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For the past 2 weeks or so, I've been visiting gym quite regularly (at least 2-3 times a week) to maintain my exercise regime so as to delay the "widening" effect (if you know what I meant :-). Most of the time, I will just do the threadmill exercise with the occasional dumb bell lifting,

One of the self "mandate" for me is listening to the music while doing the exercises. I find that it does improves my exercise momentum and enjoyment. There is one side issue though, that is finding a fitting earbud. I used to use cable earphone attached to my iPhone but recently changed it to wireless earbud (but still have wire, just not attached to the phone).

You see, my ear tends to get oily easily and hence getting a fitting earbud is important but a challenge, finally, I settled for the one with silicone ear gels (in 3 different sizes) so that it can helps to "fix" the placement in my ear. Of course, my the other consideration is to ensure that the earbud can last sufficiently long as the last thing I want is it went kaput while I am still half-way through my exercise.

How about you? Have you found your fitting earbud?

Cheers!

The award-winning engineers at xFyro audio created the most advanced pair of "waterproof earbuds" on the market, bringing next-generation technology today's active listener. Click on xFyro waterproof earbuds to find out more.     
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Want to register your company in Singapore? This guide contains key facts on opening a company and doing business in Singapore – the requirements, procedures, and timelines.

Registering a company in Singapore: high-level overview
  • Company name: We recommend having a shortlist of three in case your first choice isn’t available.
  • 1 or more directors: Directors must be individuals, aged 18 and above, who have not been disqualified to hold a directorship in Singapore or elsewhere.
  • 1 or more resident directors: You need at least one locally resident director. This is someone who is a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident, or someone who is on a visa such as an Employment Pass, Dependant's Pass or EntrePass.
  • Between 1 - 50 shareholders: A director can be a shareholder, and a shareholder can either be an individual or a legal entity like a trust or another company.
  • Paid-up capital: The minimum paid-up/share capital for a company to register in Singapore is S$1. Any time after the company has been incorporated, the share capital can be increased.
  • A registered address in Singapore: The address that is provided for the company must be located in Singapore. In addition, it must be a physical address (residential or commercial). A P.O. Box will not be accepted.
  • Company secretary: within 6 months of incorporation, every company must appoint a company secretary. A company secretary has to be a citizen, permanent resident or an employment pass holder.
  • Auditor: within 3 months of incorporation, every company must appoint an auditor, unless the company has been exempted from audit (which is the case for most start-up companies).

Other helpful things to keep in mind when registering a company:
  • No local/foreign shareholding requirements: You may have 100% local shareholding or 100% foreign. You can transfer existing shares or issue new ones at any time after the company has completed the incorporation process.
  • Taxes: As a company registered in Singapore, you will receive some very appealing tax incentives and exemptions. This is one of the primary reasons that entrepreneurs from around the world prefer to form their company in Singapore.
Required documents at incorporation

To incorporate your company in Singapore, you need to file with ACRA (the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority), who manages company registration in Singapore. You will need to provide:
  • Name of company
  • Brief description of activities
  • Details of shareholders
  • Details of directors and KYC information
  • Registered (Singapore) address
  • Share capital details
  • The company’s constitution
  • The main document required is the constitution of the company, which sets out the rules governing the way of doing business, the internal governance of the company and the relationships between its stakeholders (mainly directors and shareholders).
Additional considerations for foreigners

Foreigners who are interested in registering their company in Singapore also need to consider the following:
  • You will need to hire help in Singapore to set up. To register your Singapore business, you will need to hire a professional to file on your behalf. The regulations in Singapore do not allow a foreign individual/entity to self-register their company.
  • You do not need to travel or obtain a visa to incorporate your company. If you plan to incorporate your company in Singapore, but don’t plan to move, you do not need to obtain any special travel visa. You may operate your company from overseas, and you may visit Singapore on a short-term visitor visa when you need to deal with company issues.
  • You may need to hire a nominee director. If you are not planning to have anyone in your company move to Singapore, you will still need to fulfil the requirement to have a local director. You can easily find a professional service firm in Singapore that offers incorporation services including local resident directorship, such as Sleek.
  • You may need to travel in order to set up a corporate bank account. Depending on the bank that you decide to use, many banks require physical presence of directors and/or shareholders to approve the opening of a bank account in Singapore. We have a network of bankers and can help facilitate this - usually a straightforward process.

Timeline for registering your company

Once you have all your documents together, a company can be incorporated within one business day, as long as ACRA does not cause any delays. Read on to find out how you can set up a company in Singapore via ACRA. 

There are 2 steps involved in the company formation procedure for incorporating in Singapore: reserving a name, and registering the company. 

