Saturday, January 22, 2011

Can a Malaysian resident be insured under Private Shield?

Dear Mr. Tan,
I worked in Singapore for more than 20 years as a permanent resident. After my retirement, I returned to Malaysia as the cost of living is lower. I have been insured under Enhanced Incomeshield from NTUC Income for many years and has continued to pay the annual premium after I retired. I wish to keep this insurance for the rest of my life, as I intend to use the medical facilities in Singapore in the future. 

There is a chance that my permanent residency in Singapore will not be extended. If this happens, can I continue to be insured under Enhanced Incomeshield? Is there a condition that it is only available to people living in Singapore?

If you pay the premium and it is accepted, you have the right to make a claim under the policy. There is no restriction on residency. The only restriction that I am aware of is that the hospital treatment must be in Singapore (and this appears to be your intention anyway). I understand that under some circumstances, you may be able to claim for hospitalistion outside Singapore, but I am not clear about what the situation is.

It is best that you read the policy condition with a fine comb and let me know if you find any wording that may be cast doubt on the extent of the cover. If you find the wording, you can send them to me for my interpretation.

I will also try to get information from other sources and will let you know if there are some problems that I am now not aware of.

Financial planning - sample at age 35

If you are 35 years old, you are likely to have just started a family. Are you having a good financial plan to take care of your family and your own savings needs for retirement? It is still not too late for you can make a review of your financial situation and change your plan for the future.

Here is a sample financial plan for a person at age 35. You can study it and understand the importance of getting a good yield on your investment (i.e. at least 4% p.a., compared to 2% p.a.). You should also study the yield that you are getting on your life insurance policy, especially if it represents the major portion of your personal savings. You should also see the monthly income that can be generated from your savings, AFTER adjusting for inflation.

You can do your own financial plan, using your past and monthly savings, and see how much you can have at retirement.

Low procreation - failure of Singapore leaders

Low procreation is a real threat in Singapore with the footloose and fancy-free young reluctant to sacrifice their comfortable way of life and leisure time to bring up the next generation.

TWO eye-catching headlines this past week read: “One million residents – or one in three – are single” and “Fertility rate sank to lowest in history”.

They may sound alarming but are just an update of Singapore’s long-term demographic plight, which appears to be deteriorating sharply despite a strong economic surge.

Take care of your customer

I used a server at a data center operated by a company called Skydio two years ago. Their service was excellent and their charges were reasonable. Skydio was bought over by another company X a few months ago.

I had a difficult time with X. Due to the inexperience of their staff, I encountered several problems. On each occasion, their staff were focused on pushing the responsibility to the customer, rather than solving the problem, and tell the customer about the additional fee to rectify the problem. When asked, the staff were not aware about the fees. In most cases, the fees are rather high. I consider that they are holding the customer to ransom, as the server is critical  for the operation.

Recently, I transferred my domain name from a previous hosting company to X. I only wanted to reduce the hassle of managing my domain names at several places. What should have been a simple operation turned out to be a nightmare. The staff of X did not handle the transfer completely. It resulted in my website being down for 2 days and my mail server down for 5 days. During this time, I had to call their support center and sales staff on more than 1 dozen occasions. They did not reply to several calls or e-mails. When we got through, their staff kept saying that there would be additional charge for each service.

I finally agreed to pay a ransom price of $54 to update 3 records to rectify the problem. This is additional cost that I would not have to pay if I had remained with the previous provider.

Many companies in Singapore are focused on increasing their revenue at the expense of the customer. This is why the cost of doing business is so high in Singapore. I wonder if some of these companies give hassle to the customer on purpose, so that they have the opportunity to levy additional fees. The culture of fleecing the customer or the public seemed to be quite prevalent in Singapore.

It is a simple matter for me to change the service provider at the end of the contract or even to incur the additional cost of early termination. But I wanted to share this experience, so that our leaders are aware about how bad things have become in Singapore over the past decade.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, January 21, 2011

Should lawyers be held accountable?

