StashAway Performance – Mar 2021

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I have been later for one quarter in 2021 in terms of updating. Nothing much has changes for the StashAway portfolio. Similar to Endowus, it is on auto-run and monthly additions are placed into different portfolios. I am still on the risk index of below 20%, split all the risk portion for 3 different portfolio. I still maintain that having calculated risk per $ makes more sense in my opinion. It doesn’t mean high risk high rewards although it can give you high rewards.

As I have always preached, the important thing is that I am not left on the sidelines. If Mr Market decides to go either way, it would matter that much to me in my opinion. If Mr Market drops, then I will add on more to the portfolios. That is what I believe will work for me for my traditional and rather stable investments.

Retirement Portfolio A (risk-14%)

The SRS account since deposit is currently at +2.11% as on 8 Apr 2021 (Time-weighted return). I think this is quite okay as I entered the market at a high before it dropped in March 2020. Performance wise, I think it is decent and also this is a super long term portfolio – I would say close to 25 years horizon so I’ll just leave it there to monitor on the progress. It was at around +3% in Dec 2020 but oh well. Let it be i guess.

In USD performance, that’s about 5% (Time-weighted return). That’s expected.

 

Education Portfolio B (risk-16%)

This portfolio is set out to be on a 15-18 year investment horizon. It is at 7.63% on 8 Apr 2021 and I think that this is pretty good. It’s the same as the last time i measured during Dec 2020. I have been averaging in whenever there are market dips. The risk index is at 16% and I will adjust those risk levels as and when I feel that there is a risk on or off.

In USD, I’m looking at double digits 11.75% (Time-weighted returns)

Education Portfolio C (risk-20%)

For this portfolio, I look at this at shorter horizon of 12-15 years so I feel that I need to take on some risk to achieve my goals. This SA risk index is currently at 20% and will take on to be one of my riskiest portfolio. Return is at 14.42% (Time-weighted return) at inception as at 8 Apr 2021 Not much of it has changed or rather it has dropped slightly but this is just a note to self and measure the monthly performance. Over time, more funds will be added to achieve the targeted invested goals.

In USD terms, we are looking at 18.81% (Time-weighted return). Looking great I feel.

Conclusion

So far StashAway has been a great supplement as a robo advisor. I will try to do more regular updates as a reminder to self. After using a few robo-advisors, I find that SA will play second fiddle to my Endowus Portfolio. The year of 2021 should be a test of time for most portfolios. I still believe that rebalancing regularly will be the key.

StashAway does have their own advantages. They do hedge their portfolios against huge crashes and take a stand on some positions which I do like because a lot asset managers don’t and even though they talk big about macro. I can’t see those actions being translated into customer’s returns.

To sign up or try out Stash Away, visit the website and use my referral code at Stash Away Referral

We’ll both get up to $10,000 SGD managed for free for 6 months which is a good deal.

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/

The pictures were taken from the Stash Away website for this article.

Autoweath – Performance Nov 2020

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Investing especially in spot market is a tough business. Most people cannot accept fluctuations in their portfolio. Autowealth is yet another solution for me. Just that this time around, this is for my kid to start out her investment journey when she can. Teaching financial literacy is something I would recommend to anyone.

Summary on my review on Autowealth:

(a) try out different more robo advisors to understand more about them and how they invest and

(b) segregate this fund for any other purpose other than the kid’s investment journey.

My take about the investing journey has been the same since day one. Don’t sweat the small things, the costs of robo are so low. We are talking about a 15-20 year horizon here so heck those low costs. You need to pay them to keep their lights running. For companies like Endowus and StashAway, these guys have the experience and passion and these translate into actions. I am satisfied on how they are prudent and still maintain the low fees.

In my previous performance to compare the performance, I discussed about the historical S&P 500 chart for the last 50 and 100 years. Markets will go up and each time it drops, just pick some up and let the robots do the work on balancing and re-balancing. As long as fees remains low, the portfolio will grow over time and over a longer period. It should remain in the black based on some backtesting.

Performance

Looking at the portfolio again in November, it still looks pretty nice ahead of the 15-20 years horizon. This is a portfolio which is set at roughly 40% equities and 60% bonds. The investment vehicles will be through ETFs. It does look like it can withstand long term peaks and troughs. What i really like is that i can switch between the SGD and USD currency performance portfolio as well as the impact on USD SGD forex on performance. I wouldn’t say this does as well as the portfolios but to be fair, markets were already slightly upwards and I would like to deploy funds out into the market in tranches over time.

As compared to October 2020, +5.66% absolute is decent in my view (that is +2.66% comparing to October) and this is as at 11 Dec 2020. If markets drop, the rule is to fund the account more. Do note that all of these will have USD exposure. Time versus DIY – it is really about what is important. I usually will want to see the ultimate end goal whenever I start anything.

