Making Wise Financial Decisions for 2015

newyearAs an independent financial adviser helping people make wise financial decisions everyday, I got to know the real situations and struggles of many families in Singapore, many trying to make ends meet on a daily basis. I am not surprised at all if I meet a person living in Singapore who is not financially prepared for the future.

So what do I mean when I say “Making Wise Financial Decisions”? What are the factors that will help us make wise financial decisions? Why even bother to make any wise financial decisions at all?The reason is very simple, it is not how you start that is important, it is how you end that is equally important, if not more important. Why? It is very easy for anyone in Singapore to earn a decent four figure monthly income at the beginning of our working career but are you able to live on a decent four figure monthly income after you retire at age 65?

As we live longer and longer, our retirement will stretch to more than 20 years! Simple Mathematics will tell you that you will need at least S1,000,000 of retirement nest egg if you are going to have a $50,000 a year lifestyle. That’s $4167 a month. Can you and your spouse live the same lifestyle that you are currently enjoying based on $4167 a month? Think of inflation, 30 years down the road, what will $4167 a month lifestyle will you get?

Then it is wise that you start to create a financial road map to bring you to the destination that you want. I am sure you have planned many overseas holidays and you are no stranger to planning… Start Googling and do your research. Find the best independent financial planner to help you realize your financial dreams, That’s Step 1.

Create a plan that suits you, not one that someone tells you because it is more likely that you will stick to the plan much longer if you really own it. Just like the dream holiday that you have always been looking forward to. That’s Step 2.

What are the ways that will lead you to your destination? I am sure there are many ways to reach Rome. Which way is the most economical and which way is the most scenic and memorable? Start finding out what is available out in the financial markets that will lead you to your financial success. Talk to reliable people who had been there and succeeded. Find the way that you are comfortable with and fully understand what you are getting into. Sometimes, it may be uncomfortable at first because it is alien to you but you will get used to it as you read up and talk to more people who are experts in that particular financial product. That’s Step 3 for you!

Congratulations! You are on your way to making great and wise financial decisions, but wait a minute, you may be lost and could be heading a wrong direction, missed a turn when you were distracted with the beautiful scenery in front of you. Check where you are and consult your financial adviser regularly, orientate your compass and redirect your resources when you have a good bonus payout, don’t splurge on a new 60″ LED Curve Screen Smart TV! Yes, consult and redirect if necessary. That’s Step 4.

Finally, don’t forget to smell the roses and greet the people along the way or else you may be very lonely when you reach your final destination. That’s worse than being bankrupt… Building a great character and making great friendships along the way is definitely a great way to travel… I wish you success in making wise financial decisions that will bring you the desired lifestyle that you have always wanted but remember, it is a journey not a destination.

Enjoy the journey as you plan your way to financial success that you will share with your family and friends, yes even people that you don’t know, bless them and God will bless you too. Merry Christmas my friend. God bless you!

Save For 10 or 15 Years and Get Paid For 3 Generations!!!

Hey, did you know that there is a new savings plan out there which is absolutely fantastic?

Do you like the idea where you just have to save for 10 or 15 years (You decide), then you start receiving cash very year to buy the latest iPad, handphone or travel with your loved ones every year? Yes! EVERY YEAR!!!

Not only that, this yearly payout will increase substantially after every 10 years! You will not have to worry about inflation eroding your purchasing power!

If you tag this plan to your child, you can transfer the plan to your child after your death. Your child will enjoy the yearly cash payout for his lifetime too! After your child’s death, your grand children will receive a lump sum of money too PLUS receive a yearly cash payout for the next 10 years! WOW! Isn’t this a great tsunami effect?

How about that? This “ripple effect” certainly is awesome, greatly benefitting you, your child as well as your grand children!!!

If you are interested to know more about this plan, I will be more than happy to help you decide.

I look forward to meet you soon. Cheerio!

Planning For Your Child’s Education

In Singapore, at the top of every parent’s agenda is their children’s education. It is said that the best gift a parent can give to a child is the gift of an education. But it does not ends here! It is not just any education, but the best education available in the world.

