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Lease Buyback Scheme – a viable financial planning tool?

Announcement was made on 3 September 2014 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally speech that the scheme would be extended to four-room flats.  What is the Lease Buyback Scheme? Is it a viable financial planning tool? Under the current Lease Buyback Scheme, flat owners sell the tail end of their lease back to HDB while retaining a 30 years lease. The following is an example: Mr. John owns a 3 room flat with a remaining lease of 70 years. The current market value … [Read More...]

How financial advisers are paid?

This article is inspired by this article YOUR PRACTICE-How to tell clients financial advice isn't free. I have met many individuals who could not understand how financial advisers are paid. Very often, they think financial advisers have a salary. In Singapore, most advisers do not have a salary. They are self-employed. However, regulation requires them to be subject to a single Principal which is in charge of compliance, training and their competency.  So here is a short article on how … [Read More...]

lease buyback scheme

ST forum: Overcoming emotional barriers to lease buyback

Today, Straits Times publish my letter relating to the Lease Buyback Scheme. However, they had edited and reduce the length of my letter by 38% to the extend that the seriousness of the issue have also been watered down significantly. The following is the unedited version: Overcoming emotional barriers to lease buyback The article last Thursday (“Emotional barriers to retirement adequacy”, 28 August 2014) gave a few reasons why the Lease Buyback Scheme is not a popular scheme although it was … [Read More...]

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DirectAsia online term life insurance

Many may have heard of DirectAsia selling motor insurance online. However, what is little known is DirectAsia’s online term life insurance which was launched on 9 October 2013. The term life insurance is underwritten by AXA Life. This online purchase is not the same as MAS’ push for life insurers to sell directly. DirectAsia is […]


Medical Expenses – how expensive can it get?

Have you heard of the story of Marjorie who was diagnosed with a bone cancer at just six? After fighting for 6 years, she passed away leaving her parents in debt. The estimated medical expenses for cancer was whopping $400,000! Marjorie’s grandmother even sold her flat to help pay for medical expenses[1]. Consider another case: […]


What happened to Traded Endowment Policies?

Never heard of Traded Endowment Policies anymore. Around 2007, Traded Endowment Policies were aggressively marketed to many investors.  Today, we seldom hear of anyone marketing such products anymore.  No prize for guessing why. Traded Endowment Policies are just regular premium insurance endowment policies. These endowments have cash values and maturity values. All Traded Endowment Policies […]

care needed when buying insurance direct

ST forum: Care needed when buying insurance direct

The follow letter was published in Straits Times forum page on 4 August 2014: Care needed when buying insurance direct I SUPPORT the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s move to offer consumers a choice in buying life insurance direct without paying for commission (“Come early 2015: Buy basic insurance directly, save on commission“, last Wednesday). It […]

cpf private pension plans

ST forum: Exercise caution on CPF private pension plans

The following letter was published in Straits Times on 31 July 2014 regarding CPF Private Pension Plans: I URGE the Government to proceed with caution in allowing Central Provident Fund members to invest in CPF private pension plans (“Private pension plans an option: Tharman“; July 23). In 2004, the CPF Board solicited1 feedback from industry players […]

cpf private pension plan

CPF private pension plans – sure way to lose money

CPF Private Pension Plans to be revisited? Some Singaporeans have been pressing the government to give a higher return in their CPF savings. Perhaps under pressure, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam surprised participants[1] of the Institute of Policy Studies forum on CPF and retirement adequacy that for those who can shoulder higher risks and want […]

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