Saturday, 13 May 2017

Baby Delivery Costs at Private Hospitals from 2011 to 2017 (TMC vs Mt Alvernia) - How Much Cash Outlay You Need?

Last month was an extremely joyful day for our family as we have our new addition baby boy. So I decided to compile the monetary cost of bringing him to this world. Refer to my earlier post in Dec 2014 when we had our last child. 

Actual costs from prenatal to delivery

Below is a table comparing our 3 of our kids.  

Variations in costs

Ward Type / Days Stay
* TMC room rates – click here
** Mount Alvernia room rates – click here

My wife only stayed 2 days in the hospital which is considerably short. In fact, mummy is so healthy that she is only required to stay 1 day, but we decided to extend another day to spend more time with baby, who was required to be transferred to NICU. 

By some strange and non-convincing diagnosis of the doctor, baby is required to stay in the NICU, which wife and me never really approve on initially. I was definitely not impressed by the doctors (2 PDs I consulted) and had quite a heated conversation with the doctors. 

Anyway it is a long story, and by some supernatural reason unexplainable, we heard "voices" that our baby need to be in NICU, so that we can finish what we were assigned to do there. Me and wife were then so joyful in NICU after knowing the “truth”, as we conveyed blessings to other parents, babies and nurses in the NICU room.   

Monetary wise, it is >$1000 lumpsum (incl. treatment) in NICU at least. Our baby stayed there for 5 days in total. 

My baby NICU treatment was already considered mild. There was a Filipino parent who I become acquainted with and given him some encouragement. He was always very gloomy there, because his baby is significantly prematurely delivered only weighing 1kg or so. The estimated NICU stay is 30 days or more with more sophisticated treatment. And you can also estimate his bill then. Haiz...... 

Birth Type
We always believe in natural birth since this is how woman is created to give birth. My wife's delivery is definitely the cheapest because she had skipped all the unnatural use of operative procedures and all medications. 

Due to the "so-called" advancement of the medical technology, there are so many tests since our last baby. Even daddy need to do blood test, which I refused to do anyway. We also skipped almost all optional tests including OSCAR test, which will cost much more than our bills. 

Doctors’ Fees
Given the same Gynae as the delivery in 2014, we witness huge inflation of doctors’ fee (~30 to 40%).

Rolf’s Summary

Overall, I expect it will cost S$15k +/- for prenatal, delivery and pediatric charges in a private hospital depending on various factors in the present time. 

Because of our baby NICU saga, we paid more of course, but it will be offset by the baby bonus, since this is our 4th baby.

Inflation is definitely quite absurd nowadays in hospital. The whatever addition that government is trying to give in bonuses, in my opinion, is only sufficient to cover inflation. Or probably even not enough, considering the education fees had all inflated too.

Overall, a cash outlay ranging of S$10K +/- is expected, excluding all the baby bonuses.

We are thankful
My wife and baby are so healthy now. 

We are so thankful. Wife is almost all-recovered now. In fact, her delivery and recovery were all supernatural despite not having all the "necessary" medication. No epidural, no laughing gas, and even no big scream, and within less than 24h, she walks normally and was given permission to discharge. 2 days after delivery, we were already shopping and having cafe and outside food, and she is also bathing everyday since then. 

Now, close to 1 month later, she is in perfect health, breastfeeding and taking care of baby by herself. 

Baby is as healthy now since he was discharged. 

The PD who predicted our baby needing to stay at least 14 days or more in the NICU had to keep the mouth tight, as our baby was discharged immediately after me and mummy finished "what we were assigned need to do there", which lasted 5 days in total. Both PD and Gynae were amazed by baby and mummy's recovery. 

We are thankful once again. 

So, are you considering having a baby in 2018?

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Three important traits that most retail stock investors need to have for good success

1st trait 

I remember in the last few years when I was really fervent into investment. No matter how busy I was with my family or work, I almost always will spend equal or more time and effort into learning to perfect my investment skills, even at expense of my sleep hours. 

This trait I call it "PERSEVERANCE" which is defined as "keep doing something steadfastly and does not give up". 

