code=EDZ8M

Disclaimer

Money is not everything – They say (Who? I don’t know). Without Money, there are lot of things we cannot do. With proper money management, these will slowly go away and your mind’s will be clearer. With a clear mind, things unravel. An end is always where new things start. Be positive and do not be bound by just money.

This is also not a sponsored posts. I used it and I like what I am seeing.

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 a few websites for this article.

Low or no interest? Where to park your funds?

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Due to the current covid-19 pandemic, we have seen quite a change in the world’s economic situation. Central banks around the world have reduced interest rates to an extremely low level. In finance, or what we call an emergency fund – has to always be liquid. It is well known to keep 3 – 6 months of funds for a rainy day. As for the amount to keep, it really depends on everyone’s personal situation. I would say, it depends on how much you spend and how willing one will be able to adjust to change their lifestyle. Given the current situation, it may be better to keep up to 9 or 12 months of emergency funds. Again, it depends very much on every individual’s finance situation.

Reduction of interest in “High Yield”saving accounts

Recently, we have seen the banks reducing the interest rates of deposit accounts or “high yield” saving accounts. It is only a matter of time when everyone else will reduce that interest amount so it is important to always keep funds liquid. You will never know what happens so it is important to stick to the rules – Keep your liquid funds liquid. A couple of months back, I found an interesting channel to keep some funds for a pretty high yield of 2.5% pa.

Of course, there are plenty of choices out there to choose from but today we shall talk a little more about an “alternative” choice as compared to a bank. Let’s throw Fixed Deposits out of the equation as well as they are close nothing at this point in time.

Singlife

This is Singlife account. The interest of 2.5% p.a. is capped for the first $10,000 that you fund the account and the next $90,000 will be on 1.0% p.a. Any amount more than $100,000 will earn no interests thus this account will be suitable for anyone who wishes to keep a small sum of funds with Singlife and the hassle of having another account.

As indicated on their website, the Singlife Account is an insurance savings plan and it is neither a bank savings account nor fixed deposit. Each person is only entitled to one Singlife Account policy.) Singlife is also known as an Insurance Technology company that is licensed by MAS.

This is a really good channel to keep funds in however just take note that the 2.5% p.a. is not guaranteed and can be changed anytime. I think that this is fair given how flexible the funds can be taken out at will. In a most recent post, the news state that Singlife has raised 100 million funds in new AUM.

Pros

Below are some of the pointers that I felt is compelling enough to sign up for an account as the pros outweighs the cons at this moment and I am going to discuss more about why we should just get an account online:

First, Singlife is an insurance savings plan coupled with insurance and interest features. Fund placed with Singlife will be capital guaranteed so there will not be any hidden fees.

Second, you can earn up up to 2.5% p.a. for the first $10,000 with minimum funding of $500 to start earning this interest amount.

Third, there is insurance benefits – 105% of the account value and retrenchment benefits.

Fourth, the Singlife debit card is complementary and works like a normal debit card.

Fifth, No Lock-In. No contracts. Funds can be withdrawn anytime with no cost and minimum term.

Sixth, application is easy. Works only on an app and you can use SingPass to register easily.

Seven, funds are covered by SDIC so your funds are safe and protected for up to S$75k if there are any bank run on deposits.

In Summary, this can be a good tool for transition of better interest accounts or a medium terms solutions to parking your own funds.

Cons

There are not many bad points out there but to name a few and mainly only due to requirements and how cumbersome it can turn out to be.

First, they are relatively the new boys in town. In terms of branding and knowing who Singlife is needs to be worked on.

Second, since they are an alternative choice, traditional and conservative folks will just monitor or give it a pass

Third, the threshold of up to S$10k for 2.5%p.a. may not be appealing for some folks out there. 

Fourth, having yet another digital wallet or account is going to be slightly more cumbersome. Hence this might deter more sign ups.

The other choice is to go to Tiq or Dash Easy Earn. The interest option is slightly lower but you can’t avoid opening yet another account. 

Conclusion

The whole idea here is to share what are the different options and alternative available to park your funds. If this works for one person, it might not for the other. There isn’t a one size fits all solution but there are plenty of solutions out there. We just have to dig deeper and find out more about them. Then, we also question about the time spent to research and the effort to track different apps and accounts. It really depends on every individual. To some it might be creating more issues but to others, these solutions may be gems. 

I find that these solutions are a good option for the younger group of graduates and those who have just started to find employment. You have to start somewhere so this is one avenue to do so.

To find out more about Singlife, click here: Singlife Website

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 Singlife website for illustration purposes only.

Foray into CryptoCurrency – The MCO Card (Crypto.com)

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Invest in cryptocurrency! The first thing that comes to mind is that it is a scam or it is risky. It is not only after you take some time to find out more.

Getting someone to go into cryptocurrency can be challenging. When I first started, I was late to the game but the fees I paid were way much higher than what it is today. Today, I can see that the adoption crypto is slowing and steadily increasing and solutions are being provided to solve the problems in the real world. There are indeed real world situations that need solutions.

