Sunday, December 11, 2022

Do I Still Believe In Financial Freedom?

In my younger days when I started this blog almost 10 years ago, I believed a lot in financial freedom and had the passion to live this out in my life through saving and investing. I was in my mid 20s back then. In 10 years, I've grown older and no longer too young anymore. Somehow, my views towards money have changed as I progress in life and I no longer focus so much on planning my finances anymore. The weird thing is I still believe a lot in financial planning but there is a fear in me that the plans don't work out. Life gets more stressful as I grow older and its no longer as simple as what I thought it would be. 

The different struggles for different income groups

$2K-$3K income
Having conversions with my others makes matter worse. I've seen people struggling with finances. For those who have low income of $2K+ to $3K+, they are mostly living from paycheck to paycheck. If you're single and young its ok but those at my age or older are mostly married or have kids. Many of them are waiting for their pay to come in each month and some even have to rely on government subsidies to survive. Some have to take loan just to survive the month. 

$3K-$5K income
This is an income group where many middle class workers are in. $3K is probably too low but the median is around $4K-$5K to be sufficient. Singapore's median gross monthly income from work is $5,070 in 2022. This includes employer CPF contributions so the actual monthly income should be lower at about $4106. The take home pay is then $3285. For average (mean) gross monthly income, it is higher at $5832 (including employer CPF). Excluding employer CPF will be around $4732 and take home pay is $3779. If its only a single income supporting a household with 1 kid, this is barely enough. From my conversations with my peers, I've seen people who are earning $4K plus and still struggling with their finances. While most months they will have enough to live by, some month they will have to tighten their belts when they need a sum of money to replace faulty home appliances etc. Another thing to note is that the median and mean gross monthly income already includes commissions and bonuses so the actual basic gross income will be lower. 

$5K-$8K income
This is probably quite a big range and can make a difference between someone earning $5K vs someone earning $8K which is much more comfortable. However, I do notice a trend where people who earn more will generally spend more also either they buy a car, go for more overseas trip, upgrade to private property, eat out at restaurants more and generally have higher standards of lifestyle. This group of people will still think that money is not enough to maintain their standard of living and worry about retirement if they need to upkeep this lifestyle. 

$8K and above income
Those who earn above $8000 are in the top 20% of earners in Singapore based on the statistics from MOM. I know of a few peers in this category and they are fairly comfortable in life. However, because of current economic uncertainty, the fear of retrenchment for this group of people can be scary as they would probably be in higher management position and if they were to get retrenched, they will be worried if they cannot find a job easily as there are lesser higher management jobs available as compared to a middle management position. 

Do You Struggle in your finances?

At every stage of life, we have something to worry about. I get depressed once in awhile when I compare myself to others and in Singapore, it seems like we can never earn enough. When we thought that we are comfortable, someone else seems to have a better life and somehow, the stress of keeping up strikes again. Someone would have a better house, better car, living a seemingly better life. While competition can be healthy sometimes to push ourselves to be better, its what makes us unhappy in life.
Do I still believe in financial freedom? I think its getting harder with the desired Singapore lifestyle and inflation going up. The struggles are real as a Singaporean. 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Picking Growth Stocks With Investor-One Portfolio

Growth stocks are good additions to our portfolio to boost our investment returns over the long term. Most of the stocks in our portfolio will be average or even loss making but there may be 1 or 2 super growth stocks in our portfolio which boost our returns significantly. 

An example of a growth stock is Netflix which grew by 145x if you invested in 2003. $10,000 invested in 2003 would be worth $1.45 Million now. Its a long 19 years but still the returns are exceptional at average of 763% annually. Another growth stock, Tesla grew by 146x in 10 years from 2012 to 2022. $10,000 invested in 2012 would be worth $1.46 Million now. While these growth stocks would have given our wealth a significant boost, the issue is always how do we pick winning growth stocks?

For Singapore market, there are also growth stocks. An example is iFast which grew 8x in just 2 years from 2020 to 2022. $10,000 invested in 2020 would have grown to $80,000 in just 2 years. The price of iFast have since retreated down but the returns are still about 4x-5x. 

