Why I don’t believe in financial advisors

My impression of financial advisors has never been good. Generally, if you managed to pass a few MAS exam papers after graduating from the university, you can work in the banks or financial institutes as financial consultants, advisors or planners.
Most of these so-called financial advisors are nothing more than salesperson interested in selling you only unit trusts and expensive insurance policies. Typically, they would first calculate your retirement needs and then systematically work on your fear of having insufficient monies in your twilight years. Once they managed to convince you that you are under insured or inadequately invested, they will then hard sell you expensive financial products.
All these years, I have witnessed too many of such sales tactics. Although I will not say these tactics are unethical, what I want to point out is that too often, these financial advisors don’t add value to consumers. Instead of addressing the needs of customers, many financial advisors sold financial products in order to earn higher commissions.

Focus on value-add, not sales
Most of the financial advisors in Singapore don’t receive fixed salaries and draw their incomes based purely on commission fees. This means that they have to sell expensive financial products to clients in order to survive. Obviously given such situation, the financial advisor will be more interested in earning your money, rather than help you earn money!

Sure, there are many 3rd party financial advisors who claimed to be independent and charge clients fixed fees not linked to product sales. However, I see no point in paying them good money just to advise me on what type of insurance or unit trusts to buy. Given that all the information is now available on the internet and that Singaporeans are becoming more discerning, the financial industry has to mature and
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Property investments in Singapore

Today, The Straits Times published that a record 18,400 new homes is expected to be completed in Singapore this year. This figure surpassed the previous high of 14,600 units built in 1997, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority data. Will the avalanche of new homes cool property investment in Singapore?

Coupled with the slew of policy measures implemented by Singapore government in recent years, the red hot property market seems to cool down a bit. Although the number of transactions for resale and sub-sale transactions dropped in the last few months, private home prices still remain high. Analysts expected private home prices to post a moderate rise of about 3 – 4 per cent this year.

Property investment

Investing in Singapore properties
Every market has its cycles. Gold, silver and equities have their rises and falls throughout history. Property is no exception. The current property market has been on an incredible bull run since the United States banking crisis in 2008. Hot money resulting from the Quantitative Easings had entered Asia countries and caused housing bubbles to be formed.

In HDB Singapore, prices for landed and non-landed homes have rocketed to unprecedented levels. Medium cash-over-valuation (COV) for resale HDB is now $30,000 and there were reported cases of Bishan flats being sold for a million dollars. The investment demands are not fuelled by normal market supply and demand. To counter this, the government has rolled out a series of cooling measures to tame the investment demand from buyers but to no avail.

To buy or not?
Obviously no asset can go up forever. Nobody can predict accurately when the bubble will burst for Singapore’s properties but when that day comes, it is going to be a very devastating event.

The current property market in Singapore is nearing its peak and its downfall

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Press release: The End of Ethics and A Way Back

How to Fix a Fundamentally Broken Global Financial System
by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch and Jordan D. Mamorsky
SINGAPORE, April 26, 2013 – In this new book by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, Research Professor for the Spiritual Capital Initiative at Yale University and Jordan Mamorsky, attorney and Yale University postdoctoral fellow, The End of Ethics and a Way Back makes an impassioned call for an end to corrupt and irresponsible practices and the restoration of a more virtuous, ethics-based version of capitalism. It delivers a penetrating, at times controversial analysis of the demise of virtuous capitalism, and a road map for achieving a return to ethics, virtue, and sustainable economic growth. The End of Ethics and a Way Back is a must-read for lawmakers, financial regulators, financial advisors and auditors, journalists and media commentators, and all thoughtful observers of current affairs.
The authors explore some of the most outrageous recent examples of financial vice, including the London Interbank Borrowing Rate (LIBOR) scandal, the demise of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, ratings agency corruption, John Corzine’s MF Global, Tyco, and Bernie Madoff’s two-decade Ponzi scheme, among others. In a series of compelling case studies, Malloch and Mamorsky chronicle how those organizations and their leaders lost their way and the havoc their reckless, often criminal activities wreaked globally, before offering a set of structural and holistic solutions for our current ethical crisis in global governance.
They propound well-reasoned solutions to problems deeply embedded in global markets and corporate cultures, including:
  • Restructure the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and staff it with better qualified, better compensated investigators
  • Institute new rules of the financial game, beginning with reinstitution of Glass-Steagall
  • Take the exotic derivatives market in hand, including the aggressive regulation of Credit Default Swaps
  • Devise aggressive new accounting rules to curtail accounting gimmickry and “shadow banking” leading
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The most important skill you must possess

