Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Message by George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways , but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stock room. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by themoments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

Crisis in health care?

Do we have a crisis in health-care?

Read the articles in Today paper:

a) Article by Stanley Jeremiah – Medisave, Medishield, Medi-Crisis?

b) Article by Alex Har – Medi-Debate: Why I’m Optimistic

c) Letter by Karen Tan, M of Health – We can be proud of 3M

Some points to ponder:

a) Do we have a medical insurance crisis?

b) Many people have several medical insurance policies. They are over lapping, duplicative and wasteful. Do you agree?

c) Medishield has Deductible and Co-insurance to encourage people to use medical services carefully. This is negated by offering a rider to cover these items. It makes the system more complex and costly to administer. Do you agree?

d) What is portable medical insurance? How can we get more people to be insured under a portable insurance policy?

Time to enter the market?

Hi Mr Tan,

Is it a good time to enter the market? Should I wait and see, since the market is expected to be volatile in 2008? This is the first time I am investing in unit thrust, so not too sure. I hope to seek your advice.


It depends on whether you are investing a large lump sum or a small monthly sum.

Read this FAQ:

Hide! Here Comes the Insurance Guy

The Envelope, please … the Top Risk Management Book of the Year … By Kevin M. Quinley CPCU, ARM AIC, AIM, ARe Hide! Here Comes the Insurance Guy by Rick Vassar, iUniverse, 2006, 196 pp., $17.95

Author, risk manager and consultant Rick Vassar has penned an illuminating primer on insurance and risk management in his book, "Hide! Here Comes the Insurance Guy."

The title is a take-off on the notion that, for most people, meeting with an insurance person or discussing coverage is as much fun as a root canal or proctological exam. Part of his theme is that most companies have risks that are overseen by someone whose title is not "Risk Manager."

Most companies do not have risk managers; you need to have a pretty big insurance budget to justify that as a full-time position. No company vies to be paying so much in insurance premium that they spotlight the problem by having a full-time individual to tend to it. Nevertheless, all companies have risks and need to manage it.

For these risk managers without title or formal portfolio, Vassar's book – perhaps the best risk management book of the year even without that phrase in the title -- is an indispensable primer and guide. Reading and heeding his advice will save businesses much money, frustration and Excedrin-consumption.

Vassar divides his book into three main sections. Part I discusses business strategies to even the playing field between policyholders and insurance companies. Part II walks through the major basic forms of insurance coverage for most any business. Part III rounds out with a useful; glossary and index. Vassar's focus is practical and hands-on, leavened with a self-deprecating sense of humor.

Did I say "humor"? Yes, though few comedy clubs are likely to feature an Open Mike night for insurance reps, Vassar takes the human antipathy toward insurance and turns it into a source of mirth and amusement. So run -- but don't hide - and get your copy of "Hide! Here Comes the Insurance Guy." Get out from under the desk. Leave the closet and face your fears. Insurance and risk management may not be fun (though they are occasionally funny), but Rick Vassar has come as close to anyone in blending sharp wit with money saving risk management insights.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Amazing Numbers - on cards

I showed the Amazing Numbers, printed on cards, to several people during lunch. They were amazed at my ability to guess the number that they picked.

When I showed them the secret, the were even more amazed. They asked me, "How did you generate the numbers on the cards".

Can you guess the secret? Do you know how I generated the numbers?

I have decided to make 1,000 sets of cards to be sold at a modest price or given away.

Lesson in Money Management

Someone sent this message to his daughter. He asked me to share it.

Many Singaporean work hard and earn a lot of money in year 1990's and early 2000's. Under Goh Chok Tong policy, he encouraged investment. A lot of CPF money and personal saving just gone to the sea. Why?

Sale person make a lot of commission and they don't have a heart (conscience). The commission alone can buy at least one condo within a short time. The sales person does not risk their life, like engineer yet enjoy life. Are you working for sales person?

You better read this Blog and Dr Money's article to protect your hard earned money :,4136,150939,00.html?

