Saturday, January 21, 2017

How to invest in an index fund

Thirty years ago, most people do not invest in shares. They do not know how to buy shares and are afraid of risk. They invest in an insurance policy. The insurance company invest a large part of the savings in shares to earn a good return.

The situation has changed. The insurance company now takes away a large part of the return for their profits (up to 50%). Consumers now have the option to invest in an index fund which allows them to retain most of their return.

How to you invest in an index fund? The answer is given here:

What do the crowd think of Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is now the 45th President of the United States. I have posed two questions:

a) Will he make life better for Americans?
b) Will his policies be good for the world at large?

Give your views by voting in

Donald Trump - a fairy tale came true

In a few hours time, Donald Trump will become the 45h President of the United States. It is a fairy tale came true.

Like the fairy tale, Donald Trump is like the poor young girl that married the handsome prince. It was totally unexpected, not least by the poor girl.

We know that Donald Trump is not poor, neither is he young, nor a girl. But, like the fairy tale, he achieved the same unexpected outcome!

Donald Trump did not really expect to be President. He did enjoy the two years of campaigning. He made promises that he thought he would not be expected to fulfil - because he thought that he would not become elected.

For his pretty wife Melania, it is really a fairy tale came true. While she married a rich billionaire and was happy to be his wife and mother to their son, she never expected to become the First Lady of the United States.

There could be another twist to this fairy tale. The final winner could be the unexpected 46th President of the United States.

Some observers expect Donald Trump to resign his office within a year or two, because it would be a job that he did not really enjoy doing. His tweet would be taken away from him. He had to behave himself in front of pretty ladies. That would be no fun.

When that happens, Mike Pence would take over as the President. While two dozen candidates fought hard to be nominated and to be elected, Mike Pence had a relatively easy job. He only had to attend a few rallies and say some some nice, uncontroversial words. That's all. 

Will the unexpected really happen? That would be the most unusual fairy tale!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Start the family early

I agree with minister Josephine Teo that Singaporeans should change their mindset and start a family early. However, the minister does not know the financial hardship that Singaporeans have to face, due to low income, high cost of living and insecure jobs. So, it is difficult for Singaporeans to consider her option.

It is time for the government to change its mindset. If the government pays a family allowance of $500 a month for each child up to 3 children, maybe many couples will consider starting their families earlier.

They can afford to start a family with one income earner and the mother staying at home to raise the children. But the mother must receive the family allowance.

Is PDPA protecting or harrassing consumers?

The Government passed the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in 2002. It was intended to protect consumers.
Sad to say, the consumer is not protected by this Act. Instead, the consumer is being harassed by the provision of this Act.
Why do I say so?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

P2P Crowd funding platform

Hi Mr Tan,
I would like to ask for your honest opinion about P2P crowdfunding loans to SMEs (Major Platforms includes MoolahSense & Funding Societies), specifically whether if it is a good alternative to fixed deposits to students, housewives or retirees due to its short tenor (Of up to 1 year) especially to those issuers with "investment grading" or "moderate" credit rating?

Simple login

Hi Mr Tan,
Just a suggestion: Is it possible to let readers access the articles without having to log in (like how it was in the past)? Requiring us to log in creates hurdles and many of us will just click away. Thanks!

Is it difficult to login?
You just click on the Facebook or Google logo, as you are already logged into Facebook. I need to record the email address of visitors to my website.

Danger of buying at a road show

Many people are stopped by a sales person, selling a financial product, at a road show. This sales person blares out a special offer and promotion.

If the customer stops to listen to the sales pitch, he or she may buy the product on the spur of the moment or to "help" the sales person.

The customer may end up regretting this decision and may even lose a few thousand dollars of savings.

Read about how this NS man lose a large part of his personal savings just for $5 NTUC voucher.

