Sunday 21 May 2017

Exclude this, exclude that...

Its quite easy to spot a person who is English or Chinese educated in cyberspace.

English educated ones like to compartmentalise everything; Chinese educated ones tend to be more holistic in their outlooks.


I don't include CPF as part of my networth.


What happens when we don't treat CPF as real money?

1.  We got suckered by snake-oils into buying "junk" insurance policies that we don't need or can't afford down the road...

I know, it cool to buy Integrated Policies to stay at private hospitals. Then you turn round and "pity" your friends who can only "afford" Integrated Policies for Class A wards in public hospitals... You poor thing...

Sure, gloat now. When you hit your late 50s or 60s, you may discover you can't afford the increased premiums.

You pray you won't need hospitalisations least your "poor thing" friends discover you no longer can afford private hospital stays... And have downgraded your Integrated Policy for public hospitals in your 60s.

Which is embarassing in logic.

When you young and healthy, you overpay for something you likely will not need. When you most likely would need it in your 60s, you now go the opposite downgrade way!?

2.  Since money in CPF you can't see or touch in a zillion years due to the constant shifting of goal posts, you decide to "gamble" with your CPF money under CPIS in the guise of "investing".

Don't worry! I'm a long term "investor"!

Even big daddy is embarrassed by the actual track record. The majority of CPF members who invested under CPIS have lost money or made less than the CPF OA 2.5% hurdle rate.

Well, so  much for loooooooooooooon term investing... And good intentions.

Not to worry. The smart people are at it to introduce new CPIS rules to prevent CPF members from "hurting" themselves. I'll bolt if they continue to say its for your own good!

3.  To those who include CPF as their net worth, what do they do? They will find ways to optimise their CPF funds.

I don't need to spell them out. 

In recent years, there are quite a few copycats of the bleeding heart. Voluntary this, voluntary that. LOL!

I'm not a big fan of that savings route. But it may work well for those who have neither the time nor competence for investing.

I prefer the earn more or investing route. (I abhor voluntarily adding more cash into CPF!!!) 

I delay the repayment of my housing loan by taking the longest loan period possible. This would free up more CPF funds under CPIS to "market time" my way to join the minority of CPF members who made money under CPIS.

Different strokes for different folks.

Does not matter whether its the savings or investing route; the important thing is we BOTH treat CPF as part of our net worth.

The Chinese have a saying on the line that if we do not respect money, why would money stay in your pocket?


If we do not have a 2nd investment or rental property, the property we are staying in cannot be viewed as an "investment".
Want to bet the person making the statement is a HDB heartlander?

I'll take the bet anytime!

A person staying at a bungalow, semi-D, terrace house or townhouse will not make such a statement, would he?

The private banker serving high net-worth clients would not think that way too.

If a client walks in with zero cash but owns a bungalow, I'll see dollar signs straight away!

I'll suggest the client take out a home equity loan of $10 million for his $20 million bungalow at a special low low bank interest of X%.

Invest this $10 millon into several of my proposed investment vehicles (those that give me good commissions of course) that return a "projected" X+Y% returns.


Now everyone can be a carry trader! Opps! I meant "savvy" investor. Look! You're an accreditted investor! Wink.

OK, not everyone is high networth. 

Lets return to the HDB heartlands.

Even without a 2nd investment/rental property, those who treat the humble HDB flat as an investment would play the 2 bites of the cherry, upgrade, downgrade game.

Look around your relatives, neighbours, colleagues and classmates. There are lots of annecdotal evidence. Verify for yourself!


The Mind or psychological part of investing is quite powerful, isn't it.


My definition of luck is preparation meeting opportunity.

No opportunity is one thing.

Opportunity came but you can't recognise, its another thing.

Opportunity came, you recognise it, but you refused it... That's all you! 


  1. Hi SMOL,

    I treat CPF as part of my networth. I used to have Integrated Shield and a rider many years back. It was only a few years ago that I find these two items are not useful for my needs. I proceeded to opt out of Integrated Shield and cancelled the rider.

    I also cancelled my DPS a few days. I feel that increased premium does not commensarate with the insured sum. Hence, I proceeded to cancel it instead.

    As for the housing, I had to indicate that I am not in such idea. I don't own property and it is very unlikely that I will own one in future. In my opinion, I feel that housing impedes my mobility in particular if I need to remain in overseas for a significant amount of time due to personal interest or work re-location. Without property, I have the easy option to relocate without qualm. I believe that travelling will broaden my horizon.

    This is just my view. To each of its own.


    1. Ben,

      Ah! We have similar views and actions on Life insurance.

      They were useful when we have no or little networth starting out. But once we have a coin or two behind our names, then Life insurance would have outlived its purpose ;)

      The last thing I want is for mom and my siblings look at me "funny". LOL!

      Hey! You're a rarity amongst Singaporeans! You're not a vegetable! You are mobile! A citizen of the world!

      (Vegetables pretty much stay in one spot all their lives)

      Then yes, rent or leasing will make more sense to you.

      Just like I was leasing during my 4 decadent years in Shanghai and 3 hippy years in Athens.

      Although on hindsight, I would have made money had I bought in Shanghai. Properties in Shanghai were crazy!

      Unlike Singapore, the more the authorities clamp down on properties, the higher the prices went up!?

      Travel light is the way to go!

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Bingo! I am for renting. Though a lot of my friends frown on me opting for this avenue, their reaction does not bother me at all. This is my chosen route and I take charge and will be responsible for all the outcome of my decision.

      I am just an ordinary singaporean peasant. Anyways, thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate the points raised in blog and learnt a lot pointers from you. A different prespective from you.


    3. Ben,

      You're welcomed!

      The no.1 rule at this watering-hole is to have fun!

