Monday, April 24, 2017

Investment tips for uncertain times

A consumer (Mr. J) came to consult me. He had bad experience with the two private bankers. One was a local person and the other was an expatriate. Over the years, they had advised him to invest in certain stocks. The results had been disastrous. He made losses on these investments.

He asked for my advice on how he should invest his money. I gave him the following tips:

Relative performance of the ministers

Do you have any comments on the performance score of any of the minister shown here?

Why do some ministers perform better than the others, based on the voting of the Crowd? Do you know of any special factor about the attitude or approach of the minister?

This is a self selected sample and do not purport to be representative of the population. However, when it comes to the relative scores of the minsiter, the bias in the self selected sample, has been  reduced to a large extent.

Performance score of PM and 2 DPMs

The performance score of the PM and 2 DPMs are available now, based on voting by the Crowd.

As expected, DPM Tharman is quite popular, but where does PM Lee and DPM Teo stand, relative to the other ministers?

You can view the score at

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why I choose Uber over Grab

I used to call GrabTaxi for my ride to the airport.

I now use UberPool. Here are my reasons:

1. I can get a car faster and it is much cheaper ($15 instead of $25 on a taxi).
2. Uber deducts the fare automatically from my credit card. No cash payment.
3. My Uber account can be used in other cities - not just Singapore.

I know that Grab is trying very hard to provide the same service as Uber. But Grab seems to be introducing many platforms - while Uber uses a common platform for their shared and exclusive service. 

I also like the abiilty to use Uber in other cities.

My view about the sentence meted to the convicted leaders of City Harvest Church

Should the convicted leaders of City Harvest be punished severely for their crimes?

I wish to give my personal views on this matter. I know that many people in Singapore will not agree with my views, but I like to express it nevertheless.

Have empathy for people in distress

One of the convicted leaders in the City Harvest Church case was seen crying in court.

The journalist asked her, "How do you feel".
The husband of the convict replied to the journalist, "What do you think"?

I have empathy with the convicted person, her hushand and family. Their lives and future will be destroyed by a mistake that she had made. It was a mistake because she probably felt honestly that she was promoting a good cause for the church and was not benefitting financially from that decision.

The question posed by the journalist probably reflect the attitude of many people in our society. They seemed to be enjoying the circus, without regard to the lives of the people who were directly affected.

What does the Crowd think about Lim Hng Kiang?

The performance score for trade minister Lim Hng Kiang is now available for viewing. A surprise! He performed quite well, in spite of being rather quiet over the years.

What will happen in North Korea?

What will happen to North Korea? I posed this question last week at the height of the tension between North Korea and America. The majority of the Crowd said "Nothing. Things will return to normal". They are right, as nothing happened last week.
The next highest vote is for "North Korea will continue to provoke America until Donald Trump loses his patience". Will it happen?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Is the coverage redundant?

I am currently insured under a 10 year Term insurance policy which covers death and permanent total disability. Total disability is defined as "complete and continuous inability of the Insured at that time and at all times thereafter to engage in any business or occupation or perform any work of any kind for remuneration or profit"

I am also covered under a supplementary Eldershield policy which pays on severe Disability. This is defined as "inability of the Life Assured to perform at least 3 of the following activities of daily living, even with the aid of special equipment and always to require the physical assistance of another person throughout the entire activity (washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, mobility, transferring).

Is the coverage under Eldershield redundant? If I am able to claim under Eldershield, would I also qualify to claim for permanent total disability under the Term insurance policy?

My reply is given here:

Changing money at Changi Airport

I share this experience of changing money at Changi Airport. It will be damaging for the reputation of Singapore. We take a few decades to build up a good reputation, but this is now being destroyed. Once destroyed, it will take a decade to regain it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Retirement income poilcy

I analyzed a retirement income policy recently and was surprised that it is just a fixed term annuity and not a life annuity. The yield on the policy is between 0% to 4%. (Actually, it is difficult to calculate the yield as there are so many uncertainties and variables).

The policyholder could have obtained a better return by investing on his or her own in an indexed fund.

What is the value of this retirement income policy to the consumer? Virtually none! It's value is to create a way for the agent to earn a high commission and the insurance company to make a large profit, at the expense of the consumer.

Election of Jakarta Governor - relevance for Singapore

Jakarta is holding the 2nd round election of the governor today.
The top two contestants in the 1st run (Ahok team and Anies team) will now participate in the 2nd round election. Good luck to both teams.

Indonesia has a good system to elect their governors. If the 1st run does not produce a clear majority of 50%, the top two candidates will compete in the 2nd round.

Singapore should adopt this system for the election of the Elected President. This will ensure that the final person who is elected has the votes of more than half of the voters.

The worst case is to have an Elected President who won through a walkover, right?

Performance score for minister Yakoob Ibrahim

The performance of minister Yaacob Ibrahim is now ready for viewing. What is his average score compared to the other ministers? You can see the results here:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TKL websites

The new normal under LHL government

I visited the health center at Grassroots Club.

TKL - Are all the facilities working today>
Staff - Yes.
TKL - What about the cold pool?
Staff - Oh, it is still out of order.
TKL - You said that all facilities are working?
Staff - The cold pool is out of order. The rest are all working.
TKL - ?????

