$$$ KPO and CZM $$$: April 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Expenses - March 2019

We went to the first Southeast Asia Pokemon Safari event in Sentosa and CZM managed to catch a shiny Lapras! KPO was not as lucky :'(

Current Profile: 29 years couple who got married recently but staying separately with our own parents while waiting for the BTO project to be completed this year.

Our total expenses were $6,954.84! The breakdown would be as follows:

KPO Expense Fund (our common fund): $3,383.45

KPO: $2,576.78

CZM: $994.61

Vacation continues to be our biggest expense.

We will be travelling to the USA/Canada due to Cathay Pacific blunder - Thank You Cathay Pacific! Another First Class Flight on American Airlines. This is the deposit/installment (2/4) for a private glacier kayaking and camping tour we signed up for by Compass Heli Tours. The plan is to take a helicopter into the middle of nowhere in British Columbia, kayak in the glacier lake and camp/stay in the 5 billion stars hotel where the temperature could go below zero. Hopefully, the experience will be as magical as the price (~SGD$5,165).

We booked quite a few flights:
- Scoot from Singapore (SIN) to Vietnam, Hanoi (HAN) and back
- Air Canada from Washington D.C. (IAD) to Toronto (YYZ)
- Air Transat from Toronto (YYZ) to Calgary (YYC)
- Air Canda from Vancouver (YVR) to Washington D.C. (IAD)

I know, it is crazy...

I blogged about this previously
$1,282 - NAS (Network Attached Storage) @ Portfolio - February 2019
$92.45 - Lazada Surprise Box - Save or Waste Money? + random stuff

$1,360 - This is the total amount we are giving to our parents as allowance.

$586.77 - Our combined food expenses are still on the low side because we are still staying with our parents and I usually skip lunch.

$388 - Attended a wedding at PARKROYAL on Pickering (with CZM)

$187.40 - Cab
$134.73 - Our EZ Link/Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) for the month

$192.00 - This is a fixed monthly cost for the basic coverage - term life and hospitalization. The premium for the hospitalization went up...

$148 - Went for a biannual dental appointment for cleaning/scaling. Not an actual expense because I can claim all of them back from my company.

$21.65 - Darling, Cab: Not an actual expense because CZM can claim cab for doing OT. This is normally excluded but I am lazy to clean it up.

$15.50 - Darling, Watsons: It seems that CZM will always buy something from Watson almost every month for it to become a category by itself. No idea what she bought. Hahaha.

$8.70 - Darling, Online Shopping: CZM bought some socks from Lazada.

$35.60 - Treated family, friends and colleagues to food/drinks.

$28 - Entertainment: Watched a movie + popcorn together.

$10 - Gambling: Toto, the fastest way to fulfill our millionaire dream.

Our combined expenses would have been only ~$2,700+ after removing those large one time expenses (Vacation, Me and Gift). Till next time!

January 2019 - $11,712.06
February 2019 - $7,301.63
March 2019 - $6,954.84

Total expenses for 2019: $25,968.53
Average expenses per month for 2019: $8,656.18

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 --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)

Friday, April 19, 2019

StashAway - March 2019

Yay! Long weekend! Happy Good Friday and Easter everyone! We will be going to the pokemon event in Sentosa tomorrow. Will you be there too? Hahaha.

Anyway, we have 3 portfolios now due to our new strategy - New Strategy: StashAway + Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS):
KPO and CZM Cash - StashAway Risk Index 20%
KPO SRS - StashAway Risk Index 13%
CZM SRS - StashAway Risk Index 13%

1. PORTFOLIO SUMMARY (as of the last day of the month)


Based on the statement (31 March 2019), KPO made $371.11 and CZM made $12.04.


As of 19 April 2019, the market has recovered quite significantly!
KPO: $995.48 (+12.0% - Capital: $17,750)
CZM: $21.02 (+4.4% - Capital: $750)

Note that these are reported in USD.

KPO and CZM Cash - StashAway Risk Index 20%

KPO SRS - StashAway Risk Index 13%

CZM SRS - StashAway Risk Index 13%
Our StashAway SRS accounts are showing a slight difference now due to fees being deducted from my account.


