Thursday 18 April 2024

[Post 471] Meet Henry Ng, the last lion head maker in Singapore | Remarkable Living


Summary

For troupes seeking good quality, attractive and lightweight lion heads for their performances, there is only one man they would trust – Henry Ng, who is believed to be the last remaining lion head maker in Singapore.

[Post 470] The Future of Asia: A look at future trends in business and work


Summary

CNA is marking its 25th anniversary this month. We are taking the opportunity to look ahead to the next quarter century in Asia. Today's focus is business and work. Much has been said about the 21st century being the Asian century, with analysts saying the future is Asian.
Some of them project the region's share of global GDP will hit 52 per cent by 2050. The ADB describes Asia as being in the middle of a historic transformation and predicts that by 2050, its per capita income could rise six-fold in purchasing power parity terms to reach Europe’s current levels.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

[Post 469] The Future of Asia: China's semiconductor ambitions and the new frontier of quantum computing


Summary

CNA is marking its 25th anniversary this month. We take the opportunity to look ahead to the next quarter century in Asia. Today's focus is on tech. Here's a look at China's long-term semiconductor ambitions and the new frontier of quantum computing.

[Post 468] Ramadan's Rising Food Prices: How Are Malaysians Stretching Their Budgets? | Money Mind


Summary

Muslims around the world are feeling the impact of rising food prices during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

[Post 466] Chomps: How We Turned $6,500 Into A Business Bringing In $244 Million A Year


Summary

Looking to make a healthier-for-you meat snack, friends Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali together put forth $6,500 to launch their "side hustle" back in 2012. After four years, Trader Joe's began selling their products and sales significantly grew. In 2023, Pete and Rashid's once side-hustle has brought in nearly $250 million in retail sales.

Saturday 13 April 2024

[Post 461] I Make $220K A Year - And I Live With My Parents


Summary

Sal Khan, 31, moved from California to Texas to live with his parents during the 2020 pandemic. They insisted on not charging him rent. He saw this as an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with his parents, save money, and potentially purchase some properties for his future. Now, almost four years later, he has been able to save over $200,000 and has a real estate portfolio consisting of four properties across the U.S.

This is an installment of CNBC Make It's Millennial Money series, which profiles people across the globe and details how they earn, spend and save their money.

[Post 460] Americans Bought Abandoned $1 Homes In Italy — Was It Worth It?


Summary

In the late 2010s, towns around Italy started going viral for selling off crumbling properties for 1 euro, or roughly $1.05. How much does it really cost to buy and renovate a 1-euro home in Italy? And is it worth it? CNBC Make It spoke to several Americans who have bought a 1-euro home in Sicily, Italy.

Friday 12 April 2024

[Post 458] My Side Hustle Brings In $400K A Year—Here’s How I Spend My Money


Summary

Chisom Okwulehie was gifted at drawing from a young age. She decided to turn her artistic instincts toward a more profitable line of work, studying architecture and public planning in college. Today, the 35-year-old mother of two earns about $163,000 a year working as an architectural designer for the Port of Authority for New York and New Jersey and running her own interior design side business for private clients, Juntero.

This is an installment of CNBC Make It's Millennial Money series, which profiles people across the globe and details how they earn, spend and save their money.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

[Post 455] This Tiny Island Is the Most Densely Defended Country in the World | WSJ


Summary

Singapore, a city state around the same size as New York City, has built one of Southeast Asia’s most advanced militaries. Despite being at peace with its neighbors, Singapore’s defense budget was over $11 billion in 2022, ranking it per capita among the highest in the world. 

Singapore has ordered 20 F-35 jets and its navy is increasing its number of submarines to eight, more submarines than both its larger neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia combined. 

WSJ takes a closer look at why this small nation is pouring billions into its armed forces.

Monday 8 April 2024

[Post 452] More banks in Singapore to offer money lock feature, but take-up rate low among young adults


Summary

At least three more major banks in Singapore including HSBC, Maybank and Standard Chartered are set to offer a money lock feature as early as June this year. Banks that already started offering the function last November say that while the number of people choosing to protect their savings is growing, most of them are older customers. Young adults make up as little as 15 per cent of the safety feature users. CNA’s Nasyrah Abdul Rohim reports.

