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Optimizing your CPF account

Your CPF account consists of 3 accounts: Ordinary Account (OA), Special Account (SA), and your Medisave Account (MA). The OA is primarily used for providing housing, while SA is used for retirement. MA is used to pay for healthcare.

The interest rate on your OA is 2.5%, while the interest rates on SA and MA are 4%. There is an extra 1% interest upon reaching the first $60,000, combined across all three (with at least $20,000 in your OA).

In order to optimize your CPF account, the key is to move the lower interest OA money into your SA, to take advantage of the compounding effect of that extra 1% per year.

Once you begin working, transfer your OA account into your SA account only a monthly basis, as CPF interest is calculated monthly.  This is an irreversible process, but it forms 1 part of your retirement portfolio. There's no need to inject extra cash into CPF.

Once you hit the SA maximum of $171k (based on 2018 figures) the funds will automatically be channeled to your OA accoun…

Hotel Review: Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok

As I travel quite often for work, I’m going to keep a record of all the hotels I’ve stayed in, to serve as a reminder of what works and what doesn’t. It’ll make future bookings much easier.

Location: Right at the Asok BTS, across from Terminal 21 and the Westin.  I think traffic in this area is too jammed, and will likely avoid in the future.

Room:  The bed is very comfortable, but the decor is quite old school.  The room feels like parts of it has been modernized, but parts of it are still the same as when the hotel was built.  The whole scheme doesn't gel.

The bathroom is also dated and in need of upgrade.  Who uses small tiles like this in bathrooms nowadays?  This is so 1990s.
Gym: It has a couple ellipticals and a couple treadmills.  Not much selection of weight machines and the space is rather crammed.  The decor is seriously old school 1990s, but I think all Sheratons are like this.

Breakfast:  The selection was actually quite poor.  Other than the egg station, and fruits, I d…

Max out your Medisave account in Jan

Effective Jan 1, 2019 the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS) has increased from S$54,500 to S$57,200. Funds in the Medisave Account (MA) and Special Account (SA) earns 4% p.a, while funds in the Ordinary Account (OA) earns 2.5% p.a.

Assuming you have hit the $54,500 limit in 2018, we can take the opportunity to top up $2700 to our Medisave Account by this month using cash to leverage on the following benefits:
Tax deductions if you use cash to top up your MA. Note the $7000 annual cap on CPF deductions, so the SA top up in FY2019 will be $4300. When your MA has been maxed out, your monthly CPF contribution from your salary and employer will flow over to your SA. This account also earns you an interest of 5% p.a. Once your SA has met the met the Full Retirement Sum (FRS), the funds will flow over to your Ordinary Account, which earns you a 3.5% interest rate p.a.
In summary, whenever the government increases the Basic Healthcare Sum, quickly max out your MA in Jan, then the SA before the …

Topping Up $7,000 into my CPF Special Account (SA) for tax deductions

Last month, I decided to top up my CPF Special Account since that account gives me 4% yield risk free. My calculations show that I can reduce my tax bill by $7k x 15% = $1050, without even taking into account future 4% yield benefits i'm to receive.

It's definitely worth the top up from an ROI point of view, since it's tough to guarantee this kind of return in today's market.

There is a maximum cap for cash top-up relief per Year of Assessment (YA) which is $14,000 (Self $7,000 and family members $7,000), but at least max it out for yourself if you have the spare cash. This way you can quickly hit the CPF SA ceiling sooner, maximizing the 4% risk free yield early on.

Will do it again for FY2019.

A time for 2019 plans

I've never really believed in the whole new year resolutions concepts, and I'd rather view it as a time to set plans for the year. So here are my top 5 plans for the year.1. Actively manage my family's retirement plans and portfolios.
2. Learn something from YouTube and apply it in real life.
3. Remain off alcohol for 365 days in 2019. I've been alcohol free since June 1 2018.
4. Dote on Mrs EOR more, because she's the most valuable person to me.
5. Spend more time with my parents.
Happy new year everyone!

Food review: Al Forno + geylang Lor 29 hokkien Mee

It was Mrs EOR's birthday a few days ago and we went out for dinner, something that we rarely do nowadays. We decided on Italian as it was awhile since we last had this cuisine.

Venue: Al Forno @ 400 East coast road

We read reviews on this place and ordered their diavola pizza and lobster pasta. Boy were they terrible! The pizza was overly runny with red sauce and tasted extremely bland (I'm already quite sensitive to salty food). The pasta sauce was just so so, something I could likely whip up at home. The lobster wasn't even peeled and cracked and it felt like we're eating at jumbo seafood. The only saving grace was that the pasta was done a perfect aldente.

The decor is like what you see in Italy and I get that their trying to keep to their roots, but it makes the place extremely loud. It's like going to a club minus the music - definitely quieter to sit outside.

Would I return: No. I'd visit only Etna @ Duxton. No more experimenting with Italian restaurants …