$$$ KPO and CZM $$$

Monday, April 23, 2018

Expenses - March 2018

My expenses for March is extremely high and it is kinda depressing @_@" The bulk of it is either for Vacation or Wedding which is fine but I made a stupid mistake that cost us $200!

Current Profile: 28 years old male planning to get married this year and is still living with his parents

KPO Expenses for March 2018

Let me recompute the expenses (Vacation and Wedding) from our mutual fund (KPO Expense Fund), you can read more about how we manage our finances here. Technically, the expenses for March should be $6,058.76 - (($333.40 + $237.32 + $1070 + $139.9) / 2) = $4,278.14.

I blogged about how we use miles to redeem one-way SIA Suites air tickets to the United States, New York previously - Redeeming KrisFlyer Miles for Singapore Airlines Suites = 38.6% Cashback! We booked an Alaska Airlines flight from New York to San Fransico for US$246.62 (SG$333.40).

Singapore Citizens visiting the United States are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program but would still be required to apply for authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which cost US$14 if you apply through the legitimate site - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. I am always pretty careful but not sure what happened that day, I went to this site - http://www.esta.us/singapore.html and was eventually redirected to https://www.evisaonline.com/en/usa/esta.html which cost us US$88 instead (SG$237.32). I only came to realize it now while blogging about it. Zzz.

CZM and her family have this Travel Fund where they will contribute on a daily basis - working adult contributes $2 per day while the student contributes $1 per day. I thought this is a pretty interesting idea/way of managing money too. Long story short, they have been saving for 4/5 years with the goal of traveling to New Zealand. CZM asked me to tag along to enjoy the economy of scale as there will be no additional cost for things such as car rental and accommodation. A 2 weeks New Zealand vacation for $2,800 (all expenses included) seems like a pretty good deal?

We paid the second deposit to the bridal shop, Rico-A-Mona after selecting the suits and gowns for both the prewedding and actual day and bought some random stuff/props for the pre-wedding photoshoot.

I previously blogged about my promotion and increment - Salary - You Are Your Best Investment and it was only effective from February so I gave my parents more allowance as well.

My food expenses are exceptionally low because I stay with my parents! Most of it is incurred when I am out with CZM.

Technically, this is not a real expense (100% covered by company's insurance/benefits) but I decided to include it to keep the expenses tracking more realistic. CZM and I go to the dental every 6 months for cleaning/scaling. During the last visit, the dentist asked if I have been brushing my teeth too hard because I have receding gum. After that, I went to google about it and 1 of the cause is aging. Hmm...

This is a fixed monthly cost for the basic coverage - term life and hospitalization.

The $69.97 is the installment for Surface Pro which I got about 2 years back. One of my hobbies is money/notes collection and I expense it off because I kept some nice notes which I received during CNY. The hobby started when my dad gave me his collection which included a $50 orchid series note!

I would always pay for CZM's cab ride home during night time since I am too lazy to send her home. That was one of our agreement. lol.

Public transportation seems a lot lower because of 2 reasons:
1. I am no longer using EZ Link Auto-Reload. Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) is a much better choice as you pay what you use instead of triggering top up where the money is stored in the EZ Link card. The best part is miles can be earned too (using UOB PRVI Mastercard)!
2. $0.50 Discount for commuters who enter stations before 7.45am on weekdays.

Went to a temple and donated.

Nothing worth mentioning.

There was the $8 million ToTo draw. Shared $10 with CZM and the rest with colleagues. The fastest way to retire did not materialize. lol.

Watched Black Panther + popcorn.

January 2018 - $2,256.43
February 2018 - $1,759.01
March 2018 - $4,278.14

Total expenses for 2018: $8,293.58
Average expenses per month for 2018: $2,764.53

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Monday, April 16, 2018

DBS Multiplier + SSBs + Joint Account = Higher Interest!

Some of the readers might know that we have changed our bank accounts from OCBC 360 to DBS Multiplier when it was revamped last year and I blogged about it here - Free $5 for DBS Multiplier Account Holder. The free $5 is still available (until 30th June 2018)!

In my opinion, the DBS Multiplier is by far the most generous bank/account when it comes to fulfilling/meeting the various defined categories (credit card spend, home loan, insurance and investments). Firstly, it awards you for having a higher salary and there is even a way to double it through the use of joint account! I shall elaborate further later. Next, it does not encourage spending, even a $1 credit card spend will mean that one can meet that category (proven - this is what CZM has been doing).

Last but not least, all/most of the investments category (e.g. OCBC 360 and SCB Bonus$aver) has been a scam which requires you to either purchase an eligible insurance product or invests in a unit trust with them - things which we will never do. Naturally, we dismissed the investments category for the Multiplier account when we first signed up for it. It turns out that the investments category can be met simply from dividend crediting from CDP. With this knowledge, I came up with a theoretical way (not proven yet, we will only know 7 months later. lol) to increase our interest!

