As I have said, I am a firm believer of insurance but not a firm believer of agents. I am of the mind that there are invested interest. Even the most honest guy needs to earn a living but I have yet to find anyone who is able to pass my test. More often than not, I tend to DIY on my own so most of my plans are generally bought online. The exception is that during the early years, agents used to manage those that I bought.
Let’s face it. Everyone needs to transfer their risk and that is a fact. Whether it is term or whole life plans, it is up for a debate but no best answer. You need health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, travel insurance, car insurance and the list goes on. My only grip is that DIY stuff comes cheap but you have to figure out how to to that on your own. Nothing wrong with that but it comes in as a pain when you don’t have time to manage those stuff.
Personally, I feel that it is fine to try out a cheaper alternative of insurance just to get yourself covered at the lowest cost possible. SNACK is by Income and recently introduced this concept of microinsurance. I find it appealing personally coming from someone who understand how these things work. It kind of like supplement what i have existingly.
I think that the Income branding is starting to change and this helps with the brand image. At least they try to speak the millenia language. Next, I find that with such low cost products – There will be less barrier to entry. The difficulty in this solution is to educate people. It is much easier to say that it is complicated than trying to find out what this is all about.
Once you sign up online and register the amount you can commit daily, every document will be sent to you via email or digitally. Quite simply, I would say.
They are 3 ways your can choose to buy insurance from (Choose 1 or whatever you need):
a. Critical Illness
b. Personal Accident
c. Life Insurance.
You can also trigger these daily costs from a few parts:
a. Redeeming a deal from Burpple or pay for meals using a VISA card.
b. Commuting bus, train or cab and pay for it using a VISA card.
c. Through retailing and purchases using a linked VISA card.
d. Shopping for groceries using a linked VISA card.
e. Through entertainment and paying using a linked VISA card.
f. Topping up petrol and paying using a linked VISA card.
g. Pay your utilities and paying using a linked VISA card.
h. Activate your fitbit app and fulfilling your daily steps.
You may be thinking what happens if you hit every objective. There is a limit to the premiums charged to your credit or debit card depending on the weekly cap you’ve set up. Once you’ve hit this weekly cap, SNACK will no longer charge you premiums when you complete lifestyle triggers and you will not be issued any more policies for that week.
The minimum amount daily you can set is $0.30 and you can add on as many triggers as you wish.
There is also a cap on each insurance segment:
a. For Personal Accident, the cap is at $100,000
b. For Life Insurance, the cap is at $200,000
c. For Critical Illness, the cap is at $200,000
These insurance are known as non-participating policies so the moment you stop paying for these, the coverage will stop. To me it is a stop-gap kind of coverage and at an extremely low cost. If you are looking at the full suite, take time to understand and learn. You will definitely benefit from the knowledge and to suss out your new insurance agent. Whether they are in it for the long term or to hit and run. We will never know unless we experience and have the basic knowledge.
This is not a sponsored post. This is purely my own opinion after using their service and/or products. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. There is no one size fits all investment strategy.
The pictures were taken from SNACK website for this article. If you need a referral code, please use my referral code “PAU4055” and both of us will be rewarded with additional $500 coverage for personal accident. Visit here https://www.snackbyincome.sg/ to find out more.
Whenever we touch on the topic of owning cars in Singapore, there will always be a ruckus. The ambitious demands of ourselves would deem that we wish to own a car, a branded German Luxury for most. However, as much reasoning that we give, owning a car here is as good a depreciating asset or in more negative context, a liability. Owning a car isn’t exactly rocket science but there are some things to take note and the extra costs that comes in regularly. A piece of transportation that brings you from A to B, that’s something everyone appreciates if you have the luxury to do so.
Own or Grab?
Hands down, taking grab rides, gojek or comfort taxis wins owning a private car. It gives one the luxury of leaving home at any time and going anywhere without any restriction or so to say no stress. That comes with a price like any other thing.
Perhaps for a start, what are the tax and pricing related to car?
1) Open Market Value (OMV)
OMV is the price paid or payable when a vehicle is imported in Singapore. The Customs assesses the price and is inclusive of purchase price, freight, insurance and all charges. Different cars have different OMV.