The blog and articles are updated every day/week. It does not matter if you don't understand the technical term, just go through it. When you need to make a decision later , you know where to find infomation.

Last few days, Lee Kuan Yew advised people NOT TO TAKE RISK. This is a lesson learnt after so many years.


My advice to people who visit my blog is to invest in low cost, diversified equity fund for the long term. By investing for the long term, the investor will average the good and bad years and get an average return that is better than the return from safe investments.

The advise is different from your view of "do not take risk". Do you agree with my advice?

Read this FAQ:

Term Insurance to age 90

Dear Mr. Tan,

What are your views about buying Term insurance to age 90 and above? The agent said that the premium rate is lower than whole life policy.


It is much cheaper to buy Term insurance to age 65 or 70 (rather than age 90). After that age, you do not need any life insurance, as you have retired from work.

If you need life insurance beyond age 70, it is better to buy a whole life insurance (rather than life-time Term insurance), as the whole life policy accumulates cash value. The life-time Term insurance is cheaper as it forfeits the cash value when you terminate the policy. There is a chance that you may terminate it by oversight, and suffer a loss.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Private Credit Counselling Service

Dear Sir

I need some advice from you. I have some credit debts amounting to $X from various banks. They are demanding for payment. All the facilities has been cancelled for the past two years, but the amount keeps snow balling.

I am selling flat and will be able to pay off most of the debts when the sale is completed in a few many months time.

I approached a private credit counselling company to get their assistance to work out an instalment plan with the banks. They wrote letters to the banks on my behalf using my name, and charged me a fee. I am not sure if this is the correct approach.


I am not familiar with the business practice of these private credit counselling service.

Maybe, you can talk to the bank directly and see if they can reduce the interest charged on the delayed payment. Alternatively, you can approach this non-profit organisation:

Charges under a investment linked policy

Dear Mr. Tan,

I am confused about the many charges under an investment-linked policy. The insurance agent does not explain them clearly to me. I am now stuck with these high charges. Can I get out of them?


It is better to buy a low cost Term insurance, to provide the life insurance protection. You should invest in a unit trust or an investment fund with low upfront or annual charges.

If you invest in an investment-linked policy, make sure that 100% of your premium is invested and that the only charges are the initial spread (which should not exceed 3%). Make sure that the annual charges of the fund is less than 1.5%.

A good example is the Combined Fund from NTUC Income, which you can buy through the Flexi-link plan.

You should avoid the regular premium investment linked plan as it has another layer of charges that can take away 15 to 21 months of your savings (with a few exceptions).

You can read the following FAQ to understand the charges in an ILP:

Insure big loss with small chance of occurring

1. Buy insurance to cover the big lossses, which has a small chance of occuring. For example, total destruction of a property due to fire, or a major accident. You can insure the risks where the chance of occuring is less than 1% in a year.

2. Pay small losses out of your savings, eg deductible under a medical insurance or motor insurance policy. Do not insure these small losses. It is costly, as you have to pay a loading to cover the expenses of the insurance company. It is also a hassle for you to make a small claim.

3. Buy low cost insurance just to cover the risk. It does not matter that you do not get any return, provided that the cost is less than 5% of a similar "investment product".

4. Do not invest in an insurance policy, as the return is low (due to the expenses). It is better to invest separately in a transparent, low cost product.

Medical insurance for Pensioner

Dear Mr. Tan,

I am a pensioner and currently working. I am entitle for class A wards but hve to pay 15% of the total medical bill each time I visit a doctor. Is it necessary for me to take up the Medishield plan?


I assume that you will continue to enjoy the medical benefit provided by the Governmetn after your retire from work and that it will continue to be provided to you for your lifetime.

If this is the case, there is no need for you to buy Medishield. There is no point in paying the premium for a medical cover where you only need to insure for 15% of the total cost. If you are hospitalised, you can pay the 15% from your Medisave account, or even from cash. It is likely to be quite small anyway.

