28 October 2019

Free Smoked Duck Breast at Cold Storage Causeway Point

Free box of Smoked Duck Breast for every $15 purchase of fresh port and marinated meat products at Cold Storage Causeway Point.

Don't forget to ask for it.

Till 30 Oct 2019 only.

21 October 2019

Watch your eyeballs!

Aging comes with many annoyances.  Most come with signs and symptoms, or preventive checks from various markers could provide an early heads-up to cause some level of panic. But the most insidious types are those where NOTHING is noticed.

If one were to poke the eyeball, do we feel pain?  In some movies, a person is being tortured with some scary looking object, threatening to pierce the eyeball. We feel so much pain even before it has breached.  Cringe.  But it seems there is no sensation to be felt on the eyeball itself?

In any case, it was a serendipitous circumstance that led wifey to pay a visit to an ophthalmologist. Turns out the amazing scanner the ophthalmologist had picked up an object floating above the retina. It looked like a UFO flying above a planet when a picture of it is taken from outer space.

Turns out she had experienced a retinal tear without detachment.  No sensation whatsoever.  When asked what the consequence could be, we were told, "Blindness". That sure was an absolute bummer.

The good news was, the doc could fix it.  All it needed was to laser around the torn area to fuse it back.  We were lucky it was detected early.  All hail modern science!

And when asked when could we get it done, he said, "Immediately". Wah! One hour and with temporary blurred vision later, wifey emerged from the procedure at the hospital laser lab at the next building, all done.

Seems like it could be covered by the Integrated Shield Plus programme that wifey had too. Fully covered.  And it was a breeze as the hospital admission could simply do an "E-filing".  No additional information was required. Easy breezy.  All hail Smart Nation and digitised government healthcare system!

Watch your fragile eyeballs!

14 October 2019

What are the ways to put money INTO your CPF?

Reader 'Adam' has been sharing a lot of information from his experience as a post-55er.  Here's another that he shared on ways to put money back into the CPF accounts, which I thought was worth reposting to share to a wider audience who might have missed his comments to another post.

Some people seek ways to extract money out of CPF, and certainly would not be looking at putting money into it!  So this might come across as being strange and would not resonate with that audience. Hah. So skip this if you fall into the above category.

But if you're not, read on!

[As shared by 'Adam' ... (with some edits) ...]

I thought it would be a fitting complement to your post on "How are the excess fund withdrawn after meeting the FRS?" with this one "What are the ways one can take to put money into their CPF accounts!"

There are a few ways one can put money into their CPF accounts besides the automatic monthly deductions from your salary and the employers' contribution.

But before I go into the above topic, I would like to highlight again this tip on the best time to make withdrawal from your CPF OA and SA if you wish to only withdraw the interests earned for the year and at the same time keep the principal amounts intact to earn further interest in the next year. This step is important especially if you have substantial money in your SA that you want to "preserve" to earn the yearly 4% interest. The best time to withdraw the interests is in Dec, and you can only withdraw 11 months' worth of interests! That is, 11 months of interest from your SA (for Jan to Nov), and likewise, 11 months of interests from your OA.

Here are the steps one can take to grow your CPF

1. Monthly deductions from your salary. The amount deducted from your salary will depend on your salary capped at $6,000 a month and a further cap of $102,000 per year. What this means is that if you earn $7,000 a month, the CPF deduction (contribution) is based on $6,000. Say, you have 5 months bonus, then the deductions from your full year of salary and the 5 months will be capped at $102,000, giving you the maximum contribution of $37,740 for the year.

2. Have more than one job. If you work two different jobs with two different employers, both employers are obliged to contribute your CPF via the employers' contribution. This way, you can exceed the limit of $37,740 per year contribution to your CPF.
[I was wondering if this is valid though? Thought the cap is an upper bound in totality?]

3. Make voluntary contributions to your CPF. Say you earn less than $6,000 a month and together with your bonus, your annual salary is less than $102,000. You can make voluntary contributions to your CPF any time to hit the yearly limit of $37,740. In my case, after I turned 55 years old, my CPF contribution was shifted to 26% instead of 37% of my salary [which was pre-55]. So I have been doing voluntary contributions to my CPF to hit the $37,740 limit each year.

4. Return money that was withdrawn for property purchase. If you have extra money, you can return the money into your CPF to redeem the amount that was withdrawn to purchase property, including the accrued interests. My wife and I have returned the full amount we withdrew from our CPF OA, including accrued interests, that we had used to purchase our properties.

5. Top up your RA. This one is only applicable to those 55 years old and above. I have topped up my RA to the ERS, and I continue to top up each year to meet the new RA ERS.

6. Invest through CPFIS. This one is a little controversial in that you could lose money through bad investment rather than build your CPF. There are investors who have successfully enlarged their CPF OA and SA through astute investment through CPFIS.

7. Inheritance. You can only receive inheritance into your MA, SA and RA up to the prevalent limit. The rest of the inheritance money will be paid to you in cash. Put another way, you cannot bequeath CPF money into your beneficiaries' OA, you can only bequeath to their SA, MA or RA, and only up to the limit prevailing.


Maximising CPF (post-55)
How will CPF retirement sums be formed (post-55)
How are excess CPF funds withdrawn after meeting FRS (post-55)

07 October 2019

Quit Like a Millionaire - The FIRE Strategy

Have you read the book "Quit Like a Millionaire" by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leong yet?  They offer a pretty compelling approach to achieve FIRE.

Their broad FIRE strategy is as follows:
  1. Have a global medical insurance policy in place.
  2. Determine investment portfolio needed - i.e. Annual_Expenses x 25.
  3. Invest in low-expense Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) that track indices for a balanced equity-bond portfolio.  
  4. Weigh it more heavily with higher-yielding ETFs for the initial 5 years to reduce the negative impact of retiring in a downturn market - i.e. mitigate against sequence-of-return risk.
  5. Perpetually withdraw at a 4% rate per year during retirement.
  6. Income yielding portfolio provides a Yield Shield - i.e. even if the market tanks, there is still distribution.
  7. Create a Cash Cushion to cover the shortfall in those bad years. Bad years typically did not last beyond two years before the market recovers to previous levels. 5 years is however assumed as a margin of safety. Cash_Cushion = (Annual_Expenses - Annual_Yield) x 5.  In good years, use any surplus to top up the Cash Cushion.

Steps 5 (Yield Shield) and 6 (Cash Cushion) are part of the mitigation strategies against bear markets. Additional options include:
  • Geographical Arbitrage. Live in lower cost-of-living countries till market recovers!
  • Side Hustle. Create alternate streams of income. 
  • Part-Time Work. This needs no explanation.

There's a fair bit of treatment on dealing with taxes due to Canadian and US laws. But taxation in Singapore is much easier without the capital gains tax to worry about. And prevailing tax avoidance means of SRS and CPF schemes are much simpler to understand.

Based on this strategy, they retired with a $1,000,000 portfolio for a lifestyle that requires $40,000 a year.  It turns out they were able to travel around the world, living more months in low-cost countries, yet they still managed to keep their expenses within $40,000 a year.  In the meantime, their portfolio has actually grown to $1,300,000.

I must say their very low annual expenses may seem extreme (minimalistic) as it probably involves not having a house that is a home (perhaps a StoreHub will do?), and being prepared to lead a fairly nomadic lifestyle.

It's also easier for them as they do not have children. In their book, they did address those situations involving children though. Nor are they tied down by having to look after their parents - a trait that is perhaps less common for western cultures.

There are various other strategies to optimise expenses that they described in their book. Have a read. I enjoyed it.

Quit Like a Millionaire - By Millennial Revolution