Friday, June 01, 2012

Avoid investing in too many funds

Investors should avoid investing in too many funds. This article in the FISCA website explains why:

Yielding to panic

Interest rate around the world are at a record low rate. An article posted in FISCA website explains the historical significance.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mis-understanding on the terms of a life insurance policy

A mother bought an AIA Guardian Basic policy for each of her three children in 1992. She was told, or led to understand, that each policy would mature when her child reached 21 years old. After 20 years, she was shocked to learn that the actual maturity date for each child was on they reach aged 101.

She could not remember what had happened. She did sign the papers in 1992 but did not make any change to the policy. She remembered that during the financial crisis, she might have blindly signed some papers provided by the insurance company. Her son asked me for my views.

From your description, it seemed that your mother had bought a whole life policy for each of the children.  If you do not wish to pay the premium, you can ask for the policy to be made paid-up for a reduced sum assured, or to be terminated for a cash value.

I do not have any comment about any possible misunderstanding between your mother and the agent on the duration of the policy. It is quite risky for consumers to commit to a long term contract, such as a life insurance policy, without proper understanding of the terms of the contract, relying only on the vague explanation of the agent.

You should write to the insurance comapny to ask if the policy was issued on these terms, or had been changed during the past 20 years. It is quite likely that the policy was kept at the original terms, and that your mother had misunderstood the maturity date.  The agent might have told her that she can stop paying the premium at age 21, by using the accumulated bonus to fund future premiums. But, as the bonus was cut during the financial crisis, the accumulated premium was not able to fund the future premium.

Praise for Prof Lim, query for NTUC

... why the NTUC, a union that is supposed to represent Singapore workers,
did not take a more proactive approach to bargain for better wages
and help improve the plight of poor Singaporean workers
until Prof Lim stepped in.

Losing the competitive edge

Singapore has now dropped to fourth position. At one time, we were the top or number 2. More worrisome is the "high cost of living" which impact the people more. We fared very badly.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Population of Istanbul

I asked the guide who met me at the airport - what is the population of Istanbul? She said 20 to 25 million! This was a surprise to me, because I thought that it was 2 million. I asked the hotel bell-boy and he said 17 million. It could be more.

I checked Wikipedia and found that it was 13.4 million. Link. I think that the bell-boy is right as most cities usually have more people that officially reported. So, it is 2 1/2 times the population of Singapore! And the downtown looks charming as most buildings are not very high.

Istanbul has water on most sides. It lies between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, which joins the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The Bhosphorus Straits cuts through Istanbul, separating the European side from the Asian side.

Here is a charming picture of Istanbul.

Disappointing Turkish Airlines

My travel agent booked me on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul because Singapore Airlines did not have flights on my days of travel.

On boarding the plane, I saw the chef dressed in white. It reminded me about the advertisement on television about how good the cuisine was. The food that actually came was disappointing, i.e. not better than most other airlines. Maybe the advertised cuisine was for the first class passengers - and I was travelling on economy!

At the airport, most passengers, including business class, had to wait nearly one hour for the bags to arrive on the carousal. One business class passenger asked for the station manager and complained - "I paid more for business class as I wanted my bag to arrive in 5 minutes. I have waited for 40 minutes already". Sorry, he had to wait another 20 minutes for his bags.

He was quite angry that the crew and the passengers on group travel had their bags much earlier. So, it seemed that Turkish Airlines is still sorting out on their service processes!

No need for immigtation cards at Istanbul Airport

I am now in Istanbul. This is my first visit to Turkey.

At the airport, I did not have to fill in any immigration, custom or tourist card. It was easy to clear through the passport control.

This is the fourth time that I had this pleasant experience of "no cards". My first was in Dubai, followed by Europe, Malaysia and now Turkey.

I hope that Singapore will catch up and do away with the unnecessary cards. Can someone pass this message to ICA or the Tourism Board?

Hope for a new beginning

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said
he respected the choice of the Hougang voters
and asked all Singaporeans to work together as one people
to achieve what is best for Singapore.

I urge Mr Lee to take the first step
and get the People's Association to appoint the elected MP
as the adviser to the grassroots organisations.

This would be a clear demonstration of the sincerity of his statement
and would signal to the people of Singapore that there is truly a new beginning.
Tan Kin Lian

Praise for Mr. Desmond Choo

27 May 2012

Editor, Forum Page
Straits Times

While many people would have congratulated Mr. Png Eng Huat for his
convincing and resounding victory in the Hougang by-election, I wish to congratulate
the defeated candidate, Mr. Desmond Choo, for his admirable character and
performance during the campaign.

He had:

  1. Made a commendable effort and "worn his socks out" in reaching out to the voters, young and old
  2. Refrained from engaging in any personal attack on his opponent
  3. Pledged to continue to serve Hougang residents,even if defeated
  4. Agreed to cooperate with the elected Member of Parliament for the good of Hougang residents.