 

For this month, I also tried to look at the impact of FX and without the weakening USD, performance in USD is actually 8.56% year to date. That is on course to double digits returns once more.

The impact of the USD FX exchange is actually affecting the performance by -3.1%. These FX risks are part and parcel of investing unless I just intend to invest into the Singapore Markets. However, it is just too boring to do so.

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 Auto Wealth website for this article. If you need a referral code, drop me a message and you can indicate my full name during registration. From there, both of us will  get $20 each to supplement the fees.

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.

Electricity Retailer – Open Electricity Market (Saving on your bills)

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The Singapore electricity market decentralised some time around 2015 and that made way for the big commercial companies to change their electricity supplier. The bulk of electricity are consumed by the business/commercial companies. As an estimate, the ratio of consumption is probably around 65/35 in terms of consumption. The Open Electricity Market started out in phases since November 2018. There was a trial run for 100k households and small businesses in the Jurong Area in April 2018 and these guys get to save at least 30% off the electricity bills! That is such a good deal and a first mover advantage.

The Start of OEM

Since November 2018, it was a phased launch to open up the entire Singapore to all residential households and smaller businesses. By May 2019, Singaporeans can choose the electricity retailer of their choice. It is interesting and unique to see this happening in this small island because SP Group is the monopoly in such nationwide infrastructure. I used to know nothing about the electricity market until such an initiative was discovered. The fact that SP Group remains as the electricity grid provider and transmission lines is indeed unique only to Singapore.

What this means is that all generation in Singapore has to go through the National Grid and in return, the power supply remains consistent, stable and reliable. Not much of a difference I would say.

If there are power outages or blackouts, the whole responsibility still lies with SP Group and you have to contact their 24-hour hotline. These outages has nothing to do with the generation firms. So the key question is still, how is it that these retailers can provide a lower pricing as compared to regulated tariff. (Electricity Rate Tariff is revised every January, April, July and Oct)

Electricity Retailer

From digging up articles and information online as well as speaking with the respective retailers, the simple answer to this question is:

Regulated tariff was formulated. It is similar to how Airlines price their seats which oil prices play a part in that calculation. From only buying electricity from SP Group (It takes in and calculate the 2.5 months of Brent Oil in USD) as part of the formula.

The retailer price, however depends on the bring of electricity they buy from the wholesale market (www.emcsg.com) and from their portfolio in Electricity Futures.(Which is traded in SGX) As a result of a different formulation, this allows the retailers to price in roughly about 15-25% cheaper as compared to the Regulated Tariff.

There is an interesting write up that talks about how prices are cheaper from Ohm Energy here Ohm Market Outlook. Of course, there are also retailers who are willing to absorb all costs to get more customers. As long as there are no hidden costs, we stand to benefit.

The Power to Choose

Now, for the exciting part. there are a 12 choices to choose from. We, as consumers should benefit from the increase in competition from different retailers. I will try my best to let everyone know what are the things to look out for before you switch to a retailer:

Not just the Price

a. First thing first – Do not sweat the small stuff. Cheap does not mean that it is good. Cheap is just the first step to getting your attention. Prices can be compared at the Price Comparison Website which is the official comparison website at Compare

Good Reviews Online

b. Check out the reviews first. You can go to Facebook, Google, Retailers’ website, Value Champion, SeedlyReviews and many more. Do not underestimate the power of reviews. Don’t let cheap cover your eyes.

This retailer penalises you for forgetting to renew your contract at 5% off the tariff.(What a rip-off! I’m sure there are a few more of such retailers around) A friend of mine told me that Geneco, Tuas power and Union Power renewed their contract at 10% off regulated tariff so please check your contracts.

Renewal Clauses

c. Look at the renewal clauses. It is extremely troublesome to keep switching retailers once every 6/12 months. Some retailers are just out there to rip consumers off by renewing you on a bad renewal contract if you forget. You have to write these guys off permanently.

Choice of Billing

d. What do you prefer? Consolidated fuss-free billing or more separate billing?

What Type of Plans?

e. No perfect plans. Just what s more comfortable for you.

  1. If you want to be paying cheaper than Regulated Tariff then go for the Discount off Tariff price plans. The cons is that if the tariff goes higher, your rate may be higher as well.
  2. If you wish to have some form of fixed pricing, then go for the Fixed Price plans. The cons is that if the tariff goes lower, then your rate will remain at the fixed rate.

Fees and Hidden Charges

f. Take note of Fees and Charges. If you want to just take on a long term contract, make sure you do know the criteria if you can transfer your contract to a new address without incurring an ETF or other fees.

