Dear Mr. Tan In your talk on 3 Feb, will you touch on buying insurance products through banks. I was told that some of the products are quite bad and were wrongly sold to the bank customers.
REPLY Yes. I will touch on this topic too. I will share some cases of bad products that have been sold to customers. In some cases, the relationship manager was recruited recently and was giving the marketing pitch taught by the trainers. They don't know that they were giving the wrong information to customers.
I will also talk about the dual currency investments. They are being sold quite actively. These are risky product, but the RMs were not aware about the risk. They think the risk is small, but it is not really the case.
There are still a few places remaining for the talk. Register now. Remember to pay for the talk by credit card or Paypal within one day. If not, the registration will be cancelled to give the place to other participants
I will be raising this point at Budget 2017 Forum.
What is the appropriate rate for GST?
It should be 0%. GST should be scrapped.
Can the government afford it?
Of course, according to IMF standard, the Singapore government runs a budget surplus of over $20 billion a year. This includes revenue from land sale.
If GST is scrapped, the government will still see a surplus.
Just imagine. If GST is scrapped, the country will enjoy the following benefit.
a) Cost of living will drop by 10% (7% from GST, 3% from wastage in computing GST, catching GST cheats, etc).
b) Cost of doing business will drop 3% - no need to account for GST, collect GST, deduct GST paid on purchases, etc.
c) No need to catch GST cheats - remember the case where some crooks were caught for the GST carousel scam? Sure, one was caught. How many of the scammers got away?
d) No need to have custom officers to harrass Singaporeans buying goods from Johor and having to pay $3 in GST - cost $100 to police it.
If there is no GST, the government should also be more product in the spending.
a) Do not spend $800,000 on a bin center. b) Do not spend $195 million on new signal system for MRT and still have frequent breakdowns due to "signal fault". c) Do not need to spend $X for year long RSAF celebrations.
A staff from Scoot called me back this morning in response to my online form. He helped me to complete the booking and payment.
He told me that he was responding to my online form.
TKL - If you can call me within 1 day, why did your email tell me that I may have to wait for 10 days due to "high call volume"?
I know - this is typical Singapore "kiasu" attitude. It may take forever, and it case ti does, why don't we tell the customer that they have to wait "forever" to get a reply?
TKL - Your email asked me to call the call center if the matter was urgent. i did call at 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, 11 pm and midnight. On all occasions, I had to wait 15 minutes due to "high call volume" and had to give up. Do you really have high call volume every night and up to midnight?
TKL - If the payment by credit card was not successful, why was I not notified by the website? If I had overlooked the notification, why was I not given an email that the booking was not completed? If I need to know the booking reference to complete it, why was I not sent this reference?
The staff told me - "Be assured that your feedback will be given to my management.
TKL - I expect your manager to call me back on this issue. I want to know if you are really serious about this matter or it is just another hogwash.
Dear FISCA. I have $30,000 after setting aside 6 months worth of my salary. I am planning to invest this $30,000 as a Lump Sum into the STI EFT through POEMS. Is this a good idea? I am a 29 year old female educator, married with no children. I already bought Personal Accident insurance.
REPLY The STI ETF is a good long term investment. Some people are worried that the world stock market is rather high at this time due to extremely low interest rate. Perhaps you can invest half of the sum now and wait for 6 to 12 months before investing the balance. I suggest that you attend this talk on Financial Plannng on 3 February. http://www.fisca.sg/event_det.aspx?id=17
I suggest that the benchmark should include all the tests and the pre and post-operation charges related to the medical procedure. These additional charges could add up to a significant part of the total cost of the procedure.
Perhaps the committee can also address the situation where a patient who is treated for a specific condition has to pay the charges for other conditions that are discovered during the cost of treatment. For these complicated conditions, the medical fees can be very high. The patient or the family is usually not able to decide on the medical necessity of the related treatments.
During the past ten years, I have to submit several online forms each year to several government websites, including ACRA, IRAS, MOM and SAF.