2) Additional Registration Fee (ARF)
ARF is the tax payable when you register a vehicle. ARF is based on a percentage of the OMV. This is just another layer of tax on top of all other fees and taxes.
3) Excise Duty & GST
You need to pay customers excise duty to import and register a car and motorcycle or scooter. There is also a 7% GST payable to Singapore Customs based on the total cost of importing the vehicle.
4) Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
All vehicle in Singapore will require a COE. In order to register your vehicle, you need to place a bid for a COE in the different category. Once you have a successful bid, you get to own a vehicle to use on the road for a maximum period of 10 years. This is the upfront costs apart from all the taxes and fees.
5) Finally, the margins (The P&L)
After paying for all the taxes and fees, the companies who sell these cars need to cover their overheads, costs and make a margin on it.
The other costs
Now that you have paid for the car and you manage to drive it home. No, wait. Before you do that, you need to have a valid driving license.
This costs roughly from $800 to $3000 depending on how good of a driver you are and if you take a private lessons or a driving school. The school definitely provides you with an all encompassing structured lesson but it also costs more. If you fail to get your driving license on the first try. That means more practical lessons and more cost. The upside to this is that, there is no expiry once you obtained your driving license until you are deemed too old. You will be required to complete a renewal test to ensure that you are fit to drive.
In order to drive on the roads, you need to have a valid car insurance. The cost of insurance is renewed annually and depends on your age and type of car you own. You can have a comprehensive plan or a basic plan but in my opinion, you just need to go for the most comprehensive plan to get yourself covered.
Once you have paid for your car insurance, you will need to pay for your road tax. How is your road tax calculated?
a. Engine Capacity – The larger your engine’s capacity, the higher the amount of road tax (Payable 6 months or 12 months)
b. Age of your vehicle – Vehicles that are more than 10 years incur surcharge of 10-50% on top of the standard road tax. (For cars renewing beyond the initial 10 years of COE)
If you forget to pay your road tax, you will be liable for late payment and also for infringement since you are not allowed on the road. Yikes, more bills.
At the start of the article, I discussed about the price of buying a car. You can now loan up to 60% of the total cost of the sale of the car. Depending on the interest rate you can get, (Maybe around 1.88% p.a. at this point) that will be the additional interest payable on your loan amount.
Not too sure about you but it seems like the costs are piling up even before driving it on the roads.
The maintenance costs
It does seems like it doesn’t make sense to own a car anymore now but I still need to add on the maintenance cost during the 10 year life of owning the car.
The initial 3 to 5 years should be an added benefit that your dealer will throw in when you buy that car. But take note that this is just purely servicing, meaning engine oil change and those point checks and tyre rotation. Any wear and tear are still liable to be charged at their retail price.
Typical servicing starts around the 1km, 5km, 10km mark or around 3-5 months depending on which comes earlier. I mean, if the car is new there wouldn’t be an issue. But if you don’t bring your car back to the dealer then the warranty that they gave you would be voided.
During the first 3 year of owning your car, before you renew your road tax, you do not need to bring your car to a registered inspection company such as VICOM or STA. After the third year, you have to do so to ensure that you do not change certain aspects of your car when you drive on the roads. It is a small cost but it does take some time to do so. After the initial 3 years, you have to go for an inspection once every 2 years until your 10 year mark is up. For cars more than 10 years, you have to do so annually.
Car Battery Change
If you do not own an electric car, you need to change your car battery 1.5 – 2 years regularly. Depending on what kind of car you drive, the number of batteries and type will also differ in price.
Wear and Tear/ Repairs
Any wear and tear (e.g. brake pads, windscreen wipers, tyre balding, rim change, air compressors, solenoid, repairs and more) will incur cost. After all, you need to make sure your car lasts for as long as it can given how expensive they are. Your tyres need to change every 3-5 years depending on how you drive your car and there may be small damages or even faulty electronics due to wear and tear. Also, our climate is pretty warm and heat will wear most stuff out when exposed over time.
