Monday, April 30, 2007

Invest, Speculate or Gamble???

Definitions from Cambridge University Press
To put money, time, effort, etc, into something to make a profit or get an advantage
To buy and sell in the hope that the value of what you buy will increae and that it can then be sold at a higher price in order that it can make a profit
To do something risky that might result in loss of money or failure, hoping to get money or achieve success

Definitions from Adrian Khiat
Much research with solid facts, by long term vision and execute. Monitor at considerably intervals for a long period of time to get an advantage.
Little research, with insufficient facts, by guts or best guesses and execute. Monitor at short intervals, over shorter term to get an advantage
No research, no facts, by inspiration or superstitious. No need monitor but need to pray harder to get an advantage.

I invest 75%, Speculate 24%, Gamble 1% "for the occasional $10million Toto"


Friday, April 27, 2007

What is High Blood Pressure

Higb Blood Pressure - The Slient Killer that affects nearly 21% of Singaporeans with percentage expected to increase due to aging population.

Blood Pressure are read in 2 numbers. Eg 120/80.
The top number is your systolic pressure - the pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps.
The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure - the blood pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between pumps

In 95% of people with hypertension, the cause is unknown.

Normal BP ========== <130 <85
High-Normal BP ======= 130 – 139, 85 – 89
Mild Hypertension ====== 140 – 159 90 – 99
Moderate Hypertension === 160 – 179 100 – 109
Severe 3
Hypertension === >180 >110

Hypertension often causes no symptom but can lead to damage of various organs in the body if the blood pressure remains persistently high. It is thus often called the silent killer. Over years it can lead to damage to the heart and blood vessels, making it more likely that the individual will develop a stroke or heart attack.

It is difficult for those with Hypertension to take up an insurance plan.
Many people wants more cover only when they found themselves to be less healthy.
However. Insurance is something that can be purchased only if you are healthy.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gamblers or Investors???

I went to a client's place to deliver a cheque recently. She is a 55 yr old housewife. When I reached her place, there was a 3 more aunties there. I thought they were probably playing Mahjong.

When I got seated at the sofa, I realised that their eyes were glued to the TV looking at stock prices. We started to discuss about stock market shortly. I shared that I'm currently invested into SMRT, Labroy Marine, Macq Infrastracture and the rest into Asia Pacific Unit Trust.
They looked at me, tell me straight in my face "They are too slow!!! I thought you know what better to invest as a Financial adviser"

They start boasting about their shares that doubled or tripled over the last few months. They talked about all the penny stocks which they "hearsay" is good. End of the day, I'm made to look like a stupid financial adviser who do not know what stock they are talking about.

When I start sharing about medical insurance with them, they spoke with the same tone, "What? If no claim, my money cannot take back one? Then buy for what?"

There are many such Aunties and Uncles speculating penny stocks hoping that they'll double or triple.
Their investment concepts are similar to "4Ds" and "Toto". Fast money!!!
They have no idea what they are investing and they are ready to lose all their hard-earned money.
When talk about Insurance, they calculate every cent with me.
I conclude that they are Gamblers who thought they are smart investors.
They are probably the same group of people gambling their money away on Casino Ships during weekends.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Image of Financial Planners at Stake

Again and again, I encountered "Financial Advisers" from a particular well known insurance company.

* They are everywhere, from MRT Stations, Bus Interchanges to Outside Shopping Centres.
* Many barely 21 yrs old , probably just graduate from Polytechnics.
* Some of these girls are wearing short skirts and boys wearing like "Ah Bengs"
* They stand in group of 4 to 6, among those school children selling tickets for donations
* They attract attention by asking
- "Hi Sir, Where are you going?"
- "Hi Sir, Can you help me with a survey?"
- "Hi Sir, Where are you working?", etc
* I stopped, posed as a customer and talked to them. They introduced themselves as a "Financial Planner" and asked me whether I want to buy insurance or to invest.

I am very sad to see such group of so call "Financial Advisers" that abuse the Designation of Financial Planners and degrades the image of a true Planner.

I doubted their commitment to this industry will be for long
I doubted their capabilties in giving advice to the interest of the public

Where do these advisers come from? You probably have the answer.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Types of Insurance Policies

There are actually not many type of Insurance Plans around, yet many people are confused with them. Let me give you some pointers on how to identify them...

