Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Welcome 2009

So I end off the year 2008 with an estimated monthly passive income of $220.

The next goal that lies ahead for 2009 will be for me to increase my passive income to $400 per month. That will require an increase of $180 per month or $2160 per year. If I am able to find some investment vehicle that gives me a 10% cash payout annually, I will require $21,600 in cold hard cash.

Time to save up for my investments for the coming year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Drinking and Eating Your Way to Financial Freedom

Eating out is expensive. A meal for 2 at a reasonable restaurant will easily cost you $50. If it is a really nice restaurant, maybe $100 to $150.

So what is the alternative? Well... you can always eat at home of course!

This is what I had for dinner today. It wasn't cheap but compared to eating out, it is much cheaper.

I had a Campbell's Soup. It was a long time since I drank Campbell's soup and now I remember why I like it so much. They just taste so GOOD! Even better than those Soup of the Day at some restaurants. Well, for appetizer, we had Campbell's Country Style Mushroom Chicken Soup. Simply YUMMY. One can of this roughly feeds two. Sprinkle some ground pepper and eat it with bread.

For the main course, honey glazed chicken:
Well, I tore this and sandwiched it between bread, dip it into some tomato sauce and dunked it into my campbell soup. Delicious.

Drinks - Yellow Tail Chardonnay

The cost of the meal (for 2) was less than $35 =)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NOL again

Okay. I bought 2 lots of NOL at $1.16 today.
Willing to keep it for long or sell it if it manages to go up.
At current price earnings, should be pretty safe to just hold

Friday, December 19, 2008

Financial Freedom Goal Setting

I have learnt from previous workshops that goals must be SMART:

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Realistic
T - Timely

In my earlier postings, I defined financial freedom for myself as when my passive income exceeds my expenditure. I gave myself the timeline of 2022 to bring down my monthly expenses to $2800 and to bring up my monthly passive income to $2800.

Based on increasing my passive income by $2400 every year, I will be able to increase my monthly passive income by $200 each year. The plan is as such

2008 - $200 (achieved)

2009 - $400
2010 - $600
2011 - $800
2012 - $1000
2013 - $1200 (Car loan fully paid for)
2014 - $1400
2015 - $1600
2016 - $1800
2017 - $2000
2018 - $2200
2019 - $2400
2020 - $2600
2021 - $2800 (Housing loan fully paid for)

Therefore, by 2022 I will be effectively financially free! Of course, this is based on the assumption that I have paid off all my car and housing loans by then.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bank Account is Fat


Bank Account is Fat from the year end bonus.. Looking for stocks to increase my passive income again.

Tuesday :

I put a queue of 3 lots of Ascott REITs to add to my income portfolio. I shall not engage in trading. This will be kept as part of my passive income portfolio/
I might put the remainder of my cash into my Maybank iSaavy account or simply buy more stocks. I actually put a queue earlier today but did not manage to buy it. Hopefully the market tomorrow will allow me to purchase this 3 additional lots of Ascott REITs


Still did not manage to get Ascott REITs. Queued again 3 lots at same price.


Still did not manage to get any Ascott REITs. Makes me wonder whether I should have just bought the stocks at whatever price the market was selling. Updated my networth (current @$467,372)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trader or Investor

I bought 2 lots of NOL at $1.15 yesterday. Today, the price of NOL shot up to $1.34 and I sold it.

Was it right for me to sell? Only time will tell. But it seemed like too good a deal to miss. More than 10% gains in a single day.

So I guess you can call me a trader - investor. Investor because I keep some stocks for the long term. Trader because I do keep some stocks for the short term.

These are my current list of stocks:

1. First REIT
2. Ascott REIT
3. Suntec REIT
4. Pac Andes
5. Kingboard
6. Innotek
7. Unifood
8. NOL
9. China Aviation Oil
10. Hongguo

My Monthly Passive Income has hardly budged over the past month as I have not bought any income stocks. The $300 plus that I got in dividends for the Month of November will go to my Maybank iSaavy Account.

During this financial turmoil, I also have rebalanced my portfolio under my investment linked policy.

Equity markets (US, China, Europe, Emerging Markets) - 60%
Bonds, Fixed Income - 20%
Global Resources/Commodities - 20%

Hopefully this rebalancing of my portfolio will aid me in my financial freedom journey as my ILP now has over $20k in it.

Wanted to end one of my life policies but decided against it as its current surrender value is lower than all the installments I (and my parents) have paid for. My parents bought it for me when I was young and handed it over to me when I started work. While the current surrender value is very low (13k), the bonuses accumulated is close to 18k. By paying it off for another few more years, I should be able to break even and maybe surpass the installments that I have been paying for it. It is a life policy anyway so I will just treat it as part of my retirement plan.

During this period, I also increased my life insurance coverage and critical illness coverage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bonus Bonus Bonus!

Yup. The year end bonus is coming and I am expecting a nice yummy sum of money.

Have bought an additional 2 lots of NOL at $1.15 today to average down on my previous position.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Saving and Spending

Below is a list of items that I am saving for and also items that I would like to spend my money on.

I personally believe that it is important to save/invest more than 10 percent of one's salary. Of equal importance is also to spend at least 10 percent of one's salary to make your home a better place for your family.

List of things I am saving for:
1. Retirement ( est. $1,000,000) ~ currently $70k
2. Son's education (est. $150,000) ~ currently $0 saved
3. My Second Home deposit (est. $200,000) ~ currently $80k saved

List of things I want to buy:

1. A piece of Art to hang on the wall. Bright coloured. It will brighten up my house and make it a much nicer place to live in (Budget $100)

2. Window Grills. For safety reasons as my little boy grows up.

3. 3 x Soap Dispensers (Those beautiful and classy kind of soap dispensers that cost around $20 to $30 each). 1 for the kitchen and 2 for the bathrooms.

4. A nice swivel chair to use for the computer. (budget $200) Will probably buy this from Ikea

5. A door to prevent my boy from entering the kitchen. (est $400)

6. A nice chair for the living room. (budget $200)

7. An air conditioner for the living room. (not sure how much it costs)

8. A Wii / PS3 / X box (purely for entertainment sake)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Networth Main Contributor : My House

So far, one of the large ticket items that I have bought is my 4 room flat.

