Tuesday 31 January 2023

Look Within To Determine Whether You Should Top-Up Your CPF



Super long read. I'm not kidding!!!

It would be a pain if you try to read it on your mobile. 

More importantly, this post is not for casual reading. 

You need to face yourself in the mirror one. If not, it's pointless and just wasting your time...

If still interested, recommend you read it at home on your PC, notebook, or tablet when your mind is calm and rested.

Let's get the rules of engagement out of the way:

1.  I did not ask permission from the authors of the below blog posts to post the links here. Their posts were in the public domain. I not plagiarizing them OK!?

2.  Any bouquets or compliments should go to them directly. I "steal with pride", but I don't "steal" accreditation.

3.  If you don't agree or have problem with their writings, please deal with me directly. 

"Wait, wait! Let me get my maggi mee pot to protect my head first!

OK, send your sticks and stones my way. I'm ready!"

Read this before you top up your CPF

Very balanced post on CPF top-ups! One of the better ones out there...

It's written in collaboration with CPF. I saw the same post reproduced at CPF's website. 

Smart move by CPF! That's how you "Hong Lim" proof your ass!

Does Market Time Works Better Than DCA?

OK, Brian didn't set out to write about CPF; I bet he didn't know his post works great as unintended counterbalance to topping up our CPF!!!

If you're a snake oil financial advisor, you would use the same arguments from Brian to create FOMO (fear of missing out) with your clients, no?

"Don't be stupid lah!? Cash (and T-bills and CPF) will rot if you don't invest! See how much money you're leaving behind on the table long term!?

Even if you're the world's worst market timing Charlie Brown investor, you would still come out on top over "kiasi" savers hiding behing their so called "risk-free" Save More vehicles!"

Why snake oils so interested to help you get rich?

Because you can't make money recommending others to voluntarily top-up their CPF. But once bei kambings bite on Earn More vehicles, that's where you can start to milk and fleece through commissions and fees... Wink.

However, most don't see the "bait-and-switch" routine by some next level snake oils. 

It's like you advertise a super low price for a TV or notebook computer. Once your sales funnel got sucked into your showroom, this is where you start to upsell and cross-sell them all the bells and whistles! 

Ar ber then?

Ask those who walked into the showroom for 1M65, and walked out with 4M65. Kaching!

Trust but Verify

In my old job, I never trust a statistic that I've not personally manipulated myself.

Before I go on, let's poke holes in the 2 blog posts above.

Anyone who knows something about statistics will know we can data-mine whatever past data to suit our own thesis. 


Right off the bat I think those who are more well-read will find the Woke Salaryman's 10.7% annual return for S&P is a little too "snake oil". 

Let's use 8%. Including re-invested dividends.

As for CPF, anyone who use 5% or 6% is just showing they have very little money in CPF. 

Stick with 4%.

As for Brian's Cash returns, it's from a period of low interest rates in the States. Let's use 4%; same same as CPF.

Now you can generate your own "more conservative" statistics. What? You don't trust your own statistics?


It doesn't change the fact that Earn More (not guaranteed and only a faith thing) will always beat Save More (guaranteed but no bragging rights).

That's a given.

Look Within

All I've said above is actually bullshit!!!

That's left-brained stuffs. It gives the illusion of "precision" (10.7%), but when you think about it, it's all based on assumptions, faith, and pure straight-line extrapolation. 

Now try my right-brained voodoo.

You know yourself.

Are you always envious and very jealous when others do better than you?

Were you angry and upset others were selling their HDB flats for above a million? Nothing to do with you, but yet you super "buay song"...

Now imagine you managed to reach 1M65, would you be totally fine to see your peers hitting 4M65 because they used their CPF to make money in properties or stocks?

Or would you turn around and petition CPF is for retirement! Take away CPFIS and ban the use of CPF for 2nd property... (Sounds familiar to HDB is for living only?)

You "upgraded" from a bigger HDB flat in best location mature estate to a much smaller and more "ulu" location condo in suburbia. Why? You die die must have that "live in condo" label or badge...

Now to the flip side, I've shared I have a colleague who forever quit stocks after losing a "mere" $5K... 

The pain was that excruciating for him.

In our community, there's a blogger (he no longer blogs) whom I respect a lot. He also shared he went into a depression after losing money... Even harboured suicidal thoughts...

Thankfully he has moved past and recovered from his dark days.

During the 97 Asian Financial Crisis or 2008 Lehman meltdown, thousands (not hundreds) of investors ended their lives...

It's hard, but who will willingly admit they are made of porcelain or glass? 

I'm sure when we do risk profile surveys, we will prefer to "own self lie to own self" we are made of rubber or stainless steel....


Does that help you to determine whether you should top-up your CPF?

You don't have to study psychology to know yourself.

If you haven't forgotten your literature from secondary school, all we need is to read yourself like we are reading a character from a novel or play. Wink.