2nd trait 

Then the oil crisis struck in late 2014 and not only it affected my stock portfolio but also my career. Companies suffered and many went bankrupt. Stock prices were depressed. Worst of all, colleagues and friends got retrenched one following another. It was all depressing and one of the toughest career situations to face within the industry for many.  

After more than two years of crisis, I am still in the same company and same industry. I really learn one important trait, which I will never have learnt. It is to "ENDURE"! 

This trait is defined as "to remain in a very difficult situation and not giving way." 

In situation like this, no matter how much you preserve, or how intelligent or hardworking you are, it is futile. This is one very difficult trait that most people will not be able to have developed, if they are without the experience.

And the only way we can learn endurance is "to endure!"

3rd trait 

The last trait in discussion seems to be the easiest, but it is in fact the most difficult to perfect. 

It is "PATIENCE". And it is defined as "doing nothing without getting emotionally stirred."

Ask yourself when was the last time you can resist "meddling" with your stock counters and portfolio? Or does your fingers always feel itchy to hit the "sell / buy" buttons. You just feel so indulged in buying or selling shares, just for the sake of doing it, even at most times, it is entirely not necessary at all. 

Perhaps it is the obvious nature of our contemporary education that teaches that we always need to do something in order to have progress and be successful?

Rolf's final thoughts

Therefore, do not let problems crowd your mind, be it in investment or in your life. Have a sober mind, and when you face adversaries, be appreciative that it is a test for you, so that perseverance, endurance and patience can be developed and be perfected, needing nothing else. 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

How Real is the Trump-driven Stock Market Bull’s Run lately?

I had been away from the stock market for several months now and then I realized that there had been a bull run lately. Dow crossing 20k and STI crossing 3k.

Wow... Great according to what Trump tweeted and many reckon he is going to transform the US economy for the better.

You really think so?

I remember in several months ago when Trump was the candidate, he mentioned we are in a day huge bubble that will burst anytime, and even worse if Fed is going to increase interest rate!

Now he is the president and when Dow crossed 20k, he tweeted great! And all credit to him. Suddenly all the problems had been resolved just like that!


Do we really think how things can change within such a short time.

It is pretty obvious to me that things are pretty much the same if not worse, now as compare to few months ago. Words can change within this short time, but fundamentals don't!

The economy is not as vibrant as the stock market think.

It really pays to be prudent.

Patience and self-control is the key for me. For many months now, I had do nothing in the stock market after cashing out!

I am so happy that I have crafted the patience which I will never going to have in the past, always wanting to dabble here and there to the buy/sell buttons of the stock counters.

Sometimes stock increase, you are so pleased about your own talent. Sometimes stock price drop immediately after your buy button, we call it itchy fingers or bad luck!

I am convicted that we are heading into a dangerous zone now. The more the market celebrates, the more so we should worry!

Maybe ask the question if the majority is always correct or wrong?

Trump is protecting US economy by making it more enclosed. Short term you protect jobs, but long term prices in US going to be more expensive and make them less competitive to the rest of the world. Then he still need to fulfill his promise to build the wall and the many infrastructures in US.

It is funny that everyone is cheering that economy in US is improving and interest rate is going to be raised by Yellen, without seeing more in depth the complete picture.

Over time, price of goods and services in US will increase due to protectionism against the China and the rest of the world. Then US will also spend more in all the roads constructions! Next, interest rates is going to be raised, meaning mortgage and loans are going to be more expensive.

So everything will be more expensive!

Then shall we asked where will be the money coming from?

Yes, you guess right - print more!

For me, I shall do nothing now.

Keeping my cash in the bank earning meagre interest and hoarding precious metals when prices is right will let me sleep better at night! And I am also happy that my career for now is less affected and starting to see more certainty!

Meanwhile I suppose patience and self-control is critical now for me which I am happy to be able to enjoy these two fruits lately. Then wisdom and knowledge will tell me when the time is ripe and where to deploy the hoarded cash and metals.

The journey has just truly begun I suppose!

To end this article, may all the readers and participants of the stock market be blessed with the wisdom and the prudence in dealing with the market so that you can be prosperous and have good success!