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Newbie Guide: How to Find a Good Agent for Investment & Insurance?

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Old 31-07-2010, 07:55 PM   #61
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I do feel that your opinion towards tied agents are very biased. Why cant tied agents be ethical too? Just because they represent only one company therefore they are unethical? I believe 'ethical' is not something measurable, but is from something within the adviser.
Just let him say what he want.

He wants to generalize everyone then let him be.

I can tell you there is no best product in this world. You can compare from Aviva, Prudential and so on until the cow comes home. It is a product with a service which you may not use it now but in the future. There is only product that is suitable for you. If you work in this profession, you will understand but normally, people are just outsiders and be those armchair critics.

Ok la, I oso dun care too much.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:03 PM   #62
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For the following Aviva disability insurance,which one is better? Because TS mentioned in his post that the Aviva Ideal Income is good,but what about Aviva's SAF version?

1. SAF disability insurance
2. Aviva Ideal Income
I'm not familiar with SAF disability insurance. But are you sure it is an own-occupation disability income insurance? Or is it something that just pays out if you get disabled during SAF training? Please do check...
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:07 PM   #63
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Ppl reading this section of the forums are not stupid. They can see who's talking sense and who's talking nonsense.
I'm sure that is true. It's very obvious when tied agents come out and vehemently argue against my points without offering a reasonable well argued counter point, but instead resorting to personal attacks like being "biased" or comments like these:

I can tell you there is no best product in this world. You can compare from Aviva, Prudential and so on until the cow comes home. It is a product with a service which you may not use it now but in the future. There is only product that is suitable for you. If you work in this profession, you will understand but normally, people are just outsiders and be those armchair critics.
Which means what exactly? Completely nothing... Note that the comment above does not even attempt to address the issues with tied agents that I brought up, but instead uses the strawman attack of portraying the poster as being an "outsider" and "armchair critic".
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:47 PM   #64
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I'm sure that is true. It's very obvious when tied agents come out and vehemently argue against my points without offering a reasonable well argued counter point, but instead resorting to personal attacks like being "biased" or comments like these:


Which means what exactly? Completely nothing... Note that the comment above does not even attempt to address the issues with tied agents that I brought up, but instead uses the strawman attack of portraying the poster as being an "outsider" and "armchair critic".
What proof do you want me to offer?

How about you come to my 2 days agency training program where all the new advisers are been exposed to?

I don't think it is personal attacks. You are the one who keep on firing non-stop without basis & expects everyone to reply to you nicely with proof?

It will be nice for you to provide proof of what you had said & let us teach you.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:50 PM   #65
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What proof do you want me to offer?
Any well reasoned point from you tied agents which addresses my key points of why tied agents are lousy. Fact #1 - Tied agents can sell their own company products only. Fact #2 - Tied agents (and to be fair all agents) earn a living from commission. Therefore, I claim that tied agents will recommended products that serve their interest 1st (i.e. earn a living) before serving their client's interest. And you deny this?

So please re-read post #61 again... if you know of a tied agent who fulfill all 4 conditions, then I would happily congratulate him for being a shining star amongst his peers of black sheep.

How about you come to my 2 days agency training program where all the new advisers are been exposed to?
Really which insurance company do you represent? Do you provide training for only your own products or for products from competitor's as well? Do you provide training for a class of insurance products that you do not sell but may be in the best interest of a client (e.g. AIA trains its staff about Disability Income which they don't sell and tell their advisers to refer clients to Aviva or GE for it?)

Oh please... the evidence we have seen to date is that insurance agency training is more about training staff how to prospect clients and close deals ASAP (i.e. salesperson), with any form of financial planning for the client as a secondary interest. This has been documented on more than one occasion on numerous blogs, but most prominently on TKL website.

I don't think it is personal attacks. You are the one who keep on firing non-stop without basis & expects everyone to reply to you nicely with proof?

It will be nice for you to provide proof of what you had said & let us teach you.
Without basis? Watch your tongue dude... go re-read my original posts at the start of the thread. Supporting evidence is listed there. For more supporting evidence just go see TKL blog or dig up old entries of Straits Times forums letter that depict how people got cheated/conned by tied agents.

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Old 02-08-2010, 07:45 PM   #66
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I need another advice. I have only just started my career (office job),I have my 2 parents who are working as well. Every month,I give my parents some money. I also have a girlfriend. Given my current situation,is the term insurance (SAF group term) a wise financial decision?
What constitute a wise financial decision? thats pretty grey. Only you will have the answer.

Anyway, SAF group term is cheap. How many years of cheap can you get?