We believe that giving the best education for our children will definitely secure their future as well as ours. Why? Because when our children graduate with a good degree or a Masters degree or a Doctorate, we believe they will secure good paying jobs which in turn means they are financially stable. They will be able to take care of us in case we need some financial help. Right?

Many of us send our kids to tuition centres or send the tuition teachers to our homes for additional lessons. Many children are forced to do their homework as well as attend additional lessons after school. Parents are willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on tuition. Hmmm…. maybe we should consider a career as a tuition teacher!  Just kidding…

Yes, education is BIG business in Singapore.

Please meet up with your independent financial adviser representative to find out how much you will need to put your children through tertiary education ( local or overseas ). Start planning now or else regret that you did not start earlier and you will feel the heavy burden of taking a loan to finance your children’s education. Do you want your children to start their careers with a loan hanging around their necks?

Talk to me if you are not sure how much you will need to save for your child’s education.

Remember in financial planning, I separate the best from the rest!

Cost of Tertiary Education In Singapore

My elder daughter will be studying in the University next year and I am bracing myself for the financial obligations. Many parents will face this issue when their children enter university. The hope of our children doing well in life hinges on their tertiary education is a common belief in Singapore and around the world.

When my daughters were born in the 1990s, independent financial planning was not even heard before. Financial planning was non-existent and insurance agents were selling insurance policies as savings plans. Independent financial advisors were non existent then.

Now, whenever my clients wish to plan for their children’s tertiary education, I look at the cost of a university education in Singapore or overseas, the inflation rate of education and the time horizon to reach the age of 19 or 21.

The present cost of enrolling into National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) ranges from $7170 to $10,190 a year. This does not include the cost of living.

The costs are projected to inflate at a rate of 5% a year.

If you have not consider saving up for your children’s education, imagine what will happen to your children’s future if they were to be denied entry due to lack of funds.

Imagine your children having to take a loan to study first. Being in debt after leaving University could be a heavy financial burden for a young person to start with.

Consult your independent financial adviser to create a savings plan now so that your children will be well prepared for their future.

“Give a fish to a child, you feed him for a day. Teach a child to fish, you feed him for LIFE.” – a wise saying.

Is Cash Really King?

Cash Is King?

We have heard many times that “CASH IS KING” when the stock market or property market crashed. We lamented that if we had the cash in hand we would have grabbed the opportunity to pour in the capital investment and reaped a huge return when the market rebounded. Any uncle or auntie in Singapore would have said the same thing!

 
If you had $1,000,000 in your bank account now, would you have “plough in” $500,000 when the stock market was at it’s lowest and darkest moment in March 2009? If you did, you would have reaped a handsome return of more than 60% and got back $800,000 now, simplistically speaking.
 
It takes courage to act when others are quivering under the intense pressure from everyone, including fund managers! It takes courage to step forward when many others are hesitating to make their moves. It takes wisdom to say “Let’s do it now” when others are saying “Maybe tomorrow”…
 
Yes, even if you had a million bucks, you would have hesitated, I am sure because of the herd instinct. It is very natural and human to follow the leader instead of being the leader.
 
So what do we do now? The markets are reasonably valued and have gotten off the bottom since March 2009.  We have missed the bottom but definitely we are not at the peak now. Investing in batches is the way to go if you are considering to get into the equities market.
 
I wrote in one of my blog posting in July 2008 that it was time to start investing into the equities market but many people were fearful and indeed the market went down even further till March 2009. But looking back, by now you would be in a much healthier position, right?
 
Investing is all about holding power and your time horizon, if you have the extra cash sitting idle in the bank and have a time horizon of 3 to 5 years, you can seriously consider investing.
 
Inflation is around 3%, if you are still holding a ton of cash in the bank, your money is LOSING it’s purchasing power by the day! Open your eyes and look for opportunities. Closing your eyes will not solve this problem, plan and act on that plan to succeed or else your dream will alsways remain a dream. Reality comes when the dream plan is put into action!
 
See your financial adviser today to put that dream plan into action TODAY. Everyone is unique so you need to discuss with your adviser first before you invest.
 
