Monday, 6 July 2020

This 99 years thingy...

I long time no tell stories already.

Funny right? And to think during my first year of blogging, I was telling stories left, right, and centre!

Kung fu don't use will depreciate one. So here goes!

Once upon a time in a little red dot island, a family - father, mother, and 2 lovely children boy and girl - went for an extended vacation for 99 days.

So they found a service apartment (or chalet if you prefer) online that charges $120 per day. But if they pay in full upfront, they can get a 15% discount. So they took it. 

Got discount don't take stupid or what?

The service apartment got 3 bedrooms. 

It didn't take long before the money-minded enterprising father figured out that if he can force persuade ah boy and ah girl to share the same room, he could rent out the spare room!

That he did. And to his joy and happiness, he could rent out that spare room for $50!

He almost wanted to bribe his two children to sleep in the living room to make another $50 before his wife chided him,

"Are we here to vacation or to make money!?"

Sheepishly he dashed that idea... If the price of earning that extra $50 meant children not happy and wife angry, then its too expensive!

Fast forward 30 days later, the whole family got bored with the city they were vacationing in. Let's fly and explore another city!

But problem. 

They've already paid upfront for the full 99 days of rent. Leave like that very wasted...  

No worries! 

Ever enterprising Dad talked to a few travel agents and found lots of people were most willing to take over the rest of the 69 days from them at 50% premium for what Dad has paid for 99 days!!!

How can it be? Can't people count?

Oh! It just so happens the city our protagonist family were vacationing in just happens to be hosting the - Olympics/F1 formula race/film festival/huge business convention - its just a story, take your pick!

Hotels fully booked with visitors from all over the world. Any room available people will grab!

Never plan, never do analysis. 

Being at the right place, at the right time, has triumphed everything!

Ecstatic. Off our vacationing family went to another city with huge smiles on their faces! 

How to describe that feeling of knowing the past 30 days' accommodation were "free", and the rest of your 69 days' renting costs are now subsidised by the 50% profit you've just made?

Long story short. The family came back to their little red dot island and shared their wonderful vacation time and bonus good fortune with relatives and friends.

Some who listened tried it out themselves and came back with affirmations of their own,

"It true! Can vacation and make money on the side one! No bluff!"

And so this "lobang" (hot tip) became known to anyone and everyone.

Now story moved to this Charlie Brown and his family. 

Hmm... If others can do it, why can't I?

So same, same Charlie Brown copy/paste exactly what others did.

I think you know what's coming. Wink.

Bang! The city he and his family vacationing in got hit with - hurricane/tsunami/earth quake/volcano eruption - chose whichever one you fancy. 

A bit too drama you think?

OK, story over.

I shall leave you with 1 question and 1 moral of the story.

1.  The dad in our first protagonist family story - was it luck or was it skill?

2.  The moral of the story is make sure your name not Charlie Brown!



  1. Many people now feel Like CB (err charlie brown) coz they think

    public housing leasehold = private housing leasehold.

    Same same but different.

    Can go to SLA MyProperty portal to look at your HDB "title deed". You can print it out & frame it on the wall.

    No, it's not for the land.

    Btw, HDB rented the land @ $1/yr to you for 99 years, added into the flat pricing.

    Count your lucky stars that HDB has not increased this $1/yr land rent since 1960, LOL!

    1. Spur,

      Its like taking a taxi or private grab car, after arriving at your destination, tap the driver at the shoulder,

      "You can get out now. This vehicle now belongs to me."



  2. they always say: got to be at the right time and in the right place knowing right info/people

    1. cbd,

      Don't forget marry rich too!

      In Shanghai, my female friends tell me if they marry rich, they can save 10 years of endeavours (少奋斗十年) ;)

    2. Hi SMOL,

      One of my chiobu ex-colleagues recently passed away at 25 years young. She was the talk of the town when she married an investment banker. Every other lady was envious of her position when her husband had to relocate overseas for work and he shipped their home furniture from Singapore overseas as well.

      After she suddenly pass away, I think the envying stopped.

      Wallstreetplayboys said it best. What's the use of becoming a billionaire like that guy whose surname rhymes with a spread of food when there's prolly only a few years of life left?

    3. Unintelligent Nerd,


      We sometimes run in circles trying to seek guarantees when there is none...

      Plan this, analyse that, but never once considered what if tomorrow never comes?

      Not saying don't plan, don't delay gratifications.

      But there's a balance to everything.

      Agar, agar can oredi!

  3. Ha ha. Reddifusion Lee Dai Soh is back on Digital media channel. Good

    1. Hello everyone,


      ""Are we here to vacation or to make money!?"

      is proudly stolen with pride from CW's blog where he questions his readers whether our HDB flat is home or an investment?

