Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Insurance for laptop

Dear Mr. Tan,
I was offered insurance for my laptop covering the following risk:
* accidental damage
* loss
* theft due to forceful break-in to the home or from locked vehicle.
It seems that if my house or vehicle was not locked and my laptop is not stolen, I cannot claim, but if I report my laptop as lost due to being left behind, I can claim. Why should I report theft (and have the claim rejected) when I could report accidental loss and can make a claim?

You need to read carefully the definition of loss, as it is likely that the cover may be confined to certain type of loss and that carelessness may not be covered. I am not familiar with this cover, so I shall post it to get views of other people who have bought this type of policy before.

Downgrade to a 2 room flat

Hi Mr Tan
Due to taking care of one of my family member ( stroke ), I am unable to work as full time employee. My current job is commission based. As can't afford to engage a maid to take care of my family member, I am shoulder the full responsibility.

Regard of how hard I work, I still face financial cash flow problems. The killing part now is I need to service my HDB loan , as all my CPF already dried up , every month I need to pay $1000 CASH to HDB. Now still left $110 000 plus of loan to service.

I bought this 4 rm flat at the price of around $135K in the year 1996. Now able to sell around $400 000. My next owner is my dad but not working due to very old. The other person stay with me is my mom but also not working due to old age. I am single.

Every month is a big headache to me as I need to find $1000 to pay my housing loan. Due to taking care of my family member I know that I sure can!t service my loan with my part time pay. As my saving is going to dry up in 3 months time.

My parents don't like me to rent out my flat as they don't like to stay with strangers. I am thinking of selling off my flat. I am able to profit around $150K but if I want to buy another flat, after calculation, if I am not going to take loan from HDB again, I can ONLY afford to buy a 2 room resale and it will be in places like Jurong area which is far away.

I know it is very silly to downgrade from a 4rm to 2 room flat and further away from town. But the problem is with my part time pay , I totally can't afford to service my loan. If you were in my position, would ou be making such decision like mine? Please post my views in your blog as I like to hear the views of other people as well.


Obituary for Common Sense

Read this obituary for Common Sense.

Website - Mortgage sense

Hi Mr Tan,
May I humbly request to have a link in your website? I wish to highlight my business model to you to give you the assurance that your client will be well taken care of.

I been working in the banking industry for 5 years and won numerous awards. The reason for me to start this business consultancy is due to this knowledge gap in the market. In 2009, I decided to leave my company to set up my business. Since day 1, I been giving back to society - every successful closure, I will donate $30 to charity in the name of my client. On top of that, my team has been participating in other charity events like flag day etc. You can visit our website for more details. 

There are more I could share but prefer to do it face to face. I hope you could agree to but a link "home loan singapore"  link to "". It will definitely help me alot in the grow of my business. 

Warm Regards,
Alan Koh

Get a fair price on your motor insurance

Dear Mr. Tan,
I received a renewal for my motor insurance and am shocked at the increase in premium. I try to call other insurance companies and they also charge more than I paid before. Which company do you recommend?

Try Direct Asia. Read this FAQ
You can also read this article on how to pay road tax and get the vehicle inspection done easily.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Survey results - unexpected resignation of ministers

Here are the views of 62 people who participated in the survey on the unexpected resignation of ministers and the sweeping changes in the cabinet. TKL website.

Public transport and commuting

Hi Mr Tan!
I happened to come across an article by Mr Alex Au, and I think you'll agree with him with many points in a new article he wrote recently. It will better support your arguments for living near one's workplace and I'm a keen supporter of this idea along side with you.


Quote from the Yawning Bread article

It’s also time to rethink the sacred cow of home-ownership. The fact is, people switch jobs. Unless people can easily move to live closer to their new job, any hope of reducing commuter load will not be realised. As economists have known for eons, home ownership is a serious drag on residential mobility. Once committed to a huge purchase, it is very difficult to consider selling and moving. It gets impossible at certain times when prices dip below the historical purchase price of a home; who would want to sell at a loss? Therefore, a high ratio of renters in a population allows greater ease of matching people to jobs.

In any case, as I argued in an earlier article, everyone who is living in public housing today is deluding himself, thinking he “owns” his flat. He does not. What actually is happening is that he has paid 99 years’ rent in advance. In that case, if we’re actually renting anyway, why can’t we pay a month at a time? That allows people to move easily, enabling them a wider choice in the job market. People will naturally choose to live closer to their jobs, thus reducing commuter load.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Committee to review ministerial salaries

There is some optimism and more scepticism on the committee formed to review the ministerial salaries. I wish to share my wishes for the outcomes of the deliberation of the committee. TKL website.

You can share your views in this survey.

Websites for learning and information

Get your book on financial planning and life insurance now from iShop.

iShop - enjoy attractive discounts on TKL books
FISCA - read articles on financial planning
Movie Club - join a movie club
Investment Alert - learn about the scams
Transport Club - find better transport to work and home 
Easy Ads  - put an advertisement or search for an advertiser
Family Life  - a game to manage your family life
Financial Plan - prepare your own  financial plan
Business Game - a game to learn the skill of running a business.

Stanford - Entrepreneurial Thought Leader

Review of Minister's salaries

Here is an excellent article by Lucky Tan.  Here are some views of netizens. Another view by Yoong Siew Wah.

You can get a good summary of the current issues at Singapore Social Economic Portal (SGEP)

Be educated on financial matters

Here is a guide for consumers to be educated on financial matter. They have to spend the time and some money to be educated. See Ask Mr. Tan or click here.

