Saturday, September 29, 2007

How to choose a good Financial Planner?

Its my 100th posting!!! I'll continue to give my 100% and look forward to my 200th posting...

Today, I like to share on how we can choose a good Financial Planner? Saw this report in Straits Times last month. I had summarised for you.

1) Word of mouth
If he comes strongly recommended by trusted friends or family members, chances are he’s been making their money work for them quite well.

2) The Chemistry
You are going to have to share personal aspects of your life, from your income to your marriage plans, with this person.So it’s important that you feel comfortable enough with him to be honest about your financial details and goals, as well as to ask as many questions about his advice as you need to.

3) Research on the company that your financial planner belongs to
An established firm or a firm headed by someone with extensive experience is a better bet, because chances are that this firm will know how to steer you wisely during a sluggish market as well as bring in the profits during prosperous markets.

4) The first meeting
He should be asking you extensive, detailed questions about your financial history and future aspirations, in order to analyse your needs. Someone who is more interested in telling you about the different financial products he can offer you is probably more concerned about making a quick buck.
5) Practice what he preaches
Do not be afraid to ask your financial planner what his own personal plan is like, as a good financial planner will always practise what he preaches.

6) His relevant Qualifications
You can ask your prospective financial planner if he has taken any courses to earn additional accreditations like the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Getting such designations requires some years of experience in the industry. If your prospective financial planner is taking such courses, it’s a reliable sign that he is in the industry for the long haul.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Things I remembered about Korea

Went Korea from 18th to 25th Sep. 2.5 Days in Jeju and 4.5 Days in Seoul. There are 10 things I remembered about this place. Just to share.

10 Things I remembered about Korea
1. Food - The Kimchi, BBQ chicken, pork, Steamboats, Bibimbap, Metal bowls and chopsticks, etc
2. Facial features of Koreans - Long oval face, small single eye-lid eyes, man and woman equally beautiful and handsome.
3. Nationalist Spirit - They love their country. They use their Korean goods, Samsung, LG, Hyundai everywhere
4. Confucius - Their teaching are rooted from Confucius. Strong cultural and family ties
5. Hangeul - The korean alphabets consist of many circles, ovals, curves and lines. Its developed only in the 15th Century. Looks funny but I think its amazing!!!
6. Mid Autumn Festival - Their celebration is very different from Singapore. Its a day to visit their ancestors grave and family get together.
7. Shopping - Shopping areas are everywhere, but things are generally not cheap.
8. Jeju Island - Honeymoon island for Koreans. Beautiful mountains, Sea-front, clean and no beggars on the island.
9. Subway - 300+ stations, low waiting time, not too crowded. Interesting part is that people can go into the train and sell their stuffs.
10. Celebration - I celebrated my 30th Birthday there too. Haiz. Sad to think that I'm getting old and my career looks like in the middle of a dark tunnel. I'm worried...
Overall, I like the place, food and people. Hope to visit it in Winter for skiing next time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mid Autumn Festival

I came back from Korea 3 hours ago and just rushed back to write about the Mid Autumn Festival which falls on 25th Sep. It was a special day for me too because this year Mid Autumn Festival happens to fall on my 30th Birthday. This Festival is a long 3 days holiday in Korea which they call it Chuseok. The celebration method is very different from the Chinese. Anyway, I will write on our Chinese Version.

About Mid Autumn Festival
It is a custom of worshipping the moon traced back as far back as the ancient Xia and Shang Dynasty (2000 BC-1060s BC). In the Zhou Dynasty (1066 BC-221 BC), the people celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival to worship the moon.
The practice became very prevalent in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) that people enjoyed and worshipped the full moon. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), people started making round moon cakes as gifts to their relatives in expression of their best wishes of family reunion. At night, they came out to watch the full moon to celebrate the festival.

Origin of Mid Autumn Festival
There are many versions of this festival. Let me share one version with you.

The sky was originally lit by ten suns, whose combined heat scorched the earth and crops so that the people had nothing to eat. To save the world from imminent starvation China's most famous archer, Hou Yi, shot down nine of the suns with his bow and then rid the land of poisonous snakes and beasts so people could live in peace and happiness.
Unfortunately for Hou Yi, these ten suns turned out to be the sons of the Jade Emperor, who was so angered by the loss of his sons, that he banished the archer together with his wife, Chang O.

