Friday, April 30, 2010

Minimize risks of retirement

Retirement is full of risks. There's the risk of sickness and needing expensive care, or of running out of money or of being divorced or widowed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Investments are part of financial planning, say analysts

For some people, investing is simply putting money into equities or property. But experts say investments should be seen as part of one's financial planning and long term goals.

They say setting goals are an important aspect of financial planning.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Things We Do for Love

We go to great lengths for our loved ones. We work hard to provide them with a life filled with happiness, comfort and opportunity. In fact, there's almost nothing we wouldn't do for our loved ones.

But what if you died tomorrow and were no longer around to provide for your family?

Life insurance cannot put your family's life back to how it was, but it can keep them in the world they've always known. Think of it as the ultimate act of enduring love. In all likelihood, you wont be around to see or experience the death benefits of a life insurance purchase. But the proceeds of a policy could benefit your loved ones for many years after you're gone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Road to recovery Staying alive and well

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

The rewards of sound financial planning

Which one of the following is living a “good life” for you? Is it owning a dream house, starting a business, been debt free, taking holidays, driving a specific type of car or having a large investment portfolio on hand? In today’s fast-paced world, having solid financial strategies to improve lifestyle is getting more difficult with the rapid changes to economies, political.

In today’s modern world, a family of two will require two incomes just to sustain an acceptable standard of living. They might also have to wait for a longer period before they are able to buy a HDB.

Financial planning helps to turn financial goals into reality by defining financial goals and developing suitable strategies to achieve them. Having flexible plans and revising them regularly is the key to sound financial future since we can no longer rely on CPF to retire comfortably.

Successful planning can bring together a better standard of living, wiser spending habits, and better wealth. With just planning, it will not guarantee success however it will help you to use your resources in a better way.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New survey shows 60% of Singaporeans want to retire by 60

"Singaporeans are actually preparing themselves for a decline in their quality of living during retirement - no wonder the majority of locals aren't looking forward to their retirement years," said Edmund Teo, Regional Director, Sales and Marketing at Russell Investments.

New survey shows 60% of Singaporeans want to retire by 60

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cash flow management

This is the foundation of financial planning. With proper cash flow management, people are able to control their financial situation with more efficiency. If you are one of those who are able to save a large portion of your income while maintaining your lifestyle, you are already there. But for those who are having serious cash flow problems such as excessive debt, little or no savings, or volatile cash inflow, you might want to consider controlling your spending to prevent having insufficient resources to fund for retirement.

People usually underestimate the importance of cash flow management which can play a major role in your ability to reach out to a wider range of financial goals. Financial planners are always trying to educate people about the importance of saving money by setting up a cash flow system that generates a suitable level of savings after compiling information, identifying income sources and spending patterns.

Some tools for cash flow management is as follow
  • Debt restructuring. Get a personal loan to pay off all outstanding credit card balances as the interest for credit card is a killer to your cash flow
  • Asset reallocation. Make your money work harder. It can be done by moving underperforming assets into more productive investments which are still in line with your goals and time frames.

Net Worth

Net worth is the basic measure of a person’s financial health. In some cases, they are negative, however it does not mean that person is on the verge of becoming bankrupt. It just means that aggressive strategies need to be developed for debt reduction, higher investment return and realistic goal-setting.

If the net worth is positive, it does not mean that no financial planning is needed. Net worth should be viewed on a yearly basic, with a new target for saving to increase net worth and further stabilize it. It’s that simple, you just have to spend less and save more to increase net worth.

Financial disasters root of cause are usually caused by the inability to control spending, unwise investments.

Cash flow management is the starting point of the planning process. With proper cash flow management then you are able to fund planning for your goals.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010


Financial planning is the course of establishing how and whether one can meet life goals through appropriate management of financial resources. It is a process and not a product. Sometimes it might lead to recommendation of a product. But financial planners are not product sellers or order-takers. Planners assist people to achieve their financial objectives by building a complete, comprehensive plan that focus on client’s concerns.

Why people do not plan?