Investor-One, a website by ShareInvestor, has a portfolio feature where their research team manage a portfolio of stocks which are focused on growth. They select stocks based on a a set of fixed financial parameters as seen below:

These financial metrics seems reasonable to find undervalued companies which are not big market cap and with strong financial standings. Most of the companies which grew tremendously over the years had small market cap back then and they slowly grew to become big market cap companies such as Netflix. 

On the Investor-One portfolio page, you will be able to find stocks which are in their portfolio and their recent buys for this portfolio. This portfolio is managed by ShareInvestor's Investor-One team. You will be able to see their portfolio returns too. For each stock buy, the team has also put up notes to explain the rationale of buying the stock. One example of a buy for HRnetGroup is seen below:

In the Investor-One portfolio, there are 7 stocks now. Some of the stocks are making money while some are in the red. This is part and parcel of investment and our view should always be for the long term and hope that the winners are more than the losers in the long run. I've learnt over the years that we can never be 100% correct for investments but some financial metrics will guide us to choose the right stocks. Buying companies which are overvalued is a sure way to lose money so its important to refer to some financial ratios such as Price to Earnings (PE) and Price to Book (PB) when choosing stocks to buy. While financial ratios may not be a full-proof way to make money, it does provide some guidance for us not to buy overvalued companies. 

When the market is red hot, it is best to stay out of it so knowing how to use financial ratios to evaluate our investments will stop us from being too greedy. While the stock market is not red hot now, the Singapore property market seems to be with many buyers rushing to buy private properties as new launches for condos get sold out in a matter of days. Even HDB prices are skyrocketing with more and more above 
S$1 Million HDB being sold and buyers willing to fork out cash over valuation of $200K for a HDB which was sold for S$1.2 Million dollars just recently. Paying cash over valuation of 20% is like buying a stock 20% higher than it's PB. 

You can check out Investor-One portfolio page which will be updated when there are new purchases and you'll be able to see how the portfolio performs over the years based on the above financial parameters. 

This post is sponsored by ShareInvestor but all views are of my own

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Ultimate Financial Independence Visualisation Tool

There's a saying that goes like this "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". However, most of the time, you may be lost as to how to start your own financial planning to achieve financial independence (FI)? How do I even know how much income, expenses or investment return I must have in order to achieve FI? When is the age where I can finally say to my boss "I Quit"? 

These are all relevant concerns which is why I created a financial independence visualisation tool which I use for my own financial planning also. I've made it easy to use so you can just input your age, income, current savings, expenses, target dividend yield, bonus, salary increment and emergency fund and the tool will calculate it all out for you. 

Here's a screenshot of how the tool looks like in excel:

I'm giving this tool for free for download so do read all the way to the end for the link to download the tool. 

Visualisation is powerful where it can let us see where we are currently and where we will be in the future. With visualisation, we can adjust our parameters and achieve what we want for FI. This is like seeing light at the end of the tunnel instead of being blinded by darkness if we cannot visualise where we are going.

For example, if you're thinking of achieving FI when you are in your 40s, how do you do it and does your current financial situation allows you to do it? By putting in your details in the spreadsheet, you will be able to see if the dividends you receive will exceed expenses by what age? 

Using the visualisation tool, a person at current age 30 with the below details will have his dividends exceed expenses at age 62 only:

For networth, this is how it will grow for the same person:

To recap, for this person, his dividends received will exceed his expenses only at the age of 62 with a networth of almost $2.2 million. This is considering he only had a $2500 monthly expenses in his 30s. Dividends he will receive annually is $91,627 while his expenses will be $90,128. That's an expenses of average $7500 per month which has increased about 2.6x in 32 years just based on an inflation rate of 3%. That's the impact of inflation it has on our lives so we must factor this in our financial planning. We will definitely need more money in the future as cost of living continues to go up.

We assume the person above consistently invests 85% of his networth at 5% investment return and he will have $2.2 million at age 62. What if this same person does not invest at all? How much will he have when he's 62? The answer is $1.1 million, half of what he would have. This is the power of compound interest through investing. In the visualisation tool, it assumes that dividends received are reinvested back so it still acts like compound interest overtime. 