Dear Mr. Tan,
In recent years, many consumers have been cheated on land banking plots, gold bars, spas and other scams. Most of these scams involve legal documents that were drafted by big name law firms in Singapore and were created to help the creators of these scams to avoid prosecution. Surely, the lawyers know that they are abetting their clients to cheat the public?

When the scams finally failed, the culprits have absconded with the money and could not be found. However,  the law firms that were involved with these crooks are still around. Can these law firms be charged for abetting the crime? Should the government authority take action?

Yes, it is the duty of the Government to stop crime and protect the general public from being cheated. The lawyers who were involved should be held accountable to explain their action. The Law Society should also act against these law firms, so that the public can have respect for lawyers as people with honor and integrity and use their legal training in the interest of justice. They should not be acting for crooks to cheat the public.

Harassed over an old case

A consumer received a letter from a lawyer acting for a motor workshop for a motor accident that occurred more than 6 years ago. The consumer was not clear about the validity of the case and sought my advice.

I advised the consumer to take the following steps:

  • Ask the lawyer to state the facts of the claim clearly in writing
  • To ask them to confirm that they have a valid case
  • To ask them for explanation on the delay in submitting the claim
  • To send the letter to me.
It seemed that lawyers can be acting in a manner to harass the public. It is quite sad that a consumer can be saddled with this type of situation in Singapore and if they get legal advice, they can be charged an unexpected large bill. They do not seem to be any agency that the consumer can turn to for help and advice. 

What has Singapore become? A place for professionals and crooks to go around to make money at the expense of the general public?

Tan Kin Lian

Read a PDF at TKL website

The TKL website is built as a PDF centric website. It uses PDF to contain information. Most of the PDF are created from Microsoft Word and can have attractive layout and images stored in a single document.

When the user click on "View" to see a PDF, by default it is displayed at the maximum zoom level. I prefer the 75% zoom level. I learned that you can set the default zoom level as follows: Go to Adobe Acrobat > Edit > Preference > Page Layout, and select this zoom level. All future PDFs will be displayed with this default.

Scam e-mails

I receive this type of rubbish e-mail several times a day. I hope that the authority of the various countries will one day pass a law to declare this type of activity to be illegal, i.e. an intent to cheat. This will help to reduce the incidence of such activities, even if the authority is not able to catch the culprits.

Your mail ID was given 650,000.00 GBP In our Premier Oil Promo, Send Your

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Engage a lawyer

Some consumers receive a shock when they get a bill from a lawyer for the legal or litigation work. The fees are exorbitant and way above what the consumer expected. Here are a few tips on how to avoid this dilemma.

Explanation on Financial Planning Projection

You can get a financial plan from this link.

You can get an explanation for the projection here. If you do not understand the projection, you can consult on e of the two experts listed in the FAQ. They will give an explanation of the key figures in the projection. If you understand the figures, you will be able to make a better decision on how to manage your own financial future.

Remembering Dr. Goh Keng Swee

Dr. Goh Keng Swee was the deputy Prime Minister in the 1970s. He was the person responsible for building up the economic and social foundation that contributed to the success and vibrancy of Singapore today.

I know Dr. Goh personally and wish to point out his great qualities:

  • He is frugal and does not waste money
  • He uses his common sense and do not rely on advice of consultants and bankers
The bankers wanted Singapore to open up its economy and internationalize the Singapore dollar. Dr. Goh knew the risk of allowing these bankers to have their way. They could play the currency and destroy an economy. Dr. Goh would also not spend tens of millions of dollars in paying consultants to advice on decisions that can be made by common sense. He is frugal anyway.

It is quite sad that many or our leaders today are willing to pay a lot of money in engaging consultants or paying for expensive infrastructure, so that they do not have to decide and take responsibility for their decision. The big expenses, whether by the state or the commercial enterprises, must surely be reflected in the higher prices that are paid by consumers, adding to the huge increase in the cost of living. I wish that Dr. Goh is still around to stop these wasteful expenditures.

Tan Kin Lian

Highway construction

My friend from Europe told me this story. The head of the ministry of works of an European country attended a prestigious US business program and met his counterpart from an African country.