Parking and Fines
Anywhere you stop your car, you need to enter a carpark. Parking your cars comes with a cost. You can’t just stop anywhere you want. If you get a parking ticket, that amount will pay for your 1 month’s parking budget.
Take note of red light and speeding cameras. Any breaches will set you back a few hundred dollars with demerit points. In the worst case scenario, you may be charged and your driving license taken away.
Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) and New Changes
Paying tolls have never been easier. (Sarcasm) Going through expressways and roads during peak period will set you back a few bucks per day when you drive through these to ease traffic flow. These will be replaced by a satellite distance-based ERP system in the near future.
Finally, you need fuel to run your vehicle. Basically, everyone is a price taker. You can’t not fuel up your car. Not having fuel in your car will do your vehicle more harm than good. After all, you are supposed to own some form of flexibility with a car.
Don’t feel that owning a car is beyond your reach now. There are different ways to do so. To always weigh the pros and cons about owning a vehicle, you will find the answer clearly but we still see a lot of vehicles on the roads. This part of our brain is unexplainable, the comfort and flexibility of owning a car outweighs all that reasoning. I have also read about the other options to owning a car but it really depends on individuals.
a. Lease (Instead of owning it, you pay a fixed cost per month for leasing the car)
b. Drive for a private hire (You get to moonlight during your free time but perhaps not so ideal during this covid-19 situation)
c. Own a car and lease it out/rent it via apps. This will cut your cost in owning a car
d. Take the public transport and Grab/Gojek. Times are different now, we are not at the mercy of Nazi Taxi Drivers.
Personally, I just am thankful during times when it rains. I get the comfort of going to somewhere at whichever time I wish without getting drenched. There isn’t any worries of price surge or cancellation. That said.
This is not a sponsored post and purely my own opinion that I am writing about in my thoughts. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. Don’t be too fixated with what is the best.
In my earlier posts, I talked about the need for an emergency fund and other than Singlife, which caps the 2.5% p.a. for the first S$10k. No other financial institutions have been able to match this super high interest yield for a pretty risk free approach .(Given that Singlife is under SDIC so the first S$75k is covered and safe) In recent months, we have seen some insurtech or alternative ways to put your money and entice people with relatively decent interest rates for your cash/emergency funds.
To recap, your emergency funds should have some level of liquidity so that you can utilise when necessary and not be penalised for doing so. This is by far my personal first rule. It is extremely interesting and exciting to see what might happen to the digital banking sector where there is a mixed bag of consortium lining up to be licensed to offer financial services. It looks like it is going to be something similar to what these insurtech is offering or even more innovation. (e.g. bundled products, higher interest rates or even offering curated financial products, robo-advisors and payment channels) It does seems exciting to see what new innovation these services can offer and retail customers will benefit from this digital drive.
Dash Easy Earn is a collaborative work between Dash (Singtel payment service) and Easy Earn (Tiq – An Insurance arm of Etiqa and a subsidiary of Maybank)
Let’s go for the Pros first:
a. Flexible no lock-in period hence no penalties for cancelling the plan.
b. First year interest rates stands at 2% p.a. (So this part is locked in and low interest rate environment is set to stay)
c. Relatively low barrier to entry. With S$2k minimally as maintenance amount that you keep, you get the interest accrued on a daily basis.
d. Capital Guaranteed.
e. Interest earned can be transfer to Dash Payment Service with no extra charge and they have a suite of deals and payments which you can use to pay your bills with. There is a $2 cashback for your first Singtel Dash transaction! Sign up with the referral code DASH-RYJKN or tap on this link https://appserver.dash.com.sg:443/mgm?DASH-RYJKN now
f. You can top up anytime to this account.
g. 105% of the account value is the sum assured should something happen to you.
