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MoneySmart Flashback: The Best Articles of 2012

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Ryan Ong

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You want to know a little truth about hindsight? “It’s always perfect?” No, it causes three car pile-ups. I don’t know why rear-view mirrors are a safety feature. I look in them 100% of the time when I’m driving, and that percentage is now my collision record. Fortunately, personal finance doesn’t work that way. So here’s a little history lesson: The best of 2012, with a follow-up commentary:

 

1. Six Good Reasons Comfort DelGro Shouldn’t Hike Taxi Fares

 

Taxi
I’d be more bothered…if it were possible to catch one of these cabs in the first place.

See the article here.

In 2012, Comfort DelGro decided to raise prices, at a time of already high inflation.

The company claimed fare hikes were to help drivers deal with rising inflation. But Singaporeans were quick to note that, if Comfort wanted to help cab drivers, they could just lower the cabs’ rental fees. Likewise, raising the cost of public transport just contributed even more to inflation.

Update:

Since inflation has dropped about 2%, I’m sure Comfort will be lowering its prices any day now. Probably around the same time goats fly, and chihuahuas are elected to Parliament.

Seriously, the elevated prices have become the norm. They aren’t going down, because as cab company executives know, there’s not much we can do. And as we stated, other cab companies have raised prices along with Comfort.

 

2. Oops, the Economy Broke: Reasons for Singapore’s Inflation Scare

 

Singapore city
And imagine if all those elevators only go up. That’s how stupid things got.

 

See the article here.

In 2012, Singapore’s inflation went over 5% for a time. This was due to cumulative factors (see the article), from high COE to high property prices. If we had a graph for anxiety attacks at the time, the technical image would have been Manny Pacquiao’s fist swinging toward the viewer’s groin.

Update:

Inflation has stabilized for now, and hovers around the 3% mark. This is partly due to MAS (the Monetary Authority of Singapore) allowing the Singapore dollar to strengthen.

As for property, six rounds of cooling measures may be having an impact. We’ll see in 2013. COE prices, however, remain at record highs.

 

3. How to Explain Job Hopping in an Interview

 

Job application
Protip: “$$$” is not a good written response to “Reasons for leaving previous job”.

 

See the article here.

Job hopping is the only thing catching on faster than Ukuleles and that Korean horse-dance. These days, companies no longer keep someone for 30 years, and slowly promote them to the top. Because of that, young Singaporeans respond by switching between companies, aiming for a higher position with every jump.

In this article, we explained how job hoppers can play-down the fact at interviews.

Update:

Various hiring managers now have high powered rifles, and my face on a target board.

 

4. Executive Condominiums: Consider the Down Sides Too

 

train passing by EC
Eh, signal the driver to stop. This is my house. (True story,overheard while I was on the NE line)

 

See the article here.

Before the new cooling measures kicked in (around December 2012), ECs were all the rage. And if not for those measures, they’d still be selling like skin cream in a rash epidemic.

Hence, we thought we’d better fight the hysteria a little. ECs may be a decent investment; but there are still drawbacks. In this article, we suggested readers pay attention to negatives as well.

Update:

Cooling measures have lowered purchasing power, but not demand. Note this $2.05 million EC at  Tampines.

The fact that you can get HDB grants for ECs continues to drive purchases. Also, without good alternative investments, most Singaporeans see property as the only viable place to put their cash. ECs are also attractive to the large middle-class, who find regular condos out of their budget.

Follow us on Facebook, and we’ll keep you updated on this. And if you’re buying one this year, don’t forget to scout for the cheapest home loan.

 

5. Five Ways to Deal With Late Payment Fees on Your Credit Card

 

Credit card
We don’t give written warnings anymore. We just illustrate it on your card.

 

See the article here.

We’re still getting e-mails from readers, about how they were charged both kidneys as a late fee. Maybe they missed our advice; so here it is again. Try it, you might shave $50 off that fine.

And if you’re getting late fees, it’s probably money that you need. Please, please, remember: A credit card is only advantageous as a mode of payment. Try your best not to owe anything. And if you need a better card, try looking around MoneySmart.sg’s Credit Card comparison tool.

Update:

Nothing much to add. However, we’ve noticed that repeated requests to waive late fees are often denied. So if you’ve had the fees waived two or three times before, don’t expect the methods to work.

 

Happy Reading and Enjoy the Coming Year!

We’ll be back after the New Year, with lots of exciting new initiatives. So thanks for reading, and stay with us! Many blessings from all of us at MoneySmart.

 

Image Credits:
neajjean, sanchom, jamestruepenny, alantankenghoe, dillweed, bayasaa

What articles did you like from 2012? Comment and let us know!

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.