One day, the African was invited to visit the home of his European counterpart. It was a grand and impressive house. The African asked the European friend how he could afford such an expensive house.  The friend pointed out to the newly build highway not far away from the home and said "Do you see the new highway? It takes only a small portion of the budget to pay for this house".

The following year, the European visited the African country and was invited to the home of his African friend. It was a palace, much grander and more expensive than his home in Europe. He asked the African how he could afford it.

The African said, "Can you see the highway out there?". The European looked out and said, "But there is no highway. I only see jungle". The African pointed to his palace and said, "Well, it's here".

Tan Kin Lian

North South Expressway

The Government has announced the plan to build the North South Expressway. It will cost $7 to $8 billion and will be ready by 2020.

I believe that an elevated expressway will be less costly and take a shorter time to build .Many cities have adopted the elevated rather than the underground approach. Are we spending too much money, when there is a cheaper option?

12 years ago, I wrote to the Minister of Transport to propose a second level for the Central Expressway. He replied that it would be difficult to build the access roads to the elevated expressway. I may not be a road engineer, but I believe that it can be done. It would be easier, quicker, less costly and more practical to have a second level CTE.

Unfortunately, this type of decisions are taken by the policy makers and the  planners, without much discussion with the people who have to pay for it (through our taxes and cost of living) and to use it daily.

Tan Kin Lian

A good life insurance policy

I have often been asked, "is this a good life insurance policy?"

If this policy is being sold to you by an agent, you can be 90% sure that it is a bad policy. The agent (who can also have a title such as financial adviser or consultant) is likely to offer you a policy that requires you to pay a big monthly premium and gives you a poor yield. But the agent will sound impressive, as he or she has been specially trained in marketing and telling (exaggerating) the benefits of the policy.

Here is a simple test: if the policy provides pure protection (i.e against death or critical illness), ask the agent to get you a comparison of the premium rates charged by other insurance policies on similar policies. You should pay an annual premium of not more than $500. If the agent is not willing to provide this service, or does not give a fair or clear comparison of the comparable products, DO NOT TRUST THE AGENT!

If the life insurance policy is intended to give you a return on your savings, you should calculate the reduction in yield on the policy. This is the difference between the gross yield used in the projection (which could be 5%, 9%, 5.25% or 3.75%) and the net yield produced by the cash value. If the policy is for a long term, take the cash value at 25 years. If it is for a shorter term, take the cash value at that shorter duration.

You can calculate the net yield using an Excel spreadsheet of financial calculator, as explained in this FAQ. If the reduction in yield is more than 1.5%, YOU MUST REJECT THE POLICY!

You will find, in nearly all cases, the reduction in yield to be much higher. It is typical for the reduction in yield to be 3.5% to 5% per annum. This leaves you with a gain that can hardly keep up with inflation.

Here is an example of how the consumer is usually deprived of a decent yield:

  • If a consumer saves $500 a month over 25 years, the accumulated premium should be $295,000
  • If the reduction in yield is 1.5%, the cash value should be $237,000
  • If the actual reduction is 4%, the cash value is $168,000
In the above example, your accumulated premium should be $295,000. By giving a cash value of l$168,000, the insurance company is taking away $127,000 from you over 25 years. This is too much to take away. A fair amount for the insurance company to take away (i.e .for the insurance cover and the investment service) is $58,000, leaving you with a cash value of $237,000. 

Do not buy a life insurance policy that pays you only $168,00 when the minimum that you should get is $237,000.

Tan Kin Lian

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cancelled credit card

Dear Mr. Tan
My wife cancelled her credit card with Standard Charted Bank in 2006.  It happened that there was a $25 credit in her favor.  So, for a few years, the bank kept sending monthly statements to her indicating that.  She eventually went down a year ago to a Standard Charted Bank branch (Marine Parade) to close her credit card account.  The bank sent her a cheque of $25 subsequently.  A few months later, she received a new Standard Charted credit card in the mail, unsolicited.  She cut up the card immediately.  Then, the monthly NIL return statements started to come in monthly.  

Today, she received a statement indicating a bill of $480 for the credit card annual fee.  She then had to spend 25 minutes waiting and talking to an Standard Chartered Bank operator about the whole incident and asked for the card to be canceled again!