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned the importance of sales and emphasized the need to master the art of selling. Most of us would dismiss that the ability to sell is only for salesmen and marketing executives. But I beg to differ and I think that there is no difference between working for money or making money.
In order to excel in your trade, you must be able to sell your ideas and thoughts. If you cannot articulate well and make your colleagues buy-in your thoughts and proposals, it is difficult to progress in your career, no matter how technically competent you are. This is because if you do not know how to sell yourself, your colleagues will have no idea how good you are and very likely, you will be passed by for promotions.
Grow money

Sales is King
Last week, my wife and myself went to buy groceries at Sheng Siong hypermart and saw a big crowd outside the store. We went forward and saw a man demonstrating the usefulness of a micro-fiber cloth. It was actually a simple cloth used to wipe table and kitchen top. But he managed to illustrate how stain-free it can be from dark substances like soy sauce and even showed that it can also be used to wipe mirror and sofa seats.

It was a very hot morning but he managed to grab the attention of many people and convinced many people to buy from him. My wife, who is usually not an impulsive spender, bought two packets from him. I thought that within an hour, he managed to make more than a few hundreds of profits! Several lessons can be learned from this episode:
1) To sell effectively, your product must meet a need. The micro-fiber cloth is a simple product,
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Gold Investment:BullionStar at a Glance

The following article is an advertorial from BullionStar. It is for information only and readers must not miscontrue it as an offer or inducement to buy. SG Web Reviews will not be responsible for any losses made by readers as a result of any investments made by readers based on this article.
Physical Metal
The bullion you buy from BullionStar is just that – your bullion. BullionStar only offers fully allocated bullion. No paper promises, no unallocated accounts, no risky Ponzi schemes. The bullion you buy from BullionStar is YOUR bullion.

Your Metals – Your choice
BullionStar offers you a wide range of quality bullion from renowned mints and refineries. You are always in full control of your assets with BullionStar.

Buy or sell various bars and coins at competitive rates and spreads.
– Have your bullion shipped, picked up or stored in “My Vault”.
– Trade fully allocated Vault Grams in Gold, Silver and Platinum for a low spread online.
– Control your stored bullion in My Vault online where you can buy, sell or request delivery of your physically stored bullion at all times.
We are proud of our versatile, easy-to-use online trading platform. You can place orders 24/7 to trade the bullion you need when the price and conditions are right for you. 
Choose whether to have your bullion:
– Shipped to your delivery address;
– Picked up by yourself; or 
– Stored securely in “My Vault”

Competitive Prices
BullionStar is building on the experience of its renowned trading system for precious metals. The BullionStar platform is shared by several successful bullion dealers around the world. You benefit from the volume-based premiums we can offer as a result of our worldwide presence. As a result, BullionStar provides some of the lowest premiums and storage fees available anywhere, without

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Are you prepared to be rich in Singapore?

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about the life of a serial entrepreneur. He was lucky enough to sell off his online business more than a decade ago during the dotcom crisis and managed to land a huge windfall from the transaction. Overnight, he became a multi-millionaire and could afford not to work for the rest of his life. But he chose to become a salaried employee and stay on to manage his business for the board of directors. The reason was because he was passionate about his work and loved what he was doing very much.
SG Wealth Builder
SG Wealth Builder

Are you ready to be rich?
Many people thought that being rich can make you happy. But according to the article, being rich can only make you happy up to a certain point. Beyond this point, more money doesn’t make you happier. After a certain time, you become numb from the lavish spending and derive no joy in material well being.

In fact, being suddenly rich can even make you lose sight of your dreams and ambitions. After all, if you have more than enough money not to work a single day for the rest of your life, what is your next goal? This may sound like a fascinating idea but it can also be frightening. This is because life without aims and challenges will not be meaningful; in other words, you will be just wasting away your life and consumed by money itself.

Can you manage the windfall?
We have heard of people who got huge windfalls from lotteries but lose them all in a few years. Typically, these people do not know how to manage wealth sensibly. They do not know how to invest wisely and preserve their wealth. They have no concept of personal

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Stock Investments Insights: Sold off my k1 Ventures shares

Today, I sold off my k1 Ventures shares at $0.162. Taking into account the various dividend pay outs in the last three years and after deducting off the commission fees, the annual return rate is average 3.33%. I made about S$1000 profit. Actually all along, I had never considered my holding in k1 Ventures as a form of “investment”. This is because back in 2010, I had wanted to pull out a portion of my CPF Ordinary Account (CPF-OA) monies and parked it under a stable stock before my HDB flat purchase. The intent was to sell off the stock at a later date and slowly build up an emergency fund. Well after three years, k1 Ventures delivered and I got back my CPF OA funds.
Stock Market
SG Wealth Builder

Dividend Stock
My decision to sell off k1 Ventures is not because of the stock performance. In fact, it has always delivered consistent good corporate results because it is well managed by a team of experienced management. Since 2005, it has been giving out dividends and returning capital reductions to its investors. I stand corrected, but any investors who bought this stock in 2005 would have gotten back their principle capital. So the track record for k1 Ventures is there.

