Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hottest year in Singapore and globally

2016 is the hottest year in Singapore and globally. This is serious.

What is more serious is that the earth will get hotter and hotter each year from now on. It is called Global Warming or Climate Change.…/2016-was-hottest-year-ever-spore-…

Really bad!

How to prevent fraud and corrupt practices

Ang Mo Kio Town Council is now being investigated for corrupt practices.

Here are my tips on how to prevent fraud. They are useful for:
a) External auditors
b) Internal auditors
c) Management…/How-to-carry-out-an-annual-data…

Three envelopes for Donald Trump

When a leader of a country passes power to his successor, he usually gives three envelopes to his successor. They contain his advice on what to do when he meets with a major crisis.

The words of advice contained in the envelopes are:

Envelope 1 - Blame your predecessor
Envelope 2 - Blame the economy
Envelope 3 - Prepare three envelopes for your successor.

I don't think President Obama will pass the three envelopes to Donald Trump because each person strongly dislike the other person.

I think Donald Trump has three envelopes that he prepared himself.

Envelope 1 - Blame Barack Obama
Envelope 2 - Blame China
Envelope 3 - Resign to run Trump Organization

Use of buzzwords

Whenever there is a big failure in oversight leading to corrupt practices, you can count on the MIW (men in white or PAP) making a statement with the buzzword - "We have zero tolerance for corruption".

The previous buzzword used by the MIW, to ape the PM, was "We take a measured and calibrated approach towards handling problems". I have not heard this buzzword being used for some time. Perhaps, the MIW were embarrassed when I pointed it out a year ago?

The detention of the SAF Terrex vehicles

Did the defence minister Ng Eng Hen handled the issue of the detention of the SAF Terrex vehicles well? He adopted a calm approach and asked for a "formal reason" to be given by Hong Kong for the detention. He is willing to wait for the reason to be given.
Give your views by voting here:

Google Now

I am trying Google Now on my mobile phone. It is able to recognize voice command very well.

 I asked - where are fireworks tonight in Singapore. It displayed a page of content. One of them is the fireworks at Singapore Discovery Center. 

I asked - where is Singapore Discovery Center. It displayed a page showing the address and map. 

I clicked on that page and it launched Google Map. I clicked on the button to find how to get there. It shows the route and travel time by bus, car and MRT. 

Wow! It is really well designed.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Flooding in Singapore

What or who is responsible for the heavy flooding in Singapore in recent years? Here is a chance for you to give your view.

Risk of non-disclosure

An insurance company can reject your claim on the grounds that you did not disclose relevant facts. This is dangerous right? How can a consumer know what is or what is not relevant? He has to rely on the agent, right? What if the agent did not ask the question or choose to hide the fact? Who bear the consequences?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Flooding in Singapore

During the Christmas holidays, many parts of Singapore were badly flooded. Some people blame the Marina Barrage for the flooding. Others blame the construction work. What do you think? Give your vote in

Who should you buy life insurance from?

Most consumers buy life insurance from the following sources:

a) An agent or financial adviser whom they know personally or who is introduced by a friend
b) An agent whom they meet at a "road show"
c) A bank officer

You may be surprised that the biggest risk of being sold the wrong insurance policy comes from the road show or the bank.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rejection of insurance claim due to non-disclosure

A policyholder covered under a life or health insurance policy stand the risk of a claim being rejected on the grounds of non-disclosure of material facts, even when the non-disclosure is due to ignorance or to a mistake. It is important that they should ensure that your policy is in good order. Do not wait to find out when you make a claim. It may be too late.

External auditors should use this tool to prevent fraud

Here is an effective tool for external auditors to help their clients to prevent staff fraud and to identify the frauds that have been committed. External auditors should use this tool rather than be exposed to the risk of negligence. This tool is more effective than the old way of verifing balances with the clients.

Jerks in buses may cause the passengers to fall down

My friend said that taxis jerked more than buses. However, it does not cause as much problem as the jerks in buses. Why?

The passengers in a taxi are seated down. In a bus, half of the passengers are standing. A bad jerk is the cause can cause some passengers to fall down, if they are busy on their mobile phone and not holding on to the handrails.

It is possible to reduce the jerks in the bus. Here is the solution to a smoother bus ride.

How to prevent this type of fraud

Two staffs working for a cooperative society were charged for fraudulently creating false loan applications and taking off $5 million over a period of five years. Their activities were not detected by the management or the external auditors.

This type of fraud could be prevented by carrying out an annual database audit. The management and external auditors should adopt this method of fraud prevention. This will avoid the loss of reputation and trust by the members and customers.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Xmas from the Greenwich Meridien

Technology disruption in insurance

Will technology disruption reduce the price of insurance for consumers? Will it lead to lower earnings for agents and financial advisers.

I have created this 20 minute video to address this issue. Enjoy it.

Give a smoother bus ride

There are complaints all over the world that bus rides are jerky. This is largely caused by bad driving habits of the bus drivers. The drivers can drive more carefully and reduce the jerks in the bus.

I am developing a solution. It starts with a device that can measure the jerks in the bus. This uses the accelerometer that is present in each mobile phone. My prototype solution uses a mobile app to measure the number of jerks during the bus journey. I am testing a special algorithm that will identify what is a bus jerk, based on the readings of the accelerometer.

The mobile app can be placed in each bus. It will report the number of jerks during the bus journey and send the results into a server.

A weekly report will be produced showing the performance of each driver based on the number of jerks per kilometer of the journey. A prize can be given to the drivers with the best performance.

There is another report to show the number of jerks for each bus service. This is to identify the routes that give the most bumpy rides. The route could be an important factor in contributing to the bumpiness.

The drivers with poor performance, i.e. highest jerks per km, can also be identified and given special training to improve their driving habits. Once the drivers are aware of their performance, they are likely to pay special attention to improve their performance.

In the worst cases, the drivers who refuse to improve their performance can be terminated from service.

If the prototype is proven successful, it is possible to develop a special device to be placed in each bus. It will count and show the number of jerks during the journey and can be viewed by the driver. The results are sent to the server at the end of each journey.

I do not know if such a system is already operating in other countries. I think that the problem of jerky buses is quite common, and that a practical solution will be welcome. Do you agree?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

How to tell a good life insurance policy from a bad one?

Many people buy a life insurance policy as a form of long term saving and investment. This article explains how to identify a good insurance policy from a bad policy, Before you commit to a long term saving plan, you should read this article. You should NEVER trust the marketing pitch of the insurance agent or the bank officer blindly.

Join and become part of the "Wisdom of the Crowd"

I need your votes on these issues. When more people votes, the results become more credible. This is called "the wisdom of the crowd". Give your votes now and be part of the wisdom.

You can view the results of the issues that have closed here:

How to reduce the jerkiness in bus

I have done research into the cause of jerkiness in buses. It seems to be a world wide problem. We face it in Singapore as well.

One important factor is bad driving habits. The drivers slam on the brakes too hard and accelerate too fast. They are not aware of the discomfort caused to passengers. Maybe they know, and do not care.

