Understanding the difference between Terminal Illness and Critical Illness for Insurance

In one of my previous articles, I touched on how to apply for exemption from CPF’s Home Protection Scheme (HPS). A reader wrote in and posted an interesting question on what I usually look out for when buying mortgage insurance. Today, I shall touch on the difference between terminal illness and critical illness. But before you proceed, it is important that you make the effort to understand my article before jumping to conclusion. Not understanding the thin fine line between terminal illness and critical illness could be financially fatal. And I do mean it.

Most people who do not work in the insurance industry are confused between terminal illness and critical illness. To be honest, I used to be one of those. But my understanding starts to improve a little bit over the years as I talk to many financial planners and they shared with me some useful tips. Of course, I don’t work in the insurance sector and is not a certified financial planner. So, what I am going to share here is based on the best of my knowledge and readers should not misconstrue it as a form of financial advice. If in doubt, always check with your financial advisor.

Fundamentally, a terminal illness means that a person suffers from an illness that is likely to cause death in the near future. Most insurance policies include this as part of the coverage. In fact, the CPF’s HPS include death, terminal illness and permanent disability as coverage for members insured under the policy.

Critical illness

On the other hand, critical illness refers to illness such as cancer, heart attack or stroke. Although such these illnesses are considered critical, they may not cause death. Although critical illness sufferers are not faced with life-threatening situations, they may not be able to carry on …

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Devastating HDB Loan and CPF Accrued Interest

Be afraid. Be very afraid after reading this article. This is an article that all aspiring and existing home owners can ill-afford to miss. And I do mean it because you may live to regret for dismissing the message in this article. Today, I am going to share with readers the devastating effect of HDB Loan combined with CPF Accrued interest.

Many financial bloggers wrote about CPF accrued interest and HDB Loan. However, they may not have the real experience of purchasing an HDB flat or obtaining an HDB loan before. Most of them merely touched on the interest rate figures without providing much analysis on the bigger picture of the housing scheme framework in Singapore. In my perspective, this is dangerous as not knowing the full picture of the law can cost you an arm or leg.

However, I am different because in this article, I am going to provide some basic analysis and share with readers the frightening aspect of the HDB Loan and CPF Accrued interest. At the end of the day, I hope readers can avoid the financial pit-falls and grow wealth with me together. So, if you do find this article useful, please lend your support and subscribe to my blog.

HDB Loan

For many decades, Singapore government has been selling HDB Loan as a form of concessionary loan “exclusive” only to Singapore citizens. Undeniably, the interest rate for HDB Loan is extremely stable and is not subject to fluctuating market conditions. This is because the interest rate is pegged to the CPF Ordinary Account (OA) interest rate.

Currently, the interest rate for HDB Loan is pegged at 0.1% above the CPF OA interest rate of 2.5%. Hence, the total interest rate payable for HDB Loan has been 2.6% for many years.

CPF Accrued Interest

But in life, …

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Exemption from Home Protection Scheme (HPS)

One of my missions of starting this finance blog is to share with readers some useful tips on financial matters. In relation to one of my previous articles, a reader has raised a very good question on Home Protection Scheme (HPS). So today, I am going to share some information pertaining to how you can apply for exemption from HPS.

First of all, HPS is compulsory if you are using your CPF savings to pay your monthly housing loan installments on your HDB flat. Of course, there are some residents who are cash rich and do not use their CPF savings to pay their HDB mortgage payments. For this group of people, HPS is not compulsory.

But assuming you are using your CPF savings to service monthly HDB loan and would like to apply for exemption from HPS, then you may apply to CPF Board for exemption.

Most people thought that they should write to HDB when applying for exemption of HPS. The confusion is probably because when applying for coverage under HPS for HDB loan, you can apply for HPS cover at HDB Hub or any HDB branch office when you are applying to use your CPF for the monthly housing instalment.

HPS

But before you rush into applying for HPS exemption, there are some important things to consider carefully. After all, our home is one of the most important assets and a responsible wealth builder would ensure that their wealth is protected sensibly.

An important thing to note is that HPS is a mortgage reducing term insurance plan. What this means is that over the years, the sum assured, and not the premiums to be paid, would be reduced. And then there are the term life policy, which provides a fixed sum assured throughout the coverage period. Due to …

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Raffles Medical shares under siege!

Since 2008, the shares of home-grown healthcare provider, Raffles Medical Group, went on a rampage bull run, rising from $0.56 to almost $5.00 in 2015. The mighty surge in share price had created much wealth for many of its long-time investors. Recently, the shares came under siege and experienced a serious loss of form.

Against the above backdrop, several readers wrote in to discuss about the outlook for this SGX stock. In this article, I will share some of my views and insights on Raffles Medical.