Tips on financial planning

1. Here are my tips on financial planning.

2. Have adequate life insurance to cover your life. Insure for 5 to 10 years of your income. This ensures that, if anything happens to you, your family will have adequate financial security.

3. Buy decreasing Term insurance over 20 or 30 years. The premium rate is affordable. It should take less than 1% of your earnings. This is better than whole life, endowment or critical illness insurance.

4. Save 10% to 15% of your salary and invest in a low cost, diversified investment fund. You can earn an attractive return over the long term. The savings can be used for emergencies (including paying medical bills) and for your long term needs (such as education for your child or for your own retirement needs).

5. Do not buy financial products (including life insurance policies) where there are high charges that is taken away from your savings.

6. You can insure your children under Medishield. It will take care of the larger bills. The smaller bills can be paid from your Medisave account, or from your savings plan.

7. Do not buy life insurance policies for your children, as they do not provide a good return (due to high charges). It is better for you to save and get a high return from your investment fund. You can use the money for their education or transfer the savings to them when they start their own family.

8. Your children can take their own life insurance policies when they start to work. At that time, they should buy low cost insurance and save in a low cost investment fund.

Get adequate life insurance on your life first

Dear Mr. Tan,

1. You advised me to have medical insurance for my daughter and to save in an investment linked plan with low charges. Do I need to buy other insurance for her, such as a critical illness policy?

Reply: There is no need to buy the critical illness plan. She can buy it later, when she starts to work.

2. When is the appropriate time to buy living insurance? If I buy living insurance, does it mean that I have to terminate the Medishield?

Reply: If you buy critical illness insurance, you do not need to terminate Medishield. They cover different types of expenses.

3. I only have living insurance coverage of 30K. Is this adequate? Do I need to buy a life insurance so that my family's financial needs are covered if something happens to me?

Reply: You should have adequate insurance on your life. Buy a decreasing Term insurance to cover up to 5 years of your income. Your priority is to have adequate insurance on your life. Do not worry about life insurance for your child at this time.

Read this FAQ:

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Late notification of an motor accident

Dear Mr Tan

A few months ago, my friend was involved in a minor accident. He bumped into the back of another vehicle. He contacted his insurance agent and furnished the necessary details to the insurer upon being contacted by the solicitor who was acting on behalf of the claiming party.

He was informed by them a few days ago that the claim will not be entertained, as he had failed to make a report within 2 days of the accident. Is there any guideline on what would be a reasonable notification period?


Under a motor insurance policy, the insured person is required to notify the insurance company within a stated period (usually 1 or 2 days) of any accident that may lead to a claim.

If both parties agree not to make a claim, then there is no need to make this report. In this particular case, it appears that the other party must have made a report and wish to claim against your friend.

I suggest that your friend should speak to his insurance company and get their advice on how to handle this claim. The insurance company should assist their customer in such matters.

If the insurance company does not provide reasonable assistance, your friend can lodge a complaint with FIDRec:">

Whole life policies

Hi, Mr. Tan,

I have two whole life which I bought in 1994 and 1995. I am now a pensioner. Should I continue with the policies? I wish to convert them into a life annuity, but I was told that it is not possible. The return from buying insurance is not very encouraging as the returns have been revised downwards in the past years.


You can ask the insurance company to quote the cash value of each policy as follows:

a) if you terminate the policy now
b) if you terminate the policy in 5 years time
c) premium payable for the next 5 years
d) if you temrinate the policy in 10 years time
e) premium payable for the next 10 years

You can make a better decision when these figures are available. You can show me the figures and we can decide together on which option is best for you.

Read this FAQ:

American Humour

Humour #1

The people who don't like Hillary Clinton said, "We don't want Hill and Bill back into the White House".

Humour #2

During the days of the Cold War, an American told a Russian, "In America, we have free speech. I can go to the White House and tell President Johnson - President, I don't like the way that you are running America".

The Russian said, "I can do the same in Russia".

American was surprised. "You mean you can go into the Kremlin and said the same to President Breshnez?"

