Saturday, April 02, 2011

Ruin the lives of many

Has the policies in Singapore ruined the lives of many people? Read SGEP or click here.

Relaunch of iShop

iShop is now relaunch. It can be accessed at

The books are offered at an attractive discount (up to 50%), compared to the normal price in the book stores. You can enjoy a reduction of up to $3 for the financial planing and life insurance books. You do not have to pay GST as it is included in the price. The handling charge (which also covers postage) is $3 - so it is better for you to buy several books in one order (including buying for your friend).

The order process has been simplified. You indicate the copies of the books that you want and provide your mailing address. An e-mail will be sent to you indicate how you can pay (internet banking, Pay Pal or cheque). The books will be mailed after payment is received.

Direct link to Order Page

Tan Kin Lian

General election and toxic products

A victim of the toxic products writes about the pain of suffering a loss, and the failure of MAS to follow the Hong Kong example. Read SGEP or click here

Financial Savvy Test #12

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. Should a retiree continue the life policy? Keyword: retirement
2. Should I unsure the co-payment on my Shield plan? Keyword: co-payment

Spending too much on private Shield

Read this letter

Friday, April 01, 2011

PDF Form

Do you know how to get an web application to send data to a PDF form and writing out the PDF? Please send an email to

Fly over Europe

Beautiful pictures from the air. Contributed by Mike Hansford. See TKL website or click here.

Parsley and kidneys

An inexpensive way to clean your kidneys. Click here.

Cheng San GRC to be contested!
Remember, its 1 April 2011.

Planning for the future

The writer talks about the bad advice given by financial planners to consumers:

Hassle to own a car

It is a hassle to won a car in Singapore - due to the regulations on vehicle inspection, insurance and payment of road tax. I found a way to minimise the hassle. Read TKL website or click here.

Handbook on Flexi Life

You can download the handbook here. This policy is planned to be available in 2012.

Financial Savvy Test #11

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. How can I survive the bursting of the bubble? Keyword: bursting of bubble
2. What are the risk of my Shield claim being rejected? Keyword: Shield claim

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flexi Life policy may be available in 2012

Thank you for your Handbook on Financial Planning. I am interested in the Flexi-Life policy mentioned in the handbook. Where can I get it? A Yahoo search have some companies selling product by this name too. Could you give some advice where I can buy this policy?

You have to wait for a year for this policy to be introduced. The existing policies in the market (including those that have the same or similar names) have high upfront charge and are not suitable for consumers.

In the meantime, you can follow the suggestions in this FAQ.

A lesson in sacrifice

A touching story of this Japanese boy in Fukushima. Read SGEP or click here.

Hawker Stall Rentals

Hawker stalls went through my layers of lesses. This has resulted in high rental paid by the operators. It is a bad system that must be corrected. Read SGEP or click here.

Large employment of foreign workers

Here is the chain of events that lead to large employment of foreign workers in Singapore. Read  SGEP or click here.

Handbook on Financial Planning

Here is a draft of this handbook on Financial Planning. It will be provided free. You can download and read it. Give your comments here.

Financial Savvy Test #10

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. How do I make a financial plan on my own? Keyword: financial plan
2. How do I calculate the yield on my life insurance policy? Keyword: yield of life insurance

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Japan Earthquake

This website allows you to move the slider and see the affected areas in Japan before and after the tsunami. It is really impressive.

Financial Savvy Test #9

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. How do I calculate the reduction in yield for a life insurance policy? Keyword: reduction in yield
2. Is it good to invest in the DBS preference share? Keyword: DBS preference

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rebuilding a home

Dear Mr Tan,
I am considering taking up a 40 year term loan of 500000K from a bank for rebuilding my house at interest of about 1.5% p.a. Do you have suggestions on where I can invest this 500000k so as to offset the interest charged by the bank while waiting for the completion of my home in 1 year? I will need something relatively safe and hopefully allows me to make partial withdrawals as needed to pay the contractor . I stay in a single storey terrace house. Do you think it is a good time to rebuild my home?

Please see the FAQs
You can contact one of the following persons:

Advice on insurance needs

Dear Mr Tan
I am a home maker with 2 teenage sons. The younger son recently bought a NS insurance plan of 150k but my elder son has no insurance plans at all. My husband has a public office group insurance scheme of 200K. We have no other insurance policies. I seek your advice on whether it is good to buy a vivolife plan for my 2 sons.

Please read these FAQs:

Serving the people: Jaslyn Go

Financial Savvy Test #8

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. How much of your monthly income should go for payment of your mortgage? Keyword: property price
2. Is a single premium endowment suitable for a risk averse investor? Keyword: single premium

Monday, March 28, 2011

How about 'Richer, Kinder, Slower'?

Stephanie Chok wrote this article about elderly people having to work long hours for a low pay.

HK investors reject settlement offer

Hong Kong Lehman investors reject settlement offer - Yahoo! News

PM Lee - Think of the future

A worried citizen reply to PM Lee about his call to think of the future, in voting at the next general election.
Read here.