“I like RMG but, like you, have resisted at prices say 1-2 months ago. It would be really valuable if you could share what you feel a fair value or target price might be?” – Georgie

“Wonderful article! Agree with your point of view on the soundness of Raffles Medical. With reference to your article, I have 2 questions.

  1. Is there any particular reason or calculation that led you to the specific target price of $0.80 (or $0.60 in your previous article)? Assuming a similar profit, the PE ratio would be around 20, which is quite low for a healthcare stock, especially for RMG considering its stable growth.
  2. Given that the overall global markets seem inflated, and may undergo a correction, would you recommend keeping RMG during the recession (as a defensive stock) or to pull out your investments altogether to hold in cash and bonds?” – Huang JH

My view on Raffles Medical

First of all, there is a difference between fair value and target price. And you need to figure this out because otherwise you would never appreciate Warren Buffett’s “price is what you pay, and value is what you get”.

Simply put, target price refers to the entry price that an investor set on a stock. On the other hand, fair …

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The Dark Side of CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit

This is an article that all existing and aspiring home-owners should never miss. And I do mean it. A few years ago, I wrote about a 54-year-old Singaporean lady who was left stranded after she was not allowed to use her CPF monies to finance her home. In her situation, she had to use cold hard cash to pay for her housing loan even though she still had savings in her CPF Ordinary Account (OA). Read on to find out how to avoid this devastating financial pit-fall created by CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit in your twilight years.

Before I proceed further, there are a few things you need to know about CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit. Specifically, they are Withdrawal Limit, Valuation Limit, HDB loan, type of property and lastly, bank loan. I will first discuss the merits and cons of HDB loan.

HDB Loan

Through the years, Singapore government has been packaging HDB loan as a form of “privilege” exclusive only to Singaporeans. To qualify for this “privilege”, you need to meet many eligibility conditions. Hence, this give Singaporeans the impression that getting an HDB loan is the best option when financing property. In my point of view, such thinking may not hold water.

Just think about it. The HDB concessionary housing loan interest rate is pegged at 0.1% above the CPF OA interest rate. The CPF OA interest rate has been 2.5% for the longest time. So effectively, those who opted for HDB loans would be paying 2.6% of interest rate for their housing loans. This is a lot of money considering the fact that housing loans offered by banks had drastically dropped to below 2.6% since the Great Financial Crisis. Currently, there are many different types of home loan packages in the market but essentially, most of them …

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The Outrageous Story of mm2 Asia

mm2 Asia is one of the most exciting prospects to grace Singapore stock market in many years. Within two years of listing in the Catalist, the entertainment outfit has witnessed such explosive growth that it ascended to the SGX mainboard on 7 August 2017. Along the way, it has also attracted investment from StarHub.

In 2014, when the company, through its IR agency, requested me to help them promote free tickets for their Jack Neo’s movie, “Ah Boys to Men”, I didn’t really take notice of this company. Fast forward three years later, the shares had been on a red hot bullish run since IPO.

On 19 May 2017, mm2 Asia announced that the company is in discussions with Village Cinemas Australia Pty Ltd (“Village Cinemas”) for the purchase by the Group of Village Cinemas’ entire stake in Dartina Development Limited, a company incorporated in Hong Kong which holds the Golden Village Cinema business in Singapore.

mm2 Asia

However, the transaction did not materialize. According to mm2 Asia, “Village Cinemas Australia was unable to procure fulfilment of certain conditions under the Shareholders Agreement entered into between Village Cinemas Australia and their existing coshareholder of Dartina Development Limited, and the deal could not be completed”.

On hindsight, the failed transaction could be a blessing in disguise. After all, operating a cinema could be risky as the business is susceptible to technology disruption. Just ask yourself how often you visit the cinema nowadays. Very often, the latest movies or shows could be viewed online at a fraction of movie ticket. Furthermore, during economic downturn, people are less likely to visit cinemas.

However, mm2 Asia’s current business as a content producer is different. No technology can ever replace a content maker. Furthermore, its content products can be distributed at a lower price through online. Thus, …

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Deferred Resale Levy

According to Minister for National Development, Lawrence Wong, there were 7900 second-timer households who paid the required resale levy when buying second subsidized flat from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) from 2010 to 2015. Notwithstanding the figure, I suspect many people are not aware of the lurking dangers of deferred resale levy rule.

Not knowing the rule can cost you an arm or leg because without the knowledge, you are unable to strategize and do proper asset planning. In this article, I will share with readers how to exploit the deferred resale levy rule with the goal of building wealth with property.

Please note that I am not advocating anything illegal or sleazy. No, nothing of that sort. In fact, this information that you are going to read is something that you are not likely to find in most personal finance blogs. I learnt about this relatively unknown rule in the course of purchasing my third property and hope to share this really useful information with readers. Read on if you are interested.

