Saturday, April 21, 2018

Long Term Healthcare Cost Survey - A Mission to Create Awareness for healthcare cost in Singapore

Do you have family members who have disabilities whom you need to support and care for? The care giving journey is often an unprepared one and caregivers need all the help which they can get in this difficult time. I'm embarking on a mission to create awareness of the difficulties which caregivers face especially when it comes to the long term financial cost involved.

If you or someone you know is caring and supporting a family member with disabilities, do help to do this survey which I will use the result in a blog post. This will create awareness on the difficulties faced by the family members. I also hope to gain the attention of the relevant government authorities so that better care support policies can be implemented. You can help to make a difference by doing the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LY8CW5K

Previously I sent out an email to my readers on this survey but realised that the survey had errors and could not be submitted. For those who tried to submit previously but could not, please try again as I've edited and tested the survey to be working now.

Feel free to share this survey to your friends and family members too! Thank you for your time!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MAS To Allow Singdollar To Rise - How Does This Affect Our Investments And Life?

Singapore's monetary policy is a unique one and also well respected in the international space. Many countries, such as the US, adopts an interest rate policy where they increase or decrease interest rates to steer the economy into a certain direction. However, Singapore is different. We adopt an exchange rate policy where the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) steer the Singdollar into a certain direction.



Just last week. MAS announced that they will will allow the Singapore dollar to rise in the first tightening of its exchange rate-based monetary policy in six years. This is in view of the stronger economy where MTI announced a 4.3% GDP growth for the first quarter of 2018. A stronger Singdollar will make exports more expensive and strengthens the purchasing power for us in Singapore. This is more to control any inflationary pressures due to the stronger economy.

The strengthening of the SGD will definitely affect our investments in terms of the earnings of different companies. It will also affect our personal life. Let's take a look at how a stronger SGD will affect us?

If you're interested to know how Singapore conducts its monetary policy especially what is the S$NEER policy band, you can read a previous article I wrote here: How MAS conducts its monetary policy in Singapore?


How does a stronger Singdollar affect our investments?

1. Lesser income for companies that has overseas businesses

A stronger Singdollar will affect the income of businesses who operate in Singapore and reports their financial results in Singdollar but have many businesses overseas. Let's take for example Singtel which has many subsidiaries and associates overseas. When they report their income in SGD and the SGD becomes stronger, its income from overseas business in other currencies will definitely drop when they convert it back to SGD. A case in point is where its share of revenue from its Australia Optus business was affected because the AUD depreciated against the SGD by quite a lot in recent years. Some companies do hedge against this risk though.


2. Lesser dividend payout from companies that has revenue in other currencies but pays dividend in SGD

A company that pays dividends in SGD but receives revenue in other currencies may give lesser dividends to shareholders as the SGD strengthens. Examples are some Reits which receive rental income in other currencies then distributes the income in SGD to shareholders. Watch out as their dividend yield may be affected. I say may be affected is because some of these companies actually fully hedge their distribution to a certain price of the SGD so it is not affected by the fluctuations of the SGD itself. As interest rates can be pegged and hedge to fixed rates, exchange rate can be hedged too.

3. Lesser business for export oriented businesses

For businesses which are export oriented, a stronger SGD will make exports more expensive to other countries and thus may decrease the demand of the goods which are being sold. Do watch out for your investments in companies which are based in Singapore but sells products to other countries. Their profits can be affected by the stronger SGD.

4. Stronger purchasing power for companies that buys overseas products and sells it here

Good news comes for businesses who buy products from overseas and sells it here. F&B businesses may benefit from this as their cost price for ingredients imported from overseas will be cheaper with a stronger SGD and thus increasing their profit margin.


How does a stronger Singdollar affect our life?

A stronger Singdollar is definitely better for consumers as a whole. It will moderate the increase of prices thus making things less expensive. Perhaps the most noticeable effect is when we exchange our SGD to travel overseas. A stronger SGD will allow us to have greater purchasing power in other countries. In fact, the SGD has appreciated against many other major currencies the past decade which is perhaps the reason why Singaporeans love to travel. Cheers to those who love to travel. It gets cheaper for Singaporeans again.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Everyone hates the corporate world but what can we do about it?

Everyone seems to hate the corporate world but we have no choice but to work for a living. Let's face it, even if you like doing the job, you won't like handling the bosses or the office politics that comes your way.



Your choices affect your outcome in life

A fellow blogger and friend who blogs at Investment Moats wrote a post which recounts his conversation with a fellow colleague who decided to call it quits in the corporate world. He resigned from the job at the age of 45 without another job. This was possible because he choose this path right at the start. He planned out his path to exit the corporate world many years ago when he was much younger.

Most people do not act like the colleague above. In fact, most will never even think that they could exit the corporate world so the only choice is to climb the corporate ladder or choose a role which is less tough to deal with. In my previous company, there were many people in their 40s who didn't want to be promoted because they know that they would face more shit if they go higher up the corporate ladder. Well, its a personal choice and there is no right or wrong in our choices in life.

Also in my previous company, I saw some colleagues who were able to call it quits and enjoy the freedom which they set out for in their early years. Yes, all these people have one thing is common. They made this choice early in their lives.

In my current company, most are young people around my age and a lot are busy climbing the corporate ladder at this age. I too am climbing the corporate ladder but I know my end destination should not be getting stuck in this rat race. I do like my analysis job but there are many re-organisation happening which affected morale a lot and having to deal with this is not something pleasant. There are also many additional "jobs" which are not in my control. People not cooperating is another issue to deal with coupled with demanding and unreasonable bosses.


Why its hard to enjoy your work even if you like it?

Its a irony that I deal with data analysis on my blog too which I often break down numbers and create charts to analyse as well. This is similar to what I do at work. However, it is very hard for me to enjoy the same analysis work in office because of the deadlines, bosses comments, approvals and the many meetings (which may be pointless).

Imagine if I have to meet a deadline for a blog post or having to seek approval just to post an article on my blog. Add in many pointless meetings and presentations just to post that one article. That will be disastrous. Ideas flow because of the freedom to think and not fearing of what will happen if we do the wrong things.


What can we do about it?

Getting out of the corporate world does not mean retiring totally. There have been much discussions on the idea of retiring partially which can be achieved at a much younger age. Instead of doing work we do not like and staying in the corporate world, we can generate enough passive income to cover our fixed expenses and do some freelance work to supplement our variable income lifestyle.

Imagine if you have $300,000 savings and invest it to get 5% passive income, you would be able to get $15,000 annually which is $1250 per month. This can cover some fixed expenses or probably most fixed expenses if you have no outstanding debts. Thereafter, some freelance or part time work can be done to get additional few thousand dollars monthly to supplement our income. This is just an example and it really depends on individual lifestyle on how much they need monthly to survive.

The most important thing is what we set out to choose early in our lives. Do you choose to stay in the corporate world till you're old or you choose to have the freedom in your life? This is an important question and whatever choices we make will ultimately lead us to that end destination which we choose. Remember, there is no right or wrong choices. There are people who like the corporate world but I just don't think that's me. How about you?

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