Everyone wants high returns, and yet, every single conference or seminar I’ve been to neglects to mention the one investment that is the most lucrative and high-yielding investment out there. It is the foundation that Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Ng Teng Fong (Singapore’s once richest man), and other billionaires use which is almost NEVER talked about. Yet without it, they definitely would not be rich; instead, they would be among the high-earners who ended up broke or bankrupt. So what is their secret? (more…)
When it comes to investments, everyone wants the same thing – zero risk, high double-digit returns, and full liquidity – which is like saying I’m looking for a magical unicorn. But what if I were to tell you that there is something that comes close to this ideal, yet only a few people know about it. In fact, this investment is so good that you are limited in the amount of money in which you can invest. Sound too good to be true? Well, here are the details and you decide for yourself:
As a Certified Financial Planner™, whenever I even mention the word “investment”, people are way too eager to ask about “stocks/equities”, “bonds”, and “funds/unit trusts”, thinking that these are the best, sure-fire way to financial security and financial freedom. But they are always surprised when I instead mentioned CPF. Although most people think CPF is a retirement tool, I’d like to think of CPF as an investment tool. What other investment is low-risk (or virtually no-risk) and has a guaranteed return of 2.5% up to 6%? What other investment is adjusted for inflation, is commission-free, is out of reach by creditors, and has an annuity payout that you cannot outlive? To learn more about CPF, please visit the CPF website. (more…)
Every week, there are tons of “free” seminars in Singapore on topics such as wealth creation, investing, properties, starting online businesses, stock picking, or other passive income generating techniques. Nearly all these seminars follow the same formula. Here’s what they have in common: (more…)
People seek the advice of financial planners because they want to make better financial decisions and improve their financial situation. But I believe the most important decision they make is whom they engage to be their financial planner. Some may seek a financial planner based on a friend’s recommendation, but if you don’t personally know someone in the industry, it’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing a person who “looks like a million bucks” thinking that they will be your best bet. Why is this a very bad idea? (more…)
Ponzi schemes are when funds obtained from new investors are used to pay off existing investors in a continuously growing “pyramid” type structure. Named after Charles Ponzi, who promised a 50% return on $150 in 90 days ($225), these schemes have been around for almost one hundred years. With the low interest rates earned from deposit accounts, many Singaporeans are looking for “alternative investments” that guarantee huge returns. Thus in the past few years, ponzi schemes, many of which promise no-risk double digit returns, have been on the rise. There are definitely big profits to be made in ponzi schemes (not just for the organisers/originators); those who were the early investors and participants who had already exited with their money (their original principal plus any interest or dividend) will benefit from the scheme, so long as they exit before the scheme becomes unsustainable. Many ponzi schemes can go on for several years, so there’s certainly ample opportunity to cash out and exit before the scheme implodes. What then is the problem with investing in a ponzi? (more…)
The start of the New Lunar Year (4714) will soon be upon us, and many are eagerly seeking forecasts and predictions from “Grand Masters” to find out what the year of the Red Fire Monkey will bring. This is also one of the busiest times for Singapore Pools, as ticket sales dramatically increase with the annual $12 million TOTO Hong Bao Draw. These are entertaining ways that sort of give us a sense of how lucky we are or will be in the coming year. And it’s fun and easy to daydream and fantasize about what you would do with the winnings. But what are your odds of winning?
Insurance is an asset-protection instrument, and with all the uncertainties in life, it’s good to have some protection against the inevitable tragedies one will face such as disability, critical illness, dependent care needs, and death. Despite its importance, most Singaporeans don’t have a life insurance coverage of any kind. Out of all the reasons cited for this, two of the top reasons were “the intimidating process” and “apprehension toward agents”. I definitely can relate to these two concerns, as I have been personally lied to by multiple insurance agents, who were unaware that I had Certified Financial Planning (CFP) education and experience. Well now there’s a way to circumvent the agent, to compare multiple insurance products (and not just the ones your agent suggests) and purchase insurance directly (commission-free).
We’re nearing the end of the year, and in addition to holiday celebrations and get-togethers, many of us also look forward to the AWS (a.k.a. 13th month bonus). As an American, the AWS still surprises me, as it is a business practice that is specific only to this region. Though it is not required that a company pay AWS, many people count on it and will even earmark the spending of it, instead of treating it as a discretionary bonus that varies depending on company earnings and economic conditions. If you don’t depend on the AWS to make ends meet, and you already have a sufficient emergency fund and are debt-free (with the exception of a mortgage), here are some suggestions on how to invest your AWS: (more…)
When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong listed the various ways in which a “cash poor” senior can get extra income from his/her home in retirement, he said, “It is better if you keep your property. Even if you rent out the whole flat, it does not matter, it is yours, and you can fall back on it for your old age, just in case anything happens.” I disagree, though I understand and appreciate where he’s coming from. He’s worried that many people who end up selling and cashing out their property would not be able to appropriately ration the lump sum earnings and make their windfall last throughout the remainder of their lifetime. This is why he put constraints on taking lump sum withdrawals of one’s CPF. Additionally, owning a home provides some assurance that you will have shelter, which is a basic need. But in the case of selling your own property, I believe if you are prudent with your money (perhaps you can buy an annuity with the proceeds, or just keep it liquid in an account), the option to cash out your property should be a viable consideration for seniors.