1. Reserving the company name

To register your business in Singapore, you must make sure that your proposed name is approved by ACRA. Usually, you will find out whether your proposed name has been approved or rejected within a day. However, if your proposed name contains specific words such as media, bank, law, finance, or education, the corresponding external governmental authority may be required to review and approval the name.

To increase your chances of the proposed name being approved right away, you want to make sure that the name is not:
  • similar/identical to existing company in Singapore
  • vulgar/obscene
  • already reserved
Approved company names will be held and secured for 60 days from the date of your application. Also, if you need to extend the name reservation for another 60 days, you may do so by filing an extension just before the initial hold expires.

2. Registering the company

Once you have received approval for your name, the process of filing the incorporation paperwork and obtaining approval from the ACRA can be done in just a day – as long as the documents are all ready and have been signed by all directors of the new company.

What happens post-incorporation?

  • You receive a Certificate of Incorporation. ACRA will send an email notification confirming the incorporation of your company. This is your official Singapore Company Incorporation Certificate and will include your business registration number. If you want a hard copy of the certificate, you can make an online request to ACRA for S$50.
  • You receive a Business Profile (”Bizfile”). ACRA will also provide the business profile of your new company for free. The business profile is the identity card of the company.
  • You are able to open a corporate bank account. After you have successfully registered your Singapore business, you will be able to open a corporate bank account with any of the banks in Singapore. This includes Citibank, UOB, HSBC, OCBC, Standard Chartered, DBS.
  • Business Licenses Application. Depending on the activities that your business will be doing, you might also need to apply for business licenses. You will complete this process after incorporation, but before starting your business.
  • Registration for Goods and Service Tax (GST). If you expect your business’ annual turnover to exceed S$1 million, then you must register for Goods & Services Tax, or GST (also referred to as value added tax, VAT, in many countries). If you do not expect your business’ annual turnovers to reach S$1 million, you are not required to register for GST.

(Want to learn more about GST in Singapore? Read our Simple Guide to GST in Singapore in Singapore or download our GST Cheat Sheet.

Ongoing requirements/formalities for filing

Once you have officially incorporated your Singapore business, the Companies Act requires specific annual filing requirements to be made. To learn more about this, check out our guideon the annual filing requirements for companies established in Singapore.

If you’re not Singaporean and you want to have a hassle-free experience, you might want to consider hiring a professional corporate secretary …. like us - Sleek.

Get in touch with us if you want to learn more about how we can take care of all your ongoing corporate filing requirements.
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Image Source : Pixabay

If you are planning to relocate, and Sydney is your choice of locations, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. This vibrant city and its many suburbs have much to offer, and with such a desirable region, you need to be quick when looking at properties. Here today and gone tomorrow would be an accurate description of the Sydney real estate market.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you source that dream property in Sydney.

Source a Good Mortgage Broker

Number one on the list of things to source, finding a proactive mortgage broker in Sydney is a must, and by dealing with a leading independent broker who has associations with all the major lenders, you can find a mortgage that suits your lifestyle. You are wasting your time looking at properties without first getting mortgage preapproval, and no seller will take you seriously without the green light from a lender.

Making an Offer
Image Source: Unsplash

If you do find something that hits the spot, you need to be quick to get the ball rolling, and with a proactive independent mortgage broker in your corner, you can get ahead of the pack when it comes to buying a prime piece of real estate. The mortgage broker can make things happen within hours, rather than days, and aside from being able to hook you up with the right lender, they also get to know when prime properties come onto the market.

Crunch the Numbers

The very worst that could happen is you commit to a property that you really can’t afford, so do crunch the numbers, and make sure you factor in everything. Legal fees, stamp duty, and the great thing about using an independent mortgage broker is their services are free to the borrower, as the lender pays a small remuneration on the loan. Don’t forget relocation expenses, and you are likely to need some basic furnishings, all of these things require money. There is also a great article for first time buyers, complete with useful information that will make it a little easier to acquire the home of your dreams. If the mortgage is high, be realistic, as the last thing you want is to get behind with your home loan payments, and if you are buying the house with your partner, sit down and look at all the pros and cons.

Carry Out Searches

Once you find a property you like, have a building surveyor take a look, and they can also ensure that the title has no restrictions, and nothing is owed by the seller. The structural integrity of the building needs to be verified, and a good conveyancing lawyer would advise you regarding the searches you should order.
Image Source: Unsplash

Sydney is a very desirable location, and the land prices reflect this, but if you can afford it, factor in all of the above and you should be able to find the ideal property. The mortgage broker is the key, and once you have forged an alliance with a local mortgage broker, they can get you preapproval, and the search can begin.
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This is an update to my earlier post Weekend Leisure Post - To Renovate Or Upgrade? Finally, we've decided to choose the upgrade route and made a 5% deposit via Option To Purchase (OTP) for an upcoming condo. This means that we need to sell our current HDB within 6 months in order to avoid the 12% Additional Stamp Duty. 

