Selling our resale HDB…should we buy a new HDB or upgrade to freehold property?

So Louise and myself decided to sell our resale HDB (government public housing) that we bought back in 2009; and now mulling and cracking my brain if we should

  1. buy a new HDB BTO/balance of sales flats OR
  2. upgrade to a freehold apartment

The challenges are

  1. HDB is wonderful with 1 main bugbear: 99 year lease decay. Freehold properties dont have this same issue – but of course the price is more than 250% more PSF wise which I’ll have to liquidate most of my investments to enter, which will take me out of baristaFIRE
  2. I dont want to wipe out my investments and liquidate them to upgrade to freehold apartment. Though the idea of freehold to preserve capital will be good, but that will possibly mean I have to retire later than 50 (aim for 45). I like the peace of mind and heart to make sound decisions and have more time with my loved ones
  3. I want to get my boy to try to enter St Andrews Junior in 2 years time. If we get in, then we’d be staying in potong pasir / woodleigh / bidadari area for a good 5+ years

I have 3 investments to spread out and stack my chances of increasing and growing value, but they will take time to grow tremendously with small chance of failure. At least 5 years to be conservative.

Current decision / conclusion

  1. continue renting until 18 months time when I find out if my boy can enter St Andrews Junior (Primary) or not, if yes I’ll be stuck within 1 KM of here ie potong pasir, toa payoh, woodleigh and bidadari area; if not we are free to move anywhere
  2. purchase a new HDB with 99 years lease after 5 years of Minimum Occupancy (MOP) period, we can either continue staying and let our investments continue to grow as portfolio; or sell HDB with capital gains if the investments do well later to purchase the freehold apartment and preserve the investment portfolio

Tomorrow I’m consulting one of my wealth manager to see if my conclusion is the best one, or if there is a better decision.

HDB or freehold apartment, depends on so many reasons – cash on hand, CPF, salary drawn, investment style/risk, preference for property etc.

You have to decide what suits you, and dont overstretch to purchase large properties and big mortgages if it means that it locks you into work and unable to enjoy it (cos you need to pay the mortgage) or retire early (which is important to enjoy your life, relationships, hobbies, travel etc).

If cash no issue, then no issue la ehehe. But if push comes to shove, I prefer simpler enjoyable life than to have to keep working to pay for something I dont need so big for.

Retire Early To Take care Of People You Love

I got a call the other day from one of my friends, and he shared with me very sad news of how his loved one had a fall during a vacation and now is bedbound and needs full time care.

Oh, the sting in my heart, it hurts.

One of the reasons why I speak again and again on getting our finances sorted out, including insurance and retiring as early as possible, is not just to retire and move to another country and chill out, but…also where need be, we can take care of those we love if they’re ill, sick or hurt.

Can be for

  • parents / in-laws
  • spouses
  • fiance / fiancee
  • girlfriend / boyfriend
  • pets
  • ourselves


Deep breath.

This was one of the harder calls of my life, and I choked a few times thinking about it, and it reminded me heavily on “living and traveling light” ie

  • not taking unnecessary loan or mortgage burdens
  • not taking / agreeing to commitments that are long term unnecessarily

The key operative word here is “long term commitments that are unnecessary” as time is a very important finite resource that I will deeply respect and not waste wherever possible.

It doesnt make sense to take on a commitment I dont care about that will lock me in terms of time, energy and effort for longer than I need to.

Small Tests Leads To More Successes

All of us want to be more successful – if i asked 100 people if they

  1. want to wake up earlier
  2. have a better relationship
  3. work out more
  4. and make more money

i can guarantee you that most if not all of us will say yes to the above.

Imagine if you could double your productivity at work; or you could speak to anyone at work or at a party, or achieve whatever you’re interested in – how does that sound to you?

Yeah, even if you’re just starting out and not an expert

Welcome to the world of small tests =)

I find testing fun and i test many things on a small scale first before i put in more resources and here in this video I cover 2 examples;

  1. how I make sure i go to the gym twice a week
  2. how I never miss flossing my teeth

i believe you can use a testing approach to improve your success rates in virtually anything, and the way i did it was to

  1. do a miniature-version of the activity on a scale of say 10:1
  2. trial run at least 3x
  3. once i found that it works, i “keep” the process of what works and drop what doesnt

Remember those 2 examples?

