Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
It May Be Stern, But Singapore Attracts More Millionaires Than Anyplace Else
Old 04-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,387
It May Be Stern, But Singapore Attracts More Millionaires Than Anyplace Else

Wealth Over the Edge | WSJ.Money Spring 2013 - WSJ.com

What do rich people see in Singapore? Maybe a government that agrees with them that creating wealth is better than destroying it with redistributionist policies. It probably doesn't hurt that a very tight lid is kept on crime.

I believe I read recently that when Lee Kuan Yew first joined government in Singapore, the per capita GDP of Singapore was about $1000. Now it is over $50,000. He is in semi-retirement but still very important in the country.

A country with essentially no resources other than its people and its crossroads location shows how it can be done.

It will be interesting to see if it can resist "modernizing" and "democratizing" forces that might challenge its pro-economic development stance.

At least since WW2 democracy has been linked with economic progress. But lately, the biggest and oldest democratic states are pretty much broke and on life support of one kind or another. The states with rapid growth are sometimes not democratic at all, such as China, or imperfectly democratic such as Singapore, Russia, etc.

We will have an interesting next few decades.

Ha
__________________

__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-11-2013, 04:08 PM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 572
traineeinvestor who lives and works in Hong Kong may correct me if the information are not accurate.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are geared towards doing business. There is no tax on dividend or capital gain in either city. There is no estate tax, and no inheritance tax. Maximum income tax rate in Hong Kong is somewhere around 17%, and filing income tax is supposed to be a very straight forward task.
__________________

__________________
bondi688 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,292
Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
It probably doesn't hurt that a very tight lid is kept on crime.
I was working with some of our peers from Singapore for a while (I did not get a chance to visit there). I got a chance to 'chat' a bit about life there. He described Singapore as a 'fine' country... they fine you for this, they fine you for that...

While I don't like being restricted too much, the idea of a super-low crime rate and clean streets is appealing. I heard one of the guys who visited there for work say that when he stepped out of a store and had his soft-drink with him out on the street, the native Singaporean with him seemed nervous. The guy ended up spilling some of the drink on the sidewalk, and his partner actually got a tissue out of his pocket to wipe up the spill. I think I would like that! I really get aggravated when I see someone litter - you can't wait for a garbage can?

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 06:06 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
HaHa:

Interesting post and article, although I am wary of drawing too many sociological conclusions based on the spending and social habits of the very rich.

Did you see this article on Bloomberg a few weeks ago? It gives a different - but not necessarily conflicting - sense of the influences that have shaped Singapore, and those that will shape it in the future. Population growth and immigration policies are highlighted.

Singapore

I have no personal knowledge or a point of view either way, though. It's just an interesting place.

Quote:
The human-pyramid scheme works like this: Population growth, either through births or immigration, boosts demand for goods and services, increases borrowing, boosts tax revenue and adds to corporate profits. Everything seems grand and leaders take a bow. Itís a bubble, though, and it eventually bursts when population growth stalls. Incomes top out, high debt crushes consumption and investment, the need for public assistance rises, environmental degradation increases and angry people take to the streets.

As households are left to pick up the tab once Ponzi demography runs its course, government leaders issue dire warnings about economic decline if the flow of fresh talent stops. This will sound familiar to Singaporeans as Leeís Peopleís Action Party sketches out a dystopian future without adding wealthy bankers and low-income workers to the nationís ranks. Singapore needs to find another way. The era of easy growth is over.
__________________
No doubt a continuous prosperity, though spendthrift, is preferable to an economy thriftily moral, though lean. Nevertheless, that prosperity would seem more soundly shored if, by a saving grace, more of us had the grace to save.