Why people don’t plan can be of tons of reasons, including the following
  • Feel they don’t have sufficient assets or income for financial planning
  • Think their financial situation is in good condition
  • Do not want to talk about unpleasant events, such as death, disability, unemployment or property loss
  • View financial planning as expensive
Failure to plan ahead also cost money. The result of not planning include

  • Insufficient protection against catastrophe events like death, disability, serious illness, motor accident, lengthy unemployment
  • Not enough money for retirement or for family’s educational needs
  • Inability to reach financial goals in life
Why you need help?

Most people have incomplete skills in making systematic & informed decisions for their own finance status. That is where financial planners will come into the picture by incorporating elements of counseling, risk management, education, investment, retirement planning.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Excuses, Excuses Web Movie!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Roam the world

Rav Dhaliwal
The Straits Times

PLANNING to go on holiday? Here's a tip: Protect yourself with travel insurance - and get it early. In fact, get it as soon as you book your holiday, because you get coverage 30 days ahead of travel.

This advice comes from the National Association of Travel Agents, Singapore (Natas), which is out to raise awareness of the importance of travel insurance.

It is a two-pronged drive, said Natas chief executive Robert Khoo. It is reaching out to consumers, and also asking its member travel agents to suggest to customers that they buy travel insurance.

For a five-day trip to China, Japan, South Korea or Australia costing $700 to $2,000, the insurance premium at TravelJoy Insurance would be $34 or $48, depending on whether you opt for an elite plan with more coverage or a deluxe plan.

TravelJoy, launched in July 2004, is endorsed and marketed by Natas and underwritten by Tenet Insurance. For a very small sum of money that you pay upfront, you can travel with peace of mind, knowing you are covered in case you lose your baggage or fall ill while overseas, said Mr Khoo.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), bird flu, terrorism and natural disasters such as the recent tsunami disaster are also covered.

If you have to cancel your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances - for example, illness hits you or a family member - you are paid the non-refundable deposit or full tour price paid to the travel agency.

Travel insurance usually costs about 5 per cent of the tour price. For a one- to three-day trip, the insurance premium could be as low as $20. Travel premium amounts are determined by the region you are travelling to and the duration of the trip.

Mr John Low, Natas' manager for IT and product development, said that TravelJoy has an additional component not provided by other insurers. For instance, should the travel agency that you bought your tour from shut down, you will get your money back, provided it was one of the 320 Natas member agencies.

Mr Khoo said that a survey conducted at the Natas Travel Fair in October 2003 showed that only 30 per cent of travellers buy travel insurance.

We were keen to develop travel insurance that included a travel-agency-collapse component. After many unsuccessful attempts to get existing players to include this component, we decided to do it ourselves.

Tenet Insurance was interested in working with us.

We believe that since setting up TravelJoy, other players have been very pro-active in pushing travel insurance. I feel that the proportion of travellers who buy travel insurance should now be about 50 per cent.'

He believes that figure should reach 70 per cent in the next two to three years. A survey on this will be conducted at the Natas Travel Fair to be held at Suntec Singapore Exhibition Hall from tomorrow to Sunday.

Mr Adam Tang, Tenet's senior vice-president/general manager, operations, said that insurance claims commonly made by travellers include loss of baggage, medical claims and accidents.

He urged travellers to verify the extent of travel insurance coverage provided by their credit cards. Some credit card companies claim they provide coverage of up to $1 million. However, that may be the total liability covering all the victims in an accident. Also, the coverage may be limited and not cover all 21 items that TravelJoy, for example, provides, he said.

Over the past three years, Singaporeans have increasingly realised the importance of leaving home with adequate coverage.

Mr Eugene Lim, manager, Travel Unit (channel distribution), at the American Home Assurance Company, Singapore branch, a member of American International Group (AIG), said this is partly due to terrorism, natural disasters and Sars, coupled with increased awareness of high overseas medical costs.

A person hospitalised in the United States can incur medical costs that could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Evacuation costs due to medical reasons can be high as well.

Recently, a person was evacuated back to Singapore at a cost of about US$72,000 (S$117,000) because we had to use an air ambulance. You can imagine the financial burden if these expenses are borne by an individual.'