Business Mail

I am now using Business Mail to send out e-mails to FISCA members and non-members to inform them about FISCA events. It takes less than 1 minute to send out 850 e-mails. Business organisations who wish to use Business Mail to send out their flyers can contact More details of Business Mail can be found here:

FISCA Talk - Understanding and applying fundamental analysis in stock investments

There is a new FISCA talk scheduled for Saturday 2 pm on "Understanding and Applying Fundamental Analysis in Stock Investment". It was arranged on popular demand by past attendees at FISCA talk. More details can be found at This will be preceded  by the AGM of FISCA (to be attended by FISCA members only).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tag our bags and small children

My family went on an outing to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. During the trip, my grand daughter Vera lost her favourite bag containing some expensive clothes and toys. This is a picture of the bag.

We realised that she had left her bag behind several hours later. We were 100 km away and it was too far and too late for us to go back to look for it.

I should have placed a tag (with my name and mobile number) on her bag. This would have allowed an honest finder to call the owner by mobile phone.

This tag is also useful to be attached to the pant of a small child who might get lost in crowded stations, ferries or tourist spots. If the child is lost, it is easy for a adult to call the parent.

The next time that I travel with a young child, I would bring along several tags to be used in all the bags and small children. I hope that this tip is useful for you when you travel on a vacation.

Tan Kin Lian

Minimum wage in Sydney

 I spoke to a staff at the restaurant where I had breakfast on Sunday. She is a student from overseas and is allowed to work 20 hours a week. She earns A$15 on weekdays and A$20 on weekends. I calculated that she must have earned A$1,500 a month on the part time work. She said that she has to pay taxes but I was told that the rate of tax is only 10% at her salary level (revised).

This is a good income for part time work. Many students are able to earn an income to pay for their education fees and also to have money to spend. They are hard working and provide courteous and good service. The high wage results in higher prices paid by consumers, but as the customers also earn a high income, they find the prices to be affordable.

The tourists may find the prices to be high, but this is also contributed by the high exchange rate. If the country is too costly and uncompetitive, the exchange rate can come down and the competitiveness can be restored.

A minimum wage ensures that all workers can earn an adequate income and have a good standard of living. It reduces the gap between the high and low income earners in the country. It is likely that a high wage country will have lower prices for their properties, relative to the income level - so the consumer prices may not increase as much as the wages.

I find that Australian system, with a high minimum wage and control over the number of hours that can be worked (e.g. by students) to be better in distributing the work opportunities to those who are willing to work. I believe that a minimum wage helps to make a better society - which is why many countries decide to have a minimum wage.

Singapore is one of the few advanced countries that does not have a minimum wage. Although we have the workfare income supplement, I think that the minimum wage system works better.

Tan Kin Lian

Fun Sunday - concession price one day pass

My family went on a tour of Sydney on a Fun Sunday ticket. It is a one day travel pass on trains and buses and can be bought for a concession price of A$2.50. We took the ferry from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay and another ferry to Manly and back and a train back to our apartment. The normal fare for these trips would have been A$15. The concession price is really attractive. Many families went on an outing on this Sunday to use the concession tickets. I do not know what role the government played to encourage this type of useful social activity - but I suspect that some leadership from the government is required to make this happen. A lesson for Singapore?

Free shuttle bus in Sydney

There is a free shuttle bus that operates in the Sydney CBD,. It runs on a route of about 3 km and takes passengers along George Street and Elizabeth Street between Circular Quay and Central Station. It connects the main railway stations in the CBD.

The service is free. This is useful for visitors who do not know where to buy the pre-paid bus tickets. It is used by the locals and the visitors and runs quite frequently on weekdays. It is well used but not crowded. I am able to get a seat on all of my trips.

Who funds the free shuttle service? It is the government, i.e. the taxpayers. There is nothing wrong about spending tax payers money to provide a free shuttle bus. The state has to pay the salaries of policemen and other public officers. A free shuttle service is just one of the public services that are well appreciated.

Singapore can learn from the experience of other cities and provide free shuttle service to bring people from their homes to the MRT stations and bus terminals. This will encourage more people to travel by public transport, instead of using their cars on congested roads and packing the parking lots.

Remember and compare - Goh Keng Swee

I received this message that was purported to be sent by Mrs. Goh Keng Swee.  I knew of Dr. Goh's circumstances after his retirement and stroke and can confirm personally that these facts are true. Tan Kin Lian.

What never? Goh Keng Swee after he completely retired from public service, had no driver but was always driven around by his wife. Whenever he went to SGH for medical treatment, his wife and he were often denied a reserved parking lot and was told that the lots were for VIP only.  Once when he was warded, his wife had to be given a lecture by a sister on the proper use of a syringe when she asked the staff nurse to use a $1.25 syringe for cleaning
him. Whenever he was warded in SGH, his wife was with him throughout his stay, very often
 acting like his nurse. All this while she slept on a sofa/recliner chair in the room at night. 

When a Singapore GLC (set up by GKS) learnt that he was living on a net monthly income of S$8500/- per month, offered a cheque for S$500K to his wife under the guise of a lump sum loyalty payment for a book they wrote on him, his wife instantly cancelled the cheque and wrote to the CEO  to thank him for his kind gesture, and explained that she couldn't receive the cheque because what her husband had done for the company was not for money, not for power, not for glory, or even to be honoured, but for Singapore and Singaporeans. 
Maybe Goh Keng Swee's official status cannot be compared to any Head of State, but his contributions to his country are just as sincere and honest as that of any honest and caring political leader.   

Blog Archive