The tool may not be perfect but it would be the closest to what we can have to visualise our financial future. Feel free to try it and adjust the parameters and formulas to suit your needs if you feel its not too accurate for you. 

You can download the tool here and try it for free now. 

Hope this helps in your financial planning!

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Friday, August 26, 2022

Work can be frustrating and that's why the need for financial independence

Recently, I've been feeling frustrated with work and it's really bad for health. Getting blamed for mistakes, getting scolded and being thrown lots of workload are part and parcel of the working life. Sometimes, missing deadlines is not entirely controllable as there are many factors which can happen and having to go through multiple approvals and stakeholders can delay the whole process. Not everyone is cooperative and in the end most people will protect themselves first. I've worked in 3 companies now and all have its good and bad points. The verdict is whichever company you join, there are bound to be unhappy times and times of frustration and stress. At the end of the day, most people are just working for money to put food on the table and pay the bills. 

Sometimes I wonder is it because I take work too seriously and get affected when I make mistakes. I blame myself a lot and keep repeating in my mind why did I even allow it to happen. While on the other hand I also see people who are nonchalant about their work attitude and can get away doing little work by acting blur. These people survive the longest in the company. 

Nevertheless, this is why it's important to achieve financial independence because you are able to be in control of your happiness and health by calling it quits when it becomes unbearable. There are more young people who are in fact doing this now where there's a term called the great resignation where many resign without a job. Many people are also suffering health problems and burn out as we progress as a nation. Unfortunately, the push for productivity may end up causing many to suffer considerable side effects on their health. 

Will we end up like Japan where their citizens can work non stop and even to the extend of death by working? I think as society progresses, it gets increasingly difficult especially for Singapore where we have no natural resources. We can only depend on ourselves in order not to work to our deaths. I've already seen some colleagues who passed away while they were still employed by the company due to certain illness. They didn't get to retire at all. 

While I still cannot call it quits when work gets frustrating, I hope one day I can finally say I do not have to work for money and really do the work which I enjoy and not having to be frustrated and still suck it up. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) Movement

CNA came out with an article on Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) and the writer really captured the gist of what financial independence is about. In fact, this is the first time I've seen such a good article from main stream media talking about financial independence. You can read the article here.  

Image adapted from

Financial advice from main stream media?

In the past, most financial advice from main stream media often comes from financial advisors or experts but are often not so relatable to the people on the street. Most advice will tell you to save certain amount and draw down that amount when you retire. For example, a typical advice will ask you how much you need per month during retirement (eg $5000) then you'll need to save $xx amount so that it can last you for xx number of years. If you save up $1 Million dollars, $5000 per month during retirement will only last you 16 years ($1 Million divided by $60,000/year). If you retire at 65, this $1 Million will last you till you're 81. 

With articles on FIRE coming out from main stream media like CNA, it goes to show the younger generation of journalist have been brought up differently and are exposed to other forms of financial advice other than from experts alone. This is encouraging as more young people are taking charge of their own finances and are finally seeing the light to the real financial independence. 

Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement

The Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement is different. This started to get more popular through the financial blogging community where a group of us were so called obsessed with saving enough to retire early. I was one of them back then when I started this blog in 2013. Its been 9 years of blogging journey and more than 10 years of pursuing financial independence for me. I was impacted by other bloggers who have been blogging for a few years and in fact, most of them have already achieved financial independence by the time I read their blog. A few of them were in their 40s and have accumulated millions and put their money to work over many years to achieve the financial independence they were able to enjoy. Although I don't write as much now, I'm still quite active in managing my own finances and still putting my money to work through investing. I've not given up on this journey and in fact I'm glad I started it early. 

