Saturday, November 28, 2015

Medishield Life : Standard B Plan Is Coming Soon...

If you are Singaporean or Singapore PR, I am sure you've received notification from CPF Board or your insurer (for the Integrated Shield) on your Medishield Life coverage which was launched from 1st November 2015 onward. If you are still clueless about this compulsory National Health Insurance Scheme (which I doubt so), you may want to check out my earlier coverage here (2 Reasons Why I Will Still Stick To My Integrated Shield Plan), here (Important Tips Gathered From Industry Briefing), and here (Is Integrated Shield Still Necessary?).

Whether you are currently covering with Medishield Life only or already topped-up your coverage with Integrated Shield, you may want to take note that there is an upcoming Standard B Plan which is expected to be launched in 2nd Quarter 2016 (subject to change). 

So what is this Standard B Plan and why is it necessary? 

As you may know, the current Medishield Life coverage is pegged against the admission costs in the Class B2/C Wards, which means that if you choose to admit to the high wards like B1, A or Private Hospital, you will need to fork out some out-of-pocket money to cover the differences. Hence, the development of the Standard B Plan to cater for this segment of customers who are looking for coverage up to Class B1 Ward.  

When it is launched, the Standard B Plan will be offered by all the 5 insurers* and its features and premium rates (in fact, all the policy terms and conditions) will be standardized across the board. To me, you can treat Standard B Plan as another upgrade option (from Medishield Life plan) which are comparable to some of the lower end Integrated Plan(s).  


*5 insurers that currently providing the Integrated Shield Plans are :
AIA (HealthShield)
Aviva (MyShield)
Great Eastern (SupremeHealth)
NTUC Income (INcomeShield)
Prudential (PruShield)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ShopBack now with Lazada coupon codes

Black Friday (the shopping frenzy) is just around the corner and the Season Of Giving is also not far away, the first thing that comes to our mind is shopping, especially online shopping. Personally, I am not much of an online shopper (in fact, I don't really like shopping in general), my online shopping has been restricted to movie tickets and air tickets so far.

Having said that, as most financial gurus will share with you that in order to have an healthy financial status or cash flow, there are only two streams of money you need to take care of : 
a) The Incoming Stream
b) The Out-going Stream

You can either increase the incoming stream (the salary, share capital gains, dividends or rental etc...) or decrease the outgoing stream (the monthly expenses, loan or credit card liability etc...). Since we are around the season of giving, our budget is expected to burst during these 2 months (think along the line of X'mas gifts that we are considering for our loved ones and friends). Hence, I would like to touch on the outgoing stream in this post by sharing an interesting platform that I've chanced upon today. It's called ShopBack. 

Why is this platform interesting and how can it reduces our outgoing stream of money? 

Basically, it is an aggregator of eCommerce platforms with a twist. The popular eCommerce names like Groupon, TaoBao, Lazada, RedMart and even FairPrice Online, you name it, they have it. It's like all eCommerce come under one roof. So, what is the twist that I am talking about? It's the cash back feature, like the cash back benefit that many of you enjoy from your credit card providers when you happily swapping your credit cards.  

I guess the idea is : since you are going do the online shopping anyway, why not gain a few dollars or % back? Win-win situation right? For example, if you are going to do your online shopping at Lazada anyway, why not getting a 12% cash back by visiting their Find Lazada coupon codes now page? 

What surprises me is one of the world's most popular eCommerce platform, TaoBao is also under their belt. For more details, you can check out their how to buy from TaoBao using ShopBack page (up to 10% cash back) or simply check out their TaoBao videos. Sample video below :
Hmmmm, maybe I should consider more online shopping from now on ;-) Are you a frequent online shopper? If yes, check them out to get your sales and deals with ShopBack


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Global Financial Literacy Survey Outcome - Where Do Singapore Stand?

As per my earlier post, finance is one of the most important subject we must learn and hence financial literacy of the population of a particular country speak volumes on how successful of that country (at least from the financial/market perspective).
Recently, McGrawhill Finance has released their latest Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey and I am quite surprise with what I've seen. The survey was based on interviews with more than 150,000 adults across 148 countries in 2014 and following is how they define Financial Literacy :
Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it, or how that person donates it to help others.
Following are the key stats from the survey outcome (Top, Middle and Bottom 10 countries):

Financial Literacy Score (Top, Middle and Bottom 10 Countries)
If you noticed, Singapore is not in any of the above-mentioned groups. So, where do we stand? I've since downloaded the report and did a brief check, we are not far off from the top and to my surprise, we are doing better than United States. ;-) We are standing tall at 12th place with the score of 59%, just one position behind New Zealand (11th place with the score of 61%).

