Sunday, May 28, 2017

Beware of this type of life insurance promotion

Several investment linked policies, offered by a few insurance companies, follow this structure. It is easy for the consumer to fall into the trap, and to regret their folly.

1. The agent tells them about a limited period promotion, which offers bonus units for their investments.
2. The customer ask many questions about the promotion, but FORGOT to look at the important aspects of the underlying policy.
3. They were not aware about the high annual and penalty charges.
4. When they realize the fact, it was too late. They have invested more than $10,000 and would have to suffer a part of it when they terminate the policy, or to suffer a large loss each year.

This product analysis shows how the charges work.

New issues for voting at Wisdom website

Here are the issues for you to vote:

1) Will Donald Trump complete the first term in office?
2) Did Donald Trump back down on global trade at the G7 summit?
3) Should single mothers be allowed to get subsidized HDB flats?

Give your vote at

How can Singapore Airlines improve its revenue and profits

Singapore Airlines is facing big challenges. They suffered an operating loss during the last quarter. Their service is not as good as previously. Their prices are too high. The cost is probably too high also.

Here are some suggestions on how the airline can improve its customer service and experience and hopefully increases its revenue.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Analyses of financial products

This page contains the analyses of several insurance products and investments that are commonly sold in the market. Some are good for consumers, others are bad. The analyses are available only for FISCA members. There are analysis of many products. Only the most recent ones are shown. You can search for the old ones by typing the name of the product in the search box.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Are you a first time or second time buyer of a HDB flat?

The HDB allows a citizen to buy a subsidized flat two times. On the second time, the buyer has to pay a resale levy. This rule may look simple, but can be quite complicated to manage. It is giving headache to the front line staff of HDB and also to the general public.

Read more at:

Survey on Chee Hong Tatt and Paul Thambyah

Minister of state Chee Hong Tatt criticized Paul Thambyah for making unsubstantiated allegations on local doctors unhappiness with the employment of foreign doctors.

a) Was the MOS fair in his criticism?
b) Was Paul Thambyah a courageous person?

Here are the results of two surveys on this matter.

Survey on Baby Milk Power

Here are the results of two surveys.

You can view more survey results at

The truth about the interest rate paid by the Central Provident Fund

For many years, the Central Provident Fund has been paying an interest rate of 2.5% on the ordinary account and 4% on the special account. Many commentators pointed out that the CPF savings are invested by GIC which was able to earn a much higher return than the interest rate paid by CPF. They asked for transparency in the investment of CPF.

Here is the truth about the return provided by CPF to its members. And a suggestion on how to improve the current situation and make it more transparent and trusted.

Should Singapore have cancelled the joint naval exercise with India in the South China Sea?

Should Singapore have canceled our joint naval exercise with India in the South China Sea to avoid aggravating the misunderstanding with China? There are several options for you to vote on this issue in

Is policy A or policy B better?

I have often been asked for my views on whether policy A or policy B is better. The implicit assumption is that the consumer have to buy either A or B. It is like having to pay tax, i.e. they have no choice.

The consumer is asking the wrong question. A better question is - how should I plan for my future and to protect against the risk of premature death (by accident or illness) and to have sufficient savings for my retirement.

The answer to this important question can be obtained from:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Excellent follow up by Singapore Exchange

I congratulate Singapore Exchange for providing an excellent follow up to my feedback about the Central Depository. They called me to discuss my feedback and the actions that they can take to address them.

I hope that other big organizations in Singapore, including the government agencies, will follow this excellent example.

Congratulations, SGX.

Is our health care system a success?

This professor describes Singapore health care system as a success in providing affordable care. I disagree with him. I find our health care to be too costly for the nation and for the people. The charges for treatment are also too high and the out of pocket payments take away a large part of Medisave and personal savings.

The quality of the health care is good, but it is too expensive.…/commentary-singapore-s-hea…

Does an insurance policy cover terrorism?

If a person is insured under an insurance policy and dies from a terrorist attack, such as the one that occurs in Manchester or Jakarta, will the family be able to claim under the insurance policy?
You can find the answer here:

Issues affecting the future leadership of Singapore

There are three important questions affecting the future leadership of Singapore. Go to the website and vote on these issues.

We need many votes from ordinary people.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Login process for Corporate Pass should be simplified

I waited 6 years for IDA (now IDMA) to introduce the Corporate Pass. They now wants to make it compulsory for organisations to use the Corporate Pass, rather than the individual's Sing Pass.

The login for Corporate Pass is quite complicated for users. They require the user to provide the organization's UEN code and the user's personal code. This is a bad approach.

After that, they still have to go through a 2FA authentication. And search a complicated website for the transaction that they wish to provide.

This is sad. Singapore will still have to face a big challenge in introducing online transactions. This login system will discourage users.

What is a better login system? They should just follow Google or Facebook to allow people to login with their email address. THey can even allow the user to login with the Facebook or Google profile.

After logging in this easy way, they can present to the user the organization that they are authorised to access. In most cases, it will be a single organization. But some users may access a few organizations. This can be selected from a drop down list.

