At a forum organized by the Singapore government’s feedback unit, REACH, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that there is a growing trend of elderly home-owners who sold their flats to pay off debts and then asked the government for a rental unit. The PM said that the government is concerned and keeping a close eye on the matter.
the Singapore assumption is that your property is an asset for one’s
old age and to most Singaporeans, a property is a must. However in this
case, I disagree with the PM’s suggestion that elderly home-owners
should not sell their flats.
One of the biggest problems of
Singaporeans is that they are asset rich but cash poor, and I think most
Singaporeans will agree that their wealth is tied up in their property.
Now at the risk of being dry, I will get into some numbers. Take for
example an elderly person who sells his flat and bought a new flat like
the PM want and make $40,000 in profit (a solid number I think). What
Assuming his daily expenses is on the low side of
about $10 (breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc), he would have spent $3,650
per year. In 10 years time, the money would be gone! Would he not still
be in the same position he is now about having to sell his flat again?
because getting a job is not an option as the PM himself said, the
person is elderly. How would a 60+, 70+ person find a job in Singapore?
If you are an employer, would you pick a 70+ Singaporean or a 20+
And that’s for an elderly person; if it is an
“elderly couple? the money would be gone twice as fast and they would
be in the same position in just 5 years time!
However that is not
what I am really disagreeing about. What I truly disagree is this
thinking that elderly Singaporeans should not sell their flats. Why?
have foreigners coming in to Singapore to speculate on the property
markets, but elderly Singaporeans (who made Singapore what it is now)
should NOT sell their flats?
What kind of sense is that? PM Lee
said this goes against the aim of these homes as assets for life, but
the thing is; if you are 70+, how many more years do you have? If these
elderly people can’t sell their flats at this age, then when can they
sell the flats? If you are 70+, you will be less worried about the asset
that is the flat and more worried about if you have the money to eat.
the flat, get a rental unit for $50-$100 per month so that daily
expenses would not be a problem. That makes perfect sense to me. In
contrast, the PM’s floated idea of keeping the flat makes no sense to
me. What’s the use of keeping the flat when you have debts and even have
problems finding the money to eat? It’s not like Singapore has any
welfare programs for the elderly.
Now I understand the PM’s idea
of the flat being an asset for life. However at 60-70 years of age,
being asset rich is less important than being cash rich and I truly feel
giving these rental flats to these elderly is the right thing to do.
all, what choice do they have? If they keep the flat, they would be
chased by the debt-collectors and might have problem to put food on the
table. Compare that to the solution of selling and getting a rental
flat, it’s hardly even a choice.
Asset Rich, Cash Poor
Monday, March 29, 2010
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READ ALSO MARTYN SEE's INTERVIEW WITH ME AT:
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MY ARCHIVE OF WORKS AT:
PHOTOS OF LIE KY SCRATCHING MY WIFE's NEW CAR:
NOT GUILTY BUT TORTURED, DEGRADED 15 YEARS FOR PUBLICITY, FUN
WHY SINGAPORE HAS NO ECONOMY