Saturday, July 30, 2011

Poor yield from ILP

How much to pay for your property

In my talk on financial planning, I suggested that a person should buy a property representing not more than five years of the income and pay the monthly installments of up to 25% of the income (all to come out of CPF contributions) and the loan should be repaid within 25 years. This article explains how these benchmarks are calculated. 

Manage your own life annuity

I gave a talk on financial planning to several employees of a company. These employees will be approaching retirement. I advised them about the importance of getting an adequate income during their retirement and offered them a suggestion on how they can manage their own annuity. This suggestion is set out in this paper.

I suggested that they can use the results of this calculation as a benchmark to compare the payout from a life annuity bought from an insurance company. If the payout is quite close, they can buy the life annuity and save the hassle of managing their finances. However, a self-managed financial plan provides greater flexibility compared to a life annuity, and is an advantage to a financially aware person.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Photos of Tan Kin Lian

Mobile Games developed by TKL Associates

Here is my reply to queries from Today and Wanbao.

I run a software development company call Tan Kin Lian & Associates. During the past year, I have developed more than 10 apps (mobile games) and deployed them over the Apple, Windows and Nokia platforms. I am now developing them on the Android platform.

If you search for my name "Tan Kin Lian" on app store or marketplace of these platforms, you will find these apps. The more popular apps are Tangram, Shape Quiz, Sudoku, Logic Quiz and Logic Box. These games are available in various versions. I also develop some simple games such as One In A Million (generate 4D numbers), Toto Luck (generate Toto numbers) and Amazing Numbers (guess a secret number).

When the Windows Phone platform was first launched, I asked my developer to try some simple apps. I chose Toto and 4D as they are popular games and are well known by many people. These apps are quite simple and easy to develop. They take the date of birth to produce a fixed series of random numbers and identify the most common numbers that are unique to that person. Whether these numbers will come out in practice will still depend on luck, but they are numbers that are tied to the date of birth.

One person has expressed the concern that the 4D and Toto game will encourage gambling. This concern is exaggerated. Not many people download the apps. Even if they do, they are not going to gamble a lot of money buying their numbers. I am not aware of any person who has found it to be so interesting that they wish to increase their betting.

I look at Toto and 4D as an entertainment for many ordinary people. Most of them bet with small sums of money that they set aside to try their luck. Some people may be problem gamblers, but this is a separate matter. For the majority, this is a way of having some distraction from the busy and hectic life. If some people like to try my app to get their unique numbers, I will be delighted. But I do not think that it will be addictive, and I certainly do not encourage them to be addicted to any form of gambling. But as a pastime and fun, it is all right.

The download of these apps are quite small, as few people know about them. The apps involving Tangram, Shape Quiz and Sudoku are more popular, with more downloads.

I have also developed business apps on the mobile platform for taxi booking and for other business applications. They will be launched at a later date. They use the know-how that has been gained from developing the mobile games.

If I get elected as President, I have to pass this business to another person, as the President is not allowed to be involved in any business. 

But if I do not get elected, I intend to use the know-how in developing mobile games to be used for many business applications involving   mobile and web platforms. This is an exciting field with a lot of opportunities.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview on CNA and Razor TV

I gave interviews to CNA and Razor TV last night on the talk - Leadership, guided by values and on the questions asked about the Presidential election. You can watch them from the campaign website, See Statement tab.

Speak for the people

Singaporeans will have to choose carefully when they vote for the President. If they want a quiet President, there are at least two possible candidates to choose from. If they want a President who can speak for the people, they can choose me. You can read my statements in The speaking can be done constructively and not in a quarrelsome way.

Have the courage to make a change. Do not worry that this approach will cause problems .... it will not. If the President brings important issues to the attention of the government, the government will have to pay attention to these views. The President does not need to be another center of power, but he can be the light of brightness to focus attention on these issues.

When problems are denied, they cannot be solved.

When problems are identified and agreed, it is more likely that better solutions can be found. We need to apply the values of honesty, fairness, positive attitude, courage and public service ... to find better solutions.


Somebody made this observation, "If you give views that support the government's views, you are not politicizing, but if you give views that are different, you are politicizing".

I want to encourage Singaporeans to be broad minded, and to accept alternative views, without applying labels such as "politicizing", "anti-PAP" or "pro-PAP". There is no need to label each view. Treat each view on its own merits ... and ask, " is it good a better solution, is it better for the people?"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tips on Critical Illness Insurance

This article contains some tips on how consumers can approach critical illness insurance. Consumers should pay a small premium to cover the small risk of critical illness at the young ages and invest the savings in a low cost fund. The accumulated savings after 20 or 30 years will be more than sufficient to pay for the cost of treatment or loss of income, if a critical illness occurs at an older age.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Insight into Tan Kin Lian

This article writes about the history and values of Tan Kin Lian.

Cartoons about Singapore

How to choose your best President

An interesting story by the author of "Wisdom on How to Live Life"

Statement by Tan Kin Lian – Ensure CPF savings are secure and adequate for retirement needs

A primary role of the President is to safeguard the past reserves of the country. A large part of the reserves represent the savings of Singaporeans in the Central Provident Fund.

Many Singaporeans have expressed concern about the security of their CPF savings when, from time to time, they hear about the large losses incurred by Temasek Holdings, Government of Singapore Investment Company (GIC) or the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in their investments. Just a few days ago, MAS reported a loss of $10.9 billion during the past year.

There is a need to inform and educate Singaporeans about the long term nature of the investments and to give them the assurance that the investments are made prudently. This is especially relevant, given the occasional newspaper reports of money from the reserves being invested in foreign companies which report larges losses and go to the brink of bankruptcy. Some of these foreign companies are not well known and have a risk profile that appears to be very high.