That's all!

Friday 27 January 2023

STI back to pre-Wuhan virus level?


Count me impressed!

I mean we are just a whisker from STI 3400!!!

This is where long suffering passive "investors" into STI ETF or funds are finally getting their day in the sun!

This should make up for the years of underperforming US and HK indices...  

A bit like looking your civil servant hubby in a new light. 

Sure, compared to your jie-meis who married entrepreneurs or high-performing top sales, he may be a bit boring, but slow and consistent pay increases and promotions do add up! Like CPF hor?

Especially when your jie-mei's entrepreneur hubby is facing a mountain of debt in bankruptcy; or that top sales hubby of theirs is suffering a slump and "eating grass" during Wuhan virus lockdowns...

But then again, that's if you have bought the STI ETFs or funds.

I mean you can't say STI is in a bear market, right?

Yet, why is there a sea of red in your portfolio???

It's the rubber meets the road moment - do you stick with active stock picking (invest to achieve), or do you "capitulate" and agree with Warren Buffett that most people would be better off sticking with an index fund...


Yeah, it's the - you want ego or want money moment!


Tuesday 24 January 2023

Profit From HDB Policy "Mistakes"


OK, calling them "mistakes" would be too dangerous. Wait they ask me to "lim kopi"...

Better say "pivots" instead!

First, a walk down memory lane.

Remember those early generation rectangular HDB flats? 

Let's take those HDB 3 room flats at Tanglin Halt. They were known as "Simplified" or "S" versions - only 1 toilet and bathroom combined. 

If you look carefully, they have no corner flats at all!

Those you see that have converted to corner units were done by the tenants after buying the common corridor space from HDB for a "song". 

I know this for a fact as I bought my 9 sqm common corridor space at Tanglin Halt for a mere $1,000!!! Bargain or what? 

Of course, HDB knew about this "oversight" from crash got sound" - lucky can point the finger to SIT since the Tanglin Halt flats were inherited from them...

So, when the next generation "Improved" or "I" version HDB 3 room flats were built at Stirling Road/Mei Ling Street (toilet and bathroom separate), these flats came with the proper corner units sold at a premium compared to the corridor flats - hence the start of the trend where HDB corner flats were more "valuable" and "popular".

Where was the first HDB 5 room point-block flats built? 

Queenstown Stirling Road again!

OK. since every flat is a "corner" unit in this configuration, corner no longer commanded a premium. 

What's the differentiating factor then? 

For the first time we got HDB 20-storey! Guess when "high floor higher valuation; lower floor lower valuation" became the norm?


You get the picture.

How about the time when HDB were building big, bigger, and super humongous HDB flats?

They aren't doing it now. Are they?

What's the unintended consequences?

Punggol loft unit sold for $1.22 million dollars

Those of you who are staying in HDB executive apartments or maisonettes, you were glad you bought BIG correct?

Especially now HDB not building them anymore... Gee, I wonder why (sarcasm)?

Those of you staying at HDB 5 room flats in mature estates like Queenstown and Bukit Merah, have you taken notice the recent new BTOs in our estates were missing HDB 5 room flats?

I not benefitting from it (lowly HDB 3 roomer), but no harm letting you know. So don't sell your HDB 5 room flat for a song! 

Make money don't forget to buy me a drink hor!

Yup, if this trend continues, HDB 5 room flats' supply will get lesser and lesser in good location mature estates.

But they will be "common" in "ulu" non-mature estates. Big daddy is doing social engineering again...

The first step is by "redefining" what is a mature estate. Wink.

Just like "every school is a good school", whether you bite or not is up to you!

And this will lead us to Prime Location Public Housing (PLH).

Were you surprised like me with some of the locations of the PLH BTOs?

I mean the South Waterfront BTO is definitely PRIME location! 

The others??? 

I am betting in 10 years' time, older normal plain vanilla resale flats "near" these PLH flats will be more in demand (exception is South Waterfront). 

Therefore, pray hard there will be PLH BTOs near your flats!

Especially when you are staying at Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Kallang Whampoa, and Rochor.

You got to feel for those staying at Toa Payoh... (Unless you are betting HDB will extend the PHL model to Toa Payoh in future)


Who says you can only profit from properties only if we got a 2nd rental/investment unit?

Luck is preparation meeting opportunity - SMOL. (I shameless or what?)

Property is likely to be the biggest expenditure (or investment if you into Earn More) in our lives.

Guess how much time the average youth spend time on it?

In our community, you can see what they do - cutting coupons, jumping through hoops, chasing miles, and voluntarily contributing to CPF in their 20s or 30s???

Keep your eye on the big stuffs; the small stuffs will sort themselves out.


Thursday 19 January 2023

How to Influence Others to our Benefit


How time flies!

The first time I worked with Stacked Homes was way back in May 2021 where I shared my SERS journey.