Consider this: Your 2 parents will be growing with you. Your girlfriend may be your future wife, who will give birth to your 2 or 3 babies. Your liabilities will only gets bigger! until a certain point that is.

My point is, the liabilities that you have now is the lowest in your next 30 years. If you faces difficulty to save now, what makes it easier down the road?

So whats a wise financial decision?
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:19 PM   #67
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Do you have dependents reliant on you for financial support?
Is your income important to your parents? How much do you pay to them for financial support reason? Take this amount, multiply by years to support them multiply by 12 months.
That's the amount you need today.

Either you buy Term Insurance (low cost, zero cash value) or Whole Life (with cash value).
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:43 PM   #68
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I disagree with you on the passive vs active debate (and so would the scores of prop traders who make good money).

You appear to be a strong believer in passive investing, and that's fine, but your opinion on the debate is just your opinion, not fact. Given the context of your thread, however, your points are probably valid when it comes to the majority of newbie investors, but I'd just like to point out that active investing can be profitable if done right.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:05 PM   #69
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Ok,because I have been receiving various advice.

1. My tied agent said it is important to have a term insurance.
2. My IFA also said that at the present stage of my life,I need a term insurance.
3. TS,however recommend the purchase of term insurance only when I have dependents,which in this case,none YET.
4. Tan Kin Lian advice the same thing as TS as well,get only when I am married.

So,due to conflicts in advice,I am pretty much undecided. A mere $12.80 monthly premium for the SAF group term insurance can be easily forked out by me,but I am wondering if this is the right time to get the term insurance. Any suggestion?
get four white piece of paper write down the advices listed by each advicing individual.

get a piece of paper write the insurance policies introduced to you and then write down the pros and cons you feel is suitable for you. (I strongly favoured term policies but then is my opinion)

get a piece of paper write down your priority from highest to lowest. (My opinion is health-related term insurance should be the first priority in my opinion)

get a piece of paper write down your salary and check your expense percentage based on your current salary. then check how much % will the insurance policies you going to take is going to eat into your current expenses. Add those policies % with your current expenses %.

also check if you have six months of emergency or not (of cos it is my opinion)

So by doing so, see if
1) It will affect your savings?
2) Will become a burden for you in future if you are jobless for six months?

Then guage yourself. because all in all it boils down to your own decisions.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:22 PM   #70
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Ok,because I have been receiving various advice.

1. My tied agent said it is important to have a term insurance.
2. My IFA also said that at the present stage of my life,I need a term insurance.
3. TS,however recommend the purchase of term insurance only when I have dependents,which in this case,none YET.
4. Tan Kin Lian advice the same thing as TS as well,get only when I am married.

So,due to conflicts in advice,I am pretty much undecided. A mere $12.80 monthly premium for the SAF group term insurance can be easily forked out by me,but I am wondering if this is the right time to get the term insurance. Any suggestion?

He missed out one very important reason why you MUST buy today, and not when you're married.
Because from now until you're married, you may become uninsurable.
Do you then blame yourself or others?

If you can afford $12.80/mth, what's stopping you?
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:58 PM   #71
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Ok,because I have been receiving various advice.

1. My tied agent said it is important to have a term insurance.
2. My IFA also said that at the present stage of my life,I need a term insurance.
3. TS,however recommend the purchase of term insurance only when I have dependents,which in this case,none YET.
4. Tan Kin Lian advice the same thing as TS as well,get only when I am married.

So,due to conflicts in advice,I am pretty much undecided. A mere $12.80 monthly premium for the SAF group term insurance can be easily forked out by me,but I am wondering if this is the right time to get the term insurance. Any suggestion?
All advice 1 to 4 is generally quite decent, it's a matter of personal prefs.
(Note that your case different from deciding on whether to buy ILP cause quite simply facts and mathematics dictate it is an unwise choice).

Here's my opinion of what happens in the event that you pass away too early:
1) GF/Wife should be able to support herself. Unless she converts to becoming a housewife and has no entry into a decent-earning career.
2) Parents should be able to retire comfortably since they should have some savings accumulated. If they do not, then you probably may wish to take a short 10-20 year term insurance, cause when that 10-20 yr period pass I am going to assume you will have sizeable assets to pass onto your beneficiaries.

Therefore, it is my opinion that pure term coverage is not needed. However, as someone else pointed out before future insurability might be an issue. So if you can afford, why not?

Note that the above only applies for pure term insurance without CI. If CI is involved it is another ballgame altogether...
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:05 PM   #72
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I disagree with you on the passive vs active debate (and so would the scores of prop traders who make good money).