Based on the 3Q 2008 housing statistics obtained from HDB, my 4 room flat is worth $481,000 (based on the median price). Considering that I bought my home at just slightly above $300,000, this has by far proven to be my best "investment" (note: I do know that this is not really an investment per se)


Being Frugal

In one's journey to financial freedom, being frugal is definitely one of the criterion.

Can one be frugal and still enjoy life? I will like to think so. Many things in life can be enjoyed without spending much money.

Let's take the case of eating out.

By eating at a cheap hawker center, one saves alot more compared to eating at a fancy restaurant. And seriously, the food actually tastes pretty much the same.

Take the example of how I spent my morning today:

I took a slow walk together with my family to Margaret Drive Hawker Center. Ordered a bowl of fishball noodles (S$2.20) for my wife and duck noodles ($2.50) for myself. I topped that up with 2 x Iced Tea and a cup of coffee ($2.60) and also 2 delicious popiah ($2.40).

That was a hearty meal at less than $10. In times like this, saving up every single cent surely counts. A meal at MacDonald's would cost more than $10 definitely.

Read Related Postings:
Top 10 Money Saving Tips
My Saving and Spending List
Drinking and Eating Your Way to Financial Freedom

Invest in Gold in Singapore

Gold needs to be part of anyone's portfolio in their journey to financial freedom. Gold serves as a hedge against any inflation. Usually, people recommend that 10% of your investments be in Gold. I currently have 0% in Gold and am looking for opportunities to purchase some Gold bullion or Gold coins. Based on what I have found thus far, only UOB offers gold investments. Please see below for what UOB offers:

Gold Bars

Choose from a large variety of sizes, ranging from small gold wafers to cast kilobars. They can be bought from and sold back to the Bank with our daily buy-sell market quote.

Gold Bullion Coins
We offer the following bullion coins in various sizes, ranging from 1/20 oz to one oz:

  • Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins
  • American Eagle Gold Coins
  • Australian Kangaroo Gold Nuggets
  • Singapore Lion Gold Bullion Coins

These coins are legal tender with face value, and are accepted and traded worldwide. They can be bought from and sold back to the Bank with our daily buy-sell market quote.

Adjusted for Singapore market conditions.

Gold Certificates
These are sold in kilobars and up to a maximum of 30 kilobars per certificate. With no expiry date, these certificates can be exchanged for physical gold or cash whenever the need arises.

Gold Savings Account
You can buy and sell international gold - through a passbook - at prevailing market prices and transact any time during banking hours in units of one gm of gold, subject to a minimum of five gm per transaction.

Your gains are not subject to Singapore's Goods and Services Tax (GST) and can be exchanged for cash, whenever the need arises.

Limited to a maximum of 1,000 gm per transaction on Saturdays.

Silver Savings Account
It has never been easier to invest in silver. We have made the international silver market more accessible to smaller investors through our Silver Savings Account, where you can own unallocated silver bullion with a minimum fineness of 99.9%.

You can buy and sell international silver - through a passbook - at prevailing market prices in multiples of 10 ounces of silver each time, limited to a maximum of 500 ounces per transaction on Saturdays.

Your gains are not subject to Singapore's Goods and Services Tax (GST) and can be exchanged for cash, whenever the need arises.

How much does it cost?

  • Check our daily gold and silver prices
  • For Gold Bars: Prices are based on the daily international gold price adjusted based on Singapore market conditions
  • For Gold Bullion Coins: Prices include a premium over the international gold price
  • For Gold Certificates:
    • A flat S$5 per certificate
    • An administrative fee of S$30 per kilobar per annum
  • For Gold Savings Account: An administrative fee (in grams of gold) as low as 0.12 gm per month or 0.25% p.a. on the highest balance per month, whichever is higher
  • For Silver Savings Account: An annual administrative fee (in ounces of silver) as low as 0.2 ounce per month or 0.375% p.a. on the highest balance per month, whichever is higher

The Dollar Crisis

It seems that many books and articles have been written about the coming demise of the US dollar and the effects it would have on the global economy.

In my journey to financial freedom, I understand that there must be a certain amount set aside hedge against inflation. But what if there is a total collapse of the entire financial system worldwide? What if the US dollar becomes absolutely worthless? How would that affect me and my savings?

If the day was to come when the US dollar becomes totally worthless, I think all countries willl be affected. Everyone will face inflation or hyperinflation and those currencies which are not backed by gold will suffer the most. Of course, this situation is just hypothetical but it could happen in our lifetime.

The best thing one can do is to make sure that a certain amount of money is set aside in Gold - which for the longest time in the history of mankind, has been used as money. Only in recent times have we as nations abandon the gold standard which was replaced by Man's money (easily reprintable and reproducable money).

I am looking for opportunities to invest in Gold.

So far, the only bank in Singapore that sells gold is UOB. I will explore this further in the next posting.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gold as a Hedge against Inflation

I have been considering buying some physical Gold as a hedge against inflation.

Not too sure how to go about it though as it seems that UOB is the only bank that is selling physical gold coins and bullion in Singapore.

The prices of Gold however seems pretty high even now compared to their historical prices.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decided to Quit My Job

I made the decision to quit my $5k a month job today.

I have not told anyone about the decision.

Will I regret it?

A stable job that pays well but gives me no satisfaction whatsoever. Is time more important than money to me or is money more important to me than time?

With this job, I will be able to pay all my debts in maybe 20 years and be pretty well off (if nothing goes wrong). But the prospect of staying just does not excite me. I want to do something different with my life.

Is it foolish to be making such a decision during such a time as this with all the financial crisis?

What about my responsibilities to my family?

On the other hand, what if I do manage to find a job that pays just as well and gives me more satisfaction?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dividends for the Month of November and the meaning of investment

Collected a small sum of dividends for November:

$326.40 from First REITs
$28.54 from Suntec REITs

Yup, that is all I am reporting for my dividends for the month of November. For December, I will probably be making some small investments into the stock market again. Both to increase my passive income as well as to buy stocks that are currently undervalued.

Just some thought about investments. Nothing educational really. Perhaps more philosophical.