  1. For example Early Termination Fees if you terminate your contract Early.
  2. Late Payment Charges
  3. Transmission Loss Charges
  4. Extra fee for Hard Copy bills
  5. Fee charges for failed payment (Credit Card/Debit Card)
  6. Fee charges for failed GIRO application
  7. Admin Fee if you failed to provide the proper documents to a retailer

Consumer Safeguards

g. There are consumer safeguards so there is no need to worry that your lights will go off. It’s just that it is going to be a little troublesome if anyone goes bust. You can read more about these safeguards here: Consumer Safeguards

It is a no-brainer and there is no catch. Just switch and you are on your way to cheaper bills. You just need to be wary about the retailer you choose from. There are no risks – What you have is literally a financial contract on a rate you agree to sign up on for a certain period. (If you decide to go on a contract plan) If you wish to go on a no commitment, no contract plan, you can check out Ohm Energy. They are one of the rare retailers who offer such plans.

Who did i choose?

Personally, I really prefer Ohm Energy. You can check them out here at Ohm Energy.

Positive and Good Reviews

A. The reviews are literally positive and they look rather solid. They are also Most Popular at Seedly Reviews.

Great Customer Service

B. The customer service seems to be the center of all the buzz which I really like. When I have a query, the response that i get from the customer care is quick and concise. Not quite what I have seen elsewhere.

Nice Colours and Branding. Even the Name Sounds Cool

C. The branding is just appealing to me and everything is done online. I am so done with roadshow salesperson. They are just out there for a single purpose.

Renewal Bonus

D. When you renew, they have a renewal bonus and also they renewal you at the market rate during the renewal period. That is fair.

Referral Program and more Savings!

F. You can also refer as many friends as you want. That is S$20 for both referrer and referee with no cap. Thumbs Up!

Consolidated Bills

G. Consolidate SP Billing with them means that the payment arrangement, Security Deposit, Hard copy bills all remains the same. That is really easy.

Trial Period

H. For New Customers, they have a three month trial period to try them out. If you decide to switch out before then, there are no fees involved. That gives me confidence about how much they are willing to let you “Try them out”.

If you do select Ohm, do remember to use my referral code: OHMREF3F28B7 (Input into the promocode field and click apply at Step 3 of the application)

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/

The pictures were taken from the respective retailer and EMA/OEM website for this article.

Where to Stash (Dash) your cash and Grow Money (EasyEarn)

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Stashing Your Cash

In my earlier posts, I talked about the need for an emergency fund and other than Singlife, which caps the 2.5% p.a. for the first S$10k. No other financial institutions have been able to match this super high interest yield for a pretty risk free approach .(Given that Singlife is under SDIC so the first S$75k is covered and safe) In recent months, we have seen some insurtech or alternative ways to put your money and entice people with relatively decent interest rates for your cash/emergency funds.

Emergency Funds

To recap, your emergency funds should have some level of liquidity so that you can utilise when necessary and not be penalised for doing so. This is by far my personal first rule. It is extremely interesting and exciting to see what might happen to the digital banking sector where there is a mixed bag of consortium lining up to be licensed to offer financial services. It looks like it is going to be something similar to what these insurtech is offering or even more innovation. (e.g. bundled products, higher interest rates or even offering curated financial products, robo-advisors and payment channels) It does seems exciting to see what new innovation these services can offer and retail customers will benefit from this digital drive.

Dash EasyEarn

Dash Easy Earn is a collaborative work between Dash (Singtel payment service) and Easy Earn (Tiq – An Insurance arm of Etiqa and a subsidiary of Maybank)

Let’s go for the Pros first:

a. Flexible no lock-in period hence no penalties for cancelling the plan.

b. First year interest rates stands at 2% p.a. (So this part is locked in and low interest rate environment is set to stay)

c. Relatively low barrier to entry. With S$2k minimally as maintenance amount that you keep, you get the interest accrued on a daily basis.

d. Capital Guaranteed.

e. Interest earned can be transfer to Dash Payment Service with no extra charge and they have a suite of deals and payments which you can use to pay your bills with. There is a $2 cashback for your first Singtel Dash transaction! Sign up with the referral code DASH-RYJKN or tap on this link https://appserver.dash.com.sg:443/mgm?DASH-RYJKN now

f. You can top up anytime to this account.

g. 105% of the account value is the sum assured should something happen to you.

