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Elijah Lee

Helping busy professionals achieve their financial dreams & goals with sound, logical advice & planning.

Elijah Lee

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Independent Financial Advisor at Phillip Securities (Jurong East)

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Helping busy professionals achieve their financial dreams & goals with sound, logical advice & planning.

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Independent Financial Advisor at Phillip Securities (Jurong East)

Elijah Lee

Top Contributor

Independent Financial Advisor at Phillip Securities (Jurong East)

  • Answers (1682)
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Savings

Insurance

Hi. I am a 29 year old male who has no financial planning and no insurance. I have bare minimum savings. Where do I begin? To save and to grow my money? Thank you!?
Hi anon, Focus on your personal finance first. I'd advise you to start by setting aside some money for emergency savings first. As your job security is currently uncertain, you will want to have enough emergency savings to tide over any loss of job. There's no quick and easy way to do this; ensure that you spend within your means. Even actions such as eating at a hawker center instead of a food court will help. Make your own tea/coffee from teabags or instant mix instead of buying them. Save the money in a high (well, not so high nowadays) interest saving account. Force yourself to transfer a fixed money over to another bank account for spending, and have your salary crediting account be left alone in your primary bank account to accumulate your emergency fund. If you really tighten your belt, you can likely get back on less than $1000/mth. Yes, it requires sacrifice, but this is a short term pain in exchange for a long term gain (i.e. your financial security) Once you reach around 3 months of expenses set aside, you need to look at getting some insurance coverage. At a minimum get hospitalization and critical illness cover. You can always pay monthly first to reduce the impact on your cash flow. That's a whole different topic separately which I won't elaborate too much here to keep the answer short. Continue to build up your emergency savings to 6 months and then 12 months. Once you have 12 months of expenses, you may breathe a little easier. Start to look at investments and ensure that you continue to spend wisely. Read widely, gain knowledge, and speak with people to get an understanding of investments. The topic of investment is another deep one and I don't think it makes sense to elaborate too much here. At the same, continue to keep yourself relevant. Upskill yourself so that when opportunities arise, you may move to a better paying job. Good luck and feel free to ask if you have further questions.
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Critical Illness (CI)

Insurance

I understand some CI plans have already switched to the new definitions, although it is not Aug yet. Could GE/Aviva agents help to verify my plans? Any other plans with the new definitions already?
Hi Jasmine, I can assure you that Aviva's MyCoreCI Plan II is now on the newer CI definitions (ver 2019). MyWholeLifePlan III is still currently on the older 2014 definitions, as is the case for older plans such as accelerated CI rider on MyProtectorTerm Plan II which are also on the 2014 definitions. I'm sorry, I cannot speak for GE, you'll have to check with a GE agent for that. Hope that clarifies.
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Endowment Policies

Insurance

Savings

I am paying 20k annually for an endowment plans. I would like to cut as the premium is too high. Is it advisable to terminate one of the policies that I already paid first year of 3k with payment year of 15 years?
Hi anon, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately I do see such things happen, I have seen someone who ended up spending almost 50%-60% of her cashflow on a mix of ILPs and saving plans, as she was sold a plan by her old advisor every year for the past 5-6 years. Generally I would not recommend putting aside too much of your cash flow (as a percent of your take home) into endowments. However, your situation being what it is now, you will have to make the painful decision to see if your situation will improve. For policies that are very close to the end of their premium payment term, it is in your best interest to complete it. For those that have just started, you will have to make the final call, but be aware that you won't be getting anything back. I do not know how many plans you have, but I would suggest that you sit down with an advisor for a complete and thorough review to assess which plans to keep, and which plans that you might need to take action on.
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Savings

I have mortgage loan 155k. Dont know if Shd pay it off or invest? I hv 330k cash. Emergency funds inclusive. Tks.?
Hi anon, With the current low interest rate environment, you can see if you can refinance your loan. However as the quantum of your remaining loan is very low, I am not sure if you would be able to find new terms. If you can, in this low interest rate environment, you won't be paying too much interest, which means you may consider investing part of your funds to 'pay off' the interest you incur. Subtracting your emergency funds, the remaining amount can definitely be earmarked for investments, but you will be exposed to market risk if you do so. You can opt to maybe invest 1/4 to 1/3 of the earmarked amount at the current market juncture while holding on to the rest, and RSP an amount into the market. Another option is to also set aside maybe 50% of the outstanding mortgage, if interest rates rise down the road, you may want to just clear off your loan.
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StashAway

Endowus

Investments

Savings

Savings Accounts

Should I put money that i would need in 1-2 years in the MMF?
Hi anon, Yes, you can certainly consider MMF. But you might want to keep it in a SGD denomination as you won't want currency fluctuations to erode your capital amount, assuming that you need the money in SGD. The returns should generally be better than leaving it in a bank account that just gives a 0.05% interest rate. Yes, the returns are not guaranteed, but due to the nature of the underlying assets, the level of risk is low. Just don't expect returns like 2% and you should be fine.
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Stocks Discussion