Okay, this is the new normal under LHL government. We do not count those out of order, okay? Like train breakdown now and then - don't count okay? The rest are all working.

Win attractive prizes by voting here

Vote on 10 issues at the Crowd website and win an attractive prize - Financial Planning for Young People (usual prize $6). Win a new prize for each additional 10 votes.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pay premium over a shorter period

Mr. Tan
An insurance agent advised me to buy a life insurance policy with a premium payment period of 15 years. He said that I should not pay for a longer period, in case I lose my job.

What is your advice?

This requires a more detailed explanation. Read this article

Relative performance of six ministers

The voting on ministers have now closed - Khaw BW, K Shanmugan, Lim SS, Gan KY, Ng EH and Chan CS. Which minister performed best among them? Which minister performed the worst?

Make a guess and then check the results at

Performance score of ministers

The weighted average of the performance score for the ministers can now be viewed at

Do you agree with the votes of the Crowd?

This is based on a self-selected sample and is not reflected of the views of the population.

Performance of defense minister

How did the Crowd vote the performance of defence minister Ng Eng Hen?

Not bad, compared to their votes for the other ministers that were voted earlier.

You can see the weighted average score of the ministers at (now under development).

Lee HL as Elected President?

Issue - If Lee HL stand for elected President after retiring as PM, will the people vote for him?

You can view the voting of the Crowd at

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Buy an annuity

Mr. Tan
Do you have any tips on which type of annuity to buy, and which to avoid?

You can search for "Annuity" at
Here is the link:

Prizes - two spiritual books

You have been receiving financial books as prizes for submitting votes in the Crowd website.

The next two books, after reaching 40 votes, will be spiritual books. It will be a refreshing change.

Several participants will be eaching this level soon.

An alternative way to award jobs - lesson for Singapore

Singapore relies on the tender system to award jobs. This has some advantages, but the disadvantages are often overlooked. We are now seeing the outcome of this bad approach - low quality of work, delay in completion and high cost.

Is there an alternative method of awarding jobs? There is, and it has proved to be successful in several fields.

Candidate for a reserved presidential election

What should be the criteria for a candidate to qualify under a reserved presidential election?

Should both parents come from the reserved ethnic group? Is it acceptable if one one parent come from the reserved group, i.e. a mixed marriage? Should the spouse also come from the reserved group?

You can see the results of the voting by the Crowd here:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Smart nation needs a smart approach

We spend tens, maybe hundreds of million dollars on big IT initiatives, but do not seem to get them to work?

I think that our approach is wrong. We just want to be "leading edge" in technology. It is better to be "leading edge" in common sense applications. For example, if the government decide to use email for official correspondence, it would go a lot of good to get the nation to be "smart".

They have a paranoid fear that email could be hacked. So what? In most cases, the emails are not top secret. Even physical mail can be hijacked during the delivery, right?

How to write better SOP

Our government agencies and big organizations in Singapore should learn from the lesson of United Airlines. It is dangerous to get the staffs to rely on SOP to the extent that they forget about common sense.

Singapore stands a bigger risk because it is standard practice to adopt SOP in the Singapore Armed Forces. All male citizens are conditioned to think SOP for two years. It became ingrained in their mindset.

There is a simple way to avoid this kind of problem that can lead to disastrous consequences. Just take a tip from me.

How should a retiree invest his cash?

Dear Mr. Tan
I have invested in some ETF and REITs and very little on blue chips etc.
In this current scenario of low interest, what would be the best options if I have some cash ( say around 200K)
I wouldn't want to put all the eggs in one basket. Buying a private property will not be on my wish list as I felt the prices are too high.
Buying a brand new car has been on my thoughts these few months but it's not worthwhile to commit 100K cash to a four wheeler.
I am nearing 60 yrs old and would like to best manage and invest and spent my hard earned dollars.
Looking forward to your advice.

My reply can be found here:

Should we have a reserved election for the Elected President?

A big majority of the Crowd does not like the concept of the reserved election for the Elected President.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tips on buying Term Insurance

I have given some useful tips for how you can buy the suitable term of term insurance coverage for your needs using the Compare First website.

My tips include:
1. What is the term of the policy (I suggest 20 to 25 years)
2. What is the sum insured (I suggest 5 years of income)
3. Choice of level or reducing term coverage?
4. Should you include critical ilness coverage?

My reaons for these choices are explained in the artilcle.

This article is available for the public for 14 days only. After that, it will only be available for FISCA members.

Should you buy a supplementary for your long term care insurance?

Eldershield is an insurance policy that pays a monthly benefit to the policyholder who has a long term disability and needs long term care from a care giver. Some insurance companies have offered a supplementary to Eldershield. It pays an additional monthly benefit to supplement what is paid by Eldershield.

Should you buy the supplement? Here is an analysis of the MyCare policy provided by Aviva. They are one of the active providers of this supplementary insurance.

Before you sign a contract to spend several thousand dollars on this insurance, read my analysis of this insurance policy.

Risk of buying directly at Compare First website

A consumer is worried about the risk of buying the wrong product when he buys directly from the Compare First website. Here are my views.

Is a HDB flat still a store of value?

Do you agree with national development minister Lawrence Wong that HDB flats are a "store of value" after he had said that the value will be $0 at the end of 99 years?

