Category: Finance

Making the Best of Your Savings!

Retirees Unhappy With Declining FD Rates during Covid. What to do?

One thing that Covid has impacted severely is the global economy and interest rates. In Singapore, our fixed deposit rates are closely linked to the interest rates in the United States. We can expect the interest rates to hover just slightly above zero percent for the short and medium term. For seniors depending on fixed deposit interest to make ends meet, this is bad news. Without taking in more risk, what should seniors do?

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Why the 99-Years HDB Lease Is A Good Idea.


Most Singaporeans will be wondering if the author is perhaps clueless or just simply parroting the party line. The answer is neither. Since Singapore as a country will always be land scarce, the government’s housing policy will have the greatest impact on every Singaporean’s quality of life – now and generations to come. And for that reason, I believe the 99-years HDB lease policy should stay. Here’s why.

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Do Not Waste Your Hard Earned Money When Making Charitable Donations!

Many seniors look for ways to give back and the most direct is to donate to the causes that move you. There are more than 2,000 registered charities in Singapore and most are vying for donations from you. Many of you may have been giving regularly to your favorite charities – but do you know if you are donating to the right ones? Like going shopping, you should make sure that you get the most out of every dollar that you donate – and that means you should hold the charities accountable for being good custodians of your donation dollars.

Here is what you need to look for when donating in Singapore:

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Here’s why ALL Singaporean Seniors Should Get Their CHAS Card Today!

CHAS or better known as the Community Health Assist Scheme, was intended to provide more convenient access to primary care providers and receive subsidies for medical and/or dental care at participating General Practitioner (GP) and dental clinics. Until now, the scheme was intended only for lower to middle income group ie. household per capita income below $1800/month or home with an annual value of less than $21,000. Beginning November this year, the new scheme is open to ALL Singaporeans and is divided into 3 tiers: Green, Orange and Blue cards with varying subsidies. Additionally, holders of Merdeka and Pioneer Generation cards receive CHAS subsidies regardless of income levels. Download this brochure.

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Condo Living: Beware of the Terrible MCST

Everyone who lives in a condo in Singapore knows how important their MCST and/or management is. Since the voting to elect the MCST is done at the AGM based on the principle of “one-unit-one-vote”, and normally only a fraction of the owners tends to attend the AGM, a minority well-organized group can “seize control” of the MCST by collecting the required number of proxy votes. In Singapore, this has given rise to some horror stories of out-of-control MCSTs. So retirees beware – if you are planning to enjoy your retirement in a condo, make sure you do due diligence of the type of MCST that is controlling your condo!

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GIRO Payment is my Last Choice.

In May last year, some 22,000 Prudential customers suffered what was referred to as a “technical glitch” causing monies to be deducted in error from thousands of bank accounts. Even though the error was discovered and rectified within 24-hours, it clearly highlights the risk to the consumer in signing up for GIRO. Since many seniors grew up in the age of GIRO and have come to accept that as part of our normal financial life in Singapore, I think it is time we give GIRO a hard look. With all the payment systems available today, GIRO would be at the bottom of my list! Here’s why.

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Even if You Have CPF Life at 65, You May Need an Additional $215K to Retire.

How much you need at 65 to retire depends on many factors and is different for everyone. A good starting point in Singapore is to look at someone at 65 who will be receiving CPF Life Full Retirement Scheme payout of about $1350 per month. Working on the assumption that you have your HDB unit paid off and are not carrying any debt, do not own a car, in good health and does not have any significant balances in other CPF accounts – how much do you need to set aside to retire reasonable comfortably in Singapore? Let’s make the assumption that you will need enough money to take you to 90 years-old or 25-years past your retirement at 65. Statistically, you may live longer than that, and that is why we also factored in a contingency or emergency fund as well.

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For Government Hospitals, How You Are Referred Will Determine How Much You Pay!

For Singaporeans or PRs using the public healthcare system in the Restructured Hospitals, how you are classified in the system – private or subsidised patient – will result in a big difference in your out-of-pocket costs. If you are admitted to a public healthcare system like Khoo Teck Puat Hospital how you are referred during your first consultation matters — and will determine your classification until you are discharged. Remember, once it is in the system, it is normally not possible to change! The classification is not related to any “means testing” or whether you are rich or poor, but how you enter the system. Here is what you must do to be classified in the system as subsidised patient.

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Why Do I Pay More for Brand Name Drugs in Singapore?

Yes, that is true – Singaporeans, in many cases, do have to pay more for their brand name vs generics drugs compared to other countries in the region, like Malaysia. The savings could range from 30% to even 50%. To be clear, these are not fakes or generics but the exact same drugs marketed by the same global pharmaceutical companies. If you are taking such drugs for chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, the savings over a year can be quite substantial. So why are Singaporean “punished” with higher drug prices? Here are some of the possible reasons.

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Know your Cards: Credit vs Debit vs Prepaid vs ATM Card

Seniors often complain that when they retire, they find it difficult to get a credit card approved and would often have to settle for other forms of cards. Not all cards with a Visa or Mastercard logo works the same way and there are big differences. Different cards also offer different protection in the event your card is stolen or if there are fraudulent charges. Here is what every senior should know about the cards in their wallet!

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