Earlier this year, I reviewed my NTUC Enhanced Incomeshield and felt the need to upgrade my current Basic Plan to Private Plan. This was after I read from the news that public hospitals in Singapore are overcrowded nowadays due to the mass influx of foreigners. In fact, Changi General Hospital had to even set up temporary tents outside the hospital in order to address the shortage of hospital beds. I was told that if the beds in the public hospital are fully occupied, the hospital staff would transfer you to a private hospital for treatment. When this happened, you have no choice but to pay the bills for the private hospital stay, which can be really expensive. I hope this would not happen to me but I am not going to take chances. So I visited NTUC Income website and read up on their policy on pro-ration factor.
For in-patient, day surgery or Out-patient Hospital Treatment
Pro-ration factor on claimable bill
Private Hospitals/Private Medical Institutions
Restructured Hospital Ward Class A
Restructured Hospital Ward Class B1
I found out that if my hospital stay is higher than my entitled hospital and ward class, a pro-ration factor will apply. According to the table above, I will need to pay 50% of the claimable bills for a private hospital stay and 15% of the claimable bills for public hospital ward class A. As I have purchased their Plus Rider, the deductible and co-insurance payments would be waived off. Thus, I am thinking of upgrading my plan to Private Hospital, using my CPF Medisave to pay the premium. Since the fund in our CPF Medisave cannot be taken out, might as well use it to pay for the private shield!
Life is full of uncertainties. As the sole breadwinner, it is important that my earning ability is protected. Many Singapore parents make the mistakes of buying expensive life insurance policies to cover their children instead of themselves. Actually they should realize that the aim of insurance is to provide for financial protection against unforeseen circumstances which could destroy our earning abilities. So from this perspective, it is not necessary to cover your children when they are still financially dependent on you or your spouse. For me, I am covered for $500,000, which I feel is sufficient enough to meet my family needs after my death. But I am also thinking of buying term life policy for my wife to cover terminal illness and death. However, all these plans would need to be discussed with my wife in details, taking into consideration our monthly budget and CPF savings.
Last year May, I wrote an article on the importance of making a Will. In the absence of a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession law. The rules are rather inflexible and sometimes, your estate might not be allocated according to your wish. That is, your money might not go to the people whom you feel need it most. For example, if your wife and children are financially independent, you might want to provide for your elderly parents instead. However, things can be really tricky if both you and your spouse die at the same time, leaving behind young kids who are still not financially independent. In such scenario, in the absence of a Will, the guardian(s) for your children and your assets may not be executed according to your wish.
I have procrastinated on making a Will and have completely forgotten about it since last year! During a chat with my colleagues this week, I found out that they both have made their Wills. They have paid about $500 to engage their lawyers to make their Wills. Technically, if you are 21 years old and of sound mind, you can draft your own Will. However, in doing so, the risk is that your home-made Will may not be valid. Therefore, it is important to seek the help of a lawyer who can assist in drafting your Will in accordance to Singapore’s law. High time for me to work on this item!
My current debts are my housing and car loans. After some discussions with my wife, we plan to pay off our housing loan by next year. As for the car loan, the outstanding amount is not significantly large as it is a second hand car. So there is no merit in paying off the car loan as soon as possible because I still prefer to have cash on hand. In addition, I settle my credit card bills on time every month and thus, do not have outstanding credit card bills. So overall, my current debt is manageable and under control.
Career (Active Income)
My active income is still derived from my day job. I love my job but of course, like many Singaporeans, wish for a higher salary. I suppose inflation has made things very expensive and jack up the cost of living in Singapore. To sustain a modest lifestyle here, our salaries must be able to peg to the rate of inflation. Due to my promotion last year, I barely managed to save 20% of my take home pay. I am looking at the salary increment for this year and thereafter, review my monthly budget. One thing for sure is that I am not going to take on a part-time job to boost my house-hold income because I want to spend quality time with my family. My day job is already draining up most of my energy and I see no point in having additional active income streams at the expense of my family time. So the strategy to make more money is to focus on my passive income streams.
Since last year, I sold off all my shares as I felt that many counters in the SGX were over-valued and not worth investing. Thereafter, I started to do research on precious metals and accumulate bullion. Gold has not disappointed me – the value has risen 10%. I don’t intend to sell off my bullion any time soon as my intention is to hold for the long term.
My main source of passive income is actually from blogging – I made about $1000 from this blog for the first six months of this year. The money came from product reviews, advertisement fees for banner displays and affiliate programs. Not a significant amount of money, but sufficient enough to supplement my active income. I am happy with the results, enjoy blogging and would continue with this passive income strategy going forward.
Cash flow and Emergency Fund
Although many people are convinced that an emergency fund is necessary, many still procrastinate building up such fund. Common complaint is that the money would be sitting in the bank and not fully utilized. Majority of the people also think that they can borrow against credit cards or credit lines. If you are gainfully employed, there is no doubt that you can easily borrow money from the bank. However, if you are retrenched, getting access to credit is going to be difficult.
I have set aside a six-month Emergency Fund to provide a reasonable safety margin for my loved ones. Due to the competitive job market, I find that it is not easy to secure a job if I were to be sacked or retrenched from my day job. So I am not worried about the returns because the purpose of this fund is not for investment purposes. Its purpose is provide insurance against life uncertainties.
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