Note: you need to sign in with your Facebook or Google account to read the article

A ridiculous interpretation and implementation of the POHA law

Have you heard about POHA? It is the Protection from Harrassment Act. It was passed in 2014. It criminalizes harassment, stalking, and other anti-social behaviour. The law is designed specifically to make acts of cyberbullying and online harassment a criminal offence.

Dr. Ting Choon Meng held a patent for a mobile medical clinic. He sued the Ministry of Defense for infringement of his patent. He lost his suit. 

He aired his grievance in an interview with a social blog, The Online Citizen (TOC). Mindef stated that his video interview contained a few false statements and bought a case against him and TOC under POHA. Mindef won the case in the court. 

Dr Ting and TOC appealed against this ruling on the grounds that POHA was never intended to cover the Government as an aggrieved party. The appeals court ruled in favor of Dr Ting and TOC.

The Law Minister, Mr Shanmugam, said that when POHA was passed, it was the government's intention that it should it should protect the Government as a "person". If this was the intent, why was this point not made clear in the law? 

Before the law was passed, the minister was asked in Parliament if it the "person" include the government or a corporate entity. He gave a vague answer - the "person" will be interpreted in accordance with other statutes. What exactly does this mean? Why can't the law be made clear?

Even if the law intended that the Government should be allowed access to this law as a "person", is there a need for Mindef to take protection under this law? Surely they have the resources to seek redress without using this law?

How to start financial planning

Young people don't know how to start on financial planning. They also don't know where to start. They are likely to buy a life insurance policy as a form of saving, but it is the worst type of financial product for this purpose. Here is a short vidoe prepared for those who are not able to attend my talk.

You need to sign in with your Facebook or Google account. Currently, it is available to the public. Later, it will be restricted to FISCA members,.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A skill that will benefit you for life

Most people switch off completely when they meet with a problem. Their preferred approach is to declare that it is "somebody else's problem".

They don't know how to deal with the problem. So, they shy away. They don't even want to try.

You can develop the skill of solving problems. The first step is to understand the problem. Sometimes you have to discuss with the other party to agree on what the problem is.

You can then look for where to start. You start with what you know. You give it a try and see if it works.

If you can solve half the problem, you have already achieved more than what most other people can.

I give a 1 hour tutorial to explain this approach. It is free! You can register here:

Once you learn the skill and acquire the confidence of approaching a problem, you have a skill that will benefit you for life.

Are you for China or for Singapore?

Someone asked me - are you for China or for Singapore?

He is typical of many people. They don't want to think. They only want to get the answer.

Well - here is my answer. I am for "what is right".

Who is right? China is bullying Singapore. Our leaders are acting in an arrogant and amateurish manner.

So, I am for neither side.

Actually, I am for the misunderstanding to be resolved and for the trust to be rebuilt between our two countries. We need Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to come back and tell our ministers what to do.

Rally behind our "leaders"

Our leaders asked us to be loyal and support them in their effort to recover the Terrexes.

It is difficult to support their position when:

a) They don't tell us what is happening
b) They don't admit a mistake when it happens
c) They distort the facts to brainwash the people
d) They don't ask for our views, thinking that we are morons.
e) They act in an arrogant manner, thinking that they are the only people who know the answer.

If our leaders become more humble, maybe they can get the people to rally behind them.

Shipping to and forth

Someone asked this question. If we are training our soldiers in Taiwan regulary, why can't we keep the Terrexes in Taiwan. Why do we have to ship them back and forth?

I don't know the answer. Does anyone know?

Twisted logic

I feel very sad to understand the logic of some people. I hope that they are the minority.

If I point out wasteful activities, their reply is "Oh, it is good to create jobs".

If I said that the slow clearance at our immigration checkpoint is due to inefficiency, they say, "Oh, the government wants to make it difficult for people to shop in Johor Bahru".

Has it occured to them that our government is just plain inefficient, incompetent and wasteful? Why do they still hold this government in high regard, when they have clearly blundered so frequently?

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