How are some of the other Asean countries doing in the survey? More rooms for improvement...
Malaysia     - 36%
Indonesia    - 32%
Thailand     - 27%
Philippines - 25%
Vietname    - 24%

If you are interested to read more about the survey, you can download a copy of the report (free) from their official site.

To be frank, we are doing pretty well in the survey but there is always rooms for improvement. So, what can we do to improve our ranking like towards the Top 10? There are plenty we can do actually, some of them are :

1. Pick up some financial books (eBooks included) from the bookstores or library;
2. Pay more visit to financial blogs (like this one ;-) or read more finance/investment related articles from the mainstreams publication/newspapers;
3. If you have some cash to spare, can attend some of the financial course like Big Fat Purse's value Investing Mastery Course;
4. Or even get involved in playing the financial board game like Cashflow from Robert Kiyosaki or our home-grown one called Wongamania (click here to find out more).  

Are you surprised with this Global Financial Literacy Survey outcome?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wongamania - Banana Economy : A Kickstarter Campaign That I Can Relate To

To many, finance is a dry and boring subject because of its countless technical terms and at times intimidating formulas, however, it is also one of the most important subject that we must  know/learn as it has great impact towards making financial decisions in our daily life. 

How to make finance subject more approachable?  

How to make the learning of finance fun?

I guess these are few of the many "problems" that the founder of Capital Gains Studio, Xeo Lye and his team trying to solve. The end product? The local financial board game Wongamania. With the help of our friendly Big Fat Purse boss, Alvin, managed to play the board games twice at his office. We really have great fun playing the game while enjoying the real in-person social interaction while picking up some financial knowledge along the way. 

Wongamania Board Game - Fun In Progress 1
Wongamania Board Game - Fun In Progress 2
For more details and photos of our Wongamania games, click here and here

Even though I only have brief conversation with Xeo Lye during these two occasions, but his vision and determination of changing the financial literacy scene (for the better) via his visionary board game is a noble one. 

Recently, Capital Gains Studio has launched a kickstarter campaign (crowdfunding) to produce their spin-off board game called Wongamania - Banana Economy. Following is the brief (extracted from Kickstarter) about the objective of board game :

Welcome to Banana Republic, a politically unstable country where the economy is controlled by political and business elites. You are one of the elites of this nation, and your objective is to stash enough money in an offshore trust fund in order to retire comfortably. 

Invest your income in Stocks, Properties and Bonds and exert influence on the government to manipulate the economy for your personal gain! Unleash the financial monsters such as Debtzilla, Inflationsaurus and Taxopus to destroy the wealth of your competitors. Orchestrate the downfall of other elites by destroying their personal lives through car accidents, expensive divorces and shotgun babies. Do you have what it takes to survive in this cutthroat world of money mania!

I can relate to this upcoming board game since I've played its predecessor (or should I said its origin) twice and have fun with it. If you are interested in such financial board game, do check out their Kickstarter campaign and support. 


P/S : This is not a sponsored post, it is just to show my support to the local financial board game.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Live Like There Is No Tomorrow ; Save Like Today Never End

Being a financial blog, the main themes of my blog will be around investment, savings, insurance, expense, loans etc... Of course, being a movie fan, I have added another unrelated theme to spice up my blog, yes, the movie theme. 

No, I am not going to talk about movie in this post but akan datang.... ;-) 

Being quite active in my Facebook sharing (those travelling, feasting, movie sessions photos), occasionally, I've been asked by friends as to why I seems like so free (no need to work?) and so enjoying life? Of course, the truth is : I am still having a full time job lar (never think of retiring anytime soon, I just living my life with the following motto :

Live Like There Is No Tomorrow AND (Trying) To Save Like Today Never End

I know, these motto seems contradicting but let me explain...

Usually, when we talk about "Live Like There Is No Tomorrow", many will link to lavish spending like fine dining, fast car, expensive watches etc... For me, I like simple stuff and a strong believer of "Simple Is Gold", hence, simple enjoyment like watching movies (in cinemas), soccer games with a couple of friends, good meal with friends and families are enough to put a smile on my face. Of course, I am not saying that all these activities/hobbies are free but at least I can associate the value (of my happiness) with them and I am prepared to spend them. 

As for the second element, "To Save Like Today Never End", I must admit that I am still far from ideal and hence I purposely added (trying) in front. Having said that, savings is still an important habit to maintain for all. 

To achieve both the motto, I do virtually set aside 2 different saving pots on monthly basis (one I termed it happiness fund and the other I termed it future fund, I believed you folks  know the difference and purpose of these 2 funds). 

All in all, I believed striking the balance is the keyword in life, this is especially true for those who are working (overly) hard to achieve financial freedom (whatever it means to you).