During this period, we will be moving out to an interim accommodation (another Condo) for 2 years. It has been busy past few weeks/months and lots of viewings (both for renting as well as for selling). So, I thought it might be a good idea to jot down some of the interesting experience/facts that I've personally went through during the process of in renting the condo (I have yet to collect the key yet, so the list of consideration might not be complete). 

Case In Point        : Renting of a condo at Sengkang area (just TOP)
Contract Tenure    : 2 years
Rental per month : SGD2,100 (2-Room)     

Financial Considerations

1. Stamp Duty - Tenant need to pay for the Stamp Duty of the Tenancy Agreement (TA) and basing on the rental of SGD2,100, the Stamp Duty is about SGD201. The application of the Stamp Duty can be done via IRAS online.

2. Deposits - For 2 years contract, there is a need to pay 2 months deposit to the landlord (this might not be peculiar to Condo). With the 1 month rental to be paid up-front, before you step into the rented condo, you need to pay 3-months worth of rental (SGD6,300 in this case). 

3. Commission - For 2 years contract, tenant usually don't need to pay any commission as the landlord will pay 1 month worth of commission to the agent representing the landlord and this commission will be shared between the two agents. However, for 1 year contract, both tenant and landlord will pay half-month commission to their respective agents (if any). 

4. Early Termination - If there is early termination of the contract initiated by the tenant, the tenant need to pay the pro-rated commission (calculated based on the balance number of days) and it will be deducted from the deposit (withheld by the landlord).  

5. Monthly Maintenance Fee - Usually, the monthly maintenance fee will be borne by the landlord. 

6. Utilities Fee - Utilities like electricity, water, gas and data services will need to be arranged and paid by the tenant. 

Non-Financial Considerations

1. Letter Of Intent (LOI) - Once you've viewed and satisfied with the unit, your agent will help you draft the Letter Of Intent to the landlord specifying the contract period, monthly rental amount and list of tenant's requirements like lighting, curtains, furnishings etc..This is the time you need to pay 1 month rental to secure your interest.

2. Tenancy Agreement (TA) - Once the landlord agree with the Letter Of Intent, he will sign and send you the Tenancy Agreement specifying all the T&C of the contract. If you are agreeable, sign the contract accordingly and it is deemed effected from the indicated Commencement Date. 

3. Commencement Date - Usually, the landlord or his/her agent will arrange for the collection of keys on the Commencement Date stated in the TA. This is the time whereby the tenant need to pay the balance 2-months rental as deposit. 

4. Permit To Move In - Before you move in, you need to apply for the permit for the move, usually, it can be done only during weekdays, half-day on Saturday ans strictly no moving on Sundays. Also, there is a need to place a deposit to the management office for the move (for my case, it is SGD1,000 deposit which will be return upon completion of the move).  

The rental side of the event is more or less settled and now more time will be spent in arranging the viewing by the potential buyers on our existing unit. That's all from me for now.
Cheers!
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Do you have old pieces of gold lying around that you no longer wear or need? Maybe you’d like to make a bit of extra money.


How about looking into your jewellery collection for some pieces you no longer want? The good news is that it’s easy enough to sell gold, but before you do, here are a few things you should know.

1. Always get an invoice.

A good jewellery or pawn shop will ask you for your purchase document or invoice when you want to sell gold items to them. This helps to establish the metal’s purity. If you don’t have the original paperwork, you’ll need to leave it up to reputable gold buyers to determine the value of your gold pieces.

2. Know the value of your gold items.

It’s important to understand how much your gold is really worth. That’s why it’s important to shop around for different appraisals. There’s no one particular standardised method that can be used to determine the price of your gold items, and you might find quite a difference in quotes. So, make sure to get a few quotes and carefully go through them. You’ll always want to settle for the best possible price.

3. Check the purity of the gold.

Before you sell your gold, have a look at whether your pieces of jewellery are hallmarked or not. A hallmark helps to establish the purity of the item. Any jewellery with a hallmark of 916 means that there is 91.6% pure gold in the piece. Jewellers and pawnbrokers alike much prefer hallmarked gold over non-hallmarked pieces for the sake of authenticity.


Image Source: Unsplash

If your gold doesn’t bear a hallmark, you can take it to a jeweller with a carat meter to establish the purity of the piece.