Someone suggested to use the accelerometer in the mobile phone to measure the jerkiness of the journey. He suggested that a prize be given to the drivers that have the least jerks, or give the smoothest journey.

I found an article in the New York Times that explains how the accelerometer works. I have engaged a developer to develop an app that measures the number of times that the bus jerks on a journey. With this app, it is possible for the bus company to send the jerkiness record to the server. They can view the record of all bus drivers and pick out the drivers to award the prize.

The bus company can also identify the drivers that have bad driving habits. This can be used to provide feedback and training to the drivers. When the drivers know that their driving habits are being monitored, a miracle will happen. They will be conscious of the bad habits and will take pains to improve their performance.

New paradigm of work

I spoke to a security guard at the airport.

TKL - Are you from Singapore?
Guard - Yes.
TKL - Do you work full time?
Guard - Part time
TKL - How many days a week do you work?
Guard - 5 days.
TKL - That is like full time!
Guard - I have flexibility. If I want to stop work for a while, e.g, to go on holiday, I am allowed to.

This is the new paradigm of work. There is flexibility for the worker and the employer. If the employer does not need the worker, there is no work to be done.

The worker needs to have savings to tide over the period where the work is reduced.

Shameful state of the public service

Is the Singapore Police Force understaffed or unproductive?

This is the question asked by Philip Ang in this letter to the Commissioner of Police.…/is-the-spf-unders…/

I have personal experience in lodging three complaints to the Police over the past 15 years.

In all of these cases, the investigation was shameful. Nothing was done. The investigating officer did not call me for discussion on any of these complaints.

I asked the officer specifically in one case - did you call the accused for an interview. He replied "No". He spent six months doing paper research.

I don't know what happened in the other two cases. They were closed after six or more months. I suspect that the investigating officer did nothing all of this time.

This is the quality of the investigation by our Police Force.

I also had disappointing experience in providing feedback to government agencies and to ministers. They sent a standard reply and did nothing. They don't want to understand the root of the problem.

The public service will continue to go downhill under the current government.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Database audit

A big risk faced by companies is fraud by internal staffs. As a deterrent, the company should send its database to an external consultant to carry out a database audit. This new concept is explained here.

A new approach for a smart watch

I have used a smart watch (MyKronoz Zeround) for two weeks. I conclude that it is not practical. It gave too much hassle and does not really give convincing value to me. I have reverted to the traditional watch. I also read a report that many users had the same experience with the smart watch.

I like to share my views about how the smart watch should be re-designed.

The current design is to have an app in the mobile phone which connects the mobile phone to the smart watch continuously through blue tooth. This interferes with the function of the mobile phone and degrades the user experience. It also drains the battery.

My new approach for the design of the smart watch is:

1) The smart watch operates like an ordinary watch and give the functions of telling the time, date, world time, alarm, timer, etc.

2) When required, it can connect to the mobile phone to update the time, e.g. when you are travelling to a different time zone, to get the weather forecast, agenda for today or other information (which can be programmed in the mobile phone. The connection is for a short period to get the information and is then disconnected.

3) The setting for the smart watch, can be made at the mobile phone, and retrieved by the smart watch. It is easier to make the setting at the mobile phone.

4) The fitness record can be viewed through the smart watch or transferred to the mobile phone to be viewed with a larger screen.

The mobile phone app can be made smaller and is tailored to be a slave to the smart watch. This is a different approach from that adopted now by most smart watches, which works in the other way round.

Ask the right question

I wish to give this example about asking the right question.

Suppose the question is - how do we make our buses run more smoothly without the jerkiness. Can we use technology to reduce the jerk?

This may be the wrong question.

The right question should be - should we replace buses by trams that run on rails, like in some cities?

Buses have to run on fixed routes. When running a fixed route, it is better to use rails as there is no need to need to move from one lane to another. The tram only need to stop and it can be done in a smooth manner.

A sense of duty and honor

My friend works as a civil servant in Hong Kong. They get a good salary but do not get a bonus to "motivate" them towards certain targets.


She explained that the bonus may get the bad behavior. The public servant is required to carry out the expected duty without the bonus to "motivate" them,

I agree with the approach adopted in Hong Kong.

I disagree with the bonus that is given to civil servants in Singapore based on the state of the economy or other reasons.

I like our civil servants to be paid well, like in Hong Kong, but there should not be motivated by bonuses. We have to develop a sense of duty and honor.

Make it easy for companies to submit returns to government agencies

I find it very troublesome to submit CPF, GST and other returns to government agencies. It is troublesome just to sign in to their website, e.g. SingPass, 2FA. I often forget the password.

After passing through, I have to go through a maze as the website has more than 100 links and they are hidden under many layers. If I can remember the link, it is okay. But I keep forgetting the link as I do not use them regularly.

I decided to build a simple approach. It is shown here:

I showed it to the person in charge of this project in the Infocomm Development Authority. They are not interested to look at it.

Troublesome to submit CPF contribution for my employees

I have to submit the monthly CPF contribution for my staff. The website asked me to sign in with my SingPass and my password. I forgot the password.

Ever since SingPass asked me to create a "funny" password with special character and capital, I keep forgetting it. I had to get it from a manual notebook. Luckily I could find it.

The people who designed this security systems forget that the ordinary users have to remember hundreds of passwords and uses many devices. To make matters worse, I have to create separate accounts for company use.

Now Singpass adds a 2FA and require a mobile phone to enter an OTP.

Why do they keep adding layers and layers of security? If someone wants to pay my employee's CPF on my behalf, they are welcomed to do so.

I have tried the app called "Last Pass" before and abandoned it.

Merry XMas and best wishes for 2017

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Two biggest investment mistakes

The two biggest investment mistakes made by many people everyday are:

a) Buying a life insurance policy without reading and understanding the Benefit Illustration
b) Buying an investment product from a bank without realizing that it is actually a life insurance policy.

This mistake can cost them a few thousand dollars or tens of thousand dollars. They usually realize it after a year or two, or maybe slightly longer.

To avoid this mistake, learn how to read the Benefit Illustration. It is quite simple. You only need to know what to look for and what the figures meant.

You will realize immediately that you are falling into a trap. You will then be thankful that you have read this article!

Understand the Benefit Illustration

After you have read this article (click on the PDF below), you are likely to avoid investing your savings in a life insurance policy.

You can still buy life insurance to provide protection against premature death or injury through accidents or natural causes, but NEVER AS AN INVESTMENT.

However, some policies may still offer a good deal, provided you know what to look out for.  This shown in the Benefit Illustration. But you have to learn what to look out for.

A new paradigm in risk management

Many organizations are paranoid about security. They think that their business risks are hackers from outside. They do not trust outside service providers, such as Cloud services, or external consultants. They do not realize that their biggest risks are their own employees.

The employees could steal money (like in this case) or sell sensitive data to outsiders (as has happened in DBS Bank in Hong Kong). They employees can also take company secrets with them when they move to the competitor.