Lesson for organizations from the United Airlines debacle

Any large organization face the risk of suffering the serious damage that had befallen United Airlines.

Let me make a bold claim. This kind of debacle would not have happened if United Airlines had consulted me on writing their SOP. If this statement appear to be boastful and benefiting from hindsight, let me explain.

How do you like to receive government mail?

Most people prefer to receive government mail in soft copy sent to their regular inbox. But there is still a sizeable proportion who are happy to receive the hard copy.

The result can be viewed from

Wearing of headscarf in the workplace

Should the public service allows Muslim employees to use the headscarf? The Crowd has a practical approach to this thorny issue.

People don't like the recent changes to the Elected Presidency

Lee HL is clearly out of touch with the Crowd. The recent changes to the Elected President receive support from less than 4% of the people who voted on this issue. The majority (49%) preferred the system that existed from 1993 to 2017. The next highest vote (31%) prefer an upper house of 6 elected persons.

You can view the results on other issues in

Alternative to the tender system

Singapore has been using the tender system for many decades. We treat it as the best approach, and continued to rely on this approach even when the prices are ridiculously high or the quality of the work had dropped sharply. It is time for us to open our eyes to see the weaknesses of the tender system and to look at an alterative approach.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Elected president - recent changes are unpopular

Lee HL is clearly out of touch with the Crowd. The recent changes to the Elected President receive support from less than 4% of the people who voted on this issue. The majority (49%) preferred the system that existed from 1993 to 2017. The next highest vote (31%) prefer an upper house of 6 elected persons.

You can view the results on other issues in

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three good reasons to join FISCA

Here are several good reasons why you should join as a member of FISCA.

1. You have access to the articles archieved under Insurance, Investment, Learning and Product Analysis. Non-members do not have access to the articles more than 14 days old.

2. You attend most FISCA talks free or pay only $10. This is a discount of $20 from what the public pays.

3, You can attend gathering or dinner for members, at a subsidized rate. You get to meet the committee members.

How to join? Go to this page:
The membership fee is $36 a year. This is a good deal for the knowledge that you can get on financial matters.

The United Airlines episode and its relevance to Singapore

The United Airlines episode, where a passenger is forcefully dragged from the plane, has a lesson for the Singapore government in the conduct of its CPF policy. Here are my views.

Performance of transport minister

Here is how the Crowd rate the performance of our transport minister. It is quite sad. The overall score is far below average.

I know that he has a difficult task to do. If he had been communicating more often with the public, instead of hiding behind the Ivory Tower, the public would have given him a better score.

We do not expect miracles, but we like our well paid ministers to be more accoutable, right?

To view the results of other issues, go to

When a CEO says he will "take personal responsibility"

There was an ugly incident where a passenger was forcefully removed from an United Airlines flight. The CEO finally stepped forward to "take full responsibility". What does it mean? I have a few words to say about this incident, as it also involved DBS Bank in a similar incident in the past.…

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Poor standard of maintenance

Here is another example of the poor standard of maintenance in Singapore. Some of our bad practices, such as the tender system, has come back to hit us very badly.

Big cut in bonuses

A mother bought a life insurance policy for her 19 year old son. After 25 years, the policyholder (son) saw that the insurance company had cut the payout significantly.

More details are available here:…

Excessive rate charged for level term rider

In 1992, a mother bought a life insurance policy for her 19 year son. The policy included a level term insurance rider of $50,000 payable on death up to age 65. The annual premium for the rider was $199. The life insurance company was among the top companies operating in Singapore.

Keep up to date with what Singaporeans are thinking

Three issues voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd website were closed last night.

What do Singaporeans think about the evacuation of the Hougang MRT station? Was it necessary? Was it an over-reaction?

What do Singaporeans think about the actions taken by President Duterte to solve the drug problem in the Philippines. Were his methods too extreme? Could be have done it in some other way?

You can also view the results of other issues that were closed during the past week. Keep up to date with what Singaporeans are thinking.

You can view the results in

How President Duterte handles the drug problem

How do the people in Singapore see the way in which President Durterte of the Phillipines is handling the drug problem? You can veiw the results of their votes at

The views are quite well divided into - necessary, bad and don't know.

Unattended bag at Hougang MRT station

A bag was left unattended at Hougang MRT station. The police evacuated the station for 20 minutes. Is this the correct action?

43% of the people agreed with this action. An equal number said that the police should look at what is inside the bag before calling an evacuation.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Low payout under the Prudential policy

The low payout under the Prudential policy raises two issues that required the Monetary Authority of Singapore to step in. I hope that they will take the appropriate aciton, rather than leave the policyholder to fend on his own.…

Provide guides in hospital

I share this observation about visiting the hospital. It is useful to have a guide that can bring the patient around to the relevant clinic in a large facility.…

Easy to win this prize at the Crowd website

28 people won the book prize yesterday for reaching 10 or 20 votes in the Crowd website. That was the highest in recent weeks.

You can also win the prize easily. There are 17 active issues. When you cast your vote for 10 issues, you get the prize immediately.

After passing 10 votes, you can continue to reach 20 votes and get the next prize.

My experience with

I have now removed most of the "following accounts in I did not follow them, but some bots automatically added these accounts into my @kinlian account.

My daily feed is now quite clean. There are still a few hundred bad "following" that I have to remove, but that should not be a problem.

