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10/12/2006

spend what you have

A couple wrote to the Straits Times forum pleading with HDB to allow them to buy a 3 room flat instead of 4 room flats because their combined income is more than $3000. This $3000 limit qualification to buy 3 room flat is another one of those outdated policies of anti thrift and forcing people to spend more against their wishes. Why must people be forced to eat sharksfin if they do not wish to? Many policies are in this genre. If you have some money, you must spend what you have. And when the time for retirement comes and you have no money left, it is your own funeral.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The income ceiling is only for buying new HDB flats. This couple still has the option to buy a resale one.

redbean said...

buying in the resale market means paying even more. money flies away faster.

Anonymous said...

dud, the policy is to ensure those who really can only afford a 3-rm gets one.

Cheshire said...

Anon, no use arguing with this bean-brained redbean. he lives in his own little Wonderland world where everythign is perfect.

redbean said...

hi cheshire,

welcome to the world of beans. i feel that it is very silly to force people to spend their money just because they have money. you just don't know when you need the extra cash to cut yourself up in the hospital. this making people spend what they have in their cpf kind of thinking is the main cause of the present predicament when many singaporeans are retiring without much money left in their savings.

it is an ancient wisdom to spend only if you have to and not to be forced to buy an expensive item which you do not want. now i am wondering whether my bean brain is having problem or your super brain?

what is wrong with a millionaire who just want to live in a 2 room flat?

Anonymous said...

cheshire, at the end of this exercise this rip van wink dude will think like the rest of us, mark my words

Anonymous said...

welcome to the world of beans. i feel that it is very silly to force people to spend their money just because they have money. you just don't know when you need the extra cash to cut yourself up in the hospital. this making people spend what they have in their cpf kind of thinking is the main cause of the present predicament when many singaporeans are retiring without much money left in their savings.

it is an ancient wisdom to spend only if you have to and not to be forced to buy an expensive item which you do not want. now i am wondering whether my bean brain is having problem or your super brain?

what is wrong with a millionaire who just want to live in a 2 room flat?




hey joe what's wrong with u? the man said: "the policy is to ensure those who really can only afford a 3-rm gets one." get it?

redbean said...

now what's wrong with you when there are so many 3 rms left empty and people whose income is barely enough to buy a 3 rm and you want to force them to buy 4 rm flats?

that is why when people like you become civil servants, the people suffer. you are all so square in your thinking that you make rules only to suit yourselves and not the people. even with feedback unit it is completely usefless when you adopt the mindset of the mandarins who just want the people to conform to your rules.

Anonymous said...

Reddie, just leave these boys alone.

They are not trained to think and will defend the masters at all cost.

Anonymous said...

The excess 3 room flats are not permanent features but seasonal abnormalies that hdb is taking care of. The relatively well-to-do couple could choose from getting 5 room, 4 room down to 3 room resale flats. No doubt that they have done their homework in wanting a new economical (3 room) flat. But they may be petitioning to live out their dreams at the expense of the economically less abled applicants.

The disadvantaged and needy, who lives from hand to mouth doesnt have much options other than the 3 room or rental flats.

redbean said...

hi anonymous,

this is a reasonable reply from a sensible man in a discussion. there are two points that i want to raise. 1. with the running away cost of living, a $3k-$4k combined income is going to be very stretched to buy a 4 rm flat. a 3 rm flat in the resale market is as costly as a new 4 rm flat. so going to the resale market is not going to help the couple in need. hdb prices have also gone up a lot over the years.

2. the thinking behind the policy of expecting people to buy bigger flats because they have more money is bad. it is against the wisdom of thrift and prudence. it encourages spending and not saving.

i always believe that people should be encouraged to live within their means, and being thrifty is a virtue.

as for the two bloggers who came here to attack me instead of discussing an issue, i believe your team leader will not be too happy about it as you have created a very bad impression of wherever you come from. your behaviour is like thugs.

maybe i shall forgive both of you as you are not at a level to think rationally and your task is to be a spoiler, go out and bite.

redbean said...

another letter to the straits times by a allison yeo li hwa who could stay in private apartment but chose to stay in hdb flat said, 'The key to financial freedom is to live beneath your means.'

anyone who promotes the idea of spending all you have or above your means need to have his head checked

Anonymous said...