You appear to be a strong believer in passive investing, and that's fine, but your opinion on the debate is just your opinion, not fact. Given the context of your thread, however, your points are probably valid when it comes to the majority of newbie investors, but I'd just like to point out that active investing can be profitable if done right.
It is not my opinion, it is an established FACT. After fees and expenses, passive investment beats active investment over the long term (statistically speaking). This is an irrefutable observation supported by over 20 years of academic research, which is briefly covered in the recommended books for investing.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:09 PM   #73
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hey TS, sorry to go slightly off-topic with what is said right now. I am truly enlightened with what you mentioned in your posts especially regarding the different insurance policies available.

On the other hand, I am less familiar with investing. May I know which websites do you recommend as unit trust distributors or websites that allow us to invest in the various products you have mentioned? [Sorry, I am still very unfamiliar with the financial products, so I would like to at least take a look at the websites you recommend to familiarise myself with what you've written]

Also, I'm glad to see so many people supporting Mr. Tan, and I am convinced that I will learn from the FISCA talks. I will head down for one of the sessions regarding financial planning at the end of this month. Pity I haven't noticed this subforum till so late. Thank you TS and everyone in here!
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:17 PM   #74
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It is not my opinion, it is an established FACT. After fees and expenses, passive investment beats active investment over the long term (statistically speaking). This is an irrefutable observation supported by over 20 years of academic research, which is briefly covered in the recommended books for investing.
Ah, I realise we're not exactly referring to the same thing.

We need to clarify something, and that is that those research is done through aggregating performances of lots of funds, and comparing against overall index performances over the years. For that, I agree with you, as Graham, other value investors, and researchers have shown that majority of mutual funds have been outperformed by the indices over the long run.

That does not, however, mean that all forms of active investing are inferior to passive, a point which you imply from your initial post (if you actually do not mean this, I am mistaken and I apologise).

From the list of books you recommended I understand that you are familiar with value investing. However, you might want to take a look at the market wizard books, and just prop trading in general, to see that active investing can outperform the market consistently.

Anyway, there might still be further confusion. What exactly do you qualify as passive or active investing? Buffett and Lynch actively manage their portfolios, and they are prime examples of beating the market.

Last edited by Agravaine; 02-08-2010 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:30 PM   #75
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Ah, I realise we're not exactly referring to the same thing.

We need to clarify something, and that is that those research is done through aggregating performances of lots of funds, and comparing against overall index performances over the years. For that, I agree with you, as Graham, other value investors, and researchers have shown that majority of mutual funds have been outperformed by the indices over the long run.

That does not, however, mean that all forms of active investing are inferior to passive, a point which you imply from your initial post (if you actually do not mean this, I am mistaken and I apologise).
Actually, yes that was my point. To the best of our knowledge, all forms of active investing will lose out to passive investing in the long term. There may *potentially* be new active strategies that can outperform passive investments, but as of today it is not conclusively proven yet. AND... given that there will always be people outperforming of the index, it becomes very hard (especially for the layman) to figure out whether the outperformance is due to skill or luck. Therefore, the best layman investor is best advised to be "average" and stick to passive investments.

I have come across some mention of certain active strategies that *seems* to outperform (based on gross returns) by ~1%, but when taking into account fees, expenses and taxes they underperform a passive index fund. That is the best case I have seen for active investment. Admittedly, I did not go read up on those references.

From the list of books you recommended I understand that you are familiar with value investing. However, you might want to take a look at the market wizard books, and just prop trading in general, to see that active investing can outperform the market consistently.

Anyway, there might still be further confusion. What exactly do you qualify as passive or active investing?
Here's my definitions, which I think are shared my most people:

Active Investments Concepts: Trading (on a day-to-day basis)), Speculation in stocks, Stock Picking, Market Timing, FOREX, or generally any attempt to outperform the index through superior methodology or strategy.

Passive Investment Concepts: Index Fund, Small and Value Tilting, some forms of Enhanced Indexing (to a certain extent, I only believe in DFA Enhanced indexes, not sure about the rest like WisdomTree), Value Averaging, Strategic Asset Allocation, Rebalancing

Not Sure: Tactical Asset Allocation (it's a pseudo-active strategy) that some people use... I have no strong opinions for it because I have not come across a lot of data on this.

EDIT: Yes, Buffet beats the market... why does everyone love to use him as an example? You do know that even Buffet advises the layman investor to stick with passive index funds right? As I said before, statistically speaking, Passive trumps Active... so there will always be people who outperform the index due to luck and not skill. Now I'm not saying Buffet is all luck and no skill... BUT the question the layman would ask himself is "Do I think I can be the next Buffet?" If the person answers "Yes", by all means ago ahead and do what you will...

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