Sunday 7 April 2024

[Post 450] Why investors need to know how to read financial statements | Money Talks podcast


Summary

One tool that every shareholder or investor should have in their arsenal is the ability to read and assess a company’s financial statements. But not everyone is equipped to cut through the jargon. David Gerald, founder, president and CEO of Securities Investors Association (Singapore) shows Andrea Heng what to look out for.  

[Post 449] Why is inflation taking so long to moderate in Singapore? | Commentary


Summary

Singapore's core inflation has fallen well below its peak of 5.5% in January and February 2023. But is it coming off fast enough? OCBC chief economist Selena Ling weighs in.

Sunday 31 March 2024

[Post 435] How Temu Is Becoming a Serious Competitor to Amazon and Walmart | WSJ


Summary

Temu, a Chinese-founded e-commerce company, became the most-downloaded app in the U.S. in just over a year. The retailer has flooded social media feeds with curious consumers and even aired ads at back-to-back Super Bowls. In 2023, the discount retail app moved about $17 billion worth of goods between manufacturers and customers across the Pacific. 

WSJ breaks down how its continued growth could redefine online retail, just like Amazon’s speedy delivery did.

Saturday 30 March 2024

[Post 433] Inside a Chinese Ghost Town of Abandoned Mansions | WSJ


Summary

China’s property crisis is expected to get worse as sales of new homes plummet and indebted developers struggle to find funds to complete projects. Real estate giant Evergrande was recently forced to liquidate as more than 50 housing developers have defaulted on their debts in recent years. 

WSJ’s Jonathan Cheng travels to an abandoned “ghost town” in Shenyang City built by the Greenland Group to explain how China’s real-estate slump has become a headache for the government.

Friday 29 March 2024

[Post 431] How 2024’s Record Retirement Numbers Could Spark a Recession | WSJ


Summary

Over four million Americans will reach traditional retirement age this year, more than any other time in history. By 2030, baby boomers will all be 65 or older, shrinking the workforce share of the population. What does this mean for Social Security, which is funded by taxing current workers?

WSJ breaks down how this demographic shift threatens the future of Social Security if nothing is done before 2034.

Tuesday 26 March 2024

[Post 345] Legacy Planning: Can You Write A Valid Will In 10 Minutes? | Money Mind | Will Writing


Summary

A will is a key part of everyone's financial planning. Can you make a valid one without a lawyer? Dawn Tan gives it a go.

Monday 25 March 2024

[Post 344] Taylor Swift Fans Bust Budgets For Singapore Concert, Spend On Experiences | Money Mind | Gen Z


Summary

Southeast Asian Swifties are busting their budgets for a new era of experiences. So how much is too much to pay - and would they do it all over again?

Sunday 24 March 2024

[Post 343] Higher Returns, Lower Risk: Should We All Be Investing Like Women? | Money Mind | Investment


Summary

Women invest less than men, but studies show they invest better. So what are the secrets of women investors that all investors can take away?

Saturday 23 March 2024

[Post 342] Should investors still put their money in the Chinese market?


Summary

Following its peak in 2021, China has seen an epic US$7 trillion stock crash. Are we seeing a bottom nearing? What benefits can be reaped from buying cheaper Chinese stocks? Andrea Heng speaks to John Lin, Chief Investment Officer of China Equities at AllianceBernstein.

[Post 341] Make Money from Whisky and Collectible Cards | We Try First


Summary

Prisca dives into the world of alternative investments, weighing up the pros and cons of investing in collectible cards and whisky. What’s the most expensive whisky Prisca sampled? And could she guess how much football star Erling Haaland’s rookie card is worth?

Monday 18 March 2024

[Post 340] This Singaporean designs figurines that are highly sought after worldwide | Remarkable Living


Summary

Singaporean Jackson Aw’s Mighty Jaxx is widely regarded as one of the most influential producers of collectibles and lifestyle products – many of its designs are sold out in a flash.