Life Magazine editorial, 1956
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 06:10 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 572
ERD50
What you described is a little too big brotherish for me. I know Singapore has strict laws against people just spitting sputum on the ground, and people can be fined quite heavily for doing that. I agree with that because not only is that disgusting but it is a public health hazard.
__________________
bondi688 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #6
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 329
Quote:
Originally Posted by bondi688 View Post
ERD50
What you described is a little too big brotherish for me. I know Singapore has strict laws against people just spitting sputum on the ground, and people can be fined quite heavily for doing that. I agree with that because not only is that disgusting but it is a public health hazard.
Be careful what you carry when you enter Singapore

Chewing Gum and chewing tobacco are banned, presumably for the reasons you mention - to keep the streets clean and hygenic
__________________
UserRequested is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 06:45 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I was working with some of our peers from Singapore for a while (I did not get a chance to visit there). I got a chance to 'chat' a bit about life there. He described Singapore as a 'fine' country... they fine you for this, they fine you for that...

While I don't like being restricted too much, the idea of a super-low crime rate and clean streets is appealing. I heard one of the guys who visited there for work say that when he stepped out of a store and had his soft-drink with him out on the street, the native Singaporean with him seemed nervous. The guy ended up spilling some of the drink on the sidewalk, and his partner actually got a tissue out of his pocket to wipe up the spill. I think I would like that! I really get aggravated when I see someone litter - you can't wait for a garbage can?

-ERD50
I spent 10 - 12 weeks in Singapore (1 - 2 weeks at a time) in the early 2,000's. I liked it a lot.

I can understand where many Americans would be deeply offended by strict enforcement of ordinances that here are taken only as suggestions and seldom obeyed. For example, littering, flipping cigarette butts, spitting or chewing gum. Things are a bit black and white. If there is an ordinance against some activity, don't do it.

The first time I went, I arrived at the end of a long day of travel (Chicago to Tokyo - 4 hour layover - Tokyo to Singapore) and was a bit groggy as we taxied to the terminal. The pilot announced (paraphrasing) "Singapore's law concerning possession of illegal drugs is enforced and punishable by death. If you are carrying something with you that you wish to leave behind, leave it at your seat." I was a bit shocked. But that announcement keyed me into the fact that I wouldn't be casual about keeping in line with Singapore's day to day rules of engagement. They are up front about the rules and enforce them with a minimum of interpretation or bending. Some people would be uncomfortable with that. I'm not. The idea that some Americans will probably not litter some of the time is more uncomfortable to me than the idea that nobody will litter, period.

Scenery was great. Restaurants were great. Hotels were great. There is a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The plant cafeteria had three serving lines: Chinese food, Indian food and Malaysian food. Many of the professionals at the plant I worked at were Chinese nationals. Many of the factory workers were Malaysians.

I'm afraid I can't comment on the general business climate other than to say that the hourly workers at the plant were (I thought) low paid for such an expensive area. The working conditions and work rules seemed very reasonable. The shop floor was immaculate and efficient.

The year around 90f temps and high humidity would wear me down if I was to try to live there full time.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 07:00 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
The human-pyramid scheme works like this: Population growth, either through births or immigration, boosts demand for goods and services, increases borrowing, boosts tax revenue and adds to corporate profits. Everything seems grand and leaders take a bow. It’s a bubble, though, and it eventually bursts when population growth stalls. Incomes top out, high debt crushes consumption and investment, the need for public assistance rises, environmental degradation increases and angry people take to the streets.

As households are left to pick up the tab once Ponzi demography runs its course, government leaders issue dire warnings about economic decline if the flow of fresh talent stops. This will sound familiar to Singaporeans as Lee’s People’s Action Party sketches out a dystopian future without adding wealthy bankers and low-income workers to the nation’s ranks. Singapore needs to find another way. The era of easy growth is over.
As I started to read the above quote, I assumed they were talking about the USA. Too many systems in place that fail without growth. "Ponzi demography." I like that term.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 07:02 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 403
Before I went to Singapore, I had read that there were SN$500 fines for lots of infractions such as jaywalking or failure to flush a public toilet. I was relieved when I arrived and saw just as many people jaywalking as in any large city.

