Thursday, December 8, 2016

5 Days Trip In Hong Kong and Macau - Day 1

I just came back from a trip in Hong Kong with my family and my girlfriend joined in too for the first time with my familt. This trip took quite awhile to plan as I've never been to Hong Kong before. I had to read other people's blog and study the map and their train system in order to understand how to get around.

Hong Kong is not exactly a cheap place to travel. For this trip, it wasn't really a budget trip, In total, we had spent around $1200 per person for just 5 days. For flights and accommodation, it was not budget too. We took Singapore airlines and stayed in a 4 star hotel. It was actually my first time travelling on Singapore airlines as an adult.

Day 1

Flying off at 9:55am, we had ample sleep before going to the airport. Singapore airlines had food provided and it was quite good. This was my first full meal on a plane.

I had the scrambled eggs with sausage and potatoes while my girlfriend had some noodles

We arrived at around 2:30pm due to some delays at the Hong Kong airport as it was peak period. I had arranged for an airport shuttle bus transfer directly to the hotel. Other ways to get to the city include taking the airport express or their MRT trains which is called MTR. The hotel we stayed in was called Metropark hotel Kowloon. It wasn't really near to the MTR so it was a bit inconvenient. The walk to the MTR takes about 10-15 minutes which can be tiring after a long days walk.

Hong Kong is always known as a first world city. Back in the 80s when Singapore was still developing, Hong Kong was already a metropolis. It still is till today. When we arrived in Hong Kong, tall buildings are seen everywhere.

After checking into our hotel, we went straight for dinner at Dimdim sum. This is a famous dim sum place and is known to be better than Tim Ho Wan.

We had this at the Mong Kok branch which is near to the Mong Kok MTR. The food was really good. I think this was one of the best meals we had in HK for the 5 days. The must try is the carrot cake where you can actually taste the radish and the chee cheong fun was tasty too. The polo bun wasn't really nice here so you can skip it. For polo bun, Kam Wah cafe is still the best which I will write more on it later. You can find this Dim Sum place on the map below:

After dinner, we headed off to Tsim Sha Tsui where we can see the harbour overlooking the skyscrapers at Hong Kong island. In case you didn't know, Hong Kong is made up of 3 different islands:
  1. Lantau Island
  2. Kowloon Island
  3. Hong Kong Island
Lantau island is where Disneyland and the airport is. Kowloon is famous for the ladies market and many other street activities. This was also the place where I stayed at. As for Hong Kong island, it is like their CBD area with high end shopping and offices. 

We were here at Tsim Sha Tsui for the avenue of stars and the symphony of lights. It was quite sad that the avenue of stars was under construction for upgrading but they had a smaller area called garden of stars where I suppose they shifted all the things to this small place.

The symphony of lights was a disappointment. The lights were not fascinating and there was no music at all. I think our Marina Bay Sands lights is so much better.

Feeling bored, we headed back to Mong Kok area this time to walk around the ladies market and Fa Yuen Street night market. Ladies market has many items which you can buy as souvenirs and Fa Yuen street was quite interesting with lots of performances and music all around.

There were lots of food along the streets. We manage to buy back some beancurd, shark fin soup, fish noodle soup and their famous curry fishball and had it back at the hotel. Time for an early night rest before heading to Disneyland the next day. It was actually the best part of this trip.

Stay tune for day 2 and more!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How Much Can You Make From Investment? - Sharing Of My Personal Journey

Investing is a favourite topic among those who wish to achieve financial freedom. It is also a favourite topic for those who want to have more money in their lives. We invest for a purpose don't we?

Many people ask how to start investing? I even have readers as young as 14 or 15 who ask how they can start investing. It is encouraging to know that there are many young people who want to invest. No matter what the purpose is, investing is still important to build up a nest egg for retirement.

Many people start investing because of a reason. For me, I read books and thought investing could give me a better life. It could give me more money. Money seems to be a great motivation for many people to start investing when things are getting more expensive in the world we live in.

How Much Can You Make From Investment? 

Reality starts to kick in when we lose money in investments. When we realise investing is not as easy as it seems. I too struggle for a few years before finding my right style of investing. Yes profits start to come in when you get the hang of it but honestly if we do not have a large capital to begin with, the money we make from investment is slow and little. How much can you really make from investing just $10,000? It is really quite little.

Setting financial goals for more investment capital

Realising that capital is important in investing, I set my financial goals to save up more. You can read more about my goals here. It was a painful journey. I saved up painstakingly throughout the years just to achieve a larger investment capital. Saving money became a habit after a few years because of this one goal "to achieve a larger investment capital".