Sunday 17 March 2024

[Post 339] Scoot CEO Leslie Thng on Singaporeans’ fave destinations and budget airline misconceptions


Summary

How does Scoot decide on its destinations? What are the most popular destinations among Singaporeans? CNA Lifestyle sat down with Scoot’s CEO Leslie Thng for the lowdown. (Video: Try Sutrisno Foo, May Seah)


Wednesday 13 March 2024

[Post 338] No More CPF Special Account "Shielding": What Are Your Options For Retirement Planning? | Money Mind


Summary

Major changes have been announced to Singapore’s Central Provident Fund scheme. How will it change the way you plan for your retirement?

Sunday 10 March 2024

[Post 337] Johor Bahru's gridlock grind


Summary

In Johor Bahru, 2-hour commutes have become the norm for many locals, with roads in and around the city gridlocked during peak hours. And so better transport links - in the form of buses, ferries, light rail, trams, and maybe even a high-speed rail station - cannot come soon enough for long-suffering locals, and especially if the state wants to emulate China’s manufacturing and tech hub Shenzhen. 

Saturday 9 March 2024

[Post 336] Taylor Swift’s sold-out concert set to make Singapore’s whole economy Shimmer: Economist


Summary

Analysts are estimating millions in revenue to be generated across industries in Singapore from US pop superstar Taylor Swift’s sold-out Eras Tour. Countries that have hosted the concert are now basking in the afterglow of the phenomenon coined as Swiftonomics. Recent research estimates that the tour generated a US$5 billion economic boost to the US, bigger than the entire economy of some small nations. David Mann, Asia Pacific chief economist at Mastercard, discusses what the next week could mean for Singapore’s economy as Taylormania hits the nation.

Friday 8 March 2024

[Post 335] CPF Special Account closure: How it will affect you | Money Talks podcast


Summary

The latest changes to the CPF scheme announced in Budget 2024 raised concerns about the potential impact on retirement planning – specifically, the closure of the CPF Special Account. How will these changes affect your nest egg? We speak to Alvin Chow, CEO of financial education platform Dr Wealth.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

[Post 334] We Test How Effective Are Cheaper & Generic Medicines From Malaysia


Summary

Do you stock up on generic drugs when you travel to Malaysia? Or buy medication from online retailers that deliver to Singapore? In this #TalkingPoint experiment, we test the potency of such medicines to see if they are really effective. 

Monday 4 March 2024

[Post 333] How Can Economical Rice Stalls Improve Confusing Price Lists?


Summary

In this digital extra, Talking Point producer Charmaine Tan takes on the challenge of redesigning the stall’s confusing price list, with tips from a marketing expert to make the menu more intuitive for customers. 

Sunday 3 March 2024

[Post 332] Paying $10 More For The Same Hair Cut: Are Lunar New Year Surcharges Fair? | Talking Point


Summary

Singaporeans have had to grapple with surcharges while they prepare for the Lunar New Year festivities. From haircuts, manicures, car servicing and even pet grooming – businesses are charging their clients an extra cost on top of their regular prices. But why are these surcharges starting so early and how do we determine what is a fair surcharge? That’s what host Steven Chia investigates in this episode of Talking Point. 

[Post 331] "Let Me Postpone Having A Child": Why Young Couples Aren't Making Babies - Part 2 | Love Delayed


Summary

Love-wary actor Aaron Mossadeg explores why young people from Singapore and Asia delay marriage and parenthood. In Singapore and Hong Kong, he meets couples struggling with housing issues and limited space, learning its impact on family formation. Aaron examines if better gender equality in parenting might encourage more children. His quest leads him to Sweden, known for progressive parental leave policies, where he encounters a 'Latte Papa,' a symbol of modern fatherhood.

Reflecting on his own doubts about lifelong marriage, Aaron visits South Korea to explore the youth's growing preference for cohabitation over traditional wedlock. Finally, Aaron confronts misconceptions about fertility, testing his sperm and questioning the effectiveness of IVF as a last resort. Delays in childbearing may hinder the aspiration for larger families, but he finds hope in the supportive role of grandparents. Aaron merges personal and cultural insights on modern Asian family life.

Saturday 2 March 2024

Monday 26 February 2024

[Post 329] #Adulting: We Want To Move Abroad But Can't Leave This Family Member Behind | Money Mind | Migration


Summary

A young Singapore couple is eyeing a dream move for a change of lifestyle. But there's an unexpected roadblock. Do they have a plan B?

