Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saving for university fees

Mr. Tan
The Income agent keep asking me to take up endowment fund for my kid of 16 mth so as to pay for university course for my kid in the future , should  I take it up ? It is called the VivoChild

Do you have any advice or book to read on the topic ?

Also, I came across POEMS share builder plan for Capitaland. Should I sign up for my kid of 16 mth in order to pay for  university course for my kid in the future. Should  I take it up ? Do you have any advice or book to read on the topic ?

You can ask the agent to give you a Benefit Illustration. He is required to do so, if he is selling the policy to you.

It is better for you to attend this talk next Saturday.

You should also buy my book on Financial Planning. ($6 only).

Consulting services

A wide range of consulting services is now provided in this website.

For the time being, you can click on [Search] to view all the services. If the list becomes too long, you can select by entering the name of the consultant (e,g, "Tan Kin Lian"), type of service, (e.g "claim") or selecting from the drop down list.

Career opportunity for non-graduates

Hi Mr Tan

While there is some truth in what you are advocating (i.e. for some Singaporeans to pursue a working career without a degree), but in reality the govt is attracting so many from the 3rd world & providing university education for them that your grandchildren who you may encourage not to pursue a degree, may work under them some day.


The government is now having second thoughts.They are reducing their scholarship to these students from other countries.

If my grandchildren are good, they will go to university and graduate with a good degree and good job.

If they are not so good in study, they should pursue other lines, such as technical skills, design skills and personal skills. They were be demand for these skills and working experience many years into the future. The salaries for these skills will go up, due to market forces.

Too many graduates will depress the salaries for graduates. We have already seen this happening for some time in other countries. It has already happened in Singapore!

A better way to train accountants

Over the past few years, I met a few accountancy graduates from NUS and SIM. I found that their knowledge of booking and keeping a simple set of accounts to be lacking. They do not have any practical experience or common sense on how to organize the records and keep the books and make the book keeping entries.

A few decades earlier, they would have gone to work in the accounting department of a company and pursue the professional accountancy qualification by studying part time. When they qualified, they would have good useful working experience and will be confident in doing their job.

I find the old way of training accountants to be better than a 4 year full time university course.

Skill and working experience are also important

Hi, Mr. Tan
The government keeps bringing in foreign talent at the higher levels and telling Singaporeans that they don't need a university degree. 
If we go in this path Singaporeans will be doing all the lowest paid jobs. We need to vote out this government that doesn't want to push their own people ahead and let foreigners take over the country,
You seem to be advocating the same approach, that a university degree is not needed. Why?

Some Singaporeans, maybe 30% of each year's cohort, can pursue a university degree. For the remainder, it may be more useful for their to work earlier and get the relevant skill and experience for their job. The worst situation is to have a get a degree that is not put to use, and to lose the opportunity to get the skill and working experience.

The problem faced by Singaporeans in getting a good job is not the lack of education (as most are well educated) but the high salary expectation for their degree. Many of them do not have the experience and skill to justify their high expectation. In addition, the reservist obligations put the male citizens at a disadvantage compared to foreigners.

Employers cannot afford to pay a high salary for the degree that they do not need. There will be demand for people with the skill and experience needed for many jobs, but less demand for people with degree and no working experience.

The public service should set a good example

The Public Service Sector should set a good example and pay their contract workers a decent hourly rate. 

This will encourage the private sector to follow the government in providing a decent wage to workers. 

It is an indirect way to introduce a minimum wage, without causing hardship to small businesses, which may continue to pay below the public sector.

Tan Kin Lian

To Minister of Manpower
Dear Mr Lim,

There are thousands of part-time/contract office workers in Singapore, some of whom are working in the Ministries and Statutory Boards on hourly rates. I used to be one of them.

The hourly rate being paid to these workers ranges from as low as $5 to $7/hr in most of your Government Ministries like Finance and Education. The hourly rate has been STAGNANT for the past few years.

I would therefore humbly suggest that, in view of inflation (especially food prices and transport fares which don't come down), the Government needs to be more generous and sets the hourly rate to be at least $8 ~ $9 per hour for these office workers. Assuming MOE pays $9/hr, it means that a contract worker can take home $9 X 8.5 hrs = $76.50/ day. I am sure your Government would NOT become bankrupt because of this small increase ??

By doing so, the Government would be setting a bench mark for the private sector to follow suit, which in turn would benefits thousands of part-time/contract workers.

Miss W


Dear Ms W

Thank you for your feedback on the salary of part-time and contract workers in the civil service.