Redbean, is it possible that your point was one-sided and slanted in favour of the typical self serving me first type yuppies, who whine and complain about every self centered problems of theirs without regard to the broader context? So long as a policy is to their disadvantage, it must be outdated and should be taken down no matter how sound the emanating institutional pedigree is. Who is the real spoiler then? If you have walked around the one room estates and seen the poverty, would you still be ranting about the nobility of well endowed youngsters abstaining from sharkfins, instead of understanding about the compassion behind these policies?

redbean said...

i hope you are old enough to have seen through a whole cycle of events or policies. many policies or decisions were introduced or implemented to meet the needs of a time and could have been very effective and successful. but often the success of these policies and decisions became its greatest enemy as they became problems themselves.

being young it is easy to think that you have all the answers to all the problems.

the population control measures were good then but we are paying a price for its being too successful. the hdb was an excellent programme that benefitted many people in the early days. but many subsequent policies followed created more problems than good. this $3000 ceiling is one of them.

if you have read my post on what $2000 means or an income of $2000 means today compare to yesterday, your views would not be so unyielding. a $2000 income was very comfortable at one time to buy a 5 rm flat. today, even owning a 3 rm flat is a problem.

why do you think people are downgrading? why are you forcing someone who cannot afford to live in a 4 rm flat to buy a 4 rm flat? and when there are many 3 rm flats available and unsold?

Anonymous said...

Ok, supposing you are right that we are all "squares making rules to suit ourselves" (whatever that means) and I accept your argument that current hdb rules should change according to the high cost of living. So, using this argument, if one sees a bargain in renting a 1 room flat instead of buying one when he figures that with zero mortgage he could have a nice retirement nest egg at the end of the day; he may start to argue that hdb is outdated in restricting the rental flats to the lower income group on the basis 1)that there are many empty rental flats 2)that he is a victim of middle-class squeeze who is going thru stress and hardship despite his reasonably good income. Assuming hdb buys your idea that such financially shrewd people deserves to be accommodated. So what happens? More like-minded yuppies will move into the estates to the point when demand outstrips supply, the rental fees increase. For the middle income kids which you are so concerned about, no need to worry abt them. They are financially prudent and will get by to achieve their ultimate retirement dreams in the end. But for the poorest? They could well end up with their ponchos lining the void decks, using public benches as their furniture and sheltered staircases as their beds. See, your one-sided argument, and not the fts that you feared, has the greatest potential to create homeless, squatters. Dont you see the irony yet?

redbean said...

when we want to engage in a discussion, we can approach the subject seriously or frivolously. there are times and issues that we can argue like students in tutorials, arguing for the sake of arguing. but there are issues that we need to look at them with considered views. we are talking about real stuff.

a frivolous argument is to tell a complainant that since he was unhappy with a squeaky door, then pull down the house. such an approach is not addressing the problem at hand.

i am raising an issue of higher price of 4 rm flat that people with $3k income can barely afford. and please do not have any delusion that $3k is middle income. $3k for a family of 4 is bearly enough to go on.

this has nothing to do with the policy on 1 rm and 2 rm flats and allowing the rich or shrewd to take advantage of them. policies that are still relevant and effective shall not be cast away just because one other policy is no longer relevant.

a reaonable approach to this issue is to question whether $3 is still a valid ceiling with respect to the price of a new flat and the cost of living of a family. the fact that some families are finding it unbearable speaks for itself.

tonight i just heard over the news that to encourage prudence and prevent buyers from buying flats they cannot afford, new hdb buyers must now produce a loan eligibility certificate before buying a flat.

why is prudence an issue and how does this contradicts the $3k ceiling which dictates that once the income is $3001 or $3100, that family must cough money to buy a flat that they will have problem servicing?

try to do a simulation on a family of 4 with 2 school going children and a $3k income and see how the finances works within reasonable expectations and lifestyle.

Elfred said...

Argh... you no know how Smart is Mr Mah on the latest policy... Hehehehe...

I help you analyse abit in YPforum, then you know why.

redbean said...

elfred,

he knows what he is doing. it is good for the people.

Charissa said...

I agree with rebean that they should scrape the income ceiling. However, to ensure that lower income singaporeans are still able to buy 3 rm flats, HDB should built more 3 room flats instead.

I see this more as a demand and supply problem. Perhaps HDB could survey if there is a increase in demand for 3 rm flats (from all income groups) and then built more accordingly. Some might argued that there might be problems with this. Oh well, but this is afterall the inherent problem of a centrally planned housing system (HDB is one).

Elfred said...

Redbean,

It is not good to the people...
It is good to some people...

The last time I saw him, he was declaring to build smaller flats with probably higher relative cost... what's so good about that?

Now what will happen to those struggling? No roofs?

Reddie, are you alright?

Is this the best an elite can offer?

redbean said...

thank you charissa, and welcome to the blog.

the solution is always very simple if one's intention is to solve a problem in the most efficient and effective way. but if one is not thinking of solving the problem as it is but have other considerations to take care of, the solution will be murky and often missed the point.

and with the high level of education that singaporeans have today, everyone can see things clearly and know what people are doing.

there are two conscience that decision makers have to live with. one is of course his own conscience. the other is the conscience of the people. if the people is cynical over a decision but not doing anything, it is because the time is not ripe.

there will be a time when history will be rewritten, when good becomes bad and bad becomes good, when right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right.