What is investment really about? If someone (e.g. a layman without much knowledge about investment) was to ask me that question, I think my reply would go something along this line:

Investment is basically just delayed gratification. If I have $50,000 in cold hard cash today, I could buy a car straightaway. On the other hand, I can choose to delay this gratification, invest the money, and hope to earn some returns from it that would justify the length of delay in my gratification.

For example, I could take this $50,000 today and buy a normal 1.6L Mitsubishi Lancer (no sports rim, etc). So if somebody asks me to delay my gratification say for 1 year, I will have to ask myself.... "If I can only buy a car one year later, what do I expect?"

Some might expect the exact same car model perhaps with sports rim. Some might say... "Huh??? You want me delay one year?? Then I will have to rely on public transport for one whole year... no way!! If you want me to delay by one year, I want a BMW 3 series..

This then defines the "reward" that the person is looking for in turn for the delay in their gratification. The person who only wants the additional sports rim is looking for a smaller reward versus the one who wants the BMW 3 series.

As reward is tied to risk... I could then tell the first person to simply put the $50,000 into a bank deposit account that gives 1-2% interest per annum and assuming that there is no inflation for the year and prices remain the same... he could easily afford the exact same model of car he wants with sports rim. This is basically a low risk investment.

For the other person who is expecting a BMW 3 series, I would tell him to invest it in the stock market now.. only problem is that there is no way I can guarantee that in 1 year's time, his $50,000 will turn to $150,000. Instead of becoming $150,000 , it might become $10,000 or worse still...nothing.

On hearing this, he might have to fine tune the reward that he expects based on the risk level that he is able to accept. Basically, the higher the reward from the investment, the higher the risk.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Consolidating My Thought on Financial Freedom

It has been a few months since I started this blog to write on my journey to financial freedom.
Since then, things have changed quite a bit.

Firstly, the global financial crisis has hit, shaking my confidence in the Singapore stock market. Shares that I am holding have dropped to record low prices. While I am investing mainly for passive income, looking at the prices of REITs and hearing all the news about the credit crisis really makes me worried whether my passive income strategy is the correct method to financial freedom.

Secondly, books that I have been reading lately have altered my belief in a stable and predictable business cycle of ups and downs. What we don't know and don't plan for can destroy our journey to financial freedom. Some of the worst case scenarios I can think of are:

a. The Greatest Depression in Human History.
b. Hyperinflation
c. Severe Oil Crisis that disrupts everything
d. War
e. Death

All these have changed my perception about investment and financial freedom. I remember reading the book about the Richest Man in Babylon. In it, we are advised to use 10% of our money to work hard for us. The richest man in Babylon saves up 1 gold coin out of 10 gold coins he gets and uses that 1 gold coin to work hard for him.

The problem with this simple rule of investing is that it does not take into account the unpredictable events that I mentioned above. So what if I invest in the Singapore Stock Market and have a $1 million stock portfolio only for severe hyperinflation to hit reducing my portfolio to peanuts?

What I hope to achieve is financial freedom. The ability to choose whether I want to work or not, and not working because I need the money to support my family.

A quick analysis of my current financial situation:

1. Housing Mortgage ($253,000)
2. Car loan (estimate $30,000)

That is a lot of debt! If I do not spend a single cent, it would take me a good 5 or 6 years of my current annual income to totally pay off this debt. How did I ever get into this situation? 10 years back, I had $0 dollars in debt. After starting a family, I have a 6 figure debt in just a blink of an eye.

4 years back, I could choose whether I want to work or just rot at home. Now, I simply have to work because not working is NOT an option. I would simply not be able to finance my debts..

So here I am, stuck in a pile of debt. With a 5k per month salary but only managing to save an approximate $1k a month.

My Financial Freedom Journey seems fraught with difficulties, uncertainties, psychological barrier and the like. It seems that I am all alone in this journey...

My passive income stands at $3000 a year. That simply won't do. I need to find ways to increase my passive income..

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Global Financial Crisis

By right, the global financial crisis ought to be the perfect time for me to start loading up on cheap stocks and shares. The only problem that I am facing is the psychological fear of losing even more money.

I have been loading up on some small cap stocks as well as REITs that provides good yield. Perhaps I would start loading up on more blue chip stocks to balance my portfolio. My philosophy to investment is now this : "Nobody can predict the future".

It makes no sense reading business news or watching the business news. Everyone has no clue where the economy is heading not to say where individual stocks are headed..

If banking stocks drop further, I will probably load up on DBS.

Other Blue chip stocks that I am eyeing are SingTel, SingPost and NOL.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wiki's Definition of Passive Income

A Brief Introduction to Passive Income

Passive income is a rent received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it. It is advocated by some authors, especially by Robert Kiyosaki.

Some examples of passive income are:
Repeated regular income, earned by a sales person, generated from the payment of a product or service that must be renewed on a regular basis, in order to continue receiving its benefits - also called residual income.

Rental from property;

Royalties from publishing a book or from licensing a patent or other form of intellectual property;

Earnings from internet advertisement on your websites;

Earnings from a business that does not require direct involvement from the owner or merchant;

Dividend and interest income from owning securities, such as stocks and bonds, are usually referred to as portfolio income, which can be considered a form of passive income;

Passive income is usually taxable. The American Internal Revenue Service defines passive income as "any activity... in which the taxpayer does not materially participate." Other financial and government institutions also recognize it as an income obtained as a result of capital growth or in relation to negative gearing.

The Interent Revolution

Edward de Bono in his book Handbook for the Positive Revolution states that "at some point value must be created in order to be distributed and enjoyed." [2] There is a lot of real value on the Internet, and a lot of it is free to any websurfer. There is value in free information, free education, free entertainment, free socialization, and social interaction platforms. Since the beginning of the commercialization of the Web, entrepreneurs have been trying to find viable business models of selling the web content and services. [3] Some of the problems of selling the online content can be attributed to high cost of software, high cost of qualified labour, expensive equipment, office space etc. These can be minimized in one person operations which use free software and have very small business overheads. In such cases, even a relatively modest income, together with frugal lifestyle, might be sufficient enough to form a basis for a viable passive income model.