I find that the twitter feed is quite good, maybe better than Facebook.

I intend to use twitter more actively and to post less frequently in Facebook. I like to ask you to follow me at @kinlian in Twitter. It should be quite easy for you to get used to this platform.

Providing jobs in rural communities

I like this article, especially the part in the end about connecting people living in rural areas to the world using digital platform, so they can offer the existing skills they have from where they live. It has been an idea that I have working on for many years.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Avoid insurance policies that give an upfront bonus

Many people fell for this trap. The financial adviser or agent told them that they can earn an attractive upfront bonus is they buy the policy during the promotion period. They bought the policy and regreted it very much.

The products that have this feature include the Vista policy from Zurich, the Pulsar policy from AXA and the Global Wealth from Friends Provident.

Consumers should avoid these policies. In fact, they should be wary of any policy that offers an upfront bonus. This is how they are distracted from looking at the other important features of the policy.

Easy to win this $6 prize

There are 15 questions that you can vote on. You only need to submit 10 votes to win the prize - Financial Planning for the Young (usual price $6).

Is this a good investment?

Are you willing to give your money to a financial institution who promises to invest their money carefully for 25 years, and ask you to give them 40% of the accumulated amount, so that you get only 60% as your return?

For example, if your investment amounted to $300,000, the financial institution will take away $120,000 and give you $180,000?

Your total savings for the 25 years could be $130,000, Your net gain is $50,000 for 25 years.

After you have considered this matter, you can read this article to see the correct answer.

Stand up and address the allegations

I expect the police to be able to stand up and address these allegations, rather than hide under the protection of legislation. This legislation will lead to silencing legitimate protest against abuse of power by the people in authority.

Lessons from New Zealand

Michael Ng said:
New Zealanders are happy with their government because of the consultative approach of running the country. High degree of transparency and accountability earn trust. Although the tax rates are comparatively much higher than Singapore, the tax evasion cases are rare. The government spends wisely on great improvement on infrastructures, education, healthcare and social welfares, etc.. Because of excellent diplomacy and friendly relationship with other countries especially the superpowers, only a small budget in terms of GDP percentage is allocated for defence purposes. Good practice of democracy makes the difference. The united and happy population ensure that New Zealand enjoys harmony and high productivity.

Who would you vote as the next Elected President?

Who would you vote as the next Elected President, if this were an open election?

Dr. Tan Cheng Bok beat the incumbent Dr Tony Tan by almost 10 to 1. Okay, there is a bias in the voting by the crowd.

Who should be considered as first Elected President

Who should be considered as the first Elected President. An overwhelming majority of the Crowd took a few different view from PM Lee.

Some views about the reserved election

I met a few old classmates over coffee at a food court. We talked about the next presidential election.

Friend 1 - I spoke to two Malay friends. They told me that they felt ashamed to have a Malay President elected under a reserved election. They prefer a Malay to win the election on their own merit.

Friend 2 - Of the possible candidates who could be "endorsed" by the PAP, 2 have an Indian father, 1 has a Chinese mother and 1 has a caucasian wife. They cannot be considered as "pure" Malay. This will make our system a laughing stock.

Friend 3 - We are supposed to have a president who has a strong financial background. One of the "favorite" candidate does not have any background in running a large organization or ministry. How can this candidate perform the duty expected of the Elected President?

TKL - I think Lee HL now realized that his idea of a reserved election is a bad one.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Vote on performance of health minister and manpower minister

You can now vote on the performance of the health minister and the manpower minister.

This will help you to reach the 20 vote mark and win the next prize.

Low birth rate in Singapore

According to the Crowd, the main reason for the low birth rate in Singapore is the high cost of living (58%), the insecurity of jobs (22%) and saving for a HDB flat (10%).

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Increase of more than 50% in cost over 4 years

The following medical procedures increased by more than 50% over the past four years for subsidized patients.

Breast lump removal
Lung cancer with comlications
Stroke - no complication

Is there justification for the increase? Did the cost increase by so much? Or, was it due to higher demand, which prompted the public hospitals to increase their fees?

Should public hospitals operate on a model to maximize profits, according to what the market can bear, or to recover their cost of operations with a reasonable margin?

Universal life policy

If you a large sum of saving in a bank, your private banker may recommend this policy for your investment. You can read more about it here.

The Crowd expects the value of HDB flats to fall

What will happen to the value of the HDB flat in the future? The minister has said that the value will be $0 at the end of the 99 year lease.

60% of the Crowd expect the value to fall in the near future. The majority of this gloomy lot expects the price to fall sharply.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

More interesting topics voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd

I have selected the interesting topics that are voted on The Wisdom of the Crowd.

You can view the results for these topics easily in this link.

Another complaint concerning the Friend Provident Global Advance plan

Here is another case where the policyholder bought the Friend Provident Global Advance plan from an independent financial adviser and was very angry that the adviser did not recommend a product that is good for the customer.

In this case, the Effect of Deduction is more than 40% of the accumulated premium. This is extremely high.

I suggested to the policyholder to sue the financial adviser for breach of compliance under section 7.2 and 7.3 of the Financial Adviser's Act.

I am also healing to round up several people who want to join and take collective action.

Remove the wasteful activities in the hospital, please.