However, this brought about it problems too which I've been working it out through the past 1 year. As I grow older and start preparing for my future life with my partner, I realised I cannot just keep saving through cutting expenses. There is really a limit on how much you can save. This is the beginning of another journey.

The journey to increase income

A few months back, I wrote a few posts on how I ditched my budgeting of tracking my daily expenses. This was written on April 6 2016. I also set myself out to increase my income in any way which is possible. In this way, I can still having savings while being able to have a higher expense. It is simple maths, if I earn $3000 and save $2000, I can only spend $1000 but if I earn $5000 and still save $2000, I can spend $3000. My savings is still intact while my quality of life increases.

You may have realised I write lesser on myself the past few months. I have been busy revamping my resume, finding new opportunities and going for interviews as I realise my income would rise painfully slow if I continue to stay in the same job. This was also sparked off from the encouragement of my girlfriend who encourage me to strive for a better career. The efforts paid off, I will be starting in a new job from January 2017 onwards. A new year, a new beginning.

Back to investment

Before financial freedom, there exist a stage of life where we find our direction and figure out what works and what does not work. We try investing, fail and try again. We try cutting our expenses, save up more, increase our income and then do it all over again. All these while, if we do not give up and keep on going, I believe life will work out better in itself.

The formula for better financial life is actually very simple. It is to earn more, save adequately and invest wisely. Financial freedom is not just about investing. As mentioned earlier, how much can you make from investment if you only have $10,000? Investment and financial planning must go hand in hand. It is the same as a couple in relationship, without one, the relationship will fail.

With a $100,000 capital, we can definitely make more money from investment as compared to a $10,000 capital. This is assuming we know how to invest and do it wisely. This is another problem on its own which I shall not expand in this post. Also, it is important not to lose too much money. Many people fall into scams thinking they can make more money investing in some "special" projects. Nevertheless, we do not just want to keep saving up for an investment capital and forget to enjoy life now. Lost time can never be re-winded back.

Meeting other like minded bloggers inspires me to keep on going too. The recent meet up with Uncle CW who blogs at inspired me again. He shared on how he manage to retire and even paid for his 3 children education through investing. Learning from someone who has already achieved it is a great blessing.

What have you done on your journey to financial freedom? Share with us here so we can all learn together.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Getting Insurance Advice Without An Insurance Agent with Selfcheck

Have you heard that technological advancement will disrupt the financial advisory industry? We can now buy property without a property agent through an app. How about getting a Selfcheck on your insurance needs online? Now it is possible with a new digital “adviser” on DIYInsurance.

Insurance is a tricky maze where most people are confused on what they actually need. Who can we trust to give us the most unemotional advise without any sales talk or hard selling? Feeling pressured to buy any insurance is not the way to go. We have the right to really think about what we need without any hard selling.

With a digital "adviser", all the hard selling, and the pressure to buy are all gone. We can now assess our own insurance needs at the comfort of our homes, making decisions with a clear mind without any distractions.

How Selfcheck works?

I've tried out this selfcheck and I would say I'm quite impressed at how easy it is to use and the quality of the recommendations which are given. I don't even need to spend 1 hour of my time to listen to sales talk. All it takes is just 5-10 mins to key in my personal data and then the system calculates my insurance needs and recommends the best insurance plan comparing various companies in the market. If you did not know, DIYInsurance is also an insurance comparison web portal.

My Selfcheck results

I tried to key in my details and got some results which I'm quite happy about. Here's how simple it is to do a selfcheck and the results which I got:

First, they will ask for some personal details such as your name, date of birth and annual income

After which, there will be some questions on assessing our financial needs and health.

Thirdly, will be some basic questions on our employment status and expectations

And lastly, the results are generated out

For my protection needs, the digital adviser recommended 4 main insurance:
  1. Death
  2. Critical Illness
  3. Disability Income
  4. Healthcare
If you realise, all the recommendations are for insurance needs only. There are no savings plans, endowment or investment link policies involved. This is in line with what I believe that insurance should just be for insurance coverage and not be complicated with savings or investment. I don't have to pay high fees to save and invest when I can do it myself at very low fees. 

Honest advise and trusted service

Talking about fees, in case you did not know, DIYInsurance staff are not commission based which is very different from normal insurance advisers out there. They are all salaried base which means they do not get extra money from recommending any insurance plans you do not need. 

However, the quality of service still maintains the same. There is a dedicated adviser assigned to each person and in the event of a claim, they can approach their adviser to process it. They also have a Client Service Management team to help on any needs which you may have. 