KPO and CZM Cash - StashAway Risk Index 20%:
SGD $451.73 converted to USD $333.11
Exchange Rate: 1.3561 (1.3605 last month)

KPO SRS - StashAway Risk Index 13%:
SGD $247.10 converted to USD $182.18
Exchange Rate: 1.3563 (1.3499 last month)

CZM SRS - StashAway Risk Index 13%:
SGD $247.40 converted to USD $182.40
Exchange Rate: 1.3563 (1.3499 last month)

As you can see, the "bug" has been fixed.


The fee stated is based on the monthly-average assets SGD $17,307.26 x 0.8% / 365 days * 31 days = $11.76 which is definitely incorrect. It should have been ($17,307.26 - $10,000) x 0.8% / 365 days * 28 days = $4.96. As mentioned previously, I was given a $10 credit because the referral promotion did not kick in last month.

No fee for CZM for the first 6 months.

StashAway VS STI ETF
Since there is no way to compare the performances among the robo-advisors, I came out with a spreadsheet to track our StashAway portfolio performance (General Investing - Risk Level 28) against that of STI ETF which I will be updating on a monthly basis. For simplicity, I shall assume that one can either invest in Nikko STI ETF using POSB Invest-Saver or invest in Nikko STI ETF/SPDR STI ETF using SCB Priority Online Trading (no minimum commission). These would be the opportunity costs while we continue to invest in StashAway.

Apart from the absolute P&L, we should also look at the Reward-to-Risk Ratio where risk/volatility is taken into account. For more information, do read StashAway Clarifications - Reward-to-Risk Ratio. StashAway has the highest ratio of 1.25 which is significantly higher than the other 2 STI ETFs (< 0.4). Let me quote Freddy Lim (Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer of StashAway), "for every dollar of risk taken, StashAway P28 is producing 1.25 times the return".

This is updated till 19th April 2019 and is based on only 1 of our portfolio - KPO and CZM Cash - StashAway Risk Index 20%.

This month commentary: 
Yay, all the simulated investments are green now. Going forward it will be even more interesting when the commissions/fees incurred by StashAway exceed that of POSB Invest-Saver. This will be a battle between cheaper/lesser fees and asset allocation/diversification...


Looking at the time-weighted return, we can see that StashAway is "outperforming" the STI ETF (both excluding fees). In addition, it has lower volatility and max drawdown.

Which is the best? Only time will tell :)

This is the link to our spreadsheet - KPO & CZM StashAway Portfolio VS STI ETF which I have also added to Our Portfolio page.

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

You might be interested in previous months update too:
StashAway - December 2018
StashAway - January 2019 - $16,051.10
StashAway - February 2019 - $17,397.81
StashAway - March 2019 - $18,780.96

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 --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Whole Life Insurance - Do We Really Need Them?

A few weeks ago, a friend approached me and asked for my advice on a whole life insurance plan that his agent tried to sell him. He is not finance/investment savvy so as much as I would like to tell him to "buy term insurance and invest the rest", it is definitely not something he is going to be comfortable with.

Another reason why he is more interested in whole life as compared to term insurance is that he wants the cash value that comes with it. Majority of the people want something back after paying all those premium for many years. Anyway, I got him to send me the policy/projection document.

The policy is Family3 by Great Eastern. My friend will have to pay a $6,000 annual premium for the next 15 years and the minimum sum assured (death benefit) is $87,745. Once the premium term ends, he will be getting a guaranteed payout (2% of the sum assured) for the rest of his life.

Death Benefit
Surrender Value
Illustrated Yield upon surrender based on non-guaranteed projection
Survival Benefits + Cash Bonus
Anyway, I copied the above tables in the policy document to a spreadsheet for easy reference and comparison. When I looked at the illustrated yield upon surrendering the policy, the return is simply poor. A random thought then came into my mind - can we use CPF SA as a substitute for whole life insurance?

We can answer this question by looking at the concerns whole life insurance can address:
- Leaving a sum of money behind for the family/dependants upon death
- Getting back some of the money/premium after X number of years (term insurance cannot fulfil)

Anyway, I went ahead and projected what my friend will be getting if he were to use the whole life insurance premium to top up his CPF SA instead. It is worth noting that I have excluded the tax savings one can get when topping up their CPF SA for ease of computation/comparison too. You can read this to find out more - CPF RSTU - Is It Worth It?

