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General Elections Singapore 2015. Money Matters & How it Affects You.

General Elections & Money Matters. How it Affects You!

General Elections 2015 begins! It’s time to cast your votes! This time to your political party in Singapore. The General Elections of 2015 are just around the corner and it has caused quite a sensational stir here in Singapore. With the added usage of social media and the gen-y kids with their first foray into the voting cycle, it’s no wonder every news platform is publishing about the general elections.

Well, here at Empire Global we are under the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Which is the political fight between the incumbents PAP versus the SPP-DPP joint party. It will be an exciting fight as strong leaders of the PAP have stepped down to make way for new leaders. Of course, we will not tell you which party we are voting for (voting is secret).

General Elections 2015 & Money

Money has always been on every Singaporeans minds especially in regards to housing loans, loans and CPF. Debates have been launched on such topics and it will always be the talk of the town. This is important as the  cost of living in Singapore is set to rise, the thought of having to work till old end is certainly scaring the younger generation to build families.

It has been significant in our population numbers as the number of new births are on the decline. Even with subsidies and incentives setup for families, Singaporeans at large are still on a worrying mindset of money and trying to keep up with their loans.

And yet the cost of living is one of the most complained issue during the general elections. Furthermore, the widening income gap has made the situation worse. Some of our customers mentioned about the cost of living in Singapore and how it had affected them when they come to our loan officers.

“It’s not just about people paying more. The deeper unhappiness is the sense that economic growth and wealth have not been suitably shared.” – SMU law don Eugene Tan.

This has probably got people to pay more attention to what the different political parties have to say on the different heartland issues in Singapore during the general elections campaign. It is clearly evident this time round as crowds had turned up during the Worker’s Party first campaign.

Huge Crowds at Worker's Party first election rally at Hougang GE 2015.

Huge Crowds at Worker’s Party first election rally at Hougang GE 2015.

Government Policies & General Elections

Like you, we are concerned about business. In terms of employment as an employer, we do have issues in hiring and maintaining our staff at times. We also look towards the different policies that the government intends to implement. Such as the much talked about 4% interest rate on money lending. That has caused quite a stir within our moneylending industry. Even at Empire Global, we have to make a couple of changes in terms of our business. We of course want what is best for our borrower clients.

The debates on foreign talent (FT) is especially obvious. Furious locals are banking on new policies to change the numbers of such foreign talent that seems to be snapping up their jobs. We as employers are more concerned with employing reliable and good people.

It indeed is a complicated case that remains set to be unresolved totally. Read more on a debate that about general elections whether it is able to cause investors to flee if the ruling party loses more than half the votes.

Well what about you? Who’s your favourite political party?

P.S: We have no affiliation with any political party. Just a voice.

Interest Rates Take a Hike with rising Sibor in Singapore. Look at how it will affect you.

Interest Rate Spikes & Latest in Moneylenders News

Money, money and more money! The recent news about the US interest rates hikes has hit our shores in Singapore and the news is not entirely encouraging.

The three-month Sibor, which is used to price most loans and mortgages here, has been inching its way upwards due to interest rate hike in the United States and a weakening Singapore dollar versus the greenback. The recent announcements by MAS to reduce the Singapore dollar from appreciating aims to keep the Sibor elevated.

The Sibor is fixed daily by the Association of Banks in Singapore based on quotes from banks on what they expect to pay for interbank loans that day. In short, it is affected by liquidity in the banking sector.

“The reduction of the appreciation slope could keep pressure on the US and Singapore dollar exchange rate and thus could ensure Sibor remains at current levels … This move by MAS helps keep Singapore policy on a stable footing, and we expect it to be modestly beneficial for Singapore bank earnings,” analysts from Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

Interest Rate Hike: What does it mean for You?

Many housing loans offered by banks are tied to three-month Sibor. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), for example, has 3 types of home loans and one that is currently offering home loans at three-month Sibor plus 0.85 percentage points for the first three years, according to its website. Lending rates are reviewed every three months. As the Sibor is set to increase, so will the interest rate rise. Home owners will eventually face higher mortgage payments.

“We had expected the bullish move in the SOR and Sibor since last year,” says UOB economist Francis Tan (source)

Analysts are looking at further upside to about 1 to 1.2 per cent at the end of the year. Effectively leading to an interest rate of about over 2% for home loans.

Let us assume an outstanding housing loan of S$500,000 and 20 years remaining. With the current interest rate of 1.5 per cent, this works out to a monthly payment of about S$2,410.

If the interest rate is increased to 2 per cent, the monthly payment would rise to around S$2,530. Should the rate rise to 3 per cent, the monthly payment would be S$2,770.

What to Do Next with Higher Interest Rate?

Higher interest rates charged by banks affect your loans directly. Thus you will see your loans, home mortgage loans, renovation loans slowly inching its way up.

Hence start reviewing your loans! For example, review your home loan packages every two to three years. Look at the trends Conventional wisdom has it that you should review your loan package every two to three years, or before the promotional period ends and your bank raises its premium on the interest you pay, which increases your monthly instalments.

In short, think long term and look around for good deals. Always negotiate with the bank on refinancing options.

Latest in Moneylending Industry Singapore

DPM Teo added that the improved situation was due to the tough laws enacted, strong enforcement efforts against loan-shark syndicates and the high level of community support in the fight against unlicensed moneylending activities.