No adviser? Let me help you by calling me for a discussion at my office next week.
 
 

Guarantee Yourself a Holiday Trip or New Computer Every Year!

 
 
 
 

Life's a beach!
I read with amazement that the August 2010 NATAS Fair at Singapore Expo netted a cool record breaking $85M of sales with 70,469 visitors over a 3 days period.  Each visitor paid $4 per entry. Another record breaking event was the recently concluded COMEX Fair 2010 at the Suntec Convention Centre which reaped in a whopping $68.5M of sales with 815,000 visitors over a 4 days period. Entrance to COMEX was free.
 
 
 
 

 

Singaporeans are really crazy about travelling and getting their hands on the latest IT gadgets! I believe alot of the buyers paid for the purchases with their credit cards to enjoy further discounts and gifts. Most importantly, I hope they will pay in full at the end of the month and not just the minimum amount. Roll over credit attracts up to 24% p.a. interest!!!

Are you interested to lay your hands on the latest iPhone every year, get the latest pc netbook, pc notebook, Mac book or are you always craving for a yearly or twice yearly holiday trip?

I have the perfect deal for you!!!

Depending on your expected yearly expenditure, I can work out a guaranteed annual payout to you! When you retire, you will also receive another lump sum of money! You will earn more than the measly bank interest rates, get your yearly fix of travel and IT gadgets PLUS get a good lump sum of money when you retire!

Best of all, you DO NOT owe the banks that issue the credit cards at all.

Interested? 

Please contact me now because the annual payout starts at the end of 2 years, you will be ready for NATAS 2012 and COMEX 2012 and beyond!


“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable pre-requisite for success” By: Brian Tracy

I look forward to hear from you soon.

Important Matter

May I take a moment of your time to reflect on this important matter called MONEY?
 
Did you know that your hard earned money sitting in your bank’s savings account is wasting away?
 
Why do I say that?
 
The simple reason is that the interest rates for savings accounts range from 0.1% p.a. to 0.7% p.a.
Example : UOB’s Savings Rate ranges from 0.1% to 0.25% p.a.
                UOB’s Fixed Deposit rates range from 0.1% ( 1 month ) to 0.7% p.a. ( 36 months )
 
Singapore’s consumer price index may rise 4% by the fourth quarter, accelerating from March’s 1.6%gain, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a twice-yearly review in April 2010.
 
This means you are losing your spending power every year if most of your money is idling in the bank!
 
Most financial planners agree that one should have enough savings in our bank’s savings account to last 3 to 6 times of our monthly expenses.
Some advocate 6 to 12 months.
Too much savings here is not good due to the miserably low interest rates.
You should invest or place any excess amount in higher yielding financial instruments.
 
A Life Insurance company has just creatively addressed this issue by launching a new series of savings plans that gives you the flexibility of a short term commitment of 5 years and a choice of maturity dates of 8 or 10 years. You can also start withdrawing cash from the end of 5 years or you can leave the cash to earn an interest rate of up to 3.5% p.a.
  
If this sounds good enough for you, please drop me an email or call me to take action today!
Remember, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Creating Your Child’s Tertiary Education Funds

Yes, it will be great for our children to learn how to deliver a baby ( a robot baby?) But do you know the cost of sending your child to University to learn that? It is very important that you plan to have the funds ready when your child is ready to take the course.

There are many ways to save up for it.

1) Putting your savings in the bank.

2) Buying an Insurance Endowment Plan.

3) Investing in Stocks and Shares.

4) Investing into Unit Trust Funds.

5) Investing into Gold or Gold related funds.

Which way is the best way? You will have to decide depending on the time you have and your risk profile. I can help you decide when we meet up. Please contact me. Thank you and I look forward to meet up for a business meeting soon.

Watt You Can Do To Save $$$ on your Electric Bill

First of all, let’s ask ourselves why.
Why should you do it when you can ‘easily’ afford paying the bill?

1) Did you know that some families in Singapore could not pay their Power Supply bills and are living in darkness at night while depending on the light shining in from the HDB corridor ceiling lights?