Russian replied, "Of course, I can go into the Kremlin and tell President Breshnev - Comrade President, I don't like the way that President Johnson is running America!"

Primary election in the USA

I am watching the primary election in the USA with great interest.

1. It is interesting to see how the Americans select their candidate for the Presidential election in November. It reflects democracy at its best.

2. Will America select, for the very first time, a woman President or a black President? Or will the Republicans (white, male candidate) win again?

Mortality charge under a ILP

Dear Mr. Tan,

I have $300,000 coverage under an investment-linked plan. The mortality charges are about the same as for a Term insurance policy from the same company. Should I continue with the coverage under this policy?


You can ask for a quotation on Term insurance (based on your current age and remaining duration) from a few other companies and compare it with the mortality charge that your current policy.

If the difference in premium is quite small, you should continue with the coverage under your policy. If the difference is large, then you can consider making a switch.

Read this FAQ:

Insurance for a child born premature

Dear Mr. Tan,

Do I really need whole life policy for my three year old son who was born premature?

Most insurance company hesitate to take his insurance proposal. Company X offered a whole life policy with premium paid for 20 years. I am concerned that in future, he may have problem getting policy on his own, due to his past history. I know that based on insurance needs, he only needs medical coverage now.


My understanding is that the highest risk for a premature baby is during the first month and there is a smaller risk during the first year. After one year, the risk should be quite small.

There is no need to insure your son now. When he becomes an adult, he should be able to get life insurance on his own. By that time, I hope that he will buy Term insurance and invest the difference in a low cost fund.

It may be a good idea for you to make additional savings for him. Invest in a low cost equity fund for the next 20 years. It can accumulate to a large amount of savings (compared to the whole life policy).

Premature birth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Premature birth is the birth of a baby before the standard period of pregnancy is completed. In most systems of human pregnancy, prematurity is considered to occur when the baby is born sooner than 37 weeks after the beginning of the last menstrual period (LMP).

Approximately 12 percent of babies in the United States are born prematurely each year.

The shorter the term of pregnancy, the greater the risks of complications. Infants born prematurely have an increased risk of death in the first year of life (infant mortality), with most of that occurring in the first month of life (neonatal mortality).

Prematurely born infants are also at greater risk for developing serious health problems such as cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, gastrointestinal problems, mental retardation, vision or hearing loss and are more susceptible to developing depression as teenagers.

In developed countries premature infants are usually cared for in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Some of the complications related to prematurity are not apparent until years after the birth. For example, children who were born prematurely have a higher likelihood of having behavioral problems, delays in motor development, and difficulties in school. Specifically these problems can be described as being within the executive domain and have been speculated to arise due to decreased myelinization of the frontal lobes. Throughout life they are more likely to require services provided by physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech therapists.

For more details, read:

Congenital disorder

Most health insurance excludes congenital disorder. What is a congenital disorder? Here is a description from Wikipedia.

A congenital disorder is any medical condition that is present at birth. However, a congenital disorder can be recognized before birth (prenatally), at birth, years later, or never.

The term congenital does not imply or exclude a genetic cause. Congenital disorders can be a result of genetic abnormalities, the intrauterine environment, a mixture of both, errors of morphogenesis, or unknown factors.

Congenital conditions can be referred to as diseases, defects, disorders, anomalies, or simply genetic differences or uncomfortable. The usage overlaps, but also involves a value judgement as to the harmfulness of the condition. In particular, people may disagree as to whether a specific physical anomaly should be considered a birth defect or a normal variation.

A congenital disorder can have trivial or grave consequences. The most severe, such as anencephaly, are incompatible with life. Others, such as congenital tumors, vary from causing stillbirth to requiring fetal intervention or special delivery procedures such as the EXIT procedure, to needing surgery in the neonatal period.

The most common congenital tumor is teratoma. Congenital physical anomalies (birth defects) are a leading cause of death in early infancy, accounting for the deaths of nearly 2 out every 1000 infants in the United States.