I went for the colonoscopy procedure today. There are a few good points and a few bad points. The cost was only $500, instead of $1,000 given during the financial counseling. The financial counseling is a wasteful operation and should be removed.

More interesting issues voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd

Here are the more interesting topics that have been voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd. You can view the results in this link

My view about the reserved Presential election

Gil Bert Thank you Mr. Tan for sharing your views as a veteran in political arena.

Regardless of the count of open election for presidency, i never read or heard your stand in a reserved election for minority race representation for president in a predominantly chinese electorate of singapore. Where do you stand Mr. Tan?

The reserved election is a very bad idea, either in 2017 (extremely bad) or in 2023 (also bad).

I already gave a detailed writeup of my view in The Comedy of the Elected President.

Act 6 of the Comedy said:

There is the likelihood that the next Elected President will be returned unopposed through another walkover. It is also possible that this Elected President, who was supposed to be appointed from a reserved ethnic group, may not be truly representative of that ethnic group. There are many mixed marriages in our multi racial society.

Act 6 of the comedy will be an Elected President who qualified through a reserved election turning out to be not purely from that reserved ethnic group.

Is Comfort offering a "flat fare" or a "fixed fare"?

Comfort Taxis said that they would offer "flat fare" from next Monday.

My understanding of "flat fare" is a fare that does not vary according to distance. This is not the case.

Their "flat fare" means that it would include the variable charges, but the fare will still vary according to distance.

Surely, a better description is "fixed fare" rather than "flat fare"?

Even the Straits Times describe the new fare as a flat fare. Does this reflect a low standard of English? Or maybe, I am wrong?

What will happen to the value of HDB flats after Lawrence Wong's announcement?

National development minister Lawrence Wong said that the value of HDB flats will become $0 at the end of the 99 year lease. What will happen to the value of HDB flats after this announcement?

Will the flats continue to maintain or increase its value due to the shortage of land and the demand for housing in Singapore? Will the price drop sharply now that the buyers realize that is is a depreciating asst?

The results of the votes in the Wisdom of The Crowd website is now available for your viewing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Average increase in medical charges

The average annual increase in medical charges over the past four years is 8.6%. This is high, but not as high as I had thought earlier.

Is the minister for health neglecting his job?

This is not fake news. This is an opinion.

I get the impression that the cost of medical treatment has increased sharply during the past four years. The cost of a colonoscopy for subsidized patients was $250 in 2013. At my last visit to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, I was told that it would cost me nearly $1,000.

I checked the Ministry of Health website. It said that the average cost of this procedure at KTP Hospital based on last 12 months was $650. Did it increased so much during the past year? I will know in two days time, what my actual cost is.

I went for a laser surgery in the Singapore National Eye Center yesterday. The 6 minute procedure cost me $1,080.

I am quite dissatisfied with the Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong. Is he paying attention to this matter?

You can read my postings in

I have asked someone to carry out a research on the increase in cost for other medical treatment over the past 4 years.

In my book - Medical Care for the Elderly, I captured the average cost of the common treatments in 2013. I will see if the cost has increased sharply during this period.

You can get a copy of this book FREE here, after submitting a certain number of votes:

Gan Kim Yong took over as minister for health in 2011. Has been neglected his work and allowed the charges to go up so much under his watch?

This is not fake news. It is an opinion. My facts may or may not be correct, but it is an honest opinion.

Bookmark my websites

Here are the pages that you should bookmark and visit daily to read my views and activities:



TKL website


Wisdom of the Crowd

Do not rely on Facebook feeds - as they do not pass everything to all my friends. A daily visit through these bookmarks are better.

Fake news, opinion and mistake

The government is carrying out a review on how to handle fake news.

Do they know the difference between a fake news and an opinion? Or a fake news and a mistake?

When the mainstream media publish news that give a favorable slant to the government, isn't it a form of fake news also?

What are your views?

Has the financial adviser complied with this law?

Clause 7.2 of the Financial Advisers Act (which is a law) requires the financial adviser to "take into account alternative investment options" when recommending an insurance policy to a client.

Most of the investment linked policies recommended and sold by financial advisers (including insurance agents who are covered under the same law) have an Effect of Deduction of 30% or more of the accumulated premium. An alternative investment option, such as the STI Exchange Traded Fund, which carry similar risks to the ILP, have charges that amount to less than 10% of the accumulated premium.

Has the financial adviser met with the requirement to 'take into account alternative investment option" that has similar risks and a much lower charge? Has the financial adviser met the requirement of 7.3 to explain to the consumer the basis of his recommendation?

This is a danger facing many financial advisers. If a customer were to sue them under the act, they stand the risk of having to compensate the customer for the loss and even to lose their licence for failing to comply with the Act.

Protect turf

This article shows what is so bad about the Singapore system - the wastefulness, the inefficiency and the disregard for the citizens. Will LHL's ministers wake up and take charge? Will they just allow their government agencies to continue to protect their turf?

Large increase in medical cost in Singapore

Here is my finding about the large increase in price of colonoscopy in Singapore in the past four years. Does this increase apply to other medical procedures?

It is quite worrying. Is the minister for health, Gan Kim Yong, paying attention to this matter?

Learn problem solving with the Intelligence Quiz

Vera, 10 years old, enjoys the Intelligence Quiz. She is addicted to it. She enjoys solving the puzzles. It develops her skill and confidence in problem solving. This skill is important for your child.