Companies should adopt a new paradigm in managing its risks.

Move from Free Trade to Fair Trade?

A CNN news alert said that the Trump transition team is studying the possibility of an executive action to impose import tariff into America.
I believe that the re-introduction of import tariff in all countries around the world is necessary to deal with the different wage levels and cost of living in these countries.
It is an attack on "free trade" but is the embodiment of "fair trade", which will help to protect the workers to get decent wages.
I hope that the Trump administration will make this possible. It will lead to less global trade, but will be result in lowering the income gap in most of the countries.
There will be winners and losers in the "fair trade" regime and that countries can adjust to the new regime.

Breakdown of the votes and individual comments

Are you surprised by these results?

1) 60% of the voters think that Dr. Ng Eng Hen is likely to leave the government. He is on his way out.

2) 77% of the voters disagree with the government on asking for a "formal reason" for the detention of the SAF vehicles. They think that the government should de-escalate the issue and settle it quietly.

3) 80% of the voters think that Singapore has a bad human rights record.

You can watch a breakdown of the votes and the individual comments in

Results are now out on these issues

The results of the voting on these issues have now closed and can be viewed at

1) Why was Dr. Ng Eng Hen not elected into the PAP central executive committee?
2) Should Singapore ask for a "formal reason" for the detention of the SAF vehicles in Hong Kong?
3) Does Singapore have a good human rights record?

Several current issues are available for your voting at

Please add your vote to make the results more credible. We aim to have 50 votes on each issue. Please play your part to develop a more active culture in Singapore.

Save for a rainy day

In my talk on financial planning, I advised ordinary people to set aside 15% of their income as savings for the future. This savings is to be invested in an index fund and not in a life insurance policy. It is to be used for emergencies and to retirement.

This the saving is set aside in this manner, it should not be used to purchase a property. The HDB flat or private property should be bought without touching this saving. It also mean that the worker  should buy a smaller property, as their disposable income has been reduced the amount of saving that is set aside.

An important use of this separate saving or emergency fund is to supplement the income during a recession. The recession may lead to loss of job or to a reduction in the regular income, e.g. when the worker has to take mandatory no-pay leave or earns smaller commission on sales.

By tapping on the emergency fund, the worker does not have to pay high interest charges by borrowing from the bank, loan shark or other sources. The high interest charges will add to the financial distress.

This concept is explained in my talk on Financial Planning. I hold this talk every few months. The next talk is on 14 January 2017, but all 60 places have been fully taken up.

How to deal with retrenchment of staff

During a recession, companies have to reduce their workforce. Some companies did it well. Others did it badly and caused financial distress to the retrenched staffs and fear among the remaining staff.

Here is a good approach:
The company offered an attractive package for staffs who are willing to leave the firm. They may lose some of their better staffs, but these are staffs who have to option to work elsewhere or are able to make adjustments. If enough staffs take up this offer, the company has solved its downsizing well and everyone is happy.

If not enough staffs take up the exit package, the company has to adopt the next step. Some companies ask their remaining staff to take a mandatory no-pay leave. It applies to all the remaining staff. If the no-pay leave is one day a week, everyone takes a 20% salary cut and enjoys 20% more free time. This is a fair approach.

Here is a bad approach:
The bad approach is to decide on the staffs to be retrenched. It means that the retrenched staffs have to take a 100% pay cut (although they may enjoy some retrenchment benefit to tide over a certain period). There is uncertainty and fear as to the people who will be selected for retrenchment. Favoritism and politicking come into play.

I hope that companies will adopt the good approach.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Philippines, China and the disputed islands

This is my personal interpretation of the events. It is based on my observations and is subject to errors.

Philippines bought the case of the disputed islands to the International Court of Justice at the Hague, Netherlands. The Court ruled in favor of the Philippines.

President Duterte did not shout "Rule of Law". Instead, he paid a state visit to China. He told President Xi of China, "Big brother, my fishermen needs to fish for a living. Can you allow them to continue their livelihood? They are poor people.

And the resources around the islands, can both our countries share these resources? Let us go for win-win, okay?

And big brother, can I invite your China enterprises to invest in the Philippines and help to build our infrastructure? We know that this is a business deal, so we will make sure that your companies get a good return on your investment, okay? "

President Xi invited President Dutarte to a state dinner. They signed the agreement on the South China Sea and on investment in the Philippines. At the state dinner, President Dutarte did not crack any jokes about polluted rivers and polluted air.

President Dutarte does know how to get a good deal for his country. He also knows that he has to respect big brother. Maybe our PM Lee should get a lesson from President Dutarte? Do you agree?

Poor service fro m bus drivers

A few days ago, I arrived at the bus stop. My bus was about to leave the stop. I run towards the bus. The driver saw me and waved me to the next bus. I thought that the next bus would arrive soon.

The bus was late. Instead of the usual interval of 12 minutes, I had to wait more than 15 minutes. If the earlier bus had waited 5 seconds, I would have boarded it. But it did not - so I had to wait 15 minutes. This is poor service.

Quite often, there is a passenger in a wheel chair in the bus. The bus captain had to stop the bus, come to the exit, open the ramp for the wheel chair to leave the bus. That is considerate and is part of the standard operating procedures. The passengers had to wait for 1 minute for this process to be completed.

What is wrong waiting 5 seconds for a passenger to board the bus?

Wasteful to use printed guide for each bus service

SBS Bus 163 provides a printed brochure showing the service route at the front of the bus. The passenger can collect a brochure to read.

A better way is to have a large display pasted on the bus. There is no need for the passenger to collect the brochure. It is wasteful to have the printed guide which is usually thrown away.

These printed guides have to be replenished - which requires additional work. If they are not replenished, the passenger could not check the route.

I have travelled in buses and trains in other countries. They have a large display in the bus or train. They do not use the printed guide.

Why does our bus management use the printed guide? Are they trying to give business to their friendly printers? How wasteful.

Is it good to buy Eldershield or its supplement?

Leong Sze Hian wrote an article about Eldershield. $90 million were paid in claims but the total premium and accumulated interest amounted to $3,000 million.

Someone said that a minister had explained that the payout is low because the insurer needs to build up a reserve for future claims.

Do not believe this minister (I don't know who he is). Even after allowing for building up the reserves, the premium charged for Eldershield is too high.

Read this article.

If an insurer ask you to buy a supplement for Eldershield, you should decline. Here is the explanation.

My experience with a smart watch

I have been trying the MyKronoz smart watch for the past two weeks. Initially, I found it quite useful. My assessment has now changed.

I had problem receiving phone calls on my mobile phone. It is automatically sync to the smart watch. I have to deactivate the blue tooth to talk through the mobile phone.

I also had problem establishing the connection to the smart watch - to view the weather.

So, I am likely to give up the smart watch and to use my old $35 Casio watch. For the fitness scores, I will use my mobile phone.

It was a good learning experience. My friend, who uses the Samsung Gear, found it to be quite useful. It is a high end smart watch.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Is this utopia?