"Congenital disorders" is a broad category that includes a variety of conditions. Congenital disorders include minor physical anomalies (e.g., a birthmark), severe malformations of single systems (e.g., congenital heart disease or dysmelia), and combinations of abnormalities affecting several parts of the body. Congenital defects of metabolism are also considered congenital disorders.

For more details:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Improve the Singapore MRT system

I am impressed with the following features of the Taipei MRT system:

a) Good signage
b) Helpful staff
c) Short waiting time
d) Easy to get a seat, even during busy hours

These are conditions that are easy for Singapore MRT to achieve, even though the system is older. What cannot be done through hardware can be achieved through software.

What is needed to get the Singapore system to be less crowded?

Operate more trains. The waiting time for trains during off-peak period is now between 5 to 8 minutes. If the waiting time is reduced by 1 or 2 minutes, the capacity can be increased by 25%. This will impose a small increase in operating cost but a big reduction in waiting time and 25% more people can have a seat.

I accept that during peak hours, our MRT trains are already operating at full capacity. But, we can make the system more comfortable during the off-peak hours, like in Taipei.

Public Transport Guide

The Public Transport Guide is sold in Popular Bookstores for $6.42. I wish to share this story on its usefulness.

I have to attend a 1 day event at Ulu Pandan CC today. I have the choice to drive there as I live quite far away. This means paying parking charges for 1 day.

I decided to try MRT but was not sure about how to get there. I looked at the Public Transport Guide and select page 6 (Queenstown). I guessed that the nearest MRT station was Buona Vista. Indeed it was. From there, the guide indicated that I could take bus 92 to my destination.

I found that the distance from the station to the destination. was quite short, so I have the option to walk the last leg.

The advantages of this Public Transport Guide are:

a) It also acts as a street directory
b) It is easy to locate he bus service
c) It is light and can be easily carried

I have suggested to LTA to display a map in each MRT station and bus stop showing the street directory and bus stops within 3 km. I hope that they will take my suggestion. It will be convenient for commuters who do not have the street directory with them.

Some people are not familiar with using a street directory. They can ask for advise from another person at the station or bus stop.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Insuring a risk

If you face a risk with possible losses ranging from $0 to $10,000 and an expected loss of $500, will you pay $700 to insure the risk?

The answer should be "yes". Although the expected loss is $500, the actual loss can be as high as $10,000.

The difference of $200 (about 30% of $700) represents the cost of providing the insurance protection. It goes to cover the marketing, underwriting and claim processing cost of the insurance company. An expense margin of 30% is fair, in the case of an insurance contract that provide indemnity for losses. For a competitively priced insurance, the ratio of losses to premiums should be around 70%.

In the case of a life insurance contract that accumulate savings for the future, the expense ratio should be much lower, say from 5% to 10%.

Secret Formula

Do you know the secret formula for the Amazing Number puzzle?

High charges on regular premium ILP

Hi Mr. Tan,

I've just realised to my horror that I've tied myself down to a useless investment product - a regular ILP. This is with X. My monthly premium is $100.

I have been paying premiums for the past two years. The value of the investments is only about $600. If I surrender the policy, this is what I'll get back. Should I continue? Will this investment ever even break-even?


You have incurred most of the upfront expenses already. From now on, most of your premium will be invested. What you have spent in high charges in the past should be written off. I suggest that you keep this ILP policy.

Lesson: Avoid regular premium ILP. The charges are too high. 18 months of the premium has been taken away to pay commission and marketing expenses.

Rejection of medical claim - congenital condition

Dear Mr. Tan,

I have taken medical insurance for my daughter since she was a baby. There was no claim for more than 10 years.

Recently, we discovered that she was suffering from a serious medical condition. The insurance company X rejected the claim as the medical condition was congenital. We feel that this is most unfair. What is your advice?


I suggest that you bring this this matter up to the senior management of X. You can point out that this illness was discovered more than 10 years after the policy was taken up. Due to the long lapse of time, it may not be fair for them to apply the congenital clause.