I conduct a tutorial on how to solve the puzzles. You can attend the talk to learn the skill and teach your children. You can also bring your child (10 years or older) along.

Give them the chance to learn an important skill and to enjoy it. Like Vera did.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Develop the problem solving skills

One important skill needed in the future is the ability to solve problems and to have the confidence in solving problems.

This will overcome one common weakness - depending on other people to take the lead. Due to lack of confidence, most people would rather "just follow orders". But they cannot make progress if they act in this manner.

The ability to solve problems and to have the confidence of dealing with problems can be learned. You only need to learn how to approach the problem and what to look out for. And this skill and confidence can be learned through simple practice.

I speak from personal experience. Although I do not have the high qualification that other people have through their studies, I have the problem solving skill. More important, I have the confidence in approaching these problems.

I teach the skill in two tutorials (1 hour each) on Saturday. This is targeted at adults (so they can teach their children). Or they can bring their children along (10 years or older). Do not miss this opportunity.

This insurance agent served the customer well

While waiting for my laser surgery, I heard a woman speaking to a client on her mobile phone.

She was obviously an insurance agent and was advising the client about a medical insurance claim for her mother. The mother was a foreigner and the claim could not be submitted through e-filing. She told the client that the mother could submit the claim manually and offered to help her with the submission.

After her conversation, I spoke to her.

TKL - I congratulate you. You are serving your client well. Which insurance company are you working for?
Agent - Great Eastern Life
TKL - How long have you been with them?
Agent - 7 years.
TKL - I commend you again for you excellent service and wish you success.

She smiled. I must have made her very happy.

Friends Provident Global Wealth Advance saving plan

A policyholder send this Benefit Illustration to me. She was very angry that the independent financial adviser did not explain to her the charges under this plan.

She approached a private banker who explained to her why the plan was bad and the charges where high. He also explained the hidden risks under the plan, e.g. the insurance company could amend the charges at their will.

I studied the benefit illustration and found that, contrary to what the private banker had said, the plan was rather fair. I took the average of the projected benefit for 4% and 8% (i.e. 6%) and found the yield based on the surrender value at the end of 10 years to be 4.2%. The Effect of Deduction was an average of 14.2% of the accumulated premiums, based on the two projections.


Compare First website

The Compare First website was an initiative from MAS. It helps consumers to compare the life insurance policies offered in the market.

I have created a 10 minute video to show how you can use this website. It can be viewed here.

My views and observations about Singapore

I hope you like my views and observations of Singapore published in this website:

FISCA Website is updated regularly

I will be updating a few articles on insurance and financial matters in the FISCA website every week. They are available for the public for 14 days. After that, they can only be read by members of FISCA.
FISCA members can also read the past articles which are arranged by categories, such as Insurance, Investment, Learning, Product Analysis, etc. I hope that you will join as a member to get access to these useful articles - especially the product analysis.

Why I dislike our health minister

Here is my experience in the Singapore National Eye Center. I don't like their practice. I also don't like the health minister Mr. Gan Kim Yong.
I hope that the minister becomes aware that the charges are excessive and the service is unsatisfactory.

Terrible experience with Ministry of Manpower

Here is my experienec with the EP Online system of the Ministry of Manpower. I describe my experience as "terrible". I don't know why our government agencies continue to waste so much time of the public. Their officers seem to think that the public has a lot of time to study how to comply with their complicated processes.…

52 man years to prepare a list of physical assets

President Ong Teng Cheong had some disagreement with the government when he asked to see a list of physical assets. The Finance Minister replied that it would take 52 man years to prepare that list. Here is a full statement from the Finance Minister in 1999.…/Issues%20raised%20by%20President%20…

People in Singapore spend 12 hours a day on gadgets

A survey showed that people in Singapore spend 12 hours a day on gadget. What is your reaction?

Give your vote in

Unattended bag at Hougang MRT station

A man left a bag unattended at the Hougang MRT station. The bag was found and the authority decided to close the station for 20 minutes, in case it was a bomb. Was this action advisable?

You can now vote on the shutdown of the Hougang MRT station due to the unattended bag.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

How ot use the Compare First website

I have created a video to explain how to use the Compare First website - a MAS initiative. I showed how to compare a Whole Life Policy for $300,000 offered by several insurance companies.

The video is 10 minutes long. It can be accessed from

The link for the Compare First website is

Analysis of popular life insurance policies

This link allows you to view the analysis of the popular life insurance products sold in the market.
Before you buy the product, find out what an independant expert says about the product.

Serious consequences for financial advisers

Many financial advisers are not aware that they will get into serious trouble in the near future.

Many consumers were misled into buying bad financial products. They were not able to take a case against the financial adviser for the bad advise in the past.

They can now take a case based on section 7.2 and 7.3 of the Financial Advisers Act. If a consumer wins the case, and this outcome is quite likely, a few tens of thousand of advisers will be in serious trouble.…

Do you agree?

New prizes for voting in the Crowd website

I am introducing new prizes for voting at the Wisdom of the Crowd website.

The prizes will now be given on reaching each level, based on the cumulative votes. This will give the challenge to reach the higher level.