Prepare your personal financial plan

You can prepare your personal financial plan (it's free) here.
The plan will be sent by e-mail to you.
You should study it carefully.
You can click on the link in the PDF to view the FAQs that can guide you.
You are also given two experts that you can ask to explain the financial plan for you.

What's so free about Singapore?

SGEP had an interesting editorial, entitled "What's so free about Singapore anyway?" The editor talked about several restrictions faced by people in Singapore in their daily lives. I want to give a different meaning to the word "free". In fact, there are so few free things in Singapore that we have to pay for many things .... Remember the phrase, "nothing is for free!".

Gold bar at an inflated value

My friend asked me about investing in gold bars 3 months ago. I advised him to avoid it, as I do not understand how it worked. He had already invested, but did not tell me at that time. He told me today that the company that promoted the label "TGL" did not honor their promise to buy back the gold bar at the invested value and had since ceased operation.

He is now stuck with the gold bar which has depreciated by about 15% in value, compared to his original investment. He had since learned that he had paid for for the gold bar at a price that was higher that its market value. The person who had sold the gold bar to him, being a friend, was also not aware about the inflated price and had also invested a lot of her own money.

I recall another case about a lady who was quite keen to invest in 2 kg of gold bar at $140,000. She sought my advice, I asked her to calculate the value of the gold bar by converting from kg to ounces, apply the world price expressed in USD in ounce and convert to SGD. She found that she would have lost nearly 20% of the invested sum, as the gold bar was priced at an inflated price. She decided not to invest in the gold bar. I must have saved her at least $20,000, by avoiding this bad investment.

I had asked her to make a donation to FISCA in return for my advice, if she found it to be valuable. Perhaps, she felt that my advice was not worth while so she did not make any donation. I am not able to recall who she was.

Tan Kin Lian

Here are my past blogs on investing in gold bars:

Let the State subsidise first 2 kids

Published in Straits Times Online Forum

THE total fertility rate in Singapore dropped to 1.16 last year, way below the replacement level of 2.1 ("Fertility figures hit all-time low"; Tuesday).

The decline in fertility rate has been observed for more than two decades. The Government had implemented many measures in past years aimed at increasing the fertility rate, but these have failed.

The Government has now opened its doors to immigration to increase the population and compensate for the low birth rate. While this is necessary in the short term, we need to find a better solution to produce more babies and raise them here.

The key reasons behind the low birth rate, based on public feedback, are the cost and stress of raising children, the long working hours and financial insecurity felt by many families due to the uncertainty of jobs, and the cost of living.

I suggest the following measures to address the concerns:

  • Each family, comprising both parents who are Singapore citizens, should be allowed to raise two children with the cost largely borne by the State.
  • The cost should include delivery of babies, nursing care, childcare and schooling fees, and medical expenses of the child.
  • The mother should be given an adequate allowance if she has to stop working to look after the child, until the child goes to school.

The system can replace the generous parenthood tax rebates that are now given out. As the previous approach has failed to produce the intended results, we should now try a new approach, in the long-term interest of our country.

Tan Kin Lian

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marketing of personal loans by banks

I received two calls on my mobile phone for marketing people of the banks selling their personal loans. I told them that they are not allowed to call my mobile phone for their marketing of their products. It is terrible that the marketing people can disturb the public in this manner. Don't we have some ethics and respect for people's privacy? I don't know why our banks now behave in this despicable manner, and why the authority stand by and allow these type of practices to continue without restraint.

Tan Kin Lian

I receive marketing information by e-mail regularly I do not object to this mode of marketing. I can delete off the materials. But, marketing by mobile phone is objectionable and is an invasion of privacy. I hope that our MPs  know the difference between what is acceptable and what is not and they have time, within the busy schedule and multiple duties, to do their duty as MPs.

Lower fees for ETF

A price war is cutting expenses to the bone on index-tracking exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. And that suits Harold Evensky fine.
"It's great," said the Coral Gables, Fla., financial adviser, who makes those funds a mainstay in his portfolios. "My clients get the benefit."
For a long time, traditional index funds were the vehicle of choice for cost-conscious investors, but now the ETF marketplace holds the lowest fees and most intense cost competition. Industry giants including Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc., Charles Schwab Corp. and State Street Corp. are racing to see who can cut expenses the fastest, vying for ...

