Saturday, April 16, 2011

Financial Savvy Test #26

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ
1. What is acceptable reduction in yield? Keyword: benchmark for reduction
2. How can I understand the structure of a life insurance policy? Keyword: structure

Mr. Brown show - One party (music video)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Singapore's future and the PAP

Read this article in SGEP. It was written a few years ago, by a 17 year old girl.

Leader Fatigue

Article posted in SGEP. The person who contributed the article said it has relevance to Singapore.

FISCA - login to new website

132 members login to the FISCA new website yesterday. Quite likely, they wanted to find out the analysis of the FISCA evaluation team on the Hyflux preference shares.

Login at
If you are a member, use your e-mail address to login and your new password (for the new website).
If you have not registered you new password, click on "forget password" and an e-mail will be sent to you to register your new password. You should also update your profile.

If you do wish to join as a member, go to the Register tab. If you have registered before, and your record has been removed, you can register again to be a member.

Tan Kin Lian

Financial Savvy Test #25

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. How can I best manage my personal risk? Keyword: personal risk
2. What do I really need to insure? Keyword: What needs to be insured?

Parent without health insurance

Hi Mr Tan,
My mother is 65 and is not covered under health insurance. I am not able to get insurance for her as she has pre existing high blood pressure, high cholestrol and dibaetes. She is under chronic medication. The last check up the doctor says that her cholestrol level and blood pressure is in normal range but still advise her to continue taking the medication.

I know Aviva has a Shield plan with moratorium by which we can apply under moratorum but all existing conditions will be excluded. I am wondering if it is still worth it to buy the shield plan as it now only covers illnesses that is not a result of the pre existing conditions. The premium for eldery is quite significant. Thanks for any advice.

There is no point in buying heatlh insurance where so many medical conditions are excluded.

Read these FAQs

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Singapore Airlines pricing policy

Singaporeans have to pay more for air fares out of Singapore, than the other way round. This is due to the pricing policy of Singapore Airlines, which is followed by other airlines. Read the article in TKL website or click here.

Financial Savvy Test #24

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. How can I buy life insurance prudently? Keyword be prudent
2. How to say “no” to an insurance agent? Keyword Say “no”

Review of “Wisdom on How to Live Life (Book 3)

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and true understanding of life, February 23, 2011 By Smudger "Spirituality"

I know of no other author who writes about the subjects contained in this book in the same way. Other books on spirituality tend to recycle the same old stuff, which although important, is neither new or fresh. 

He takes on such subjects as 'why we should take responsibility for our own actions' which seems to be the opposite of what happens today when hardly anybody assumes responsiblity for what they do. 

I particularly liked his thought that morality is important compared with having lots of money. He maintains, and I agree with him, that morality attached to your good name can live on, whereas having wealth obviously can not. He goes on to say that good deeds should be done for their own reward rather than the acclaim that sometimes follows. All in all 25 points are discussed, but for me, the most important was the topic 'why it is better to solve problems with spiritual rather than physical solutions'. 

If you want to be challenged in how you currently look at life and are prepared to look at things with new eyes, then do not hesitate to buy this book. You will never look at life in the same way again. You have been warned! 

Tommy Wong’s book can be ordered here.

Hyflux preference shares

An analysis by a FISCA expert on this preference shares is available to members after login to the FISCA website,

Hyflux preference shares

An analysis by a FISCA expert on this preference shares is available to members after login to the FISCA website,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NS and jobs

Return by asset class 1900 - 2010

Here are the return by asset class for various countries - real return, nominal return and inflation rate, for the period 1900t o 2010.  Globally, the real return on equity is 5.5% and on bond is 1.6%. See Ask Mr. Tan 

Hyflux Preference Shares

Hi Mr Tan
Can you give your views about subscribing to recent Hyflux preference shares. What is the risk? I understand that the dividend of 6%pa is not guaranteed. How different is this from DBS preference shares launched not too long ago.

I have asked an expert to evaluation this preference shares. His views will be posted in the member's section of FISCA website in a few days time. Please subscribe to be a member of FISCA now. Go to

The 3As of Awesome

The bonus myths - how paying for results backfire

Our corporate and government leaders are also paying big bonuses to themselves, based on performance.