Now for the Cons:
a. You need to download and register for yet another app. This is the Singtel Dash App. I mean, I really hate Singtel but I will not say no to free money.
b. You have to remember to maintain at lease S$2k in the EasyEarn Account.
c. 2% p.a. only applies for the first year and I believe that it will drop to 1.5 % p.a. thereafter. (From the terms and conditions: *Guaranteed 1.5% p.a. + 0.5% p.a. bonus for first policy year, available on a first come, first served basis) – Seems like there is sort of a cap to this.
d. There is a maximum amount to this. Once you have Topped Up to S$20k, that is the cap for every individual account. So there is this element of troublesome to remember and track for a 2% p.a. but if it suits you, then by all means go ahead.
e. Here is the key part to this which you will not hear it from Dash themselves. For any transaction that you transfer out via PayNow back to your own transact or savings account, there is a payment fee of S$0.70 per transaction. This is free if you transfer to Dash payment as described above for Pros point (e).
To some, the S$0.01 is money which they refuse to let go of but to others, not so much of a great deal. Don’t be penny wise pound foolish or you will never see the bigger picture. You will not gain anything by spending time and energy on pinching 1 cent. I personally know 8 out of 10 people does it and it annoys the hell out of me. If you have time to pinch 1 cent, I would rather you take that time to find ways to make $10 instead of ruining your own mood, wasting your time and fussing over the small things. I don’t get it and I still don’t today.
The User Interface
Here is how the screen looks like on the Dash EasyEarn App. You can see the Grow Money (New) in the Dash App which you can access and see your funds and interest. Do note that the interest are not accumulative though so it means that whatever you have in excess of S$20k earns no interest.
When you log in to EasyEarn, that is how the app looks like below.
Before I end off, I saw an interesting product which is on similar terms as Dash EasyEarn. They are from Tiq Insurance – meaning GIGANTIA but this works in their own Tiq App. (First year 1% + 1% p.a.) I’m not too sure why they have something similar to Dash EasyEarn. There can be a variety of reason. It could be that they have extra tranche of funds to offer customers or it could be that this is a longevity version of their product as compared to having inflexible Dash systems. I would explore Tiq option as well but let’s see what kind of proposition it makes to consumers.
Something interesting came in my way last week. I managed to speak with the General Manager of Wellnex (Link here if you are interested to find out – https://www.wellnex-singapore.com/) and My-insurer. (Link here – https://www.my-insurer.net/) They are in the field of Insurtech field – Insurance Technology. (Something that works differently as compared to the traditional agents who sells you an insurance) I’ll say that they are more of a 99.co or property guru in Insurance style but with a tad more zest as all interactions and details are done digitally so it is as good as meeting the customer face to face. Given current Covid situation, I’m not sure if I want to meet anyone face to face for a 2-3 hour chat about personal finance.
It isn’t a sponsored post. I’m very strict with the way things are being done regarding a sponsored post. As the way it is, I’m happy to write and type whatever my views are and trash whatever I find is trashy. In any case, my-insurer has a separate wellnex platform – which is more of a deals, news, more information kind of portal where businesses and writers can create and post articles.
The Wellnex Interface
Sometime last week, i received an email from them stating that they have achieved the Trust-mark for Data Protection so you can be sure that there is a standard or ISO for dealing and protection the data that you store with them. I’ll say that is a good job considering that they hold key to agents and customer data.
What I really do like about them is that, they have no requirement for me to have at least one post per week or anything of that sort. There isn’t a fee that they pay to me or I need to pay them for using their application to post articles as they wish to stay neutral and free from conflict of interest. That is respectable for a business who work on that ethics. Not many companies are true to what they preach.
Help one another / Refer a good deal
If you own a company or wish to share some deals, do reach out to these folks out there. Perhaps, they can add more marketing value for space or reach or impressions as the marketing guys call it. After all, the idea is to get what you have out there so people know and talks about it.
The whole idea that I wish to do is to create a space where people enjoy reading articles about finance. Perhaps, get them excited about finding out what is out there. What is the current trend? Sometimes, even finding a good deal or good idea will come back. Though I did not start out as early as so many other bloggers did, it is never too late.
Eventually, finding out and working together as online bloggers is something I wish to build in the community. I started out reading financial blogs for many years. In the process, I procrastinated about building one as it takes up too much time. However, the circuit breaker forced me to take on something that I have put off for many years. I hope I will grow my project to a sizable one in the near future.
