Thursday, December 07, 2006

Enjoy your holiday at Snow City

There is a new, interesting activity at Snow City. Kids will enjoy it. They can experience the cold, and snowfall. They can take photographs with the mascots.

Snow City is in Jurong, next to the Science Center. You can also make a visit to the Science Center and see the interesting exhibits. Look for the photograph of President Nathan. Watch for a while, and he will turn his head and smile at you.

Logic9 (Sudoku) Day at HDB Hub

Sudoku is a popular game, which is a craze around the world.

Many Singaporeans are still not familiar with this game. Even if they have seen it before, they find it difficult to solve the puzzle.

I will be giving a demonstration and tips on how to solve the Sudoku puzzle. It will be held on 14 December at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh. Each demonstration takes about 30 mins. Several sessions will be held in the afternoon. You can come at any time.

I will present three tips, which helps you to solve the difficult puzzle.

This puzzle is good for children (to learn mathematics and be familiar with numbers), senior citizens (keep the brain alert, a good alternative to mahjong) and for adults (to challenge your friends or to occupy your time on the bus, train or plane).

All attendee will be presented with a Logic9 pocketbook (usual price $5). You can buy additional pocket books at a big discount.

Attend this demonstration. Impress your friends.

Policyholder Enquiry (POLE)

I access my insurance policies with NTUC Income using the Policyholder Online Enquire (POLE) service. It shows all my policies and transactions.

It is useful to check my records monthly. I make sure that my transactions are recorded properly and that the premiums are up to date.

My Folder in Big Trumpet

I have an account in Big Trumpet. I used the Folder to store my account numbers, passwords and other information. The information is encripted and protected by a second level password.

The information include:

- Google
- Skype
- Paypal
- Big Trumpet
- and others

If I forget any of these information, I access the Folder and get them quite easily.

I also store my medical records.

Try it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Be positive in our approach

I wish to encourage Singaporeans to be positive in our approach. Here is a recent example.

Last week, I checked in at Changi Airport for my flight to Dubai. I was travelling economy class. I carry a "elite card" that allowed me to use the lounge and to bring a guest.

I asked the counter staff about this privilege. He said, "Sorry, you cannot bring a guest. SIA had issued an instruction last week that disallowed the guest privilege."

I checked in at Dubai airport a week later to return to Singapore. I asked the counter staff at Dubai, "Can I use the lounge"? She said, "Yes, you can. And you can bring in a guest as well".

I suspect that the counter staff in Singapore probably made a mistake. What is worrisome is that he seemed to so ready to say "no", instead of finding a "yes".

Risk is to your advantage!

Hi Mr Tan,

I am a 27-years-old trainee teacher. I am very new to investing. I attended 2 talks organised by NTUC Income early this year:

At the first dialogue, I asked you whether it would be advantageous, given the past performance, to invest purely in equity funds, as they have been outperforming the bond funds. The key message that I took home were your words of wisdom: "Risk is to your advantage!"

I decided to take a leap of faith. I invested $10,000 of my savings in May this year with NTUC Income. I chose the Flexi-Link Plan with a distribution of my single premium in 70% Global Equity and 30% Singapore Equity. The prices then were:

GE: $2.495
SE: $2.121

In July, I received your letter offering the 1% promotion if I topped up my
Flexi-Link Plan. As such, I decided to top up another $10,000. The prices then were:

GE: 2.336
SE: 1.984

Initially, I was concerned as to when I can see the returns to my investment. Now, the surrender value is $20,837.34. The prices are:

GE: $2.441
SE: $2.244

So if you take the profit of $837.34 in relation to my combined premiums of
$20,000 - I earned 4.2% in half a year! I am definitely impressed with the
performance of the equity funds.

Thank you and your colleague for your honest and convincing advice. I now am a believer and supporter of NTUC Income!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Does your adviser take care of your interest?

I met a senior manager of a life insurance company in Malaysia. They sell their products through their advisers (agents) and through the bank.

They offer a better return on their product sold through the bank, as the regulator sets a maximum commission that can be paid through this channel.

For the same product sold through their advisers, they give higher commission to the agents and charge higher premium to their customers. They leave it to their advisers to convince the customers on the "value of the product".

I am disturbed that the adviser is willing to offer the same product at a higher premium to the customer. After all, they are supposed to take care of their customer.

Does this situation apply in Singapore? I think that our situation may be worse for customers. The commission rates paid in Singapore for advisers and through the bank channels are higher than in Malaysia for similar products.

NTUC Income operates differently. We keep our commission rates at a modest level, to give a modest income to the advisers. We give a higher return to our customers, on their savings.

My future investments

When I leave NTUC Income in early 2007, I intend to keep most of my personal investments with NTUC Income.

Why? They offer the lowest charges. I will be able to get a better return, compared to other forms of investments.

I may re-invest into the ST Tracker Fund in the future, if the market corrects.

I shall be looking out for indexed funds that have low charges, e.g. 0.5% or less a year. So far, I have not found any suitable fund in Singapore. If they are available, I may invest in these funds.

If I do make any re-investment, I shall share my experience in this blog.

Provide for welfare of parents


I need some advice from you. The thoughts of buying an insurance plan had been on my mind for quite a while.

I am the only child and my parents are at their 50s. While working now, I am concurrently studying a part time university honors degree.

I am earning a gross wage of $1,500. 40% of it is used to pay for my school fees. Minus other expendure, I still manage to save 30%.

My mother had advised me to buy an insurance plan only after I graduate. However, because I am the only child, I want to buy some minimal plan to least protect the
welfare for my parents. The plan needs not benefit me but it must cover some of my parents' welfare when things happen to me i.e. accidents.

Is there any insurance plan which is suitable for me right now and when I graduate in 8 months time I will be able to increase the premium.



Dear SL,

I suggest the following:

i-Young to provide the protection. It cost only $100 a year.
Save and invest in a flexible saving plan, ie the Ideal plan.

Here are the FAQ

Tan Kin Lian

Monday, December 04, 2006

Educational Planning Game

Here is an interesting game to guide parents on planning for their child's education. It is interesting and educational. It is worth a lot of money by investing in the right product.


Heavy rain in Dubai

It rained heavily in Dubai yesterday. Many places were flooded.

Dubai is at the margin of a desert. It is a dry land with only 4 days of rain each year. So, it occurred while I was in Dubai.

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