Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yields on preference shares and REITS

Dear Mr Tan,
Attached please find a list of a few bank preference shares and REITs in SGX for your reference.
NameAnnual DistributionPrice / Lot  Yield
DBS NCPS 6%  10 $                     60.00 $       1,046.00    5.74%
OCBC BK 4.2% NCPS $                     42.00 $       1,000.00  4.20%
OCBC BK 4.5% NCPS 100 $                   450.00 $     10,050.00  4.48%
OCBC BK 5.1% NCPS 100 $                   510.00 $     10,441.00  4.88%
Ascendas-REIT $                   134.80 $       2,060.00  6.54%
Cambridge Industrial REIT $                     49.52 $          500.00  9.90%
Parkway Life REIT $                     82.80 $       1,430.00  5.79%
Suntec REIT $                   101.12 $       1,440.00  7.02%

The yield is estimated based on the latest known distribution/dividend (eg. for the last quarter results announced) and the closing price yesterday. The few REITs selected have been consistently paying distributions for the past years but as the prices have gone up, the yields look less attractive now. The bank preference shares pay a fix dividend, the yield can be improved if we manage to buy at a lower price. 
Personally, I will not venture to say shares are safe now, as there is great price volatility. Over the long term, the odds are they will give a better yield than fixed deposits/money market funds but with the risk of capital loss as the share prices are not considered low now. If we managed to purchase at the time of the last financial crisis, I would safely say that these will be high yield, long term investments.

My comments
Please take note of the comments about the preference shares as mentioned by Pang in the comments. It seems that dividend on the preference shares will reduce after a certain date to a lower level, based on the interest rate of the banks plus a spread. This will give a lower yield than the yield indicated above. 

Preference shares

Dear Mr Tan, 
I used to buy Singapore Government Bonds, when yields were at 2 to 3%. Now it is not worth my trouble.

I am aware of preference shares that are issued by DBS, UOB and OCBC.  For OCBC, their coupons are 3.93%, 4.2%, 4.5% and 5.1%. This is what I am most familiar with. I bought a small amount for my mum's retirement fund. 

In summary, they are perpetual and non-cumulative. Of course the other risks associated with debt securities apply. 
They are rather illiquid. Looking at the OCBC annual report, one can see that they are held in rather large quantities by institutions. 

I read in Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor that the best time to buy them is during market turmoil when prices are depressed. That is when the yields are sufficiently high to compensate for the potential risks. 


HSBC Preference shares 8% USD

A consumer sent me a prospectus about the HSBC preference shares denominated in USD and asked my views. I asked an investment expert to study the prospectus. He gave his comments on this investment, compared with OCBC preference shares (which pays a lower yield in SGD). His analysis will be posted in the inside pages of the  FISCA website and will be available only to members after login.  See:

You should avoid investing in financial products that you are not familiar with. The advisor who recommends the product to you should explain the risks to you, rather than push you a complicated prospectus to read. After all, the adviser is earning an attractive commission by selling the product. You should ask the adviser to give you a Product Highlight Sheet, which is now required by MAS, but I am not sure if the requirement has already come into effect.

Direct communcation

This article shows an example of the problem that a consumer can face, when they buy insurance from a financial advisory firm. It is usually better to deal directly with the insurance company, to avoid any breakdown in communication.

Promotion of TKL books

Several titles of my books are available on promotion up to 31 July 2010. Discounts of more than 15%. Go to and click on "iShop" tab.

Wait for market correction

If you have cash that is earning 0.5% per annum, and you are worried about the current level of the stock market and the uncertainty in the global economy, which option would you prefer?
  • Invest the money for 5 years to get a guaranteed return of 10% (i.e. 2% per year)
  • Keep the money in cash and wait for the market to drop by 10%, i.e. ST index of 2,600
  • Wait for the market to drop by 20%, i.e. ST index of 2,350
  • Invest in preference shares or REITS to earn a yield of 4% p.a. or more
In my view, the chance of the stock market reaching 2,600 within the next 5 years is quite high and reaching 2,350 is moderate. However, when the market does reach 2,600 or 2,350, are you prepared to plunge in, or would you be too scared at that time?

