Saturday, September 04, 2010

Property bubble

Malaysia also face the same challenge of preventing speculation in property.

Car and flooding

This reader has an innovative idea on how to save your car from flooding of the basement car park.

Mortgage Loans

Posted at request of Vinod Nair,
So you're looking at buying a property and come to realize that you need to get a home loan as well. You call a banks' hotlines, only to speak with a generic customer service rep who's not specialized in home loans. You then wait to be directed to someone who IS a mortgage specialist in the bank, and then have to comprehend a whole lot of mortgage jargon. Even when the banker gives you the rate packages available, you're not sure how exactly it matches up to the other banks and whether you're getting the best deal. Then you call the next bank and go through the same process again. is Singapore's first Online Mortgage Comparison Platform that allows consumers to directly compare rates and packages from all major banks. All the latest rates and packages are consolidated and available directly Our Home Loan Wizard allows you to calculate monthly and cumulative interest payments, and rates them from lowest cumulative interest to highest. You can also set your interest calculation period from 1-3 years also if you plan to refinance your loan in the future.

If you currently have an outstanding mortgage, you can save thousands with The refinancing calculator helps you calculate exactly how much you stand to save if you refinance your home loan to any of the current packages. 

Other Loans
SmartLoans also helps you get the best deal for Commercial Property LoansRenovation LoansCash Out Refinancing,Education Loans and Business Loans
Check out now!

Land at Gerrards Cross, UK

Hello Mr Tan
A company is currently offering land in Gerrards Cross in the UK to investors via Friday evening sales events at some of the major hotels in Singapore and Malaysia. Apparently if you buy land at these  events you may get a free Apple IPad computer. 
According to this Freedom of Information request below the land being sold  is green belt and protected until at least  2026. South Bucks  say they have enough land to meet housing requirements until that time.  
I wonder if this information which is clearly in the public domain and must be known to the marketeer, is being disclosed to investors at these events ?  
    You have a new response to the Freedom of Information request
    'Status Of Land In Gerrards Cross' that you made to South Bucks
    District Council.
    To view the response, click on the link below.
    When you get there, please update the status to say if the response
    contains any useful information.
    Although all responses are automatically published, we depend on
    you, the original requester, to evaluate them.

Family3 for a child

A parent bought a Family3 policy for a child. He was attracted to the limited 10 year payment and the series of cash bonus and survival benefits, but was not aware about the cost of the insurance. Here is an analysis of the policy and the alternative of investing the same sum of money in a low cost investment fund.

Go to (search for Family3).

What is Talent?

Read this article.

My view
The word "talent" was invented to provide excuse for excessive greed and predatory practices of people earning obscene incomes, e.g. the talented people who created the derivative products and swaps or professionals who charge excessive fees. It was also used to fool the local people to accept foreigners to work in Singapore on favorable terms, while the locals have to bear the burden of national service.

Insurance CEO quits

Read this report

My view
It is important for the top leadership of a life insurance company to be stable, so that their policyholders can some measure of certainty on their long term savings. If the top leaders can "jump ship" or make changes to established practices, the uncertainty will be bad for the policyholders. To avoid this uncertainty, consumers should take control of their long term savings, by investing in a transparent, flexible fund. They should avoid locking their savings in a insurance policy that has a high penalty on withdrawal.

Read my book, Practical Guide on Financial planning.

Elections in Singapore

Read this article.


Read this article.

Friday, September 03, 2010


Protecting privileges.

Wage inequality

Robert Reich said that to fix the economy, we have to end wage inequality. I agree with his views. If the wage disparity is wide, those at the lower income levels do not have enough money to spend. There is no need to produce the goods. The economy must reduce in size.

Population of 5 million

Read this article.

My view
To achieve the growth in population, there is a need for public services to be expanded as well. I hope that the essential services can now be expanded to match the larger population.

5 book bundle [3]

You can buy this bundle of 5 popular books at an attractive discount of 40%. If you have bought some of the books, you can pass them or sell them to a friend. Do not miss this offer. Order at iShop or click on icon at the right panel.

e-Post Office

A citizen complained that the service of Sing Post has turned from good to bad. It is difficult for him to post a letter. He liked Sing Post to provide more letter boxes and collect and deliver mails on weekends.