As a general principle, the civil service seeks to maintain market competitiveness but does not lead the private sector in terms of salary. The salaries of all officers, regardless of whether they are on full-time/part-time/contract work arrangement, are reviewed regularly against private sector salary benchmarks. Following such reviews, salary adjustments could be made where necessary if we are falling behind the market. On the contrary, if the existing salary levels in the civil service are competitive against the private sector, no salary adjustments will be made. If you have specific feedback on particular part-time/contract jobs in the civil service, the Public Service Division could work with the relevant agencies to review the existing salary level.

Thank you.

for Quality Service Manager
Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office


Dear QSM

May I know WHY the pay scales of our Ministers and senior Civil Servants are benchmarked against the top CEOs of multi national companies in Singapore, meaning that our Ministers and Senior civil servants' pay would be VERY MUCH higher than the average pay of the CEOs in most SME companies in Singapore?

So lowly contract workers in Govt ministries/ stat boards should lag behind the pay of those in the private sector??

Is paying a decent salary of $8.50/hr to contract workers going to BANKRUPT our government??

Is it because lowly workers are NOT "natural aristocrats" ??

Miss W

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rejection of Travel Insurance Claim

Hi Mr Tan, 
If a person buys an travel insurance coverage in the morning and paid online and received a confirmation for travelling the next day but suddenly falls sick before his trip on the same evening, will he be allowed to claim from his travel insurance? 
The company refunded him a cheque with the amount he paid upon knowing he was sick and said that the travel insurance policy requires 3 days waiting period before it covers. 
Is this right for the company to do this even though we cannot find information on 3 days waiting period online. We always thought that travel insurance will cover once payment has been cleared.

The travel insurance policy covers you for certain specified events. Falling sick before the travel is probably not one of these events. It probably covers you for when you fall sick during your travel. There might be some exclusion for sickness due to a pre-existing medical condition. 
You need to read the wording of the policy carefully.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dr. Tommy Wong's Wisdom Books

Dr. Tommy Wong has offered a special discount on his "wisdom" books during this promotion period. He has a few new titles. Check them out now at

Consumer consulting

Consumers who wish to consult me on any business matter can now go to this consultancy website:

Best wishes to Muslim Friends

Quality of Service provided by Singapore organizations

How do you find the quality of service provided by your bank, your insurer, your telco, your transport operator and government agencies?

Give your feedback on any 5 of these organizations and win a prize - Practical Guide to Financial Planning (worth $12).

Register at

You get another benefit. You will be able to view the rankings of these service organizations based on the feedback provided by all participants.

Commissioner of Oath / Notary Public

I asked a lawyer, what is the difference between a Commissioner of Oath and a Notary Public? He said.

- The Commissioner of Oath is required for a document that is used in Singapore. A Christian used the word Oath while a non-Christian use the word Affirm. The process is simpler and the cost is lower.

- A Notary Public is required for a document that is used outside Singapore. In some cases, a seal has to be affixed. It is more costly to have a document certified by a Notary Public.

A lawyer can be appointed by the court to be a Commissioner of Oath or a Notary Public after being in public practice for 5 to 10 years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pearl Website

The Pearl website has several useful features:

Shop - allows you to buy the PDF and hard copy books written by Tan Kin Lian and Dr. Tommy Wong

Findword - find words from the given letters, good to the 4 PIC 1
WORD puzzle

Condo - shows details of condos in Singapore

Bus - shows bus routes and bus stops in Singapore

Financial Projection - carry out a long term projection, excluding effect of inflation

Essay - carry out grammar and spelling checks for your essay.

And others.

Hope you find them useful.

Choose the right life insurance policy

Before you commit a lifetime of saving in a life insurance policy, you must know what is a good policy and what is a bad policy. You can get some tips here. Link.

Medical bills for the elderly

Are medical bills for the elderly so expensive and unaffordable? They don't have to be. Here are some tips.  Link.

Protect against loss of NCD

Dear Mr. Tan
I met with a minor accident last year. It was a minor accident and both parties agreed not to make any claim. I made a report to my insurance and told them that I would handle the repair on my own.

Several months later, my insurance company told me that the other party is claiming a large amount for quite extensive damages to the other car. The damages were not caused by the accident - but how can I prove it?

My insurance company told me that they will be paying the claim, and I would lose my NCD. Is it fair? Can they take away my NCD when I did not make any claim?

When you have an accident, it is best to take photos of your own car (and the other car as well) and send them to your insurance company. You should do this step, even if you are not making any claim for the repair of you own car. The insurance company will have a record of the actual damages and can refute any fraudulent claim involving aggravated damages.

Under the current practice, the insurance company will reduce or remove the NCD if they have to pay a claim on the policy from the policyholder or the third party. This is why it is call a "no claim" discount and is not a "no blame" discount.

