How did you spend your day?

Today is Day 3 of Circuit Breaker Stay-at-Home regime. How did you spend your day since Tuesday?

I count the day by the meals taken – breakfast, lunch and dinner. My family was happy when we finished a meal. One meal settled!

Come night, I waited for news from MOH to see what was the number of confirmed cases. Last night we had 142 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections. The highest single day increase since we started tracking the infection rates. My heart sank. Worst still, there were 72 unlinked cases, meaning that an infected person did not know how he/she got it. Who is carrying the coronavirus and spreading it without knowing it is happening?

Throughout the day, we got news of the latest measures to get people to comply with the spirit of social distancing. This is important because we can comply and not to run foul of the measures. We also read about other countries in coping with Covid-19. It can be overwhelming.

Then we have WhatsApp chatgroups and my contacts have been forwarding all kind of stuffs including videos and news scoop. Some of these were fake news, like the one when someone said that Queen Elizabeth II had been tested positive with Covid-19. That is too blatant and total disregard to forward without confirming the authenticity of the “news”. It is already gloom and we deserve better than to be subjected to fake news.

What we need most is positivity and uplifting materials to help us face this dreaded coronavirus. I appreciate some who have something positive to say, to care and be sensitive to our wellbeing.

My way of coping is to stay in the present. Enjoy the moment like admiring the supermoon Pink Moon early this morning. Enjoy looking at the green shoots of our plant at home. Enjoy the company of my family together.

Stay safe.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged

“Circuit Breaker” Lockdown

7 April 2020 Tuesday

Day One of “Circuit Breaker” Lockdown
Most physical work places are closed
Construction sites are quiet

ERP ceased since yesterday
Fewer cars on the roads
More cars are parked at residences

Stay at home, we must
Da Bao food, we can
Sit in dining to enjoy our food, we can’t

Parents are waiting now
To pick up their children from schools
For the last time

A new way of learning for most
From home and not at school
Wifi usage will hit new high

Reduce contact with others is crucial
To break the chain of transmission
No more walking at malls

If you need to go out of home
Set your target destination
Do it and come home

For a country so used to relentless economic activities
It is a wakeup call
To know that we can be brought to almost standstill

Today is Day One
There are 27 more days after today
For freedom

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Worksite at North South Corridor road project gone quiet.

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged ,

Enhanced Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) – My Reactions

I support the government in coming up with this SIRS scheme to help self-employed persons during this period of business disruptions as a result of Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

My only comment on this scheme is the criteria for benefiting certain class of self-employed. Not all self-employed persons benefit from this scheme.

The income relief of $1,000 cash each month for 9 months will now be paid to self-employed persons under the following criteria:

  1. First, SIRS to automatically include self-employed persons who also earn a small income from employment work.
  2. Second, the current Annual Value threshold is now moved up from $13,000 to up to $21,000, to include those who live in some condominiums and other private properties.
  3. The other criteria first announced previously on the original scheme remain unchanged.

Annual Value of Property as Criteria

So long as a person stays in a property with Annual Value above $21,000, he/she is not entitled to the Enhanced SIRS.

My objections are:

  1. The self-employed person could be staying in a property that belongs to his/her parents. He/She does not own this property.
  2. The self-employed person has a business that is impacted by measures instituted by the government on Covid-19. Revenues from clients dry up. He/She is no different from another self-employed person who is staying in a property with lower Annual Value.

I understand that parents could support their self-employed child even when SIRS is not paid out to him/her. This is on the basis that the parents can do so with their current financial circumstances. But this may not be so in some cases.

I know that there can be appeal. But wouldn’t it be nice that the self-employed person is not excluded in the first instance by the use of Annual Value of property as a yardstick. This begs the question of inclusiveness in society of such as a financial scheme.

Posted in Social Issues | Tagged , ,

Let’s Flatten the Curve of this Pandemic

It depends on everyone to play his/her part.

Covid-19 coronavirus depends on human-to-human interactions as the main means to transmit from one person to another. When we contact with each other less, the transmission breaks down or reduces significantly. Social distancing during this period of infection surge will flatten the curve of infections.

What we can do to combat Covid-19 is to stay home as much as possible. Go out only when absolutely necessary. Avoid crowded places when you are out. When you are out there, keep a safe distance of 1 metre from the next individual. Keep to your immediate household members. Connect with your relations via social media and do not visit them at this moment.

It seems like social isolation by staying at home. But, it is the only way to protect yourself and your family and also in the process protect your relations and their families. We seek our relations’ understanding if we refuse to meet up, at least for this period to flatten the infection curve.

In this age of social media, we can still maintain contacts with each other, albeit in cyberspace. Social media is a double-edged sword. It would be most unhelpful, if people simply forward messages, videos, audios, etc without establishing the facts and truths of the forwarded messages. This could raise more anxieties and fears unnecessarily on the recipients. We have to work to calm nerves and not to raise anxieties.

