Saturday, April 11, 2009

The role of Life Insurance

Life insurance will help you accomplish the following:
  • It will help provide an adequate income for your family if you die prematurely.
  • It will provide a cash cushion for emergencies.
  • It will provide cash to help educate your children.
  • It will provide supplemental retirement benefits.

Why should I buy life insurance?

If your death will create economic loss for your family, your business, your temple or church, your college or school, or your favourite charity, you probably need more life insurance.

If your death will not result in an economic loss for one of those entities, you might want to ask yourself why.

8 Reasons to be in the Financial Services Industry

  1. Complexity - Finances are much more complex than before and the options are endless, which means that my clients need someone they trust to give them educated advice.
  2. Longevity - Our average age is increasing, there is life after 65. We need to have a financial plan to handle it.
  3. Entrepreneurship - Being your own boss and having more control of your own destiny are part of Singaporean dream. This industry is perfect environment for the entrepreneurial spirit.
  4. Financial Freedom - Building a nest egg is a way of buying the freedom and security people are looking for. Financial Advisers get to do that for themselves and their clients.
  5. Value - More and more financial institutions are aware that market place are changing, clients are getting more aware, prices are getting competitive, which means that clients are the greatest beneficiaries because they can receive better advice and more value than ever before.
  6. Road Map for success - The successful road maps of past advisers are well documented and readily available. This is good news for new hires. They don't have to learn from the school of hard knocks.
  7. Volatility - The volatility of the stock market has hit us like a ton of bricks, as has the need for good financial advice and trustworthy advisers.
  8. Long Term Thinking - Patience and Perseverance have come back in style, and people are realising that the truth will not only set you free, it'll keep you free. Reputations are golden in this industry as in the need for a long term financial plan.

Motivational Quote (i)

Take Time...

Take time to THINK
- Thoughts are the source of power.

Take time to PLAY
- Play is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to READ
- Reading is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to PRAY
- Prayer can be a rock of strength in time of trouble.

Take time to LOVE
- Loving is what makes living worthwhile.

Take time to be FRIENDLY
- Friendship gives life a delicious flavour.

Take time to LAUGH
- Laughter is the music of the soul.

Take time to GIVE
- Any day is too short for selfishness

Take time to do your WORK WELL
- Pride in your work nourishes the ego and the spirit.

Take time to show APPRECIATION
- Thanks are the frosting on the cake of life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Three characteristics of an ideal career

Whatever you do, look for something that pays you what you're worth.

Find a career that keeps you stimulated, a career that challenges you every day.

Find a career that allows you to spend all your life being a part of people's lives. When you finish your career, you should be able to look back and say you have had an impact on people.

It is this passion of serving people and never being bored is what this financial planning career rewarding!

Do Not QUIT!

When things go wrong, as they some times will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit

Life is queer with its twists and turns, As everyone of us sometimes learn, And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out, Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worse,

that you must not quit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Financial Well-being for Everyone

Throughout our life, we have to make many financial decisions, such as:
  • I want to have my own property
  • I hope to upgrade to a bigger flat or apartment in 5 years…
  • I want to buy a family car…
  • I want to take my family on a holiday every year…
  • I wish to provide my kids with an overseas university education…
However, we often make financial decisions in a haphazard manner. We tend to have no overall direction or lose the determination to enforce our decisions. Eventually, we do not achieve our intended goals or take a longer time to achieve them. And because we are so caught up with our immediate financial concerns during the most productive period of our lives, we fail to accumulate a sizeable nest egg for a comfortable lifestyle when we retire.

What is Financial Planning?

Financial Planning is the process of meeting your life goals through the proper management of your finances. It is a process that consists of specific steps that help you ascertain your financial condition objectively. The process involves gathering relevant financial information, setting life goals, examining your current financial status and coming up with a strategy or plan how you can meet your current situation and future plans. Eventually, financial planning should provide direction and meaning to all your financial decisions.