A comprehensive travel insurance policy should cover:

Pre-travel period
  • Coverage from the time you book your travel;
  • Refund in case travel agency collapses; and
  • Refund in case of cancellation due to illness or natural disasters
During the trip
  • Coverage from the moment you leave home (including journey to the airport)
  • Coverage of all major contingencies including illness, accidents/mishaps, loss of baggage, terrorism, Sars, bird flu, natural disasters; and
  • Unlimited medical evacuation and repatriation costs

Post-travel period
  • Coverage of follow-up medical treatment in Singapore over a 31-day period (if illness or injury occurred during trip

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Steeling yourself for slumps

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Free insurance for needy

Fri, Apr 09, 2010

The Straits Times
By Carolyn Quek

The NTUC Income has launched a free insurance scheme to help needy families with young children. To qualifty, these children have to be receiving childcare, kindergarten and student care subsidies under Comcare.

Called the Income Family Micro-Insurance (IFMIS) Scheme, it provides insurance coverage for the main income earner. A payout of $5,000 will be made to the family if their main income earner dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled.

About 13,000 families stand to benefit from the free insurance scheme, which is expected to cost the insurer up to $500,000 in the next three years.

NTUC Income chief executive Tan Suee Chieh on Friday said the company is launching the scheme as part of its commitment to help the community and also to mark its 40th anniversary this year.

Minister for Community, Youth, Development and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan, launching the scheme, thanked the insurer for providing essential insurance to those who needed it most.

The families do not need to sign up for the scheme as the insurance coverage is automatically extended to the families of the recipients under the three Comcare subsidy schemes. It is also renewable every year, does not involve underwriting, a waiting period or exclusion of pre-existing illnesses.

Setting expectations and viewing results based entirely on returns

People look for financial planner because they need help and want to get their finances in order. They sack planners because they don’t earn a “big enough” return.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

If you are an average investor, you are looking for a partner, someone who will help you develop strategies that enable you to reach your long-term goals. In most cases, achieving that success involves participating in stock market gains during good times without losing your shirt when the market turns bad. For most people, it is more about avoiding surprises and losses than it is about getting rich quick.

But planners always get dumped because they “failed to beat the market” each and every year.

For starters, the best way to consistently beat the market on the short term is to make focused, concentrated bets that pay off well when you are right … and then be right all the time. When you are wrong, those bets backfire big-time, which is precisely why financial planners push diversification, asset allocation, and long-term thinking.

Financial planner offers this kind of long-term performance what allows people to ride the market rollercoaster and get off at the end with a big smile on their face.

Financial planner can control many things, but stock market is not one of them. If he does a good job and you sack him because the market is bad or you think you can get a better result somewhere else, you are making a long-term decision based on a short-term feeling. There always be one more time when the market goes down and you will fire that person for bad performance or the market goes up and you don’t feel like you got every possible dollar out of it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Right Time to Hire Financial Planner

If trouble is coming and you knew it, you will fix the problem or get out of the way. With your finances, it is best to assume that there is trouble ahead and to go for assistance which will help to avoid trouble.

If you wait till you have trouble before seeking help, the process becomes much harder to do properly. There is a big difference between ‘waiting too long’ and having real trouble.

No one ever get to retirement age and say, “I cannot quit now because I missed a day or week or month in the market.” Many people rushed into bad financial planner relationships and arrived at retirement age years later to wonder where their money had gone.

Some people learn how to manage money and buy financial products on their own. But this is the case of where you need to “go strong or don’t go at all.” People cannot get away without financial help forever; they are just putting it off to a point where their own shortcomings become such a problem that you cannot overlook them anymore. The problem for most people is that, by the time they reach that point, they have already damage their finances and have probably done a lot more damage than they could have been done by a mediocre planner with complete training.

Just because you can do these things yourself does not mean you should. So if you need someone to fix your financial plumbing or to put a new engine into your investment portfolio to improve it, take control of the process by finding the right person for the job.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

From spendthrift to saver

So since compounding is such a powerful tool, how can you use it to improve on you current situation? Let’s take a example of a guy aged 50 years old whose lifestyle obligations is out of control, leaving him with the inability to save for his own retirement.