An Emerging Industry

With the advent of Web 2.0, the concept of a passive income became a nucleus of an informal grassroots, (bottom up) movement and an emerging cottage industry of loosely coupled, independent individuals, who use a combination of their life story, personality, interests, and practical knowledge, to produce an engaging content and an alleged passive income. Appearing honest, transparent, and promising nothing, these individuals report in their blogs, podcasts or websites, their income sources, methods and strategies they use, to any reader or listener, without any additional requirements. There are no registration, subscriptions, or any other kind of fees. They claim to obtain their income mainly through advertising, remuneration for referrals and recommendations, and through donations from appreciative readers. Steve Pavlina represents but one example of such activities; although, it is not clear how long a passive income generated in such manner can remain so without any interventions, addition of new material, or site maintenance. The long tail effect could partly explain survival potential of such one person or family businesses.

Four Steps to Financial Freedom

When one googles "Financial Freedom", the website Four Steps to Financial Freedom will appear as one of the top websites. This website is apparently owned by a certain Sean Toh.

It is quite amazing. How did he capture the keyword financial freedom such that his website appears top on the list when the word "financial freedom" is googled?

Is his website interesting to read? Was there any useful information about financial freedom?

I must admit that the website has a lot of words like "financial freedom" and "wealth" but overall, the website does not provide any useful information on the four steps to Financial Freedom. Unless you buy his product of course

So today, SgFinancialFreedom is offering his very own thoughts on what the Four Steps to Financial Freedom should be:

Step 1. Earn Money

It is impossible to start your journey to become financially free if you do not start earning money. Income can come from two sources: Active and Passive.

Active income is earned from your day job. Passive income is earned without you having to do anything. An example of passive income is dividends from stocks that you earn.

Explore increasing your income through both active and passive sources.

Step 2. Save Money

The second step is simple. You just need to make sure that you spend much less than the money you are earning. A good start will be to save 10% of your income.

For those who are more hungry, you can save as much as 50% of your income.

Step 3. Buy Assets

Assets put money into your pocket while liabilities take money out of your pocket.

To become rich, you need to acquire assets like stocks, real estate, businesses. This will help increase your income.

Step 4. Repeat Steps 1 to 3

I know this sounds lame. But it isn't. Simply work through Steps 1 to 3 repeatedly and you will see your income increase, your savings increase and your assets slowly build up over time.

Read Related Articles:
1. Top 10 Money Saving Tips
2. Save Electricity, Save Money
3. Retire Young, Retire Rich
4. 3 Key Lessons from Rich Dad Poor Dad
5. 3 Sources of Passive Income

Stable Job versus "Unstable" Job

Should one leave a stable and well paying job for an "unstable" job (a job that one is interested in)?

What if by staying on for another 20 years in the stable paying job (that one does not really like), one is able to earn more than $2 million? This would be more than enough to pay off all debts (housing loans and car loan) and even have some cash to spare for investment. After achieving this financial freedom, one can then move on to pursue one's interests that might not pay so well (the "unstable" job).

But what is the opportunity cost? What if by opting for the "unstable" job (i.e. pursuing one's interest, one is able to earn even much more? Should one take such a great risk? We only live once..

These are questions that I have been pondering over and over again in the past few weeks.

How important is financial stability to me?
Should I stick to the stable job and guarantee myself a comfortable life or should I opt for a job that interests me but that might not pay me so well?
Would I regret it if I stay on in my current job and give up 20 years of my life doing something that I do not like?

If I stay on in my current job, I am certain that by the age of 50, I would be able to pay off all my debts and even have quite a sizeable sum of money (region of 6 figure). That is given that I do not overspend.

However, what if I leave my job and am able to earn even much more than my current job?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Gone Fishing Portfolio

As most people will have heard before : "Never put all your eggs into one basket". 

This saying is perhaps what everyone hears when they first start investing.  But how many of us truly understand what it means to diversify?

When I first heard of this saying, I thought it meant not to put all my investment money into 1 single stock.  How wrong was I!  The proper interpretation of this saying should be " Never put all your money into stocks alone "

Asset allocation is perhaps the single most important determining factor of any investor's investment returns.  Based on the Nobel Prize Winning Modern Portfolio Theory, rational investors ought to use diversification to optimise their portfolios.  This does not mean just diversifying within stocks in a single stock exchange but across countries and across other investment instruments like bonds, gold, commodities, fixed income instruments, etc.

In the book Gone Fishing Portfolio, Alexander Green who is the investement director of The Oxford Club proposes an asset allocation that beats both the S&P500 in returns for both good years and bad years by just spending 15 minutes a year for making your investment decisions.

In the Gone Fishing Portfolio, the Vanguard mutual funds is chosen because of its low cost and also because it provides an excellent diversification opportunity.  5 principal long term investments are used : stocks, bonds, property, cash and precious metals.

Your eggs are spread around by diversifying into investment instruments that do not perform similarly so that your overall investment is protected in both good times and bad times.

Have you been burnt by the recent selloff in the stock market?  Has your networth depreciated significantly?  This could be due to the fact that you have placed all your eggs into a single basket called the stock market.  Perhaps it is useful to take this opportunity to diversify your assets so as to optimise your returns for both good years and bad years.

The proposed asset allocation mix under the Gone Fishing Portfolio is as follows:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (VTSMX) - 15%
Vanguard Small-Cap Index (NAESX) - 15%
Vanguard European Stock Index (VEURX) - 10%
Vanguard Pacific Stock Index (VPACX) - 10%
Vanguard Emerging Markets Index (VEIEX) - 10%
Vanguard Short-term Bond Index (VFSTX) - 10%
Vanguard High-Yield Corporates Fund (VWEHX) - 10%
Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund (VIPSX) - 10%
Vanguard REIT Index (VGSIX) - 5%
Vanguard Precious Metals Fund (VGPMX) - 5%

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Determining Your Financial Freedom Number

In the book Commonsense Rules for Financial Freedom, the author comes up with a financial freedom number. What is this financial freedom number and how do you calculate your financial freedom number?

The financial freedom number is simply taking your monthly total passive income and subtracting it with your monthly expenses.

Financial Freedom Number = Monthly Total Passive Income - Monthly Expenses

A negative number would mean that you are still not financially free and would need to make up for that number in terms of passive income to become financially free. Let's take for example my scenario:

I have $224 in monthly total passive income and $3887 in monthly expenses. My financial freedom number is thus -$3663. That would mean to be financially free, I will need to make an additional $3663 per month in terms of passive income to maintain my current standard of living (without accounting for inflation).