4. Figuring out the price.

Gold shops tend to take your used gold and melt down jewellery in an induction furnace. The gold that comes out of that is then free of any purities and can be appraised for a price. The entire process may cost a small fee, which will be deducted from the final price of your items.

In some instances, pawn shops may appraise your gold based on its weight. Keep in mind that the “sell price” will typically be lower than what you originally paid for your gold.

5. Deciding on where to sell your gold.

The best option is to head to a reputable gold buyer. You have a much better chance of getting a fair price. If you head to a jewellery store, though, keep in mind that as a policy, many stores buy back only pieces of jewellery that have originally been purchased from them, even if you have an original invoice or certificate for your items.


Image Source: Pixabay

Gold buyers, on the whole, are your best option when you’re ready to sell your gold pieces. You’re far more likely to receive the best prices and that means you can walk away with cash for your unwanted jewellery or other gold items that you no longer have a need for.
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For the past few days, the hottest local news is non other than the preview (soft launch) of the Jewel Changi Airport, for those lucky few who have gotten the free preview tickets, sure to have a blast there. From the videos/photos shared in the social media so far, I feel proud that for a tiny country like us, we can grind out something as spectacular and grand as this! 

As for the international news, it's the buzz regarding the upcoming premiere of long-awaited Marvels Universe sequel Avengers - Endgame (from 24th Apr 2019). In local context, it has "forced" Shaw cinema chain to introduce an online queuing system to purchase the ticket (yes, you hear it right, before you can access the site to book your advanced ticket, you need to get a queue number and they will send you a link to access the site when your queue is up!). Beside downing the servers of the cinema chains in the region (due to the high volume of traffics), long queues are forming at selected ticket box offices just to buy the movie tickets (crazy right?). To top it off, cinema chains in the region are competing to screen the earliest show on the first day. So far, I think the winner is from Hong Kong cinema chain whereby their  earliest show is at 6 AM. Mind you, it's on Wednesday and the movie is 3 hours and 2 minutes long :-)

On the personal front, am busy looking around and discussing with IDs (Interior Designers) on renovating our 15 years old home. The quotes received so far is between $80K to $120K, this set us thinking whether it would be more meaningful to sell our existing house and upgrade to EC or Condo rather than spending this hefty renovation cost? Of course, we need to think through a few other factors before making final decision... More to come on this...

Cheers!
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At the moment, the hottest local news is "fake news". Reason being that Singapore Government is set to make the spreading of fake news as outlaw. Thanks to this fake news thing, I've learnt something new today. Along came the newly learnt term dox, doxing or doxxing..

So what is dox (or doxing)?

Accord to Google translate, Doxing is defined as:

"search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent."

What it means is that once the Protection from Harassment (Amendment) Bill is passed, anyone committed the act of doxing will deemed outlawed with the following penalty:

"If the personal information is published to cause harassment, alarm or distress, the maximum sentence is a $5,000 fine and 6 months jail term"

"If the personal information is published to cause fear of violence or facilitate violence, the maximum sentence is a $5,000 fine or up to 12 months jail term"

Personal information here includes names, email address, phone number, password, photograph (even such information is readily available online elsewhere, e.g. from that person's social media profile).  

I am guilty of occasionally sharing viral videos/photos (but not personal identifiable information) via my Facebook profile, I guess from now on I need to think twice (or trice) before committing any potential act of doxing. 

Cheers! 
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In about 11 years time and assuming everything goes as planned, our MRT map will look something like the one on the left. 

For a small country like Singapore, I must say that our public transport is very comprehensive and convenient. Even though there were frequent breakdowns (minor and major) in the past 2 years or so, I can see that there are vast improvement recently, especially from the start of the year (touch wood!), but I think we are going on the right direction in ensuring a more stable public train system. 

For a public transport taker like me, I am happy with the busier lines as it will provide more alternative options for going to the same place. Besides, I believed the value of properties (private or public) along the new lines (especially the Thomson-East Coast Line) will have potential to demand a premium in the near future. 

Clearer version of Singapore MRT Map by 2030

Cheers!
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Among the impressive performers in global economic standings the previous year is the South American nation of Paraguay. Its economy has been gaining ground since 2003 and has been steadily generating international interest. This is the reason why a lot of private investment companies have been concentrating their efforts here.

And speaking of global interest in Paraguay, the foreign investing community is quite active in the country. In fact, it is among the most influential sectors that have pushed the country’s prosperity index up the rankings.

This is evident in the 2018 Legatum Prosperity Index, sponsored by the Legatum Foundation, which shows Paraguay’s impressive growth in various criteria such as Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety & Security, Education, Healthy, and Natural Environment.