Save on your insurance?

Because of the selfcheck digital adviser platform, processes become more efficient which allows DIYInsurance to pass on greater cost savings to their clients. They are increasing the rebate of agent’s commissions from 30% to 50% back to you. This is a straight 50% cost savings on the commissions which is paid to the company. As mentioned before, DIYInsurance staff are salaried so the commissions are actually paid to the company like a referral fee which all other insurance companies pay to their agent too.

As what I understand from them, the commission rebates are not just for 1 year, they are for as long as the insurer pays them (usually 3-6 years along). This is really a good initiative from them to pass cost savings to their clients.

DIYInsurance is MAS licensed since 2003 and is a trusted place to be insured. I've personally interacted with their staff before and know that they really want to serve people well. Try out the new selfcheck digital adviser and see for yourself the new era of financial advisory.

This article was written in collaboration with DIYInsurance. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinions of

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

A New Era With A New US President - How Will The Future Change?

As we all have heard, Donald Trump's winning the US presidential election was quite a shock to most people. It was a shock because people are afraid he will do drastic changes to policies affecting trade around the world which causes instability.

Just last week, President Obama backs off Pacific trade deal vote effort, which is known to us as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. This is an important trade deal and if it does not come true, it could be a big set back. In October this year, PM Lee warns of harm to US' standing if TPP isn't ratified. The TPP, co-founded by Singapore, aims to create a giant free-trade zone and give the 12 countries access to 800 million consumers, representing one-third of global trade. It is a key thrust of the US' foreign policy in Asia aimed at balancing China's rising influence in the Asia-Pacific. There have been lots of talks during the APEC summit in Peru where details are still being sorted out for the trade pact.

There are many questions to how the world will change. In particular for us in Singapore, how will it affect us? Singapore is a small country and we have depended on trade to survive for the longest time now. If trade is affected, some jobs in Singapore may be lost. We may find ourselves unemployable as jobs we are familiar with begin to disappear.

LinkedIn published a report on the most in-demand skills in 2017 globally. It was quite interesting to see what kind of jobs are in demand now and you'll be surprised a lot are in fairly new areas.

Here are the hottest, most in-demand skills around the globe according to LinkedIn:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing

2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

3. Web Architecture and Development Framework

4. Middleware and Integration Software

5. User Interface Design

6. Network and Information Security

7. Mobile Development

8. Data Presentation

9. SEO/SEM Marketing

10. Storage Systems and Management

From what I see, the jobs that are in demand have changed quite a lot from the past. Most of the skills are not even taught in our traditional schools which we graduated from. I understand why cloud computing and statistical analysis are at the top. These 2 skills are very important for the future technologies which will be the forefront of what is to come globally.

Even in Singapore, we are embarking on many technology changes to increase productivity and also the smart nation project. The recent forming of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) also shows how serious the government is in future technologies.

More data analysts will be needed as we will have more data in the future in our super connected world. Data is a resource which can be used to generate new business and profits and economic growth for the country. Cloud computing will change how we do business as hardware becomes virtualised in the cloud.

The labour movement in Singapore, NTUC, leveraging on its extended network of partners, also announced that they will set up a new unit next year to identify work opportunities of the future to help better match workers to up-and-coming jobs. The first five sectors they will start pilot projects in by 2019 are financial services, infocomm technology and media, precision engineering, healthcare and education. This seems to send a signal that these sectors will see increased demand in Singapore for the many years to come and that workers should continue to upskill to remain relevant and future ready. 

Singapore's non oil domestic exports sinks 12 percent in October as reported just last week. This is not good news for the Singapore's economy as US is more likely to shrink trade further. I've never been through a bad recession in my life since I started working. The closest was the European sovereign debt crisis which was averted because help was rendered out to the few troubled nations. I've heard of people being retrenched and even hear from my colleagues that my company freeze annual increments and decrease bonus payouts when times were bad back then.

Are you ready for the new era? Are your skills ready for the future? In this dynamic economic climate, it bodes well to ask yourself if you are adequately prepared for technological disruptions that might take away your job.

This article was written in collaboration with the National Trade Union Congress. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinions of

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Comparing The Best Credit Cards In Singapore - Receive additional $30 worth of GV or NTUC Vouchers When You Apply For These Credit Cards

Christmas is coming and there are many Christmas shopping to do plus its the season of giving. Besides giving gifts to others, this Christmas, why not receive some gifts for yourself too simply by applying some of the cards below.