According to DPM Teo, about 1,900 people were arrested for unlicensed moneylending and related harassment offences on average yearly between 2011 and 2014, while about 2,600 were convicted in court for these offences.

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Seen the recent hype about public harassment during working hours? Debt collectors created a ruckus at Funan Mall over unpaid debts. Moreover, this was during working hours infront of the public eye.

With clamping down on unlicensed activities and harassment cases, this is looking good for us licensed moneylenders at Empire Global. The image of licensed lenders is changing for the better as tougher laws are weeding out bad lenders. Thankfully, the ruly debt collectors have been arrested for unlawful assembly.

Sources
http://business.asiaone.com/news/what-do-about-home-loan-interest-rates-rise
http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/debt-collectors-who-created-scene-funan-mall-foodcourt-arrested-po?page=15

Chinese New Year: Singapore Gamblers get hooked!

We just past 2015! And now we are counting down towards the festive Chinese New Year. Every Chinese around the world will be celebrating this festival as it’s a time to get together and have fun. Staff at Empire Global too indulge sinfully in our gatherings. However, let’s look at the topic of gambling during this festive season.

Chinese New Year Bonus + Annual Wage Supplement = Spend!

Traditional bosses give out additional bonus for Chinese New Year season as it means a sign of wealth in the company. Not to forget, there’s the 13th month bonus (annual wage supplement) that is handed out too. And that’s a lot of extra money in your pockets.

More often than not it means trouble especially to problem gamblers who try their luck out in Chinese New Year.

A Little History on Chinese Gambling

Well, its not difficult to reason why Chinese are known around the world for their high aptitude to gamble. As you look back through time, Chinese people have a long-documented history of gambling (recorded in every known dynasty).

Chinese believe in many control points (feng shui, luck, star sign, superstition). These high illusion of control may then lead to high risk-taking and/or more gambling. Chinese gamblers’ illusion of control is often portrayed in Chinese gambling-theme films.

Chinese Gamblers During Chinese New Year

Traditionally, many Chinese will play some form of gambling during the Chinese New Year as it is believed the new year brings in fresh new luck. I believe most of us can ascertain to that. With the long holidays during Chinese New Year, gamblers head to the local casinos and try their luck. Well with the added money from bonus it’s no surprise.

Today’s Gamblers in Singapore

Singapore, is in the top 10 list of biggest gambling nations.

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Nations in the World

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Nations in the World

Singapore’s One Hope Centre, which helps gambling addicts, saw a nearly 50% jump in cases in 2013 compared to 2012. In 2013, One Hope Centre saw 523 addicts seeking counselling. Executive Director, Mr Dick Lum, said, “Many clients that we counselled felt that it is all right to gamble, since the Government allows the casinos to be opened here, and this is very misleading.”

Watch: Counsellors have been constantly calling for tougher curbs on online gambling

Gambling addicts have also chalked up high debts and a recent statistic shows Singapore gamblers are some of the top loss per gambler.

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Losers in the World

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Losers in the World

However, even with large losses and the $100 local entry fees, this does not deter more citizens to delve into their gambling addictions. Gamblers now find gambling alternatives and using online methods instead.

Getting online is pretty easy in Singapore and online gambling enters make it even easier to sign up PLUS some provide free credit for account openings. This has led to even youths going online as the age restrictions in Singapore casinos are pretty strict.

Latest statistics from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) show that online gamblers have the poorest self-control.

Youths Gambling?

A local study done by NTU’s Professor Chang Weining in 2007 found that the prevalence of problem gambling in Singaporean youth is about three in 100, but one of them is a potential pathological gambler.

ECMS Consultants, another counselling centre, said they are seeing more younger adults hooked on gambling. Its clinical director, Gerald Goh, said that he has also seen foreign students who go to the casinos every week.

“For them, it’s free to go to the casinos. On average, their parents give them $15,000 to $20,000 pocket money a month, so they go in there to ‘have fun’. But when they lose their pocket money, they start to borrow from friends,” Mr Goh said.

Gambling Bad Loans?

Quite often, some of our clients went into big debts of bad loans from illegal moneylenders. If you have issues with illegal moneylenders or loan issues, do consult with our loan officers and we will best assist you.

Summary: Help for Addict Gamblers

There are lots of help available in Singapore through the National Council on Problem Gambling (http://www.ncpg.org.sg) and the National Addictions Management Services (NAMS). If you think you or your loved ones have a problem with gambling, you can also call the stop gambling hotline at 1800-6-668-668.

There’s even an expression which justifies gambling during the Chinese New Year as ‘a little bit of gambling soothes your mind.’  (小赌怡情). So just have some controlled gambling with your family and everybody relaxes to have fun.

Meanwhile enjoy this social video.

  • National Council on Problem Gambling: 1800-6668-668
  • National Addictions Management Service (All Addictions): 6732-6837
  • Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre: 6593-6489
  • The Samaritans of Singapore (24 hours): 1800-2214-444
  • Ray of Hope by Christian Care Services: 1800-7867-669
  • One Hope Centre (9am to 6pm): 6547-1011
  • WeCare Community Services: 6471-5346

Read more: Gambling & How it Leads to Bad Loans