Investments

What trading accounts should I open when I turn 18?
Hi anon, You'll want to start by opening a CDP account online first with your Singpass. https://investors.sgx.com/cdp-account-opening/#/myinfo-form-intro Once your CDP account is open, you can open a couple of brokerage accounts with 2-3 firms and try them all out. There are no limits to how many brokerage accounts you can have, as long as you can keep track of them. Sometimes it might be useful to have a backup account with another brokerage, as you never know when you might face a outage of service from one broker. (This has happened before). If you're looking at S$25/trade and a 0.28% minimum, then you'll usually need around $9000/trade to make it worthwhile.
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Savings

Personal Finance 101

Marriage

Family

How do couples manage their finances together?
Hi anon, I can share how I manage mine with my wife. We have a joint account (opened up after we got engaged) where we both contribute an equal amount each month. Since her income is fixed, and mine is variable, we both agree on a minimum fixed amount that we both won't have an issue to put in every month, and a maximum amount that she is comfortable to put in. Then, depending on my income, we both contribute the minimum fixed amount every month, and topup if my income is better on some months. I guess it does help that both of us have a common and very clear idea about what we intend to do for our finances; we're both income investors and are willing to spend more money investing than on things like holidays or food (although we do take the occasional break). Thus a common understanding is very important so that we end up at the same destination of being financially independent with our passive income, even if we don't agree on the method used to get there. The main difference is that our investments are currently separate, on top of the fact that we both have restrictions on investing due to the nature of her work (compliance issues). She doesn't question what I stocks or UTs that I buy, although she does give inputs. The same in reverse, I cannot force her not to buy or to buy a certain stock, but I will give her my analysis. The money in the joint account is only to be spent when both parties agree upon it. So this will be for major joint expenses such as buying new furniture or such. If a kid comes along, we'll both have to agree on the spending as well, and I'd expect it will even boil down to the type of milk powder, or brand of diapers. But we'll manage. Our personal expenses are kept separate, and we don't need to seek consent for that as long as it's not significant. I generally spend more money on my investments anyway, and that has to clear her compliance, so she knows what I'm spending a large part of my money on! It's possible to do a contribution proportionate to your income each month, but if your incomes are within 10% to 20% of each other, then it's probably okay to just decide on a fixed amount. Have a good conversation with your girlfriend and understand the differences in your viewpoints; find a common ground upon which you both can agree on as both of you will likely have different views. Prepare to compromise and allow each other a certain level of space when it comes to personal discretionary spending.
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Insurance

Am looking for the whole life + Perm disability + ECI coverage. Which insurance provider provides the best value?
Hi anon, This does depend on a few factors such as your basic sum assured, multiplier amount and payment duration. However, concurring with Hariz, in general Aviva, China Taiping and lastly Manulife would provide the most value for money cover for your profile. In addition to what was mentioned by him, Aviva and China Taiping also provide lifetime TPD coverage as opposed to Manulife where the TPD cover stops at age 70. These two companies are thus always at the top of my recommendations to a majority of clients looking for a limited payment whole life plan.
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Insurance

Savings

Savings Accounts

How likely is Singlife able to maintain the 2.5% in the near future?
Hi Si Hong, As 2.5% p.a. is only on the first $10K, it is possible that they could sustain this since they have capped their liability in terms of how much interest they have to pay out. If they are hitting their limits, they could simply close new subscriptions to the Singlife account. If their underlying assets are investment grade coporates, it's still possible to get 2.5% p.a. returns, which they don't have to pay out all.
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Insurance

Hospitalisation Insurance (H&S)

Critical Illness (CI)

If I already have a very good hospitalisation plan, do I still need CI cover after age 65?
Hi anon, I personally feel that CI cover is still important even after 65. In the event of a CI, hospitalization bills and follow up treatment (the post hospitalization coverage) will be covered up to year (13 months for some insurers) after discharge. What happens after that? Will you want to liquidate your investment assets and draw on savings in the bank to continue your treatment? A CI payout then will provide liquidity for you to ensure that you can continue treatment without having to sacrifice your retirement assets. If you recover but had liquidated a lot of assets, your retirement lifestyle would no doubt be impacted. Self insuring is possible if you want to say, plan to set aside $300K at age 65, but to do that you would have to save $10K/yr for 30 years from age 35, and also leave the money in a risk free environment and never touch it. However, let's say if you have $300K at the age of 55 and was thinking if you wanted to self insure. Getting a policy that would pay you $300K in the event of CI would probably cost something like $150K in total, meaning you can now spend the $150K on/in your retirement, knowing that $300K will still be made available upon CI, instead of having to have the $300K sit in a risk free instrument and force yourself not to touch it no matter what. This is the leverage power that comes with insurance. Just some food for thought. Edit: (Amendment in bold...not $10/yr but $10K/yr)
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