      The 2nd rule is not to take ourselves too seriously ;)

      The world is so interesting. Go forth and explore!

    4. Yes. The world is there to be explored. Always look forward to a new day with refreshed hope.

      Life will be full of excitement and surprises with positive mindset.


  2. It is okay to be good savers; but not okay to mistaken saving as investing

    1. CW,

      I have neither the patience nor the interest to banter with readers who can't tell the difference between saving and investing.

      Look out!

      I'll send them to you and the bleeding heart.

      You both are the paragons of patience and charity!

  3. temperament,

    The "save more" route is not meant for us ITE and O'level school "graduates".

    If we had taken that route, I think we would be working till 67 and beyond!

    The better option would be the "earn more" route for us "bo tak chek" urchins.

    1. Start our own businesses.

    2. Do sales to earn fat commissions.

    3. Climb the corporate career - possible as we have non-graduates that become generals in the army, MDs or CEOs in corporations.

    4. Made money speculating or gambling. "Investing" is just a sugar-coated word for gambling lah!

    It all boils down to a "bet". Nothing more; nothing less.


  4. Hi SMOL,

    Rem Hong Kong Man Of Leisure?
    I think that it is still possible for "O" Level and ITE graduates to excel. The path is tougher. However, it can be done. It's just the matter of continuous effort.


  5. temperament,

    Again we share similar attitude and mindset when it comes to CPF!

    Can it be the better educated ones tend to believe and rely on big daddy more?

    You know - the study hard, work hard, and everything will turn out as what you were told - happily ever after?

    Those of us who have to fend for ourselves - the Chinese educated and early school leavers - we had to rely on self-help more ;)

    The last thing we want is to "depend" on big daddy during retirement too!

    Like this, we'll never get out of the Matrix!

    I'm not going to lie or sugar-coat our journeys. 9 out of 10 have dropped out. We are the "lucky" survivors.

    Greedy or not I don't know. What I know our path is not for the meek.

    I like to think we are what lao lee has described - bare knuckles meet you in the cul de sac kind of fighters.


  6. Ben,

    Of course. I've met the guy and wrote about it ;)

    For dividend investing to be meaningful, we need that first pot of gold.

    To reach that pot of gold via dividend investing... I not so convinced... Possible of course. May take 40, 50 years?

    Hence temperament and I have relied on the "earn more" route. If not, how the both of us can take sabbatical from full time work before 60?


  7. Hi SMOL,

    I totally agree with you on the need to earn more in order to retire before the usual retirement age. When the approach towards earning more is adopted, one also need to ensure that the spending is reduced. The large buffer will ensure that one can retire sooner. The lifestyle inlation must be kept in check in order to retire early like you.


  8. SMOL,

    It's not bad. The going gets tougher. The tough gets going. One will become stronger after overcoming difficult obstacles. The secret to overcoming such obstacles is simple. Never give up and keep trying. Those with sheer determination will eventually achieve his/her targets.


    1. Ben,

      I am reminded how "blessed" and "lucky" I am every weekends ;)

      You're new here.

      With time, you'll learn I'm not the cheerleader for goals, targets, and excessive planning...

      I've thrown in my lot with the dreamers and visionaries :)

      I'm the "crash got sound" kind of guy ;)


  9. Ben,

    That's why its 开源节流 and not 节流开源 ;)

  10. "I delay the repayment of my housing loan by taking the longest loan period possible. This would free up more CPF funds under CPIS to "market time" my way to join the minority of CPF members who made money under CPIS."

    This is a good analogy! Previously I will want to pay off as soon as possible to remove the financial burden. You have turn it around nicely!!

    1. Hey! Welcome back blanc fable!

      We are all wired differently ;)

      There are some who simply cannot sleep at night knowing they owe 5 cents to others... By all means pay up and have your sleep back! Duh!

      For me? I don't loose sleep knowing I have debts... I thought its the person I owe money to should have sleepless nights wondering whether I'll pay up! LOL!

      Why I chose a 30 year bank loan over a shorter one  

      P.S. If you look at the world's richest people, you'll notice something quite interesting - the majority of them have debts ;)

      Even big daddy with all our reserves!

      Then you look at the well to do middle class. The majority still cling on to their Life insurance policies even though their networths are several times the insurance payout...

      Some even buy Life insurance policies for their newborns!?

      Got the hint?

  11. Yar, there is a thing called good debts. Even warren buffett has that cash from insurance companies which means collecting premium. So nice of you to paste a link. I remembered reading that post but need this 2nd post to sink it in. You know change is the hardest thing.

  12. Personally, I hate debt. Debt is like a chain which limits my mobility. A lot of my friends gloat at such mentality and indicate that such way to thinking is the route to thea simple commoner who is condemmed to meditocracy. They have been advising me to ditch such approach and follow their way which is the success. Buy more property with debt. Rent out the property and use the rent to pay for monthly loan.

    To each of their own. I don't agree with their approach and sm happy to be a simple and content commoner with simple lifestyle. I can sleep soundly at night w/o the debt worries.


    1. Ben,

      Fantastic! View on debt is where we pretty much differ ;)

      And that's OK!

      I have no problem expressing my own opinion, even if it goes against the grain of mainstream.

      The good thing about this watering-hole, unlike those who like to "wah kali kong", I've no interest in "converting" others to be more "like" me.

      The whole point abut a Jazz band is everyone is free to improv and it would sound better if not everyone plays the SAME instrument!


      I myself have no problem with debt. Its just a tool; a vehicle to me.

    2. Hi SMOL,

      I like your frankliness. There are instances in which there will be differences in the views.

      I believe that you have points in favour of debts.

      We learn from one another. Let's keep on ideas exchange.



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