By viewing each financial decision as part of a whole, you can consider its short and long-term effects on your life goals. You can therefore adapt more easily to life changes and feel more secure that your goals are on track.

Take Charge and Plan Early

With financial planning, achieving your short-term ad long-term financial goals will become possible. Of course, the success of your financial plan depends on how realistic your goals are, how early you start, how much time you have to achieve those goals and how conscientious you are in following the plan.

How to make Financial Planning work for you

Financial planning will work well to help you achieve your desired goals, if you keep in mind some basic principles:
  • Set measurable financial goals
  • Understand the effects of each financial decision
  • Re-evaluate your financial situation periodically
  • Start planning as soon as you can
  • Be realistic in your expectations
  • Realise that you are in charge
  • Know what to expect from a qualified financial planner
Some Common Mistakes with regard to Financial Planning
(Source: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards)
  • Do not have measurable financial goals.
  • Make financial decisions without understanding their effects on other financial issues.
  • Neglect to re-evaluate their plan periodically.
  • Look for a quick financial fix instead of a long-term strategy.
  • Expect unrealistic returns on investments.
  • Think that financial planning is only necessary when they get older.
  • Think that financial planning is only for the wealthy.
  • Confuse financial planning is primarily tax planning.
  • Wait until a money crisis occurs to begin financial planning.
  • Think that using a financial planner means losing control.
Who Can Help?

As the years go by and our plan grows in complexity, we may well be calling upon a whole series of experts to help us. Included in this group may be an accountant, lawyer, a trust and investment officer of a bank, stockbroker and real estate expert. However, for most of us, the first person who can help us is a professional insurance adviser who specialises in Financial Need Analysis (FNA).
Such a person can help us to take the four steps necessary to achieve financial success:
  1. Set financial goals
  2. Prioritise them
  3. Initiate a plan of action
  4. Review and update the plan regularly
Last but not least...

There you have it - the basic of Financial Planning. Financial planning needs your investment of time in undergoing all those steps mentioned above. It is part and parcel of developing an effective plan for you to achieve your financial goals may be.
Basically, a sound financial plan is able to handle the following 3 events like:
  1. We might live too long;
  2. We might contract a serious illness or prolong injury;
  3. Or we die too soon.
So start planning now to avoid any disappointment because nobody has planed to fail, but most has failed to plan.

Related articles on Financial well being for Everyone.

The Importance of Patient Practice

"By degree, little by little, from time to time,

A wise man should remove his impurities,

As a silversmith removes the impurities from silver."

Even if one does not attain Nirvana in this life, one's effort is not wasted. First, one experience contentment, harmony, peace and prosperity in this life and the next. Eventually one achieves the supreme happiness and peace of Nirvana.

Attaining NIRVANA

" As the vast ocean is of one taste, the taste of salt,
So also, in my Teaching, there is but one taste,
The taste of freedom, that is, Nirvana"

"Choose a job you love,
and you will never have to work a day in your life."

Confucius, Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC - 479 BC)

How much will a University education cost?

Do you know how much you need to set aside for your child's education and how you can achieve that goal?
To illustrate how much it will cost annually to send your child to a local university, we have the following:
Tuition fees: $6,000
Food: $3,000
Books/stationery: $1,000
Transport: $2,000
Personal expenses: $3,000
Total: $15,000
So a typical 4-year university education might cost $15,000 x 4 = $60,000 today.
Assumed that the inflation rate for education is 3%, that sum could grow to $108,367 in 20 years' time. Sometimes, the cost of education can rise faster than the inflation rate, which means you will require even more funds.
In order to accumulate $108,367 in 20 years' time, you need to set aside $294 per month now, assuming you invest in an instrument that gives you an annual rate of return of 4%.For 6% rate of return, your monthly saving is $233.
A financial instrument with a higher rate of return can help you to achieve the same goal with a smaller amount of savings every year. But note that any form of investment carries a certain degree of risk.
From the illustration, the earlier you start saving or investing, the more wealth you can accumulate.