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sad News Everywhere - A True Friday The 13th

Amidst the gloomy business results announcements (domestically and globally) and at the back of the bleeding of STI at 33.33 points (1.13%) and Dow Jones at 202.83 points drop (1.16%), here come the worst news ever on the Friday The 13th : Multiple terrorist attack in Paris, France and leaving more than 150 people dead (at the time of writing). 

All thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of the victims and hope we can bring justice to those who are responsible for this unspeakable attacks, soonest possible.

For the latest news update, check out the CNN's Breaking News report here


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lessons Learnt From My Minion Size US Counter Which Is Sitting At 77% Paper Lose

About 6 to 7 months ago, I blogged about plunging into my second US counter (EVEP - EV Energy Partner) for long term Dividend Income investment (for the complete list of my rationale of investment, you can read it here). I also blogged about my joy when receiving my first US dividend a month later (click here to read more).
Fast forward to today and following is the snapshot of this counter of mine :
Bought 250 shares on 22/04/2015 @ USD16.65 Per Share
Last Closing Price on 11/11/2015 @ USD  3.85 per Share 
Paper Lose of USD 12.80 Per Share
(which Translates into USD3,200 or 77% paper lose ; If I include the dividends collected so far of about USD300, it is sitting at about 70% paper lose)  
Of course, as long as I am still holding on to the counter, the "game" is still not end yet. Ultimately I might lose all my capital (which is about USD 4,160, excluding commission) or there might be some rebound in the future, who know? Meanwhile, I will continue to hold on to the counter (since my main investment objective is Income Play through dividend Yield*) and recount the lessons learnt through this investment alone :
1. Paper Lose is as sore as the Realised Lose. When you are witnessing your counter(s) dropping like nobody's business, being a mortal, I still feel uneasy even though I know very well and I am in it for the long term. I guess the cure is to pay less attention to the movement of the prices, or should I? ;-)   
2. Importance of investing with care in the unfamiliar industry. To be frank, prior to investing in Ev Energy partner, I am little knowledge about the Energy sector, hence, I restricted my investment to only a minion size (250 shares).
3. Avoid catching a falling knife is easier to say than done. As advocate by many investment gurus, try to avoid catching a falling knife. It is easier to say than done as you only feel the pinch when really holding the knife. The conclusion is, as long as we are still in the game, we will still need to do some catching, so to whether the knife will keep falling or not in the future, only god know ;-) 
Is there any particular stock(s) of yours that you have paid (paper or realised lose) to learnt some lessons? What have you learnt?
*From the latest announcement, EVEP will be reviewing their Dividend distribution from 2016 and lower dividend yield is to be expected.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

When Making Financial Mistakes, We Are As Good (Bad) As The Monkeys (Ted Video)

I am sure most of you heard about TED (no, not the foul mouth Teddy Bear movie, I am talking about the Ted Talks, the professional Talks series that sharing the "Ideas Worth Spreading"), I watched/listened to quite a fair bit of Ted Talks and most of them never failed to inspire me.
Recently, I chanced upon a 5-year old Talk by Laurie Santos which is very interesting and relevant to the theme of this blog. Hence, decided to share it here. From the Talk title like "A Monkey Economy As Irrational As Ours", we can deduced that we (as human being) will be compared to the monkeys and the outcomes, like many of you might have guess it : Both human being and monkeys are behaving quite similarly ;-) It introduces a new dimension to the term "Monkey see, monkey do".
The other more interesting part of the Talk is how the researchers mimic the financial market in the context of animals, monkeys in this instance (you do know that monkeys don't use money or bitcoins to buy or trade bananas right?). In the video, she termed it as "Monkeynomics". 
Hope you enjoy the Talk as much as I do:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Accumulating Wealth Vs Accumulating Experience

While I am already in my mid-forty, hair are getting thinner and grey-er (or should I said white-er), memory are getting worst, by the minute (don't try to ask me what I had as my lunch yesterday as you might need to wait rather long to get the answer ;-)), it doesn't stop me from learning and experiencing new things personally.

Since young, I always have this mindset that when we are getting old (like in our 70s or 80s, if we are lucky enough), we will spend more time and rejoice in sharing our experience with others rather than gaining new experiences (of course, there are still exceptional cases). Why? Reason being that it might be too demanding for us mentally and/or physically by then, as it is, it might already take a great effort for us to just strolling in the park. I know, some of you might say that by then our memory might be so poor that we might not even remember our experience, so how to share? Here come the social media (especially Facebook) to help us keep track of our life journey (this explains why I like to share my photos in Facebook as I envisage one day I will rely on it a lot to help me remember my past/experiences). 

