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Of Elections, Insurance and Cost of Living

Indubitably one of the hottest topics surrounding Singapore’s General Elections 2011, cost of living appears to be one of Singaporeans’ top concerns. “Insurance” has also been used quite prominently as an analogy.

Naturally, political parties, the incumbent and opposition alike, have made it a point to address such issues amidst the lead up to Polling Day on May 7.

With local politics and personal finance two of my favourite interests, a post on the matter is inevitable.

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All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

Wouldn’t it be great if your investment gave you such returns as seen in this chart? Consistent and impressive indeed.

This was one of Madoff’s funds which gave abnormally consistent returns for almost two decades before crumbling spectacularly and revealed as an elaborate Ponzi scheme in 2008.

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Got an iPhone? Giving Away $2.99 App to Keep Track of Your Expenses!

There are quite a few people – friends and clients alike – I speak to who do not have an idea of how much they are spending, which translates into not knowing how much of their paycheques they are left with at the end of each month. With cash flow the basis of financial planning, such information is valuable in order for a proper financial plan or portfolio to be set up.

Even during my days as a National Serviceman I have been logging my expenses into my then non-camera smartphone. I believe that it was an important factor how I managed to finish my two-year National Service with more money than I had first entered the army despite a sub-$500 per month allowance.

Now, with smartphones – especially the iPhone – ubiquitous, it is even easier to record one’s expenses on the go.

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Overcoming Aversions to Investing

There’s a group of people who take flight the moment the word “investment” arises. This happens usually because such people have low tolerance for risk or do not understand how to invest properly. These two reasons are also quite correlated – people who are risk averse do not bother to find out how investments work. People who do not understand investing principles end up losing money and then decide to avoid risk altogether.

In the low interest environment and the relentless increase in cost of living, can one truly afford not to seek ways to better grow their wealth? I do hope I am able to help people overcome their fear of investing.

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