For the benefit of the doubt, I will also be using the higher non-guaranteed (4.35%) projection for all comparison too.

Upon Death

From the first year to year 12/13, the whole life insurance provides better coverage but after the crossover point (year 12/13), one can expect to leave behind more money simply by topping up their CPF SA. In my opinion, the risk can be easily mitigated by purchasing a term insurance at a fraction of the cost for similar/higher coverage and cancelling it after year 12/13 (totally optional) to ensure death coverage throughout. This particular insurance is also interesting because the insured person will receive an annual payout as part of his survival benefit (similarly, there are both guaranteed and non-guaranteed). However, even after adding all the survival benefit, CPF SA still provides a higher guaranteed return/coverage upon death.

If you have been influenced by fake news previously, thinking that one will never get back their CPF even upon death, read this - What happens to your CPF savings when you pass away?

Upon Surrendering Policy

Now if you plan to buy a whole life insurance with the intention of surrendering it eventually to get the cash value back, please don't. You will be losing money almost all the way because the comparison uses the "best" case non-guaranteed scenario.

This may/may not be true for the other whole life insurance but I am pretty sure the return will be higher with CPF. Having said that, don't take my words for it, go ahead and calculate/project it yourself. In the end, my friend decided not to get the whole life insurance too.

So what are your thoughts? Do we really need whole life insurance?

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 --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Another Bad Deal - Merger of OUE Commercial REIT & OUE Hospitality Trust

An announcement was recently made on the merger of OUE Commercial REIT and OUE Hospitality Trust. I took a look and realized how the merger is a bad deal for both the existing shareholders. In addition, this happened after the OUE Commercial REIT rights issue less than a year ago - OUE Commercial REIT Rights Issue - Very Very Very Bad Deal which meant a double blow for OUE Commercial REIT shareholders.

OUE Hospitality Trust shareholders will be receiving $0.04075 cash + 1.3583 new OUE Commercial REIT shares for every existing OUE Hospitality Trust share. Let's look at the numbers to see why I deemed it as a bad deal.

OUE Hospitality Trust (Before Merger)

Numbers from OUE Hospitality Trust 2018 Annual Report
Last Close: $0.735
NAV: $0.75
PB: 0.980
DPU: 0.0499
Dividend Yield: 6.79%

OUE Commercial REIT (Before Merger)

Last Close: $0.52
NAV: $0.71
PB: 0.732
DPU: 0.0348
Dividend Yield: 6.69%

After Merger

Pro Forma DPU
Pro Forma NAV
Pro Forma Aggregate Leverage
You can see that the pro forma numbers are based on the issue price of $0.57 per new OUE Commercial REIT share.

Issue Price: $0.57
NAV: $0.62
PB: 0.919
DPU: 0.0348
Dividend Yield: 6.11%

What this means for OUE Hospitality Trust shareholders:
- The "buyout" is at below book value/NAV
- You got diluted/the dividend yield drops for the "same" investment

What this means for OUE Commercial REIT shareholders:
- You got diluted big time as the NAV decreases by ~12.7%
- The pro forma DPU shows an increase of 0.0341 to 0.0348 but 0.0341 is not the actual DPU for FY 2018. Unable to determine if it is truly yield accretive as stated
- Increase in gearing/leverage
- Potential decrease in price because OUE Commercial REIT has almost never traded near book value/NAV. Using the pro forma NAV of $0.62 and assuming it trades around 0.8 PB (giving it a little premium due to larger and more diversified assets base), the share price will be around $0.496

Having said that, if you think otherwise and believe that the price of OUE Commercial REIT will increase after the merger. Then there exists an opportunity for you to arbitrage by buying OUE Hospitality Trust share. You can use this spreadsheet for your analysis - Merger of OUE Commercial REIT & OUE Hospitality Trust

We will be staying away. Hope this short analysis will help all the current/future shareholders!

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 --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Honeymoon to the United States - 5 Days 4 Nights in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Continued from our previous post - Honeymoon to the United States - 3 Days 2 Nights in Los Angeles and finally, we have reached the final part to our honeymoon, Las Vegas and Grand Canyon!