I have been with crypto.com (MCO) for almost 2 years now. Though I did not experience that huge dip in prices after it went as high as USD20+ but what I have seen from them is absolutely amazing.

MCO coins are what define crypto.com (They were used to be called Monaco) and the fact that they managed to obtain the domain name says something great about them.

I would say the MCO coin is more of a hybrid crypto. You can get a real metal card depending on how much of the coins you buy. A real debit card that pays you instant cashback on anything you can pay with the card.

You can always opt for a “free card” and that gives you a 1% cashback on all transaction and it gets better.

Buying and staking 50 MCO coins will get you the Ruby card – 2% cashback

In summary:

Blue card – 1% cashback (N.A)

Red card – 2% cashback (50 MCO)

Blue/Green card – 3% cashback (500 MCO)

Icy White card – 4% cashback (5,000 MC0)

Black card – 5% cashback (50,000 MCO)

What I really like about this is not just the cash back. However you have to be comfortable to lock in at least 500 MCO for an initial 6 months.

Pros:

1. I always want to buy cryptocurrency more fuss-free and easier. This platform makes it really easy

2. Funding from SGD does not incur any fees if you use xfers and follow their instructions dilligently

3. 100% cashback in MCO coin for subscription to Spotify and Netflix (literally free)

4. Unlimited access to loungekey (Airport lounge)

5. You can trade other crypto available on the app and their exchange

6. Certain coins have “earn” capabilities, meaning you get interest by staking it on the earn platform on the app.

Cons:

1. The price of MCO is around 7 SGD at time of writing. Thats double of what I initially got into but you never know when it will go higher or lower

2. You need to put in an initial investment to get all these benefits

3. You need to fund your debit card with cash first before using it.

Things may get complex from here if I add on more information. If you wish to know more, drop me a note and I can share more with you.

Meanwhile, if you use my link/referral code, you will get USD50 and I will get USD 50 worth of MCO.

All you need is to make a transaction and stake your MCO to get the debit card of your choice. Thats some cool amount of cash to start off with.

https://platinum.crypto.com/r/im3py887ty to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $50 USD 🙂

The need for an Emergency Fund?

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So, the last few weeks I saw and discussed with many others about the need for an emergency fund, the purpose of an emergency fund and the reason for an emergency fund. I can’t say more that I am a pro-believer of an emergency fund. Yes, the naysayers are out there thinking about the every single penny that is without a higher interest cost. After all, everyone is programmed differently and we react differently in the response of what we termed as a “decision”.

With the Covid-19 situation, I do not think that the previous requirements apply now. Taking reference in the medium Singaporean salary on MOM stats in 2019 (~SGD 4,563), a really safe bet is no longer the 6 – 9 months of emergency funds but 12 – 18 months of safety net. Each and every individual is different, as humans we also adapt to situations quite adequately.

How much one’s emergency fund really depends, a fresh graduate (For example who make three grand a month) may not have much disposable income after netting off parents’ allowances, school loan if any and daily expenses. A typical planner would say probably three to six months worth of cash fund to tide through any sudden surge in expenses. I’ll say that is rather quite a decent sum to begin with. How then should the emergency funds look like for someone who is in his 30s, 40s and 50s? A $9k emergency fund ten years down the road does not reflect an emergency fund 20 years down the road. People change, society change, lives change and money value changes certainly. I can’t speak for everyone but I do see that almost everyone’s spending pattern increases when they get a promotion, get married, buying a house, buying a car, having children, family members becomes sick, friends who are retrenched, friends who fall into financial debt and many more. We are not the person we were at ten years old so neither will we be at twenty years old.

Against others who says there isn’t a need for such funds, perhaps the only uncertain thing in life is to know that no one ever knows what or when something is going to hit us hard and fast until probably we have to come facing it on our own. It is probably then too late to realise so. If there isn’t a need or purpose to think of that in such a manner, at least think of it as paying/investing in yourself first before other things. Away with the thoughts of “Spend first save the rest or Save first and spend the rest” There isn’t really a one size fit all theory. Afterall, how many of us are blessed to have people taking care of our education, exposures, overseas trips, trend and fashion purchases when we were still young and not understand the meaning behind financial planning.

To pay/invest in yourself, perhaps there is that profession certificate that you are aiming for or even to build those first $100K before age 30 or 25. Even before you dwell into that, put that emergency funds aside because there will be a time where there will be a use for it and it could prove to be extremely useful when the time comes. We have seen this in the most recent budget release where our country’s reserves are being utilised to tide through this unprecedented period of distress.

So, I hear folks who tells me bonds, equities, funds are liquid and they can easily get funds out when they need them. I’ll probably say no because emergency funds are defined as emergency funds and you got to understand the reason why it is called that. It should be as liquid as cash on hand, cash in bank and at most in Fixed Deposits that can be pre-terminated early.

Bond price, equity prices, fund prices will rise and fall. In times of recession, the true sellers outweighs all buyers and it is a false sense of security on the understanding of liquidity. In times where there is immediate use of the cash on hand. Emergency funds gives that comfort and security in doing so and I find there there is no better way at this moment unless there are disruptions that change the way we may be able to do these.