I’ve had a few friends who went through breakups with their significant others over the past year, and incidentally, two of them had boyfriends who are in the financial advisory industry. Coincidentally, both are from the same Licensed Financial Advisory (LFA) firm. While better than tied insurance agents because of their capacity to recommend a good and proper financial portfolio, I regard this company (like many others, actually) to be a sales-focussed firm. They even made the newspaper for certain dubious business practices.
I have always been curious about the kind of recommendations my friends’ boyfriends would give them, and I have not had the opportunity to find out until their break ups. I was shocked but perhaps not entirely surprised to see that both had poorly constructed financial portfolios. One of them was underinsured and encumbered by the monthly premium obligation. The other was quite adequately insured but at a high cost, and her investment portfolio consisted largely of endowment and investment-linked policies that had very high charges compared to the alternatives I can think of. She too could not keep up her premium obligations despite having a relatively well-paying job. Both of them eventually lapsed some policies as they could not keep up with the high financial obligations.
I was recently asked to speak on a television programme catered for the elderly about the topic of dubious gold buyback schemes and a few proper ways of investing in gold.
Singaporeans should be quite familiar with our Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts.
The Ordinary Account (OA) is mainly meant for housing and investment. The Special Account (SA) is primarily for old age and retirement-related investments. The Medisave Account (MA) is reserved for payment of medical bills and approved insurance schemes. At age 55, the savings in OA and SA form the Retirement Account (RA), which as the name suggests, is to provide for retirement.
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I held a talk over the past weekend on “How Young Working Adults Can Avoid Buying Costly Financial Products”. I feel strongly about people being misled into being shortchanged by the industry and hence I wanted to share my experiences and knowledge on how people can avoid it.