Achieving financial independence is defined as "the status of having enough income or wealth sufficient to pay one's living expenses for the rest of one's life without having to be employed or dependent on others." This definition I extracted it from Wikipedia. It accurately describes what FI is all about. The income to pay one's living expenses is often from dividends from stocks, rental from property, annuity plans (eg CPF life) etc. The key is this income must be passive. This is the method which I subscribe to as compared to traditional advise of asking you to save and then draw down your savings during old age. Drawing down your savings is also a form of retirement plan but you'll soon realise that many people face the problem of not enough money in their old age and have to go back to the workforce again even when they are in their 70s. Remember, $1 Million dollars can only last you 16 years if you draw down $5000 per month. That's not a lot of years to be honest for retirement. 

Is it possible to retire early?

The FIRE movement has financial independence but also has retire early in its description. If you want to retire early, having the plan to draw down your savings when you retire is a definite failure. It won't work at all because your numbers of years to live will be quite long. For example if you retire at 50 and live till the age of 80, that's 30 years of life! If you spend $5000 per month for 30 years, that's a total sum of $1.8 Million dollars! Don't forget, inflation will still continue to happen for that 30 years and even at 3% inflation, $5000 will only be worth $2500 in 24 years. This is because at 3% inflation, your same plate of chicken rice at $4 will probably cost $8 in 24 years. If you think this is unlikely, look at how much the same plate of chicken rice was about 20 years ago? The answer is $2 and it has doubled to $4 now in 20 years or probably lesser as what we've experienced. 

If you have passive income in the from of dividends or rental income, that income will increase over the years. Why is this so? Think about it, rental income has definitely increased over the years. I found from HDB website that the rental rates of a typical 4 room flat is about $2000-$2400 in 2022 while the rental rates was $1300-$1500 back in 2007 which is 15 years ago. This is a 50%-60% which is about 3%-4% increase per year which just nice covers inflation. 

If you have passive income from dividends, the income also will increase over the years. That's if you pick the right stocks with growing dividends or what we call distribution per unit (DPU). Let's take a look at one dividend stock in Singapore which is Frasers Centrepoint trust. Its dividend in 2007 was only 0.066 cents per share and in 2021, its dividend is 0.12 cents. That's a whopping 82% increase over 14 years which is an increase of about 5.8% per year. That's even higher than the rental income growth from a HDB property. Although there's a significant drop in DPU in 2020, it has mostly recovered back and is on track to grow even more beyond 2022. Not only that, FCT share price has also increased from 1.29 during its IPO in 2007 to 2.32 now which is a 80% increase. 

Is extreme savings needed to achieve FIRE?

Now comes the question, how do we achieve FIRE? Do we need to embark on a campaign of extreme savings to achieve what we want? In 2014, I wrote an article on "Why extreme savings is more powerful than investing". I was much focused on saving as much as possible back then and would scrimp and save even on food and drinks. I was brought up in an environment where money was hard to earn and saving as much money for rainy days is important. As I grow older, I begin to realise the importance of balancing saving vs spending. Its about setting a plan on not too much savings as well as not too much spending but still being able to achieve your financial goals. As I continue to invest my money and my dividends from stocks continue to grow, I'm able to spend more and still can achieve financial independence around the age of 47 which is 12 years from now. That's the goal I set for myself. This is the balance I seek where I don't achieve FI that early but don't have to scrimp and save every dollar I have. 

I've also seen some people embark on Barista FIRE where instead of having enough passive income to support your lifestyle, you have the passive income to cover your basic needs and work part time to cover the rest. This can be called a semi retirement where you retire from full time job and work part time doing the things you like. 

Enjoy the journey

A financial independence journey is often a long one so its important to enjoy the journey along the way. There are certainly some sacrifices to be made to save enough but its important to also balance and enjoy sometimes. 

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Thursday, August 4, 2022

INVEST Fair 2022 - Investing in this Borderless Era

With physical events coming back after COVID, INVEST Fair 2022 by ShareInvestor is also back with their physical event on 27 August 2022 at Suntec Exhibition Hall 404. It is good to have such physical events where we can immerse ourselves with all the knowledge we can get and concentrate on what the speakers have to say. It is still quite different from virtual talks where we often get distracted at home. 