Step 1
Open a joint account with your spouse/another half (If he/she does not exist, you can skip to the next step or find one quickly. Hahaha). You should have 2 Multiplier accounts + 1 joint account.

The reason for having a joint account is because the total salary credited to the joint account will be considered as a salary credit for the Multiplier account. This could potentially bump the couple up to the next category (e.g. ≥S$2,500 to <S$5,000 to ≥S$5,000 to <S$15,000) which gives more interest! Furthermore, with 2 Multiplier accounts, the cap for the bonus interest is essentially doubled to $100k. One thing to take note of is that the joint account should only be used as a "pass through" account. Keep the minimum balance (we are looking at POSB Everyday Savings Account with $500 minimum balance) needed and transfer the relevant amount/salary to the Multiplier account because the interest awarded is based on the balance in the Multiplier account only.

Step 2
Build a bond ladder using 6 SSBs (Singapore Saving Bonds). Bonds pay a fixed coupon (similar to stocks paying dividends) at fixed interval and has a maturity date where one can get back the principal/invested value. A bond ladder is made up of multiple bonds that pay coupons at different intervals with different maturity dates. This is a more conservative strategy/form of passive income for retirement. This is just a quick introduction, do read up more on bonds elsewhere!

I believe everyone should be familiar or have at least heard of SSB. It is issued/backed by our government and unlike the normal/actual bond, it will not be affected by the rising interest rate environment. Bonds typically trade like stocks with buy and sell price and its price will fall when interest rate increases but you do not have to worry about that with SSB. The minimum investment per SSB is $500 and the transaction cost is only $2. To build a bond ladder, simply buy a $500 SSB for the next 6 months. Since the SSB pays coupon/interest every 6 months, you will receive dividend crediting every month for the next 10 years! lol. You will also need to go to the SGX CDP portal and ensure that the account specified in the Direct Crediting Service is the joint account.

Having said that, is it really worth the effort? The answer is it depends! I have build a simple calculator for you to compute the difference in interest. Simply modify the deposit you have, the monthly transaction (total salary credit + estimated credit card spend) and let the formula do the magic! To simplify the computation, I have made some naive assumptions:
- Invest the minimum ($500) to SSB
- The deposit is kept constant
- The T&Cs of the Multiplier account will remain the same (we have all seen/experience how the different banks change the interest rate awarded or the T&Cs)

Here you go - KPO Calculator for Multiplier + SSB

Let me know what are your thoughts :)

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
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4. Instagram - KPO_and_CZM (Did you see those delicious food photos to the right -->)

Friday, April 13, 2018

StashAway New Update - Transactions

I updated the StashAway mobile application and was playing with it. Holy! They have finally revamped the "Transactions" tab. Not sure if they did it much earlier or recently but I only discovered it today.

Although we decided to invest more money through StashAway and I blogged about it here - Automating Capital Growth Through StashAway. I have been complaining about 2 things:
- Limited visibility into the transactions in the UI (everything can be found in the monthly statement but that requires the user to wait a few weeks for it)
- Exchange rate (SGD deposit to USD) cannot be found in the UI or monthly statement (this can be reversed/computed from the USD cash flow in the monthly statement)

This was part of the review I left on Seedly and prior to that, I gave the same feedbacks to
Michele and Freddy when we met again earlier this year in StashAway's new office. I am pretty sure I am not the only one complaining/giving these feedbacks but I am glad they have made the relevant changes to these things that annoy the hell out of me.

In my last update (StashAway - March 2018), I highlighted that StashAway is finally proving the information on the currency conversion. At the back of my mind, I was thinking it would be great if the same information can be provided/displayed for previous months and my wish was granted. lol.

Do you see a difference? It now contains the real/actual transactions such as buy, sell and dividends! I can also filter the transaction type to see transactions which I am interested in.

With the above information, I quickly compare it against the historical exchange rate on XE. The "close" rate from XE is captured as of 00:00 UTC on that day.

It seems that the exchange rate provided by StashAway are pretty decent and are definitely much better than the banks and money changers! A difference of about USD $1.67 for exchanging SGD $5,940 to USD $4,457.44.

The chart in the mobile application is interactive now and captures monthly snapshots. Interestingly, the web/browser chart is not interactive at all! KPO complaining again. lol.

Based on my own tracking, the snapshot is most likely based on the market value for the last day of the month. Having seen how bits and pieces of StashAway changed over the last few months, I am pretty satisfied with it now.

How do you find StashAway so far? Any other complaints/feedbacks?

You might be interested in these articles too:
Who has the lowest fees? StashAway vs Smartly vs AutoWealth
Effects of Fees on Returns - StashAway vs Smartly vs AutoWealth

StashAway Referral Link for Our Readers
Here you go: KPO and CZM Referral Link

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
1. FB Page - KPO and CZM
2. Twitter - KPO and CZM
3. Click here to subscribe using email :)
4. Instagram - KPO_and_CZM (Did you see those delicious food photos to the right -->)