It is time for us to consider a new way to deliver mail. It is better to have mail delivered through an e-Post Office. Read about this idea in The Bright Town story here. Here is the prototype of the Bright Town portal.

Focus on core services, SingPost

Letter published in St Times Online

I REFER to Monday's letter by Mr Andrew Soh ("SingPost should focus on core services") and regret to say that our postal service is going from good to bad.

Since I wrote about having to walk 800m and climb two overhead bridges to post a letter and to solve the mailing woes of condominium residents last year, SingPost removed that mailbox in River Valley Grove early this year for no apparent reason. 

Now I have to walk a longer distance to post a letter. I still believe that collecting and delivering ordinary mail from condo residents increases productivity.

The stated mission of SingPost on its website is to provide services for its customers through the most reliable and efficient domestic and global networks. I am not sure whether the move to withdraw delivery on Saturday, reducing the number of postboxes and offering declining quality services to customers work towards that mission.

 The latest financial report of SingPost revealed that despite its efforts to expand its retail and logistics service businesses to boost revenues, the return was about 45 per cent of its total revenues.

Would it be better if SingPost leaves the retail and logistic services to the respective key business players and focuses on improving its core services for customers?

Perhaps SingPost should ramp up its postal service operation to rival international competitors like DHL and Federal Express.

Paul Chan

My view
It is better for some services to be considered as public services. I will be writing an article about the role of public services, the need to be efficient and operate on cost recovery basis.They should not be turned into profit oriented enterprises.

Advice to a college bound son

Read this letter from a parent, who is a financial planner.

My view
I hope that many young people will read this letter and follow the good tips.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Financial Crisis

Relevance of Tommy Wong’s book

Three years ago, the world plunged into the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Will this kind of crisis happen again in the future? To be able to answer this question, you need to understand the mindset of the bankers. To this end, you are recommended to read the chapter “Conversation with Guru Dick” in Tommy Wong’s book “Wisdom on How to Live Life”. 


I have a lot of trouble in configuring my Android phone to use Wireless@SG. If you found it easy, please write to

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Survey - National Day Rally Speech

The survey report has now been updated to show the views of 100 respondents. Go to and search for "Rally"

MS SQL 2008

I need the assistance of an expert to configure MS SQL 2008. Please send e-mail to

Singapore Index Fund

The Singapore Index Fund is invested to track the ST Index. This can be bought in SGX like an ETF. I was told that it can also be bought like a unit trust. The annual management fee for this fund is 0.55% (i.e. slightly higher than  0.3% for StateStreet and 0.28% for DBS). However, being a unit trust, it allows smaller quantities to be bought, instead of 1,000 units in an ETF. If you have personal experience in investing in this fund, please share it.

Case study - Family3

In this case study, I analyze the features of a new life insurance policy called the Family3. Go to and search for "Family3"

Insuring the unexpected

Read my FAQ on "Insuring the Unexpected". It is available at (search for this title).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Towering Malaysian of yesteryear

It is interest to read about Malaysians and Singaporeans of the Merdeka generation. They have ideals of a democratic and socially just country that looks after the welfare of the people. Read this story to learn about what are these ideals.

In the mid 1970s, I visited Skrine & Co in Kuala Lumpur on a legal matter. I met James Puthuchery. I knew at that time that he was exiled from Singapore, but did not know his background or his beliefs. It is nice to read about the ideals of this person, more than 35 years later.

One angry citizen

Hi Mr Tan,
I deliberately left the house when PM Lee made his National Day Rally speech live because I don't want to end up smashing my TV set. His usual condescending smile/laughter alone to is enough to enrage me.

Reading the transcript later, I'm glad I did what I did. As expected, PM Lee pretends to "understand" the plight of ordinary S'poreans. The fact that he said "if you can't board a train, the next train is just minutes away" betrays his pretentions. It is not just overcrowded trains/buses S'poreans have to endure. The entire infrastructure is bursting at the seam. A significant proportion of primary schools, junior college and university places have been taken up by foreigners/PRs/new citizens. S'poreans place a lot of importance on having a good education, yet the PAP govt doesn't think it necessary to ensure that S'poreans should get absolute priority in this area. MOE's position on P1 registration is baffling. On the one hand it claims all primary schools are equally equiped (thus implying they are of the same standards) and that there are sufficient places for all. Yet it refuses to make PRs queue behind S'poreans for P1 registration.

