It’s not every day you get a call from a friend asking for a list of local actors’ Instagram handles to check if the person who’s in front of them is who they think it is.
Long story short, that person turned out to be none other than Desmond Tan, and the actor was clearly surprised when we asked him about it at the press conference of upcoming Taiwan-Singapore co-production All Is Well, a suspense series threads two parallel plots together, both sparked by a series of high-profile ATM hacking in Taiwan
“Wait, you mean last month?” the 32-year-old threw back at us when we asked him if he really is buying a new condominium unit in the East.
Did that mean that he's been out shopping for multiple condos?
“No lah,” he chuckled. “It’s just that I haven’t been back for a while so I just wanted to be clear so that we don’t end up talking about different things.”
With that out of the way, we launched into a very “non-entertainment” (Desmond’s words, not ours) conversation about investments.
Desmond, who graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Science (Real Estate) before joining showbiz, mused that this is something that he’s planned for quite some time. “At this age, you start thinking of where you should invest your money. Should you leave it sitting in the bank? Start a business? Invest in blue chips? For me, I studied real estate, so I’m quite confident in this aspect.”
As an actor, he continued, he usually works 12-hour days, which doesn’t give him the luxury of checking the markets regularly. That, in his perspective, eliminates investments in the stock market. “You know what they say - high risk usually means high return. For me, rather than to chase after a high ROI (return on investment), I would rather have something that I feel secure with, rather than to have to consciously think about it all the time.”
Starting a business, at least for now, is also out of the question as Desmond believes in being hands-on in whatever he does.
“If I were to set up a business, I’d have to attend meetings, physically be at the store, solve problems as they happen, and that takes away the focus that I feel I should have on my acting,” he mused. “At this point of my life, I don’t think it’s something that I will want to do.”
His answer is to invest in properties, which he feels will be a good source of passive income.
“The place that I’m living in while in Taiwan is an Airbnb (rental). The owner stays in the same building and he earns money just by renting out his place. For Singapore, only long-term rentals are allowed, but it’s still a good source of income,” he explained.
What about potential tenants who would go, ’Wah, Desmond Tan’s house leh!’
This question clearly took him by surprise, as he pondered for a moment before responding slowly, “Well, it could swing both ways, definitely. But I definitely won’t front the deal on my own. I’d get a middleman to do it, and there are so many Desmond Tans in Singapore, I don’t think they’ll think that far ahead!”
Alternatively, he quipped, if he really does end up buying the condo, he could very well give it to his mother as a Christmas present.
In the long-term, however, his dream is to purchase a landed property with a garden where his dogs will have plenty of space to run about.
“There are a lot of considerations for that too. By the time I buy a landed property, my dogs might be quite old and if there are stairs in the house, how will they get up and down the stairs? It’s a little far off for now, but I think that these are all due considerations that I need to think about as soon as possible.”
We were almost at the end of our conversation, and Desmond laughed as we asked our final question: Was this sudden urge to buy a bigger place because he’s planning to get hitched?
“That’s what this entire conversation was all about, right?” he deadpanned. “But seriously speaking, I think I’m in a very good place in my career right now. I’ve been working on so many amazing projects, and I feel that it’s important that I keep up the momentum that I have right now, so that’s not something that I’m thinking of yet. For now, my career still comes first.”
The Singapore storyline of All Is Well airs weeknights at 9pm on Channel 8 from August 26, followed immediately by the Taiwan storyline on Channel U at 10pm the same night. The series will also be available on Toggle from August 19.