      Singles maybe less of an issue.

      But if married with wife and children with "buy-and-hold" predispositions...

      Yes, every few years uproot and relocate can make a lot of money if we are lucky!

      What if wife becomes moody, moody, and depressed losing her close-knit neighbourhood kakis... (Divorce and medical bills not cheap)

      And if children had to change schools and have problem making new friends, later grew up with psychological issues who to blame?

      Success is what we have to SACRIFICE to achieve it.

      Others like to make it sound easy and passive.

      You and I know what sacrifices we have made in our journeys.

      Who likes to burn our evenings and weekends to study part-time to upgrade our skill sets after work?

      No. Your promotion must be you "lucky" or know how to "tripod" your boss!

  4. I dun quite get this.

    99 years is enough for 2 generations. When u marry and assuming u buy BTO or a 5 years BTO, no way u can outlive your flat and very likely your children will not.

    This is assume u dun do the upgrading thing or swap second BTO thingy.

    There are many things to not like about ah gongs, but I dun think CPF and HDB are one of them. I must quantified I am talking about CPF and HDB as of now. When my time comes, I hope they are fair to me.

    The upgrade game required sacrifice too. Cash flow might be tight before u monetize it, especially if u chew for the biggest slice.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Every generation should earn their own keep.

      If our grown up children cannot afford to buy their own HDB BTO flats...

      With a lots of humility and no intention to cause hurt, it meant something has not gone quite right along the way...

      Those flats with 70 year leases that were taken back by big daddy, there's one old lady that spoke the truth.

      She regretted not listening to their opinion leader when he advised everyone to sell when there's 10 years of the lease remaining.

      Small engine capacity between the ears sad enough; plus stubborn who can help?

      HDB flats with less than 10 years of their lease remaining can still be sold.

      Companies can buy them to house their foreign workers.

      Savvy property rental investors who can do the math may be interested if the price is right.

      Just as long the rent they collect by renting out the whole flat is more than the lease for 10 years, that's yield accretive!

      What's the problem with returning the flat to big daddy with ZERO value 10 years later?

      When there's a problem, some seek solutions.

      Some complain.

      Some look for someone to blame.

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Reminds me of the Bitcoin blockchain "debate." It has been programmed that sometime in year 2100+, the security of the Bitcoin blockchain will drop precipitously.

      I think many of the debaters have not realized that they would not be around by then.....

      Still, there are some who mentioned that they will be leaving bitcoin as an inheritance for their grand-grand-grand children. Talk about cluelessness......

    3. Unintelligent Nerd,

      You got study psychology so you may know the proper scientific term for it.

      But we both know what mental gymnastic lies we often use to ownself smoke ownself ;)

      A bit like sour grapes, the dog in the manger thingy?

      Never study so can only use Aesop analogies...


  5. Those who can afford it will keep their HDB when they buy private. ;)

    Rental yield for HDB blows away anything you can buy in Bt Timah or Marina Bay (provided you paid BTO price of course). Kekeke!

    Ooops!! Guess I'm the money-faced fellow who should not go on vacations! LOL!

    As per Uncle8888's straightforward calculation, even if you just rent out for a miserable $1K a month, can still collect over $1M in rentals over 9 decades. Hohoho!

    1. Spur,

      HDB flat owners can invest in private properties good, better, best or what?

      Sorry hor! I prefer to count in money; not percentages.

      I rather earn 5% rental yield on a $20 million Bukit Timah landed than earn 20% rental yield on a $200K HDB flat any day!

      Wait! Does that make me more money-minded than you?

      Nah! My math better ;)

      My real person real story can affirm CW's calculations.

      When I bought my 3 room HDB resale flat, the rental for the whole flat around the area was $800 per month.

      By taking a 30 years loan, my monthly repayment to bank was $500 per month.

      Which means its better to BUY than RENT lah!

      In other words, I'm saving $300 per month for the first 30 years (conservative as rental keeps rising), and AFTER 30 years, I can stay "RENT FREE" at my current place until I die.

      How complicated is the math?

      Shit happens if I live BEYOND age 103 though.

      Some people either can't count; or those who can sometimes over complicate things by counting stuffs that don't matter.

      Missing the forest for the trees ;)

    2. Anybody still worry over this 99 years thingy? Your chance to trust but verify here. :-)

    3. CW,

      Don't "sabo" me.

      Those mental cases where after staying 99 days at a hotel room expect to have their money back I'll send them to you!

      During my corporate days, when HR or boss asks what's my biggest weakness?

      I tell them I have no patience with stupid people.

      They often laughed.

      I'm a clown.

    4. SMOL,

      Sorry horr, in real life today can barely get 1% or 2% for GCB. They are mainly used by the rich as inflation-resistant Fixed Deposits.

