Monday 28 February 2022

Month of February 2022

With Chinese New Year to usher in the month, the usual festive mood kicked in. Even though the number of house visits were as little as last year, I think I have internalized the feeling rather well. Still, I got to play to a few rounds of mahjong, ate 4 meals of lohei and generally took a break.

As soon as work resumed, a sad news came in the form of an ex colleague (early 30s) who passed away. It's been more than 6 years since we met and even though we were not on the closest terms, I have fond memories of her being jovial and that hearty laughter. Not sure whether it was caused by Covid but it's getting to the point where I heard many cases of people contracting the virus. It's like right on the doorstep and waiting for me. In any case, I just got vaccine boosted and recovering.

As time whizzed by in my life routine, I missed the entire winter Olympics, including any shred of highlights. And as soon as it ended, the horrific news of Ukraine's invasion by Russia came up. This Putin is probably too big headed and a control freak. A new era of Cold War may be descending. It comes at a time where the world is in various state of breakdowns from pandemic, rising inflation, climate change, territorial conflict etc. There's no need to add in a man made disaster. The world doesn't need an egoistic Putin.

Best bit of the month came when I was invited to be moderator at a forum involving one of the co-founders for Sheng Siong Group. He shared the ways of the world lie solely in man himself. One should focus on being the best of what one could be, by thinking and doing good, which naturally attracts the right crowd and improve all around. I was very much enlightened.

Tip: Talisker 18, slight peat with maple in the background

Monday 21 February 2022

Singapore Budget 2022

I see an enthusiastic guy being rejected by another. Is it me or am I just reading too much into this picture? Either the news editor didn't vet properly or he just thought this was nothing unusual. In any case, I postulate that poor DPM wasn't expecting such a reaction from his successor (nervousness perhaps?).

Finance Minister, Lawrence Wong, unveiled the slew of many measures in his maiden speech to combat rising costs of living and maintain economic competitiveness. Here's what I thought the impact would be on me.

1) The big one has to be GST although it's slightly cushioned by the implementation till 2023. This means that everyone has the chance to lock in big item purchases for the rest of the year. What's unavoidable would be recurring expenses like dining and petrol which take up the bulk of my spending. Since GST is applicable to all, it's a fair way to help improve tax collections.

2) The Basic Retirement Sum would progressively increase by 3.5% for 5 years. While it's not going to affect me, it's actually quite a sizable amount to be attained for those who have not reached. My wife is in that situation and I'm thinking how to help.

3) The income, property and luxury car tax are negligible. I'm relieved that the bracketed range for heavier tax imposition are mainly for the top income earners. However, I do get the feeling that further fine tuning is planned in the coming years to lower the threshold.

While my household and children do get a bit of handout, the amount is not much as we are considered middle income. The other budget measures relate to business challenges so I shall think about it when in office. For now, the budget looks evenly distributed and the government has done the smart thing to steer the Singapore boat gently in an open ocean fraught with impending interest rate rise and inflation. At least for me, it buys time to focus on improving investment returns, reallocate funds and seize good opportunities.

Tip: The Federalist Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel 2017, strong oak perfume, caramel and juicy medium body

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Finance Investment Movement 18

As one of my goals this year is to grow passive income, I have primarily zoomed in to a few potential sources namely bank interest, insurance endowment, dividend and sell stock option. So far, I have actioned upon two of the items. One, in order to earn more from DBS multiplier account which can pay up to 3% interest, I bought the cheapest available term insurance so as to achieve another qualifying category. The $110 annual premium is a decent sum to pay and I do need the additional coverage anyway. Second, I'm buying into stocks that should at least yield 4% per annum. Next step is to trial stock option via paper trading. This would require a big sum of margin of about $20k if I choose to go ahead for real.

The crypto assets that I bought last month are looking in good shape with the market rebound, in tandem with the global situation. The target is to sell at 20% profit and I'm still waiting although it's getting close.

Tip: La Pommeraie De Brown 2016, slightly chalky, earthy tones, under ripe fruits