These are just solely opinions of mine. Different people have different needs, requirement, financial situation and views. For me, this is what I would do if I would like to build my blog. The main aim to to get more viewership and subscribers to keep the lights running.
Term Insurance or Participating Whole Life Insurance? This is the question that I often ask and discuss with my other half. Typically, people seek value when they buy or invest in something. For insurance, value seekers would prefer a cash value. Cash value is what you have contributed over the insurance tenor. These sum of money, deducting the cost of insurance, the fees, commissions, salary and what nots will be invested by the insurance company Fund Managers (Whether they choose in-house or external fund houses) – In short they are known as participating life insurance.
Term and Whole Life Insurance
Term Insurance are policies that do not have a cash value. They are typically cheaper than Whole Life Plans (Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to get term insurance). For example, they cost $200 per annum for a coverage of $200K and it depends on your age at point of inception. They may or may not be renewable yearly, meaning that the premiums will increase with age and each individual health condition.
In my personal opinion, I think that a Whole Life Plan is really expensive. You pay premiums and the first three years, there is literally no value to your assets. Then your participating underlying investments are handled by someone else who tries their best to beat benchmark and regardless, they get paid in fees and costs.
Buy Term, Invest the Rest?
There is a famous saying, buy term and invest the rest. Well, I don’t have a view on that. It really depends if you want to leave some legacy behind for your family/kids/relatives or it may even be transitory. For e.g. used to cover debts such as a new house, a new car or assets. In order not to complicate matters, I’ll leave illness out of the equation and discuss solely on the death benefit. Generally, you need to cover your liabilities so that in the event of death, your family members not only are rid of their stress and pressure from the loss of a loved one as well as the financial aspect of it. To a certain extent, I believe in covering at least 2x of your liabilities so that there is comfort in dealing with more financial freedom.
The other stuffs to take note of
For a typical household, i believe that health insurance is the first thing you need to seek coverage on, followed by life plans but everyone’s scenario is different. In finance, there is a phase that all of us has to go through which is also the toughest and it is called wealth building. I’ll leave it for discussion on a separate day but my point is, you buy insurance based on what you can afford and not because it is cheap or time is not on your side.
For me, I take the approach of covering term as well as whole life plans. The hybrid style works for me as I am pretty savvy with financial contracts and insurance. In my own time, I am qualified advisor for insurance and more qualified than many out there but I never once worked for any insurance company. Though finance is my forte but there are too many products and innovation in this field that you cant keep up. So, you need to have someone in there to guide you along. It is annoying to talk to agents so you need to have someone you trust.
Let me just plant some ideas – If it make sense. It isn’t all encompassing but just to point things out.
A. A Substitute for liabilities (Housing loan, car loan, personal loan, student loan)
B. A transition phase which you do not mind protecting until that period is over. As term has no value, it is similar to a no-contract telco plan and you can get rid of it anytime (if the time period is short)
C. Supplement for a shortage of coverage that you have for your whole life.
Whole Life Plan:
A. It’s just for lazy people. Buy/Save and pay the premium for a period of time. Leave it there.
B. Buy at a young age and the premiums stay really really low which is smart. Consider your finances too as you need it to be as affordable until you have served the payment term.
C. If you have a young kid or elderly who are not working. You, are the income holder needs to be insured. When you are gone, the young kid and elderly will not be able to work to give you an income.
Above all, health is of the utmost importance. You will never know when or what hits you. Even then, your state of mind will be in a mess. So, no matter how prepared you are, no one will ever be prepared. All these little steps and conversations must eventually turn into real action. When shit comes, it comes and there is no point saying “I should have”. Don’t just listen to your agent out there. Seek alternative, ask and learn. No will will care more about your money more than you will – These life skills will bring value to your own life and frankly I can’t see a life with no planning and no one should.
These are just solely opinions of mine. Different people have different needs, requirement, financial situation and views. For me, this is what I would do if I need to deal with buying insurance for myself and my family. There is no one size fits all – different strokes for different folks.