Signs at MRT stations

I am confused with the Exit and Way Out signs at MRT stations. What do they mean, and why two different descriptions? Are they put up by two separate agencies, i.e. LTA and SMRT - each want their own way?

Here are the signs captured in the same station - City Hall.

Tan Kin Lian

Security checks at buildings

The security checks at most buildings in Singapore are carried out mindlessly. They require visitors to queue up, pass their ID for scanning or recording (or retention) and are given a visitors pass. They have to return the visitors pass to get back their ID on leaving the building.

This is intended for security but is tiresome for visitors. I am sure that a terrorist will know how to bypass the security checks. Even if a terrorist comes to the security desk, he is likely to be allowed through as the guards are too busy with paperwork.

I found an exception at Republic Plaza. They implemented an effective and hassle free security checks. The people working there use a pass to go through the gantry gates. The visitors go to a gantry next to the security desk and tell the guard where they are going.  The security guard talk to the visitor and look into the eye. This is a better way to identify a terrorist (and not record his ID).

Well done to Republic Plaza.

Tan Kin Lian

SIA charge higher fares originating from Singapore

Dear Mr. Tan
I read  your comments about the fee of $150 to process a refund, which you said is excessive. I agree with your views.
I like to bring up another point of Singapore Airlines. They charge a high fare for a trip from Singapore to another destination, say X, when the fare from X to Singapore is much lower. Why should SIA charge more in fare ex-Singapore? Are they trying to get naive Singaporeans to pay more, out of ignorance or loyalty to our national airline?

I agree with your views. In the past, I was not able to find out the fares of other airlines, so I pay the fare charged by SIA.
I have since found a good website that shows the fares of various airlines. This website is easy to use. I am now able to find out easily, if there are better fares offered by other airlines. I can also find the total travel time, and the options of arrival and departure times.
Now that I have a convenient choice, SIA will have to offer better terms, before I fly with them again.
 The website is:

Bias in reporting in St Times

Read a view from a reader in SGEP

Scam e-mail

Sometimes, you get this type of message from someone you know. It is a scam. The scammer stole the email address and send this message to the contact list.

Really hope you get this on time, very sorry I did not inform you about my trip to Spain, at present I'm in Barcelona and  I'm facing some difficulties here because I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept. I need you to assist me with a loan of 2850 euros to settle my hotel bills and to get myself back home. I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I'll refund the money back to immediately I return, let me know if you can be of any help as soon as you can. I don't have a phone where I can be reached. Please let me know immediately.

Pinnacle Notes Series 5

Kin Lian,
Finally some good news for Pinnacle Notes Series 5. Pinnalce Notes Series 5 which is CDO product matured on 12 April 2011 and customer recieved 100% of their principal plus interest. For your update.


Financial Savvy Test #23

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. What is a low cost investment fund? Keyword: low cost investment fund
2. How can I invest my accumulated savings for my lifetime needs? Keyword: accumulated savings

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Higher stamp duty for PR and non-residents

Hi Mr. Tan
I understand that more then 30% of buyer in our property are foreigner.
I not against foreigner from buy our property, but I against foreigner HOT money from speculating in  property and hence drive up property price.
Since we have a seller stamp duty, why can the GOV impose a higher stamp duty to curb foreigner from flipping our property. Just addition 5% on-top of the currently stamp duty I think would stamp out most of these unwanted short term activity.
I hope the GOV would consider benefit of its citizens first. Do not forget the people who entrust them with this power in the first place.

Singapore Airlines and refund fee

Singapore Airlines levy a refund fee that is excessive. Read this letter in TKL website or click here.

FISCA - articles and talks

You can visit the new website of FISCA here:
There are several interesting articles on financial matters available to the public (click on Information tab). There are also two education al talks on investments and financial planning (click on Event tab) that are sponsored by SGX.

Financial Savvy Test #22

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. I hear a lot of good things of Private Shield told by insurance agents. Can I believe them? Keyword: Myths
2. What are the good and bad points about a investment-linked policy? Keyword: Investment linked policy

Poems about PAP

A reader composed a poem about PAP - published in SGEP

FISCA - reset password

Dear Mr Tan,
I was a member registered with the old website, since 11Feb2011. In the new website, I am not recognized as a member. Please advise if I need to do something to be re-registered as a member at the new website?

