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Living an alcohol free life

There are 3 major expensive vices in Singapore.  Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling.  I do not smoke nor gamble and I stopped alcohol intake since June 1 2018 and have never felt better!  I have the same amount of energy the next day on less hours of sleep, I exercise more, and most importantly my cholesterol has dropped from 220 to 200.

A glass of wine or hard liquor costs about $17-20 in Singapore due to the alcohol tax, and I used to hang out for drinks every weekend.  So on average I diverted about $400-500 in monthly alcohol expenses to another category.

For me, the positives in being alcohol free outweigh the negatives.  I don't care what all the medical research says about a glass of wine a day being good for health - I don't sleep well after I drink and sleep is of utmost priority.  You never know if the publisher/doctors behind the article are secretly funded by alcohol companies.  Listen to your body, that's the best health advice.

Hotel Review: Pan Pacific Hanoi

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. The Sheraton Hanoi is extremely old, so I decided on the Pan Pacific.

Location: Overlooking a lake, the location is quite alright, although not downtown. The downtown hotels are old.

Room: Abit dated, but still alright. There are many strange corners in the room, and it's weird to walk in. It doesn't really flow. Perhaps it's because I was given the room adjacent to the suite.

Gym: It's split into 2 areas, weights and cardio. They have all the equipment you need and alot of treadmills and bikes. The pool is also a good 25m lap pool.

Breakfast: The selection is decent with an omelette station and the usual western fare. This place is flooded with Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese tourists, so you have to jostle with them for food. Go late if you aren't in a rush. Overall, alright but not n…

Baby Bonus, Child Development Account (CDA), CPF

"When I'm old and my memory fails me, this post serves as a reminder on what to do."

Every child born as a Singapore citizen is given a Child Development Account (CDA), with the government having the intent of cushioning expenses related to raising a child.  The CDA funds can be used for certain items like paying for childcare and kindergartens, child related medical expenses, medisave approved integrated shield plans.  I use this account for a different purpose, to build my daughters wealth.

The only thing that interested me was the Government's Dollar for Dollar match, up to $6k for the 1st and 2nd child. Baby bonus gave us $3k, I topped up $3k , government matched $3k, and the account began with $9k opening balance.  Since I can't withdraw these funds for cash, I'll treat this as a CPF account and optimize every dollar.

The CPF website has a nice illustration on what happens with the account through time:


Hotel Review: Novotel Halong Bay

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. Unfortunately there was no SPG/Marriott hotel in Halong Bay area, so i ended up with Novotel.

Location: Along the western side of Halong, right across some ongoing construction.

Room: Decor is dark wooden, taking a spin on modern Chinese. Wood flooring and a huge king size bed that's abit hard and uncomfortable. I like the decor though.

Gym: This has got to be the saddest hotel gym i've ever seen. I decided to run outside instead.

Breakfast: The selection is so limited, and it's not even that good. Nice decor though.

Would I return? Definitely not to this 4 star hotel. Thankfully I was only here for 1 night. Although the place is filled with Korean tourists, you can eat some basic Korean breakfast here, but that's not my preference.

Renewing rental property contracts

Every 2 years, I have to renegotiate the property lease with the tenant.  If the tenant was good, I usually extend their lease - it's pretty much a no brainer, unless they're lowballing me.
Costs to factor in when you switch tenants:
Lost rental due to vacant property. It takes about 1 month (0.5 months if you're lucky) to successfully market the unit and about 2 weeks for the tenant to move in and start paying rent.  So it's about 1-1.5 months in lost rental income.Time spent passing keys to housing agents to market your place.  Do not use an exclusive agent, as it ties you down with someone with a finite network.  They will always try to sell you the idea of exclusivity (being focused, they can control the rent offers, blablabla), and it's in their interest to, not in yours.   What happens after 1 month of exclusivity and they still can't find a tenant?  You fire them, they walk away with no penalty.  It's your lost rental income. Do not use an exclusive …

Hotel Review: JW Marriott Phuket

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: Situated on Mai Khao beach within the luxury resort cluster, about 20min drive North of the airport. It's a great location if you plan to spend majority of your time in the resort, as the cluster is self sufficient. Not a good place if you want to explore phuket town as it's quite far away. It's located next to Mrs EOR's favorite resort, Sala Phuket & spa.

Room: Has this old school Thai decor, heavy in Cherry wood tone and the floor is tiled. I prefer carpets as it provides a plusher feel and better sound dampening. The bed is firm and comfortable to sleep on, although the aircon smells musty even though I turned the temperature lower. Furniture in the room is dated, I'd say about 15-20yo, but this was probably the in thing when the place was built.

Gym: There's …

BCIP: Banks in a rising interest rate environment, US-China trade wars

I started building my child's college fund when she was 6 months old. All her 红包's are channeled straight into this OCBC account, and I registered for their Blue Chip Investment Plan (BCIP). It's a monthly investment scheme into a blue chip stock of choice. Both Ms EOR and myself contribute monthly to this BCIP account, which is an excellent way to force us to invest. The rule is, do not sell anything from this account.

In a rising interest rate environment, defensive stocks and REITs are to be de-prioritized. In such an environment, the spread between interest rates and dividend yields narrows, causing selling pressure on such asset classes. Banking stocks do well in rising interest rate environments, so now is the time double down and load up.

Current sector allocation. It's time to add financials in.

The biggest and strongest bank in Singapore. They are leading the pack in digitization and building a digital bank presence. Just read their recent earnings release…