If a higher level of authorization is required, they can ask for the 2FA for this person. This should be made optional for first level access. It can be made compulsory for submitting transactions.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unsatisfactory happenings with Uber

I encountered a few unsatisfactory happenings with Uber.

I called a UberX this morning. The app showed my pickup address is my home, which is correct. It showed that a car would arrive in 5 minutes.

I waited for the car for 25 minutes. During this interval, the app showed the arrival time as 2 min, 1 min, 3 min, etc. Finally, the driver called me and said that he is waiting for me at the pickup point which is a different location. I don't know why Uber gave him a wrong geo location (instead of my address). The driver than canceled the booking.

I found next that Uber charged me $6 for the canceled booking. I went through the app to get a refund. The app accepted the request and said that a refund of $6 would be given to me as a credit to be used for the next trip. It should appear in my app under Payment.

I went to check the credit. It did not appear.

There were two previous occasions where this "disappeared credit" had occurred. Two months ago, I canceled a booking after discovering that Uber gave a wrong pickup point (as their GPS was not working correctly). The charged a few of $6 to me and later give me a refund after my explanation. The refund appear in my account but disappeared after a few days.

I used Uber in Malaysia. The driver canceled the booking after 20 min. I reported to Uber and they credited MYR 5 to me. The credit never appeared in my account.
I had a difficult time to contact Uber on these issues. I find their business practice to be unsatisfactory.

Issue official mobile phones to policemen on patrol

The Police is issuing mobile phones to its personnel on the front line.

This is a good idea. A mobile phone is needed today, just like a pistol or baton is needed as a standard equipment for a policeman on patrol.

It will also be possible for the control center to know where the policeman is at any time, and whether they are on the move as they should be.

There could be abuse, i.e. the policeman would be browsing the social media or listening to music or making personal calls when they should be working, but this risk is already present, as they could be using their personal mobile phones.

These unathorised activities could be better monitored with the official phones.

Dealing with fake news

Governments around the world are addressing the issue of fake news. They are targeting the Internet giants, such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo. I think that this is a fair approach.

These giants are big enough to deal with the governments on what is "fake new" and "honest opinions".

The challenge is how to stop the spread of "fake news" after it has gone viral. The platform operator may delete the source of the fake news but they have to trace it all the way down the distribution chain.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unhappy with lower payout under AIA policies

All my life I have believed in the concept of insurance, and that it can help when I am have falling ill or provide relief for my children when I finally leave this world behind.

I am writing an utterly bitter experience with AIA so those of you who consider insuring yourself with them, can hopefully benefit from my unfortunate incident. 

Let me share a little bit about my mother with you. She used to make coffee for a living, not rich but very thrifty; supporting the livelihood of 7 children. She loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart.

Wisdom of the Crowd issues and results

The results of the voting on these issues are now ready for viewing:

1. What is the best age to get married?
2. Will you get help to find a suitable partner?
3. Do you agree with the proposed ban on advertising for baby milk powder?

You can view the results in

JustGrab fare is misleading

JustGrab fare is misleading and is 50% higher than the return journey.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Improve the user experience for online transactions

Singapore has been very slow in adopting online processes. Many countries, such as China or Japan, are miles ahead of us.

I blame the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other government agency for this sad situation. They are too concerned about security and have introduced impractical processes and steps that discourage the public from using online processes.

Here are the reasons why it is difficult to use online proceses in Singapore and the simple steps that can be taken to remove these obstacles.

Lower the price of baby milk powder

What can the government do to set the environment for the free market to bring down the prices of baby milk powder? They have taken the step to ban the advertising of the premium products. Perhaps they should take additional steps.

Investment policy of GIC and Temasek Holdings

How should GIC and Temasek conduct its investment policy?

Here is a view from a fund manager. I agree with him.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ridiculous and inconsiderate process by CDP

I wish to share this ridiculous and inconsiderate process by the Central Depository (CDP) of Singapore Exchange.

I am embarassed to say it, but this is typical of the mindless approach adopted by many large organizations in Singapore.

This young man ask if he should be insured under an Early Stage Critical Illness insurance

Hi Mr Tan,
Recently I faced a dilemma whether should I continue my AXA Early Stage CI or not which covers me until 75 for a guaranteed fixed $1,246.50 annually inclusive of GST.

This is especially so when comparing with the rates offered by SAF Aviva Living Care and Living Care Plus program.

I am a student, age 26. I will be graduating soon.

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018. You can watch the video.

If you wish to list your property for rental, click on Register and follow the instructions. Listing is FREE.

This portal allows you to show a video of your property (hosted on Youtube). It allows the prospective tenants to view the property without a physical viewing.

To search for properties to rent, go to

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two buses arrive in a convoy

When I arrived at the bus stop in Upper Thomson Road, I checked the app for the arrival time of Bus 163. It said 14 minutes.

I was looking out for Bus 163 when I walked towards the bus stop for 2 minutes. So, the gap must be 16 minutes.

I wondered - will there be a "ghost bus" that will arrive within the next 14 minutes? This is a bus that has a failed GPS tracker.