1) Whole Life Policies
a) Meant to gives you the necessary whole life coverage - As simple as that!!!
b) Premium can be payable whole life or for limited period
c) Accumulate Cash Value (Slower pace compared to most endowment policies)
d) Not a very effective savings plan as its primary role is to provide whole life cover

2) Endowment Policies
a) Meant as a savings plan and there is a maturity date.
b) The coverage is small because most of the premium are put into savings
c) Hence Cash Value accumulate faster compared to Life Policies
d) Serve well as a children education savings plan or a retirement plan

3) Term Policies
a) Meant solely for protection. Usually for a fixed period of time
b) No Cash Value
c) Very low premium for high coverage
d) Suitable for young families when insurance needs are the highest

4) Investment Linked Insurance Plans
a) Meant as a regular savings but via an investment instrument
b) You choose where to invest according to your risk
c) You may attach insurance coverage to fit your needs.
d) All charges and returns are very transparent

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Human Organs Transplant Act (HOTA)

I read about the 19 year old boy who was saved by a new heart in the Straits Times last Tuesday. I noticed about the Human Organs Transplant Act(HOTA) that was mentioned in the Article.
I like to share with you what HOTA is about.


HOTA was introduced in 1987 administered by the National Organ Transplant Unit (NOTU) in MOH.
It is a presumed consent law that allowed for the removal of kidneys for the purpose of organ transplantation from those who died in a hospital as a result of accidents, and did not object to organ donation prior to their death.

In 2004, amendments to HOTA were passed:
a. to extend HOTA beyond kidneys to include the liver, heart and cornea;
b. to extend HOTA beyond death due to accidents to all causes of death; and
c. to extend HOTA beyond cadaveric organ donation to include living donor organ transplants.

HOTA applies to Singapore citizens and permanent residents between the ages of 21 and 60 years.
Muslims were excluded because of religious reasons. Persons of unsound mind were also excluded.

Persons who objected to organ donation could opt out by registering their objections with the National Organ Transplant Unit (NOTU)

For more information on HOTA, please call the MOH hotline at 1800 225 4122 or email

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why Singaporeans use more Plastic Bags

Singaporeans use about 2.5 billion plastic bags a year. Very much more than any country in the world. Why? Let me analyse:

1) Singaporeans get groceries on ad-hoc basis usually after a day of work. They do not bring their own bag to office everyday.
- Other countries usually do their grocery shopping outside city and on planned basis, eg. once a week

2) Many Singaporeans do not drive due to the populated density. They lacks a place to put their own bags.

3) Singaporeans find plastic bags very useful and do not mind having more. They use them to store rubbish then throw away into their chutes.
- Other countries use rubbish bin outside their house and someone will come to collect. Rubbish bin uses only one big black bag

4) Singaporeans get their bags for free and there are no legislation to restrict usage.
- Some countries charges 5-20cents for each bag. Consumers will think of ways to reduce buying more bags.

NEA with several agencies are currently running some events to encourage reduced usage of plastic bags. I don't think it will succeed until the day government legislate and make consumers pay for the bags.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Free Ice-cream (2)

Went for my free Ben & Jerry Ice-cream at Whitesand this afternoon.
* The queue was very orderly
* There was 4-5 staffs controlling the crowd and share about their ice-creams
* The estimated waiting time given to us is very accurate
I queued 12 minutes and chose my favourite Strawberry Cheesecake Ice-cream.
The chunky strawberries in a spendid concoction of rasberry ice-cream and crunchy biscuits makes my day. I'm not sure though if there are actually cheese in it.
I'm sure it makes many people's day too. Thank you Ben & Jerry...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Free Ice-cream

Annual Free Ice-cream from Ben & Jerry since 1979!!!
17th April, 12noon to 7pm at 8 participating Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops:

Downtown East, #01-08A
Great World City, #02-40A
Suntec City Mall, #01-152
Raffles City, #B1-80
The Cathay, #02-12
United Square, #02-40A
VivoCity, #02-135
White Sands, #01-36
If its near your house, hurry!!! Believe me, they serve really good ice-cream!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hospital Insurance. You sure you have it???

I always ask my customer this simple question, "Do you have a Hospital Insurance?"
Around 80% = "Yes", 15% = "Don't Know" and rest 5% = "No"
For those who say "Yes". Many of them misunderstood what they have.

1) Some are holding to a Policy that covers Critical Illnesses.
* It does not cover their Hospital Expenses.

2) Some are holding to a Policy that covers Hospitalisation Benefit.
Hospital Benefit = $xxx for each day stay in hospital.

* It also does not cover Hospital Expenses.

