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

Taken for a ride in forex trading

Dear Mr Tan,

I would like to seek you advice regarding a post on your blog from 2011:

I understand that the informant does not want to go to the CAD.

I have been on the receiving end of the redacted company's unethical practices and I believe I was taken advantage as a member of a vulnerable group.

Just wondering from your view if there is a way I could anonymously inform the CAD without implicating myself and becoming outright enemies of the owners of the company in question?

Worried for my financial future.

The Commercial Affairs Division is not likely to act on information that does not come from an identified source. 

Even if you come forward to identified yourself, the CAD is not likely to act also. They have too many cases to handle and cannot spend time on complaints, unless there is clear evidence of wrong doing.

Please register to join FISCA

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:

Payout under CPF Life

I have obtained some quotations on CPF Life. It shows the payout rate for a person at age 65 under the standard and basic plans, and for a male and female. This payout rate is useful to judge the annuity that you can buy from the market using your non-CPF savings.

If the "private annuity" offers a payout that is similar or better than CPF Life, then it is "worth buying". If it offers a lower payout, it may still be worth buying, if the difference is small. The reason is that the CPF annuity gives a payout that is based on a yield of 4%, but the private annuity is likely to give a slightly lower yield.

However, if the difference in payout is more than 10%, it is better to invest your savings in other types of investments, such as an index fund (ETF).

Investing in an annuity

I have often been asked if it is good to invest in an annuity. There are three types of annuities. This is explained in my video that is available here:

I have also given a tip on how you can source for the best annuity plan that is available in the market and how you can judge if this plan is "worth buying".

Strong action by Indonesia Central Bank

This incident happened a few years ago in Jakarta. A private banker working for a foreign bank forged the signature of the client and withdraw his money without his consent. She was doing it for a few years. Finally, she was caught.

The Indonesia Central Bank suspended the licence of the foreign bank on wealth management for two years. The bank was not allowed to take any new private banking clients during the period of suspension.

My friend told this incident to me. My remark "The central bank is fierce". I wonder if the MAS in Singapore would take similar action against a bank if the private banker forged the signature of the client over an extended period and the forgery was not detected by the bank?

Ties with China

The foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, is quoted as saying "We will not let one event affect the ties with China".

Somehow, this statement does not sound right. It is usually used when both parties are equal in stature or from a bigger party to a smaller one. It is not used by the party that is smaller in stature. This statement smacks of arrogance.

A better statement will be, "We will meet to clear the misunderstanding". 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Results of the voting are now available

The results of the voting on 5 issues are already available:

a) Is the government or parents responsible for the paper chase?
b) Do the people support the Internal Security Act?
c) Will Chan Chun Sing be a good future prime minister?
d) Has Dr Tan Cheng Bok been unfairly excluded from the presidential election?
e) Does the reserved election help to preserve racial harmony.

View the results at

Monday, November 28, 2016

Avoid a policy that gives you a high upfront bonus

Many people bought an investment linked policy that offers an attractive upfront bonus.

They were attracted by the bonus, which was sold to them by the agent, but did not pay attention to the high surrender charge. Most of them regretted their decision and had to lose a large part of their savings or to continue the plan over 10 to 20 years to get a poor return.

This is the feature of the Vista policy sold 5 years ago. Now, there are other policies that have similar features, such as the Pulsar policy that is being sold now.

Get more information from:

Singaporeans are generally optimistic about Donald Trump

It may surprise you that the ordinary people in Singapore are quite optimistic about Donald Trump being the next president of America. This is reflected in the results of several voting issues concerning Donald Trump before and after his election. You can view the results here.

Results on three issues are ready for viewing

The results of the voting on three issues are now ready.

a) Chan Chun Sing as a future prime minister
b) The changes on the Elected President is targeted at Dr. Tan Cheng Bok
c) Is there a need to reserve the election for a Malay candidate?

You can watch the results at

Make a guess before you see the result. You will know if your judgement follows the "wisdom of the crowd".

Sunday, November 27, 2016

New issues for voting

You can vote on these issues:

a) Vivian Balakrishnan is performing well as Foreign Minister
b) The Singapore economy will recover quickly
c) President Tony Tan's state visit to Japan is useful.

Vote here:

Singaporeans think Hillary Clinton will not be charged

Will Donald Trump appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, as he had promised during the campaign. The majority of Singaporeans have voted that he will not pursue this matter. See the breakdown of the result at

When you visit the website, spend a few minutes to vote on the other issues at we need more votes to get more credible results.

ILP policy with attractive initial bonus

Beware of an ILP policy that gives you an attractive initial bonus. Many customers were attracted to the Zurich Vista policy 5 years ago, and they learned about the high surrender penalty later, and their money was locked up.

Recently, a policyholder approached me for help with the AXA Pulsar policy. It looked quite similar to the Vista policy.

Find out more at:

Jetstar may lose a long time customer

Jetstar may lose a long time customer.

I have been travelling to Jakarta on Jetstar for the past 8 years. I am familiar with their website and their self service kiosk. I also use Jetstar when I travel to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Their fares are competitive.

A few days ago, I wanted to book a ticket to Kuala Lumpur. The fare was $310. It seemed very high. It could be due to the December school holiday.

I looked for alternative and finally booked a VIP bus to Kuala Lumpur for less than $70 return. It seemed to be a good option. I will probably travel by bus as the first choice in the future.

Yesterday, I booked a flight to Bangkok. JetStar wanted to charge over $300. I looked for an alternative and found Tiger Air at $220. So, I booked Tiger Air.

I also searched Tiger Air and find that they also provide flights to Jakarta for the same price as JetStar. Their travel times are more convenient. In the future, I might fly Tiger Air to Jakarta.