Imagine a country where all citizens are assured of a job that earns enough for them to raise a family. These people may not be super rich, but they can get by. They have to work hard, but only for 40 hours a week. They do not have to worry about unemployment. Is this a good country to live in?

It is possible to have a country that operates such an economic system. What type of economic system is this?

It is important to understand the question

I told this story in a seminar in Bangkok. It was well received.

I took the actuarial examination through self study while I was working full time. I did not have time to prepare well for each subject. On leaving the examination room, I often got the impression that I would fail the paper because I could not answer many of the questions. I was often surprised to learn that I passed the paper. At first, I thought it was just good luck.

Many years later, I understood a different perspective. Although I did not know the answers, I understood the questions. The examiner decided to give me a pass, because I understood the subject.

It is as important to understand the question as to get the right answer. Often, it is important to ask the right question.

At the close, I asked the participants to tell me what they learned during the seminar. Two older participants mentioned that it is important to understand the question and to ask the right question. They understood this principle through their many years of working experience. 

Gather the facts

One bad habit, which is quite common today, is the lack of initiative, when someone encounters a problem. They immediately conclude that they do not know the answer and passes the problem to somebody else. They do not bother to get some facts to understand what the problem is.

A good habit is to gather the relevant facts to understand what the problem is. This fact gathering will be helpful to the next person who has to take over the problem.

It is not difficult to gather the facts. It is the first step for someone else to find the solution. It is the duty of "the first responder" to assess the situation and pass the fact to the expert to solve it. Everyone on the scene can play the role of "the first responder".

Improve the quality of product

50 years ago, most manufactured products came from England. I remembered that it was easy to open a bottle with a twist of the cap or to tear a package at the marked location.

As the years went by, more manufacturing came to low cost countries. I observed that it became quite difficult to open the caps of bottles. I have to use a cloth to increase the friction. Sometimes, I had to look for some tools.

It is also difficult to open a package at the marked location. Often, the location is not properly marked or it does not tear. I have to use a scissor to cut the package.

The airlines do not allow scissors to be taken on board and the hotels do not provide scissors. I often had a hard time tearing the instant coffee package.

In the rush to mass produce the products at low cost, the attention to detail is abandoned. The pride in getting the work done well is gone.

We can afford to pay a little more for our product, or the distributor can take a little less profit. Life will be better if the quality can be improved just by adding a little attention to detail.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Understand how an annuity works

Most people have a hazy idea about how an annuity operates. They do not realize that there are many types of annuities providing different benefits. These many variations can be grouped under three main types. It is explained here.

Watch all the videos

Most visitors watched only the videos on the financial planning topics that they are interested in. On average, each visitor watched two videos.

There are 10 videos covering differen topics. I encourage you to watch all of them, as they are relevant to consumers.Each video takes only 5 to 10 minutes.

Are the SAF vehicles still being detained in Hong Kong?

The SAF vehicles have been detained in Hong Kong for nearly three weeks. Have they been returned to Singapore? I have not heard any update on the news for the past two weeks. The latest that I found online is the following:…/formal-reasons-for-the-detent…

What is happening? Are we still waiting for a "formal reason" that is not forthcoming from Hong Kong?

New issues for your vote - Wisdom of the Crowd

I have two current issues for your voting:

1. China detained an underwater drone in the disputed South China Sea.
2. President Dutarte visit to Singapore.

Give your view and vote in

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Moral hazard of unemployment insurance?

Two years ago, I met a German lady who had married a Singaporean and had lived in Singapore for 25 years. She said:

"Mr. Tan. Most people in Singapore think that they unemployed people enjoy taking advantage of unemployment benefit. This is not the case in the German town that I was brought up. The workers lost their jobs when the shipyards were no longer viable in Germany. Although they received unemployment benefit, they were embarrassed. They tried their best to find alternative work. "

Some people may take advantage of the system. But most people are hard working and will try to get off the benefit as soon as they can.

This is a perspective that I want the PAP MPs to know. It is not like what this MP thinks.

Simplify our systems

I find many systems in Singapore to be too convoluted. An example is the CPF contribution rate. Try to understand this document, okay?

Why not just set the contribution rate for employees to be 20% and for employers at 17%? Just one line? It used to be simple in the 1950s.

Cost of retrenchment insurance

The Workers Party has recommended an insurance scheme to provide a modest payout of 40% of wages to a retrenched worker for a period of six months.
They calculated the cost of the insurance to be 0.05% of wages.
I have calculated the cost to be higher, but it is still affordable, as shown in the attached PDF.

Unemployment insurance

The Workers Party has recommended an insurance scheme to give a modest payout of 40% of wages to retrenched workers for a period of six months.

I wrote on this matter two years ago. Here is my article.…/Rationale-for-unemployment-insu…

Insurance scheme to cover modest payout to retrenched workers

Redundancies in Singapore hit a high, due to the economic recession. Article.

The Workers Party have recommended a compulsory insurance scheme to provide a modest payout of 40% of earnings for a period of six months to retrenched workers. I agree with this approach.

There is some fear that this could lead to abuse. One step to reduce the abuse is to make this available only to the retrenched workers who have in the same company for more than two years. I don't know if this safeguard is already in the proposed scheme.

Another safeguard is the deterrent. Any abuse will be investigated and the employer and worker can be charged for "cheating" the system.

After the potential abuses are addressed, we should proceed with the system.

The insurance premium can be set at a rate that can vary according to the actual losses, subject to a cap of 1% of wages.

US Presidential Election - endorsement by well known personalities

Did Monica Lewinsky was the intern that was involved in a scandal with Bill Clinton was President. Did she vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? What about other well known persons, such as Clint Eastwood, Demi Moore, Leonard DiCapro? 
You can see who they support here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beware of the risks of "as charged" medical plans

A medical plan that covers the total bill without applying any "inner limit" is called an "as charged" plan. Consumers think that this is a good plan as they don't have to worry about paying for the bill that goes beyond the "inner limit". However, the "as charged" plan also has its risks. This is explained in this article.

At long last, the high speed rail agreement is ready to be signed

At long last, the agreement for the High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is ready to be signed. The railway will come into operation in 2026. By that time, I will be 78 years old and will be too old to use it. Never mind, it will be good for the future generations. Link.

This railway should have been started 20 years earlier. However, the relationship between Singapore and Malaysia was bad. This reflects the disappointing mindset of the leaders at that time. They cannot see beyond their own pettiness to the bigger issues for both countries.

Look at the progress made by China in developing the high speed railway connecting their major cities. In contrast, our slow progress is disappointing.

Mykronoz smart phone

I am trying out this smart watch. The brand is Mykronoz. It is from Switzerland. I paid GBP 100 in London. However, I saw it sells for a much lower price at the electronic shop in Changi Airport, but I am not sure if it is the same model. The online price is Euro 99, which is still lower than GBP 100.

I find the useful feature to be:
1. It sync with my smart phone.
2. I can use the fitness tracker.
3. I can see the weather.
4. The clock face can be changed (but all the faces look unattractive).