Perhaps you can ask them to get their doctor to certify that the illness is really congenital and should be excluded.

If they do not give you a satisfactory explanation, you can lodge a complaint with the Financial Dispute Resolution Center:

I wish to extend my sympathies on your predicament, first on this unexpected illness and second on the rejection of the claim. I hope that the senior management of X will take a sympathetic view. I wish you all the best.

Sudoku Challenge - Preliminary Round

The preliminary round of Sudoku Challenge (for people 40 and over) was held at Bishan Community Club on 6 January. A total of about 130 people participated in the two sessions. They spent about 25 to 60 minutes to complete 5 Sudoku puzzles.

The top 16 winners have been identified. They will take part in the Finals to be held at Suntec City on 13 January.

The public is invited to watch this event. There will be other mind games which are being held at the same time. There is also an exhibition.

Risk Management and Insurance

I conducted the first class on Risk Management and Insurance at Singapore Management University today.

I enjoy the experience. The students participated well. From their feedback, they like the topics covered, which are useful and relevant to them.

I enjoy teaching and sharing my working experience with the students.

Disability income insurance

Dear Mr. Tan,
What are your views about disability income insurance?


As a general principle, disability income insurance is useful. If a person is disabled due to illness or accident and is not able to earn an income, the insurance will make a regular payment to replace the lost income.

In practice, the situation is different.

Here are my views, based on my limited knowledge of the market for disability income insurance in Singapore.

1. The market for disability income insurance taken by individuals is quite undeveloped in Singapore.

2. The premium rate tends to be quite high in relation to the actual cost of the risk. You will probably have to pay a high premium for a cover that is worth much less.

3. There is a long waiting period (usually three months), before the disability income starts to pay. The period of payment may also be limited.

4. If you buy disability insurance in a group, for example through an employer, or an association, you are likely to get more competitive premium rates.

5. For individuals, you can insure for temporary disablement caused by accidents through a personal accident policy. The premium rate is quite competitive.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Personal savings for your retirement

Many Singaporeans rely on the Central Provident Fund as their main source of savings for retirement.

Many have found it to be inadequate. In 1999, only one-third of people reaching age 55 had sufficient savings to meet the Minimum Sum of $60,000. The Minimum Sum has now been raised to $99,600. This is only sufficient to meet the very basic cost of living in Singapore.

For a more comfortable standard of living, you need at least two times of this Minimum Sum.

Let me share eight tips with you on how you can get adequate savings for your retirement.

Click here for the full article:

Technique to solve Logic Quiz E-1

Here is the technique to solve Logic Quiz E-1 (see below).

Start with clue 11 which fixes the house of the engineer. From there, you can use clues 10, 12 and 20 to fix the houses for the stated characteristics. You can use clue 3 to fix the house of the lawyer.

After you have fixed the house of the engineer and the lawyer, you can use clue 13 to fix the house of the accountant and salesman.

The remaining two occupations are the technician and doctor. If you study the clues 2 and 8, you will be able to find their houses.

It will quite easy to complete the remaining clues. Look for the clues that fit exactly into the blank squares (i.e. only one solution).

If you take step by step, you can complete the whole quiz. It may take you 30 minutes to solve this quiz the first time, but with practice, you can reduce the time down to 10 minutes for a similar quiz.

Logic Quiz E-1

If you want a challenging logic quiz, try the following. Put our name and time taken in this blog. If you can get the answer within 15 minutes, you are very good!

There are six houses with different colours in a row. Each occupant likes a different fruit, drinks a different beverage, drives a different car and speaks a different language.