Cash is King
I could have kept the stock and collect dividends for the next few years. But recent events has made me decided to liquidate my CPF investments in k1 Ventures, which has substantial investments in the United States. The Korean tension, Boston explosion and the poison letter to President Obama gave me the “uh-oh” feeling that something nasty is brewing in America. k1 Ventures’ company and stock performance are closely related to the US recovery. For the past one year, the stock has risen about 77% (from $0.09

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Interview with Gerald Tay, CREi Academy Group

SG Wealth Builder is honored to conduct an interview with Gerald Tay of Conspiracy of Real Estate Investments (CREi) Academy Group. CREi provides property investment education tailored specifically to the ordinary investor & folk; and share time-tested, proven investment strategies which every keen ordinary investor can learn and apply with consistent success.
Growing up, how is your childhood like? 
How does it shape your investment philosophies?
Unlike many, I was very fortunate to be born into a very rich family in the 1970s Singapore and learnt important wealth philosophies from my multi-millionaire grandfather. Our family were in businesses and property development, and some of these businesses were listed on the SGX Mainboard. 
This particular early part of my life has laid down the foundation of real wealth and investment philosophies, which many ordinary people do not have the fortune to have access to. Their only information on growing their wealth is to rely on the media, so-called wealth ‘experts’ and other misleading sources who have only vested interests in making money out of the ignorant.
Due to unforeseen financial circumstances during my early teens, I have also experienced financial hardships and started work at the tender age of 15 years old.  So, candidly, you can say I have the fortune to experience the different perspectives from both the rich as well as the poor. 
You may read more about my personal biography, http://www.crei-academy.com/about-gerald/
What is your company, CREI all about?
How does it add values to investors?
CREi Academy Group (Conspiracies of Real Estate Investments) was founded on principles to educate the main-stream about the many truths as well as myths on wealth and investments, specifically in the area of property. 
There’re simply too many half-truths and untruths about investments
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Loan shark harassment scams in Singapore

A few days ago, Mediacorp Channel 8 reported that a number of Singaporeans were tricked by con artists into paying ten of thousands dollars. Apparently the scammers sent text messages to the victims and claimed that they owed loan sharks a sum of money and if they don’t pay up, they threatened to harass them.
Several of the victims were gullible enough to fall prey into their tricks even though they did not owed loan sharks any debts. This is because they thought that their identification cards might have been manipulated and used by strangers or tenants to borrow money from loan sharks illegally. Three days later, the culprits were caught by the police and hauled to the court.

SG Wealth Builder

Greed and Fear
This is not the first case of Singaporeans losing their hard-earned monies to con artists, who usually play on our greed and fear. One of the tactics most commonly used is to focus on many Singaporeans’ desire to become rich quick in Singapore. Not too long ago, many greedy Singaporeans lost several millions after investing in dubious gold buy-back schemes. The root cause for their investment losses is mainly because of their lack of understanding of gold. They were lured by promise of high returns from the gold buy-back schemes. Subsequently, many of them lost their investments after the scammers skipped town and absconded with their investments.

And then there were the kidnap phone scams. In recent years, despite much police education efforts, there were still many of such successful cheating cases. To add insult to injury, the victims were from all walks of life including professionals, so do not assume that only housewives or the seniors are prone to being cheated.

What should you do?
Members of the public who believe that they receive kidnap

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What Should Property Investors do with their Money Today?

In this article, guest blogger Gerald Tay, CREI Academy, is sharing his views on what property investors should do with their money today.

I want to share some personal thoughts and investment decisions based on the 2013Q1 URA PPI flash estimate and what it means for the property market.

The 2013Q1 estimate of 213.1 represents a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter increase, which is a moderation from the 1.8% q-o-q pace we saw in 2012Q4, but suggests that the market prices are still rising, albeit slightly, despite 7 rounds of government cooling measures.

Today, we’re at the record peak of the property cycle since 1965. It does not take a lot of common sense to tell us we need to tread extremely carefully, especially in current uncertain economic climate.

