Monday, February 5, 2018

Paying off your flat might be the worst mistake of your life

A common piece of financial advice is to “pay off your home loan as soon as possible”. While this may be applicable in other countries, Singaporeans should think twice – rushing to pay off your flat has relatively few benefits, in exchange for the risk it brings. Here’s why it might be a bad idea:

Why there are few advantages to paying off your flat early

The main reason most people want to pay off their flat is psychological: It might give you peace of mind to know that your home – a major debt – is paid up. But what if we told you that peace of mind can easily be shattered, and turned into a prolonged nightmare?

Here’s why:

1. You cannot easily convert your flat to cash during emergencies

Time and again, we come across Singaporeans with fully paid-up flats, who are so broke they’re re-using coffee powder. How does this happen?

Let us explain: Say you have $160,000 remaining on your HDB loan. After years of saving, you manage to accumulate $100,000 – either in cash or your CPF.

Then you stumble across a web article that tells you to “End your debt! Pay off your home loan as soon as you can!”

You then take the $100,000, and pour it all into your HDB loan repayment. Congratulations, you now owe just $60,000.

A few weeks down the road, you encounter an emergency. Perhaps you lose your job, or a loved one needs expensive surgery.

Consider your situation when that happens: You have $0 to deal with the problem, as your $100,000 has been poured into your HDB loan. It’s true you only owe $60,000 on your flat now, but of what use is that? That isn’t going to help you pay your bills.

Ironically, it can even cost you the flat. If you lose your job and can’t pay the mortgage, you will lose your home even if you “only owe $60,000”.

But, if you had kept the $100,000 in savings, you could have continued to service the mortgage for years, and had more time to find another income source. At the very least, you could have taken your time to sell and downgrade, making sure you got the best price.

So before you rush your loan repayment, decide if you’re prepared to deal with emergencies. If you insist on repaying your flat early, make sure you set aside sufficient savings for six months of your income first.

As an aside, note that borrowers who use a private bank loan have a partial solution to this. If they make a mistake and pay too early, they can use cash out refinancing (a home equity loan) to get money out of their house again. But this isn’t a cheap or fast option, and don’t always assume it’s available.

If you want to get money out of your house this way, speak to one of our mortgage experts at We’ll find you the best mortgage deal among all the local banks.

2. You may not be making sufficient preparations for retirement

Instead of sinking a huge amount into early repayment, consider using the money for a retirement fund instead. This is safer than pouring all your money into the flat, and then considering the flat to be your retirement fund.

If you have a proper financial plan, you can build a comfortable retirement income, while still managing to pay off your flat before 62. For example: Let’s say you borrow $315,000 for your HDB flat. At an interest rate of 2.6 per cent per annum (HDB Concessionary Loan), you would make monthly repayments of $1,261 over 30 years. Let’s also assume you are 35 years old when you take the loan.

Now, assume you’re able to set aside $500 a month in savings.

If you put that $500 a month into repaying your home loan faster (thus paying about $1,571 per month) you would pay off your HDB flat in more or less 22 years, instead of 30 years.

Your flat would be paid off by the time you are 57 years old. However, you wouldn’t have any retirement savings, as all of it has gone into the flat. Assuming you keep working to 65, eight years is a very short time to build a fund that will last the next 25 years (age 65 to 90).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sentosa - Popular island resort in Singapore,

Sentosa is a popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some twenty million people a year. Attractions include a 2 km (1.2 mi) long sheltered beach, Fort Siloso, two golf courses, the Merlion, 14 hotels, and the Resorts World Sentosa, featuring the theme park Universal Studios Singapore.

The name Sentosa translates as "peace and tranquility" in Malay, which was in turn derived from the Sanskrit term Santosha (संतोष, IAST: Saṃtoṣa), meaning "contentment, satisfaction". Sentosa was formerly known as Pulau Blakang Mati which in Malay means the "Island of Death from Behind".

The name Blakang Mati is rather old but may not have been founded in the nineteenth century as generally believed. In fact, there exists an island that was identified as Blacan Mati in Manuel Godinho de Erédia's 1604 map of Singapore. Other early references to the island of Blakang Mati include Burne Beard Island in Wilde's 1780 MS map, Pulau Niry, Nirifa from 1690 to 1700, and the nineteenth century reference as Pulau Panjang (J.H. Moor). However, early maps did not separate Blakang Mati from the adjacent island of Pulau Brani, so it is uncertain to which island the sixteenth century place names referred.

The island has gone through several name changes. Up to 1830, it was called Pulau Panjang ("long island"). In an 1828 sketch of Singapore Island, the island is referred to as Po. Panjang. According to Bennett (1834), the name Blakang Mati was only given to the hill on the island by the Malay villagers on the island. The Malay name for this island is literally translated as "dead back" or "behind the dead"; blakang means "at the back" or "behind" or "after"; mati means "dead". It is also called the "dead island" or the "island of the dead" or perhaps "island of after death".

Different versions of how the island came to acquire such an unpropitious name abound:

  • One account attributed the ominous name to murder and piracy in the island's past.
  • A second claimed that the island is the material paradise of warrior spirits buried at Pulau Brani.
  • A third account claims that an outbreak of disease on the island in the late 1840s almost wiped out the original Bugis settlers on the island. Dr Robert Little, a British coronerinvestigating the deaths, stumbled upon what was called Blakang Mati Fever, purportedly a type of fever caused by miasmastic fumes arising from decaying leaves andswampy water on the island. This event led to a controversy in medical circles at that time as to the causes of what was later recognised in 1898 as malaria spread by theAnopheles mosquito. The government's malaria research station was originally located here.
  • A fourth interpretation is that "dead back island" was so-called because of the lack of fertile soil on the hills. However, since the island creates an area of dead water behind it with no wind (hence "still behind" - still or stopped being an alternative translation of mati) it may be as simple as this — less romantic perhaps, but believable from a nautical viewpoint.

In 1827, Captain Edward Lake of the Bengal Engineers in his report on public works and fortifications had proposed an alternative name for Blakang Mati as the "Island of St George". However, the island was seen as too unhealthy for habitation and his proposed name was never realised.

In a 1972 contest organised by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, the island was renamed Sentosa, a Malay word meaning "peace and tranquility", from Sanskrit, Santosha.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, a number of pay-to-get-in tourist destinations were built on the island, most of which the local people found uninteresting. Consequently, there was a joke that the name Sentosa stood for "So Expensive and Nothing to See Also"

Saturday, June 24, 2017

名厨勞倫斯 Chef Lawrence APP is coming to Singapore!

Many of you might be puzzled why I'm writing this post today, as this new era of advertising for F&B is a concept by Royal Entertainment. This advertising concept start from write-up, social media posting, food listing, video productions to mobile game which will be launching in 2018. 

名厨勞倫斯 Chef Lawrence APP started on 1 April 2017, with one of my artistes Lawrence Hiew appointed to take up the role of "Chef Lawrence" as virtual and reality character by Royal Entertainment, specializing in doing food reviews, videos, events and advertising for F&B merchants. The advertising package is just $1000 for any F&B related merchants and owners from hawker, cafe, restaurant and food suppliers.

If you want to see how our advertising package can further benefits your business, assisting you to grow your customer's base and to promote your food, just contact Chef Lawrence's advertising hotline at +65 9877 0340 or email us at for a non-obligation meeting, 

For your information, Chef Lawrence have two celebrity foodies, namely Celebrity Foodie Xavier and Elen, and they will both sign on the Certificate of Achievement by Chef Lawrence if they felt that your food is up to standard. So what are you waiting for? Contact us for more information today!

Facebook: Chef Lawrence APP