Now for the Cons:

a. You need to download and register for yet another app. This is the Singtel Dash App. I mean, I really hate Singtel but I will not say no to free money.

b. You have to remember to maintain at lease S$2k in the EasyEarn Account.

c. 2% p.a. only applies for the first year and I believe that it will drop to 1.5 % p.a. thereafter. (From the terms and conditions: *Guaranteed 1.5% p.a. + 0.5% p.a. bonus for first policy year, available on a first come, first served basis) – Seems like there is sort of a cap to this.

d. There is a maximum amount to this. Once you have Topped Up to S$20k, that is the cap for every individual account. So there is this element of troublesome to remember and track for a 2% p.a. but if it suits you, then by all means go ahead.

e. Here is the key part to this which you will not hear it from Dash themselves. For any transaction that you transfer out via PayNow back to your own transact or savings account, there is a payment fee of S$0.70 per transaction. This is free if you transfer to Dash payment as described above for Pros point (e).

Seriously

To some, the S$0.01 is money which they refuse to let go of but to others, not so much of a great deal. Don’t be penny wise pound foolish or you will never see the bigger picture. You will not gain anything by spending time and energy on pinching 1 cent. I personally know 8 out of 10 people does it and it annoys the hell out of me. If you have time to pinch 1 cent, I would rather you take that time to find ways to make $10 instead of ruining your own mood, wasting your time and fussing over the small things. I don’t get it and I still don’t today.

The User Interface

Here is how the screen looks like on the Dash EasyEarn App. You can see the Grow Money (New) in the Dash App which you can access and see your funds and interest. Do note that the interest are not accumulative though so it means that whatever you have in excess of S$20k earns no interest.

When you log in to EasyEarn, that is how the app looks like below.

Conclusion

Before I end off, I saw an interesting product which is on similar terms as Dash EasyEarn. They are from Tiq Insurance – meaning GIGANTIA but this works in their own Tiq App. (First year 1% + 1% p.a.) I’m not too sure why they have something similar to Dash EasyEarn. There can be a variety of reason. It could be that they have extra tranche of funds to offer customers or it could be that this is a longevity version of their product as compared to having inflexible Dash systems. I would explore Tiq option as well but let’s see what kind of proposition it makes to consumers.

If you like what I am sharing, do use my referral codes here at https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

Disclaimer

This is not a sponsored post. This is just a tool and exploration to find out cash solutions, interest rates as well as a market survey. It is never too much to learn and know more about.

This picture image was taken off Singtel Dash and EasyEarn for illustration purpose only.

 

A SIM only telco – GIGA (Part 1)

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In the past, there used to be only 3 players in the telco market – Singtel, Starhub and M1. They sort of formed into a monopoly where 5.2 million people on the island will choose either of the 3 companies. All things change when Circles.life came into the picture and to be honest, it was such a game changer that almost instantaneously switched to them at the earliest time possible once my contract was up. Notably, Singtel has the best coverage in Singapore and underground but they were keen on only making profits for themselves.

The comparison

After some time, all three incumbent were forced to break off from their current model into a SIM only plan. This has been really great for consumers in particular as more competition means more competitively prices plans and better customer service. Of course, the incumbent truly matched the competition and eventually I switch out to GIGA, a SIM only plan from Starhub.

Benefits

The real benefits of going with GIGA means that for a basic plan,

a. S$18 for 20GB of data, 200 mins of outgoing calls, 200 SMS, free caller ID and free incoming calls and incoming SMS.

b. For unused data, you can carry over to the next month (Capped at 2x the base data – 20 GB x 2 = 40GB

c. No contract means, flexibility and freedom to cancel the contract anytime.

d. Signup is digital only – meaning you can only sign up online. You can use the GIGA app to access your account as well as setup your payments. They accept most major credit cards.

e. There isn’t any IDD so for for overseas usage. You would need to buy either gigaRoam (Asia Pacific) or gigaRoam (Rest of the world)

f. There is a small registration fee. You also need to arrange for the SIM card to be delivered to you. However, you can use a referral code to supplement the discount. You will get a one time $20 gigabucks off the 25GB plan or a one time $42 gigabucks off the 50GB plan. Use my referral code – “LhS9Ng”. The referral credit is only valid for any plans except the basic $10 GIGA plans.

Others

The downside of using GIGA is that you can’t surf the internet while on a call. (E.g. checking for emails or stuffs while on a call. However, if you have your WiFi switched on, it works perfectly) You can still receive OTP (One time Pin) while still on the call so that’s not too much of a worry.

Generally, I like the interface, colours and customer service support on GIGA. They even have a live chat function but you need to clear your cache regularly as it seems like it is stuck on my app most of the time. It is fuss-free and simply to use. I’ll say that they are trying hard to evolve and re-invent themselves. I don’t have too much faith with Singtel and GOMO so this is my next best choice.

GIGA just launched a 40GB data, 300 SMS, 300 outgoing calls at $20 for 12 months. It is still a no contract plan but that it reverts back to $30 a month from the 13th month onward.

From time to time, they will launch limited time offers like the one above. You can visit their website to find out more: https://www.giga.com.sg/

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/

The pictures were taken from GIGA website for this article.

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.