The best reason to visit is the outstanding food. Otherwise, I didn't find it a particularly exciting place. It is interesting, however, to see how a city comprised mainly of ethnic Chinese with smaller percentages of ethnic Indians and ethnic Malays has been turned into what is largely an English-speaking city.
__________________
anethum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 07:02 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,361
It really sounds like a miserable place to me.

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."-- V for Vendetta

or for the more traditional--

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. " -- Thomas Jefferson


I'll take freedom and accept that the trains won't always be on time.
__________________
Hamlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 08:26 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
It really sounds like a miserable place to me.
To me, the Singapore government is more predictable and less "scary" than the gov't I live with here in Illinois. With most of our laws and ordinances existing at the whim of special interest groups and enforcement in the hands of the current political powers, it's tough to know what to expect and extremely inconsistent. It's truly a broken system here.

I suppose there would be some happy middle between a special interest driven, corrupt gov't such as we have here and the apparent inflexibility of gov't in Singapore.

And, as mentioned by anethum above, apparently the strictness and ridgid enforcement of Singapore laws may be exaggerated. The spotty enforcement and rampant corruption here is definitely NOT exaggerated.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 08:28 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
It really sounds like a miserable place to me.

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."-- V for Vendetta

or for the more traditional--

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. " -- Thomas Jefferson


I'll take freedom and accept that the trains won't always be on time.
Except I'm not 'afraid' of a government that sets reasonable rules to help ensure a pleasant environment, is clear about them, and then enforces them.

There is no reason to litter, period.

I'm more afraid of a government that sets millions of rules, and is helter-skelter in enforcing them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
The year around 90f temps and high humidity would wear me down if I was to try to live there full time.
Yep, that's a deal breaker for me also.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 08:36 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,387
Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
I suppose there would be some happy middle between a special interest driven, corrupt gov't such as we have here and the apparent inflexibility of gov't in Singapore.
Humans have a way of pushing whatever they can to extremes. Downtown Seattle and parts of Capitol Hill are filthy. Sputum, perhaps harboring TB all over the sidewalk, rude sidewalk hogging hoodlums dealing drugs and getting in the way of passersby at bus stops. I sometimes wonder why some of the people buying their groceries with those nice cards issued by DHSS can't be mobilized to clean something up from time to time.

As far as a happy middle-perhaps Britain before WW1, maybe even up to WW2?

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 08:40 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,387
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
HaHa:

Interesting post and article, although I am wary of drawing too many sociological conclusions based on the spending and social habits of the very rich.

Did you see this article on Bloomberg a few weeks ago? It gives a different - but not necessarily conflicting - sense of the influences that have shaped Singapore, and those that will shape it in the future. Population growth and immigration policies are highlighted.

Singapore

I have no personal knowledge or a point of view either way, though. It's just an interesting place.
Thanks for posting this H.H. I don't have any deep knowledge of Singapore history, and this is an interesting angle.

I sometimes think the whole world is running a Ponzi scheme. Kyle Bass says Japan's Ponzi scheme is about to go into reverse, with a vengeance.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 09:20 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,361
I certainly wouldn't choose Illinois as my model either.

I'm relatively happy with the government I receive here in Plymouth, MN.

The littering and other minor issues are at a tolerable level, and we manage to do it with no canings.

If I'm accused of a serious crime, the government has to at least convince 12 other citizens of my guilt, rather than a single government appointed judge.


Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
To me, the Singapore government is more predictable and less "scary" than the gov't I live with here in Illinois. With most of our laws and ordinances existing at the whim of special interest groups and enforcement in the hands of the current political powers, it's tough to know what to expect and extremely inconsistent. It's truly a broken system here.

I suppose there would be some happy middle between a special interest driven, corrupt gov't such as we have here and the apparent inflexibility of gov't in Singapore.