Deferred Resale Levy

Second timer applicants

Most Singaporeans are aware that they are given two chances to purchase new subsidized flat from HDB. Hence, Singaporean couples can apply twice for Build-to-Order (BTO), Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) or Executive Condominium. In essence, an eligible Singapore Citizen is allowed to buy these properties twice in total, BUT not twice per type of property.

What this means is that a Singaporean can buy BTO and then DBSS or EC. However, he is not eligible to buy BTO and then BTO. In addition, if you have already bought 2 such properties, you will not be eligible to apply for an EC or be listed as an essential occupier in an application. These information is stated in the HDB website …

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M1 shares suffering from massive bout of diarrhoea

Being M1 customer, I like its unlimited free calls to three M1 numbers to local voice calls. Because of this innovative product, I have been its customers for many years. This is the power of subscription for a telecommunication company. In fact, mobile subscription is considered the most important investment moat for a telecommunication company because the motivation to switch to another mobile phone carrier is low once a customer subscribed to its data plan. However, as an investor, I would never invest in M1 shares.

From almost $4.00 in 2015, M1’ share price plunged to $1.73 lately. Being the smallest player, M1 faces the biggest risk of shrinking market share with the entry of new competitor, TPG Telecom. To make matter worse, Singapore market is very small and saturated.

M1

According to Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the mobile penetration rate in Singapore is about 150%, making Singapore one of the most well-connected countries in the world. This means that some of the subscribers may be using more than one line. Being the smallest player, it is not surprising that outlook for M1 is worrying.

With falling share price, investors may be wondering if it is the right time to buy M1 shares on the cheap. However, a word of caution is that when it comes to stock investing, cheap may not indicate value. In March, the three major shareholders – SPH, Keppel Telecommunication & Transportation and Axiata Group – appointed Morgan Stanley to advise on a strategic review of their stakes in M1. In July, the trio announced that they would not proceed with the review.

In my opinion, I suspect that interested parties in M1 may have made low-ball offers to the major shareholders. That could be why the review did not result in any transactions. Nevertheless, investors …

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Nightmare of Noble Group continues

Can Noble Group turn the tide and weather the storm? The embattled commodity trader is currently fighting for its life as it faces an epic swim-or-sink battle. The latest financial results revealed that the nightmare, which started two years ago, is set to continue.

Once the brightest star in the Singapore stock market, Noble Group market capitalization was worth a mighty $10 billion. In its heyday, it reigned supremacy and was even regarded as the world’s top commodity trader, alongside rival Glencore. For Singapore Exchange (SGX), it was indeed an honor for Noble Group to be listed in Singapore, even though it is a Hong Kong-based company.

The nightmare

Those good old days must be dreamy for investors now as its market capitalization shrank to an alarming $460 million. The rot started two years ago when an unknown financial blogger, Iceberg Research, accused Noble Group of accounting malpractices. That astonishing allegation led to a series of vicious short-selling attacks and precipitated the start of the downfall of Noble Group.

Noble Group

Prior to the release of the latest quarterly results, management has [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my articles on Noble Group:

  1. Noble Group’s horror show
  2. Noble Group new white knight?
  3. Will Noble Group shares see daylight again?
  4. Collapse of Noble Group share price
  5. Meltdown of Noble Group shares
  6. Noble Group will sink or swim?
  7. Is Noble Group doomed?
  8. Will Noble Group do an Osim or Swiber?
  9. White Knight for Noble Group
  10. Mayday for Noble Group!

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Can The Hour Glass roll back the time?

Once upon a time, there were three shining forces in Singapore stock market. Osim’s Ron Sim, Creative Technologies’ Sim Wong Hoo and The Hour Glass’ Jannie Chan used to dominate the entrepreneur scene. Together, the trio had won numerous awards for creating outstanding household brands. As a young boy, I have deep admiration for these business pioneers but Jannie Chan stood out among the three of them because of what she had done for The Hour Glass.

The Early Years

In the 80s and 90s, female entrepreneurs were almost unheard of, much less successful female entrepreneurs. The corporate and business community used to be dominated by males. Of course, there were female leaders but they were the exception rather than the norms.

Widely credited for co-founding The Hour Glass, Jannie Chan has been instrumental in building the luxury watch retailer into a SGX-listed company with international presence in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. Therefore, it pains me to read of her current plight because she had been my source of inspiration for several decades. Having achieved so much with The Hour Glass, I thought she deserved more during her twilight years.