3) Some are holding to Medishield.
The Benefit Limits are low and Deductible / Co-insurance applies

- Deductible = The initial $x,xxx amount to be paid by policyholder before Insurance kicks it.
- Co-insurance = The % PH has to pay after paying the Deductible
* They do not realise that Medishield is designed for prolonged stays in B2 and C wards.
* It does not fully cover Hospital Expenses

4) Some are holding to a Private Shield Plan
Same like Medishield, there are deductible and Co-insurance but they are suitable for higher wards
* Many thought pvivate Shield Plans cover every cent of the bill paid by Insurance.

* They do not check if they have another plan to cover the deductible/Co-insurance

5) Some are really fully covered.

* They may form only 25% of those who say "Yes" previously

Many of those who falls in no. 1 to 4 above are professionals and highly educated but they choose to be ignorant by not seeking advice.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Frustrations from Call Centres

I read Mr Tan Kin Lian's blog ( recently and he reminded me the frustrations I faced with many call centres. Below is a recent experience:

I encountered configuration problem with my PDA recently. I want to call their Customer Service to check.

* I spent 5 minutes searching their website for their Customer Service no. - I failed
* I saw an email link and I click on it. I spent the next 5 minutes trying to fill up some data and one of it is "Service tag no". I can't find this service tag no. on my PDA. - I failed again.
Subsequently, i found a tel. no for the purchase of PDA
* I called that purchaser no. and for 5 minutes I was put through a series of automated voice before I managed to talk to someone. That person told me I called the wrong no. and he gave me another number.
* I called that no. and for next 5 minutes, I was put through another series of automated voice. Worse this time round, I could not find the right button to talk to anyone.
* I called the previous no. and listen to the 5 minutes voice system again, I talk to the people there and they taught me what no. to press in that technical support no.
* I listened to the frustrating series of voice for 5 minutes again before I managed to talk to an officer.

I spent nearly 30 minutes before I can talk to the right person. I was angry because they leave behind a no. to buy the PDA but not a no. to help solve our problem. They seems only interested to sell, but not to serve. There are too many layers put in place.

The best Call Centre I encountered is still the NTUC Income one. Its 24/7/365. No automated voice and usually a very sweet voice will greet me. The best thing is, "They greeted me "Mr Khiat" whenever I called them." ***Impressive*** No wonder the best call centre in the world...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rising Property Prices

We are hearing reports of property prices rising almost every month in the news. Why the sudden surge in price over the past 1 year? Let me speak from my point of view.

1) The buyers this time round are more international than Locals. The demand are largely from the Europeans, Americans, Chinese and Indonesians.
Our 2 IRs and the F1 talks had successfully attracted lots of attention to this small red dot.

2) Property is a highly geared investment. I'm able to pay little deposit and borrow the rest. If price rise fast enough, I can make a profit of 10 over thousands when I only pay a few thousand of interest and legal fees.

3) Property investments had created thousands of millionaires in the past. Such thoughts are re-visiting these people again 10 years of dampened interest in this investment class.

Will I invest if I have money?

The price increase are largely constrained to the higher end properties. The current prices are too high and had reached a speculative stage. As new supplies of condos start coming in, the prices will stablise and profit may be capped. I will not invest in them unless I had too much money to spend like some Arabians or Indonesians.

I'll prefer to invest 60% in Reits or Infrastructure companies that gives regular dividends, Unit Trust that invest regionally and basic amenities as such food, fuel, etc at bullish times like this. 20% can speculate into Shares and Rest of 20% into Bonds or Money Markets.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rule of 72

I always manage to amaze my friends and clients with my speed of calculating how fast their money takes to double with the interest rate they give me.

I had actually used a very simple formula called "The Rule of 72"
The Rule of 72 formula is as follows:

Years To Double Your Money = 72 / Interest Rate

Eg, 6% interest
Years to Double your money = 72 / 6 = 12

Haha. Simple Right???

Monday, April 9, 2007

Welcoming Mean Testing in Hospitals

Khaw Boon Wan announced that mean testing are expected in local Public hospitals within a year. (Sunday Times, 8th April 2007) What is he talking about? Let me share...
The situation?
* Those who stays in C wards are subsidize up to 80% and B2 wards up to 65%
* Subsidizes are supposed to be for the poor who cannot afford proper healthcare
* Some people abused it. They are rich but pretend to be poor and enjoy the subsidizes
* This is unfair to those who truly need the subsidizes and a drain on government expenses.
How to prevent this?
* We use a method call Mean Testing. Mean Testing is basically a check on your income and decide how much of subsidizes the government can give. I'm not sure how they will do a check on your income. Probably several questions asked on your Income before hospital admission.
Whom does it apply?
* For those staying in Public Hospitals for over 5 days
What I feel?
* Good move. You will expect less waiting time in subsidized wards as it will deter those who abuses the system. These people may choose B1 wards instead.
* I personally met few people who insisted that they will get subsidized healthcare when they are sick. Mind you, these people that I know are not poor.
* However it is not easy to implement strictly as a person's Income might be good, but expenses might be high too. It will be difficult for this group of people.
What should you do now?
* If you are an average Singaporean with at least $600-$800 per head, you better get a Healthcare Insurance when you are still healthy.
* Be prepared. Don't be "Penny Wise, Pound Fool"