I find the sync with the Facebook, Email to be not practical. I can control the smartphone camera with this watch and take calls from the watch - but it is not practical.

A lower price model has all the features that I use. The additional features in this higher price model is not practical.

Business Simulation Game

I am giving a talk on insurance followed by the business simulation game. The participants pay a fee of $1,000.

Here is the link that explains the business simulation game. You can play the game and experience the learning. There is no charge for you.

Legacy policy

What is a legacy policy? It is being sold to older peole who has accumulated some wealth and are asked to pass it to their children or grand children through a legacy policy. What are the risks and benefits of this type of policy? Read my analysis here.

Should you move to an integrated shield plan?

Should you stay on Medishield Life or move to an integrated plan? Will an integrated plan cover a larger part of your medical bill and reduce your co-payment?

How does Singapore stand on human rights?

Does Singapore have a good record on human rights? Where do we stand among the 200 nations covered by a research by two American professors? What are my personal views?…

Wisdom of the Crowd - results for your viewing

The results of the voting for these issues are now available:

1. President Tony Tan's visit to Japan was useful
2. Singapore's economy will take a long time to recover
3. Vivian Balakrishnan performed poorly as foreign minister
4. Halimah Yacob is likely to be fielded as candidate for President
5. The next Presidential election will be a walkover.

You can view the results here:

Wisdom of the Crowd - issues for you to vote

There are four issues available for you to vote on:
1. Does Singapore have a good human rights record?
2. Why was Dr. Ng Eng Hen not elected into the PAP CEC?
3. Should public transport fare be increased?
4. Hong Kong must give a formal reason for the detention of the SAF vehicles.

Give your vote and add your voice to the collective results.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fix the faulty trackers in the buses

I arrived at the bus stop and check the app for the arrival time of the next bus 163. It said 14 mins.

Hahaha! Here we go again. I expect the next bus to arrive in 2 mins. It must be the bus with the faulty tracker. I first noticed this "missing" bus 3 years ago.

The bus did arrive in 2 mins. Through experience, it is possible for commuters to make such adjustments for inaccurate information.

Would it not be better for the Land Transport Authority to ask the bus companies to identify their buses with faulty trackers? This would be better than expecting the public to learn through years of experience and make this adjustment.

Would the gentleman who is monitoring my blog pass this feedback to the minister for transport? He can ask his LTA to get the bus companies to fix this long term "embarrassment" and demonstration of incompetency.

They can easily identify all the faulty trackers by going through their database. These buses are missing completely from the database!

Starting salaries for jobs posted in Job bank

Here is a list of jobs posted recently in the government sponsored Job Bank. It shows the average starting salary for each job category and each job title. You may find it useful to gauge the market salary for these jobs.

If you are interested to register as a job seeker, you can use this link. You will be notified when a job is posted that match your interest.

For other details in the job portal, click here

Do not mix public service with commercial activities

I am angry to see public buses painted with advertisements. Sometimes, I mistook them for private buses.

Public buses should remain as public buses and should not be painted to get additional revenue.

We have to draw a line between public service and commercial activities. This comment also applies to taxis.

The public servant may feel that they are smart in getting revenue for the bus operators or the government. They may find it a good way to earn a higher bonus.

We should get away from this kind of thinking. Leave the commercial activities to commercial organizations and let the public service be focused on serving the public, and not generating more revenue.

Provide information, rather than advertisements

Someone observed that the Land transport Authority is trying out the big screen in the bus, so that half the screen can be used for advertisements.

I find this deplorable. I hope that it does not happen.

I am quite fed up with the commercial practices. The commuters need information and should not be distracted by advertisements. It is not the role of government to find ways to "make money" at every opportunity.

I am also annoyed at the signage in MRT stations. They are hidden by the signs of the commercial outlets in the station. Sometimes, I cannot find the signs.

As our government or the public servants continue to display the commercial approach, maybe to get bigger bonuses, I will continue to feel very angry at this bad form of government.

I hope that the government wakes up and know that "enough is enough".

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wisdom of the Crowd

The voting on the following issues have closed.

1) President Tony Tan's visit to Japan
2) Recovery of the economy
3) Vivian B performance as foreign minister

You can view the results at

You can vote on the current issues listed at

Give your vote and make the results more credible. We need 50 votes on each issue. We need everyone to play a part, OK?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

How Singapore stands in comparison of other countries on human rights.

I pre-recorded this video to prepare for my speech in Hong Lim Park on Human Rights Day. It contains that points that I would be covering in my speech. I talk about our ranking on human rights and how it has changed over the past 30 years. It also shows how well our human rights score compares with the country that has the highest score according to the CIRI project that covers 200 countries.


Dear Mr. Tan
With regards to Eldershield provided by one of the 3 Insurance companies, does it make sense to sign up for it? The reason I ask is the payout also seems little..

You can find the answer here:

Human rights scores of countries - CIRI report

How does Singapore rank among the nations on human rights? Are we better or worse than America or United Kingdom? How about Malaysia or Indonesia or Russia?

You can find the answer from the CIRI report. It is a project to study of the human rights score of 200 nations.

I have taken the results from the database produced by the CIRI report and presented them in this website. You can search for the answer easily and quickly.

CIRI is the initials of Professor Cingranelli (CI) and Professor Richards (RI) both of whom are from American universities.

The CIRI score can be viewed at

It also shows a graph of the CIRI scores for the selected country over the past 25 years.

What are the ordinary people's views on current issues?

Here are some current issues for you to vote. The voting has increased in recent weeks. We still need more votes to get credible results. Come forward and play your part as a citizen.

You can also view the results of the issues that have been voted and closed recently. Here is the link.

Human Rights Day, Hong Lim Park, 12 Dec 4 to 7 pm

Human Rights Event will be held today at Hong Lim Park, 4 to 7 pm. I hope to see many of you attend. It should be a good opportunity to meet friends and be engaged with the community.

I will be speaking at about 6 pm. Timing is not confirmed. Depends on how long the earlier speakers take.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Importance of personal accident insurance

Personal accident insurance is essential for all young people. It is more important than life insurance or critical illness insurance. During most of my working life, I was insured for $1 million against death or bodily injury caused by accidents. I still hold the insurance today.

If you have term insurance, it is better than personal accident insurance. But if you do not have term insurance, you need personal accident insurance more than ever.

Read more about it here:

Give your vote on two new issues

I have added two more issues for your voting

1) Do you agree with Singapore's stand to ask Hong Kong for a formal reason for detaining the SAF vehicles?
2) Why was Dr Ng Eng Hen not elected into the CEC of the PAP?

Give your vote in

AIA Platinum Legacy Policy

In my earlier article, I missed the point that the AIA Platinum Legacy policy is actually a whole life policy that pays an attractive sum assured on death. 
I have now revised my article to reflect this point. It is still not attractive but is not as bad as I had indicated earlier.…

Talk on financial planning, 14 January

46 people have already registered for this 3 hour talk on financial planning on Saturday 14 January. The usual fee for this talk is $30 but it is being offered free on this occasion. There are still a few remaining places. You have to register now, before the talk is fully booked.