My personal predictions (I personally hate to invest on predictions), if you may, is that there might be further price increase in all segments of the property market. The residential market is still being supported by local first-time buyers (though we don’t know for long yet), while the commercial and industrial sector have continued hot money flows resulting from the severe cooling measures on the residential sector.

However, this does not mean property investors should simply rush out to buy that new launch property today and hope to cash out in the next few years. The potential downsides are much greater than the upsides, and basing on the price-rental index which is 57% over-valuation (The Economist), buyers and investors today are already paying for future prices years down the road.

SG Wealth Builder
SG Wealth Builder

I have done my personal investment calculations for the residential market, comparing price versus rental. Even with current low-interest rates imputed, most properties (resale & new) are already fetching negative yields, not to mention when these rate start to rise

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Build your investment portfolio with Singapore dividend stocks

Below is an article from guest blogger, Richard who works as a stock analyst and has 3 years of experience in the stock market. He likes to write articles and hope to share his experiences with investors in Singapore If you would like additional SGX Dividend Stocks data, information or screening tools, please visit website http://sg.dividendinvestor.com, a leading source for in-depth research and analysis for stock investments.
Dividends are very important for all investors because they provide a non-market-dependent form of return. A company that has the ability to pay consistently high dividend is a well-managed business. In Singapore, investors are putting their money into high dividend stock Singapore to get high yield from their investment. Here I am sharing some dividend stock Singapore with high yield, which investor should consider.
Stock Market
SG Wealth Builder
City Spring Infrastructure Trust (SGX: A7RU) –
City Spring Infrastructure Trust is a publicly owned infrastructure business trust, based in Singapore. It was established with the principal objective of investing in infrastructure assets. It provides unit holders with long-term, regular and predictable distributions and potential capital growth. Its investments are made through acquisitions across the globe. City Spring Infrastructure Trust was incorporated in 2007.
The trust has a market capitalization of 729.07 M, EPS is 0.01, P/E ratio is 39.80 and dividend yield is 6.83 percent at the annual dividend payout of $0.01.
Technics Oil & Gas Limited (SGX: 5CQ) –
Technics Oil & Gas Limited is an investment holding company in Singapore. The company operates as an integrator of compression systems and process modules for the offshore oil and gas sector worldwide. It is operating in three segments: Engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning segment, second is Contract engineering segment and Procurement service segment. The company was founded in 1990 and headquartered in Singapore.
It has
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Interview with BullionStar Singapore

Today, SG Wealth Builder is honoured to have an interview with Zane Lim, Regional Manager of Operations for BullionStar.
BullionStar is a physical precious metals trading company in specializing in online sales in Singapore. Its office is located at Marina Bay Financial Center Tower Two.
Zane, its a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us more about your company’s background, business model and history?
BullionStar was formed by people with vast experience in the precious metals industry. The founders of BullionStar own and operate several precious metals companies worldwide. One of the founders of BullionStar, Mr. Torgny Persson, has established several bullion dealers in Europe previously. The Swedish company Liberty Silver AB was established by Mr. Persson in 2008 whereas Estonian Liberty Silver OÜ was established in 2011. Another founder of BullionStar, Mr. Joakim Andersson, is also the managing director of Bullion International Ltd which is a service provider for bullion dealers and information companies in the precious metals industry. The founders are supporting the Austrian School of Economics, hence BullionStar is built on a strong ideological belief that precious metals is the best unit of account and the purest form of money.
Gold and Silver

Precious metals have been used as money for thousands of years. During the last four decades, precious metals have been removed from our monetary system which no longer has any backing whatsoever. We at BullionStar believe that the current monetary system, called fractional reserve banking, is to blame for many of the economic problems arising today. We thus want to offer a reliable alternative, an asset which has retained its value and purchasing power for thousands of years: precious metals, specifically, gold, silver and platinum.

At BullionStar, we are dedicated to be a full service provider for individuals and institutions buying, selling and trading physical
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New law slams deceptive showflats

The following is an article courtesy of PropertyGuru

In a bid to ensure transparency, Parliament recently amended the Housing Developers Act enforcing strict regulations on marketing and information disclosure.

With the new laws, developers can no longer portray showflats that look larger than the end product through the use of glass panels instead of higher ceilings or brick walls, reported news portal Asiaone.

Furthermore, transaction prices reported should reflect all forms of rebates and discounts, including stamp duty refunds and furniture vouchers.

Errant developers could be fined up to S$100,000, and have their showflats inspected and if needed closed down, by the Government.

Senior Minister of State (National Development) Lee Yi Shyan, said the Bill will safeguard the interest of home-buyers and also enhance professionalism within the residential property industry.