1. The person who speaks French lives to the left of the person who speaks German.
2. The technician lives to the left of the green house.
3. The person who drinks water is the lawyer.
4. The person who likes melon lives to the left of the person who likes durian.
5. The person who speaks Japanese lives two houses left of the brown house.
6. The person who speaks Italian lives two houses left of the person who drives Hyundai.
7. The person who drives Honda lives two houses left of the person who drives Nissan.
8. The person who likes mango lives two houses left of the doctor.
9. The person who drives BMW lives two houses left of the blue house.
10. The engineer lives two houses left of the person who drinks water.
11. The engineer lives in the third house.
12. The person who likes apple lives to the left of the engineer.
13. The accountant lives to the left of the salesman.
14. The person who likes banana lives two houses left of the person who drinks beer.
15. The person who drives Peugeot lives two houses left of the person who likes strawberry.
16. The person who drinks tea lives two houses left of the yellow house.
17. The person who drinks juice lives to the left of the person who drinks wine.
18. The white house is two houses left of the person who speaks Russian.
19. The person who drives Toyota lives three houses left of the person who drinks milk.
20. The red house is to the left of the person who likes apple.

Question: Who speaks Chinese

Low cost Term Insurance

Dear Mr. Tan,

Where can I buy low cost Term insurance?


Read this FAQ:

Give a call to 3 companies and ask them to quote the Term insurance for your age and sum assured.

Read this FAQ for the benchmark rates:

Low cost insurance and funds

Many people have sent an e-mail to ask for my advice on how they can buy low cost insurance and funds.

I have referred them to the following:
1. Business center of NTUC Income
2. i-Term available from Income's website
3. Flexi-link and Combined Fund from NTUC Income
4. Exchange Traded Funds from the Singapore Exchange

I have also referred them to a few NTUC Income advisers, who have agreed to offer only the low cost insurance and funds. As they earn a small commission, you should not expect them to spend too much time visiting your home. Discuss with them by e-mail or telephone, or visit their office.

Some other people have recommended unit trusts available thorugh Poems (Phillips Securities), Fundsupermart, DollarDex and Finantiq. I agree with the use of these internet portals, but you should choose the low cost funds.

See this FAQ:

You can read the following FAQs on how to buy insurance directly:

People will buy insurance

For decades, insurance professionals have held the view that "insurance has to be sold". People will not buy insurance on their own. The solution was to train insurance agents and pay them high commission to sell the insurance products.

Times have changed. People will buy insurance for the following reasons:

1. They want to be protected financially against the risk of death or disability
2. They want to save and earn a good return for the future
3. They will buy an insurance product that gives good value to them.
4. They need to find someone that they can trust.

In my blog and website, I will educate people about the good value products, including the following:

1. Term insurance
2. Personal accident insurance
3. Low cost, diversified investment funds

Tan Kin Lian

Low cost funds

You can buy low cost funds directly through the following internet portals:

a) Poems,
b) Fundsupermart
c) DollarDex
d) Finantiq

More details at:

Low cost Personal Accident

You should buy a Personal Accident insurance to cover 5 years of your income. If you earn $30,000 a year, you can insure for $150,000.

This policy will cover death and permanent disability caused by accidents, as follows:

a) Amount payable on death: $150,000
b) Double indemnity under certain circumstances: $300,000
c) Permanent disablement: depending on extent of disability, up to $150,000
d) Temporary Disablement: $150 a day, up to 104 weeks
e) Medical Expenses: up to a specified amount for any one accident
f) Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation

An accident is usually defined as being caused by an external, violent, unexpected event. This is intended to exclude claims for illness or poor health.

The standard policy will usually exclude pre-existing physical or mental defects,
pregnancy and childbirth, war risks, motorcycling, climbing or mountaineering necessitating ropes or guides, judo, karate and some hazardous sports. You can pay a higher premium rate to cover some of these risks.

The annual premium for a sum assured of $150,000 varies from $100 to $300, depending on your occupation and on the insuranced company that provide the insurance.

More details can be found at:

Big change in Taiwan over 32 years

My last visit to Taiwan was 32 years ago. The tourist guide explained the many restrictions under martial law. Strict action was taken against dissenters. People were put behind bars for minor offenses.

Today, the situation has changed considerably in Taiwan. People are free to express their views. Democracy thrived. People are more confident, more courteous, more relaxed. They enjoy life.

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