Trust and integrity

Hi Mr. Tan
Heard about this, but don't know how true is the report. There is a brokerage remiser whose clients defaulted on $1m stock losses, remiser could not pay, so his firm sued him for $2m. The incident happened during the recent financial crisis 2008.

This means the poor remiser has to pay $1m in interests within a span of two years. Owing to lack of consumer protection here in Singapore, this means we have to scrutinize all contracts with a fine comb, at the bottom in small wordings, there may be predatory terms that would bound us unfairly. A warning to all property mortgagees on mortgage loans, with its complicated 
tructured loans, now we may have to engage lawyers to assess them, better pay to have peace of mind, we don't want to be ridiculed for not going in with eyes open, should something untoward happens. We are living in a world where trust and integrity have gone to the dogs.

My views
I think that interest may take up 10% to 20% but the rest of the money is for paying legal fees. Lawyers can be very, very expensive. The court should impose some cap on the legal fees in such matters. It cannot be "charge as they like".

Financial planning at retirement

Most people think that the young people should have a financial plan, as they have a lifetime ahead of them. They may overlook the importance of a financial plan for a person who is approaching retirement. Having accumulated their savings, they now need to know how to invest the savings to get a good return. Is a life annuity the answer?

Here is a sample financial plan prepared for a retiree at age 60. It shows the amount that the retiree can get assuming yields at various rates of interest. You should take the yield at 4% and compare the amount, before adjusting for inflation, with the amount payable by a life annuity. If the life annuity pays an amount that is better than the payout under 4% yield, it should be all right to buy the life annuity. This assumes that the life expectancy of a person at age 65 is about 20 years, which should be quite correct.

You can also use the financial planning tool to calculate the amount that is relevant to your own personal situation.

Tan Kin Lian

SGEP Editorial

A new editorial will be posted in SGEP later today. It is written by my co-editor, who had put in a lot of work and time to write this excellent summary. It is blunt and direct and focus on the important issues that citizens should consider at the forthcoming general election.

Avoid all types of unregulated investments

Hi, I was approached by a marketing person from X offering the purchase of a plot of 100 sq m land at Romford, London. In your opinion is this a scam and is this X a reliable company?

My advice is to avoid all types of unregulated investments, including land banking plots. ALL TYPES!

A broad mind - look for what is right

In the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" two Jews in a village were arguing over a matter and they approached the rabbi to solve the dispute.

The rabbi heard the first Jew and said, "you are right". He then heard the second Jew and said, "you are right". A third Jew, who was observing the event asked the rabbi, "How was it possible for the first Jew to be right and the second Jew to be also right?". The rabbi replied to the third Jew, "you are also right".

The rabbi looked for what is right and not what is wrong. This is called "a positive mindset". Many Singaporeans are not aware that of this approach and only know how to look for "what is wrong".

Tan Kin Lian

A narrow mind and judgmental

Many Singaporeans have a peculiar mindset that is probably produced by our environment  - narrow minded and judgmental. Let me illustrate it with this example.

I wrote a blog about the unrest in Tunisia. I had visited Tunisia on two occasions and found a great deal of similarity in the political structure of Tunisia and Singapore, which I described in my blog. I was aware that there must also be many differences, but I did not cover them because of my ignorance and my intent to focus on the similarity.

Someone criticized me personally in another blog, arguing that I was "wrong" in judging the situation between Tunisia and Singapore. This person followed a certain mindset:
  • Interpret what was not there, i.e. that I had implied that the situation was exactly the same in both countries, and attacked the interpretation
  • Pass judgement, that I was "wrong"
I like to ask my readers to be broad minded in reading my views. If you have a different perspective, you can express your own views. You do not have to pass judgment on my views, especially when you have not clarified what my views are. Who are you to judge?