Again, not an advertorial, but if you are into properties or renovating your dream home, I'm sure you would have discovered Stacked Homes by now.

The quality of their editorial content and YouTube videos are truly at craftsmanship level.


OK, today is not about them.

It's about me having a vested interest in sharing this article to you:

We Rushed To Buy A Home During The Pandemic: Here's Why It Nearly Became A Big Regret...

There are so many quality articles and YouTube videos at Stacked Homes.

Why this particular article???

Alert and regular visitors of this watering-hole will spot it quite easily. Wink.

Yes, it's that short little sentence, "I regretted not getting the top floor."

Since I'm the snake oil that wears the white hat, I'll share this little Jedi trick we play on our sales funnel all the time.

I could have kept quiet and share the article to you, giving you the "misdirection" it's all about how to avoid choosing an apartment with neighbours from hell!

And you would be none the wiser I'm doing a "psychological operation" on you, "Buy top floor lah!"


That's why when I catch myself doing something a bit out of character. I'll look up to see who is pulling my strings.

When you make a decision, do you spend time pondering whether it's the actual you making this particular decision, or are you merely being manipulated influenced by others?

OK, this will keep you awake for several nights!


Tuesday 17 January 2023

Rain and Stormy Clouds at Dawson


Same Singapore sky, different perspective at 40th floor.

Now I appreciate why Taoist priests and Buddhist monks like to build temples high up in the mountains in China...


Friday 13 January 2023

Uncertain or Fixed Salary?


I have a quick way to "read" whether a person is more inclined to Earn More or Save More.

Just look at their day job.

Of course, there are exceptions. 

That's where Trust but Verify comes in. Wink.

Don't believe?

Just look at insurance and property agents (no basic, pure commissions), they are usually the most "aggressive" risk takers when it comes to investing/trading! No? They are also the biggest fans of FIRE! 

Then look at those who value high certainty in their monthly income. Dividends investing or voluntary contributions to CPF anyone?

Those "cover backside" risk profile surveys are useless.

Most of us like to own self lie to own self.

It's always better to judge what we do, not what we say!

Monday 9 January 2023

Market Outlook for 2023


This is the view from my balcony looking towards Orchard to the right:

Rather ominous right?

Looks like dark clouds looming on the horizon?

But when I turned to my left towards Bukit Timah direction:


OK, not clear blue skies, but bright and sunny clouds leh!

I took both pictures at the same time last week. 

One thing I discovered staying at the 40th floor is that I can now look at the skies in panoramic or wide-angle mode.

Right side dark, left side bright.

Some see pain ahead; some see opportunities.

I guess that's the outlook for 2023 for most of us - we see what we want to see!

P.S.  Can't make money if we don't place our bets. 

But it's OK if you trigger shy. Thanks to rising interest rates, there are now a lot more "Save More" vehicles to choose from!

This is life.

Landlords happy with rising rentals and property prices; tenants and property buyers suck thumb...

Investors not happy rising interest rates causing their stocks to crash and burn; savers happy they can finally choose other "colours" beside "black"!

Thursday 5 January 2023

Official Wealth; Speculative Wealth (正财偏财)


Trust our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom to make a distinction between the two!

When you pray to your god/gods, set your financial goals, or dream about having bountiful wealth - which one are you focusing more on?

If you pray/set goals for career success, have a financially stable job, or always continuously upgrading yourself with multiple degrees/diplomas, that will probably be "Official Wealth" you after.

If you rely on 4D/Toto, play shares, hope your cryptos will shoot to the moon (again), not difficult to see you are banging on "Speculative Wealth" to change your life!


Look around your siblings, your neighbours, your colleagues, your classmates, your peers.

And especially your own circumstances.

Which one are they "luckier" with? Speculative Wealth or Official Wealth?

Now compare this knowledge with their chosen financial independence path - be it Earn More or Save More.

Are their financial goals and chosen vehicles still in harmony?

How about yourself?

Monday 2 January 2023

Shame! 4th losing year in a row...

Started 2022 with $10.78. 

Ended it with $10.43.

A loss 0f -3%...

Remember Game of Thrones Cersi Lannister's walk of shame?

Shame! (Bell rings)

Shame! (Bell rings again)


2022 - Down -3% (Shame! Shame! Shame!)

2021 - Down -0.0092% (Eh... I think I'm still going in the wrong direction...)

2020 - Down -3.5% (This got to stop!)

2019 - Down -3% (Smack to the face. In your dreams! Recover your head!)

2018 - Up 6% (Road to recovery?)

2017 - Down -8% (Opps!)

2016 - Up 13%... (Shy, Shy, Shy - Yes, its from K-Pop Twice's Cheer Up MV)

2015 - Up 88% (Double happiness!)

2014 - Tripled it! (Godlike!)

2013 - Doubled my trading account (Rampage!)

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