Singsaver helps us compare and see which are the best credit cards available. And for a limited time only, they will be giving away $30* Golden Village or NTUC vouchers when you apply for any of the credit cards now through my blog. Promotion valid for a limited time only. See instructions below on how to get the additional vouchers.

Besides this, they are giving you more treats and rewards to save more! Get cash back and discounts with the following cards, plus receive $50 Grab, Zalora or Chope voucher of your choice upon card approval.  Shop, eat and enjoy a comfortable ride back home. Enjoy this Christmas season without burning a hole in your wallet!

Let's look at some of the best cards below:

Best Cashback Cards

ANZ Optimum World MasterCard Credit Card (5% cashback)

($30 GV or NTUC vouchers + $50 Grab, Zalora or Chope voucher of your choice when you apply in December 2016)

This card gives you 5% cash back on your chosen category per calendar quarter - Dining, Travel, Shopping, Groceries and 1% cashback on all other retail spend. There is no minimum spend required but a minimum of $10 per transaction to earn cash rebate.

This card seems to be a good deal but it is only available for those who earn an annual income of $80,000 or more. If you earn that salary, it is definitely a good card to have. There is also a Online Exclusive until March 17: Up to $168 Cash Rebate + 28” Luggage.

American Express True Cashback Card

($30 GV or NTUC vouchers + $50 Grab, Zalora or Chope voucher of your choice when you apply in December 2016)

If you do not earn a high income like $80,000 a year, there are still cards which you can get to give you cash back. The American Express True Cashback Card just needs a minimum income of $30,000 and gives 3% cash back for the first 6 months on any spending. There is no minimum spending too. After 6 months, the cash back is 1,5% on any spend. This to me is quite flexible and quite a good way to save on some expenses.

To me, this is the best card for cash back with no strings attached and no minimum spending. you will also get $30 GV or NTUC vouchers + $50 Grab, Zalora or Chope voucher of your choice when you apply in December 2016.

Best Deal For Dining  

OCBC 365 Credit Card

($30 GV or NTUC vouchers + $50 Grab, Zalora or Chope voucher of your choice when you apply in December 2016)

Thinking of going out for a weekday or weekend meal? OCBC 365 credit card gives you 6% cashback on weekend dining and 3% cashback on weekday or overseas dining. What's more, it gives 3% cashback on groceries at supermarkets island-wide, recurring telco bills, and all online shopping.

Not enough cashback? Furthermore, there is up to 23.9% and 18.3% of fuel savings all year round at Caltex and Esso stations, respectively plus 5% cashback on petrol on all other petrol stations. This sounds good for all drivers out there who have to pump petrol frequently.

Best Deal For Shopping

Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa Credit Card

(With $138 instant cashback + $30 GV or NTUC vouchers + $50 Grab, Zalora or Chope voucher of your choice when you apply in December 2016)

Lastly, how can we miss out cashback on shopping. This is good news for ladies but not only that, for guys who do make purchases online too, you can also get cashback for every online purchases such as air tickets, movie tickets etc.

The Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa Credit Card gives 7% cashback on online purchases and 2% cashback on selected groceries. Just charge a min of S$600 to your card within that statement cycle. I saw that they are also giving out $138 cashback for new customers.

Want to get some cashback and more?

Applying for credit cards can be a good thing as long as we know what we are doing. Problems only come when we overspend without thinking of the consequences. For those who knows what they are doing, credit card is a good tool to earn some cashback and save some money. I've been using it for this purpose all these while.

Besides the above mentioned cards, you can also compare and apply for any credit card of your choice. Apart from getting cashback, you will also get additional GV or NTUC vouchers if you sign up for a credit card and follow the instructions below:

Steps on how to redeem your GV or NTUC vouchers

You can simply refer to this page here and follow the steps to apply for the credit card of your choice and redeem the additional vouchers. It simple, just 3 steps to apply for your card.

Remember you should fill in this last page after applying for your credit card to get the additional vouchers:

Personally, I would be applying for the American Express True Cashback Card which has good cashback with no strings attached. I can also get the $40 Starbucks card and the various $70 worth of vouchers. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Credit Bureau Singapore also provides credit report for individuals like us to know where we stand in the world of credit. This is important as banks look into the report when evaluating if we can take on more loans or if we are eligible for credit cards. Look out for the next post where I will share how we can get a free credit report for ourselves.

*This is not a sponsored post
*Disclaimer: The vouchers or any promotions are awarded on approval basis only. Singsaver or the individual banks reserve the rights to reject any approval on their own discretion. Please read terms and conditions carefully to redeem the promotions.