Take part in this survey. It is fun.

If you are familiar with the stock market, please send me the preference shares and REITS that can give a dividend of at least 4% per annum. Send to

Here are some information about REITS

Here are inforamtion about preference shares{referrer:source?}&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7ADBR

Save for the future

Hi Mr. Tan,
I was discussing with a friend on a entry in another blog ( advising readers to concentrate on saving for their retirement instead of children's school fees.

We tend to agree that we should not be worrying too much about supporting our children's education, since they have other options like scholarship, bursary, study loan or even part time studies. May I have you opinion on this please?



I agree with your views. I advise people to save for their future, and to use the savings for education, retirement and emergencies, e.g. loss of employment. They should not lock up the savings just for children's education. 

POSB Money Smart Kids

Hi Mr  Tan
I need your advice.  What are your views on POSB MoneySmart Kids?  The financial advisor told me that the interest rate is 4% better than the interest on savings account.  I need to grow money for my kids' education.  

Pls refer to attached link.  Thanks for your help.


As this is a life insurance policy, you should ask for a benefit illustration and look for the two key factors (i.e. distribution cost and effect of deduction) as explained in my FAQ and my financial planning book.

HDB prices

Read this article.

My view
Although the prices keep going up, I want to encourage Singaporeans to be patient. Do not panic and pay high prices for HDB flats. It has to come down to a level that is supportable by the average wage in Singapore. It is now far too high. In the meantime, stay with your parents or rent a room or flat.

Google account

It is easy to create a Google account.

  • Go to
  • Click on Sign In.
  • Click on Create a New Account
  • Provide your e-mail address and password for the Google account
With the Google account, you can use G Mail and use many other services - including comments in my blog. 

Ponzi scheme [2]

Read this excellent article by Lucky Tan.

My view
I agree with Lucky Tan in his observation - the authority has time to catch people for illegal hawking,  e.g. selling the newspaper of a registered political party, but they have no time to investigate ponzi schemes.  Surely, they know that they have a duty to protect the public from being cheated?

Flood in Singapore [2]

Oh, for a dip in Orchard Road
Read this article by Seah Cheang Nee.

Has train tunneling played a part?

Act faster to solve drainage problem

My view
Seah Cheang Nee was an editor of a daily newspaper in Singapore in the past. He still lives in Singapore and writes regularly for The Star Online in Malaysia. I like his articles as they are written from a Singapore perspective from a person who has an understanding of the history and background of many issues in Singapore.

FAQ on insurance and investment

I receive a few e-mails daily from the public asking my views about specific insurance and investment products. I usually reply to ask them to read the FAQs in my website, (Ask Mr. Tan). You can see a list of FAQs. You should be able to find a FAQ that answer your question. You may also be interested in some of the other FAQs.

The FAQs provide general principles that you should know in making your decision. You have learn these principles and get the facts to make the actual decision. Do not rely on someone else, including me, to decide for you - after all, it is your money and your choice.

You should also buy the book, Practical Guide on Financial Planning. It cost only $12 (now on promotion at $10) and can save you a few thousand dollars by avoiding a bad decision.

Tan Kin Lian

Intelligence Quiz - online

If you are a fan of my intelligence quiz, you can try the online version here:
You can buy the book at

Tale of Two Cities

Mr. Tan,
 Sunday was the first annual Nelson Mandela International Day and was celebrated across the world. Mandela is symbolic with "human rights". For the occasion, ordinary people in South Africa and abroad committed themselves to devoting 67 minutes of their time to community service, to mark the number of years Mr Mandela spent in politics, an initiative backed by global figures like former US president Jimmy Carter and Martti Ahtisaari of Finland.

Mr Alan Shadrake's arrest in Singapore on the same day was most unfortunate. 
The Minister in-charge of MICA, who was just caught in a flash flood the day before, was busy instead speaking privately with the Environment Ministry and PUB about conducting on-the-ground dialogues to explain the floods.

