Saturday, August 08, 2015

Cheated of a few years of hard earned savings

A few years ago, a university professor approached me. She was a foreigner and had come to teach in Singapore. After a few years, she had saved about $80,000 from her salary.

An independent financial adviser recommend to her to invest in an investment plan from company Z. She did not realize that company Z was an insurance company and the investment was actually a investment linked life insurance policy and not a mutual fund.

The financial adviser had explained to her the detail of the investment. She was attracted by the bonus units that were offered under a promotion.

As she held a doctorate in economics, she knew what to look for. She was also very careful in scrutinizing the investment. The fund charges looked quite reasonable.

She received a monthly statement from Z that showed the progress of her investment. It all looked quite all right.

She got a shocked when the investment passed 18 months. She found that the investment started to deduct 4% of her monthly savings. The deduction during the first 18 months was a modest sum, which was acceptable.

When she checked with Z, she got a bigger shock. The 4% deduction would continue for 25 years, making a total of 100% of her annual savings. As she had invested about $50,000 a year, the amount that she would have lost when she terminated her investment was $50,000. This represented more than half of her hard earned savings for three years. This was the savings that she wanted to give to her husband to start a business in their home country.

How did she missed the high surrender charges, when she was very careful in scrutinizing the investment?

She found out that she had signed many pages of the benefit illustration to acknowledge that she was aware about the investment - but the page containing the fund charges was not given to her. The financial adviser had deliberately removed this page and asked her to signed all the other pages. She was not able to prove that she did not get the page containing the surrender charges.

She filed her complaint with the MAS, with company Z and with the financial adviser firm. She pursued her complaint through various sources, including FIDREC.

Recently, I checked with her about the outcome of her case. She replied "I did not win". She have lost $50,000 and could not get her money back. She was cheated by the financial adviser and by company Z. MAS did not lend a hand to address this issue.

Should I continue my life insurance policy?

Hi Mr. Tan
I took a life insurance policy a few years ago from a friend. I now realized that my savings is earning a terribly poor return. Can you advise me, should I continue the policy or terminate it? If I terminate it, what about the life insurance cover that I will be losing.
You can read this book to find your answer. If you still could not get the answer, you can send the policy for me to look at, but I would need to see the benefit illustration.
I am not able to give an assessment based on incomplete information. You will need to gather the relevant information before approaching me.

Getting fired from your job

Getting fired from a job will now become more common in the future. Are you prepared for this happening? What should you do?
Take some advice from Dr. Tommy Wong. His book cost only $4 and is quite easy to read. You don't have to spend a few hundred dollars to see a doctor to handle your depression.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Individual views about political parties

You can now view the positive and negative comments for each political party by clicking on the "View" here:

Those who cared for the people of Singapore

One person who really cared for the people of Singapore is JB Jeyaretnam. Most of us, including me, did not realize it earlier. I only realize it after he passed away.

There is another person who also cared for Singapore. This is his son, Kenneth Jeyaretnam.  KJ spent a lot of time and money to bring up the case about the unauthorized loan to the International Monetary Fund. 

He also write in his blog about the lack of transparency and accountability in the management of our international reserves and the use of our government budget.

We must give him our support. I hope that he will get a chance to be elected into Parliament this time round.

Popular books on insurance and savings

The most popular books (apart from the Free books) are Medical Bills for the Elderly ($4) and Financial Planning for Young People ($6). You can order them at

Location, location, location

Dear Mr. Tan
Happy National Day.
I am a real estate salesman. At the start of my career, I learned that the three most important things to look for when you buy a property are location, location and location.
I like to share with you, another part of our life where location is important.
A long time ago, an Englishman left his country to work in a British colony in the Far East. His wife could not accompany him. A year later, she heard rumors that her husband was keeping another woman.
She sent a letter to him. It arrived a month later. "My dear Michael, I received news that you are having an affair. Tell me if this is true and what does she have that I do not have?"
His reply reached the wife a month later. "Dear Sally, you must know that it has been quite lonely for me here. I want to confess that I am keeping another woman, but don't worry. She has what you got, no more. But ... she has it here.".
So, Mr. Tan, you can see how important location is, when it comes to a woman as well.
Enjoy the holidays.

Pulse of the Citizen

Here are the ranking of the political parties in Singapore.

Take part in this contest to guess the share of votes of the PAP in the forthcoming general election and win $500.

Pulse of the Customer

Give your feedback on 5 service organizations in Singapore and win a $12 book prize.
You can view the scoreboard of the service organizations here:
Here are the most recent feedback

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Swing of votes against the PAP

What happens if there is a 6% swing of votes against the PAP? How many seats will the PAP lose?

According to this calculation, the PAP would lose 14 seats.

To monitor the likely swing of votes against the PAP, take a look at the contest tracking. It currently indicates a 6% swing of votes against the PAP.

Tracking of Contest Results (PAP share of vote)

The Contest (Guess the PAP share of vote) now shows a tracking of the number of entries and the average of the entries. This is useful information and may track the likely swing of votes against the PAP.

A high chance of winning $500

Mr. Tan
You are giving a cash prize of $500 to the closest entry. If only 100 entries are received, each entry is worth $5 to the participant. This is really attractive, as the chance of winning is quite good.

That is true. However, if there are 1,000 entries, each entry is then worth $0.50. It is still quite good attractive.