Tan Kin Lian

Make tax system simpler for rented-out property

My letter on tax for rented out property is published in the Straits Times

Financial plan

Prepare a financial plan for your own personal situation. It is suitable for a young person who has recently started work and also a person who is approaching retirement. Learn the difference to your retirement income if you are able to earn a higher yield on your investment and also the impact of inflation. The application is available here,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book - Get value from your Life Insurance

Here is the flyer for my book, "Get Value from your Life Insurance". The book is expected to be launched in mid February 2011.

Neale Donald Walsch and Tommy Wong’s books

If you like Neale Donald Walsch’s books “Conversations with God”, the chances are that you will also like Tommy Wong’s books “Wisdom on How to Live Life” because both sets of books are written in amusing dialogue format and both advocate similar spiritual concepts.

Tommy Wong’s books are currently on promotion and can be ordered here.

Beautiful cloud formation

Watch this beautiful cloud formation in Australia. Contributed by Mike Hansford.

A few people have recommended the use of I tried it and found it to be very good, perhaps better than Google Maps Singapore. You can enter, for example, "Promenade MRT to Marina Bay Sands" and it shows the map, bus service, travel time and fare.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Distance based fare

I benefited from the new distance based fare on a bus trip from Marina Bay Sands to Stamford Road (to change to the MRT line). In the dark, I got down the bus 2 stops ahead of City Hall MRT. Realising my mistake, I took the next bus for the 2 stops. On alighting the bus, I found that the fare charged by the second bus was $0.00 as the fare for the total distance travelled was already covered by the fare deducted from the first bus.

Although this would appear to be a good idea, I felt that it was unnecessary and wasteful to incur the expenses of changing to the distance based fare. It would have been sufficient to increase the transfer rebate under the old system. The high cost of changing the system must be reflected in the higher fares that commuters have to pay over the long run.

Tan Kin Lian

Countdown timer at pedestrian crossing

The countdown timer at pedestrian crossing is now quite common in Singapore. It is useful in telling the pedestrian the time left before the light change from green to red.

I first saw the countdown timer in China about 20 years ago. I felt that it was a great idea and should be implemented in Singapore. Someone wrote to the newspaper to suggest this timer be installed. I remembered the official reply at that time - it was unnecessary and could be counter-productive. I could not understand the reasoning at that time, but felt that it was typical of the kind of convoluted thinking that was quite common in Singapore.

The official view was quietly changed many years later, and we now see the useful timer in many places.

Tan Kin Lian

New tyres at the rear

If you change two new tyres, put the new tyres at the rear of the vehicle and move the old tyres to the front.

Google Maps Singapore

I had difficulty in using the journey planner from SBS and SMRT. A friend suggested that I use Google Maps. I tried it and the experience is positive. This is what I did:

  • I searched for Google Map Singapore
  • I select the destination, i.e. Marina Bay Sands, MICE
  • I chose "Direction" and picked the nearly MRT stations, i.e. Promenade and Marina Bay.
  • I found that it is better to take the bus from Promenade, as the walking time to the station is 1 min and the journey is 3 mins. I would have to walk 5 mins to the bus stop at Marina Bay stations
Well done to Google. They really know how to provide the best technology and make things simple to the public. Our planners in Singapore should attend Google school.

I tried the same approach with my Android phone. It worked in the same way. I now know how to use this app on the mobile phone. It is wonderful.

Tan Kin Lian

4 year SGD Interest Rate Linked Structure Deposit

My wife showed me a brochure of the above structured deposit from a local bank. It comprised of 9 pages of detail. I told her not to invest in any complicated structured product, as she may not be aware of a catch.

The structured deposit offers an interest rate of 1.2%, 1.3%, 1.4% and 1.5% during the 4 years respectively. It gives the bank the option to call back the deposit at any half year period. The investor stands the risk of being locked up with the low yield if interest rate increases and the risk of being redeemed if interest rate drops further. There is no way that the investor can estimate the chance of either event. This structured deposit is not covered by the Government guaranty on deposits. There is a risk of total loss, in the event of failure of the bank. While this is small, the paltry yield does not merit it.

It is better for the investor to buy a government bond which will probably give the same yield with lower risk. It is a neater arrangement.