Read more about LEVIATHAN and how a civil society can correct the damages of excessive government under the following link:

C H Yak

Friday, July 23, 2010

Choose the right insurance policy

How do you choose the right insurance company to buy insurance from? Read this FAQ

New Fare Structure

Read this letter:
Why a fairer fare policy is facing undue criticism

My view
When the Ministry for Transport announced the new fare structure that is based on distance, I wrote to the papers and in my blog that this exercise is unnecessary and will cost a lot of money. I suggested that it is better to increase the transfer rebate (i.e. for connecting trips and feeder services). Nobody cared to reply to my suggestion. After so much money is spend on the new system, we now have so much unhappiness. Is this the new symbol  of Singapore - spend a lot of money and still fail?

Why physical attachments bring us pain?

Extract from Tommy Wong's book, "Wisdom on How to Live Life"

Tom: Okay, why physical attachments bring us pain?
Guru: You see after we take up a body, everyday of our life, we walk with the body, we sit with the body, we talk with the body, we eat with the body and we sleep with the body.
Tom: Yes.
Guru: So we spend every minute of our life with the body.
Tom: Yes.
Guru: So we are very close to the body. In fact, there’s no other physical object that can be closer, right?
Tom: Right.
Guru: Yet on the day we die, can we bring the body with us?
Tom: No, actually that’s the definition of death.
Guru: Then can we bring other objects that are external to the body?
Tom: Since we can’t bring the body, how can we bring objects that are external to the body?
Guru: That’s the cause of pain. We’re attached to objects and yet we can’t keep them. In fact, we’re bound to lose them - sooner or later, and the latest time is the moment of death.

Tommy Wong's book is available here.
1st shipment completely sold out. 2nd shipment arriving soon.

Cartoons on Taichi and Floods

Enjoy the cartoons

I met the top management of They told me that they are registered as an insurance company in Singapore. They are starting their operation in Singapore and will move to other countries at a later date. I like their model of direct, online marketing of simple insurance products to the public. They will reach out to a small but growing market. I am confident that they will be successful in their venture.

I encourage you to go to their website and get their quotes for motor, travel and personal accident insurance. Do not wait until renewal of your insurance. You can get a quote now and compare with your existing rates. You should also compare the policy coverage and conditions. If they can, you can apply to them now to issue you a policy on the next renewal date (which I hope that they can accommodate). This will save you the hassle on renewal.

Contempt of court

..But you don't have to be a qualified lawyer to understand that contempt of court has to do with non-compliance of in-court instructions.
How can Shardrake be accused of contempt of court when he was outside a court of law, just trying to make a living selling books?

Financial Planning For Young Adults

Mr. Tan gives financial planning tips to young adults who are starting on their first job. Read this article.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Floods in China

If we think that the flood in Orchard Road is bad, look at the floods in China.

Ask Mr. Tan

I have updated my FAQs on insurance and investments. They are stored in the Information database in my website, Click on the tab "Ask Mr. Tan" to get a list of titles of the FAQ. You are likely to find a FAQ that address your question. If not, you can send an enquiry to me using the form in the "Enquiry" tab.

I will be adding new FAQ to this tab. You can click on Latest tab to see what has been added recently.

Investor Simulation Game

Learn the skill of picking the right stocks through this simulation game.

Go to to play this game (Pro-Investor).

FISCA Financial Planning Talk

The next talk is on 31 July. Go to for more details and to register. I will be giving the talk and taking questions.

Outsourcing of public works

I asked a knowledgeable person about flooding in Singapore. Could it be due to the replacement of older, experienced persons by young scholars, without the experience, in the government agency? He said that this was an important factor.

Another factor is the outsourcing of the work, especially to foreign contractors. Many government agencies prefer to outsource to foreign experts, rather than use local experts. The foreign contractors did not know the local conditions and may not give the optimal solution. We are now seeing the possible consequence of this practice. Singapore had been free of flood for man years; why should we get the flooding now?

The practice of outsourcing will deplete the in-house expertise in the government agency. In a crisis, the agency does not have in-house expertise to solve the problem. They have to rely on the outsourcing contractor to solve the problem. The agency has to negotiate the price for this service, and will has no choice but to pay the high price that is demanded by the contractor.

I searched Google for articles about outsourcing. Here is an interesting article about the benefits and pitfalls of outsourcing. It seemed that the benefits are short term, and the pitfalls are long term.

