Saturday, July 28, 2007

HDB Rental Data for Singapore !

With HDB rental rates are rising every month. Finally govt has stepped to provide some more information to people who need to know what is the prevailing rate in a particular area.

Checkout : HDB Link to rental rates

This is really a good information to all who are seeking HDB rental in Singapore. By looking at the data it does look near to what really is being offered. But as I guess this data is for the approved HDB units which are rented out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fund Card on Valueresearchonline website

I noticed a new feature on It is Fund Card. Goto to the "Mutual Funds" and select any Mutual Fund of your Choice from the list on the first page. On the right side of "Relative Performance " there is a BIG Adobe PDF Icon which says "Download Fundcard". Click on that and you get a Fund Card of the Fund you are looking at.

Its a great tool to analyze the fund in which you want to invest. Provides good summary of returns over a period. Some charts to understand performance. History of expense ratio. Expense ratio is something I have started looking recently. I guess it makes lot of sense to read this kind of stuff once in a while to understand what your fund or fund manager is doing !

With my personal experience so far(last 2 years) ..I would recommend following way to Invest in MFs

  • Invest in few Equity Diversified Funds only
  • Do not expect great returns always !
  • Do Invest rather than just saving the money(I will blog more on this!)
  • Track your portfolio every 3-6 monhs
  • Create a Net worth Statement & do update it every month(check out Build your own net worth calculator)
  • Do not over-diversify(i.e. do not try to invest in too many funds)
  • Understand your objectives of investing in Equity very well
  • Do book profits if you need too !
  • Do not book profits if you don't know what you will do with that money !
  • Read blogs on Equity Investing !! - My favorites I will post later
  • the list go on ....
I started investing very late in Equity & regret that time lost. Look at this handy Calculator to understand how you can benefit from compounding in long-term.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review : Simplify Your Life by Elaine St.James

I recently got to know about this book Simplify Your Life by Elaine St.James from . I like this website, it has loads of information related to productivity & simplicity too !!.

Book Review

Rating : **.* (2.5 Stars !!)
This book is good for reading when you don't have anything else to do & want to read something light. Though the book claims to provide lot of ideas (100 !!) to Simplify Your Life, it is more of a common sense. This book is written in typical American style & also for Americans who are probably rich to have Boats & houses(like "keep your plants outdoor", Replace your lawn with ground water", "plan a garden" etc ) !!

Some of the ideas are just extreme .. "no phone", "not answering the door", "don't answer the phone" ..these do not seem to be practical ideas to implement.

There is a desperate attempt to make the list 100 !!.

I agree to few ideas like "Cancel your magazine subscriptions", "Drive a simple car", "Reduce clutter" , "stop junk mail" etc ...

Its not worth to buy this book. Its good to loan from a library or a friend :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Indian Income Tax Return filing made simple : ITR2 !!

Things are improving with Indian Government. Specially with Income Tax Department they have improved the way we can file Income Tax Returns this year. Well we know that the IT Return Form is changed this year too :( ..But still there are more utilities this year to help you to file returns.

So if you want to file ITR2 Form(When you have both Salary Income & Loss from House property).

Follow the Simple Steps & you will be done with ITR2 in 30 mins.

  1. Take your Forms 16
  2. Download Acrobat Reader 8.1(This is required, Acrobat Reader 7.0 will give issues)
  3. Open the ITR2 downloaded from above link using Acrobat Reader 8.1
  4. Fill up the Form based on details from Forms 16(Including Schedule CYLA For Loss of House Property - Enter the figure in +VE number)
  5. Ensure all details are filled up - btw this version allows you to SAVE the details entered !!
  6. Goto the last page & Click on button "Check Form". This will give any errors if any based on the checks designed for this form - like Date not entered, Address not entered.
  7. Then click on "Generate BarCode" button. This will generate the Bar Code on the first page. btw ..I am not sure about this though yet as sometime it does not generate :)
  8. Print the Form
  9. Submit to the local Income dept :) .. NO ATTACHMENTS ..Hurray !! ..Save Trees !!
  10. Go home/office(If u are using office time for submitting the Form !!) & enjoy !!
So be happy with the way things are improving with govt. depts !!