Day 12
8:00AM: Drive down to Las Vegas
2:00PM: Visit Las Vegas casinos along the Strip
6:00PM: Visit Hell's Kitchen, Las Vegas


Las Vegas is approximately 435km away from Los Angeles. We checked out of our hotel in Los Angeles at around 10am and it took us 5 hours to reach Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, our hotel at Vegas. Our accommodation at Vegas is probably the cheapest among all our stays in the US - we managed to get it at around USD 60 per night, including resort fee. It does not come with free breakfast but at least there was free parking! Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is not located along the Strip, but it was a relatively short drive to the Strip (took approximately only 15-20 mins only).

I thought I had it all planned out for the night - I had made a reservation back in Singapore to have dinner at Hell's Kitchen Vegas, but to my horror, I realized I booked it with the wrong date! I was so devastated about it but KPO managed to make another booking on our last night in the US.

As a result, we decided to explore the casinos/hotels along the Strip and have our dinner there. We realized that the Venetian was one of the few hotels along the Strip that has free parking (including free valet services) and decided to head there. Saw many good reviews on Grand Lux Cafe in Venetian and decided to head there for dinner. Turned out to be a great decision as the food was good and the service was impeccable too! Some of the food pictures below.

B.B.Q. Chicken Rustic Pizza

Some chicken

Deep Dark Fudge Cake

Day 13
8:00AM Drive to Grand Canyon Skywalk & Eagle Point
12:00PM Visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk
3:00PM Drive to Best Western Premier Grand Canyon
8:00PM Visit Yavapai Point for stargazing


Grand Canyon seemed quite small on Google Map (or so I thought). I thought we could complete all the must-see attractions in two days but the drive seemed never-ending. We started by driving to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is one of the nearest attraction to Vegas (approximately two-hour drive away). It turned out that we could not drive to the Grand Canyon Skywalk at Eagle Point directly. Instead, we were directed to park at an open car park on our way there, and we had to purchase the $79 ticket per pax which entitled us to take the shuttle bus and visit the Skywalk. We felt that it was kind of pricey but decided to continue since we were already there. To enter the Skywalk, we had to wear some fabric on our shoes to prevent scratching the surface. Personally, we both felt that the view was nice, but will I pay $79 for it or recommend it? Probably not. There are cheaper ways to see similar scenery from within the national park where the entrance fee (7 days pass) is just $35 per car.

I realized I miscalculated (and grossly underestimated) the time we need to reach our hotel, which was another 300+km away from the Skywalk. So after we visited the place, we had to hurry up in order to reach the hotel before the sky darkens.

We ultimately arrived at our hotel, Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn at around 7pm. By the time we arrived, it was starting to freeze (below zero degrees!). FYI, the weather at Grand Canyon is like a desert, it can get really hot in the day and crazy cold at night. So remember to pack and dress in layers when you visit.

We chose Best Western because it was very near our next activity - stargazing at Yavapai point, which is located at around 15 mins drive away. We both developed a love for stargazing ever since we visited Lake Tekapo in New Zealand when I was on my graduation trip. We could literally see the milky way at Lake Tekapo and since then, we have been in search for a stargazing spot which can match or surpass Lake Tekapo. Yavapai Point was actually not too bad. We could literally see the sky filled with stars, though we could only see a very faint white spot in the sky which we guessed could be the milky way. We stayed there in the cold for about 30 mins before heading back to the hotel to warm ourselves up and get an early rest.

Day 14
6:00AM Drive to Antelope Canyon Tour
9:00AM Antelope Canyon

We woke up crazy early the next day because we had an Antelope Canyon Tour the next day at 9am and the Tour is approximately 220km (approximately 2.5hrs) away + there is a time difference of an hour which we almost failed to account for! So we had to wake up at 5am to pack and check out our hotel at 6am continue our drive. Fortunately, we made it in time.

We reached a small town where the tour agency was located and they have some lorries to bring the visitors to the actual location which was located about 20 mins drive away. The lorries drove off road into the sandy floor in the Canyon and most of the time I had to keep my eyes closed so that the sand does not enter into my eyes.

When we finally reached Antelope Canyon, I was in awe. The Windows Desktop wallpaper was literally right in front of me. It was huge and we were simply amazed at how erosion from flash flood could form such a majestic art piece. For anyone who is visiting Grand Canyon, you have to definitely visit this place!

