Friday, December 07, 2018

How did you spend your SG Bonus ?

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A number of friends on FB were upset to know that $300 arrived in my bank account this week because of SG Bonus 2018. I got $300 because I was still a student and Part B candidate in 2017. Regardless of how you feel about investors maxing out the SG government bonus, many of us dividends investors already have $300 extra in the bank.

I took one step further than many guys who got $300. I converted it to $906 Malaysian Ringgit and spent a day in Johor Bahru. My relatives put me up in a nice Bed and Breakfast at Replacement Cafe.

While $300 would possibly disappear within a day of Christmas shopping in Orchard Road, I only spent about a fifth of my SG Bonus in JB. I will be back to attack Malaysia with my SG Bonus next week when I start the Kulai leg of trip.

While we are on the topic of spending our hard-earned money outside Singapore, I should also share the results the my class exercise on emigration.

As part of my Early Retirement Masterclass, I make the class crowdsource data and estimate how much they would need to retire in that country. This exercise helps to reinforce some of the key lessons in Day 1 so please do not see this as a definitive guide on emigration. Each individual country may also have very stringent criteria on allowing a foreigner to settle permanently there and this was not discussed as part of my lessons.

This time round, I ensured that the class extract expenses information based on expats expenditures and not the expenditure of locals. This is because you can't expect a Singaporean who emigrates to Indonesia to settle down as a padi farmer.

The class came up with the following data :

  Hong Kong Indonesia Portugal Taiwan
Median Income / Monthly $10,000 $3,700 $2,345 $2,334
Expat Cost of Living $6,200 $1,700 $2,000 $2,038
Portfolio size to retire with expat living expenses $1,860,000 $510,000 $600,000 $611,400
GDP Growth 2.90% 5.20% 2.70% 2.70%
Inflation 2.40% 3.20% 1.47% 1.20%
Unemployment 2.80% 5% 6.80% 3.70%
Business Cycle Contracting Contracting Expansion Contracting
P/E Approach 11.59 12.735 10.2 14.5
Asset Allocation Plan (E/B) 70:30 50:50 90:10 70:30:00
Proxy Stocks in SGX HPH Trust, Fortune REIT, Hong Kong Land Lippo Mall, First REIT, Wilmar, Golden Agri, Indo Food Cromwell REIT, IREIT APTV, UMS, Micromechanics, Global Testing
Proxy ETF Lyxor HK ETF Lyxor Indonesian ETF Lyxor EMEA XT MCSI Taiwan

The time the class was very conservative and decided on a larger fixed income portfolio due to the fears of a trade war.

At the end of the exercise, the class voted overwhelmingly to move to Taiwan, impressed by it's low cost of living for expats and it's cultural proximity to the Chinese population in Singapore.

I think there was still some bias in this set of results because prior to this exercise, I made the class discuss the possible implications of China's brain drain of Taiwanese workforce and what would happen to Singapore if Taiwan opens up their economy to South East Asians.

The student will now get to suggest the countries that my third Batch would investigate as part of the exercise in Day 1.


  1. SG Bonus based on YA2017 .... which means earned income in 2016.

    Although I earned 0 cents in 2017, but did some pt work in 2016 --- hence ended up with $200. Grrr!

    Wonder if the pre-GE goodies next year will require income assessment? LOL!

  2. $200 is not too bad man !

    Maybe we should have fewer goodies to buy some medium range weapons so that we will not be bullied by our neighbours