It is painful having to adjust to one month of partial lockdown. It is a small sacrifice to make than to endure long periods of this pandemic and worse still more deaths resulting from Covid-19.

With every crisis, there are opportunities and new ways of living this life. Something good may come out of it.

Keep safe!

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

In for a challenging time

It got progressively more stringent with the measures to contain this Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Short of a total lockdown or a curfew as seen in other countries, most physical work places would be required to be closed for four weeks starting 7 April ending 4 May. Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning are to move to full home-based learning from 8 April. What we will see continuing are work places that provide essential services and those in economic sectors critical for local and global supply chain. There will not be sit-in dining for all F&B outlets, coffee shops and hawker centres. Only takeaways and deliveries are allowed.

The measures are to restrict social contacts and to stay at home as much as possible. In this way, we can hopefully break the transmission of Covid-19 in the community.

The impact on business activities will be significant. Business income will be reduced for most businesses and take-home pays for most employees will also be reduced. It is difficult to be optimistic in this environment when we are not seeing the end of the spread of Covid-19. As it is now, the stock markets have taken a major hit in March. April will see more downside risks to stock markets and investments.

Covid-19 pandemic is a global problem. World leaders have to come together in a coordinated effort to stem the pandemic.

During this uncertain time, the wise saying that we ought to save for a rainy day rings true. We will need cash to tide us over this challenging time. When we have savings, we would be less anxious. If one were able, lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate than us. Buy from your local small businesses. Buy take-away meals from your favourite hawker stalls and food outlets at coffee shops. Give in kind to the community fridge nearby.

The most important thing to do is to protect yourself adequately. Once you are healthy, your immediate family members get protected too. Less social contacts during this period is critical to slow the infection transmission rate. Stay at home as much as possible.

This reminded me of a song: “We shall overcome”. Stay well!

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

First Withdrawal from SRS without Penalty

I went to a POSB branch yesterday (1 April) to make my first withdrawal from my SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme). Withdrawal from SRS can only be made at the branch. You cannot do it through e-banking if your SRS is held with DBS/POSB.

In order not to suffer a 5% premature withdrawal penalty, one must reach the statutory retirement age on 1 April. This statutory retirement age applicable to me is 62 years old. So at every 1 April of each year, ask yourself this question: “What is your age at 1 April?” For example, if it is 62 years old on 1 April 2020, you can then withdraw your SRS from this date onwards without paying premature withdrawal penalty.

The next big question to ask is: “How much can I withdraw each year in order to pay low income tax or no low income tax on this withdrawal?”

Taxpayer will enjoy the concession of being taxed only on 50% of the sum withdrawn from SRS. 50% of the sum withdrawn forms part of your income (together with other incomes earned in the year such as employment income, rental income, etc) and will be taxed at your marginal tax rate.

Bear in mind that the Resident Tax Rate for first $20,000 of Chargeable Income is Zero Tax.

Take an example.

If you have no other income, you can withdraw $40,000 from SRS and only $20,000 (ie 50% x $40,000) is subject to personal income tax. Since amount of Chargeable Income is $20,000, no tax is payable on this $20,000.

Above is oversimplified to illustrate a point. Personal income tax computation has other elements such as allowable deductions and amount of tax payable varies between individuals with different circumstances.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Retirement Planning

Quarter One 2020 Stock Indices Performances were Bad

Quarter One 2020 stopped the 11-year bull-run since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008/2009. This quarter was terrible due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that started on 31 December 2019.

The year-to-date changes to major stock indices (for the quarter) are in the table below:

Stock Indices 31-Dec-19 31-Mar-20 Change
Mumbai BSESN 41,253.74 29,468.49 -28.6%
CAC 40 (France) 5,978.06 4,396.12 -26.5%
Germany DAX 13,249.01 9,935.84 -25.0%
Australia All Ordinaries 6,802.40 5,110.60 -24.9%
UK FTSE 100 7,542.44 5,671.96 -24.8%
Dow Jones (USA) 28,538.44 21,917.16 -23.2%
STI (Singapore) 3,222.83 2,481.23 -23.0%
S&P 500 (USA) 3,230.78 2,584.59 -20.0%
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 23,656.62 19,084.97 -19.3%
Hang Seng (HK) 28,189.75 23,603.48 -16.3%
Nasdaq (USA) 8,972.60 7,700.10 -14.2%
Shanghai Composite 3,050.12 2,750.30 -9.8%

All stock indices were in negative territory.

Mumbai BSESN was worst performer with the index losing 28.6%. France Germany DAX, Australia All Ordinaries and UK FTSE 100 lost between 26.5% to 24.8%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) lost 23.2%. The Straits Times Index (STI) was down 23.0%. Shanghai Composite held up quite well surprisingly, losing just 9.8%.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management