I enjoy physical seminars as I really can concentrate and focus my attention for that few hours when I'm there. I've tried attending virtual seminars and it is definitely not the same experience. INVEST Fair is one of the few events which I like to attend and another of my favourite is the REITs Symposium. Both have good speakers which I can learn from even at this stage of investing for more than 10 years now. 

This is the 15th year that INVEST Fair has been held. I remembered I attended my first INVEST Fair back when I first started investing in my early 20s probably 12 years ago. Looking back, INVEST Fair was fairly new back then. 

Highlights of INVEST Fair 2022

For this year, INVEST Fair  will focus on 3 special features:

  1. Public Listed Companies Engagement
  2. Insights from industry veterans
  3. Different investing strategies
Property Investing
There are many topics to choose from ranging from macroeconomics to investing and trading. There is even a talk on property where the head of research of Knight Frank Singapore will share about the wealth report and luxury homes in Singapore. With property prices at sky high prices now, will property prices continue to rise? In the area of luxury homes, will we see more of such properties due to the rise in high net worth individuals? It is interesting to note that the number of global Ultra High Net Worth Individuals grew by 9.3% in 2021, up from 2.4% in 2020 and Singapore is predicted to witness a 268% growth in its Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) population to around 6,000 individuals by 2026.

Stocks Investing
In the area of investing, its not been an easy time for most investors as stock prices come down and investors are seeing losses in their investment portfolio. Topics such as "Picking Winning Shares For All Economic Conditions" by David Kuo, Co-Founder of The Smart Investor will be interesting for investors who want to know how to navigate the impact of rising inflation and interest rates on our investments. During the past many years, we've enjoyed falling interest rates and surging government spend where this propelled property and bond prices alike. That was the era of "free" or easy money where we had multiple rounds of quantitative easing (QE) which is essentially the printing of more money and low interest rates enabled ordinary people to borrow more money. The head of research of Phillip Securities research will share on "Investing in inflationary times" where he will focus on the macro framework for investors to pivot to. 

There will also be a panel discussion on "Investing in Uncertain Times" where this would be interesting to know from experts on how to invest under the current economic conditions. There are many other topics on stocks investing which you can check out on INVEST Fair 2022 website here

Stocks/Options Trading
Finally, there are also topics on options trading where the Chief Investment Officer of Tiger Brokers Singapore will share on "Options Investment Strategy".

Shanison Lin, Founder & CEO of InvestingNote will also share on the topic of "Level Up Your Experience in Trading" where we can learn some trading tips from him if you're a trader or interested to learn about trading. 

Register for Free for INVEST Fair 2022
The list of speakers and topics are still in the progress of finalization and there will be more added closer to date. This event is free for all to attend and you may register here on their website. 

Event details:
27 Aug 2022 9am to 6pm
Suntec Exhibition Hall 404

This post is sponsored by ShareInvestor but all views are of my own

Friday, July 29, 2022

Beware of investing in bonds during rising interest rates environment?

Bond yields have increased significantly the past few months as central banks all over the world are raising interest rates. Banks are now offering fixed deposit rates at more than 2% again and another attractive investment which people see are bonds where the yield has increased significantly. The SGS bonds, which are issued by the Singapore government has yields of close to 3% for its 2, 5, 10, 20 and 30 years bond. This is 3x more than then average of 1% just 1 year ago. 

Looking at the chart below of a 5 and 10 year SGS bond, we can see that the yield has increased significantly from 2020 to now which corresponds to the increase in interest rates around the world. Is this a good time to invest into bonds now? 

5 and 10 year SGS Bond Yield 2019-2022

Unfortunately, bonds can be the worse to invest during rising interest rates environment. When you invest into a bond, the yield (coupon) you get is fixed. For example if you invest in a bond with yield of 3% now, this 3% will be given to you regardless if interest rates continue to increase later. The most scary thing is when interest rates continue to increase later, bond prices will drop where you will see a loss in your investment portfolio. When bond yield increases, bond prices will drop as it is inversely correlated. This is evident as seen in the chart below where interest rates rose from 2020 to 2022 while bond prices started to drop from 2020 onwards. 