Even though he is left with just 15 years to go before retirement, he did not want to talk about it or even think about it as he think that he will never be able to retire.


If you think that you can still continue to work after age 65, you might want to think again as many people cannot continue to work due to illness, disability or lack of available jobs. So, do make sure you have make savings for retirement a top priority.

He is like everyone else who did not do any planning for their retirement when they should. They are all fearing and facing the unknown and doing nothing. Most people make decisions based on today, and not tomorrow. This is because they cannot see beyond today because tomorrow might never come for them, how are they able to plan for fifteen years or more ahead?

He will need to channel energy to face the fear and take charge of his future. It does not require him to take a big step to make a difference. But, the longer he waits, the more he will stand to lose out.

Assuming starting today (at age 50), he starts to save $5 a day ($150 a month) until he retire at age 65 and investing the money at a return of 8%, he will have $52,783 at the age of 65 when the total amount saved is $27,000. Let’s say he reinvest the total amount of $52,783, by the age of 75, that amount will snowball to $113,954, by the age of 80, it will be $167,436.

The bottom line is that the longer you allow the earnings on your investment to be reinvested; you will have more money after you retire. Start today by giving yourself a little money and a lot of time to make sure you can attain retirement security.

Start by changing your mindset from “I don’t have anything left to save for retirement every month” to “how much can I save today to start compounding right away?” Just a small change to your spending habits can make a big different for your future and provide for tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can you improve your situation?

Is there things which you are doing (or fail to do) that you could change today in order to brighten your future? The answer is “compounding” and it does not matter if you are still working or retired.

Time is Money

A simple equation behind average people becoming millionaires is saving a little bit over a long time.

Compounding is a very powerful tool that you should capitalize on it right away. Time is essence. The longer you have, the better. Compounding makes millionaires of average people who save a little bit over a long time.

Given a choice, would you choose to have a $0.01 that doubles daily for thirty days or $1 million? You might be surprise that the better choice will be taking the $0.01 which double daily as it would grow to $10.7 million within thirty days with 100% daily interest. Of course you will never see a 100% daily return in real like but this is to bring the idea across that compounding is such a powerful tool that you should capitalize on it right away.

Albert Einstein considers compound interest not only to be man’s greatest invention, but it is also the most powerful force on earth. Baron Rothschild called compound interest the “eighth wonder of the world.”

You are never too young or too old to start

For a 30-year-old who can achieve a growth rate of 8% over a long time with a diversified portfolio, using $100 per month ($42,000 over 35 years) will be worth more than $200,000 by age of 65.

However, if you are looking at the big picture, as shown in the table below, original investment of $100 per month will be worth about $500,000 at age of 75 and almost $1 million at age 85.

You might be wondering which 30 year old is willing to wait till age 85 for the big payout. But that is just a target, as you are planning for the long term by setting milestones by investing a portion of your savings to mature during different age (e.g. 65, 75, 85)

Some of you might be thinking it will not be possible to achieve 8% lifetime return. Nobody in the world will know what the future will hold. But historical record has provided that past markets delivered 8% or higher return for patient investors who invest month after month consistently, regardless which direction the market is moving towards. From 1926 all the way to 2008, strategy of investing monthly in a diversified portfolio has averaged 9 to 14% per year over time for every 35 year period.

Thus even a small investment can reap great rewards provided it is being given time to do so. You don’t have to be 30 years old to take advantage of compounding. A 50 year old can also take advantage of it as there is no reason why he cannot carve out a portion of his savings to maximizing compounding effect.

A 50 year old can also turn that same $42,000 investment into almost $180,000 (8% return) at the age of 75 by putting aside $233.33 per month for 15 years till age 65)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

More writing wills at a younger age

People in their 20s and 30s are getting richer through investments, and are writing wills to ensure their assets go to those they love or to the right people who will benefit upon their deaths. This might be because the younger generation know how unpredictable life can be.

Relative low cost between $100 and $200 and ease of drawing up a will encouraged more to sign up.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Master your card

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bigger CPF payouts