Friday, August 25, 2017

Listen only to elites?

It is astonishing that PM Lee has to hear about the use of mobile payments in China from his minister.

Many people have raised this matter for some time, after visiting china. Even the Straits Times wrote a long article about the widespread use of WeChat Pay and AliPay.

Does the PM pay attention to what the ordinary people say? Does he pay attention to what the newspaper say?

Does he only pay attention when it comes to him from his eltes?

This is rather deplorable. No wonder things are getting from bad to worse in Singapore.

Choosing a the right health insurance policy

I have often been asked by consumers to indicate which is the best health insurance plan to buy.

This question is impossible to answer, without a proper study of the consumer's needs and the willingness to pay the premium. A good policy with better coverage must cost more than one with a modest coverage.

Furthermore, there are more than 50 different types of health insurance plan available in Singapore.

This article explains the problem of trying to find "the best plan". Link.

Some of the policies are ridiculous in offering coverage that is not applicable and denying compensation for coverage for treatment that are needed.

The article was written in the context of Australia but similar problems and issues arise in Singapore.

Read it and understand what these issues are. Be careful about selecting your own policy. You should get the advice of the insurance adviser, but they might be conflicted in giving you the advise, as their commission is based on the premium that you have to pay.

Many different types of health insurance policies are confusing

The head of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has railed out against the numerous health insurance policies being sold in the country.

"There is a bewildering number of policies, and it worries us that this might be quite deliberate," said AMA President Michael Gannon in a speech to the National Press Club earlier this week. “The truth is there are literally thousands and thousands of different types of policies."

Does this observation apply to Singapore?
Although we do not have as many different types as Australia, we also have many types of policies that are confusing to the consumer. There is a need for the regulator to standardise the policy covers, terms and terminology.

Insurers should declare if the policy follow a standard, and if no, how do they differ from the standard cover.

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

Here are the results of the voting.

a) Will you be watching the National Day Rally on television? (55 Votes )

63% said they are not interested in what the prime minister has to say.

b) Are you excited about the Smart Nation initiative? (53 Votes )

60% said that they are not interested or are disappointed with the slow progress.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

How to get better than 4% return

Hi Mr. Tan
I read your article about the NTUC Life Annuity. You calculate the yield to be 2.5% (or thereabout). You said that it is better to keep the money in CPF to earn 4%.
But CPF does not accept more than the minimum sum. Where can I invest to get 4% or better?

You can find the answer here. I call it the "little known secret".

Evaluating a life annuity

If you are above 60 years, you are likely to be approached to buy a life annuity. Why, because you have savings from the CPF or from personal sources. If you keep the savings in the bank, you get less than 1%. You are scared to invest in shares, because it has risks. So, you may find a life annuity to be attractive.

The best life annuity is offered by NTUC Income - to my knowledge. But how good is the return on this policy?

You can get the answer here.

Alliance between Uber and Comfort

This is how I see the alliance between Uber and Comfort.

Uber fought against Grab and seemed to have lost the battle. Grab was able to get more riders to join them due to their attractive promotions. More drivers also joined Grab, as they get more business.

Grab is bleeding. But they seem to have deep pockets (thanks to big funds from Temasek).

Comfort is also losing out in this competition. Fewer riders are calling them or using their apps.

Through the alliance, Uber can reach out to more drivers. But Comfort could have done it on their own without Uber. Comfort has already developed a mobile app, which should be working well.

The real issue is - who can give the generous promotions that Grab is now giving and continue to bleed to gain market share?

The danger of this business strategy is that the riders will accept your promotion, but they can easily move to your competitor when you stop your promotion.

Most customers would check Uber and Grab for the best price and take the best offer. I am one of them.

This kind of cut throat competition is not good for the market in the long run. I expect that it will be more regulated after the initial period.

A softer approach

Do we have a wise government? In my view, NO. Here are my reasons.

Li Shengwu posted a comment that we have "a litigious government and a pliant court system". Although it was in a private post, it did get into the public domain and was probably read by tens or hundred of thousands people.

The government has to act. How did they act?