Reports reveal that developments from 2008 to 2018 in all those categories were largely spurred by the modernization projects led by the government and supported by foreign investors. Paraguayans are proud of their nation’s performance and are optimistic about the even bigger progress their country can achieve.

A Growing Economy Makes People Happy

The economic rise of Paraguay continues to spawn more positive changes. With a hopeful population, it has become so much easier to gain their cooperation, particularly with economic reforms. The people are open and responsive. Most of them are willing to provide their support for programs designed to make prosperity accessible for every individual.

For example, with healthcare, the government has allocated a huge investment toward nationwide vaccinations and prenatal care programs. The general public has poured out support for it, especially after reports reveal that Paraguay has seen a big difference in mortality rates due to the efficiency of the delivery of healthcare programs.

Complementary studies also show that apart from the 1.5 years added to the people’s life expectancy, citizens report higher happiness levels, too, due to lesser strife in their life in general — something crucial to people’s overall well-being.

Better Educational System Lowers Poverty Rates

Worth directing attention to as well are the improvements in the nation’s educational system. Since the 1990s, new learning facilities have risen in various locations to make education, particularly higher or advanced education, more accessible. From that time, 10 new universities have opened and increased Paraguay’s academic competency.

Education undoubtedly plays a significant role in boosting the country’s workforce. Now that the environment is ideal for rearing “productive dreamers” (these are people who have a vision for the country and proper training from school to turn their dreams into reality either as professionals or entrepreneurs), there are more solid contributors to Paraguay’s emerging economy.

Further fortifying the education sector’s contribution to the economy is how more and more citizens are able to climb to a higher economic level. With higher educational attainment, it is no surprise that coinciding it are lower poverty figures.

Infrastructure Developments Attract More Investors

Progress “seen” never fails to draw in success-oriented entities. 

One of the most important variables that investors consider is the readiness of a location for further development. Paraguay has definitely been putting in the work. The government has directed a generous portion of its resources to create a good foundation for important infrastructure to rise.

Notably, since 2014, there has been continuous work to make Internet connectivity and electricity accessible in remote rural locations. Not only that, but transport networks have also allocated hefty budgets to improving roads and providing not just affordable but also comfortable means of transportation for the public. These transport links ensure citizens have access to a system that will efficiently and safely take them to different parts of the country.

Best of all, government-funded housing for citizens has grown in number and the quality of these low-cost residences has improved as well.

With the government displaying an understanding of its true priorities, foreign investors can only interpret it as a warm invitation to work together in creating more ideal conditions in Paraguay.

The Story is Far From Over

Analysts say Paraguay is moving in the right direction. The government’s reform programs paired with the interest and aid of the global community are pushing the country up the path of success.

However, a lot of work still needs to be done, and there’s still an abundance of issues slowing down the journey. Government corruption and domestic violence are still prevalent, and there are organized crime institutions affecting the results of development initiatives.

But, if Paraguay will learn to address these negative elements more effectively and fully take control, there is no doubt that it could take an even bigger leap toward prosperity and better safeguard the future of its citizens.
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It has been exactly a month since my last post, time really fly, we are almost at the end of the first quarter of 2019 and so far I have not done any transaction (in terms of investment) since the beginning of the year. I am happy to just keep receiving the occasional traditional kopi treats in the form of minion size of dividends. 

So what have I been busy with recently? 

This year, we plan to completely overhaul the our home (after more than 15 years) and hence been busy liaising with IDs and researching about our new decoration theme. As we expected that it will take a while for us to ding-dong with the selected ID, tentatively we are expecting to get the renovation started in the month of Apr/May 2019. Also, initial assessment seems to take about 6 to 8 weeks for the whole renovation, so, by the time we move in the "revamped" home, it will be around Jun/Jul 2019 (hopefully before the lunar 7th month :-). It also means that we need to source for some short-term accommodation during this period and it is still in progress. 

Also, been busy doing some regular movie review videos (in Mandarin) with a friend from Malaysia.  since I am a movie buff, always get more excited when talking/sharing about movies, but not so much when talk about investing/personal finance (I think I shared before that investing is not my (natural) cup of tea). 

Lastly, I am in the midst of reading a book by James E. Ryan called "Wait, What?". It's a tiny book but quite useful as it try to convince the readers that "good question is as important as good answer!". 

Some of the life essential questions covered in the book are:

"Wait, What?"
"I Wonder...?"
"Couldn't we at least...?"
"How can I help?"
"What truly matters?"

That's all from me today, hope you folks no need to wait for another month to see my next post :-)

Cheers!     

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