Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If you can't afford to fork out $4000 downpayment cash, don't buy a 5 room HDB BTO flat

I came across a rubbish blogger in The Finance SG and felt compelled to blog down my thoughts. Apparently this blogger and his girlfiriend had purchased a 5-room HDB BTO flat but had difficulty forking out $4000 cash for the balance downpayment. He is still a full-time student and has no income. His girlfriend monthly salary is only $2400.

Lack of integrity
After reading his article, I can only said this blogger has no integrity at all and is a total cheapskate. He bragged that he managed to fool the HDB into delaying the signing of the agreement lease for many times. This is because he don't have the cash to pay the balance downpayment and has to depend on his girlfriend's year end bonus and use her CPF savings to pay for it. To me, this fellow don't deserve the flat at all. Obviously he don't have the financial capability to afford the flat, so HDB should have given the flat to more deserving applicants. In fact, I wondered aloud how in the bloody world did his Housing Loan Eligibility got approved? The couple's monthly income is only $2400 and this guy is still studying. Either HDB is not doing their due diligence or this blogger is telling half truth.

Self-denial and overestimation of ability
One of the blogger's readers pointed out that if he cannot even afford $4000, he has no business buying such a huge flat. Of course he denied and claimed he can afford it. To me, this blogger don't know what he is doing. We Chinese has a saying that goes "If you don't have such big head, don't wear such big hat". It is good to have dreams and goals in life. But it is not okay to overestimate your abilities and overstretch yourselves. Furthermore, this fellow has no job, no income. Even if he managed to secure a job and has an income for the monthly housing instalment, he still have to plan for wedding costs and etc. Its not simple as he thought.

Towards the path of bankruptcy
I have seen too many couples splitting up before collecting their new house keys. Many of them had their CPF monies forfeited by HDB. I can see this happening to this blogger too. I mean if I were his girlfriend, I would have looked down on him too. Cannot even fork out $4000 cash and has to leech on her CPF savings. It is not a sin to be poor. I came from a poor family too. But you should be realistic and buy an affordable house and live within your means. Given his lousy financial planning, how to have a decent wedding for his girlfriend?

Judging from his past article, this blogger is no saint. He tried to game the bursary system before. And now he tried to beat the housing system for his selfish gains. So I hope his girlfriend will leave him for good. Teach him a good lesson in life and let him realise his mistakes.

Magically yours

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Singapore government revamped Medishield after SG Web Reviews' complaint

On 10 Oct 2012, I wrote an article on "The state of healthcare in Singapore" and criticized the limitations of 3M (Medisave, Medishield and Medifund). Two days after my blog posting was published, the Singapore government immediately announced changes in the Medishield, our national healthcare insurance. Among the changes included the coverage and claim limits for policyholders.

Readers might call it pure coincidence. After all, the changes would take effect only in March next year, even though it was announced two days after my blog posting. I would like to think so but most importantly, the government's action validate my concerns of the state of healthcare in Singapore. In my previous posting, I had criticized Medishield's fine print of "SGD50,000 maximum claim per policy year". The government noted that and stated that they would increase the cap to SGD70,000 next year. Some might argued that enhancement is incremental only but I feel that at least the government is moving in the right direction. In fact, the announced changes in the Medishield only served to reinforce my argument that it is time for our national insurance policy to be enhanced. Going forward, I feel that the next step should be to relax the ruling on the use of Medisave and also to review the eligibility requirements of Medifund.

Some of my readers had commented in my previous posting that it is unreasonable of me to request government to intervene on healthcare yet at the same time expect the government to adopt a "hands-off approach" on potential investment scams. Well first of all, I respect all my readers' views but ultimately they have to understand the fundamentals of issues discussed in this blog. Unlike personal investments, the government have the obligation and duty to provide affordable healthcare to citizens. We all grow old one day and having contributed actively to the nation when we are young, it is only right the government take care of us when we are old and sick. However on the other hand, personal investments are based on "willing sellers, willing buyers" contractual obligations. It is not feasible for our government to have a fool-proof policies to protect citizens from potential investment scams. Come on, on a daily basis, I received 5-8 email spams from sources claiming I won 10million dollars lottery prizes. Do you think I would be so stupid as to fall prey to these lousy scams and spams? Do you think the government can intervene on such email scams? 