This is enlightening. First it means that in my initial financial freedom goal, the sum of $2800 per month that I was targeting is not enough for me to be financially free. That is unless I continue to reduce my monthly expenses to $2800 or less.

There you have it, a simple way to calculate your financial freedom number. Mine is -$3663. What is your financial freedom number?

Other Articles of Interest:

What is Financial Freedom to You?  This is my own definition of Financial Freedom:  My Financial Freedom Goal

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why People Read This Blog

This hugely popular blog is intended for readers from all countries.

It's sole purpose is to provide a platform to exchange ideas, knowledge and experience to all who are on their journey to financial success.

Why Spend Time Reading This Blog?

There are only two ways to gain knowledge. One is to experience it yourself, the other is to read and learn from other's experience.

People who visit this blog want to:

1. Achieve Financial Freedom
2. Increase their Financial IQ
3. Learn from the experinces of others.

So why do people read this blog?

I seriously do not have an answer to that. Perhaps Google's Search Engine Optimisation is doing me a favour and sending me loads of traffic. Or perhaps it could be that people simply enjoy reading the posts.

Whatever the reason, I do hope that you find the articles in this blog useful for your own journey.

For starters, I suggest that you turn to this page to read about My Financial Freedom Journey.
That will be a good way to get you acquainted to this blog.

Don't forget to check out the Most Popular Posts, Most Commented Posts and Most Recent Posts on the sidebar! There is surely something that you will find interesting.

Should you have any suggestions on how this blog can be further improved, please contact sgfinancialfreedom@gmail.com

Friday, October 17, 2008

High Dividend Yielding Companies

Have been thinking of buying Singpost to boost my dividends earnings. They have paid out constant dividends over the years. A purchase will help to boost my passive income closer to the $400 per month goal I have set for myself for next year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

3 Key Lessons From Rich Dad Poor Dad

A lot of reviews have probably been written about Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad book. So I will spare the reader the details of the Rich Dad Poor Dad Book and just focus on the key lessons that I have learnt from Robert Kiyosaki and which I am now trying to apply to my financial life so as to be financially free.

Lesson #1 - Pay Yourself First

The first lesson I learnt from the Rich Dad Poor Dad series is to always pay myself first. That means that investments, regular savings, etc are the top priority in my budget. I pay these things first before I start spending on any luxury items.

Lesson #2 - Acquire Assets

An asset is something that puts money into your pocket. A liability is something that takes money out of your pocket (e.g. your car). Acquire assets.

Lesson #3 - Increase Your Income

Increase your income (both earned and passive income) such that it exceeds your expenses. Do not solely rely on earned income to be rich. Always explore multiple streams of income.

There you have it, a short and simple review of the 3 key lessons I have learnt from the Rich Dad Poor Dad series. Hopefully, this will help you in your financial freedom goal.

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5. Peter Lim

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Optimising and Updating Your Insurance

What should one do during this global financial crisis when stocks are down and the market is just so moody? Well, one good thing to do will be to re-look into your insurance policies and find out whether you have them optimised or updated.

What do I mean by optimised? It means to find out whether you can find a plan that is cheaper than any existing plan you have so that you can replace your current plans. Updated means to take into account the recent developments in your life (new addition to the family, etc) and see whether you are sufficiently covered.

Below is a list of my insurance policies and the premiums that I am paying for them. Feel free to compare and do let me know if you have a cheaper insurance plan than me =). Of course, those with the higher premiums provide money back and those that are dirt cheap are the term insurance which are basically pay and throw away kind of plans.

Death and TPD

1. AIA Achiever ($100,000) - $350 per month (Investment Linked)
2. Asia Life Junior Life Care Policy ($160,000) - $150 per month (Surrender Value present)
3. Aviva SAF Group Term Insurance ($100,000) - $12.80 per month (Pay & Throw Away)

Critical Illness

1. Aviva SAF Group Insurance Living Care Policy ($100,000) - $10 per month (Pay & Throw Away)

Personal Accident

1. Aviva SAF Group Insurance Personal Accident Policy ($100,000) - $4.17 per month (Pay & Throw Away)

Hospitalisation (without rider, means must pay deductible and co-insurance)

1. AIA Healthshield - $111.30 per month

Disability Income

1. Nil

Home Insurance

1. AIG Home Assurance

The coverage details are as follows:
Coverage Descriptions Limit (SGD)
Building = $150,000
Alt Accomodation Expenses = $4,500
Household contents = $30,000
Contents at Temporary Premises =$4,500
Replacement of Locks & Keys = $250
Personal Accident (<66 age="" br="">Medical Expense (<66 age="" br="">Third Party Personal Liability = $500,000

2. Home Protection Scheme (HPS) by HDB

Pays off housing loan that is owed shd anyone pass away.

Portfolio for Passive Income

My updated portfolio for passive income for October is as such:

1. 12,000 x Ascott REITs (DPU = 4.52 per half) = $90.40 per month
2. 17,000 x First REITs (DPU = 1.91 per qtr) = $108.23 per month
3. 1000 x Suntec REITs (DPU = 2.79 qtr) = $9.30 per month
4. 1000 x NOL (estimate 8 cents per year*) = $6.66 per month
5. Maybank iSavvy Deposit = $10 per month

Total avg monthly passive income = $224.59 (this month) versus $218.23 (previous month)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stock Portfolio Down by 50%. Feeling Weak in My Stomach

My Stock Portfolio is down 50%. I am totally weak in my stomach when I opened my UOB Kay Hian today to take a look at my portfolio. This global financial crisis has virtually wiped away all my gains over the past few years. I fear that the worse is still to come.

Nevertheless, to drive up my passive income, I have have decided to buy 1000 x First REIT @ $0.425 and 2000 x K1 Ventures @$0.205.

Cash is really King in this kind of stock market now. And I have been thinking about quitting my job. I keep thinking what if i had liquidated all my stock holdings earlier this year. I would have been able to use all my current paper loss to pay off my car loan! Aargh..