Wednesday 21 February 2024

[Post 328] How to financially survive a retrenchment | Money Talks podcast


Summary

The shock of losing a job without any warning is usually followed by anxiety over the loss of regular income. What are your options if you are retrenched and how do you stretch your savings while waiting for the next job? 

Sim Yong Han, senior financial consultant of Trust Advisors Group at SG Alliance, provides some practical tips.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

[Post 327] Are these HDB coffee shop budget meals worth the price? | Singapore Explained


Summary

The government recently launched BudgetMealGoWhere, a platform that aims to help people easily locate HDB coffee shops that offer budget meals. But what exactly do you get for these low prices?

Sunday 4 February 2024

[Post 326] What To Do With All The Empty Offices In U.S. Cities | CNBC Marathon


Summary

Now that the remote and hybrid work revolution has begun, many cities are filled with empty or half empty offices, creating very quiet downtowns. At the same time, the U.S. is experiencing a housing crisis. CNBC Marathon explores if U.S. cities will convert offices into apartments.

Some U.S. mayors are loosening up rules that determine how developers convert office buildings into apartment complexes. The conversion trend sped up in the 2020s, as the pandemic remote work boom reshaped cities. Declines in office activity are straining tax revenues for city services like education and transit, leading some local leaders to prioritize increased conversion of dated buildings. These rule changes may create some additional housing supply in regions like the U.S. east coast.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is facing its highest office vacancy rates in nearly 30 years. At the same time, the city is facing a housing crisis with the state demanding 82,000 new units of housing to be built by 2031. CNBC sits down with San Francisco Mayor London Breed to discuss how the city could tackle two of its biggest issues head-on. Plus, CNBC visits a building in the Civic Center neighborhood that undertook the biggest office-to-residential conversion in the city to date.

Major American cities such as New York and San Francisco face serious problems — mass migration, empty offices and declining tax revenues. These trends have had a direct impact on cities, which rely on tax revenues for funding, a significant portion from commercial real estate. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh has defined this cycle of spillover effects as the ‘urban doom loop.’

Friday 2 February 2024

[Post 325] Never too old: The 93-year-old cardiologist who still works 6 days a week


Summary

He's 93 and still works 6 days a week. Meet Dr Charles Toh Chai Soon, the cardiologist who won't give up on his love for medicine. 

[Post 324] Are REITs still a good bet in 2024? | Money Talks podcast


Summary

2023 was a challenging year for real estate investment trusts or REITs with rising interest rates. But how exactly do they work, and should you include REITs in your portfolio in the year of the dragon? Executive chairman of GCP Global Gabriel Yap gives Andrea Heng a crash course on this episode.

[Post 323] Homeowners in Singapore turning to renovation apps to save on costs


Summary

Renovation apps are gaining traction in Singapore, after struggling to get a foothold in the industry three years ago. Homeowners are using them to cut some middlemen's fees and save on renovation costs, which have climbed about 20%. For example, web app Homeez said it's seeing at least 200 new users every week. Homeowners can select a pre-loaded floor plan, decide their tiles and paints, and contact those suppliers directly or hire a project manager. As labour and material costs rise, industry players said renovation works may get more expensive this year. Rebecca Metteo reports.

Thursday 1 February 2024

[Post 322] Reinventing Myself At 55: From Commando To Interior Designer To Miniature Artist | I Taught Myself


Summary

Meet Wilfred, a former interior designer turned miniature artist. He had built his interior design career after spending 9 years in the military. Then at 55, he made the bold choice to become a full-time artist, making intricate miniatures of old Singapore scenes from recycled materials. Since then, his work has caught the attention of clients big and small. His story is a testament to resilience, creativity and never giving up.

Wednesday 31 January 2024

[Post 321] Should I Spend On Food Or Save? How Gen Z Is Budgeting In Bangkok | Money Mind | Thailand


Summary

19-year-old Film has moved to Bangkok for a better life. But will she be able to make ends meet in Thailand's biggest city?

Tuesday 30 January 2024

[Post 320] Buying A Home? Choosing Loan Rates & If You Should Pay Down Your Loans Early | Money Mind | Property


Summary

How to save money on your mortgage in a time of interest rate uncertainty. Should you pay off your loan, or use the money to invest?