Here’s how i will do small test to increase chances of stickiness and success:

1) How I make sure i go to the gym twice a week

  • It begins BEFORE I even sign up to the gym membership.
  • First, I will check out the gym to make sure that the equipment are what I use
  • Then check the price
  • If equipment and price is within my range, the next important factor is to decide how to make gym part of my travel and calendar flow I looked at my calendar and activities and matched the gym location to my location and activities
  • Then did 3 trial runs I literally did a free gym class so I could travel to and fro once; and did once more travel to gym and back
  • Once i’m convinced that the flow is smooth, it’s easy – now i’m at gym naturally 2x a week

2) How I never miss flossing my teeth

  • I realized i never had a flossing practice when my dentist told me that i needed to start flossing (this was after I got married), and i tried a few different process to see which was best to make me floss daily I first tried by going to floss my teeth after dinner, but that process by itself was weird, cos it ended up sometimes me eating still or snacking which made the earlier flossing redundant
  • Secondly, i tried to time my flossing before bedtime, but often i get too tired so i just sleep and go lalaland – fail again Third time was the charm, so i decided that i would create a combo-move, where I know i need to sleep, i need to eat, i need to floss, and i will shower, so why not floss-shower-sleep at the end of the day?
  • That worked.

Ive flossed everyday since.

I apply this small test approach to virtually anything new that i want to try or implement – it doesnt make sense for me to blow $10K on a new experiment, I will first try with $100 to see if it justifies. Sometimes it’s using a smaller budget.

It’s not always money.

Sometimes it’s using less time eg instead of committing 2 hours to a hike, i try for 20 minutes.

Like moving house – instead of immediately buying a new one and selling, we’re renting first, to test the area and market, to see if we like the new area. The reasons why I like this approach is because it’s “small” – its low cost in terms of effort and maybe costs, but the results can be huge – potentially life changing. Imagine if you found an investment where you put in $100 and you get $200, how much would you then put in?

As much as possible right?

Conversely, if you decided to gamble without testing, and you lose everything, how would that feel?


That’s why small tests are great – they give you data and clarity, which will make decision making easy How would you try small tests? Let me know in the comments below

How to make money

There are so many legit ways to make money in today’s internet era, and this post just skims the surface on all the opportunities that’s available for you.

Can you make money?

Yes, of course you can make more money, whatever your motivations or reasons.

  1. Pay off debts
  2. Save more for big purchases such as weddings, birthdays, travels
  3. Invest to retire early or for your kid’s education

Whatever your reason, you definitely have the power to earn more money than what you’re making today.

I recommend that you build more than 3 streams of income (have only 1 job = 1 income stream is very risky to me), and some of these you can start immediately whereas other income streams may take some time and effort to build but last longer.

Even though surveys and cash-back apps are nice, I tend to avoid them as they cant really scale and they are good for side pocket money, but they dont have much longevity to them.

The goal is to find what you like that suits you to earn more money.

Making More Money Right Now

Okay if you have a short term money need such as need to pay a debt or for a short vacation, you can do some of these to make quick money:

  • Clear unused stuff from your home. Books, shoes, clothing, toys etc that you no longer use or outgrown. Sell these online or by having a garage sale.
  • If you have a car/ride, you can deliver food or passengers using Grab, Uber, Lyft or Doordash (and many other apps). These services all rely on contract drivers and you can work/earn during free pockets of time.
  • Rent out your stuff such as your vehicles (motorcycles, cars) as well as homes (or rooms) like AirBNB.
  • Buy low sell high on merchandise you know and care about (Pokemon cards, anyone?)
  • Negotiate a higher salary if you’re due for a promotion and can push a compelling case.
  • Etc

These are some examples for short term income increase.

If you want to earn something consistent for larger goals such as retiring early and building longer-term passive income streams, then you will need to think, plan and strategize more.

How To Make Money As A Kid


I like it when kids start early to earn and hustle. The earlier they start, the faster they get there.

If you’re a kid, you can consider earning some extras by:

  • Running errands: Pickup something from the store, or return something to someone.
  • Odd jobs such as cleaning a location, taking out trash, laundromat work etc
  • Baby / pet sitting will require a little more skill, patience and keen eye, but parents and pet owners love it when they find someone reliable
  • Washing cars or garages or pavements – speak to your neighbors to see if you can do this weekly for them

These are fairly common work in any country.