When the Western Goddess discovered what had happened, she took pity on Hou Yi, giving him an elixir of immortality. But Chang O greedily swallowed the potion by herself and as the concoction worked through her body she became lighter and lighter and floated up into the sky. Fearing that the deities in heaven would laugh at her, she took refuge on the moon, building there a palace known as the "Cold Palace," where she lives to this very day as the Lady of the Moon. Since it is believed that Chang O floated to the moon on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, people offer annual prayer and sacrifices to the moon on that day to commemorate the event.
It is said that Chang O transforms herself into brilliant moonlight and descends to earth to offer good fortune. Thus, couples to swear their mutual love under the full moon and separated lovers to pray to the for reunion under the full moon.

Mooncake and Mid Autumn Festival
According to a widespread folk tale, the Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates an uprising in China against the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1280–1368). As group gatherings were banned, it was impossible to make plans for a rebellion. Noting that the Mongols did not eat mooncakes, Liu Bowen (劉伯溫), advisor to the Chinese rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, came up with the idea of timing the rebellion to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival. He sought permission to distribute thousands of moon cakes to the Chinese residents in the city to bless the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Inside each cake, however, was inserted a piece of paper with the message: "Kill the Tatars on the 15th day of the Eighth Moon" (八月十五殺韃子). On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), under Zhu. Henceforth, the Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated with moon cakes on a national level.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Korea - For the food, shopping and cultural experience

I'll be off to Korea for 8 days to absorb its colourful culture tonight.
Shall not blog for this period.

CPF Interest Rate Up

It was confirmed and announced in Parliament today. From 1st Jan 08, all CPF members will receive a higher interest payment.
a) Additional 1% p.a for the first $60,000 in your CPF accounts combined of which upto $20,000 is from the Ordinary Account
i) The additional 1% will goes into the Special or Retirement account

b) The interest Rate for the SMRA(Special, Medisave, Retirement account) would be re-pegged to the yield of 10-year Singapore Government Securities (SGS), plus 1 percentage point.
i) The government will keep the 4 percent floor for the SMRA rate for the first two years.

c) These monies mentioned above shall not be allowed to be used for investment from 1st Jan 08

Oh no!!! I will not be able to invest my CPF monies soon. I'm really a poor adviser who sadly cannot earn enough to have adequate CPF funds to invest... Sob...Sob...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lucky Draw fm CPF - What a joke...

Extracted from Channel News Asia

"If a worker's monthly income is less than S$1,500, and is living in a property with an annual value less than S$10k, every Medisave contribution made could earn him a chance to win cash. There will be three quarterly draws in June, September and December next year, where up to S$3,000 could be won."

Mr Gan Kim Yong also commented in full support the scheme.

I doubt the success of this new initiative. I can't help feeling that our ministers don't really understand what the people wants. For those earning less than $1,500 will be concerned with bread and butter issues, will they bother about lucky draws?

They should be spending more money
1) Educating this group of people on the importance of such contribution
2) Encouraging via other direct ways such as giving higher interest rate in their Medisave account or giving an incentive like $1 to $10 contribution.
Anyway, if you are one of this eligible group, I suggest that you take part. I think you have a great chance of winning this draw.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ramadan - Month of Worship and Fasting

I waited for the MRT at Jurong East at 7:30pm today. It was fairly crowded but I noticed that there was not a single Malay at the platform. On analysis, I believe it is due to Ramadan. Today, I like to share on what Ramadan is and its significances.

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root 'ramida' or 'ar-ramad', which means scorching heat or dryness. As the fundamental aspect of Ramadan is fasting, it is believed the name 'Ramadan' may signify the burning desire for drinking water and food. It may also refer to the belief that fasting with a pure intention and with religious blessings burns away the earlier sins.

According to the Muslim faith, observing the fast with absolute faith and unpolluted intentions will confer remittance of all his sins. It is believed that fasting midst the holy spirit of Ramadan is thirty times more potent than fasting any other time of the year.

The holy month of Ramadan commemorates two of the most significant events in the history of the Islamic religion. One of them is the belief that on this sacred month the first verses of the holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad.

Another significant event that took place on the month of Ramadan is the Battle of Badr - which is the first battle between Mecca and Medina. Prophet Mohammad led the people of Medina against the pagan citizens of Mecca and with divine interventions manifested by the miracles of Allah; they won over the people of Mecca.
Hope you guys learnt something from my blog today too. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The New Paper "CATS FASTADS"

It has been a long time since I purchased The New Paper. I browsed through the "CATS FASTADS" to see what jobs are available just in case I'm forced to leave the industry due to insufficient businesses to sustain my living.