Hence, I do think that it is equally important to accumulate our experience while we are working hard to accumulate our wealth (digits in our banks). By "experience" I meant new things/knowledge that we learnt/gained by actually doing it e.g. learning different culture in another country by travelling, learning new languages by attending classes (or through e-learning), learning how to cook etc.

Of course, by expanding our experience, it might inevitably affect our progress in accumulating our wealth but it is all worth it as some experience just cannot be compensated by the monetary term. Again, don't get me wrong that I am trying to marginalize the importance of wealth creation (most of the time, we still need money to gain the experiences), just like to share that we need to strike some balance in our journey of accumulation. So, the ideal scenarios is accumulating wealth and experience together. 

What is your view?          


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Financial Freedom - Three Things To Avoid When We Are Working Towards It

Financial freedom, or financial independence is the common theme when you are browsing through the personal finance blogs (locally or internationally). While it is definitely in the mind of most financial bloggers (me included), and a number of us (me excluded) are already in that state, it is worth mentioning that achieving financial freedom is not the END of our journey,in fact, it is just the START of another journey.

There are many obvious and valid reasons on why we want to achieve financial freedom, e.g. :

1. We have the freedom of choosing to work because we want to and not because we need to

2. We can spend more quality time with our families or loved ones

3. We don't need to be worry about finance, ever again

4. We can do the real meaningful stuff (e.g. charity, travelling around the world) instead of work, work, work

And many more...

The question is, will you really change who you are (before achieving financial freedom) and become who you really set-up to be (after attaining the financial freedom)? 

My take is, you will continue to eat whatever you eat, take the same transport that you are taking day in day out, live your life as per normal, before and after you achieved the financial freedom. What really might changed is your mindset and inner sense of confidence about your financial state. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say that achieving financial freedom is not important, but I think it is equally important on how we should live our life before achieving it. So, I am listing herewith three things to avoid NOW while we are working towards it:

1. Short-change ourselves - I know some friends are very rigorous in achieving their financial freedom goals and set-up very tight budget on their daily spending (again, I am not against it), but I think occasionally it is important to reward ourselves to keep the momentum going e.g. having a better meal, travelling with families or loved ones etc.. It might set-back our goal a little bit but not to forget that we can only live at PRESENT! Just like estimating the future growth of a company, who can guarantee the future? Of course, the best approach is to save some money for such indulgence that will come in handy. 

2. Wait for the financial freedom - Again, financial freedom might never come, so, if you have some goals that you wanted to do after financial freedom, you should start doing it now (maybe in a smaller scale) instead of just postponing it. Besides, by the time you achieved financial freedom, your mind and body might have passed their prime! So, act now instead of waiting.

3. Translate everything to monetary term -  Yes, money is important but not everything can be bought by money. Never sacrifice your joy, the friendship, the quality time with family and loved for the sake of earning more money. If no one can share the value of money with us, it is rather meaningful, don't you think so?      


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sapphire Corporation - Is It A Real Precious Stone? My CNAV Analysis

A couple of hours ago, a cute friend of mine texted me to ask for a favor to take a good look at a counter of his interest, Sapphire Corporation (NF1.SI) and do a post of it if it makes the cut. 

So here you go (you know who you are), my CNAV Analysis on Sapphire Corporation. 

Disclaimer : Prior to this, I have 0 knowledge about the company. After some brief research, besides having a better understanding of the company's financial position (which is erratic over the years), I also know that it was previously known as IRE Corporation Limited and is in mining service businesses. This analysis is purely for personal case study (for my friend as well as myself), hence, it should not be constituted as recommendation to buy/sell. 

Stock In Evaluation : Sapphire Corporation [NF1.SI]

The Key Quantitative Indicators of CNAV Strategy (basing on 2014 Annual Report figures, source : Yahoo Finance):

Net Asset Value (NAV)                             = $0.0737
Conservative Net Asset Value (CNAV2)  = $0.0174
Current Price                                              = $0.115
Discount For CNAV2                                = -561%

Conclusion : Since it is a negative "Discount for CNAV2", it means that the stock is traded at premium. In fact, it is traded at a premium against its NAV indicator. 

The P.O.F Scores of CNAV Strategy: 
Profitability Score         = 1 (With the PE ratio of 11.5, well below the average of 15)

Operational Efficiency = 1 (with two consecutive years of positive operating cashflow in the past 3 years)

Financial Efficiency     = 1 (Debt To Equity Ratio of 69%)

Conclusion : A perfect POF indicators.

In short, Sapphire Corporation do not fall within the radar of CNAV2 strategy at this moment in time. 

Additional note : Today (3rd Nov 2015), Sapphire Corporation closes at $0.115, which is 11.65% higher. I do not know the cause(s), could it be another potential delist or acquisition of other company? If you have any clue, do share them in the comment section.


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