This is a painful lesson for me....I was too rash in making certain financial decisions...
But guess I still have 30 over more years infront of me. Compared to those retirees who bought the Lehman bonds, I am much better off. And I seriously thank God for that. I cannot imagine retiring and then losing all my retirement money due to bad investments. I really really cannot imagine. .. it is a totally scary thought. For the retirees, it is like lsoing all their 30 years of savings and hard work..... all gone down the drain just because of 1 single financial decision.

Passive Income is the way to go in these bad times.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Jap Car In My Parking Lot is worth 2 Ferraris in Someone else's Parking Lot

It is amazing what all these bad news are doing to my mind (and of course my stock portfolio too).

The global financial crisis is making me afraid and I have been thinking of liquidating my portfolio. Surely the stock market will go lower and I can buy back all the stocks I own now at a better price..

This is so typical. When the stock market is good, I tell myself that I will wait for the crash to start buying into stocks. Now that the crash is here, I lack the guts to walk the talk and to continue buying stocks.

So.. I took a few days off blogging, a few days off thinking about investments, and asked myself this: "Am i addicted to money?" "Do I really want money so much?"

And the answer was " NO". I would rather spend my time with family and friends then be earning money or working. I would rather have a cheap Japanese car to drive NOW than to save up that money, invest it and be able to buy a Bugatti or Ferrari only 10-20 years down the road. As the proverb goes: " A jap car in my parking lot is worth 2 x Ferraris in someone else's parking lot." Why save up money that you can spend today?

So what should one do in this financial crisis?

Of course, the answer is to buy low sell high. That is the obvious answer, but do I have the guts to do it?

Should I spend $4000 to invest in stock that will give me 10 per cent yield per annum ($400 per annum) or should I just take that $4000 and spend it now? Why do I want to delay my gratification?

Hmmm.. stuff worth thinking about.....before i continue on my financial freedom journey..

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The First Step of Financial Freedom

The very first step of any financial freedom journey needs to begin with this basic principle. This basic principle is spending less than you earn. Without obeying this basic principle, one can never be financially free even if one strikes the lottery or receives an inheritance. In this world, there are only 4 types of people:

People Living Above their Means

This is the kind of person who spends way above what they earn. They spend so much that they are probably in some kind of serious debt which they will never be able to repay as they are spending alot more than they are earning consistently each month.

People Living At their Means

This is the kind of person who spends every single cent he has. The time of the month that he looks forward to the most is payday. His bank account is close to zero as payday draws nearer.

People Living Within their Means

This is the person who probably spends less than they earn so that they have enough to set aside either for savings or for buying something that they really like. The amount they save though is not alot (less than 10 percent) as they are willing to live up the lifestyle expectations that they deem they are entitled to.

People Living Below their Means

This is the frugal person who could well afford a new car but would rather buy a second or third hand car. He could easily afford dining in at fancy restaurants each day but would be content with a simple home cooked meal at home. He could fly off to exotic holidays every year but would be content just taking a road trip to a nearby neighboring country or better still, just lazing at home. He is in other words content with what he has and sees no need to spend more so as to live up to the rest of the world's expectation. He can afford it but chooses to save up his money for other purposes.

Which one of these categories do you belong to?

The key idea then to financial freedom is having a budgeting system. The problem with people without a budget is that they are often saving what is left at the end of the month. Well, if you do not have a budgeting system, then a simple alternative is to always always "pay yourself first".

What does "pay yourself first" mean? It means basically to set aside a portion of your income for savings or investments. It could be 10% or 20% or whatever you are comfortable with. Once payday arrives, simply throw that money aside into another bank account or invest it through a regular savings account so that you will never spend that money at all.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Passive Income for Sept 08

This is a breakdown of my passive income for Sept 08

1. Growth Dividends : $225
2. Pac Andes Dividends: $765
3. Kingboard Dividends: $141

Total passive income for Sept 08 = $1131

Of course, the growth dividends is just a one time payout.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dividends Recieved from Pac Andes

Received a total of $765.90 of dividends from holding Pac Andes last week.

Will be looking to invest this money to boost my passive income stocks portfolio.

The following are the stocks which I can choose to buy from to increase my passive income:
1. MacArthur Cook PSF
2. SingFood
3. First REIT
4. Ascott REIT
5. K1 Ventures

Which one should I buy? With $765.90, it does not provide me with a lot of options.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Should I Quit My Job

Been working for more than 3 years already.

Have been thinking about tendering my resignation later due to little job satisfaction even though the job pays well.

Am I financially stable enough to quit my job?
Will I be able to find a better job?
How long will it take me to find a job that I really like?
Will the economy (and job market) get worse?
Should I sell my car to decrease my monthly expenditure?

My adsense earnings have not been good enough for me to consider blogging as a full time career. I am still not sure how bloggers like Xiaxue manage to draw so much traffic to their blogs. Until now, I have still not achieved my target of earning more than $2 in a single day. But I will keep pressing on..

Will I ever earn enough passive income to be totally financially free?

Only time will tell...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Investments in this Bear Market

I increased my position in Hongguo today. Bought a total of 20 lots at $0.22. Will be transferring money from my Maybank savings account to pay for this so my passive income from Maybank might be lowered to below $10 per month.

Also received $141.10 as dividends from Kingboard shares.

NOL which i bought a few days back at $1.91 is now at $2.30. I might cash it in if it reaches $3.00 instead of waiting for the yearly dividends.

Will be looking for more opportunities to invest in other areas with all my spare cash and also dividends that I receive.

I intend to build up my stock portfolio in this bear market and ignore all noises that will make me trade irrationally.

My updated portfolio for passive income is as such:

1. 12,000 x Ascott REITs (DPU = 4.52 per half) = $90.40 per month
2. 16,000 x First REITs (DPU = 1.91 per qtr) = $101.87 per month
3. 1000 x Suntec REITs (DPU = 2.79 qtr) = $9.30 per month
4. 1000 x NOL (estimate 8 cents per year*) = $6.66 per month
5. Maybank iSavvy Deposit = $10 per month

Total avg monthly passive income = $218.23

My updated portfolio for capital gains is as such:

1. 30,000 x Kingboard
2. 24,000 x Hongguo
3. 37,000 x Pac Andes
4. 15,000 x Innotek
5. 7,000 x China Aviation Oil
6. 11,000 x Unifood

Friday, September 12, 2008

Passive Income Update

Bought NOL and Ascott REIT today @ 1.91 and 0.775.