In that section, I noticed 3 pages of pretty masseuses. As a man with naturally manly hormones, I went through the 3 pages. These are some of the headlines and teasers I noted.
*** XXX Spa and Body Therapy Centre ***
* Massage and Free Body Scrub
* Charming New Faces
* Youthful and Attractive
* Choice of many feminine masseuses
* Skilful, Beautiful and Experienced
* Choice of Chinese, Indonesian, Malay
* Individual Rooms with free refreshment

Hey!!! what are you thinking about? Same as me?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fasting Healthily

There are people who fast for religion, there are some for health. Since the fasting month is starting in 2 days time, I like to write about how to fast healthily.


* Some people experiences tireness, headaches, weight gain or even fall sick during fasting period. It was because they did not fast the proper way. So what measures shall we take to correct this?

When breaking fast, hunger experienced throughout the day will drive us to eat excessively. We should not eat just to fill our empty stomach on, we should fill our body with the necessary nutrients.

a) Fruits are best to break the fast, 15 minutes before you start on the solid food.
b) Reduce food with high carohydrates and sugar such as rice, noodles, kuih or cakes. These food lack nuritional values, are fattening and could later cause health problem.
c) Eat food with protein, fatty acids, vitamins and fibres such as vegetables, white meat like chicken breast or fish
d) Reduce intake of oily or fried food. Replace them with steamed or boiled food.
e) Reduce intake of coffee or carbonated drinks. Drink plenty of plain water
f) Can supplement your diet with some vitamins at the end of the day before you go to bed.

To all my Muslim friends. I wish you guys a Happy Fasting Month.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Japanese Manga - Naruto

I spent another late night watching Naruto again and woke up like a Zombie in the morning. I decided to write about this Amine which I'm so hooked on to over the years.
(NARUTO - ナルト -, Naruto) is a manga series written and illustrated by manga artist Masashi Kishimoto. The main character, Naruto Uzumaki, is a loud, hyperactive, predictable adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition, as well as to become Hokage, acknowledged as the leader and strongest of all ninja in the village.

There are many villages where their Ninjas were trained in skills unique to their tribes. Its hard to describe the story in full as its a series with complicating storyline. It was always a thrill to see their fightings that are full of excitement and beyond your imagination.

Nearly 250 episodes of this 1/2hr Anime was aired on TV Tokyo every Thursday at Prime Hours. It was also shown in countries such as USA, Canada, Australia, UK and NZ.
The manga has recently won a Quill Award for best graphic novel in North America. In TV Asahi's latest top 100 Anime Ranking, Naruto ranked 17th on the list.

As for me, I watch from Youtube weekly. If you want to watch the 1st episode, just key in Naruto 1, you will be able to see the anime.

Warning: Be careful. You can be hooked if you start watching a few episodes. I'd ignore this warning from my friend and today, I have to wait patiently for the next airing every week.

Monday, September 3, 2007

DIABETES - The Sweet Urine Problem

Long time never post a Health Article. I like to talk about a problem which affects as much as 9.2% of our Singapore Population according to a 1998 survey. The name of the problem is "Diabetes" = "Sweet Urine". Its 2007 today, I think the number should be higher.

What is Diabetes?
* Diabetes is a disorder in which there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood
* A substance called insulin carefully regulates the amount of sugar in the blood in a normal person. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, which is a gland. In diabetes, not enough insulin is produced, or the action of insulin is not effective. Sugar therefore accumulates to a high level in the blood.

What complications can Diabetes bring?
Extremely high blood glucose levels can be life threatening and multiple complications can result from long periods of high blood sugar.
This includes damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels resulting in blindness, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction and a higher risk for limb amputations. Also, people with diabetes are at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.

The 3 types of Diabetes
a) Type 1 Diabetes [Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus]- this usually occurs in children or young adults.
b) Type 2 [Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus]- this is the more common form of diabetes. It occurs mainly in adults and is frequently associated with obesity and hypertension.
c) Gestational Diabetes- this diabetes occurring during a woman's pregnancy.

Some Symptoms Diabetes?
If following happens in recurring and relatively long period of time
a) Frequent Passing of Urine
b) Excessive Thirst
c) Increased Hunger
d) Rapid Weight Loss
e) Blurred Vision
f) General Fatigue and Weakness

Can Diabetes be cured?
No Cure. However can be controlled and many complications be prevented.
Type 1 diabetes must take insulin by injection everyday. In order to control their blood glucose levels, they learn how to balance the foods they eat and the activities they do with the insulin they take.
Type 2 Diabetes can be controlled by diet, exercise and oral tablets. If these fail to provide adequate control, insulin injections may be needed.