Thursday 18 January 2024

[Post 319] We Make $227K A Year - And Budget $19K A Month


Summary 

Jenna Bhaloo, 30, lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband Neil. The couple earns around $227,000 a year, and are working towards a $2.5 million net worth. Jenna and Neil's income comes from a combination of Jenna's work as a senior financial analyst and Neil's job in tech.

This is an installment of CNBC Make It's Millennial Money series, which profiles people across the globe and details how they earn, spend and save their money.

What takes a big bite out of a young person's paycheque every month? A new Money Mind survey discovers the one major expense for young working adults across Southeast Asia: investments.


Sunday 14 January 2024

[Post 318] How China Became KFC’s Most Important Market


Summary

KFC, with 29,000 stores and 800,000 employees globally, is one of the world’s most extensive fast-food chains, opening a new location every three and a half hours. While it originated in Salt Lake City in 1952, its rapid expansion is now significantly fueled by its presence in China, opening its 10,000th store in comparison to its over 4,300 locations in the United States. KFC China, operated by Yum China, has adapted its menu to include local favorites and has embraced digital ordering and delivery.  Despite its success, KFC China has faced challenges like food safety scandals and the economic impacts of Covid. In 2022, Yum China reported $7.2 billion in revenue from KFC, with plans to return $3 billion to shareholders over three years. CNBC got an exclusive interview with Yum China CEO Joey Wat at a KFC in Hangzhou, China to learn more.

[Post 317] This Singaporean sneakerhead shows us his collection of rare Nike Air shoes and more


Summary

A pair of Nike Air Force 1s at the age of 16 kicked off Dexter Tan’s lifelong passion for sneakers. The co-founder of the Sole Superior sneaker convention shows us his rare kicks and offers tips on collecting and taking care of them.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

[Post 316] Why Americans Can’t Keep Their Paychecks


Summary

More than half of Americans earning more than $100,000 a year say they’re living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from PYMNTS and LendingClub. This may be a result of a sneaky behavioral phenomenon called lifestyle creep, which is when a person’s spending habits expand as their income rises. The rise in the cost of living complicates matters, as incomes have not kept up with inflation. 

So what’s going on?

“I think people hold these benchmarks in their mind [of], if I reach this position or I get this promotion or I make it to this age, then I can live this life, or then I deserve to have these things,” said Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist who works with clients struggling with financial stress. “Then they kind of go a little crazy or go a little wild on it, and then it becomes like a trade-off, like they only can enjoy their present happiness and they’re not able to save or plan for the future.”

But spending more may not be as simple as people wanting to indulge. Many Americans simply don’t have enough money to make ends meet because their incomes have not been keeping up with the rise in costs of living.

“The idea that people save and they just hit a point where they feel like they deserve [to spend more]; I fully disagree with that,” said Saprina Allen, a budgeting coach who offers insights and guidance to her more than 100,000 TikTok followers on how to be more conscious about money. “When most people don’t have $1,000 in the bank, like most people cannot handle a tire blowout or they’re going to put it on credit.”

Allen breaks down lifestyle inflation into two buckets.

One is that “general idea of what lifestyle inflation is, which is the buying fancy cars, the buying nice things along those lines,” she said.

The second bucket, she said, is more about “everyday things that, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you’re going without.” These may be necessary goods or services, such as going to the dentist or getting the car’s oil changed regularly.

“There was a time in my life when [an] oil change was just like, not even a priority,” Allen said. “I’m trying to keep tires on my car. I’m trying to keep it running. I’m trying to keep the registration paid. I’m not concerned about an oil change.”

Living paycheck to paycheck makes people vulnerable to accumulating high-interest credit card debt. Almost half, 46%, of Americans said they held a balance on their credit card because of an emergency expense, according to a September 2022 CreditCards.com survey. Experts recommend having an emergency fund to fall back on with roughly three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

Monday 1 January 2024

[Post 315] The man who rears crabs at home in Singapore


Summary

Meet Shannon Lim, who’s not only rearing his own crabs at home, he’s teaching others to do the same - even if they don’t have the space.