And there is an incentive for those who participate earlier. If several people gets the correct answer, the prize is shared among the first 5 people who submit the winning entry. ($100 each). So, it is better to submit earlier to be in front of the queue.

I expect many entries to be submitted when the general election is announced, so it is better to be in front of the queue.

Contest - guess the PAP share of votes

A total of 7 entries have been received for the contest - Guess the percent of PAP votes.
The average is 54.4%.
How about giving your entry now? You stand a chance to win $500.

Pulse of the Citizen - latest ranking of political parties

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) is now at the top of the scoreboard of political parties, followed by the Workers Party. Guess which party is at the bottom?
You can view the latest feedback of the political parties here:

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Pulse of the Citizen - first 5 entries

Based on the first 5 entries, which are the most popular parties and the most disliked parties?
You can read the scoreboard here:
You can read the individual entries here and the reasons given by the contributor.
And here is your chance to participate in the Pulse of the Citizen.

Soft Launch - Pulse of the Citizen

This website is now ready. You can submit your views now.
General Election 
Which party will you support in the general election? Why do you support this party? Which party do you dislike the most? Tell your reason, so that other citizens can understand your stand.
Click on [Participate] to submit your response. You do not have to give your name. We need you to give a valid email address to prevent the same person submitting many responses. We will reject responses with fake email address.

Volunteers needed - Pulse of the Citizen

I am creating a website to provide information that is useful for citizens to follow the developments towards the general election. The information could be the manifestos of the political parties and the profile of their candidates.
I need volunteers to help me to search for the information from the Internet, put them into PDF and pass them to upload into my website.
This website is called Pulse of the Citizen. It will be up soon at
If you have some free time and wish to volunteer, send an email to

Contest - Guess PAP's share of total votes in 2015/16

This PDF shows the total share of PAP votes during the past elections. The latest in 2011 was 60.1%.What will the share be in 2015/16?
Wait for the contest form to be ready.

Database strategy

Your database is a valuable resource. Are you using it effectively to manage your business and increase your profits?

My favorite You Ya

When I was in my early 20s, my favorite singer was You Ya. At that time, the hotter favorite was Theresa Teng. You Ya must be about six years younger than me.

Theresa Teng passed away 20 years ago. But You Ya is still active in the entertainment scene. She must be around 60 years now, but she still looked quite young and pretty.

Here is You Ya.…

I met You Ya in Singapore in 1995. She was about 40 then.

At my request, my friend invited her to perform at a concert in Singapore. My son, who was 12 years old, went up the stage to present a bouquet of flowers to her.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Contest - General Election

Contest: Guess the percentage of votes for the People's Action Party in the next general election in 2015/16.

Choose the right life insurance policy

Most people bought the life insurance policy that was recommended by the agent. They should learn how to choose the right policy, as it is a very important decision that impact them over the long term.

The FREE items are most popular

Hi Mr. Tan
I see that the items marked $0 are listed at the top of your webpage. Why do you want to promote these FREE items?

This webpage automatically lists the most popular items at the top of the list. As you can expect, the free items are the most popular. But a few of the $4 items are also quite popular.

Rejected insurance claim

Do you need my help to deal with a rejected insurance claim?

Improve business efficiency

Here are some interesting ideas on how to improve your business efficiency


Do you need the service of a contract administrator?

Work less hours and be more productive

Singapore should learn from Germany on how to be productive and work less hours. I respect the German system very much.…/why-germans-work-fewer-hours-but-produc…/

Pulse of the Citizen

At the forthcoming general election, the party that will do well is the one that feels the pulse of the citizen. Which party is it? Maybe, you like to give your feedback on a platform similar to this?

Pulse of the Customer

Feel the Pulse of the Customer. Which are the top five companies that provide the best service in Singapore, based on feedback of customers? You can view them from this Scoreboard. The ranking will change from time to time, based on new feedback that are submitted daily.

An excellent organization is one that keeps in touch with the Pulse of the Customer!

Monday, August 03, 2015

New format for feedback on service quality

The individual feedback on the service quality provided by organizations in Singapore is now presented in a new format. I hope that you like it better. You can view the new format here:

Get value from your life insurance

Many consumers have asked for my views on the life insurance policies that they have bought previously or are being recommended to them now. These are mostly whole life or investment-linked policies that are intended to provide insurance protection and as a form of savings for the future.

I wish to present the results of my analysis in this book. They represent the policies that are now sold in the market in Singapore. I have removed the name of the consumer and the insurance agent from the benefit illustrations.

Books on financial planning and problem solving

The books on financial planning and problem solving in my website are ranked in order of popularity. At the top are the three books that are now given away free. The other books are being sold for $4 to $12 in PDF and hard copy form. They are easy to read. The tips on insurance and investment will be worth a lot of money to the consumer.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Inflation adjusted projection

Carry out a financial projection that adjust for inflation. There is an explanation on how to interpret the projected figures.

Service Scoreboard

A new service organization has now topped the scoreboard pushing down Singapore Airlines. Guess this new champion.

Ranking of service organizations in Singapore

Which service organization in Singapore has the best website, the best call center and the best overall service? Find out here:

An amazing gift

Here is am amazing gift for your children to amaze their friends and become popular. This purchase comes in 4 sets of cards, so they can give to their close friends and keep one set for their own use.

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