UN Human Rights Day

December 10 is UN Human Rights Day. Does Singapore have a good record on human rights? Cast your vote here:

Issues affecting the people of Singapore

This link leads you to a website that allows you to vote on issues affecting the lives of the people of Singapore.

The tab on "Results" shows the voting on issues that have closed recently.

12 years after the Asian tsunami

I am saddened to learn about the loss of lives and property damage caused by the earthquake in Banda Aceh, nearly 12 years after the devastating tsunami caused by an earlier earthquake.…/singapore-sh…/3349072.html…

I had visited Banda Aceh a few years after the tsunami and learned about what had happened, as seen by the locals.

I hope that the people of Aceh will recover from this catastrophe quickly.

Singapore scores well on global benchmarking tests on our education system

Singapore does very well in global benchmarking tests on our education system.

However, I suspect that the tests are focusing on the wrong measurements. I prefer our education system to be less stressful and more board based - rather than to score top marks on benchmarking tests.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

AIA Platinum Legacy Policy

Mr Tan,
Can I solicit your advice on this product?
My Citi RM is trying to get me interested in this product.
My experience from 2007-2008, has made me wary of RM's foisting financial products on uninformed and naive clients.
Thank You & Regards,

My reply is given here

How well did Singapore fare on human rights?

In the CIRI report on Human Rights, the countries are scored on four key attributes:

1) Physical Integrity – Torture, Extrajudicial Killing, Political Imprisonment, and Disappearance
2) Empowerment - Foreign Movement, Domestic Movement, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly and association, Workers’ Rights, Electoral Self-Determination, and Freedom of Religion.
3) Women – economic and political rights
4) Judiciary – independence of the judiciary.

In which areas did Singapore do relatively well, compared to other countries and in which areas did we do worse? You will be surprised at the results. It is not what most people think!

I will share my findings in the talk at Hong Lim Part on Saturday Dec 10, 4 to 7 pm See you there!

The cost and benefit of cyber security

I have been asked to give my views about what has to be provided in the legislation on Cyber Security.

My reply focus on the following points:

1. How serious is this threat?
2. Is the threat being exaggerated?
3. Can we identify the risks before spending a lot of money to counter the risk?

The possible threats are:

1. Cyber attacks that lead to internet infrastructure being brought down
2. Theft of money from bank accounts
3. Stealing of personal information

We need to understand if these threats are so serious that they merit action by the entire community.

Recently, the fibre broadband network of Sing Tel was brought down. Was it caused by a cyber attack or was it just carelessness by the operator? The service was restored within 24 hours. It was troublesome but we can live with it, if it occurs quite rarely.

If we get network being brought down regularly by cyber attack, we face a real threat. If not, we should wait and see if this threat is real before taking expensive preventive action.

There were a few cases of money being withdrawn from ATM machines due to criminals. Criminals will also break into houses to steal money and property. How serious is the hacking of ATM machines? The banks are already taking appropriate action. Is there a need to raise the level of security?

A more useful response is the audit function. If there is stealing of data and money, it should be detected soon after the event. It may be difficult to prevent criminals from all of their activities. It may be more useful to focus on detection and prosecution.

I am also not worried if my personal data, stored in several hundred databases, are stolen. It usually has my name, email address and maybe the password. If the criminal wishes to try using my password to access my other accounts in other websites, they are welcome to do so. Even if they place a fictitious online order for me, so what? They still have to make payment.

I am more careful about the password for my bank account and paypal account.

The real risk is with the stolen credit card details to make unauthorised payments. This is an area where the banks can strengthen their infrastructure, They should allow the customer to set a pin for their credit card and require the pin to be used for online and offline payment. The use of the printed CVV number is inadequate. It should be replaced by a PIN that is not shown.

I suspect that a lot of the hype on cyber security is created by the security firms. They use this opportunity to promote their services to prevent the threats. Often, the cost of the prevention is higher than the loss from the criminal activities. It is better to spend a smaller sum of money on detection and prosecution.

Young people should insure against the risk of accident

Many people are worried about contracting a critical illness. They are paying a high premium for this cover.

For young people, the biggest risk is accidents, especially traffic accidents. They should buy a personal accident insurance, at a low premium rate, to cover this risk.

You can buy $200,000 in personal accident insurance for a premium of $100 a year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Speed up the hearing of a case in court

From time to time, I hear of court cases that takes a long time for a judgment. The judge has to listen to the evidence and argument put forward by the lawyers on both sides. But some lawyers abuse the court hearing by producing irrelevant materials that take time to be presented and heard in court.

Some lawyers love long hearings. They can bill their client at a high rate for each hour spent in court. The longer the case is dragged on, the larger is the legal fee.

Some judges are able to rebuke the lawyer for wasting the court's time. But other judges may be unsure of the issue and may allow the lawyer some leeway.

A long hearing can add a burden to the judge in having to consider the material that have been put forward. It also adds to the legal fees payable by the parties.

This abuse of the court process can be addressed by the court setting a limit on the time for a case to be heard in court. The materials could be presented in advance and the question time can be limited. A time limit can also be set on the time that can be spent to question the witnesses.

There can also be a limit set on the fees that can be charged by lawyers for each type of case, say $20,000 to hear a civil case. If such a cap applies, the lawyers will be super productive in presenting their case within a time limit.

A better way to build customer relationship

Bad habits die hard. I still receive calendars sent to my home from my bank, stock broker and other business associates.

Do they realize that we are not in the Internet and online world? Who still use a calendar nowadays? It is such a waste of paper and postage. It goes into the waste basket.

Do the marketing people use their common sense? Do they bother to find out if the calendar is still being used today? Is it due to laziness and an unwillingness to think and to find out?

If businesses want to build relationship with their customers, they could spend the money to provide better customer service, to reduce the waiting time, to have people to pick up the call instead of asking customers to waste time with an automated machine!

If they want their customers to remember them, they could give a voucher for a meal at a restaurant, rather than send a calendar. 

Do you agree?

Human Rights Day - event at Hong Lim Park, 10 December 4 to 7 pm

I am speaking at Hong Lim Park on Saturday 10 December, 4 to 7 pm on the issue "Human Rights". The day is UN Human Rights Day. Do attend this event to show your solidarity and support for human rights.

Beware or you will regret it

Many people bought a special ILP policy to enjoy a large upfront bonus. They were so engrossed with the bonus that they forgot to examine the other aspects of the policy. Most of them regret their hasty decision. Read about the problem with this upfront bonus here.

Cast your vote on these issues

Should public transport fares be increased in Singapore by a modest amount? There are reasons for and against this increase.
Is Vivian Balakrishnan performing well as Foreign Minister? He seemed to be rather quiet during the spat with China.
Will the Singapore economy take a long time to recover from the current slowdown? or will the recover by quick?
Is it useful for President Tony Tan to make a trip to Japan at this time?

Read the reasons for and against each issue and cast your vote. Make your voice be heard.