A President, who has the financial knowledge and expertise, and backed by a panel of investment experts, can play a useful role in keeping an oversight over the investment policy. As a trusted, independent person, the President can give the assurance that Singaporeans are looking for about the security of their CPF savings.

The CPF savings represent the hard work of Singaporeans made over several decades. They depend on their CPF savings to take care of their financial needs during retirement, to pay for the cost of living and their medical expenses in old age.

Many Singaporeans have found that, in spite of the frugality and savings habit, they still do not have sufficient savings when they reach the retirement age. They have expressed the view that the CPF scheme is not working to their benefit.

I wish to echo their views and call on the Government to review the operations of the Central Provident Fund and implement changes to achieve the following goals:
  • Ensure that the CPF is able to provide an investment yield that is higher than the rate of inflation
  • Ensure that CPF members have adequate savings for their retirement needs (after paying off the cost of a modest HDB flat)
  • Review the contribution rate of older workers to allow our workers to build up adequate savings for retirement.
  • Improve transparency and communication, to assure the people that that their CPF savings are being invested prudently.
  • Allow partial withdrawals of CPF savings to meet financial needs of people who have lost their jobs due to factors beyond their control.
  • Review the use of CPF savings for tertiary education, to see if the scope can be widened
Many people have read news reports that the funds managed by the Government had been able to earn an attractive investment return over the long term, that are well in excess of the interest rate of 2.5% paid on the ordinary account in the CPF. They have expressed the concern that they are not getting a fair share of the investment return. If inflation is higher than the interest rate, the purchasing power of CPF savings is effectively being eroded if the return on CPF savings is kept at a low level.

I call on the Government to from a panel with representation from all segments of the people to carry out this review and that the review should be carried out in a transparent manner, so as to gain the trust of Singaporeans.

Tan Kin Lian

Long term yield on GIC portfolio

GIC reported a 10 year and 20 year yield on their portfolio of 7.4% and 7.2% respectively in USD. I wonder what the yield would have been, if converted to SGD. We know that the USD has depreciated significantly during this period.

I am encouraged by this statement: "GIC's real rate of return in excess of global inflation over the past 20 years -- its main benchmark -- was 3.9 percent as at end-March 2011, up from 3.8 percent at end-March 2010."

However, it might be better if the yield is converted to SGD and the real return is computed net of inflation in Singapore.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Elected president can be the voice of the people

This letter was published in the Straits Times Forum page on 25 July 2011 (with minor editing).

 I refer to the article "Don't Politicize the Role of the President" by Wan Wai Yee, Asst Professor in Singapore Management University.  Prof Wan argued that the President should stay within the powers of the constitution and avoid “politicizing” its role.   However, Prof Wan did not explain what he meant by "politicizing".

If someone offers a view that is different from the stand taken by the Government, will it be considered as "politicizing"? To find solutions that are best for the people, it is better to discuss issues openly and consider various points of views, before coming to a decision.  

The Government and the President are elected by the people to perform their duties stated in the constitution – but the ultimate aim is to improve the lives of the people. The President is required to carry out certain specific duties that are intended to act as a check and balance on the Government, primarily to prevent abuse of powers and corrupt practices.

To exercise this power effectively, the President needs to be in touch with ordinary people that are affected directly by these issues. In doing so, the President may hear views that fall outside of his constitutional duties but are still important to the people. 

I agree with Prof Wan that it is the primary duty of Parliament to discuss these issues and pass the necessary laws to implement the solutions. We should, however, be aware of the structural weaknesses in our current governance where, for a variety of reasons, many of the hot issues affecting the livelihood of the people were not actively debated in Parliament. It was only days prior to the last general election that the Prime Minister realized the extent of the unhappiness of the people and had to apologize twice for the shortcomings of his government.

It is likely that the newly elected Parliament will continue to face the structural issues and obstacles.

The elected President can play a useful role in being an additional channel for the people to bring legitimate issues to the attention of the Government. To rebuild the trust of the people and re-install pride in our country, the Government has to show that it is willing to hear the voice of the people and consider their views.  The elected President can help in these tasks.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, July 24, 2011

For the sake of Singapore's future

Dear Mr Tan
We know we can count on you to do the Right Thing for the sake of Singaporeans' future.
Sharing the article below of what has been so convincingly argued.
Too much of a good thing is bad... very bad, indeed.
No one is indispensable; and Lee Kuan Yew and his team must make way for the new and much more relevant. Change is inevitable. If he sees sense he will do the right thing.
Voters need to realize that they do get the government that they deserve.
Of all the virtues, I would rate courage as the most useful.
Subject: One young angry lady lecturing LKY
The best article I have come across on Singapore politics. Some of her views could equally apply elsewhere. Now you have a better understanding why staying too long in government changes human behavior. Just look closer at the current Middle East situations .... the rulers stayed too long and failed to see why they were there in the first place.
The world is a dangerous place not because of people who do evil,
but because of good people who look on and do nothing about it.
-- Albert Einstein

Supporter's Gathering 23 July 2011 - Videos

Dear TKL supporters

Here are the videos of the given by Tan Kin Lian to the hot topics of the day. Please watch the videos and forward the links to your friends, neighbors, colleauges and other contacts. Ask them to spread the videos to their friends as well.

There is more media coverage for Dr. Tony Tan, how do you address this disadvantage?

What are your views on the transporation fare increase?

What are your chances of obtaining a COE? Do you expect a 2,3 or 4-corner fight?

Does the President have freedom of speech under the constitution?

The MAS lost $10.9 billion last year. What sort of impact do you think this has on our reserves and what are your views?

Do you agree that the elected President should be non-partisan?

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