Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Review of our bank accounts

Do you remember my post about the three day work week? The interesting thing is that my manager returned from maternity leave and is now on a three day work week. This is unusual in an accounting firm where there are revenue and client pressures.

I get to see and understand first hand how the three day work week functions from the perspective of my manager who is on it and me as the colleague of such a working mum. To be honest, it has not been going well for my manager and tensions have been running high in the team lately.

These type of flexible work arrangements are more common in Australia than Singapore. I can see how it works there because people are more used to it and are generally okay to adjust their schedules & expectations around such arrangements. It's not easy but workable in Australia.

This does not appear to be the case in Singapore based on my observations. I would say it's a lot more difficult for working mums to be on flexible work arrangements because junior & senior colleagues and clients are not adapting their schedules & expectations. It looks like we still have a long way to go and I hope it's something we all strive towards to provide more support for working mums.

On a side note, it's tough being on a three day work week if you have demanding revenue and client responsibilities. This is the case even if you have a strong support team to meet those pressures (assuming it's not your own business because why would you want to be on a three day work week if so?!).

Which means the question is whether I am okay to accept less responsibilities and possibly do less value-adding work in exchange for a lower pay. I guess it still meets the requirement of having some form of professional and social engagement with lower stress levels.

I wonder how things will play out for my manager just to see whether the idea of the three day work week is even feasible in the long term in Singapore. Definitely hoping it works out for her!

Anyway, I reckon it's time for me to go back to the basics of personal finance since I have been writing quite a bit about investments recently. I did a series of posts on which bank accounts to use in Singapore as expense funds, emergency funds and investment funds. It's time for a review to see how they have been working out for us.
1. OCBC 360 Bank Account - Expense Funds

I have been increasing the balance in my OCBC 360 account recently from the cash position build up. Since I'm meeting the bonus interest requirements, I'm earning 2.2% pa on the total account balance with an additional 1% pa on the incremental account balance from month to month.

I don't actively research on other competing high interest bank accounts or enquire with the various banks. I find the more efficient approach is to follow the personal finance bloggers in Singapore and their reviews of the bank accounts. You can see a real-life application of the considerations and comparisons that way.

That's how I picked up on the BOC Smartsaver account. You can refer to this post from Jes on BOC Smartsaver vs OCBC 360. I seem to be reaching the same conclusion as Jes in that the OCBC 365 credit card is a strong motivator for why I will continue to stick to the OCBC 360 account.

Besides, I like OCBC's online banking interface the most. Given the high volume of transactions and bank transfers in my OCBC 360 account, it's easier to navigate them on a more user-friendly internet banking account.

2. UOB One Bank Account - Emergency Funds

It's not as easy to meet the bonus interest requirements but still possible even without the salary crediting component. Watch out on navigating the UOB One credit card because it's even more difficult. The effective interest rate I'm earning is 2.43% pa on the total account balance.

The volume of transactions and bank transfers in my UOB One account is low, which makes sense since I shouldn't be utilising my emergency funds so often. Plus after jumping through the hoops and hurdles to meet the bonus interest requirements, I'm happy to just leave the account as it is.

3. CIMB FastSaver Bank Account or Other Bank Accounts with Deposit Promotions - Investment Funds

Since I have reached the maximum balances (to qualify for bonus interest) of S$60,000 for the OCBC 360 account and S$50,000 for the UOB One account, the excess cash is usually parked in the CIMB FastSaver account. Interest earned at 1% pa.

Banks such as Stan Chart offer deposit promotions (usually for two months) on normal savings accounts to try and draw fresh funds. It's just a matter of transferring the excess cash into those accounts for the two months and withdrawing them out after the promotion ends.

I still have a POSB eSavings Bank Account but that's for the monthly withdrawal of cash funds for the POSB Invest-Saver and paying off the POSB Everyday Credit Card. Then again, I just keep about S$1,000 in the account because of the low interest rate on it.

Anyway, I might do a review of our credit cards in another post, especially when they are closely linked to the bank accounts we open in Singapore. Besides, it's always useful to re-evaluate whether any changes are required to our personal finance structure.  

1 comment:

  1. UOB One Bank Account - Easy way to hit the interest bonus criteria of $500 each calendar month spend on UOB One Credit Card:
    - Open a SAXO trading account
    - If not enough balance for a calendar month, use credit card to top up your SAXO trading account
    - The absolute commission $ charged by SAXO for the top-up is less than the UOB bonus interest you can get from the $500 spend - hence, worth to do the top-up via credit card when required