The next 2 buses for service 163 arrived in a convoy after 14 minutes.

With the modern technology, we are still have buses arriving in a convoy? Surely, these buses could be tracked and directed to maintain a gap in arrival times?

I wonder if LTA is paying attention to the big data that they collect on the bus arrival time. Surely, they could spot these problems and rectify them?

Why spend so many million dollars for advanced system and not use the data analysis to improve the service standard?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Investing for the long term - two stories

I have exceptionally good luck on two major investments. It was helped by the principle of "investing for the long term". If the market is bad, we can wait. When it reaches a peak, we can take a good profit.

Should I buy a larger flat on my first purchase?

Mr. Tan,
The government allows a citizen to buy a new flat (BTO) at a subsidized price and a second flat in the future at a subsidized price, i.e. each citizen is allowed the subsidy for 2 purchases.

Many people have bought a new flat and sold it many years later to make a profit. They can then buy the flat a second time.

Should I buy a larger flat (up to 7 years of salary) as I will have the chance to make a large profit on its sale?

Read my reply here:

12.45% return

Dear Mr Tan,
Recently I enquired about a 12.45% interest, 6-year structured deposit as advertised by OCBC bank.

Some people may be misled to think that the return is 12.45% per year. It is the total return for 6 years, so the annual return is only 2% per annum.

There are also some other factors that the investor should take into account. The capital is guaranteed but the interest rate is not.

Read more about this product in

Suggestion to take somebody's lunch

How does the Crowd view the suggestion by PM Lee to "take somebody's lunch"?

You can see the results of their votes here. A vast majority has a better suggestion for PM Lee. Read it.

Has GST been good for the economy?

Has GST been good for the economy? If not, what is the damage that it has caused?

A vast majority of the Crowd has spoken! And they have given a clear statement of its worst impact! Read here:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DINK - double income, no kid

Singapore has been dealing with this problem for three decades. Many people are remaining unmarried or have decided to have no children. In Japan, they are called DINK - the spouses have double income, i.e. both are working, but no kids. Many Singaporeans are DINKS.

One key factor is the financial challenges. But there are other challenges that have to be addressed, from the social or personal angles.

What are the problems? Give your vote on the marriage issues in

Received all six book prizes

Some participants have submitted more than 60 votes and received all the six book prizes shown here.

You can also receive these prizes by participating in

Independent expert to evaluate financial products

I have updated this article to show how the use of an independent expert can help consumers to avoid the financial products that give them a poor return and take unfair advantage of their ignorance to benefit the financial instituion. In layman terms, the financial insitution is "ripping off" the consumer.

Read this article.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Have a restful and peaceful vacation

For Singaporeans who live in a crowded city every day, a short break in a farm can be quite relaxing and a good change. You do not need to go all the way to Australia or New Zealand to have this experience.

You can visit a farm in Malacca. It offers a restful and peaceful enviroment and a change to really relax. What's more, you can enjoy the best in our local food, Malacca style.

What's more. It is so inexpensive, compared to staying in a farm in Aussieland.

Where to stay? Try this.

How to avoid bad financial products

Many life insurance policies sold in the market are bad for consumers. They should be avoided.
Which are the products that are acceptable, and which are not?

Join FISCA ( and have access to the product analysis that you can find here:

If your product has not been analyzed, you can send the benefit illustration to me ( for it to be analyzed.

Questions on marriage

What is the best age for young people to get married, leaving aside the financial challenges? Should they search for a spouse on their own, or get help from friends, parents or a professional counsellor (or matchmaker)?

Give your views in

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Change will take time

Many Singaporeans have a mindset that is based on "black or white". The education minister Ong Ye Kung said that skills are as important as a degree. A few people - "In that case, why does the public service ask for a degree for their jobs?"

Read my views here:

Get independent expert to verify advertised claims

The regulator is putting up a new regulation to stop manufacturers from making nutritional and health claims when they advertised their products.

This is necessary, as consumers have no way to verify the reliability of the advertised claims.

However, this ban has its negative aspects, as the advertisers will not be able to bring out the special features of their products, if these are true.

The regulators can take another approach. Read here:

Should schools start later?

There was a report that Nanyang Girls started school 45 mins later than other schools to give their students more time to sleep. This seemed to work well.

Should other schools make this change? Give your view and vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.aspx

Errant claims on CHAS

There was a news report that some clinics were suspended for making "errant claims" for non-existent consultations under the CHAS (community health assistance scheme). Were these mistakes or deliberate attempts to cheat the government?

Should doctors who deliberately cheat on the CHAS be charged for cheating? Give your views here:

Right to free speech

Many people think that they have the "ight to free speech" and that this right is absolute. They are not aware that this right has to be balanced by responsibility towards other people in society. Read here:

You do not need a degree for many jobs

Many people hold the view that a degree is necessary and is a basic requirement for a career in the future.

I agree to some extent. A degree is necessary for certain types of jobs. It is not necessary for many other jobs in the economy, now and in the future.

A degree is costly in time and money. It will take 3 years of a person's time. It will cost a lot of money.

Read my views here:

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