And, as mentioned by anethum above, apparently the strictness and ridgid enforcement of Singapore laws may be exaggerated. The spotty enforcement and rampant corruption here is definitely NOT exaggerated.
__________________
Hamlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2013, 09:32 PM   #16
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 333
I've had a chance to visit Singapore a few times in the past 10 years and found it to be an interesting place to visit. It was clean, very modern and I felt really safe even when walking the streets late at night. The food is great and the people are friendly for the most part and just about everyone speaks English. The biggest downside I found was the weather (It's hot and "super" humid "all the time" 24 X 7 X 365)
__________________
HighRoller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2013, 03:03 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 1,577
Quote:
Originally Posted by bondi688 View Post
traineeinvestor who lives and works in Hong Kong may correct me if the information are not accurate.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are geared towards doing business. There is no tax on dividend or capital gain in either city. There is no estate tax, and no inheritance tax. Maximum income tax rate in Hong Kong is somewhere around 17%, and filing income tax is supposed to be a very straight forward task.

More or less correct for Hong Kong - for salaries the top marginal rate is currently 17% but there is an overall cap of 15% on total income from salaries. Tax is payable on business profits and rental income sourced in Hong Kong (at similar rates to salaries), there are rates/rent (similar to land tax) at reasonable rates and import duties on some items (including cars, petrol and tobacco).

There are now very high stamp duties on property purchases and another punitive tax is you sell a property within 3 years of buying. There are part of efforts to cool an overheated property market.

No taxes on dividends, interest, capital gains. No inheritance taxes or gift duties. And the annual tax return is a breeze.

I'm less familiar with Singapore but it also looks like a mid-range tax regime with a top marginal rate of 20%: Singapore Taxes, Tax Rates, Income Tax System - 2012 Guide | Singapore Taxation
__________________
Budgeting is a skill practised by people who are bad at politics.
traineeinvestor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2013, 03:55 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Another nice thing about Hong Kong (and maybe Singapore?) is that it is a free port. There are essentially no import duties. Here in the Philippines, if one orders something shipped from the USA (or anywhere else), there will almost always be customs to pay (with unpredictable amounts) but not so in Hong Kong.

I know one guy living in Manila who maintains a drop box for receiving mail and packages in Hong Kong just for this purpose. Then, the next time he passes through Hong Kong, he will bring everything back to the Philippines in his personal luggage, which is easy to get through Filipino customs.

When I was in Singapore, the cop cars had a logo painted on the car that said, "Low crime does not mean no crime." Basically, crime is so low that some folks get careless, so that is a reminder. I have really enjoyed my time in Singapore and seems to me much better than Hong Kong for "livability". But, as far as living long term in Singapore, it seems pretty expensive. You have to pay some kind of duty to own a car but I wouldn't want to own one there anyway.

Hong Kong rent is simply out of this world. My good friend lives there and was searching for something "low cost" and so got an out-of-the-way 500 square foot apartment for $3000 per month. This is partly due to high demand and partly due to Chinese controls on capital.
__________________
kramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2013, 05:25 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 1,577
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer View Post
I have really enjoyed my time in Singapore and seems to me much better than Hong Kong for "livability". But, as far as living long term in Singapore, it seems pretty expensive. You have to pay some kind of duty to own a car but I wouldn't want to own one there anyway.

Hong Kong rent is simply out of this world. My good friend lives there and was searching for something "low cost" and so got an out-of-the-way 500 square foot apartment for $3000 per month. This is partly due to high demand and partly due to Chinese controls on capital.
I very much prefer HK. While language is occasionally an issue and the air quality is terrible, I find it a more dynamic city than Singapore. I have no issues with livability - possibly because I don't feel the need to live in a large apartment.
__________________
Budgeting is a skill practised by people who are bad at politics.
traineeinvestor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2013, 05:34 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
obgyn65's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: midwestern city
Posts: 4,061
As discussed a few times in other threads, I love Hong Kong. My favorite city in the world. I would have no problem investing in a condo there if I knew the language better and could spend a few months a year there. Unfortunately, I am too busy here already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by traineeinvestor View Post

I very much prefer HK. While language is occasionally an issue and the air quality is terrible, I find it a more dynamic city than Singapore. I have no issues with livability - possibly because I don't feel the need to live in a large apartment.
__________________

__________________
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
obgyn65 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:05 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.