As a service to the public, I will be building a website (under to allow the policyholder to upload photos of damages to their vehicle (and the other party's vehicle). The policyholder can provide the photos to the insurance company when it is needed in the future.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ten years to reach Plato

Wow! It takes almost 10 years for a spacecraft to fly from Earth to the planet Plato, which is located in the same solar system! The universe is really big!

The New Horizons spacecraft has completed a historic fly-by of Pluto, NASA says, making its closest pass at7:49 a.m. ET.

The unmanned, piano-sized spacecraft was traveling nearly 31,000 miles per hour when it passed about 7,750 miles above Pluto. 

New Horizons will continue traveling out into the Kuiper Belt, a region scientists think is filled with thousands of other small, icy worlds. Scientists say the probe will continue sending back data about Pluto for several months.

New Horizons was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 19, 2006, and traveled more than 3 billion miles to reach Pluto. It's the first mission for any nation to Pluto and its five moons. 

The mission completes what NASA calls its initial reconnaissance of the classical solar system. The space agency has now sent probes to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Re-launch of Internet SHOP

I am pleased to announce the re-launch of the Internet SHOP where you can buy PDF and hard copy of books written by Tan Kin Lian and other products.
As a special offer, the handling fee of $3 is waived during the promotion period. Some of the items are offered FREE.  Hurry. Order now!

To Singapore with Love

From Dr. Tommy Wong
Why is ‘exile’ DVD not allowed to be sold in S’pore?…/why-is-exile-dvd-not-allowed-t…/

It probably contained something sensitive to the Singapore leaders.

Feedback from customers

This webpage shows the number of feedback given by consumers to the service organizations in Singapore, i.e. the telephone operators, transport operators, banks, insurance companies, airlines, etc.
To view the actual scores, you have to register and give 5 feedback. You can also win a book prize - Practical Guide to Financial Planning ($12).

Monday, July 13, 2015

Feedback on quality of service

Login to this website ( and give your feedback on 5 organizations in Singapore, e.g. insurance, bank, telco, transport, government agency. Be among the first 100 to make this submission and win a book on "Financial Planninig - A Practical Guide (worth $12)". Act now.

Think like an entrepreneur

Many people have the mindset that something has to be right or wrong, black or white. They cannot understand that it could be neither right nor wrong, or that it could be different shades of grey.

Where does this mindset come from? Could it be due to the education system? To the way that answers are marked? I have seen anecdotes that there is only one correct answer to a particular question and all other answers are wrong!

This mindset also aims to be correct all the time, i.e. to get 100 marks. Any mistake will cause the mark to be reduced.

To avoid making a mistake, most people will not take a decision when the correct answer is not given. They will only decided when the correct answer has been spelled out clearly in a SOP (standard operating procedure). If the issue is uncertain, they prefer to avoid any decision, in case they are found to be "wrong".

A different mindset

I wish to explain a different mindset - that of an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur knows that he (or she) can make a profit only when he makes a sale. It is possible to make a loss as well. His goal is to make more profit than a loss, so that there is a net gain. If he does not make any sale, he will suffer a loss due to the fixed expenses. So, the entrepreneur makes many sales (or decisions) and hope that those that turn out to be right will outweigh those that are wrong.

This entrepreneurial mindset can come to handling uncertain decisions. These decisions have to be taken. If more decisions turn out to be right, compared to those that are wrong, the decision maker is doing a good job. He does not let the opportunities pass by him.

We need to have an entrepreneurial mindset to make progress. This is to be applied not only to business decisions, but also to the social issues that need to be addressed in government.

Comparison of salary of a graduate and an apprentice after four years

A human resource manager in Switzerland gave this useful information:

- After 4 years of apprenticeship and attending school part time, the salary is approx. 5'400 Swiss Francs per month.

- A graduate after 4 years at the university get's a starting salary of approx. 6'200 Swiss Francs per month.

The difference in pay is 13%.

Four wasted years

I visited my dentist and spoke to the dental assistant who came from the Philippines.

Me - How long have you worked here?
Asst - I joined a few months ago
Me - Do you have a degree?
Asst - Yes. I got a degree.
Me - was it in dentistry?
Asst - No. I graduated with a degree in diplomacy and worked for 1 years in the government service. Later, I came to Singapore and got this job as a dental assistant.
Me - How long did it take for you to get the training to be a dental assistant.
Asst - I was trained for three months in this practice.
Me - Would it have been better for you, if you have joined as a dental assistant without going for a degree in the university?
Asst - Yes. I would have acquired four years of experience, which would have made me to be a better dental assistant.

 It is rather sad to see so many young people spend four years to get a degree which is not relevant to the work that they do. They could have spent the time more usefully to learn the skills for their actual careers.

Germany and Switzerland have an apprenticeship system. They are able to prepare their people better for their final careers. Through high productivity and skills, these non-graduates can earn a salary that is almost as good as a graduate.

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