Friday, 28 January 2022

Man In The Arena


Monday, 24 January 2022

Living On A Fixed Income for 30 years After 65


In my previous day job as part-time coach to the new potentials in our Leadership course, I often noticed highly educated people (especially those not from the Arts stream) like to do 2 things:

1)  Use excessive "precision" when non is needed.

2)  Like to express and rattle of numbers either to fudge, or to impress.

I had to nudge, poke, coach my mentees to use imagery with words, if they want to be understood better. 

Those of you who writes or likes poetry, you already know words work better than numbers when it comes to impressing the panties off girls!

I give you 2 examples.

In supply chain, we often spew off numbers in cubic metres how much this or that inventory is taking up our warehouse space... 

What's a better way to express these cubic metres?

What if I say we have around 30 x 40' containers of inventory instead?

Even if you never worked in supply chain before, you have seen a 40' container on the road right?

Isn't it easier to visualise 30 of these containers sitting in your warehouse than some abstract numbers in cubic metres?

What if I write in my report it cost us millions in customer returns annually?


We have billions in sales.

How to instill a sense of urgency in your communication?

Now if I write our customer returns is equivalent to the annual sales of 5 retail stores, I'll bet top management will take notice!

Can you imagine day after day, month after month, year after year, 5 of our stores are selling nothing but total crap to our customers!?

When it comes to retirement planning, lots of numbers are just thrown around casually.

Inflation, expressed in CPI numbers, is a number many like to parrot out of context, as if inflation affects everyone EQUALLY... (No, it does not)

If you are depending totally on CPF, and to be precise, CPF Life for your retirement needs after 65, that's a good example of what's it like to be on a "fixed" income. Its the closest to the pension schemes of other countries.

Now let's say you are blessed with long life like lao lee and Mahatir - you believe you can last till age 95.

That meant you'll be living on a relatively "fixed" CPF Life payouts for the next 30 years. 

I know, some of you want to be cute by saying we can choose the CPF Life Escalating Plan. Sure. But how many of you will really chose that plan? (Got you!)

Friend, if you can live till 95, ALL 3 CPF Life plans are same, same lah! Remember the monkey story of 3 bananas in the mornings, 4 in the evenings?

CPF Life sucks if we "up lorry" early. Period.

The trick to squeese blood from stone is live to 100 and beyond!

How to visualise what's life on a fixed income for 30 years?

For old fogeys age 50 and above like me, easy!

Just use our take home pay 30 years ago. 

Now imagine if we never had any pay increments or any promotional pay raises for the past 30 years.


If you take home pay was $10K per month 30 years ago, even after all the price increases all these years, life is good right? Still got left over for wine, women, and song!

If its $5K per month, I mean its still tolerable right? Maybe downgrade a bit from condo to HDB lifestyle as we get older? 

But to the average university graduate, I think take home pay $2K per month 30 years ago is more common. 

Hey! That's around the monthly CPF Life payouts if we decide to tap the CPF Enhanced Retirement Scheme at age 55! 

Well, there you go!

That's a better way to visualise how CPF Life payouts of $2K monthly would be like for you from age 65 to 95.


Not what you thought you needed? 

Well, better to realise it now than wait till you're 65!

For the past 30 years, did your life get better financially?

What did you do?


You already got the knowledge and the tools to help you decide!!!

What vehicles to ride, which path to take. Wink.


You are stuck financially like you did 30 years ago. Still earning the same $2K monthly.

$2K monthly was new graduate's pay 30 years ago. Now $2K can qualify for Workfare.

Workfare is government subsidy for low income earners... 

(Eh, this $2K can be a metaphor, not only used literally)

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,



Friday, 21 January 2022

Are You Financially Literate On Our SingDollar?


Jamus Lim to MAS: Let Singdollar strengthen to boost our purchasing power.

The average Singaporeans riding the ComfortDelgro bus probably have no interest in our Singdollar exchange rate.

You too, if you are a Singapore koala bear or panda - only invests in Singapore properties or Singapore stocks exclusively.

When you should.

Would overseas investors come park their money in Singapore stocks and properties if they think our Singdollar will slowly weaken and weaken over the next 10 years?

Would you invest in Malaysia properties if you think the MYR will likely reach 4 to 1 in the next 10-20 years?

That meant your Malaysian property has to appreciate by more than 33% just to breakeven what you have lost in currency conversion....

The good news is that youths are probably more savvy than old fogey koala bears and pandas in our community - when it comes to Singdollar exchange rates.

Especially when they are already vested with US options, stocks and cryptos. The same goes if they held passive ETFs with LSE or Hang Seng listed China tech stocks.

Even for those youths not in our financial freedom community, they are fully aware and know how to take advantage of our Singdollar strengths and weaknesses - especially when they like to buy stuffs online from overseas!

Before this Wuhan virus thingy, whenever a country's exchange rate has "bombed" against our Singdollar, you'll see a spike in holiday travels to that country! 

You think why so many visited Korea with the recent opening up?

The thing about Singdollar exchange rate is that its a bit like our property prices.

If we are not vested and looking to buy a property in Singapore, we'll support big daddy's property cooling measures. Who doesn't like lower prices?

But if we already vested and looking to sell our properties, we'll probably send our "regards" to big daddy for capping our profit taking...

Similarly, if you are looking to take profit from your overseas investments, and bring the funds back to Singapore, you'll hope our Singdollar will weaken... The lower the better!

But if we are looking to diversify and invest overseas for the first time, we'll sing another tune... Let our Singdollar strengthen leh!

Its fun when overseas investing is like going to JB; everything is so much cheaper than in Singapore!

Until you got burnt.

Then you'll become born-again koala bear or panda. 


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