Tan Kin Lian

Crowded trains

Read this article and watch the videos.

Flood in Singapore [4]

Here are some views:

Singapore Notes
Lucky Tan

String of bad luck

There is an article in Today from Conrad Raj about the poor responses to the Singapore Pavilion at Shanghai Expo. The pavilion received 1 million visitors so far, compared to 3 million visitors to the Indonesian pavilion, which was built with a smaller budget.

There is an article in the Straits Times that the organisers have a Plan B to cope with disruption during the Youth Olympic Games in the event of flood.

Singapore seems to be having a string of bad luck and bad planning. Perhaps this has some connection with the practice of replacing old, experienced people by young, inexperienced scholars.

Jobs for older PMETs

The Government had been trying for a long time to create the environment for older PMETs (i.e. professionals, managers, executives and technical people) to get jobs. But the results have been small. What are the measures that went wrong? What can be done to improve the situation? Share your views in this survey.

Coverage for medical expenses

Hi Mr Tan, 
 I have a private shield plan with rider under NTUC . At the same time I also have H&S plan - GE's Premier Helath Plan. I realize that there are areas that are overlap. However, both my agents from GE and NTUC cannot tell me what are the differences of these 2 plans, except that one is paid throught CPF and the other by cash. I would like to discontinue the GE plan but am afraid to do so. Can you kindly advise? 

If you are covered with Shield and rider, there is no need for you to have the GE plan. You can stop it. It is wasteful to pay premium for a H&S plan which duplicates most of the coverage, so a large part of the premium is wasted.

Read the FAQ in my webiste, (Ask Mr .Tan) or get my book, Practical Guide on Financial planning, available from

Challenges for the Young

How do young people perceive the future in Singapore? This report, based on a survey of young people, presents a worrisome picture.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Latest in TKL website

I will be adding articles and FAQs to my website quite regularly. You can go to, click on Latest tab, and view these latest additions. If you wish to look for a FAQ for a certain topic, e.g. "critical illness", you can go to Information tab and use the Search tab.

Here is the direct link to the Latest tab:

Exclusion of critical illness

Mr Tan 
I intend to purchase a level term insurance for S$400,000. I am 40 years old and have diabetes type II but well under controlled till now. 

My agent informed me that due to my medical condition, he can propose a term insurance but without critical illness coverage. I would like to know whether this is fair for them to exclude Critical illness out of term insurance. 

You should ask them to explain what is the "exclusion of critical illness coverage". Does it mean that the term insurance does not pay for death by heart attack, cancer? It does not make sense to have a term insurance policy with these exclusions. Due to your medical condition, it may be necessary for you to pay a loading, i.e. a higher premium rate, but you should get the full cover in the event of death during the term.

Read the FAQs in (Ask Mr. Tan)

Investment linked policy (ILP)

Hi Mr Tan,
I bought a ILP for my son 7 years ago and have been paying $100 a month for this policy. I received a semi-annual statement recently and was surprised to see a loss on my investment (total invested $6,777, current cash value was $6,380). 
I went to their website to see the performance of their other funds but to my dismay, it only showed the last 20 pricing records for the individual funds, and no information for earlier years. Please advise if I should just terminate this ILP, as I don't have much confidence in this anymore. 

Most ILPs do take about 10 years to break even. They give poor value for money, due to the high distribution cost and effect of deduction. I would advise people to avoid buying these high cost products.

For a policyholder who has already invested in the product, it is usually better to keep the policy, provided that the investment can yield a reasonable return over the next few years. This would depends on the charges.

I suggest that you write to the insurance company and ask them to show you the following for of the past years:

  • what was the yield of the fund for each year
  • what was the reduction in the yield due to the charges taken from your savings
  • what are the projected charges for each of the next 5 years. If the charges are less than 2% a year, it should be all right to keep the policy.
Generally, a ILP is quite difficult for the policyholder to understand the charges. It is best to avoid investing in this type of policy.

