Category: Finance

Making the Best of Your Savings!

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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In 2021, Seniors should upgrade Eldershield to Careshield Life – here is why.

There are three legs of healthcare insurance that seniors should pay attention to. The first is acute care insurance – Medishield Life – that helps you with serious condition and treatment that normally require hospitalisation. Medisave and other government subsidies are intended to cover primary care that includes anything from cough and cold to management of chronic conditions like diabetes. The third leg is long term care for when you are severely disabled and need long term help for day-to-day living — this is where the current Eldershield 400 and the yet to be launched Careshield Life will be something you want to have.

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Retirement Investing: Steady Passive Income from REITs is Good!

Many Singaporeans love investing in real property. There are many seniors who own apartments with the idea of collecting rent when they retire. However, direct investment in real property requires a pile of cash and lacks liquidity if you need to cash out in a hurry. REITs may be a better option.

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How to Make Passive Income Work for You in Singapore?

When you decide to retire, this is when you stop actively working for money. This is the time when your savings, assets and investments should begin working for you – by generating a steady stream of passive income. Of course, it is everyone’s dream to be “paid regularly” without actually working a regular job. But it take planning. Here are some of the passive income strategies that you should consider.

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Travelling Abroad? How not to get “ripped-off” by your credit card!

One of the many joys of having excess time when you retire is to travel – so making your budget stretch during your holidays is never a bad thing. Most seniors rely on their local credit card to pay for their holiday expenses when abroad like hotels, meals or car rentals. Few actually realise that they are getting “ripped off” by their credit card exchange rates and hidden charges like “foreign transaction fees” because they rarely go back to check if the conversion rate back to SGD$ is competitive. All in, you could be paying up to 3-4% more – or simply put, that is up to $40 per $1000 transaction lost!

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