“A home is, in most cases, the single largest investment in one’s lifetime. It is only right that home-buyers are provided with the appropriate tools and legal safeguards to make informed decisions,” he said.

Shabnam Muzammil, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact her about this or other stories email shabnam@allproperty.com.sg

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Losing your job in Singapore

Recently, Lucasfilm announced that it is laying off games staff in Singapore. As business cycles become shorter and shorter, retrenchments is becoming more frequent in Singapore nowadays. Of course you can also be fired by your boss due to poor performances or for other personal reasons. Whatever the reasons, losing your job can be a traumatic experience, especially in Singapore where your social status is often linked to your job.
career

SG Wealth Builder has always encouraged readers to build up 3-6 months of income as emergency fund. This will help to cushion the impact of the sudden loss of job. Besides this fund, below are several ideas that may help:

1) Cut down all unncessary spending by deciding what are the “needs” and “wants”. Be prepared to adjust your lifestyle and reduce the frequent fine dinings.

2)  If you anticipated that it could be a long time before you can secure a new job, do consider making more drastic changes, such as selling your car.  However, if the proceeds from selling your car are likely to be insufficient to cover your car loan, check with the bank what are the available options.

3) Re-prioritise your financial goals. If you are the sole breadwinner and is saving up for your children educaton or building up your retirement nest, you may want to consider applying student loans for your kids and putting your monthly savings plan on hold.

4) Consider to liquidate your investments, especially those which can be easily liquidated without incurring penalty costs or capital losses. It is always good to have money in your pocket during rainy days rather than lose them all during market downturn.

5) Curb the use of credit facilities which incur high interest charges. If you have difficult keeping up with debt repayments, you may

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SGX Stocks to Grow Your Money

Below is an article from guest blogger, Richard who works as a stock analyst and has 3 years of experience in the stock market. He likes to write articles and hope to share his experiences with investors in Singapore If you would like additional SGX Dividend Stocks data, information or screening tools, please visit website http://sg.dividendinvestor.com/, a leading source for in-depth research and analysis for stock investments.

Dividend investing is a great way to increase your income and make money in Singapore. In this article we will talk about dividend investing and how to become rich in Singapore. In Singapore investors are continuously putting their money in the top Singapore dividend stocks that have the highest indicative dividend yields and also fast growing stock. If you are thinking to invest in Singapore dividend stocks then here are some of the stocks, you should consider.

SGX

AVAGO Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: AVGO)

AVAGO technologies (NASDAQ: AVGO) is a Singaporean company that provides the semiconductor, development, and supply devices with a focus on III-V based products. The company holds more than 5,000 patents and sells over 6,500 products to OEM customers in the Wireless and Wired communications, industrials and automotive electronics and consumer target markets. The company was founded in 2005 that is based in Singapore.

This is a quarterly based company. The market capitalization of AVAGO Technologies is 8.68 billion. The company has declared the dividend yield is of 2.16% and the annual payout is 0.76 for March 2013. Its stock is trading at $32.11.

See Hup Seng Limited (XSES: 566)

See Hup Seng limited provides corrosion prevention services to the marine, oil and gas, construction, and infrastructures industries in Singapore, north East Asia, south Asia, south pacific and the Middle East. The company was founded in 1971 and is …

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SG Wealth Builder is part of Singapore Memory Project

I am pleased to inform readers that SG Wealth Builder has been invited by National Library Board (NLB) to be part Singapore Memory Project (SMP). This is indeed an honour and a form of recognition for SG Wealth Builder.
SMP is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats, to preserve them in digital form and make them available for discovery and research.

photo (17)

A home for my memories
By pledging my blog to SMP, I affirmed that every memory matters. In doing so, I think I have found a home for my memories and expression of thoughts.

When I started this blog three years ago, I wanted it to be passed down to my future generation for memory sake. I wanted my children to understand my investment insights and the financial lessons gained in my lifetime. Over the years, however, there were requests from guest bloggers to be featured in my blog, so gradually this blog has morphed into something different. Eventually, I hope it becomes a portal that allows readers to have better understanding of Singapore.

My blog, my hobby
My wife always ask me why do I spend so much effort on this blog. After all, I am unable to earn any income from it. My answer is that this is my hobby and that sometimes in life, you cannot measure happiness in terms of money.

Although I don’t work in the finance sector, I believe I have a role to play in the investment community, be it gold, stocks or property. One day, I hope to be an advocate for personal finance literacy through SG Wealth Builder.

I have received quite a few requests to be

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