Chrome browser

I like to use the Chrome browser to handle my G Mail and Blogger as they are all provided by Google. However, I find one feature of Chrome to be quite irritating. Whenever I download a document, Chrome  insist on saving a copy in the Download folder before opening it. If I wish to view the same copy again, Chrome will save another copy of the document. Sometimes, I find several copies of the same document in the Download folder. Is there a way to stop the saving of the copies in the Download folder?

Flood prone Singapore

I made regular trips to Jakarta over the past three years. Whenever it rained, there would be floods in several parts of Jakarta, causing traffic congestion and extensive property damage. I was happy at that time that Singapore had been free of floods for many years.

The situation has now changed. We had three serious, embarrassing floods over the past few months. Whatever might be the cause, e.g. Marina Barrage or overbuilding, we now have to live with the prospect of a flood-prone or, to coin a new word, a "floody" Singapore.

It would make our life somewhat more complicated. Owners of some buildings in flood-prone areas will find that their home or car insurance policies will come with higher premium rates or "flood exclusion", i.e. damage caused by flood will not be covered. Insurance premiums will increase further for everyone, even those who live "high and dry".

On the bright side, I am confident that the people in charge can solve the problem. We do have quite bright people who can find with good solutions which are planned and executed properly. We only need the problem to be recognized and give authority to the people in charge (i.e. no pushing the buck around from one agency to another).

Tan Kin Lian

Coping with downpour

Read this article.

My view
Big cities face the problem of coping with downpour and drainage. Many people do not have the expertise and experience on such matters. These matters are usually left unattended, until a big disaster occurs.

Financial planning - preparing for redundancy

First posted in January 2010. Re-posted in July 2010

Redundancy is defined as retrenchment and premature termination of contract. It represent loss of employment that is initiated by the employer. There were 16,000 redundancies in 2008 and has already reached this fugure for the first 9 months of 2009, representing 0.8% of the employed population.

This figure does not represent involuntary loss due to "difficulty of working with management" or "asked to leave". If the other reasons are included, the redundancy rate is likely to be much higher, maybe 2% a year or higher. The risk of being terminated during a working life could be more than 50%.

Many workers who are lost their jobs involuntarily will face difficulty in getting another job that pays equally well.  There are many mature workers who have been unemployed for several years.

It is important to be financially prepared for involuntary loss of job. Here are the necessary steps:

a) Have liquid savings representing 6 months of earnings
b) Reduce your fixed commitments, especially on life insurance savings
c) Buy a property that represents not more than 4 or 5 years of the family income (after deducting cost of employing a maid)

You should avoid savings in a life insurance policy, as the regular premiums will be a financial burden when you are unemployed, and you will suffer a large loss, or penalty, if the policy is terminated early. If it is terminated within the first five years, you may lose up to 50% of your savings. You can only break even if you pay the premium for more than 15 years, in most cases.

It is better to save in a savings account or save-as-you-earn account (which pays slightly higher interest) and invest in an exchange traded fund, money market fund or a unit trust that has low initial and annual charges. If you have to withdraw your savings, you do not suffer a penalty, but you do have to take the market risk.

These concepts are explained in my book "Practical Guide on Financial Planning", which will be available in the bookstores in March 2010. It is important for young people to be educated about these principles before they start work, and to avoid locking up their savings in an inflexible, high cost, life insurance policy.

You only need to worry about medical insurance (e.g. Medishield) at the start. You do not have to worry about life insurance until you are married. After marriage, you can have Term Insurance or Family Income benefit at a low premium (say, 1% of your annual income). You can check this website for an indication of the premium for Term Insurance.

Tan Kin Lian

Financial planning - tips for young people

First posted in December 2009. Re-posted in July 2010

The most important advice in financial planning is to save 15% to 25% of your earnings, in addition to CPF. This personal savings can be used for emergencies and for your retirement. If you draw down on your savings, you pay 0% interest. If you have to borrow from a bank for your urgent cash needs, you have to pay up to 24% interest.

Keep your savings in liquid form. It is all right to keep in a bank to earn 1% interest. When you have accumulated sufficient savings, you can invest in the an exchange traded fund, e.g. STI ETF, to enjoy diversification and professional management, or in a low cost unit trust (look for one with annual charge of less than 1%).