Monday, December 05, 2016

You learn better through "practice"

I have created 12 short videos on financial planning, insurance and investment. Most of the videos are from 5 to 10 minutes.

I observe, from the login record, that many visitors watch a small number of videos.

I encourage them to watch all the videos to get a good understanding of the subject. As the videos are short, you can spend 1 hour each day to watch a few videos. You should be able to watch all the videos within a week.

Another tip: Come back and watch the videos a few times. You can understand better through "practice".

The way forward for China and Singapore

I am disappointed with the action taken by China to detain the SAF military vehicles in Hong Kong.

They have the legal right to take this action, and they have quoted the following reasons:

a) The military vehicles were not declared in the manifest
b) Singapore should not have military cooperation with Taiwan in violation of the One China policy.

The underlying reason, which is unspoken, is that China is unhappy with the stand taken by Singapore on the South China Sea issue and in siding with America on military matters, including the intent to "contain" China.

However, China should also consider other countervailing factors:

a) Singapore provided a lot of moral, practical and diplomatic support to China during the 1980s and 1990s.
b) Singapore made major strategic investments in China to help develop its economy at a time when the world was uncertain about its prospects.
c) Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Dr. Goh Keng Swee provided valuable guidance to China in adopting the market economy, including the setting up of the free trade zones.

Without Singapore's contribution during the crucial initial years, China would not have seen the tremendous progress that it had.

I know a little bit of this history. I visited China for the first time in 1985. I saw the abject poverty of China and its people at that time. I understand why Mr Lee KY, Dr Goh KS and Ong Teng Cheong stepped forward to help China.

China may not agree with the stand and approach taken by Mr. Lee HL on many issues. But it is not a matter between President Xi and PM Lee. It is a matter between China and Singapore and the people of both countries.

I disagree with the stand taken by China to exercise its "right" to detain the SAF military vehicles. The paper work may be sloppy, but mistakes are made and, between friends or between mature adults, this matter could have been sorted out more amicably.

China may complain about the military cooperation between Singapore and Taiwan. Surely, China knows that Singapore needs the land to train our soldiers? It is not a cooperation to help the other country on military matters.

The use of the training facilities in Taiwan has been ongoing for a few decades. China knew about it. If China wishes to ask Singapore to review this arrangement, a better way is for China to talk to Singapore about it, and find a better arrangement. Maybe China can offer a small part of its vast land mass for Singapore to train our soldiers?

While I disgree with the approach taken by PM Lee on many issues, I wish to say that in this instance, the action taken by China is unacceptable and amounts to "bullying". I hope that China knows about how some people in Singapore feel about this matter, and it is from people who harbor goodwill towards China and wish China well.

Improve the design of online survey forms

I have been invited to participate in online surveys. I tried to oblige but have often been disappointed at the poor quality of the survey questions.

Here are some of the bad features that I have frequented encounterd.

a) I am presented one page at a time. I have to complete the page before going to the next page. I do not have any idea about the questions that are being asked in the subsequent pages. I do not even know how many questions are being asked. The survey is often described as a "short survey" but this is a dishonest description.

b) The questions are bad phrased. I am asked to answer questions that I do not understand and are not relevant to me. My answers will distort the survey results. But I am not allowed to opt out.

Here are my suggestions on how to improve the design of the survey;

a) Allow the user to view all the questions before starting to give the answer. If they know the context of the questions, they can give a more accurate and reliable answer.

b) Have fewer questions in the survey. Based on the answers given by the participant, you can pick out the participants who are more interested in the topic. You can send a follow up survey to get answers to more questions or to get more indepth answers.

c) Focus on getting reliable and accurate answers, rather than to get a large number of participants who give unreliable or inaccurate answers.

A better way to insure and invest

Dear Mr. Tan

Hi Mr. Tan, I am exploring SAF group insurance where I have checked that the premiums ($410/yr for $1m) are about 55% cheaper than in the market ($900/yr for $1m). I am at age 27 and is looking at the death/tpd insurance until age 65.…/for-…/mindef/group-term-life.html

*In the above website, it states that the premium is same until age 65* I believe this is the most value for money plan where I can invest the savings into index fund. Please advise your recommendation. Thank you.

I agree with you. This is a good plan to provide insurance protection. The savings can be invested in an index fund (STI ETF) to get a much better return that the payout from a life insurance policy.

Inconsiderate survey from Ministry of Manpower

Dear Sir or Madam,

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is conducting a quarterly Industry Pulse Poll to help us achieve a better understanding of your industry in terms of business and hiring expectations.

Your company has been selected to participate in this Industry Pulse Poll. This is a chance to make your voice heard: The poll enables businesses to provide feedback on ground sentiment, contributing to better informed policy-making.

This poll will close on 16 December 2016. After you complete the poll, we will send you a customised report on your industry’s business and hiring expectations as a token of our appreciation. The poll should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

Provide your feedback Here or copy and paste the survey URL in the browser

All information collected will be analysed only at the aggregated level and individual responses will be kept strictly confidential.

Please email us at if you have any queries.

Thank you for your participation.

Dear MOM
I refuse to participate in any survey where I am presented one page at a time.
I prefer to see the entire survey and think through my answer.
If you expect to get useful answers, be considerate to the people you are asking to complete the survey.

CPF payment to retirees

Dear Mr. Tan
I follow your writings on facebook and agree with most of your views and observations. I like to hear your view on payouts made by CPF board for retirees. I find it queer that the board only transfer money to the bank accounts of its members on the 4th "working" day of each month. This means that CPF members will get their money on a variable date. It could be paid as late as the 8th of the month, if 1st is on Saturday, 2nd on Sunday and 3rd and 4th are holidays. Anyway, payments will be not be fixed! It may be on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th day of the month. Payments made by citizens to the government for rates and taxes are always fixed on a particular day, say property tax must be paid on the 5th of the month and not the 5th "working" day. We also get our wages on a fixed day of the month. Thanks.

I agree with you. CPF Board should pay on a fixed day in the month, rather than use the 4th "working day".

Sing Tel compensates its customers for disruption of service

Well done to Sing Tel for offering a discount on the subscription for their broad band users.

It is not enough to cover the users for the inconvenience and cost that they had to incur, but it is nevertheless a good gesture.

I am sure that Sing Tel did not intend to have this disruption of service, so they should not be heavily penalized for a matter that is beyond their control.

However, if the Infocomm and Media Development Authority finds that they were careless and irresponsible, then they should instruct Sing Tel to increase the compensation to customers. The regulator should not be benefiting financially from the fine.

Survey request from inconsiderate organizations

I received a request to complete a "short survey" from two organizations today - from an association (which my company is a member) and from the hotel in Putrajaya.

Both survey forms force me to complete one page at a time before I could see the questions on the next page.

I replied to both organizations:

"I wish to see the entire survey from before starting to give my answers. I do not wish to be forced to complete one page of the form at a time without seeing the remaining questions".

This will be my standard reply to all requests to complete surveys from inconsiderate organizations.