Sunday, April 8, 2007

My new Wife and Mistress

Bought 2 gadgets to prepare for my next 2 years in the Financial Advisory Industry.
The Laptop is my wife. When I'm at home, I'll stick to her. (Fujitsu Lifebook S2210V2)
The PDA is my mistress. When I'm out, she'll always be with me. (Dell Axim X51)

Technology gives convenience but problems at the same time.

a) Windows Vista not compatible with Netscape Messenger. I lost thousand of emails from
b) I could not transfer my address book(LDIF file) to the Microsoft Outlook. I have 700+ contacts in it.
c) Windows Vista seems to use more energy than Windows XP. My AMD processors are emitting more heat
d) My 520MHz PDA seems a bit retarded due to the large number of clients that was stored in it.

No choice as I'm on budget. If I get an Intel Centrino Processor for my laptop, I need to fork out extra $800. If I buy a 624MHz PDA, I will need to fork out extra $130.

I will treat my Wife and Mistress with Tender Loving Care(TLC). In turn, hope they will serve me well too...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

3 Reasons why you should exercise

1) Lower Your Blood Pressure
Keeps your arteries elastic which in turn ensure blood flow and normal blood pressure. Sedentary people have a 35% higher risk than atheltes of developing hypertension.

2) Stronger Heart
The heart become stronger when you exercise. It can pump more blood with each heart beat and with less strain.

3) Lower Cholesterol
Lower LDL levels (Bad choleesterol) when you exercise regularly

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Another way to clear toliet choke

A friend emailed me after seeing my blog. He taught me another way to clear toliet bowl choke.

"For a choked toilet bowl, fill up a 1.5 ft pail full of water, if need be, stand on a stool, throw e water in, in a gush."
Well. I think its worth a try if my toliet bowl get choked again...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

An important Lesson from Dad

My toliet bowl was choked for unknown reason one morning. I tried many methods to clear it. Long/Short Flushing, Digging the toliet bowl with the toliet brush and putting in a lot toliet paper and tried pushing down the choke with the brush. My Brush broke, things got worse and I could not use that toliet bowl for 1 week.

I finally called my Dad for help. Dad came to my house, took a look, asked a few questions, then took our mop, flushed the toliet and pumped the mop real hard into the toliet bowl several times. To my astonishment, the choke was cleared in less than 10 seconds.

My Father proudly turned his head to me and proclaimed, "No problem mah, Why cannot?"
My Wife looks at me, smile and whispered, "You still got lots to learn from your Father."
I replied, "Ya, a lesson from Dad."

My Toliet Bowl, Mop and the broken Toliet Brush.

Dying without a Will (Part4) - Writing a Will

Legal Requirement of a valid and proper will
a) Must be at least 21 yrs old
b) Must be in writing
c) Must sign the Will
d) Must have 2 witnesses for the Will
e) Must have testamentary capacity to make and execute the Will.

How to write?
a) Research for template and write yourself - Not recommended because wording used might not be appropriate and can be easily challenged.
b) Seek a professional - Lawyer or Will & Trust Company with Will writing capabilities

What to consider?
a) Know the assets that you have. Come out with an asset list if possible to ease exucutor job in future. List include your bank account, investments, insurances, Businesses, Properties, etc
b) Determine your beneficiaries
c) Know who can be your reliable Executors, Trustees and Guardian(if have children)
d) Brief the Executors, Trustees and Guardians of their roles and their responsibilities in your Will
e) Find out the particulars of these people (Full Name, NRIC, Addresses)
f) Get the Will drafted by a professional
g) Find 2 witnesses. Arrange a day where both of them are present with you
h) Register your Will with the Public Trustee Office in their "Wills Registry"

I had come to the end of my 4 parts series. They are all very skeletal information and only serve as reference. Email me if you are interested in getting your Will done. I'm registered with a Will and Trust Company and am able to assist.