Singaporean Couple’s Two-Home Dream in tatters

Our family have been busy travelling during the recent school holidays, thus we were checking up on the cost of living in different countries as compared to Singapore using this cool website call Numbeo. The top 3 expenses for most people are usually the accommodation, transport and food and we found out that maybe no countries could beat us in the first two category being accommodation and transport. With articles like Singapore being the most expensive country to own private homes in the world and Guinness World of Records of being the most expensive country to own a car, I guess all of us know the reality on how exorbitantly expensive our properties and cars are.

That is to say that, if we were to cash out on our property and car in Singapore and choose to stay in any other country in the world, we should be able to live a more relax and comfortable life or perhaps having the option to retire early.

Singaporean Couple’s Two-Home Dream in tatters — Engage
 This EdgeProp article “Grand Dunman’s opening weekend preview attracts 10,000 visitors” exhibits that the FOMO mentality is real even against the all time high property prices, the backdrop of high interest rate environment and looming recession.

Property has always been touted as the sure-win way towards reaching financial freedom in Singapore and epitome of success and prestige. Even ChatGPT agrees with it and stated the reasons as below.

Singaporean Couple’s Two-Home Dream in tatters — Engage

But ChatGPT did mentioned in its last comment stating that even though property ownership is a dream for many but it also comes with their own set of risks and responsibilities.

Almost everyone around you are very eager to build their wealth through properties and jump on every opportunity that comes their way as it is widely view as a sure-win way to be rich, thus many fail to assess the risks involved in it. Let me share what happened to this couple in this particular Straits Times article so that we could be more aware and know what are the risks involved.

The couple lives in a $2 mil condominium with an outstanding debt of $500k which they could had easily paid off during then. Instead, they decided to invest in a $3 mil property by decoupling to avoid paying ABSD (Additional Buyer Stamp Duty for second property). Decoupling involves selling the husband share to his wife, so that the husband who is a business owner could buy the investment property outright without paying ABSD.

The wife who was earning a good income then, took the opportunity to re-mortgage the home for another $750k which ramp up the outstanding loan for the first home to $1.25mil. This pushes up the monthly repayment to about $5.8k which was still manageable due to low interest rate of 1.2% then.

All went well until the pandemic struck, and his business was badly hit which resulted in bankruptcy. As the second property was in his sole name, creditors seized it as part of his settlement in debt. To make matters worse, wife was retrenched recently and had to settle for a lower paying job. She now struggles to pay the mortgage for the first home as monthly repayments have jumped 30% to about $7.6k per month given the current high interest rate environment at 4%.

So from the onset, everything looks rosy on the outside where the husband was a businessman who earns good income that allows him to purchase the second property and the wife was earning good employment income which allows her to solely own the first home after decoupling. Even when everything looks good based on numbers and anticipated future, we really need to do some scenario-based planning when times are good so that we could kind of anticipate what might happened when times are bad. Below are just some of the advice that might be useful when one need to assess risks when making big financial moves.

As properties are highly leveraged, please do stick to a debt level that is manageable base on one income and do add some buffer on top of our TDSR (Total Debt Servicing Ratio) 55% and MSR (Mortgage Servicing Ratio) 30% requirements for getting a loan.

In addition, set aside at least 1 – 2 years of mortgage repayments plus emergency cash to tackle unforeseen circumstances like retrenchment, prolong illness, high interest rate environment etc.

Do not assume that both husband and wife will always have good income throughout their lives. So you need to exercise prudency when taking up long term debt and work out on worst case scenarios.

Making sure you are insured to make sure when things go south, you are adequately covered to protect your downside risks.

Following this old adage of “Not putting all your eggs in one basket” had never been a wiser. Do not concentrate your overall portfolio allocation with just property, as when it does goes south, you will end up with nothing. Make sure you are well diversified in terms of asset classes like Cash, Equities, Bonds, Property, CPF etc.

Sole ownership also carries risk as if one dies without a will, half the property will go to the decease parents if they have no kids. Even if one have kids, it will incurred additional legal costs just to distribute the share to the wife and kids. Lastly, holding a property solely will result you losing the whole asset should you be facing bankruptcy.

The above might seems like you need more than just advice from a property agent, thus a property agent might not be the best person to heed financial advice from. Buying a property is not just about being qualified to take up the loan or avoiding ABSD. It involves knowing about your own unique financial circumstances, financial goals, risk appetite and aspirations.

Thus, do approach a qualified independent financial adviser who could give you a well-rounded analysis and independent advise before you jump at the opportunity.

Hope you learnt something from this sharing and do share your thoughts!

Link and snapshot of Straits Times Article for your reference

Singaporean Couple’s Two-Home Dream in tatters — Engage

Important: The information and opinions in this article are for general information purposes only. They should not be relied on as professional financial advice. Readers should seek independent financial advice that is customised to their specific financial objectives, situations & needs. This advertisement or publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Published By:

David Wu

I’m a financial coach who regularly advises clients on how they could strengthen their financial positions by simplify it and right-sizing their resources to have more options in life. Ultimately, be in a financial position to design a life around their work instead of the other way round.

As an independent financial advisor, I’m dedicated in tailoring holistic financial advice and solutions in the best interest of my clients through understanding their life aspirations and cultivating a life-long relationship with them, accompanying them through their financial journey.

I’m also actively involved in bringing financial literacy to individuals who are currently underrepresented through financial education and writing engagements. With over 12 years of international banking and financial services experience,

I’m also a Life coach and Founder of, a personal lifestyle and finance site that advocates minimalism and financial independence. I help people discover how decluttering and minimalism could help them to find their true identity so that they could live a purposeful life and achieve their desired lifestyle.