NOL was bought as a means to diversify my REIT heavy portfolio.

My updated portfolio for passive income is as such:

1. 12,000 x Ascott REITs (DPU = 4.52 per half) = $90.40 per month
2. 16,000 x First REITs (DPU = 1.91 per qtr) = $101.87 per month
3. 1000 x Suntec REITs (DPU = 2.79 qtr) = $9.30 per month
4. 1000 x NOL (estimate 8 cents per year*) = $6.66 per month
5. Maybank iSavvy Deposit = $13 per month

Total monthly passive income = $221.23

*Note: NOL has a dividend policy of 8 cents per share net or 20% of net profit whichever is higher. I have taken the more conservative approach of just using 8 cents per year per share.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adsense increasing my Monthly passive income

Recently, I have been exploring using Adsense to earn some extra "passive" income. "Passive" because earning money from blogs is not exactly passive. Work has to be done to drive traffic to your blogs etc..

Anyway, looking at my daily adsense earnings, I should be able to add adsense as another source of my passive income soon. But perhaps I will not be too quick to count it in just yet. I will give it another 3 months and if it is able to give me a stable monthly earnings, then I might consider including it into my current monthly passive income.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Networth for Sep 08

Updated my networth amidst the stock market bloodbath last week.

Networth is currently $449,443. The consolation is that I have increased my monthly passive income. Think I will not focus too much on my networth but rather work at increasing my monthly passive income. Too often, a wrong focus will cause me to make investment decisions that are not too wise..

Discovered this cool website that helps to me to track my networth. You can follow it at the button which shows my networth at the bottom right of my site (scroll down pls).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Need to Diversify From REITs

This entry is actually a reminder to myself to diversify away from REITs. True, REITs do give a much higher yield than most dividend yielding stocks... but still I feel this innate need to diversify away from REITs to some blue-chip stocks so as to not place all my "passive income" eggs into one basket (REITs listed in the Singapore Stock Exchange).

Alternative Source of Income #1: Blue Chips or Dividend Yielding Stocks

I have been looking at blue chips in the Singapore Stock Market though I am not closed to the idea of investing into other markets too.

Stocks that I am looking for are ideally those with boring businesses that can tide through any economic crisis as well as a history of good dividends. This is to avoid buying into companies that are not able to pay out dividends regularly. The key is to buy companies instead of buying companies for the sake of their dividends alone. This will help me diversify my sources of income to attain my financial freedom goal of $2800 per month by 2022.

Alternative Source of Income #2: Adsense

Another stream of passive income that I have been looking into is Adsense. However, I realised that this has been very difficult and certainly not "passive" as I have to put in extra hours after work to improve upon my blogs, create new postings,etc. Still, it provides me with an alternative source of income. After becoming more active in blogging, I have also seen my daily adsense earnings rise steadily. To see my daily adsense earnings, click here. I just started recording it and it is definitely nothing spectacular. The amount I earn a day is not even enough to buy coffee. But what this record shows is that it is possible for one to earn money from Google's Adsense.

In the month of Sep 08, I will work at increasing my passive income from this 2 alternative sources of income since I have already attained my passive income goal of $200 per month for this year.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Financial Freedom Goal (Half Month Review)

In my first post in this blog, I articulated my Financial Freedom Goal by the year 2022 of earning $2800 per month in passive income. As it stands now, I am currently at $207 per month passive income. Half a month after articulating my plan of increasing my monthly passive income by $200 each year to $2800 per month by the year 2022, I can safely say that I am on my way to achieving my financial freedom goal.

So often, one reads about the need to achieve financial freedom through multiple sources of passive income. Very often, what people often forget or neglect is to have a plan to make this work.

This was the very purpose of this blog. It was to remind me of this goal and to lay out a plan that would help me achieve this goal.

Too often, I had found my investing habits to be sort of haphazard.

When I first started out working 3 years back, I wanted to invest in blue chip stocks that would provide me with a steady stream of income. Looking back after 3 years, I had not acquired a single blue chip or dividend yielding stock. Instead, my greed for quick gains has resulted in me holding a portfolio of stocks that have neither given me a steady stream of income or any quick capital gains to speak of.

That was when I decided that enough was enough. It was time to write a financial plan that will make sure all my investment and financial decisions are aligned to this plan.

The difference between 3 years back and now is that I have articulated a clear plan and will review this plan before making any financial decision.

Since the penning down of this financial plan, I have managed to increase my passive income by close to $16 per month. Of course this is nothing great to boast about but it definitely beats all the procrastination that I have been doing for the past few years that I have been working.

On top of that, I have also become much clearer about my monthly expenditure and am trying to find ways to reduce it.

I hope to be able to share my journey with others once I attain my Financial Freedom Goal 2022.

In my next post, I will explore the various streams of income that I hope to attain by the year 2022. Do bookmark this blog and return soon

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Updated Passive Income 2008 (2 Sep)

1. 11,000 x Ascott REITs (DPU = 4.52 per half) = $82.87 per month
2. 16,000 x First REITs (DPU = 1.91 per qtr) = $101.87 per month
3. 1000 x Suntec REITs (DPU = 2.79 qtr) = $9.30 per month
4. Maybank iSavvy Deposit = $13 per month

Total passive income per month now stands at = $207.04

The amount listed of course is dependent on the distribution of the various REITs for the future quarters. This might increase or decrease. As such, I am trying to diversify my holdings as far as possible. That is why I bought Suntec REITs which I believe should be able to steadily increase its distribution.

Increasing My Passive Income Through REITs

REITs listed in the Singapore Stock Exchange provide a steady and stable source of passive income that suits my needs and goal of achieving financial freedom by 2022.

I have queued to purchase 1 lot of Suntec REITs and 1 lot of First REITs today. If purchased, it should drive my passive income up to around $200 per month thus hitting my goal for passive income that I have set this year.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Car Monthly Expenditure

Owning a car is truly an expensive thing. No wonder they call it a liability rather than an asset.

The amount of monthly expenditures that I am paying for my car amounts to over $1000 monthly. This includes petrol, installments, road tax, parking and insurance.

Buying a car was definitely one of the worst financial decisions in my life and has truly slowed down my aim to achieve financial freedom.