The guide told us to add some filter

Without filter

The tour ended at around 11am, and we decided to head to the famous Horseshoe Bend which was just a 30 min drive away. The view was absolutely gorgeous as well, more importantly it is free! *screams with joy* We see many crazy people there who actually climbed beyond the fences/barricades to take pictures. Seriously, aren't your lives more important than some Insta-worthy shots?! We took some shots behind the fences, and I think they look beautiful as well!

That pretty much sums up our adventure at the Grand Canyon. A word of advice for anyone who intends to visit this beautiful national park: please leave aside at least 3 full days, unless you are okay with waking up at 5am to drive nonstop like us.

It was another long way back to Vegas - approximately 447km away. Halfway along the journey, we passed by a Walmart Superstore and decided to buy a cheap pizza for dinner there for just $5! Yes, a whole pizza for $5! It was not nice at all though, I guess you get what you pay for...

We were looking forward to the "special" treatment/check-in process but was so disappointed with the experience. We went into the Diamond Lounge and there was only 1 staff who was already serving a disputive customer. We waited for around 10 minutes and there was still no one to attend to us so we went back to the main lobby and proceed to check in immediately. KPO tried to get the resort fee waived by saying that we do not need the facilities and wireless internet access but was unsuccessful.

Day 15
Nothing much, just OTOT (Own Time Own Target)

So thankful that we have decided to be less ambitious on the last day and simply do nothing. We decided to have a hearty breakfast at the nearby The Egg and I after reading many positive online reviews about it.

It was really good, and the service was impeccable as well. Sorry couldn't remember what I ordered as I have procrastinated on this blogpost for so long, but you can easily find food recommendations online. After that, we visited the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets to do our last minute shopping for our family.

We ended the day by visiting the famous Hell's Kitchen which I missed on the first day in Las Vegas. So glad that we managed to secure a booking because by the time we reached around 5pm, we saw a long queue outside the restaurant. The Hell's Kitchen was decorated the exact same way as what was shown on TV - the burning flames outside the restaurant, the blue and red teams, the shouting in the kitchen, etc. Even the menu is the same! There's the beef wellington, the risotto, etc. And most importantly, we both enjoyed the food there. Highly recommend it to anyone visiting Vegas!

Beef Wellington

Lobster Risotto
After dinner, we went to watch the Bellagio Fountain Show and walked around the Vegas Strip.

Once back at Westgate Las Vegas Resort, we decided to splurge whatever leftover money we have in the casino, hoping to recoup some of our expenses. We were so wrong. We ended up spending all of our remaining money (which thankfully isn't a lot left) at the casino.

Day 16
Emotional day as we packed up to catch the flight early in the morning back to Singapore (unearthly hour at 4.30am again!), this time on Economy class instead of First class... The only thing to look forward to is our 8 hours layover at Haneda airport in Tokyo which could allow us to eat some Ichiran Ramen and Japanese dessert at Shiseido Parlour Salon De Cafe in Ginza before heading back to Singapore.

Shiseido Parlour Salon De Cafe. Atas and overprice...

All in all, this is definitely not the usual honeymoon that couples do, and also one of the most exhausting trips for us too. However, I still loved it as we managed to cover many areas and most of what we had planned out to do. Hopefully, this can help other people in their US itinerary planning too!

Till our next adventure!

You might be interested in these blog posts too:
Honeymoon to the United States - 3 Days 2 Nights in Los Angeles
Honeymoon to the United States - 2 Days 2 Nights in Silicon Valley and Cambria
Honeymoon to the United States - 3 Days 2 Nights in Yosemite
Honeymoon to the United States - 2 Days 2 Nights in San Francisco
Honeymoon to the United States - 3 Days 2 Nights in New York
Honeymoon to the United States - Total Expenses
Honeymoon to the United States - Renting a $275,888 Mercedes Benz Convertible with Hertz
Singapore Airlines Suites Experience - SQ26 Singapore to New York
Singapore Airlines Suites Experience - The Private Room
Redeeming KrisFlyer Miles for Singapore Airlines Suites = 38.6% Cashback!

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 --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)