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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own, not those of my employer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

Rat Race

>> Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saw this picture from and couldn't help but post it here as well.

A picture paints a thousand words.


Why Your Salary Is Not Enough

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ever complain about not earning enough and not having sufficient to spend. While it is good to be competitive and strive to improve the financial earning capability, balance approach is also to appreciate what one has currently.

1. Keep Comparing With Others
Even if you were to strike the jackpot and win $1 million, you would still feel poor! There will always be someone richer than you, unless you are Carlos Slim, who is the richest man in the world at the moment. When you want everything, anything short of achieving that would come as a disappointment!

2. Living A Lifestyle Ahead of Schedule
Affordability is relative. If your salary is $50k annually but you try to live the $100k lifestyle, your salary will never be enough! Delayed gratification will get you further, i.e. living the $50k lifestyle even if you are earning $100k.

3. The Glass Is Half Full
Salary is like a fixed amount of coffee being dispensed from a kopi machine. If you use a 250ml cup, it is just nice and full. However, if you use a 500ml cup, you will be disappointed as it is only half full. The coffee didn’t change, but the container (the expectation) did.

4. Unnecessary Expenses
Top 10
1. Coffee (Especially over priced ones like Starbucks, on second thought, maybe now it should also include over priced bubble tea like KOI)
2. Cigarettes
3. Alcohol
4. Bottled water
5. Frequent taxi trips
6. Car washes
7. Weekday restaurant lunches & dinner
8. Vending machines snacks/drinks
9. Interest charges on credit card bills
10. Unused memberships

Well, it is not about being miserly. Search for alternatives, there could be a less expensive option.


ST Forum: Insurance payout fell short of expectations

>> Friday, March 25, 2011

This was found on the ST Forum on 24th March 2011: "Insurance payout fell short of expectations"

Looks like another case of mis-selling on the surface. Everyone would be siding the customer. However, a more neutral view would be to focus on the app title the writer chose, especially on the word "expectations".

Like most customers, the individual is painting a very one sided story. According to his expectation, it was "$20,000 upon death". Is that all? If it was that simple, he could did a little research and purchase a term plan, period.

What if it included: 1) 100% returns after 20 years; 2) Within a budget of $200/month; 3) With Critical Illness coverage for 10 years; 4) Inclusive of investment like returns; 5) Medical loading due to age 50 years old with medical history, etc. I believe you get the picture.

Imposing all the impossible requirements according to his expectations would also result in the agent designing a plan to please him and herself. We do not have the full information to judge but consumer expectations of insurance is also important.

Further, customer "wanting" a payout of $20,000 in event of his mother's death is highly suspicious.. Anyway, it should be based on needs and not wants. Simply wanting $20,000 does not make it necessary nor sufficient.

He is not the first and definitely will not be the last. Get yourself educated and beware to avoid falling into the same problem.

Also, I do not particularly like how AIA has handled the explanation by brushing it to free look and buyer beware instead of responding with the FNA conducted. It is disappointing to see how the after sales service is. No wonder the industry has such a poor image.


Impact Of Japan Earthquake

>> Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Firstly, my condolences goes out to all those affected by the disaster.

According to many economist, Japan is at serious risk of falling into a recession but will recover quickly, sparing the global economy a significant shock.

How bad will Japanese businesses be hit?
Many factories remain closed due to damage to roads and rails, disruptions of supply chains and limits on the supply of electricity. Overall GDP is expected to decline in the second quarter.

Who will pay?
Both insurers and the government start paying to rebuild roads, ports, factories and homes damaged or destroyed. Even though the Japanese government is already under massive debt of more than twice GDP, this may result in excessive borrowing.

What will the impact be on the global economy?
Some high-value goods, such as computer chips or specialized auto parts are only made in Japan, raising the possibility of some production disruptions.

The excess borrowing that the Japanese government is likely to take on to pay for reconstruction could drive up bond yields.

Well, it may be too early to determine the effects, but the nikkei has already dropped 6% on Monday and as of Tuesday morning, a further 5% drop.


1.75% Sales Charge

>> Monday, March 14, 2011

Competition is really heating up among unit trust distributors.

I recently logged in to my DBS internet banking and realized that one can actually purchase unit trust online through this portal.

The sales charge is 1.75% for all unit trust! Even those traditionally 5%. Furthermore, one can RSP up to $500/month at 0% sales charge!

Seems like the best way to start is to enter the minimum, normally $1,000 and subsequently RSP $500/month, the effective sales charge will be the $17.50 on the initial amount only and one can enjoy the benefits of dollar cost averaging.

Not sure if other banks have this function available on their i-banking platform and are the charges competitive?

This saves the hassle of even opening a separate account with other platform providers like fundsupermart which comparatively, charges a platform fee. Although I do remember that fundsupermart does run some promotions occasionally for their funds in focus that gives attractive sales charges.

Well, doing a little home work does save one unnecessary charges that erodes the profits, since all essentially offer the same outcome, i.e. to purchase unit trust.


Low MediShield Coverage

>> Monday, March 7, 2011

I read the article in regards to the low pay out of medishield for Ms Goh's father medical bills with pride.

This is not the first time such a complaint was published in the forum and I believe it would not be the last. It is precisely this reason that I have my family covered under a proper private shield plan and I always advise clients & non-clients the importance of understanding your plan's coverage to suit your expectations and affordability.

The advice is mostly fell upon deaf ears. Similarly, has Ms Goh upgraded her personal shield plan as well so she does not suffer the same fate? Does she understand what medishield covers and what it does not? It usually takes a crisis to appreciate what is lacking. Had she spent the time to read more about medishield and less writing to the forum, she would have gotten her answer. The various options are available and information is provided. Neglecting protection and complaining when suffering insufficient coverage is like ignoring to buy and wear shoes but angry when stepping on sh*t bare footed.

Many are complaining about the exclusions taking the plan at a later age. I for one is in favor of it. I appreciate the coverage provided and is perfectly willing to pay the premium for it, it is absolutely necessary. I do not mind being healthy, not claiming and paying the premiums to subsidize others who are claiming. It is only fair as they will be subsidizing me in return should I require to claim.

Consider, it would be unfair if they accept everyone regardless of medical conditions. In such a case, everyone would not take up coverage, only upon diagnosis of illness then we proceed to purchase coverage only to claim almost immediately. And as a result the concept of insurance would fail as premiums would be equivalent to the cost of treatment. The non-claimants would not be "subsidizing" the claimants.

Help yourself today.



The inflation rate in Singapore was reported at 5.5 percent in January 2011.

Normally, most governments use the interest rates to curb inflation. However, Singapore interest rates are still at rock bottom rates as the Singapore government uses currency exchange to manage the economy.

As a result, a lot of overly conservative investors are being taken for a ride in Singapore. Fixed deposits are at 0.5%, CPF OA 2.5%, new corporate bond issues are averagely 2%, leaving anything in deposits attract a 0.1% return, etc. All of which are eroding the value to inflation.

Investing involves risk and the market is pretty much in a side ways mode at the moment. So how else can the average Singaporean take advantage of a strengthening SGD dollar to beat inflation since Singapore uses that method of government policy.




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