I believe there are many naive Singaporeans who had fell prey to email scams. I read them all in the newspaper. So the best way to prevent yourselves from being conned is to educate yourself and raise awareness among our community. Silence and ignorant are not the best policies. Stop being arrogant and stupid. Join me and follow my blog. Help to spread the words among your friends and colleagues. Educate them and prevent them from being conned.

Magically yours.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The state of healthcare in Singapore

The past few weeks has been very distressing for my family. My dad was hopitalized and warded in the intensive care unit for pneumonia. During this period, we received a couple of calls from the hospital informing us that my dad was in very critical condition and that we should visit him immediately. Thankfully, he pulled through and is now warded in the general ward. At the back of our mind, we were also very concerned about the costs incurred because we are all aware of the exorbitant hospitalization fees in Singapore. Incidentally, my late father-in-law was also hospitalized in intensive care unit, albeit last year. His situation was more complicated as he needed a lot of blood transfusion, kidney dialysis and other life supporting equipment aids. Eventually, his body could not take it and he passed on after three months in the intensive care unit. His hospitalisation bills amounted to more than S$300,000 and after medishield and subsidies, my wife's family still owed the hospital ten of thousands dollars hospital bills. The hospital (which is different from my dad's) hounded my wife's family for payment and even issued them with lawyer's letters.

The $8.00 operation
I recalled in 2010, one of our Singapore ministers had a heart bypass operation and he bragged to the whole world that he only paid S$8.00 for the hospital bills. I believe this is because he had bought expensive private insurance schemes that covered his hefty hospital bills. He even went on to marvel at the beauty of Singapore healthcare system, which consists of "3M" - Medisheld, Medisave and Medifund. Well I don't know what was his real intentions when he made those statements back then but I was not impressed at all. There are a lot of Singaporean who did not benefit from 3M and my family clan is one of them. When my family received the hospital bills. we were all shocked. After all, we thought my late father-in-law had bought medishield and it should not be so expensive. So I visited CPF website and found out that the maximum payout per policy year is $50,000. So after subsidy, medishield claim and the little amount of medisave my father-in-law had, we still had to pay ten of thousands dollars. We are not rich, nor do we belong to the low income group. So we were told by the social worker that we were not entitled to Medifund, which will kick in only after we exhausted all our Medisave and monies in the bank.

Where got help?
To the rich people, especially our Ministers who are multi-millionaires, healthcare costs is not a concern for them. They can easily afford to pay expensive premiums to shield themselves from hefty hospital bills. Therefore many of the Ministers were unable to relate to most Singaporean's concerns of hefty hospital bills and their stance is always that the Singaporeans are heavily subsidized and that immediate family should shoulder the costs instead of relying on government's aid. Well firstly, I must say that providing affordable healthcare services to Singaporean should be considered as one of the fundamental duties of our government. It should not be considered as a form of welfare as we protect and contribute to the nationbuilding. So the nation should take care of us when we grow old. Secondly, many Singaporean belongs to the sandwiched and middle-income group. Many of us have aged parents to take care of but many of us are not eligible for the subsidies because of our income limits. So whenever the Minister boosted that various helps and schemes are in place for needy Singaporean, it sound so hollow to me. They made it sound so easy yet when you tried to apply for financial assistances, so many harsh conditions were attached.

Sometimes it makes me wonder the true value of being a Singaporean. We contributed actively to the economy when we are young yet the government is unwilling to take care of us when we are old and ill. What a raw deal.

Magically yours

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Is it right to blame Singapore government for your stupid investment mistakes?