FISCA - Guide to new website

Here is the guide on how to use the new website. Some of the information can be found in the webpages that can be seen by the public. Members can login and view the webpages that are reserved for members only - especially the evaluation of financial products.

Exchange traded fund

I have updated the FAQ on the Exchange Traded Fund.

FISCA and financial literacy talks

Here is a message sent by a FISCA member to his friends. I like to ask you to send this message to our friends also, and encourage them to join FISCA and attend the educational talks.

On the 26 March, I just attend a talk by Mr. Tan Kin Lian (a qualified actuary and was the CEO of a large life & general insurance company) entitled "Insuring Your Financial Security (Consumer Guide to Insurance) "

Mr. Tan is a sincere and knowledgeable gentleman who is well versed in insurance products and also overall financial planning due to his previous work. I have benefited so much from his talk and reading his books. 
His workshops (and books) are developed such that it is easily understood by the lay-person, 

I have both his books

(1) Practical guide on financial planning
(2) Get Value from your life insurance

Please also consider joining as a member for $36 per annum. FISCA is a non-profit org. and its objective is to improve financial literacy among Singaporeans. (unlike many "free" seminar where one is expected to buy a stock trading software at the end of the talk) As a FISCA member, one get to attend useful talks at a discounted rate of $20 compared to non-members $30.

This is taken from FISCA website:

"FiSCA is committed to being an unbiased, up-to-date financial site with quality articles and advice to help improve financial literacy among Singapore consumers. Being a non-profit driven organization, FiSCA does not solicit sponsorship from commercial companies such as banks, nor do we get revenue through online advertising. We aim to be considered an objective and knowledgeable third party in financial-related issues, in order to provide quality, un-biased information on financial education to the general public. "

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Salaries of government leaders

Hong Kong banks buy back Lehman Minibonds

Investors are likely to get back up to 96.5% of the initial investments. This settlement is much more generous than the payout to investors by Singapore banks.

HK banks unveil final resolution on Lehman minibonds
Hong Kong's Association of Banks announced Sunday
the 16 Hong Kong distributing banks of the so-called "minibonds" issued by Lehman Brothers
agreed on a final resolution to buy back the products.
HK banks agree on resolution for Lehman minibonds
Sixteen Hong Kong banks have agreed on a deal
to enable investors in structured products of the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers
recover a majority of their investments.

Chiam See Tong - serving the people

In spite of the obstacles, Chiam See Tong served the people for 27 yerars. See SGEP or click here.

Damage to Singapore's reputation

A foreign professional came to work in Singapore She worked hard and saved a large part of her salary to be used by her husband in building his business later on. In the meantime, she wanted to invest the savings.

An independent financial adviser sold her an investment-linked policy designed for high net worth individuals. The adviser deliberately removed certain information about the charges in this policy and lied to her about the charges. After saving for 18 months, the policy started to take away a  high monthly charge. She learned for the first time about this high charge, which would be taken away from her savings for the rest of the future years. If she terminate the saving plan now, she would lose more than 70% of the savings. It was quite heart-breaking.

She told me, "Mr. Tan, when I first came to Singapore, I was impressed with the Singapore system - honest government, a good standard of living. I never thought that I could be cheated by a respectable insurance company and by the financial adviser. After this experience, I have now changed my views about Singapore".

Tan Kin Lian

The honest way for marketing

It is better to use the educational approach to market a product. You can explain the pros and cons of the product and let the customer judge the product. If you are marketing a good product at a fair price, the customer is likely to buy the product. There is no need pay a high sales commission to market the product.

Many businesses have inferior products that can only be sold by high pressure sales techniques. The product is already inferior and higher priced than comparable products. The sales commission adds to the cost. This makes the product so bad that any sensible customer will avoid it. The product is then sold using misleading statements and outright lies.

In some countries, the authority will take action on deceptive practices. But in other countries, there is no action taken against deceptive practices. The marketing people become bolder and goes out to tell more blatant lies to market their product.

If you are in an environment of low protection of consumer rights, you have to avoid all types of marketing people who use high pressure techniques to sell their products. Just tell them, "I am not interested" and put down the phone (if it is a phone call) or walk away (if you meet someone at a mall). If they are honest, they can give you an educational material to allow you time to make your judgement.

Tan Kin Lian

Property prices and affordability

Here is a gauge on the amount that you should pay for a property and to find out if the current property price is too high or acceptable. See Ask Mr. Tan or click here.

A presentation on cholesterol

This is a good presentation about cholesterol for the layman

FISCA New website

The new website for FISCA is now launched. Here are the articles available under the Information tab for the public. Members of FISCA can see additional information, reserved for members, after Login.  They include evaluation of financial products. The website will be updated weekly with new materials.

Stuck with a wine investment

This investor shares a story of how he was badly advised to invest in wine. If you know of any other investors in a similar situation, you can ask the investor to register at this website to get into contact with other investors and decide on collective action to recover their loss. Click here for the article.

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