The new prizes take effect from votes submitted from now. The current prize (Planning for your retirement) will still be available for another one week.

A new life in America for Amos Yee

80% of the Crowd sends best wishes to Amos Yee for starting his new life in America.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Encourage Signaporeans to take risk

How can we encourage Singaporeans to take risk, work as a team and think big?

Here are the results of the voting by the Crowd.

The two most important factors are:

a) Change the top level of government
b) Eduation reform

Right of way

If you find that you have to walk a long way to the bus stop or to the main road, due to lack of convenient short cuts, it is due to poor planning by the government.

Read this article.

Income tax return for year of assessment 2017

I just submitted my income tax return. It was supposed to be easy, but I was confused for a while.

They pre-filled my income tax return with figures for last year. I did not know that this was what they had done. I wondered - where did the figures came from? I do not recall submitting the figures before.

Anyway, I entered the actual figures for this year. The rental income on my property had dropped, so the actual figures were smaller than last year.

This year, they explained clearly that I could take 15% of the rental income as expenses, instead of declaring the actual expenses. Last year, they did not tell me about it. So, it was an improvement this year.

I look for the part where I had to declare my wife's income. I could not find it. Perhaps they have discontinued the joint declaration. This was rather bad. There aer many families, like me, where the spouse is not working and does not have any income. They should have allowed the taxpayer to make this declaration. If they have discontinued the practice, they should have mentioned it specifically.

I now have to make a separate declaration for my wife. She said, "I am not working and have no income. Why should I submit an incoem tax return?".

My answer - IRAS said so. The government said so. What can we do?

Financial advisers could get into serious trouble

Many financial advisers could get into very serious trouble if a consumer were to take up a case against them under an existing law, called the Financial Advisers Act. A copy of this Act can be viewed at this link.

You should pay special attention to clause 7.2 to 7.3 as follows:

Reasonable Basis
7.2 A financial adviser should ensure that its recommendations are suitable for the client, taking into account the information it has obtained from the client. It should ensure that its recommendations are based on thorough analysis and take into account alternative investment options.

7.3 A financial adviser should explain to the client the basis for its recommendation and why the investment product it is recommending is suitable for the client.

Read more at…

Ban on laptops in cabins

I saw this news report:

Terrorists are testing concealed explosives with stolen airport security equipment, intel sources say, raising questions about whether the laptop travel ban is broad enough.

ISIS and other terrorist organizations have developed innovative ways to plant explosives in electronic devices, according to the FBI. The intelligence led to recent airline restrictions banning many electronics from the cabins of planes flying directly to the United States from airports in eight countries.

Question - if this is a risk, surely it applies to laptops that are checked into the plane as well? Surely the risk with checked in luggage is higher?

I do not understand why there is a need to ban laptops being carried into the cabin. Surely there is already stringent checks on these laptops being taken into the cabin?

Minimum wage in Singapore

The Singapore government does not wish to implement a minimum wage. The Philippine government adopt a different approach. They have a minimum wage in their own country and also implement it for Filipinos working abroad. They have implemented it in Singapore in a creative way.…/minimum-pay-…/3642042.html…

A minimum wage has some benefits and some challenges. On the whole, the benefits outweigh the challenges. That is why many countries have a minimum wage. Singapore should also introduce it.

Wisdom of the Crowd

I invite you to vote for the issues in this website:

You can click on the Facebook or Google logo to login and submit your vote:

When you vote on 5 issues, you will receive a prize - the PDF copy of the book "Planning for your retirement".

You can also view the results of the voting on the closed issues at

Thank you for your participation and support.

How to give a differing view

I adopt the following approach when I see a post on social media by another person:

1. If I disagree with that person's view and it is a personal opinion, I ignore that post. He (or she) is entitled to her view. I would consider it rude to impose my differing view on him.

2. If I disagree with that view strongly, I will state my view and give my reason. However, I would avoid passing any judgment that his view is "wrong" or mock his view.

I would like anyone, coming to my Facebook Page or Blog to observe the same conduct. If they have a different view and wish to state it in my Page or Blog, they have to be polite in doing so. If they act in a rude manner, I delete their comment. For extreme bad behavior, I ban them from visiting my Page again.

I strongly detest a group of people who act in concert to mock other people. When I see this group action, I ban all of them.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Comedy of the Elected President

In their infinite wisdom, the Singapore government has created a wonderful new play, in fact a comedy, which is likely to achieve international stature. It is called the Comedy of the Elected President.…

Expansion of Woodlands Checkpoint

Woodlands Checkpoint will be expanded to cope with the increased volume of travellers.

I looked for the budget. It was not stated. I expect that it would cost several hundred million dollars, or even exceed the $1 billion budget.

We have a habit of spending large sums of money. It is in our DNA.

Has someone thought cooperating with Malaysia to have a joint immigration clearance? This will allow the travellers to double in volume with existing facilities.

Maybe we can also learn from the European Union on how to reduce the border checks. Or learn from America where there is no border checks when travelling from one state to another.

Who is the first Elected President of Singapore?

Who should be considered as the first Elected President of Singapore - Wee Kim Wee or Ong Teng Cheong. What is the most important reason?
You have five interesting choices to vote for in

Side gate at Midview City

This is a side gate at Midview City. It cuts down the walking distance to the bus stop at Upper Thomson Road by 300 meters for people working in the first block of Midview City. It took 7 years for the MCST management to decide to open this gate.