I have found it quite difficult to search the websites for the relevant online forms after I had logged into the website. I had to search through many links, some of which are hidden under other links, and had to go from one webpage to another.
My recent encounter with the NS Portal (St Trimes Forum 23 January 23018) is just an example.
It would be easier for me if the relevant agency could send to me a link to the relevant online form and the login will direct me immediately to that online form. It would save me a lot of time in wandering around a complicated website.
I have brought up this issue on several occasions to the Pro-Enterprice Panel of the Ministry of Trade & Industry. They have conveyed my difficulty to the relevant agencies, but nothing could be done to solve the underlying problem posed by a poorly designed website.
On each occasion, I had to spend considerable time to complete an online form, which takes time away from productive business activities. I am sure that many other companies face the same issue.
Perhaps it is time for a government agency to take a look at the design of the government websites and processes, and make it easier for the business sectors to submit their online forms in a more convenient way.
That would be a step forward under the Smart Nation initiative
Mr. X rented a stall at a food court. He wanted to give up the stall before the expiry of the tenancy period, as he the business was not viable.
The landlord told him that he would forfeit the security deposit of one month rent and also all the kitchen equipment.
Mr. X did not understand English. He showed the tenancy agreement to me.
I read the tenancy agreement. It was stated that the security deposit would be forfeited for early termination of the tenancy but did not state that the landlord had the right to keep the kitchen equipment.
It is very bad for the landlord to take advantage of an uneducated stall holder and impose unreasonable penalties beyond what was provided in the agreement.
Already, the stall holder lost a lot of money trying to set up the business. The additional loss is quite a big blow to him.
Several years ago, a policyholder sought my advice. She was not educated in English. An insurance agent sold to her a life insurance policy as an investment. She paid $50,000 as the premium.
On the second year, she received a notice to pay another $50,000. He asked the agent why she had to make this further payment. The agent told her to disregard the notice.
Later, she learned that the policy had no value. All the invested sum of $50,000 was forfeited by the insurance company.
She did not realize that she had bought a policy that required an annual premium of $50,000 to be paid. As she did not pay the second premium, the policy lapsed.
She complained to the insurance company about the mis-selling. The insurance company interviewed the agent and told the policyholder that she had signed a fact finding statment that she was aware of what she had bought. They rejected her claim.
The policyholder sought my help.
I helped her to write a formal letter of complaint to the insurance company. A few months later, the policyholder told me that she received back her $50,000 from the insurance company. I did not know what happened to the agent.
As a grateful appreciation, the policyholder donated $2,000 to the Financial Services Consumer Association.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you agree with the government's concern about fake news?
53% of those who voted said that the government wants to clam down on freedom of expression. 33% said that this move is unnecessary as most people who be able to discern what is real news and what is fake news. 13% supported the move as deliberate falsehood can cause a lot of trouble.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - What are your views about the fire in Toa Payoh?
60% of those who voted said that they are alarmed, as it reflect a decline in standard in many areas. 8% said that it reflected a decline in the standard of fire safety. 32% said that it is an unfortunate event, but the standard of fire safety remained high.
It reminds me that LKY said before the 2011 GE that subsidised BTO flats are: "to give the man an asset which he will value, which will grow in price as the country develops, as his surroundings become better.”
But Lawrence Wong, minister for National Development, said that: “the leases will eventually run out, and the flats will be returned to HDB... As the leases run down, especially towards the tail-end, the flat prices will come down correspondingly (towards zero).” Someone must be LYING right?
My comment: Both LKY and Lawrence Wong are right. They are referring to different time periods.
If someone buy a new HDB flat (referred to as BTO flat) with government grant, he does get it at a price that is much lower than the resale price for many years. The value of the flat will appreciate for about 50 years.
After 50 years, the value will remain stagnant for about 20 years and will start to decline thereafter.
LKY was talking about the first 50 years. Lawrence Wong was talking about the last 30 years.
Sadly, most Singaporeans do not think deep enough to understand this fact.