In my previous post, one of my readers, "Jack", wrote me a long comment. He blasted me for being callous and for gloating over Genneva victims' plight. Well, firstly I must apologize that his comment was inadvertently deleted today when I used my iphone to view his comment. As my policy is to publish all comments, I sincerely hope Jack can re-post his comment again in my blog for sharing purposes. With regards to his comment, I have a few issues which I think need some clarification.

Fools Never Learn
The objective of my previous blog is never to provoke anyone. If readers find my blog offensive, there is always a choice not to patronize my articles. Now, if you ask me again, I would still say those who lost their money in the Genneva fiasco deserved it. In fact, I hope they don't get back a single cent at all. Why? Because people never learn unless they are taught a painful lesson in life. In 2008, a lot of Singaporean lost their money investing in Minibonds. About 8,000 people in Singapore had sunk in S$376 million in Series 1 to 3 and 5 to 10 of the Minibond notes. They thought that they were investing in bonds and since they were sold by local financial institutes, they couldn't go wrong. They were dead wrong. These fools didn't even bother to research and realize that they were actually buying highly risky financial products instead of bonds. Eventually, some of them were lucky enough to claw back some of their monies through legal actions. Now history repeated itself over and over again. Fast forward to 2012, same thing happened again. A group of so-called "investors" lost money in dubious gold-buy back schemes promising ultra high returns of 30 to 40% per annum. They wanted to get back their monies through legal means after realizing their stupidity. Now Jack, let me ask you, if these bunch of jokers succeed in getting back their monies, do you think they will emerge from this incident wiser? Do you think they will become a better investor and truly become a practitioner and do their homework before investing? Are we condoning this sort of reckless investment attitude - invest with no brain and expect government to step in when you lost monies?

The Blame Game
I hope Jack can cast aside his ego when he read my article. He blamed the government for not implementing measures to prevent people from being conned by such financial schemes. What sort of stupid logic is this? I mean is it fair to blame the government for everything wrong in your life? This is crazy and is so typical of a Singaporean. The government has no part in your investment failures or successes. If you win money from stock investment, do you donate to the government? Likewise if you got conned or lost money in stock market, is it fair to blame the government for not implementing preventive measures? Stop being a loser. Stop blaming others for your failures. Learn from my blog and join me in my journey. Stop being stupid and arrogant.

Magically yours

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The wrong way to invest

A few days ago, I saw a Channel 8 news bulletin on Genneva Gold Trading Firm, which is a company that offers gold buyback scheme to investors. Apparently, it is being sued by its customers for not meeting its financial obligations. Quite a number of Singaporeans had actually invested with the company. In the news, one customer even showed the reporter that he had invested hundred of thousands in such scheme but is now desperate to get back his monies. At the back of my mind, I doubt he can ever get back any of his principle investment. Even if he does, the amount he can get back is most probably a fraction of his initial investment.

Know the rules
I have absolutely no sympathy for Singaporeans who had sunk in their monies and lost their life savings in these gold buy-back schemes. In fact, I think they deserve it. In the news, a lawyer was interviewed and he pointed out that the contract agreement between buyer and seller clearly indicated that such schemes are high risk investments and that the returns are not guaranteed. So to be fair, people who chose to invest in such dubious schemes should play by the rules and realize that they are buying a risky financial product. High risk, high return. That is the golden rule in the world of investment. So is it fair for them to sue the company when they lost money? Did they make any noise when they made some money? So the point I am trying to make is that investors have to be responsible for their own actions and be discerning of potential scams before they commit their monies. It is not right for them to claim ignorant and take legal actions to claim back their losses without having a clue to what financial products they have purchased.

Singaporeans are educated but can be stupid sometimes
Many of these so-called "investors" are not actually investing, they are just greedy and foolish people who are easily conned into get-rich quick schemes. They are not investment practitioners and don't do their homework before they invest. They let greed rule their head and thought they had discovered the secret to making big money when it was actually a scam awaiting for them to walk in. They think they can outsmart the rest of the world. How can that be? They have to realize that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. So get yourself financially educated by following my blog. Stop being stupid and greedy.

 Magically yours