Midview City is a large industrial estate comprising of 6 mega blocks. They have a fence to enclose the entire area and have two entrances for cars. The people have to walk to these entrances/ exits to leave Midview City.

Why is it necessary to enclose this industrial estate? It is not a military complex. The enclosure forces the workers to walk additional distances every day.

I raised this issue with the MCST manager many years ago. He did not reply to me. Now, after a long time, the side gate is open.

Review of Insurance Law in New Zealand

This article explains how New Zealand carries out its review of the insurance law. Some of the key points that struck me are:

a) The law was last changed six years ago. The stakeholders said that this is a long enough period for the law to be reviewed.

b) The regulator asked stakeholders to identify the issues that needed to be addressed.

c) They are looking at activites that are now working well.

I find their approach to be very good. Singapore can learn from them.

A strange coincidence

Someone sent me an email yesterday expressing concerns about the marketing of an investment product by a company called 8I holdings. I replied that his statements could be considered defamatory.

Later, I saw a news report that the Police has arrested 81 people for scamming.…/81-arrested-…/3639030.html…

What a coincidence. I thought that the same company was involved.

I went to check the email and found that it referred to a company called "8I holding" withe the letter I and not the number 81.

This is the problem with the letter I. It could be easily mistook for the number 1.

Voting on Life Insurance Companies

Slightly more than 50 votes are received for the life insurance company that you LIKE the most. The results are shown here.

The voting for the life insurance company that the voters DISLIKE the most are shown here: 

Wasteful activities caused by IRAS

I share this example of the unproductive work and hassle that IRAS has given to a taxpayer (and I suspect that this affects many other taxpayers). I also share some suggestions on what IRAS can do to change their process and reduce wasteful activities for the taxpayers and their own staffs.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Low birth rate in Singapore

I listed five factors causing the low birth rate in Singapore. Which factor is most important? Give your vote in

Poor service from a help desk

Someone sent to me this example of poor service from a Helpdesk.

Difference between a positive and a negative approach

Do you know the difference between a positive and a negative approach? You can choose to be positive and make a positive influence on those around you.

Improve the public service

The majority of the Crowd are sceptical about the ability of the civil service to improve its service to the public. They think that the exhortation from President Tony Tan will not produce any tangible result.

Suggestion to reduce payment by cheques

Without spending tens of million dollars in new infrastructure, Singapore can sharply reduce the use of cheques by adopting a simple apporach. But it requires leadership to be taken by the MAS. This is how it can be done.…

Open letter to the Minister for Home Affairs

Kenneth Jeyaretnam sent this open letter to the Minister for Home Affairs.

Firends Provident Global Wealth Advance savings plan

Dear Mr. Tan

I'm a 32 years old expat professional working in Singapore. My husband and I recently had our first son and with that comes a stronger urge of saving.

We have been recommended to invest in a Friends Provident, Global Wealth Advance saving plan. But after 7 months a banker friend did show us what does the % fee really mean, this is when we understood how inconvenient was the policy for us, and how misleading is the way the sell it.

I want to put the case on MAS. The Financial Adviser who sold the policy did not advise us in our best interest because they are way better products for money savings

I need your help to find a group of people who might be similarly misled. I wish to invite them to join forces with us to present a strong case at MAS.

If anyone faces the same problem as this writer or bought a similar policy, you can share your experience here or send an email to

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Businesses should be encouraged to receive payments by bank transfers

The infrastructure is already in place for businesses to receive payments from their customers through bank transfer. This will improve efficiently tremendously.

Here is how it can be done.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cheques are not used in Spain

At an insurance conference in Manila, I met someone who came from Spain and had worked in the Philippines for eight years. He told me that when he was in Spain, he did not use any cheque. All payments are made digitally by transfer from his bank account. Money paid to him are credited directly into his bank account.

He was surprised, when he came to the Philippines, to see so many payments made by cheques. He said that it is so costly and time consuming to be using cheques.

I told him that there is also a high use of cheques in Singapore for payments to and between companies. It is so backward and inefficient.

Are we really a smart city? I wonder why we are spending so many hundreds of millions in technology when the simple actions like payments are still done with manual cheques.

Prices of HDB resale flats

What will happen to the prices of HDB resale flats after the recent announcement by the National Development Minister that the value of these flats will become $0 on expiry of the 99 year lease?

Give your views in

The results will be announced after 100 votes have been received.

Strange encounters at Newton MRT station

I had two strange encounters when I changed from the Downtown Line to the NS Line at Newton Station. On the first occasion, which probably occurred two months ago, I was charged as a new ride when I tapped into the NS Line within 1 minute.

My friend told me that that was the system and it applied only to Newton station. I was puzzled because Singapore adopted an integrated fare structure and Newton station appeared to be the only exception.

Last week, I took the same journey and found, to my surprise, that I was not charged for both legs. I got "Free Exit" on the first leg and $0 on the second leg. I had to pay $0.54 for the third leg by bus.

Several people have shared that tapping out of one line and into the other line at Newton station is now considered as being the same journey if the delay is less than 15 minutes. This is what it should be, under the integrated fare system.

Perhaps my two strange encounters were caused by the teething problems before they moved to the latest system?

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