EXPERT BLOGS


Maternity wear meltdown

Wearing Mother's en Vogue's Dana dress, at a reasonable $82I don’t know if I’m experiencing more frustration at the moment because I often struggle with finding something appropriate to wear for work. Something which can also accommodate my ever-growing bump and isn’t black Or, if it’s my raging hormones which are making EVERYTHING and EVERYONE drive me a bit nuts at the moment, severely testing my patience. I know those I work and live with are feeling it . And I’m sorry, but tough luck. Right now, I have no time for nonsense!

From the Singapore-centric nightmare of always having to wipe other people’s business off the loo seat before I can pee (for the 50th time in a day). To having to slam on my brakes to avoid the idiot drivers who come to a dead-stop at the last nanosecond in front of the ERP gantry (to save 50 cents just before the fee-change), I’m a bit prone to losing my cool these days. I try not to yell - for the sake of my unborn child getting scared and stressed - but a few choice words have been flying from my mouth thick and fast of late.

The ONE thing making my life a tad bit easier right now is finding the right maternity wear - but it’s been a slow and painful process. In Singapore, quality maternity wear at a reasonable price is a struggle. Styles are either hideous or the wrong cut for westerners. Or, the right items are just ridiculously expensive. I’ve bought a few essentials at over the $250 mark - and wanted to cry each time I opened my wallet. But looking good makes you feel great - there’s no doubt about it. So I figure the investment is worth it.

Honeycombers - a fab blog/website offering cool finds - released a checklist of maternity go-to stores in Singapore today. And it’s a great read - check it out here. One place they left off the list is Mothers en Vogue at Centrepoint - where I purchased the dress I’m wearing here (see left). Most MEV items range from $30-$120, so you don’t feel like you’re handing over your lifesavings for something you’ll only wear a few months. Plus, their maternity dresses have built-in nursing panels. So at least I know I’ll be able to breastfeed my little boy - if I’m able to - discreetly, getting even more wear out of my purchases. Also, all their clothing is made of bamboo and natural, cotton fibres. Once you’ve warn bamboo clothing and underwear I swear you will never go back - it is the most awesome, breathable, comfy fabric, I love it!

I’ve also bought some work trousers and leggings which are proving to be useful from EGG Maternity at VivoCity. And I’ll be heading back there soon to buy some tops once the longish ones I already own won’t stretch any further. But the work trousers and tops I love the most I ordered online from the US from A Pea in a Pod and you can also find great buys at Motherhood Maternity in the USA. With the US exchange rate the way it is, prices are totally reasonable - even when you add on the shipping cost. I’m also planning a few choice purchases from Isabella Oliver in the UK (who Honeycombers have also mentioned) and thankfully the UK pound is also low at present. Another option is to hire a dress for special occasions from Maternity Exchange in Marina Square - there’s no point spending loads on a glam maternity dress for a wedding or a ball if you’ll never wear it again. In fact, you can also hire casual wear and more there. Because remember, what you can fit into at five months pregnant and eight months up the duff is VERY different. They also sell a wide range of casual, office and going-out wear. 

Dressing a bump is tricky, but if you get it right you can feel wonderful. And for the most part I’ve found when it’s obvious I’m pregnant, people are kinder to me. They hold the lift open for me, let me get onto the escalator first, or even jump the queue at Cold Storage. Today, the guys at Starbucks even offered to carry my lunch tray (consisting of a plain bagel and cup of tea - acid reflux is a bitch) to the table. I declined. But I’m just over halfway through this 40-week journey (whoever came up with 9 months is surely joking), so give me a few weeks and I might be asking them to carry my handbag as well!

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Posted by Michelle Fri, 15 Apr 2011 06:32:00 GMT


Eye on currency

AIDAN BAILEY reports how currency fluctuations can veil the real issue of understanding the importance of an asset’s holding currency.

 

Following nearly a decade of stability, the recent volatility experienced in the Foreign Exchange Market (FX) has not only taken the financial world by surprise, it’s also upset the plans of international investors and expatriates.

          When planning finances across the globe it’s imperative to take the power of the currency into consideration. If you’re from the UK, living and spending in Singapore will have you thinking in terms of Great British Pounds (GPB) or Singapore Dollars (SGD). But if your long term goal is to retire in Europe, you really need to start building a portfolio in Euros (EUR).

          Currency management can be a mug’s game, so unless you have the utmost confidence in your research, never try to “time the exchange”. It’s always best to accumulate assets at a gradual and steady pace through regular savings or transfers of capital.  Set up regular transfer or deposit dates and stick to a predetermined action plan. Should certain external factors be advantageously aligned, you can always add lump sums on an ad hoc basis.

          When investing across currencies or converting currency always be wary of “red herrings”. A Euro investment policy which invests in European equities will not only expose you to the Euro, but also other European currencies outside of the Euro. Assuming the fund’s assets are spread among European stockmarkets and weighted according to relative capitalisation, this fund could carry 30 percent of its exposure to non-Euro denominated assets.

          Avoid being misled into believing a fund denominated in Euros offers added security over a fund in an alternative currency denomination. Once you strip away the denomination issue you’re left with the nature and currency of the underlying assets – this should be your real focus. If you believe the Euro will increase in strength, choose a Euro Currency Fund, Euro Bond Fund or a Euro Equity Fund.


Currency Case Study

Q. I invested US$100,000 in a USD denominated UK Equity Growth Fund and the USD/GBP exchange rate moved from 1.6 to 3.0. Should I be worried?   

A. Not at all, you’re actually protected because of the currency of the assets held within the fund. On making your initial investment, your cash was converted into a Sterling denominated asset: USD100,000/1.6 = GBP62,500. If the market had remained stable this wouldn’t have changed. But if you sell the assets now, your investment will be converted to cash at the new exchange rate of USD3 to GBP1. Therefore your investment would result in: £62,500 x 3 = USD187,500. A marked increase!

 


Aidan Bailey
BA (Hons) CertPFS AWPCM 

General Manager Singapore, International Division

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Posted by The Fry Group Mon, 30 Nov 2009 19:30:00 GMT