Due to the current covid-19 pandemic, we have seen quite a change in the world’s economic situation. Central banks around the world have reduced interest rates to an extremely low level. In finance, or what we call an emergency fund – has to always be liquid. It is well known to keep 3 – 6 months of funds for a rainy day. As for the amount to keep, it really depends on everyone’s personal situation. I would say, it depends on how much you spend and how willing one will be able to adjust to change their lifestyle. Given the current situation, it may be better to keep up to 9 or 12 months of emergency funds. Again, it depends very much on every individual’s finance situation.
Reduction of interest in “High Yield”saving accounts
Recently, we have seen the banks reducing the interest rates of deposit accounts or “high yield” saving accounts. It is only a matter of time when everyone else will reduce that interest amount so it is important to always keep funds liquid. You will never know what happens so it is important to stick to the rules – Keep your liquid funds liquid. A couple of months back, I found an interesting channel to keep some funds for a pretty high yield of 2.5% pa.
Of course, there are plenty of choices out there to choose from but today we shall talk a little more about an “alternative” choice as compared to a bank. Let’s throw Fixed Deposits out of the equation as well as they are close nothing at this point in time.
This is Singlife account. The interest of 2.5% p.a. is capped for the first $10,000 that you fund the account and the next $90,000 will be on 1.0% p.a. Any amount more than $100,000 will earn no interests thus this account will be suitable for anyone who wishes to keep a small sum of funds with Singlife and the hassle of having another account.
As indicated on their website, the Singlife Account is an insurance savings plan and it is neither a bank savings account nor fixed deposit. Each person is only entitled to one Singlife Account policy.) Singlife is also known as an Insurance Technology company that is licensed by MAS.
This is a really good channel to keep funds in however just take note that the 2.5% p.a. is not guaranteed and can be changed anytime. I think that this is fair given how flexible the funds can be taken out at will. In a most recent post, the news state that Singlife has raised 100 million funds in new AUM.
Below are some of the pointers that I felt is compelling enough to sign up for an account as the pros outweighs the cons at this moment and I am going to discuss more about why we should just get an account online:
First, Singlife is an insurance savings plan coupled with insurance and interest features. Fund placed with Singlife will be capital guaranteed so there will not be any hidden fees.
Second, you can earn up up to 2.5% p.a. for the first $10,000 with minimum funding of $500 to start earning this interest amount.
Third, there is insurance benefits – 105% of the account value and retrenchment benefits.
Fourth, the Singlife debit card is complementary and works like a normal debit card.
Fifth, No Lock-In. No contracts. Funds can be withdrawn anytime with no cost and minimum term.
Sixth, application is easy. Works only on an app and you can use SingPass to register easily.
Seven, funds are covered by SDIC so your funds are safe and protected for up to S$75k if there are any bank run on deposits.
In Summary, this can be a good tool for transition of better interest accounts or a medium terms solutions to parking your own funds.
There are not many bad points out there but to name a few and mainly only due to requirements and how cumbersome it can turn out to be.
First, they are relatively the new boys in town. In terms of branding and knowing who Singlife is needs to be worked on.
Second, since they are an alternative choice, traditional and conservative folks will just monitor or give it a pass
Third, the threshold of up to S$10k for 2.5%p.a. may not be appealing for some folks out there.
Fourth, having yet another digital wallet or account is going to be slightly more cumbersome. Hence this might deter more sign ups.
The other choice is to go to Tiq or Dash Easy Earn. The interest option is slightly lower but you can’t avoid opening yet another account.
The whole idea here is to share what are the different options and alternative available to park your funds. If this works for one person, it might not for the other. There isn’t a one size fits all solution but there are plenty of solutions out there. We just have to dig deeper and find out more about them. Then, we also question about the time spent to research and the effort to track different apps and accounts. It really depends on every individual. To some it might be creating more issues but to others, these solutions may be gems.
I find that these solutions are a good option for the younger group of graduates and those who have just started to find employment. You have to start somewhere so this is one avenue to do so.
This is not a sponsored post and purely my own opinion that I am writing about in my thoughts. If you like what you are seeing, do remember to check they out and do your diligence. Don’t be too fixated with what is the best.