Previously, I was reluctant to use Tiger Air because their website was "troublesome" for the first time user. Having overcome this initial hurdle, I do not expect similar problem in the future with Tiger Air.

Lesson for Tiger Air - simplify your website. Make it easy for the first time customer. Otherwise, you are chasing them away.

Lesson for JetStar - keep your long time customer. Once you chase them away with steep pricing, they will find an alternative. And you may lose the customer forever!

Nobody bothered to use the CPF calculator?

I used the CPF Life Payout Calculator to calculate the payout for males aged 55, 60 and 65 and for females age 55, 60 and 65. The calculations were produced for age 55 and 65 and crashed for age 60. Clearly, there is something wrong with the calculation for age 60.

Errors can be expected. But the CPF Life Calculator has been put up for more than a year. Does this suggest that nobody used the calculator for age 60 during this time?

If this is the case, it is embarrassing. The government designed a convoluted scheme and nobody bothered to work out the sums. Is it so bad?

CPF Life Payout Calculator crashed

I intended to calculate the monthly payout and bequest for CPF Life using $150,000 of savings for a male age 65, 60, 550 and for females age 65, 60 and 55. This is to allow me to put up a table to explain to the public about how the CPF Life scheme, so they can decide on which plan to select.

I visited the CPF website. I found the CPF Life calculator. I entered the form to calculate the payout and the bequest under the Standard and Basic plans for a male age 65. I clicked on "Calculate".

It took a long time for the CPF website to return the results. I can understand why it took a long time. The calculation was complicated.

I resubmit the form for a male at age 60. It took a long time to calculate. I received a message, "An error occurred while trying to serve your last request. We've noted it down for our technical team to have a look. Correlation ID: cb3c2390-a7bd-4cdc-ad70-c304cd890466".

That is the end of my exercise.

I do not understand why the government (particularly PM Lee HL) needs to design such a complicated scheme that most people cannot understand.

It is so complicated that their online calculate crashed, just to make the second calculation.

Three types of annuities

There are many different types of annuities, just like they are many different types of life insurance policies.

A life annuity is like a life insurance policy in reverse. When you buy a life insurance policy, your may a monthly premium over a number of years to get a lump sum on the maturity date or on death. When you buy a life annuity, you pay a lump sum and receive a monthly annuity payment over a number of years or until death.

There are three main types of annuity plans. This is explained at

What do Singaporeans think about Donald Trump?

After he won the election, Donald Trump has softened many of his campaign promises. The media said that he is "back tracking". But his supporters said that the is practical and needs to implement his goals gradually.

What do Singaporeans think? You will be surprised with the results of their votes. View the surprising result here.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

How a life annuity works

I have added a new video to explain how an annuity works and to show the difference between a fixed term annuity, life annuity and guaranteed life annuity.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Difficult to understand the medical terms used in critical illness cover

Mr. Tan,
I tried to read my critical illness policy document. There are a few pages description the 30 plus illnesses. But I don't know how to read the medical terms. Even the common illness such as cancer, heart attack and stroke cannot be understood. Can I get some clarification from you?

I can't understand the terms as well. It is best to leave the interpretation to the doctor.
Basically, the medical condition has to meet certain tests before it can qualify as a claim.
If you wish to understand the non-medical aspects of critical illness, you can watch the video that is available at

You will be shocked

You will be shocked at some of the bad terms and conditions in the life insurance policy that you have bought. You can view these articles in Look for this icon.

Will Tharman be a good prime minister for Singapore?

We know that he does not want to have this job. But what do the "wisdom of the crowd" think? you can view the results of the voting in

You can also vote for the current issues by clicking the "Vote" tab;.

Will Donald Trump make a good President? Be surprised about the result of the voting by Singaporeans!

After Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I posed the question - "Will Donald Trump make a good President?".

The voting has now closed and the results are avaialble. Be prepared for some surprise. Is the answer "Yes" or "No" or "Maybe" ?

You can view the result of the voting on this issue, as seen by Singapore residents, at You can also the results of the voting on other issues.

Click on "Vote" to give you votes on the pending issues. We need more votes to make the result more credible.

Insurance company increases the minimum monthly premium

A policyholder bought an investment linked policy that required him to contribute $833 a month for 3 years and to reduce the premium to $250 a month afterwards. After one year, he received a letter from the insurance company informing him that the minimum premium after 3 years has been increased to $500 a month. There was a term in the policy contract that allowed the insurance company to set the minimum and maximum premium under the policy from time to time.

Nevertheless, the policyholder felt that the increase in monthly premium was unfair. He asked me if he should terminate the policy or if he could lodge a complaint about this increase in minimum monthly premium. He did not want to have to save $500 a month for the next 30 years.

He would have to suffer a large loss if he terminates the policy now.

What is the name of the policy? You can find the answer in

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Premium for motor insurance

Mr. Tan,
Car prices have dropped due to lower COE. Will the motor insurance premium also drop?

The motor insurance premium does not depend on the price of the car. It depends on many factors affecting the type of cover, the type of vehicle, driving experience of the owner, etc.

This is explained in the video here:

Insuring against evacuation

Someone told me that she like travel insurance and had made a few claims. When I asked, she told me that the claims were quite small. She did not know how many times she had bought the travel insurance. I thought that it is probably not worth the trouble to buy this insurance and to take the trouble of making small claims.

She asked - what about evacuation. I told here that this is a rare occurrence. Even if there is a serious accident, the patient can fly back on scheduled flights or be treated overseas.

This video shows a better way to cover your risk when you travel overseas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Add your voice

You can view the results of the issues voted recently here:

You can also add your vote to the current issues. Please play your part to add to our collective voice. If we can get 50 or more votes on each issue, the results will be more credible. We need everyone to play a part.

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