Saturday, July 02, 2005

A lady's view on Early Marriage


I wish to give my views on the pros and cons of getting married early.

I have read your blog and agree that getting married early does have its advantages. I married at the age of 23, gave birth at 25, completed my Masters in Business (Accounting) at 27, gave birth to my second one last year at 31.

Able to start family earlier therefore able to plan for retirement better as the age whereby children reach university level does not coincide with retirement age.
After we settle down, time to concentrate on career.

Friends and colleagues about the same age are able to enjoy themselves without the commitment as being married, we are tied down. Getting married earlier, financially not strong. Buying house is deferred.

On the whole, I still encourage people to get married early. I have been the envy of many people as my elder son is already in Primary 1. While other people about my age just gave birth to their first child or still have not given birth, I already have my second child.

Getting married and starting family early is like tasting bitter first and then tasting the sweetness at the end of the life journey.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Car Navigation System - now available for older cars

You may have seen this system in expensive new cars in Singapore or overseas.

The car naviation is now available for installation into older cars. I have recently installed the system in my 8 year old car, at a cost of $2,000.

The system is useful. It plans my route and has a voice system to alert me to make the correct turns. I use the system even if I am travelling on familiar roads, as it reminds me (in case my thought strays).

We plan to install this system on the shared cars that is being operated by our car coop. If you are interested, you can try the system on our coop ars.

We will make the shared cars available for people to drive into Malaysia. The navigation system now has the maps of Johore Bahru. It will be extended towards the whole of Malaysia towards the end of this year.

Reply to: Beware pitfalls of reverse mortgage

Forum Page
Staits Times

I refer to the letter from Mr Chong Kiam Khiun entitled 'Beware pitfalls of reverse mortgage' (ST, 24 Jul).

NTUC Income offers a reverse mortgage to assist a retiree to receive a monthly income to meet the living expense. The monthly income is taken as a loan charged against a private property and accumulates interest at a modest rate.

The loan is usually repaid at a future date when the retiree sells the property and find another place to live. Alternatively, on death of the retiree, the property is sold to repay the loan and the balance of the proceeds is returned to the estate.

To prevent any misunderstanding on the terms of the loan, we have taken the following measures over the years:

- We explain the working of the reverse mortgage to the retiree
- We ask a family member to acknowledge the retiree's acceptance of the agreement.
- The retiree and a family member have to attend the lawyer's office to execute the agreement

We also send an annual statement to the retiree. Details of the accumulated loan and other particulars, including the prevailing interest rate, are shown in the statement.

In the case quoted by Mr Cheong, the reverse mortgage was taken in 1997. At that time, the agreement was signed in the presence of another family member. Unfortunately, due to the drop in the price of the pledged property, the outstanding loan has reached the 80% level faster than anticipated. The retiree and family member are now discussing with us on the best arrangement to repay the loan. As there is still a buffer of 20%, we have sufficient time over the next two years to work out the best alternative.

The reverse mortgage has been helpful to many people. However, as this example shows, there is a need for the retiree to understand the terms and to make the appropriate adjustment to meet changing circumstances.

Tan Kin Lian
Chief Executive Officer
NTUC Income

Reply to "Exercise caution when buying ILPs: Income chief "

Forum Page
Straits Times

I refer to the article entitled "Exercise caution when buying ILPs: Income chief " (Straits Times, 23 June 2005).

Your correspondent has quoted me correctly on most parts of the article. However, I have been quoted out of context on the following point:

Mr Tan suggested that term insurance without any investment component may be a better option. 'Buy term and invest the difference so that you can avoid paying the commission payable to agents' he said.

I wish to clarify that the insurance adviser receives a commission on the premium paid under the term insurance policy.

In my view, the adviser should also be paid to advise the policyholder on insurance and financial planning. This is a valuable service that should be adequately remunerated. The adviser has to spend considerable time to acquire the knoweldge to provide this advice.

Under the new ILP plan that will soon be launched by NTUC Income, we will pay a modest flat fee to the insurance adviser, which will be recovered from a small charge over the next 20 years.

The adviser will also earn a modest rate of commision on the regular savings in the ILP plan. As the charges are low, this plan will allow the savings to earn a fairly good rate of return over the long term.

Tan Kin Lian
Chief Executive Officer
NTUC Income

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