      OK ok I know you talk in quantum not % ... $30K-$40K a month beats $2K-$3K a month LOL.

      For those with kids, can pass the rental HDB to your teenager as mini project to manage (or sub-manage).

      Your personal experience of $500 per month highlights another unspoken aspect of HDB ... We are one of the rare cities where it's cheaper to buy than rent ;)

      Take it as the landlord doesn't raise your rent for 30 yrs, and after that lets you stay rent free for many decades more.

      And for people who complain about property taxes ... Hulloo, any person from a major developed city will be laughing at your owner-occupied HDB property tax of $100/year that can barely cover 1 week of their utilities bill.

    5. Spur,


      Start youths early to think from landowner perspective is a lot more effective than sending them to business schools ;)

      At best, business schools can only teach how to think from shepherd perspective...


      How not to like locking in the rent for the next 30 years to take out inflation risks?

      Of course I'm screwed if we get deflation for 30 years like in Japan though...

      And the reason for maxing out my bank loan for 30 years is so that I can repay my loan back with inflated dollars - how's that for inflation hedge?

      With every passing year, this monthly $500 becomes smaller and smaller as a percentage of my monthly salary ;)

      Yes, I'm in debt. No, I'm not stressed about it.

      This $100 per year property tax for my HDB 3 room is nothing and can easily be scrapped.

      But its there for future big daddy governments. In case cash strapped and GST and income tax rates were already maxed out, future big daddy has a ready made option to raise property taxes instead ;)

      Raising EXISTING taxes is a lot easier than introducing a new tax ;)

      Just like they introduced GST when they don't really need the money.


      We really need the money from GST to plug the holes in our budgets!!!

      OK, must give it to big daddy for forward thinking.

    6. Hi Uncle8888,

      Who will worry over the 99-year thingy?
      Probably those who bought extremely old resale flats as homes.

    7. Hi SMOL,

      It means you have been lucky in the years of your loan tenure that the inflation was higher than the bank rates rise! Or have you been refinancing?

      Now it is still cheaper to service the monthly mortgage (for a period of 30 years) than renting 3-rm flats whole unit . However, there is no guarantee the Charlie Brown case won't happen. If that happened, suddenly, we would find it cheaper to rent than pay monthly mortgage. Black swan event?!

      And... as single, why would one need to rent a whole flat unit?

    8. Rainbow girl,

      Yes, I've been "lucky".

      Just like all those Singaporeans who bought straight from HDB (BTO) from 1965 to yesterday?

      Resale is different.

      Without the subsidy from big daddy, its no different from buying private property, shares, forex, gold, etc.

      I bought resale.

      Luck or skill?

      Well, if you got time, you can click the "Property" tab on the right side of my blog under "My Interests".

      I've written quite a lot that I've shared in this comments section in more detail.

      But then again, to a Charlie Brown, EVERYONE else is lucky!

    9. Rainbow girl,


      I'll answer your "why would a single rent a WHOLE unit?" with a question instead ;)

      Tell me, why would a SINGLE girl want to BUY a resale 4 room HDB flat?

      When no matter what metrics you use, and how you calculate, a smaller but cheaper HDB BTO 2 room flat will always come out on top - quantitively speaking.

      And why not HDB 3 room resale but 4 room?

      Perhaps a girl wants to be yield miss piggy to rent out her 2 spare rooms?

      If its a pure commercial decision, then textbook formulas should suffice.

      On the other hand, if buying for a home, then the grey, grey, qualitative factors would matter more. But a girl talks numbers more than using words. So no.

      Why the hesitation then?

      When a girl has no problem trading US stocks?

      When there's no guarantee one would not be a Charlie Brown? The odds even worse...

      To be polite, we say 10% of traders make money. The reality is more like 5%.

      I would hazard a guess.


    10. Ha ha! Perhaps a girl wants to be yield miss piggy to rent out her 2 spare rooms?

      Hmm ... Be careful hor. Remember Three Little Pigs story. If unlucky, inviting Mr Wolf inside the house; Mr Wolf will have no problem blowing down the bedroom's wooden door with his hard blow!

    11. CW,

      You don't frighten her! Wait she freeze even more...

      If buy for home, price up, price down does not matter. We never gonna sell anyway.

      Want high floor? Want good facing? Want nice location?

      No problem just as long can afford it. That's the most important factor in the equation ;)

      If cannot, never mind it.

      Once we stepped into the realm of investing, just don't confuse it with savings.

      Cannot "tahan" losses?

      Stick with savings.

    12. Hi SMOL,

      Yield miss piggy was using 4-rm as a hypothetical example. Of course can do a 3-rm analysis as well.

