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Suddenly, financial freedom looks less remote!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blogging about my meals has had positive consequences both for me and some readers.

1. There are people who care enough to write to me to tell me I don't eat enough vegetables. So, I have been making a conscious effort to incorporate vegetables in my diet more regularly, thanks to their nagging. What did I have for dinner this evening?

Non-fried noodles. Broccoli. MSG free soup cube.

Add mom's secret ingredients plus a mug of genmaicha.

2. Some readers have informed me that I have inspired them to pack lunch to work and to have dinner at home more often instead of going to the restaurants. Some of them actually realised substantial savings especially when they managed to get the whole family to participate. 

Like with many things, it gets easier with time as is the case for a lady who told me her husband is now a firm believer in the changes she has made to their lifestyle because of the resulting savings he sees accumulating in their bank account.

Their wealth is growing more rapidly now, month after month, and this gives them a greater sense of financial well-being. This is an achievement. 

I feel happy for them.

Through sharing very personal information such as how much I receive in terms of passive income, how much I have in my CPF-OA and SA, how I am able to get free health insurance in Singapore and how I save money on a daily basis, just to name a few things, I have found that it is easier to convince people, to inspire people to take their first step on the journey towards financial security and, ultimately, financial freedom. 

Suddenly, it is not just something people talk about. 

Suddenly, it looks more achievable. 

Suddenly, it does not look so remote.

It has been a 20 years journey for me but, hey, if AK can do it, so can you, right?

Some might take a shorter time. 

Some might take a longer time. 

It doesn't really matter, does it?

I know some people might ridicule me for blogging about my meals but I am sure regular readers are able look beyond the facade. 

Regular readers know that my journey towards financial freedom is anchored upon a philosophy and that philosophy is apparent in my daily life.

Updated on 2 July 16:

Related post:
How to recession proof your life?



Hi Ak,

Something to ponder about ...

Reits: Time to end tax breaks?

Can't tell if there are going to be more tax breaks, partial, or complete removal. My crystal ball is very hazy for this matter.

All I know is if the tax breaks are to be removed, I'm pretty certain the market would react to it negatively as it's one of the fundamentals of S-reits.

Looks like another reason to focus on war chest developments.

Any thoughts?

AK71 said...

Hi Solidcore,

Goh Eng Yeow's article in today's papers? I read that too. :)

Personally, my bet is on the incentives to be renewed for another 5 years. There is, of course, a chance that not all the incentives might be renewed but it is highly unlikely that all incentives would be removed.

The incentive which matters most to investors is income tax exemption. As long as this incentive is renewed, there is really no reason why S-REITs should be sold down. If they should be sold down in such an instance, I would probably be buying more, all else remaining equal. ;)

However, with interest rates more likely to increase than reduce this year and next, we probably shouldn't be loading up on S-REITs which are highly geared in a big way unless Mr. Market's pessimism should overshoot on the downside. :)

SeeKayGo said...

Personally I think potential interest rates hike play a significant role in S-REITs performance as a whole.

But at the same time, S-REITs generate decent dividend to shareholders.

AK, looking at the market sentiment, what's your thought of S-REITs holding ratio for individual investment portfolio? And which industry would be a safer bet looking at the potential market development?

AK71 said...

Hi SeeKay,

I believe that some S-REITs are better run than others even in the currently less preferred industrial properties space. :)

If we are investing for income, S-REITs will always remain relevant in our portfolio. As always, take care not to overpay and we should do well enough. We have to remember that if we pay a premium to valuation, we must have a very good reason to do so.

As interest rates rise, companies with less debt would be less adversely affected. Natural beneficiaries of rising interest rates would be banks and finance companies as NIMs should improve.

So, increasing the proportion of such investments in our portfolio sounds like a logical thing to do. :)

AK71 said...

Reit incentives expected to be renewed but not any rollback in cooling measures.


Sillyinvestor said...

Hi Ak,

The tax expiry is for foreign owned properties only. Singapore owned properties not affected. Also, it will affect new purchases after March 2015 if the rebate comes to pass.

So s-reit with minimal or no exposure overseas will not be as badly hit as compared to say Ireit or Lippo with all properties overseas...

Actually, I wanted to post something else as a comment. One good thing about eating frugally is when u do give indo your eating indulgences, it feel like heaven!!

I fought KFC craving for a month, when I fianllu decided to give myself a break... Wow it's the best KFC I had LOL

Bad SI, ask people to eat KFC

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

Aiyoh, with all the money you have saved from packing lunch to work daily, you should reward yourself de. ;)

Remember to buy KFC online. Much cheaper. Each piece of fried chicken is less than $2.00 if purchased online. Even indulge must save money lah. ;p

Siew Mun said...

Might want to keep a close watch over Budget Day:

A slew of tax incentives for the Singapore Reit market introduced in 2005, and renewed in 2010. They expire on March 31 this year, unless renewed in this Budget. - See more at:

AK71 said...

Hi Siew Mun,

Although expectations are for the incentives to be renewed, one can never be sure. Crossing fingers. ;)

Siew Mun said...

Saw in the newspaper on new CPF Enhanced Scheme. I am comparing whether to go for Enhanced Scheme or top up my wife's SA as she is a housewife. I target both me and wife should have $1,200 each.

Any thots?

AK71 said...

Hi Siew Mun,

By enhanced scheme, are you referring to the proposed higher ceiling for topping up of our CPF-SAs?

Well, I think that contributing to your wife's SA would give her greater financial security and autonomy. She would appreciate it too. :)

Anonymous said...

hi ak,

just wonder if it is possible to keep topping up SA (say 7k per year as of now) til 245k for the enhanced scheme and later opt the 80k basic scheme at age 55, while leaving the excess money (sum above 80k) to earn interest(2.5% to 4%) in CPF? You can withdraw any sum of money in the excess once a year. Isn't that the best of both worlds?

Or would the CPF board stipulate that topping up of minimum sum money with its int earned thru the years would only goes towards the 245k enhanced scheme? hmmmm...

AK71 said...

Hi donquixote,

That sounds like a plan. I don't know if it works that way. I think we will have to wait for the actual mechanism to be finalised before we would be able to tell. ;)

Anonymous said...

hi AK,

just discovered that for enhanced scheme, we can only use $19000 above the full retirement fund from CPF and $65000 cash (from one's personal saving) to top up at age 55 from $161k to $245k.

That is so sad! Why must they keep asking for cash from us? =(

Last page of the infographics will explain.

AK71 said...

Hi donquixote,

For me, it is a good thing as I would like to inject more cash into my CPF-SA, if possible. Any money in excess of what is needed by the MS in the RA, I would leave in the OA and SA to earn higher interest.

Of course, what I do really depends on the interest rate environment by the time I hit 55 years of age too. ;p

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