Issue with ITR2 Form & Acrobat 8.1 :
  • Acrobat Reader 8.1 takes too much of memory & CPU
  • The CPU goes to 100% ..That is because it automatically loads Acrobat Updates Software & starts downloading something in background - Exit that updater !!
  • Close all applications & use only Acrobat Reader 8.1 or 8.0 to open & fill up this ITR2 form.
  • If you generate the BarCode once, later on if you try to generate again, it may not :)
Hope this post helps many & saves their time !!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Return to India

After coming to Singapore, I have been using internet means to keep in touch with India..specially Bangalore !!. I found this blog very informative :

Very nicely written blog by somebody who recently moved back to India after staying in USA for many years. Good perspective of moving challenges & adjusting to the new place/city/country.

The other ways to keep in touch :

  • News websites - not very good though !! - etc
  • Blogs - Highly recommend this if you find a blog which really gives you good idea of what's happening in your home country/city.
  • Google Talk :) ..Yes keep chatting with your friends relatives often
  • SMS !! ..Not very fond of this ..but this helps too
  • Phone Call .. buy the cheapest card in the town :) ..I found "Tiger" Phone card very good. It provides 131 minutes of India calling for $8 :) ..There are others like Mustafa Calling card..
  • FLY - Yes one needs to really visit India to see what's happening :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cost of living in Singapore - July 2007

I thought of updating "Cost of living Singapore" since I last wrote it in April-07. As I have been tracking my expenses using, it gives me good idea as to how the expenses are over a period of time.

I would put a word of caution here that these are just a guideline for "cost of living in Singapore". As the expenses vary a lot depending on the factors like, lifestyle, area of living, personal preferences etc ... But this post does provide a rough idea as to what you can expect when you move here in terms of fixed/variable expenses.

Also I talk to many people to get more understanding on how much they spend overall on a monthly basis for living(again based on moderate lifestyle). Which certainly helps if someone wants to move around Singapore.

All the below are Singapore Dollar values.

Rent: Rent is gone up :(. Yes, recently some of friends who moved in find that the the HDB flat which was around $1200-1300, is now available for $1500. So this is a cause of concern for many people. But there are still ways to get Rent under your budget
  • Avoid staying near City
  • Try to be firm on your budget when talking to Agents
  • Do not rent very near to MRT(But near to Bus stop is a must !!)
  • View flats as many as you can before you decide on one you want to stay.
Play school : Playschool fees varies a lot in Singapore. If you go for something which is near Condo or Landed Properties(a term used for Bunglow/House in Singapore!). You would have to shell out more for the playschool. Look out for more options near your accomodation before you decide on something. Remember, that expensive playschool does not mean it is good for sure. Talk to your friends before you enroll.

Internet: For Internet you have many options, so check all options before you decide on something. As this is a fixed expense & has penalty clause when you terminate the contract.

Grocery : Another big ticket item after rent !!. With GST increase from July 1st 2007, there is little hike in overall grocery expense.

Hope this helps !!

Reference : Cost of Living in Singapore 2008

Feel good factor !!

One always needs motivation of some kind to do work, is it true always ? ...No I guess !! .I started this blog more than year ago to share my experience in different expects of life & help others to know something which will help them in daily life.

I feel good when somebody hits this blog & it really helps them in some way !!

Yesterday I got a comment from website : regarding one of blog entry :Cost of living Singapore - 2007

The comment is : "This is one of the most informative cost of living comparisons I've seen recently - thanks for writing this up."

This motivates me to blog more about things I knew from my own experience here in Singapore which would help others.

I saw the website & it seems to provide good information Singapore overall.

I would write more on "cost of living Singapore" in my next post, as things have changed a bit in last 6 months. Hope it helps some more people when they want to know more about Singapore before they take an decision to move here.