When you have started a family, you can buy term insurance for 5 to 10 years of your income. Do not pay more than 1% of your income in this insurance premium. If you are not able to get term insurance at a low cost or it is too troublesome to get it, you can buy personal accident insurance for this amount. At a young age, the biggest risk is due to accident which can be covered under this policy. You can change to a term insurance when it is readily available.

Do not worry about the other types of insurance. An insurance agent may tell you that they are necessary, but for most young people, you can live without them. It is more important that you have savings that can be withdrawn easily to meet unexpected cash needs. Even if you have invested in an ETF, you can withdraw it by paying only a small charge (i.e without paying the high penalty in a life insurance policy).

Join FISCA and attend the educational classes on financial planning. You can also read my financial planning book, which will be given to all FISCA members. This will be available in January.

Tan Kin Lian

A remarkable man

Read this article and learn about a remarkable man who could have made a big difference in the history of Singapore.

New website for Tan Kin [2]

Here are two comments about the new website,
What are your views? Take part in this survey and win three book prizes


The website is excellent.
It's not only user friendly but doesnt have unnecessary graphics and flashing ads. You can give a try to use to see the sample report on some optimization. This is only to make the website much better and may not be necessary.
Thanks for providing valuable insights on financial matters and yes, I strongly recommend to purchase and read your book on Practical Guide on Financial Planning.

Website is not intuitive.
Design is amateurish looking. Design is not consistent across pages.
Links found on different pages bring you to the same page. (e.g. Information > Ask Mr Tan, Ask Mr Tan). Dead link - Guide > Ask Mr Tan
So much text on the first page and what are those on the left? Intuitively, I thought they are links but they are not. In addition, the text on the left should have prominent heading for each section.
Contact, Enquiry, Ask Mr Tan - They all seem to suggest the same thing. Poor choice of words.
Overall, a rather poor effort and does not seem to be created by a person well-versed with user interface design. Use one of the established CMS to better managed your website. What is a traditional website anyway? Any example? I remember in one of your articles you mentioned some particular gov website? I don't know why you seem to think that gov websites are considered traditional websites. I do find gov websites rather confusing with many links but they are more professionally done and comes with user site search.

Note: some changes have been made to improve the home page and create some links.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The law and justice

Read this article.

My view
It is important that the law should be administered impartially and fairly, and be seen to be so by ordinary, right thinking citizens.

Risk profiling

The so-called investment profiling test offered by banks to customers appears to be nothing more than a marketing tool that allows people to feel good about investing in some products.

The tests are supposed to establish whether a certain investor has the experience, ability and knowledge to invest in riskier products such as the infamous Lehman minibonds.
But from White Collar's experience such profiling is next to useless. When I visited one bank a few years ago to organise a time deposit, I was asked to consider an alternative that could give me a higher return - I was being pushed down the road of riskier investments.

I was also asked to do a profiling test. White Collar did the test - which asked you how many times you have traded stocks, as well as where you go for holidays. On the basis of that I was labelled as a medium risk taker - and they attempted to sell me a type of structured product that just happened to be the bank's promotional sale of the month.

New design of website

LATEST UPDATE: More than 300 people visit the website each day. This is much better than expected. They probably went to search the FAQs, which have been updated and are easily located under "Ask Mr. Tan".

The new website for has been created using a new template. Please go through the various tabs in this website and give your views about its features in this survey. I am giving three tangram book prizes for contributors, to be drawn at random. In addition, I will be giving prizes to contributors who make good suggestions to improve my website.

Video on Dr. Tommy Wong's books

Watch this video.

FAQ - Land Banking

This article explains why you should avoid investing in land banking. You should also click on the label "Land Banking" to read other articles in this blog on this topic.

Economic growth and happiness

Read this article.

My view.
I like the comment, "If economic growth comes down, so what?" We need a better way to distribute the economic pie, rather than pursue growth for its sake. Read my views here about the future that I like to see.

Internet banking

It was quite a big hassle to make an internet banking transfer for a one-off payment of $100 for the purchase of a book.

I have to register the payee and authenticate it with my mobile phone. The DBS web application did not show the correct verification page (due to a bug in their system), so the first attempt failed. I have to recreate the payee details a second time (including entering 5 error-prone items of information), and this time the verification went through.  I proceeded to make the transfer and have to enter the 2FA again.