Some of the options you can consider if you want to save for your child's education include saving through a bank deposit account, buying an endowment plan and investing in a long-term investment product. To achieve how best to find a suitable plan for your child’s education programme, it is always advisable to seek guidance from your financial adviser.

[Attached is the "funding through" concept for the projected university fee only]

Impermance - Everything Changes Continuosly

"Subject to change are all things,
Strive on with

All things, whether internal or external, are impermanent and ever changing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Can you afford to retire comfortably?

Many of us would stop work between age 55 and 65. If you had started working from age 20 or 25, you would have worked for 30 to 45 years. Upon retirement, your income would come to an end. However, you would want to continue enjoying your golden age, retiring in style as a reward for all these years of hard work. In order to do so, there must be proper planning; to be able to accumulate an estate to provide for your retirement.
Many people delay planning for their retirement until they are about to retire. The major pitfall is that they have less time to accumulate what they need, and will most probably have to bear higher risks in their investment in the hope of getting higher returns. They would not be able to gain from the compounding effect of interest rates from long term investment.
For example, if you start at age 35, investing $2,000 a year with an average rate of return of 6% will give you $167,603 when you reach 65. But this figure will be more than $320,000 if you start at age 25.
Starting too late, putting aside too little, and being overly cautious can be very costly.
From the statistics, the aging population is going to increase tremendously. The younger population would have a very heavy burden of supporting them. Why not make it easier for the next generation by assuring your own financial independence and your own dignity as well. Twenty or thirty years down the road, some people would be financially independent and some would not be. They did not plan to fail, it’s just they failed to plan.
Would you agree that the only person that can take care of the financial needs of the older person we will be someday is the younger person we are now?
Plan today and start building your retirement fund.

Karma - Action with Intention

According to the seed that is sown,
So is the fruit you reap.

The doer of good will gather good result,
The doer of evil reaps evil result.

If one plant a good seed well,
Then one will enjoy the good fruits.


"Health is the greatest gain,
Contentment is the greatest wealth,
A trusted friend is the best relative,
Nirvana is the highest happiness."

"Solitude is happiness for one who is content,
Has learnt the Teaching and has seen the Truth.
In the world, happiness is goodwill
And restraint towards living creatures.
The overcoming of desire,
Detachment in the world is happiness.
But to be free of conceit
Is the greatest happiness of all."

The "Sermon on Blessing"

Not to associate with the unwise,
To associate with the wise,
And to honour those who are worthy of honour.
This is the highest blessing.

To reside in a suitable locality,
To have done meritorious actions,
And to follow the right way.
This is the highest blessing.

Great Learning, perfect skill,
Excellent moral discipline,
And pleasant speech.
This is the highest blessing.

To support one's father and mother,
To care for one's wife and children,
And to have a peaceful occupation.
This is the highest blessing.

Generosity, Good Conduct,
Helping relatives,
And blameless action.
This is the highest blessing.

To cease from doing unwholesome actions,
To avoid intoxicants,
And to be steadfast in virtue.
This is the highest blessing.

Reverence, humility,
Contentment and gratitude,
And timely hearing of the Dharma.
This is the highest blessing.

Patience, receptivity to advice,
Meeting with the members of the Order.
And Dharma discussion at appropriate times,
This is the highest blessing.

Self-control, leading a religious life.
Understanding the Noble Truths,
And the attainment of Nirvana.
This is the highest blessing.

He whose mind is not disturbed by worldly conditions,
Sorrowless, pure and secure,
This is highest blessing.

To those who fulfill these conditions,
Who are everywhere unconquerable,
Who in every way move happily,
These are the highest blessings.

Investment pointers to note for, during bearish times

1. Accept Volatility than fear
2. Think Long Term, ignore short-term sentiment
3. Never Confuse gambling with investment
4. Adopt a contrarian approach
5. Price is what you pay, Value is what you get
6. Remember, the stock market is probably smarter than you
7. Understand the companies you invest in