Voting in Wisdom of the Crowd

The majority of people who voted in this website does not like Halimah Yacob to be fielded as a candidate for Elected President. What are their reasons? Find out here:

Do the crowd expect the next presidential election to be a walkover? Find out what they think here:

This bonus can cause you a lot of money.

Several people have bought an investment linked policy that pays an attractive upfront bonus in the form of bonus units. The bonus is attractive - and they forget to do their due diligence to see the negative aspect of it. They have lost a few ten thousand dollars in savings.
Be careful. Do not fall for this trap. Read this article.…

Talk on Financial Planning - fee is waived

FISCA will be waiving the fee for this talk on Financial Planning on 14 January. The usual fee is $30 for the public. As the places are limited, and the takeup is expected to be high, you are advised to register your place immediately.

Adjust to a new economic order

Many countries have to turn inward because the economic results of globalization have been quite lopsided - 1% benefit a lot, 9% are okay, but 90% suffer.

Singapore has to find a new way to survive in a less globalized world.  Article

We have to start by reducing our cost of living, our cost of doing business, and reducing wastefulness. We have to stop the old days of spending as if money grows on trees.

Our politicians cannot expect to command outrageous salaries.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Learn about annuities

Some time in the future, you are likely to ask the question, "Should I invest in an annuity"?

You can learn about the three types of annuities from watching this short and educational video.

Here is the direct link

Wisdom of the Crowd website

I create the Wisdom of the Crowd website to allow Singaporeans to vote on relevant issues.

Here are the issues that need your vote now.

We need more votes to get more credible results. Please help to achieve this goal.

Here are the results of the issues that have closed recent. You can see how Singaporeans feel about these issues.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

I remember the transport minister

I am reminded of the transport minister, Khaw BW, on two occasions today.

At the bus stop in the morning, I checked the app for the arrival time of bus 163. It said 12 minutes. I must have just missed the earlier bus.

No. The next bus arrived in 2 minutes. It probably had a faulty GPS tracker and could not be located by the app. This fault has probably been undetected for several years.

I took the bus in the late evening. It was dark. I could not see the bus stops along the way. I went to the exit area to watch the bus stop being displayed on the fare meter.

I went there too early and had to wait for a few stops before arriving at my destination.

I am disappointed that the minister does not pay attention to fix this issue. Can a civil servant monitoring my blog pass this message to the transport minister?

If Donald Trump were the prime minister, he would have told the transport minister - "You are fired".

Beware of the Effect of Deduction

A policyholder invest $10,000 a year in an investment linked policy. The benefit illustration showed following projected values at age 65 (after 40 years) based on a projected yield of 8%.

Non-guaranteed surrender value $1,060,000
Effect of deduction                      $1,792,000

The "effect of deduction" is the difference between the accumulated premiums and the surrender value.

What does this mean? It means that the accumulated premiums is $2,852,000. It means that the policyholder could get $2,852,000 by investing the same annual premium of $10,000 a year on his own.

Find out more here:

Applying for a job

The economy is slow. Employers are not increasing their workforce. There are many job seekers but only a few job vacancies.

Employers are still posting job vacancies. However, job seekers suspect that they are not genuine postings. In some cases, the jobs are fictitious and are posted by employment agents to collect resumes of potential candidates.

The job seekers find it to be a waste of their time. They have given up applying for these jobs.

The real employers are also discouraged. When they put up a posting, they get many applications from candidates who are discouraged and are not really trying hard to get the job.

What is the solution? How can a job seeker find out if the posting is genuine or fake? How can employers find out if the job seeker is really interested or just trying his or her luck?

Unusual arrangements

Aun Sung Suu Kyi is the State Counsellor of Myanmar. My friend explained the powers of this office.

Under the Myanmar constitition, which was drafted by the military junta in power, ASSK is bared from holding the office of President because her children are non-citizens. This provision was drafted primarily to exclude her from this office.

Her political party won a landslide victory and had overwhelming control of Parliament. They could not change the constitition because it required 75% vote of Parliament and 25% of the seats are reserved for the military. In effect, the MPs appointed by the military is able to block any change to the constitution.

In Myanmar, the President is appointed by Parliament. ASSK party decide on the President but she is barred from holding this office according to the constitution.

The ruling party passed a new Act of Parliament to set up the office of State Counsellor. They gave this office more power than that held by the President in the constitution. This turns out to be an embarrassment to the military. It is a way to recognize that ASSK is the real power in Myanmar.

In some aspects, our constitution in Singapore on the Elected President has some similarity to the unusual arrangement in Myanmar.

Our Elected President has to refer to the Council of Presidential Advisers on some of its important decisions. The real power could lie with the Council, rather than the "Elected" President.

There is also the arrangement for our Elected President to be "reserved" for a certain minority group. This is our way of barring certain people from contesting the election.

Danger of the upfront bonus

If an agent sells you an investment linked policy that provides an attractive upfront bonus, you must avoid it. Many people have bought the policy for the bonus but did not realize that they have to pay back for this bonus in the additional charges under the policy. To make matters worse, even their own savings can be at risk, if they do not carry out the policy for 25 years or longer.

This is explained here:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

National Service needs to be reviewed

A taxi driver has 3 sons who have served national service. They are all not married. The eldest is over 30 years old.

He said that in Taiwan the compulsory military service is only 1 year.

I checked Google and found that Taiwan intends to stop military conscription and move to an all volunteer army. This change was supposed to be implemented in 2014 but had been delayed. After that, all males will spend only 4 months in boot camp for military training. That is all.

Taiwan faced the threat of involuntary "unification" with China. Yet, they considered that one year of compulsory military service is sufficient.

Singapore continues to require two years of compulsory military service. Including waiting time, the males are disrupted three years of their working career. They also have to spend one month each year on continuing training.

Many NS men said that they have little to do during their second year in full time NS. They just waste their time waiting to be discharged, or have to prepare for National Day Parade.

To make matters worse, our males have to compete with foreigners who do not have this obligation. It is like asking our males to compete with foreigners with their hands tied behind their back. The males in Taiwan do not have this kind of competition.

When will our government realize that this policy needs to be changed?

Ordinary people's views on the current issues

What do ordinary people think about the issues that affect our lives? You can see the results here:

A word of caution. If there are less than 25 votes, the results are lopsided. If there are more than 25 votes, or better still more than 50 votes, the results are quite reliable.

To get more reliable results on your issues, you have to play your part. You should also submit your vote on these issues. It is easy to give your vote. Just click on this link or on the "Vote" tab.

Educate yourself on financial matters

I have put in much effort to explain complex financial contracts, such as an annuity or insurance product, in simple terms. Some people do not want to watch the videos or to read the article. They just want an answer to their question, "Is it good or bad"?

This reflects a lazy attitude. They are likely to be scammed. If they make the effort to watch the video or read the article and are still not sure, they should attend a talk.

Due to their laziness, many of them get scammed and lose a few thousand dollars, or more. It is sad, but this happens to many people.

Here are my videos and articles:

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