It is now crowded everywhere. There is shortage of hospital beds, long waiting times at polyclinics, crowded hawker centres, long queues at govt agencies. The list goes on and on. Obviously, our mutli-millionaire ministers are not impacted by these at all. They and their families get priority for everything in this country. They can afford to eat at exclusive restaurants, get first-class medical treatment at private clinics/hospitals, their homes are guarded by burly Gurkha guards, they get special police protection, etc.

Story of Bright Town

You can get a soft copy of my book, Story of Bright Town. It will be published in It tells the story about how a fictitious Bright Town introduced a portal to provide e-government services for its citizens. Feel free to download the soft copy and give your feed back to (Latest > Story of Bright Town)

Einstein Quiz - enhanced

Einstein created a logic quiz with 5 houses. It was quite challenging to solve.
I have now created a quiz that uses 7 houses. It has more combination and clues.
Can you solve it?

National Day Rally - some views

Moving, inclusive speech

SIX years ago, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's maiden National Day Rally speech,
I was moved to write a letter to the Forum page ('Govt critic won over by speech'; Aug 25, 2004).
Now, six years later, after listening to his marathon speech
delivered with more panache, pride and a touch of humour,
I am moved once again to offer my gut-feel response.
Patrick Low

Good work on education front

I AM a third-generation Singaporean. On Sunday, our family of four sat down together
and heard the entire speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He spoke with passion about improving on Singapore's already 'very good' education system
and offering more choices.
V. Balu

Recognition for NSmen

I applaud the Government's move to give more concrete recognition to our national servicemen
through a $9,000 National Service Recognition Award.

Fine tribute
PM Lee agreed with those who lamented that the younger generation knew so little
about former deputy prime minister Goh Keng Swee.
It was a fitting gesture to name the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) premier training institute
and a new education complex after Dr Goh.

YOG connection
I was heartened to note the steps taken by the Government
to nurture students with different abilities
by tapping their varied potential through different avenues and bringing out their best.

Missing element
I am encouraged by PM Lee's message that we are slowly gearing towards recognising
and developing the different talents that all of us have.

My Take on the ND Rally .....  ( Lucky Tan )

The Speech That Need Not Be Delivered

PM Lee’s National Day Rally Speech 2010 — James Bond is in town!

Case study - Investment Link Policy

Read the case study of an investment link policy proposed to a consumer in 2008. It contains some issues raised by consumer - for which I gave the answers. (Latest tab)

Direct link:

Wordle and PM' Rally Speech

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Death Penalty

Read this article.

My view
Perhaps, as a first step, we should leave it to the discretion of the judge whether the crime merits the death penalty. It should not be mandatory for the death penalty to be imposed.

Danger of Online Gambling

Read this article.

My view
If you gamble online, you do not know if the online website is running the game fairly. You could be cheated!

FISCA Educational Talks [2]

I gave my 3rd talk on Financial Planning - A Practical Guide on 28 August 2010. It was attended by 35 participants. About half of them were young people, who are interested to know about financial planning - before they buy the wrong financial products!

This turned out to be my most successful talk. I received e-mails from 3 participants expressing their appreciation - more than for my previous talks.

Dear Mr Tan Kin Lian
Thank you for the excellent talk. Here is a photo to share:
Note: if you have difficulty to see this photo, try right-click and open a new tab.

I was able to update the talk with my FAQ on "exchange traded funds" and also to give an exercise on how to do the calculations. This made the talk more interesting. I encourage members who have attended the talk before to attend again, and get the new information. You can also attend the talk on "Invest for the Long Term".

Survey: Mio TV

I invite subscribers of Mio TV to take part in this survey.

Young and in debt

Young and in debt

My view
Young people should avoid getting into debt, including car loan. The worst is debt on credit card. They have to pay a high interest rate. This is covered in my talk on Financial Planning, arranged under FISCA,

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