In the new website, the password has been reset. You need to go to "Forget Password" and provide your e-mail address. An e-mail will be sent to allow you to enter your new password. After that, you can login with the new password.

This instruction was sent in an earlier email to members. You must have overlooked it. Give it a try now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Investing for a retiree

1. A retiree, with just enough savings for future needs, asked for my views about investing in a private studio apartment costing $800,000.

Do not spend too much money on a property. Try to find a cheaper one, or rent.

2. She then asked about investing in gold.

Don't invest in gold. It is highly priced. There are people going around with gold investment scams.

Read this FAQ

3. It is important for consumers to be educated about financial matters. They should not ask friends for advice, as they may get the wrong advice. Read this FAQ:

Do it now, don't wait for another time

There are a thousand reasons to put off something that has to be done now.

Quotes for Life Insurance in Australia

Dear Mr. Tan,
Many Singaporeans are migrating to Australia. Here is the link to a website where they can buy their life insurance at competitive rates.

This is a useful website. At shows the comparable quotes from different life insurance companies. I looked at the quotes for the following:
Sum insured $500,000 (yearly renewable term insurance)
Lowest monthly premium for non-smokers


The website shows the quotes from more than 10 life insurance companies. The lowest quotes are shown above. They are indicated as “estimated” and “subject to confirmation.  The premium rates are comparable to Singapore. 
Note: some insurers have lower premiums at the younger ages and higher premium at the older ages. So, you will not be able to enjoy the lowest premiums shown above. You should allow for the cost to be 10% to 20% higher than the above rates.

MAS revised code on collective investment scheme

Here is a summary of the key changes in the revised code and the views of a FISCA volunteer on the impact on consumers. Read FISCA website or click here.

Cost of financial ignorance

Read this article in FISCA's website. It is costly for consumers to be financially ignorant -as their future may be jeopardized! Click here for direct link to article.

There is a financial planning workshop on Saturday 30 April (whole day for only $20, sponsored by SGX). Details can be found here. Register early to assure of a place!

Financial Savvy Test #21

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1., What is the priority in buying insurance? Keyword: right priority
2. How can I cope with the rising cost of health care? Keyword: rising cost of healthcare

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Income tax savings

I am writing an article on income tax savings. Please help to identify some tax saving tips. What are the deduction that you should not forget and good habits, such as keeping receipts and other records on donation, expenses, etc.

Donations - the recipient organization (e.g. charities) submit your donation with NRIC and it is automatically reflected by IRAS
Property - keep a record of all your expenses, such as agent commission, repair bills, property tax and maintenance (for condos)
CPF top-up - top up the special account of family members and get tax relief
Education expenses - subscriptions to professional bodies - you can claim for deductions
SRS - supplementary retirement schemes. Amount allowed is quite small and the conditions are quite troublesome - so many people ignore this incentive.

Please correct the facts above and suggest other allowable deductions that I may have overlooked.

Order of books

Dear Mr. Tan
I find your website easy to order books and the discount is quite attractive. Can you waive the handling charge of $3 for large orders?

You enjoy a discount of about30% by ordering directly from the website. You enjoy a larger discount when you order more items, as the handling fee is payable for each order, regardless of the number of books or items that you have bought. The handling fee is to cover the postage and mailing - so I am not able to waive it. There is no handling fee if you come to order my book at my office on weekdays (9 am to 6 pm) and on Saturday (9 am to 1 pm).

DBS Bank - customer care manager

The customer care manager gives a standard reply, and no follow up .... Read this article.

Indie Spotlight on “Wisdom on How to Live Life”

Tommy Wong’s book “Wisdom on How to Live Life” has been featured by the Indie Spotlight on their website.

Tommy Wong’s book can be ordered here.

New FISCA website

Read this letter sent to members and registered users.

Financial Savvy Test #20

Take a test of your financial knowledge by answering the questions below. You can find the answer from - type in the keyword to search for the relevant FAQ

1. Should a civil servant take a lump sum or keep the pension? Keyword: civil servant
2. Give me the top tips on buying insurance: Keyword: Tips

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