This transfer took 20 minutes to make this transfer, event though I am an experienced user. I have received 3 SMS messages, enter my 2FA 2 times, receive 2 verification code by SMS (one was due to a mistake) and enter the correct one into the DBS system. It is really a lot of hassle for an one-off payment of $100.

I have raised this issue many times with DBS but nothing was done to simplify or improve the system. I believe that their hands are tied, due to MAS requirements, all in the name of security. With so much hassle, it is easy for me to make a mistake, such as entering the wrong account number or amount. Instead of improving security, it is likely to cause mistakes.  When will MAS wake up and come to the real world?

Tan Kin Lian

Police state

Read this article.

My view
It is important for the authority to act impartially in the exercise of its duty.

Freedom of expression

Read this article.

My view
People should be encouraged to express their views honestly and positively, without fearing how their views will be perceived by other people.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marina Barrage

Some people think that the Marina Barrage could be the cause of the flood. Read here.

Puchase of books has now been transferred from to You can also go to and click on the iShop tab. There is a promotion of the books, which will end on 31 July 2010. Order now.

Survey - Flood in Singapore

Here is the survey report based on 82 responses.

My observation
The majority (86%) like to see an independent commission of inquiry. A small minority felt that it is not necessary and a waste of time and money. Some are skeptical about the independence of the commission. Generally, there is much unhappiness over the handling of the floods.

Survey - Youth Olympic Games

The survey is popular. Here are the survey results based on the first 100 replies.

My view
The survey show a low level of enthusiasm for the Youth Olympic Games. Many respondents are unhappy about the high budget and the over-run.

World Expo Shanghai

The World Expo in Shanghai is being held from 1 May to 30 October 2010. Details are here:

Is it worth visiting? Can those who have visited the Expo share your experience? What is a good time to go?
The temperature in Shanghai is now 32 deg  Centrigrade, just like Singapore

I first visited Shanghai in1990. It was quite backward and under-developed. The transformation of Shanghai during the past 20 years was amazing, beyond imagination.

Advice to a retiree

Dear Mr Tan,
I am asking on my behalf of my dad who is going to retire soon. I need your advice on the investment for a retiree.
My dad is 64 years old and he will be retiring next year. He has paid off his house loans and he has dilemamn on whether should he invest his money in good blue chips for dividends or keep his money and spend wisely. 

Your dad can do the following:
a) read my book, practical guide on financial planning $12, available at
b) join fisca and attend the educational talk on financial planning -
c) read the FAQs in my website, (click on ASk Mr. Tan)

Educate the public

Dear Mr Tan Kin Lian,

I would like to write a letter of appreciation to express my respect and admiration for your efforts in imparting financial literacy to Singaporeans and defending the victims who were bullied by the financial sharks.

I have been following your blog from time to time since the Lehman Brothers Minibonds collapse put you in the public eye. Although I am not a victim, this financial fiasco fascinates me as managing my own money has been a hobby of mine for the past 7 years.

I respect you for standing up and using your financial expertise to speak up for the victims. It is not merely an extension of help to needy people as you have to take on the risk of antagonizing powerful people with links to the mighty banks. I also thought it was extraordinary of you to educate the public and expose the tricks of the insurance industry given that you are likely to make enemies and lose old friends in an industry which you have worked all your life.

As an investor in Singapore stocks, one can easily observe that someone of your background should be sitting on the directorships of several public-listed companies. By taking on the path that you took, I am not surprised that these high-paying cushy part-time jobs are closed to you. Hence, I think you have made tremendous sacrifices in sticking out your neck for your principles. 

In general, people would speak out for themselves if they were wronged, but very few would speak out for strangers when one has much to lose and little to gain. My calculative mind tells me it is not wise to do what you have done. However, I cannot help but admire and respect your actions. You certainly put the self-serving yes-men to shame. To be honest, you put me to shame as well because being a selfish person, I would not have done the same thing as you did.

Yours truly

I also have to bear the brunt of continuous personal attacks, posted anonymously by two persons.

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