For those who have yet to purchased a car, remember this:

" A Car is A LIABILITY!"

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Earning Money Online Through Adsense

In a previous post dated 16 August, I mentioned that I wanted to increase my passive income from Adsense to $1 per day. I have been exploring ways to earn more money online.

This is a breakdown of my report for the amount that I have earned from Adsense since May 2008:

Jun 08= $0.41
Jul 08 = $0.38
Aug 08 = $4.44

I have manged to increased my passive income from Adsense by nearly 10 times within 1 month! This is part of the overall strategy to increasing my passive income through various avenues. In the coming month (Sep 08), I will be significantly busier at work. As such, I do not expect to be able to achieve the same success as I managed in Aug 08. However, I will attempt a target of $5.00 for the month of Sep 08. I will also be exploring dividend yielding stocks, high interest rate bank deposits or REITs to increase my passive income.

I have dedicated another blog that will explore my financial freedom journey on making money online. Do visit it here.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dividends Recieved for Aug 08

Ascott REITs (28 Aug) = $497.20
First REITs (29 Aug)= $286.50

Total for the month: $783.70

This money will be reinvested into some other dividend yielding stock or REITs. Will be looking out for stocks that are giving out dividends for the months of Sep, Oct and Nov.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Update to Monthly Expediture (23 August 08)

This is an update of my current monthly expenditure:

My current monthly expenditure in (S$)

1. Housing installments = 1096.00 (wife is sharing the burden)
2. Car Monthly Installment = 518.00
3. AIA Investment Link Plan = 350.00
4. Asia Life Policy = 154.20
5. Aviva Insurance = 51.72 ( - $51.72, reimbursed by employer)
6. Conservancy Fees = 49.00
7. Telephone & Internet = 33.96
8. Cable TV= 25.68
9. Mobile Phone Bills= 30.89
10. Electric, Water, Gas= 100.00 (estimated)
11. Car Insurance = 110.00
12. Parking= 150.00
13. Road Tax= 60.00
14. Petrol= 300.00
15. Food= 300.00
16. Tithes, Parents = 600.00

Current Monthly Expenditure = $3887.73

Friday, August 22, 2008

Reducing Monthly Expenditure by $5

I managed to reduce my monthly phone bill expenditure by $5. This was done through cancelling of the international roaming which I have not been using.

It will cost me $10 to reactivate it the next time but I guess I will not be needing any international roaming at least for the rest of the year as I do not expect to be going overseas.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monthly Expenditure - Reducing my cable bills

I have removed my high definition (HD) plus option for my cable tv. This reduces my bill by S$15 a month. Just a 5 minute call and that saves me $15 a month!

Decided that it was not worth while paying for 3 additional HD channels when I do not even watch them that regularly. Besides, the programs are roughly the same as the ones that are non-HD. And what's more, I can't really tell the difference between HD and non-HD!

So there you go, a savings of $15 a month.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home Insurance

No financial planning is complete without insurance. I would be adding in details of the various insurance that I have.

Let me start with my home insurance.

Since I am using my Central Provident Fund (CPF) for my monthly housing installments, I have to be covered under the Home Protection Scheme (HPS). HPS gives me protection up to age 65 or to the end of the loan period, whichever is earlier. In the event of permanent incapacity or death, the Board will pay up the outstanding housing loan so that my family can keep the flat. That is if my loan is 100% covered for. So for an annual premium of $200 to $300, my outstanding mortgage loan is covered should anything untoward happen to me. Isn't that wonderful planning by the government!

If you have a private life or mortgage reducing insurance which is sufficient to cover your outstanding housing loan, you may apply for exemption from HPS. The above also applies if you are paying the housing instalments under PHS. HPS is optional only if you use cash to pay your monthly housing instalments.

Apart from HPS which covers my mortgage loan should any untoward happen to me, I am also covered by AIG American Home Assurance Company.

The coverage details are as follows:
Coverage Descriptions Limit (SGD)
Building = $150,000
Alt Accomodation Expenses = $4,500
Household contents = $30,000
Contents at Temporary Premises =$4,500
Replacement of Locks & Keys = $250
Personal Accident (<66 liability =" $500,000" style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">S$81.00 per year

In conclusion, I think my insurance coverage for my home is pretty well covered. The only way that I can improve the coverage is if I am able to find another insurance that provides the same coverage but at a lower cost (i.e. less than $81.00 per year)

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Financial Freedom Journey

Rule #1: Live within your means or below your means.

My Starhub cable bill just came at a total amount of S$41.73. This is a reminder to remove my free HD setup that I have been enjoying for the past 12 months. Removing this would save me $15 a month.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Earning $1 a Day Through Adsense

This will be one of my additional goals for the year.

I will aim to earn $1 a day through Adsense. This would give me a passive income of $30 per month. This would require me to learn how to direct alot more traffic to my site. In order to do that, I guess I would have to write interesting posts that would attract people to read the blog.

(Update on 31 Oct 2009: This goal has been achieved. For Sep 09 and Oct 09, I have managed to earn more than $30 per month)

Updated Passive Income for 2008

Updated the current sources of my passive income. Maybank deposit is now giving me $13 per month instead of $12 per month which I estimated.

1. 11,000 x Ascott REITs (DPU = 4.52 per half) = $82.87 per month
2. 15,000 x First REITs (DPU = 1.91 per qtr) = $95.50 per month
3. Maybank iSavvy Deposit = $13 per month

Total passive income per month now stands at = $191.37

I will also wait for the distribution from First REITs and Ascott in end August to buy some more passive income generating stocks or REITs.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To buy Ascott REIT?

Should I buy into a 1 x lot of Ascott REIT at the current price of $1.00?

It has a DPU that is around 9%. This would help me roughly hit my desired passive income of $200 per month for this year.

Or are there better options around. Thinking of diversifying as I do not want to be too heavily invested in only 2 different REITs

Searching for that additional S$10 per month

Dear Reader,

I am looking for that additional S$10 per month passive income to hit my $200 per month goal for year 2008.

With current liquid cash of slightly over $20000, that leaves me with a roughly $1500 to $2000 (after setting aside 6 months of emergency funds) to invest to get that additional S$10 per month.

Any advice?

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