I remember getting paid (pittance) by my parents to peel vegetables hahaha, good memories.

If you’re an older kid and savvier, you can provide savvier work such as

  • teaching social media to elder
  • business social media support
  • websites

Making Money as a College Student

College is a good time to earn some extra money because you may have a flexible schedule and learning specialized information.

Some stuff that you can do to earn as a college student includes:

  • Tutoring by helping professors or helping younger students
  • If you’re very organized and resourceful, you can consider doing virtual assistant work online to help small business owners research and analyze data
  • Do deliveries during free time such as packages, documents, food, groceries or even passengers if you have a car
  • Sell your old textbooks to the next cohort/batch of incoming students (applicable when you’re at least end of year 1 of college ahaha)

If you’re already working, negotiate for a higher salary

This can be one of the simplest ways to earn more money if you’re already working and doing a good job, especially when you hadnt asked for a raise before (or in a long time)

….but it can be scary.

When you ask for a raise, you need to know that you have delivered valuable work as this makes it much easier to then sell the idea to your boss for the raise.

The reason is because when you ask for a raise, they will definitely look at your performance and work, which may be scary, but what’s happening is that your boss will assess the quality of your work.

You will get an understanding on how your boss views your work and how he/she thinks.

Do your homework first, bring data to the conversation.

Show how your work has benefited the company – does your work:

  • bring new leads to the company?
  • retain clients longer?
  • save the company X dollars?

Schedule a meeting or call, and ask for the raise. Explain why you deserve it and how investing in you will help the company grow more.

Then wait for 1-2 weeks, depending on how many layers of approval your boss needs to approve the increment.

How to Make an Extra $100 a Day

You’re not alone – we’ve all been there.

I remember when my account was down to the last $100 (scary times). When you need cash immediately, you’re not looking at long term scalable gig – you just need to earn now.

For these quick money, consider:

  • If you own a car, consider driving passengers / delivering food with Uber, Lyft, Grab or Doordash. If your application is smooth and you have all the required documents it can be fairly fast
  • If you own a lawnmower and your neighbours have lawns, offer lawnmowing work. This applies if you have other skills/tools such as powerwasher etc
  • If you own a space, consider renting out a room or more to earn steady recurring cashflow

I Want to Make $500 More a Month

If you’re looking to earn an additional $500 a month, that will require more effort and time.

You can do the stuff we’d covered above too, but you will need to make it a routine (weekly or daily) such as

  • lunch time
  • after dinner
  • weekends

Other work you can do:

  • Creating physical stuff to sell online, such as
    • food – tarts, cakes, bakes
    • jewelry – necklace, ear ring
    • pottery
    • knitted stuff like scarves, head gear etc
  • Developing or teaching an online course based on what you’re good at. Turn your experience and passions into passive income by creating online courses such as teaching someone to play the guitar, take care of betta fishes or knit a scarf – these something for everyone

Investing For Passive Income and Cashflow

Now I love all things entrepreneurship, side hustles and business – they’re my jam and how I started out.

But the next level love and what rocks my boat is when I invest those profits I made from my businesses, and the investments start to pay me passive income aka my money makes just a bit more money for me.

One of the best feeling in the world, for me.

Many people earn then spend. That’s it. When they spend too much, they find a way to spend less to balance out or earn more (most of the time, they decide to spend less the next month).

I prefer to earn > invest > spend from investment returns.

And my goal now is to build streams of investment income that is more than my family’s spending, and then it’s gonna be more fun ehehe. Weirdly, not many people I know invest.

They seem to think that investing = gambling, which isn’t entirely the case.

Index funds and dividend stocks such as REITs can be purchased with as low as $100 monthly (I recommend higher amounts if you can save more so that it’d justify the fees). If you cant spare $100+ a month to invest then start side hustles to earn the extra surplus to invest.

Earn Money to Get Out of Debt

…I dislike debt.

Debt…when done wrongly, will be a money-and-energy-sucking vampire. Earn more and pay out your debt will not only get you back on the path to financial freedom.

Don’t give up.