5 and 10 year SGS bond price 2019-2022

If you're planning to sell your bond in the short term, it wouldn't be advisable to invest in bonds now as the US is expected to increase interest rates even more for the rest of this year as what the Fed has announced recently. The Fed just raised another 75 basis points on 28 Jul 22 and has announced that another unusually large hike may come in September 22. This will cause bond yield to go up even more and bond prices to come down significantly. 

If you're planning to hold the bond for long term and are buying 5, 10, 20 or 30 years bonds, then it may be a good choice as you get to lock in higher interest rates now and by the time you redeem the bond more than 5 years later, bond prices may have even risen significantly due to interest rates are low again 5 years later. That being said, nobody will be able to predict how long interest rates will stay high or when interest rates will come down. 

Bond prices are trading at below 100 now which is lower than its face value and may represent an opportunity for the long term. Once interest rates stabilise and start to fall again, bond prices will go back up to 100 or even above 100 and at that time, investors who bought the bond below its face value will continue to enjoy the locked in high interest rate plus the capital gains from the bond price increase. This is if you're buying a long term bond and willing to hold on to the bond till its value goes back to par. 

Rising interest rates present quite a lot of opportunities for savers who have cash on hand to invest in high yielding safe assets. If we know how to take advantage of the opportunities which is presented to us, we will end up better in life in the future. 

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Is a Recession Coming?

Just as we thought all is well after COVID and economies around the world start to recover, we are hearing the word recession now. Is this really happening just as we went thorough 2 years of COVID where recession just happened?

Recession just happened during COVID where jobs were lost which led to unemployment going up. Singapore's GDP growth rate became negative in the period of March to June 2020. We would remember that many people lost their jobs, salaries were cut and it was a painful period. Fast forward 2 years later, we are seeing another phenomenon. Inflation went up a lot due to supply chain shocks caused by the Russian Ukraine war. In fact, US inflation rose to 9.1% in June 2022 which is the highest increase in 40 years since the 1980s. 

Inflation is a tricky situation to deal with. With prices increasing, wages need to keep up if not in the long run, the people in the country will suffer with real wage growth stagnating. Real wage growth is the increase in wages minus inflation growth. If the increase in wages is 3% and inflation is also 3%, then real wage growth is 0%. In essence, our wage did not go up at all considering inflation is the same increase. This is true because if our wages don't keep up with inflation, we will feel the impact of the rising cost of living and will be unhappy. 

As workers expect higher wage growth, companies will feel the cost pressure as they also increase the salary of their workers to keep up with market competition. You can see that in Singapore, the public service is leading by example by adjusting salaries to keep up with inflation. Private companies will also start to adjust their salaries so that they can attract and retain talents. As companies face the cost pressure of workers salaries increase, they will adjust the price of their goods and this in turn will affect consumers in the form of higher prices of goods we buy or consume. Coupled with increased prices all over the world due to the Ukraine war etc, we have a situation of huge inflation growth we see now and may even go higher in the next couple of months. 

Now, governments all over the world know this is not sustainable so they will come in and use their monetary policy tools to stabilise the situation. Most countries have an interest rate policy where they increase interest rates to combat high inflation. By increasing interest rates, it becomes harder for individuals and companies to borrow and thus reduce consumption and demand as a whole. This slows down growth and if not done properly, will trigger a recession event where companies start to retrench staff. We have seen this happening in many prominent companies such as Shopee, Tesla and even Google is slowing hiring. Many tech companies such as Shopee rely on investors funds and debt to fund their operations as they are primarily loss making and in expansion mode. With interest rates so high, it doesn't make sense to borrow so much now and thus they are slowing down their operations and keeping cost low. 

We might see a recession coming and jobs might be loss again. If interest rates keep rising and shows no sign of slowing down, we might be hit even harder as borrowers default on their loans if they are unable to pay the higher amount of installment due to higher interest rates. Good news is for the general public who do not have too much loans, we should see prices coming down thereafter. Let's see how the situation evolves as we live in unprecedented times now. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

How Will Our Lives Be Impacted In The Face Of Rising Interest Rates

There has been lots of new stuff happening since my last blog post back in December 2021. A few months back, Singapore started opening up and relaxing measures for COVID-19. It seems life is mostly back to normal now. While we were just starting to enjoy this good news after 2 years of abnormal life during covid, new things start unfolding which is starting to impact our lives and may impact us even further. 