      For a depreciating asset, no matter how we count, it is absolute capital loss as it nears lease end. Even with subsidies thrown in.

      Yeah so it depends on whether we are going to buy-and-hold as home, or try to squeeze commercial value out of it after X years.

    13. Rainbow girl,

      You're so cute!

      Girls talk like this we can say "cute".

      Don't even think about it boys; the gloves are off for our case ;)

      If you BELIEVE a HDB flat is a depreciating asset, why bother with BUYING from the very start? What's there further to calculate?


      So you're one of those who stays in a chalet for 99 days and expect to get your money back? OK...

      Do you buy your dresses, shoes, handbags, watches etc?

      They too are "depreciating assets" that will eventually be thrown away at zero valuation unless... Drumroll... You sell them as 2nd hand at a "capital loss"?

      I wonder those who sell 2nd would consider that as a financial loss or a bonus gain?

      Sometimes lucky we can even make "capital gains" if what we bought became collector's items!!!

      Like luxury/antique/limited edition watches?

      P.S. CW must be scratching his head. His HDB flat he bought for $55K is a depreciating asset?

      And here I am happy for him that he got a property multi-bagger to complement his multi-bagger stock holdings!

      OK, I'll change my compliment to condolences...

      CW, I'm so sorry for your HDB financial loss...

      Look on the bright side. You've built a wonderful HOME for your wife and lovely children nevertheless :)

    14. Hi SMOL,

      CW is another lucky one. Bought at right price, right time, right place. Same like you!

      I have told you I am biased towards buy even though it's depreciating. And even though 今非昔比。

      Truce. Lol

    15. Just make sure downgrade or apply LBS in time before Charlie Brown case or big daddy tells us "it's too late".

    16. Rainbow girl,

      Ah! There is hope in you yet ;)

      You might still be a Jedi warrior make one day...

      May the force be with you young one...

  6. Rainbow girl,

    OK, now I answer your question directly.

    A single would rent a whole HDB 3 room flat for $800 when he/she can rent out the other room for $500.

    Never share cab before?

    So instead of paying $500 rent for a single room, the enterprising single only has to fork out $300 per month. (Yes, the math is really this simple)

    Plus can use the living room and kitchen with impunity without the landlord's prying eyes!

    1. LOL, I think many in my generation grew up watching Friends & envying those angmohs who could rent & share a city centre flat.

      That's before we realised that it's due to economic imperatives of higher salary city jobs & still 1/2 of your salary will be consumed by rental in a high-cost city like New York.

      Yup, that's why when renting whole unit to a "single", EXPECT to have sub-tenants. It's more practical to expect this & build in clauses in the contract such as informing you & producing the necessary ICA paperwork (no illegal migrants pls!) & stipulating that the main tenant is still overall responsible with the security deposit at stake.

      Rather than having a clause saying NO sub-letting and then having to be mentally & physically prepared to evict a few months down the road when you find his "friends staying over".

      The most headache one will be having 3 friends or colleagues wishing to rent out your whole unit, but none of them willing to be the main tenant.

    2. Spur,

      It would be good for youths to take 2-3 years to either study or work overseas.

      Any city will do.

      With a wider global perspective, perhaps can better appreciate we can plan all we want, shit still happens... LOL!

      Some Singaporeans or new citizens are so "enterprising" until big daddy has to step in to put a LIMIT of 6 persons per occupancy for HDB 3, 4, and 5 room flats.

      Max 4 people for HDB 2 room flats.

      If not, Singapore will have those HK cubicle coffin homes in our HDB heartlands!

      Lease wholesale; rent retail.

      P.S. Eh? How come big daddy never do the same for foreign worker dormitories?

      Everyone equal; but 4 legs more equal than 2 legs...

      It did came back to bite big daddy hard. Shit happens!

  7. The 99 years give new owner the opportunity to sell it when there is good value. And also enough years for 2nd hand buyers to live in. Some people buy into the idea of legacy for HDB which i find puzzling because if not due to the restrictions the scheme would be even costly to the nation and society especially the youngs. My take is that if our children cannot even afford to buy their own HDB which is quite generous for new couple, as a parent ourselves is a failure.

    1. Cory,

      Its ludicrous isn't it?

      I mean if its widows, orphans, and people with little or no education, we can empathise if they're confused.

      But if they're tertiary educated? Really?

      You want legacy?

      Then don't be in denial. Only buy properties that are freehold or come with 999 year leases.

      Britain must be "stupid" to get the New Territories in HK for 99 years.

      Imagine all the infrastructure - roads, hospitals, housing, power stations, ports, airport, etc - don't they know all these are depreciating assets that will become ZERO when they are returned to China?

      I think the Brits made a ton out of HK!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...