Prime Minister Lee said that he respected the choice of the
voters of Hougang and asked all Singaporeans to work together as one
people to achieve what is best for Singapore.

I urge the PM Lee to take the first step and get the People's Association to
appoint the elected MP as the adviser to the grassroots organizations. This would a
clear demonstration of the sincerity of his statement and would signal to the
people of Singapore that there is truly a new beginning to bring unity and reconciliation
to a people long divided by negative politics.

Tan Kin Lian

Published in St Times Online

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Student should not buy life insurance too early

I have often advised students to avoid buying a life insurance policy, until after they get married. This is to avoid tying up their savings to get a poor return. The policy take away too much of their accumulated premium. Here is a typical example showing that too much is taken away.

Moving towards a democratic society

Contribution from Richard Koh

At the WP's post by-election press conference, the WP Chief surprisingly assailed the mainstream media for being bias during the by-election to help the ruling party to smear the character of the WP's candidate, Mr Png Eng Huat.  The Chief Editor of ZB (Lianhe Zaobao), on 28 May 2012, denied and accused the WP Chief for being irresponsible to make the mainstream media as a target for shooting.  The WP Chief has responded to the accusation today.  

On 23 May 2012, whilst the ST clearly gave the headline that "WP faces allegations of dishonesty" at the crucial time in relation to the Png's NMP event,  Mr Teo Chee Hian, DPM, however clarified that he was questioning only, instead of allegation.  

Upon the tussle between WP and ZB,  let's put aside whatever the arguments they have, and see the following pictures that were snapped by bloggers at Hougang for the by-election rallies held bWP.  Can Singaporeans see this type of true pictures in the mainstream media during the Hougang by-election?  


May 27 2012 (from Diary of Singaporean Mind)          


May 21, 2012 (from  
The above pictures are better than thousand words.  The mainstream media must be neutral and unbiased in reporting news about all political parties involved in the election.  All parties should be put on equal footing for competition.  This is one of the main feature of a democratic society.  

To move our democracy a step forward, the WP should challenge ZB for conducting an independent public survey to seek the opinion from the public whether the mainstream media have faithfully performed their duties on this matter.  The contents of the survey must be agreed upon between the both parties involved and the result of the survey be made public.  Has ZB the guts and courages to accept this challenge if it is raised by the WP ?

Richard Koh

Questionable funds

I have been puzzled at why many consumers seemed to be making large losses on their investment-linked policies. The underlying funds appear to be performing much worse than the markets. Here are the possible reasons that consumers should be aware of.

No one in charge

There is no one in charge. Our leaders are failing us.

Although this article refers to the US situation, in my view, it also applies to Singapore.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Land banking

Someone asked me to share this blog about an investment in land banking that has gone sour. There is a video about the investors in Malaysia that have gathered to lodge a complaint with the authorities. It seemed that most of the investors are from Singapore. I hope that consumers will study the materials and watch the videos here and avoid similar investments in the future.

Uncommon set-top box

It is rather sad that our three telcos cannot find a common set-top box for the convenience of consumers.,-for-now

Facebook Illusion

This article explains the collapse of Facebook shares and the illusion about the potentials of the digital economy.

It also mentioned, in passing, that the belief in appreciation in housing prices in the US was also an illusion that had must be a lesson for property investors in Singapore.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do you hear the people sing

I dedicate this song to the brave hearts in Hougang. who knows what is right and what is just.

Convincing win in Hougang By-election

I congratulate Png Eng Huat for his convincing win in the Hougang by-election. He had worked hard and served the people of Hougang for more than five years. I also congratulate the voters of Hougang for their courage in voting for what is right, for what is fair and for democracy in Singapore.

I hope that this convincing win will give a strong message to the PAP Government that they have to change their policies, and tackle the root of the problems. Tweaking the old policies is not enough. Article.

They also have to respect the voters, not only in Hougang but all over Singapore. Article.

Read my past blog on this matter here:

FISCA - Financial Services Consumer Association

FISCA was set up to educate consumers about financial planning and investments. It is very important for young people to join FISCA and learn about these important matters, before they put their savings into the bad investment products that give them a poor return. After joining FISCA for a membership fee of only $36, they can attend two talks for free (value at $60) and enjoy discounts on other talks. More importantly, they can save   a lot of money (could be more than $100,000) by avoiding bad investments.

More information about FISCA can be found here: They can join FISCA by clicking on "Register". The talks organized by FISCA are shown under "Events". They can read articles posted in the website under "Information". Special research are available only to members (after login).

Do you know that you can earn a dividend yield of more than 5% on several blue chip stocks and REITS? They are posted in the FISCA website (for members only). These investments beat the 0.25% interest paid on fixed deposits. You do not have to worry if the share price comes down for these stocks, as you can keep them and continue to receive the dividends. The share price will eventually recover. 

Mis-reporting on a charity event

Dear Mr. Tan
Below is interesting article u might want to post in your blog,
Police Report No. A/20120523/2006 | **快乐天使**Happy Angel** -

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