I’m very passionate about promoting “Living a simple and meaningful life with less yet achieving ikigai and financial success in your own way”.

Outside of work, I’m a family man who enjoys adventures, nature and aspire to scale one of the seven summits Mt Kilimanjaro and trek across Patagonia.

Please reach out to me via

Some of my publicly featured works include:

How Does One Go From A 6-Figure Debt To Financial Independence? [Chills 79 with Dave]



Contact Me

What type of services are you looking for? 请问您需要咨询哪些方面的服务?(Please select all that applies)


By submitting this form, I confirm that


  • I have read and understood FAPL’s Personal Data Policy, and hereby give my acknowledgement and consent to FAPL to use my personal data in accordance with FAPL’s Personal Data Policy.
  • 我已阅读并理解鑫盟理财私人有限公司的个人数据保护政策,并同意鑫盟理财私人有限公司根据个人数据保护政策所阐述的用途使用我的个人资料。
  • I have read and understood the disclaimers above and hereby affirm my acceptance of these terms.
  • 我已阅读并理解了上述免责声明,特此声明接受这些条款。
  • I have not been directly contacted or approached by any representative or employee of FAPL with an offer or solicitation to apply for any financial products not offered in my home country.
  • 鑫盟理财私人有限公司的代表或员工并未直接与我联系或提出要约或招揽购买我原居住国境内所不提供的任何金融产品.
  • Financial Alliance Pte Ltd ( “FAPL”) is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) and allowed to conduct financial advisory activities in accordance with the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (“FAA”) and the Securities & Futures Act (Cap. 289) (“SFA”) within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Singapore and in accordance with the licenses granted by MAS
  • 鑫盟理财私人有限公司( “鑫盟理财”)持有由新加坡金融管理局(“MAS”)所颁发的牌照,并许可在新加坡共和国境内依据财务顾问法(第110章)和证券与期货交易法(第289章)进行财务咨询等相关业务
  • Any services provided by FAPL to persons not ordinarily resident in Singapore are provided solely on an offshore basis from Singapore, resulting from direct enquiry on the part of the foreign residents.
  • 鑫盟理财为非新加坡居民所提供的任何服务仅限于直接向鑫盟理财发出咨询请求的国外居民。
  • As an integral part of the provision of such services, FAPL may from time to time make available to such residents, documents and information making reference to capital markets products (for example, in connection with the provision of fund management or investment advisory services outside of the foreign jurisdiction).
  • 作为提供此类服务的一部分,鑫盟理财会不时向此类咨询者提供有关产品的参考文件和信息(例如,关于海外司法管辖区以外的资金管理或投资咨询服务等信息)。
  • Such documents and information are provided by Financial Alliance Pte Ltd (“FAPL”) is for general information only and is not intended for anyone other than the recipient.
  • 此类由鑫盟理财所提供的文件和信息仅供收件人做一般信息参考。
  • It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person.
  • 此类文件和信息不会把-个人投资目标,财务状况或其特定需求等考虑在内。
  • It does not constitute the making available of, or an offer or solicitation by FAPL to buy or sell or subscribe for any such capital markets product or to enter into a transaction or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy nor an advice or a recommendation with respect to such financial products.
  • 鑫盟理财向该人士提供此类文件和信息将不构成要约或招揽购买或出售或认购任何此类资本市场产品,或达成交易或参与任何特定的投资策略,也不构成有关此类金融产品的建议或推荐。
  • These documents may not be published, circulated, reproduced or distributed in whole or in part to any other person without FAPL’s prior written consent.
  • 未经鑫盟理财的事先书面同意,不得将这些文件全文或部分发布,传播,复制或分发给其他人。
  • This document is not intended for distribution to, publication or use by any person in any jurisdiction, where such distribution, publication or use would be contrary to applicable law or would subject FAPL and its related corporations, connected persons, associated persons and/or affiliates to any registration, licensing or other requirements within such jurisdiction.
  • 鑫盟理财无意在分发,出版或使用此类文件可能违反当地法律,或本公司及关联公司或关联人士需要注册,获得许可或符合规定的司法权区向当地人士分发、出版此类文件或供其使用。
  • You shall ensure that you have and will continue to be fully compliant with all applicable laws in your home country when entering into discussion or contracts with FAPL.
  • 在与鑫盟理财进行讨论或签订合约时,您应确保您已完全遵守并将继续遵守您所在原居住国的所有适用法律及条规。

In compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act, Financial Alliance Pte Ltd (“FAPL”) seek your consent to collect and use your personal data (e.g. name, NRIC, contact numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses and photograph) for the purposes of and in accordance with FAPL’s Data Protection Policy, which can be found on FAPL’s website at

根据《个人数据保护法》,鑫盟理财私人有限公司征求您的同意向您收集并使用您的个人信息。鑫盟理财将根据公司的个人数据保护政策所阐述的用途使用您的个人资料(例如姓名,证件号码,联系电话,邮寄地址,电邮地址和照片)。 该政策可在本公司网站上查寻,网址为

By submitting this form, you are deemed to have read and understood FAPL’s Personal Data Policy.


Scan for Contact Details

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on our latest content!

By providing the info below, I confirm that I am the user and/or subscriber of the telephone number(s) and email address provided by me and I consent to receive from Financial Alliance and/or its financial adviser representatives, any marketing, advertising and promotional information organise by Financial Alliance via voice calls, SMS/MMS (text messages) or faxes to my telephone number(s) provided below. I understand I may withdraw any consent I have given at any time by writing in to Financial Alliance Pte Ltd.

Scan for WeChat QR

Retirement Planning

Will I be able to retire comfortably?