Firstly, the Ukraine-Russian war started. This caused oil prices to skyrocket impacting petrol prices immediately. If you own a car, the impact is felt with petrol prices at more than $3 a litre. Ukraine is one of the largest exporter of many items such as wheat and seed oil like sunflower oil. This impacted daily living also as what we are beginning to experience. Edible oil prices have increased which even cause hawkers to have no choice but to increase their prices for the food they sell. I personally have experienced food prices increasing by 70 cents to $1 for every plate of food. Groceries items in the supermarket have increased as well. Indonesia also recently banned all exports of palm oil which skyrocketed the global palm oil price. Palm oil is used for food manufacturing and it is in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets, everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick. We should see prices continue to increase in the months ahead. 

Secondly, because of the risk of high inflation due to higher prices, central banks all around the world are increasing their interest rates to slow down inflation. This is to prevent prices from going too high and making the economy unstable and at risk of a recession. Singapore do not have an interest rate policy so we are a taker of interest rate and will be affected by this by a great extent. Already, we are seeing interest rates for mortgage loans going up from as low as 1% 1 to 2 years ago to 1.3%-1.5% now for floating rate. For fixed rates, it has increased even more to 1.80% for a 5 years fixed rate from DBS. This shows that banks are forecasting that interest rates will continue to increase so they are not keen to price fixed rates loans at low rates anymore. 

Interest rates increase will affect not just home loans but everything in life. The sky high property prices will definitely fall as loans become more expensive and less affordable. Businesses will incur more cost on their loans because of high interest rates so they may pass on the increase cost to consumers. In rising interest rate environment, essentially those who have debt are losers while savers will benefit. We should see higher interest rates for bank accounts soon. You might have noticed that banks are starting to launch higher interest fixed deposit accounts and Singapore Savings Bond is also at an all time high of average 2.53% for a 10 year period. The 1st year interest given for SSB for the May launch is 1.43%, 2nd year will go up to 2.41%, 3rd year at 2.68% and 4th year onwards will be 2.71%. This is the highest SSB rate I've seen in a long time. 

Lastly, with risk free rates like fixed deposit accounts and SSB giving such high interest, investments such as in stocks and Reits become less attractive. You can get 2.5% risk free on SSB while Reits yields about 5% so the difference is only 2.5% but Reits have higher risk so naturally Reits prices start to fall as well. For growth stocks, it also drops as the risk is even higher and with higher interest rates, these businesses which rely on loans to expand their business will face some cost pressures and may slow down their expansion plans which caused their stock prices to drop even more. Nevertheless, stock prices will drop to a certain extend only and its the best time now to pick up some good companies as the stock prices drop. We should see Reits prices coming down and investors will pick them up again when they start to yield more than 6% which better justify the risk to return. 

Those who have bonds in their portfolio (not SSB) will see bond prices coming down as interest rates increase. So, if your portfolio has both bonds and stocks, you will likely see your portfolio drop even further as both bonds and stock prices drop in correlation to rising interest rates. It is still an unknown how much more interest rates will increase so we have to wait and see. 

If you have mortgage loans on 3m SIBOR, the rate as of 9 May has already increased to 1.11% as compared to 0.43% in Jan this year. This is already a 0.7% increase in just 5 months. If your loan is on the new SORA benchmark, interest rate has increased from 0.14% in Jan 22 to 0.89% as of 13 May 22. A 25 years tenure, 500K loan, with 1% rise in interest rates will increase your monthly mortgage payable by $235/month. If its a 1 million loan, it doubles. 

Don't belittle the things that are happening around the world now. All of us will be affected one way of another. We should relook at our financials and adjust accordingly so that we will not end up in deep trouble later. 

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