In recent years, Jannie Chan had been involved in various legal disputes. Last year, she lost her appeal against ANZ seeking to recover $8.7 million in loan defaults by Timor Global in which she is a director and shareholder. She was also sued by former husband, Dr Henry Tay, for several times over defamatory emails. Recently, it was reported that she was given 2-week of suspended jail term for contempt of court.The Hour Glass

Those good old days must seem so surreal for Jannie Chan. From the first store at the Lucky Plaza, she grew The Hour Glass into a regional force with 40 boutiques in nine key cities …

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Raffles Medical share price

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Raffles Medical share price suffered a major correction which saw it dropped to a one-year low of $1.20. After reviewing the latest financial results, I don’t see any major concern on the healthcare provider’s performance. In fact, I think the correction is a healthy one and should not raise any red flag for investors.

The correction in the Raffles Medical Group share price is indeed puzzling given that the Group announced a record quarterly revenue of S$120.1 million in Q2 2017, a 1.0% increase from S$119.0 million in Q2 2016. Net profit after tax attributable to owners of the Company increased by 0.5% from S$16.8 million in Q2 2017 to S$16.7 million in Q2 2016.

Whilst the recent financial result is nothing to shout about, it should not warrant such drastic decline in Raffles Medical share price. The only major concern I can think of should be the high capital expenditure for the China hospital projects. Raffles Medical is building not one, but two hospitals, in China in a bid to expand its investment moat. Construction of the 700-bed RafflesHospital Chongqing and 400-bed RafflesHospital Shanghai is progressing well. These hospitals are targeted to be operational by second half 2018 and second half 2019 respectively.

Raffles Medical

Investor’s concern could be manifested by the latest quarterly report indicating the payment of $53.6 million for investment properties under development. To be frank, I am not against management deploying cash to invest for the future. Although the free cash flow for 2nd quarter has been impacted by the capital expenditure for the China hospital projects, one should not judge a company on a single quarter results.

2QFY17 financial report revealed that net cash from operating activities was $26.3 million. The Group’s cash and cash equivalents decreased by S$7.0 million …

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Investing in SGX shares

Ex-CEO of SGX, Magnus Bocker passed away last week due to cancer. Bocker came to Singapore with a big reputation of being a dealmaker. Prior to heading SGX, he made his name for selling OMX to Nasdaq for USD4.9 billion. Bocker took over from outgoing CEO Hsieh Fu Hua in 2009 but left in 2015 when he decided not to renew his contract. In this article, l am sharing my views on whether it is worthwhile to invest in SGX shares.

Under Bocker’s tenure, SGX implemented various initiatives aimed at expanding SGX’s market share beyond the stock market. Notably, revenue from derivatives now formed 40% of the annual revenue.  As a dealmaker, he also tried to transfer his merger and acquisition experience to SGX and made a bid to merge with Australia’s ASX. That bid ended up in failure when the Australian government rejected the proposal.

Bocker’s reign also saw SGX introducing a slew of policies targeted at boosting market liquidity and protecting investor’s interest. In 2014, dynamic circuit breaker was introduced to guard against disorderly situations in the face of rapid and unchecked market movements. In light of the penny stock crash in 2013, Minimum Trading Price (MTP) was introduced by SGX to prevent speculation and market manipulation. The initial rule required companies to maintain trading price of $0.20.

Bocker was widely credited with reducing the standard board lot size of securities listed on SGX from 1,000 to 100 units from 19 January 2015. It was envisioned that smaller board lot size will make it more affordable for retail investors to invest in a wider range of equities, including blue chips, and enable them to build more balanced and diversified portfolios.

SGX shares

It was the Bocker’s idea of removing the trading lunch break on 1 March 2011 that led to …

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SGX Bull Charge 2017

Since young, running has been my passion. I developed this lifelong hobby when Dad brought me for a jog at the Bedok Reservoir more than 30 years ago. Hence, when SGX invited me to promote their charity run, SGX Bull Charge 2017, I was very keen and excited.

Although the jog occurred more than 30 years ago, I can still remember it vividly because Dad rarely spend time with the family. As a truck driver, he was always busy making money, even on weekends. So, when he brought my siblings and me to the reservoir for an outing, we were all thrilled.

That run had offered me a rare glimpse of Dad and gave me the opportunity to bond with him. Although it was a short run, we have the chance to have a shared journey, albeit a short one. At the end of the day, I really enjoyed myself even though it was just a simple run. In those days, life was really that simple.

SGX Bull Charge

My family’s journey

That run turned out to be the first and the last one I had with Dad. A few years down the road, Dad suffered from a debilitating stroke that caused him to be half-paralyzed. As the sole bread-winner, Dad’s illness had a devastating impact on our family. For twenty long years, we were in financial wilderness and I can’t emphasize enough how much we struggled during that long winter. That was a very depressing chapter of my life and I certainly don’t wish it would happen to anyone.

On looking back, before that jogging session, Dad must have known that his health was declining, so he probably wanted to pick up jogging to improve his health. But due to his busy schedule, he did not take his medication timely, and that …

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