They sent a strong legal letter with harsh demands. This is not the correct approach for a first time offender.

They should have sent a soft letter to point out that the remarks were offensive. Li Shengwu would probably have agreed to remove these words. It was a mistake. Most people would have made similar mistakes.

I don't think that Li Shengwu is recalcitrant or deliberately looking for trouble.

The matter would have ended there. The government would have been seen to be wise and would have achieved the goal of getting people to respect the law.

Instead of the soft approach, the government made harsh demands for an apology. The terms of the apology were humiliating and not appropriate. They amounted to "bullying".

I hope that the people in power realize that there is a better way to deal with this kind of issue in the future.

Performance trend - agencies and ministers

The performance trend of the agencies and ministers is now showing interesting, useful and reliable results. The trend does go up and down, depending on the public sentiment.

Take a look at

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for you to vote.

a) Do you agree with the explusion of Prof Huang Jing?
b) Do you prefer PayNow to access your bank account or an e-wallet?

Vote in

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bad service from Singapore Airlines hotline

In a Facebook post, Goh Meng Seng described his frustration in waiting for 30 minutes for the SIA hotline to pick up his call. Many people posted their comments describing the same frustration with their bad service.  Link

I have contacted the top management of Singapore Airlines on several occasions in the past to offer my service to improve their hotline and call center. They were not interested.

When I was in NTUC Income, I was able to get all calls answered within 3 rings, i.e. 1 minute. I think they are still able to maintain this standard today.

The NTUC Income call center handles a few thousand calls every day. I suspect that it is as busy as SIA.

It is sad that the top management of SIA does not pay attention, and the service quality can drop to very bad levels, leading to loss of several millions of dollars of revenue.

As a result, SIA has lost its top position in quality of service. It has even become unprofitable for the first time in his history.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for voting:

a) Do you agree with the move to cut down sugar in soft drinks?
b) What is the likely cause of the collision between the US destroyer and the oil tanker?

Vote in this website and win prizes.

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

Here are the results of the voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) Do you agree with the proposal for public transport to go cashless by 2020? (53 Votes )

A majority of the Crowd is not supportive of the change to cashless.

b) What is the best way to help the elderly poor in Singapore? (50 Votes )

A large majority prefers a monthly pension to be give to the aged above 75 subject to a means test.

Vote on the current issues and win a prize.

NTUC Income Guaranteed Life annuity

A consumer sent me the benefit illustration and asked if it offers a good return.

The consumer, age 65 male, invests a single premium of $300,000 and receives a guaranteed monthly annuity of $1,181.40 and a non-guaranteed addition that depends on the investment return of the life insurance fund.

The detailed analysis is shown in the PDF

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

Here are the results of the voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) Why is the Singapore Sale no longer great? (60 Votes )

40% said that we are doing the same thing for too long.

b) Will the United States take a first strike against North Korea? (52 Votes )

Two thirds expect the issue to be resolved peacefully.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Are gold medals authentic?

Someone asked if the gold medals awarded at the South East Asia games are "authentic".

I searched Google and go the following answer regarding the Olympic Gold Medals.

The last series of Olympic medals to be made of solid gold were awarded at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Olympic Gold medals are required to be made from at least 92.5% silver, and must contain a minimum of 6 grams of gold. All Olympic medals must be at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm thick.

I guess the gold medals in the SEA games have a lower gold content.

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

Here are the results of the voting:

a) Should Singapore keep the mandatory death penalty for drug traficking? (48 Votes )

The majority like the death sentence to be made non-mandatory and reserved only for serious crimes.

b) Will there be a contest for the reserved presidential election? (57 Votes )

A large majority expect a walkover. Sorry no public holiday.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are two new issues for you to vote in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) How well did PM Lee perform at the ND Rally?
b) Do you agree with the three long term issues raised by PM Lee at the ND Rally?

Vote in

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Win these prizes

Vote in The Wisdom of the Crowd and win these prizes.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the issues for voting today.

a) If President Trump is impeached, what will he do?
b) How can we help older PMETs to keep their jobs or find new jobs?

Vote in

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