3) Did you know that electricity comes from burning fuel in Singapore?
The more we consume electricity, the more fuel is burnt to meet that demand. Burning produces carbon dioxide and other piosonous gases too. Global warming is real and causing many weather related disasters.

3) Did you know that the millions of people are living without electricity?
South Asia 706 million
Sub-Saharan Africa 547 million
East Asia 224 million
Other 101 million ( source:www.globalissues.org )

First we need to identify the appliances in our homes that consumes more electricity and reduce it. Looking at the chart below, we should tackle the airconditioner, refrigerator, TV & video equipment, water heater and lighting ( total 76% of our total electric bill )

Let’s watch a video on more energy saving ideas…

7 Ways To Save S$100

Singapore’s annual inflation rate was 6.5 per cent in July, easing from record highs in the previous three months. The July rate fell from 7.5 per cent, a 26-year peak recorded in April, May and June.

Statistics showed July’s consumer price index (CPI) increased primarily because of higher costs for housing, food, and transport and communication.
Some economists said inflation in Singapore is likely to moderate in the second half of this year. This will bring inflation for the year in line with the Singapore government’s forecast of between 6 and 7 per cent.

With these factors in mind, I suggest 7 ways to save S$100! There will be more ways, so I welcome all suggestions.

1) Shop Around For Motor Insurance Rates

When you buy a new car or upon receiving your motor insurance renewal notice, do not assume that you are getting the best deals! Call me immediately for a new quote. My clients have saved as much as $900 after they checked with me!

2) Challenge Your Property Tax

Are you aware that you are allowed to challenge your property tax? It is not cast in stone by the tax department when you receive your new property tax bill. If your investment property had been getting a rental of $2000 (based on an old tenancy agreement signed 3 years ago) while comparable properties around your unit were getting rentals of an average $4000, you can ask IRAS to reconsider their calculations!

3) Shop For Food Bargains

Do not assume your regular shops are giving you “discounts” or “the best prices” just because you are their regular customers. Check out the weekly promos from Giant, Carrefour, NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong and Cold Storage. I particularly aim for Carrefour’s promo on whole Salmon Fish when the price goes down to $1.10 per 100 grams. Recently I also bought 4 boxes of 750g Muesli Cereals for only $6….yummy!

4) Pay off Your Life Insurance Policy Loans

If you have been delaying the repayment on your personal loans from insurance companies, think again. You might be incurring 5.50% to 7% per annum compounded yearly!!! You should monitor the loan amount and interest closely to ensure that it does not exceed the cash value of your policy otherwise the policy will be terminated.

5) Rethink Your Holiday Plans

If you have not tried ‘Free n easy’ holidays and flying on budget airlines before, why not? For flights below 3 hours of flight time, budget airlines are a great way to fly. Look out for their occassional “2 for the price of 1” promos. Last year I flew my family (4 of us) to Ho Chi Minh City and back for just $720 ( all taxes included). Hotel stay was only US$34 a night for a huge airconditioned room with two King sized beds and the hotel was clean and the staff gave us great service too. It was just a two minute walk to Ben-Thah market ( Fantastic value-for-money shopping )

6) Review Your Mobile Phone Plan

With our 3 major telcos trying their best to retain subscribers, they are giving lots of incentives to keep you as their customers. Call your service provider for the best plan for you and your kids if your contracts have ended. Jump ship if they are not willing to help you, you can still retain your telephone number due the portability of mobile phone numbers now.

7) Buy Low, Sell High

Many Unit Trust investment funds have gone back to levels where they are screaming “CHEAP SALE, CHEAP SALE”!!! If you have idle money sitting in the bank earning fixed deposit interest rates of1.7% or less, you are losing your money to inflation (6 to 7%) right? Fear (emotion) instead logic (market fundamentals) is currently ruling the financial markets. It takes a brave heart to get in while others are quivering at the side lines, waiting for “signs” of recovery. Those who dare will be handsomely rewarded .

Need more details? Just write to me or give me a call. Thanks!

Well, I hope that you will be able to save lots of money with these 7 ideas and if you have more great ideas, please share with us by leaving your comments at the end of this posting. Thanks again!