I hope that our banks and corporations will issue a straight forward corporate bond with a yield that is higher than government bond, and avoid all the complicated structures and options.

Tan Kin Lian

SAIL policy

Dear Mr. Tan,
I am 55 year old and not working. Is NTUC SAIL plan suitable for me? Thanks

I am not familiar with this policy. Here are some negative comments about the policy, but I am not sure if the comments are fair or accurate:

Journey planner to Marina Bay Sands

I have to attend a dinner at Marina Bay Sands. I tried to use the journey planner from SBS and SMRT to get to Marina Bay Sands from the Promenade or Marina Bay stations. It was quite a hassle to use these complicated planners. I do not understand why the Land Transport Authority allows these two operates to operate different websites with different structures. Perhaps LTA should build an integrated website and make it easier to use.

Beware of scams

I receive this type of proposal often. They are scams. Sometimes, I get several in a day.

Good day dear Friend,
I am Sir Jonathan Yishai Baruch presently undergoing medical treatment in
doctor's hospital Bahamas. I worked with the British Oil Industry, East
London for over a decade and I was married for fifteen years without a
child. My wife died after a long illness that lasted for two years. I
vowed to use my wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in the
society, and I am contacting you in regards to my proposition. I am
looking for a God fearing and trustworthy person who I can bequeath the
responsibility of making judicious use of my wealth in helping the down
trodden and under privileged one's in our society and the world at large,
while this will be of immense benefit to such an individual as well.
Unfortunately the doctors here have just confirmed my situation that I
will not live long I have decided to give out my money to the poor. I
deposited the sum of 20,000,000 (Twenty Million Great British Pounds) with
my Bank, this money is still there. This is purely intended to bring
succor to the helpless and as such, a well trusted personality is required
so please, get back to me using my direct contact below if you consider
yourself competent and qualified to fit the above described profile and if
interested to commit your time and resource to this project.

Letter to SGEP

Do you have a letter to write to SGEP? You can give your views as a citizen or resident of Singapore. If you have sent a letter to the main papers and they do not accept it, you can send the letter to

Manage the financial needs of elderly parents

The Sunday Times have a good article on how you can manage the financial needs of your elderly parents.

I wish to focus on the option called "do it yourself". First, you can ask your parent to generate a financial plan using the available savings. This free service can be found in Prepare Your Financial Plan in this website. This financial plan will show you the retirement income (based on 20 years draw-down) after age 65, at various yields. You can compare the income against what is offered by other investment choices, such as a life annuity.

Your comparison should be based on the income "before adjusting for inflation" as the other options are also unadjusted. Pay special attention to the fact that the retirement income depends on the yield that can be obtained from the investment.

You are likely to get a yield of at least 4% by investing in an indexed fund over the next 20 years. This is explained in my book on financial planning. Your parent should also attend the educational talks organised by FISCA.  Even if your parent wish to invest in a life annuity, it is a good idea to get the benchmark to compare if the life annuity offers an attractive yield.

Tan Kin Lian

Property Tax and Income Tax

The Government has introduced a progressive rate system for owner occupied property. Perhaps they should extend this system for rented out properties as well, and remove property income from the income tax returns. This will relieve the tax payer from the complexity of computing the net rental income from properties, after deducting the expenses.

Tan Kin Lian

Red Nano

Someone told me that Red Nano, funded by SPH, had ceased its operations due to high expenses and lack of revenue stream. Is this correct?

Gerald sent this to me:

Confusing banking services

I just sent this feedback to the customer service of DBS bank

Recently, I requested for Phone Banking service.

I received a mailer showing the ner PIN/password.
I find this mailing to be confusing.
This is a message below "For ATM card" indicating that I have to sign an acknowledement slip to be sent to you. I waited for this ackowledgement slip but it did not arrive. As an existing ATM card holder, I wondered if my request for Phone Banking PIN would have affected my existing ATM card

I just called your hotline and spoke to your staff. It seemed that this confusing message does not apply to me. If this is the case, why do you put this message into the mailer. How do you expect your customer to be able to know that it does not apply? Your banking services are now quite complicated. Do not make it worse by giving a mailer that adds to the confusion.

Tan Kin Lian

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