Sunday, August 13, 2023

Some simpler personal finance moves for your consideration

I thought I should share with everyone what I've been up to recently when it comes to Personal Finance. I'm no expert in doing these moves and I welcome any reader to share tips and tricks to make the moves more optimal. 

What triggered these moves is a conversation I had with my mum. Taking a page off Marie Kondo, I felt that there are very few objects left by my dad that had actual sentimental value and have enough financial value for me to keep for my children, as I have no use for these antiques, it would be much better if my mum liquidated them into cash for herself. Specifically, we intend to turn them into local equities that produced a steady dividend income. Also, my mum's getting old, and it would not be a wise idea to hire a maid with so much valuable stuff lying around the house. 

Off the bat, I desired to keep my parent's Rolex collection for my kids, and everything else can be gotten rid of. This is an easy decision to make as I'm an only child. 

So this is what we did:

a) We liquidated my dad's coin collection

We started with my dad's coin and notes collection. We first started with getting a ballpark valuation on Carousell and noted down a range each coin sells for and we agreed that buyers should pay about 80% of the valuation. We were pleasantly surprised that gold coins can maintain their value with the spot Gold price, but everything else is unlikely to bring in much. My mum is fortunate enough to have a $5 British Borneo note that fetched $350, a fraction of its worth on Carousell, but overall we managed to get the 80% valuation we asked for for the whole batch. 

What we've learned is that pawnshops will take in gold coins for the gold value, but specialist coin shops at People Park's centre will pay more for the vintage value of the coins. Don't visit the stalls selling coins because they don't have the money to pay for your collection anyway.

If you are lucky, the person buying the coins will give you a lesson on antiquated notes. In some years where the production of coins is very low, even a 10-cent Malaysian Sen can fetch hundreds of dollars.

Otherwise, I think you should not treat your coin-collecting hobby as a money-making enterprise.  

b) We deposited coins that are strewn all over our home

The next step is much harder, over the decades, we have not been managing our spare change very well and we have accumulated over 10kg of SG coins at home. This is a horrible state of affairs. 

So we decided that we would take a financial hit ($0.015 per piece) and deposit everything to the DBS coin deposit box nearby. 

Prior to making the deposit, we took away the $0.50 and $1 coins because my kids can use them in school over time. We still ended up with a huge bag of coins we have to push to the bank. 

The coin deposits are surprisingly hard to use as they had a limit of 1000 coins per session. In hindsight, I thought I should have bought a toy spade to shovel the coins into the machine. We ended up entering the passcode to the bank card about 10-12 times. 

Even after paying all costs, we liquidated $700. I estimated the operation costs us over $100 which did not feel all that clever in hindsight. 

I think we were too eager to clear the space for the coins. I already use a lot of spare change when I go to Sheng Siong but clearing the pile will take years.  

You can refer to this link for better hacks.

c) I deployed a new script to abuse scammers

This one is unrelated to the others, but a friend boasted that he was able to really piss off a phone scammer by asking the scammer whether his mum was proud of him becoming a con man. I decided to pick up a few unsolicited calls to speak to them.

True enough, there was always a Malaysian Chinese guy asking me whether I know him. I deployed the script and just kept asking whether his mum knew what he was doing and whether she was proud of his line of work. After some needling, the scammer went berserk, began to scold Hokkien vulgarities and hung up on me. 

Some friends have since offered new ideas like claiming that I was owed money by the scammers, but I can only execute those scripts when I am targeted by them again. 

This has become so fun, I have started looking forward to scam calls. 

In summary, the moves I made on liquidating our assets added a five-digit sum to our bank accounts. Even if I put them into a super stable counter like Parkway Life REIT, that's an additional $300+ every year. 

We are nowhere close to getting the job done, as I have to review my dad's stamp collection next, which will be a colossal headache.

For folks keeping Magic the Gathering Cards for future generations like me, you would also have to think of a future where your kids may not want to inherit your collection and advises you to liquidate before you pass it on. 


  1. You can change your spare coins at a coffee shop, they are happy to take them at times they are not so busy. Never tried $700 though.

  2. i remember laundering a crap ton of coins via DBS coin deposit machine into a joint account with my child - no cost incurred since it's a child savings account, if i remember correctly.