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Old 07-04-2019, 12:14 PM   #1141
BBCWatcher
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 10,044
Thanks for the insight BBCWatcher! Hmmm I think I forgot to mention is that they want to retire in the near future- think 6 months to a year�� Mum has a terminal illness and she hopes that he can spend more meaningful time with her
I'm sorry to hear that.

If your mother has a terminal illness then, strictly financially speaking, it'd make a huge amount of sense to slam as much cash into her Special Account as allowed as soon as possible. That cash will earn 4% interest in her Special Account (and Retirement Account if she celebrates her 55th birthday -- let's hope so), and then upon her demise all proceeds flow to her CPF nominated heir(s), presumably her husband. (She should certainly make a CPF nomination if she hasn't done so already.) So it's really the same answer.

In fact, slam cash into her SA as a top up, up to the FRS, then repay OA also since that's 2.5% and also quite good.

Hi BBC, is 25-year a long enough time horizon?
Yes, for the purposes I described.

Would like to get your advice please after realising that I need to be wiser about my financial planning. I’m 33, and will be getting my BTO in about 2 years’ time. Likely to take the HDB loan, because it’s generally less complicated and it’s my wife’s preference. I currently have these insurances:
  • A term life
  • A whole life insurance
  • DII
  • Critical illness coverage
  • Upgraded shield plan

So in terms of protection I think I’m generally okay.
Possibly overinsured. The whole life is unlikely to be terrific, but now that you have it it's an interesting question whether it's worth surrendering. If you'd like an opinion on that, you can post the particulars and several people will likely respond with some assessments.

But I feel that my current cash assets are not being maximised, because most of my cash is just sitting in my UOB account and I’ve actually gone beyond the $75k limit for the bonus interest. So I’m trying to be smarter with my money. I top-up $7k to my CPF SA, as well as the max $15k to my SRS as well. In terms of investments, I currently hold some ES3 and a little bit of the SG Savings Bond but that’s all. I have some questions:
  1. I’m thinking of doing DCA, likely on a monthly basis into a broader basket of ETFs. Ideally a mix that would expand my portfolio beyond the SG market. Would Interactive Brokers be the right platform to use?
Yes.

[LIST=2][*]Assuming that I already have enough cash for emergencies, how many % of my monthly income (after CPF deductions, SA/SRS top-ups) should I invest?
Invest in total? Well, everything that you aren't consuming in the present. Savings flow = income flow minus consumption flow. My suggestion is to pick a savings flow that you feel comfortable maintaining ($X/month), then stick to it. If you see cash piling up, take a look at whether you can boost that $X on a sustainable basis.

  1. Is there a recommended ratio of foreign ETFs vs local ETFs vs bonds that I should have?
Are you planning to retire in Singapore?

Considering that you have 0% global diversification at present, I don't think you'll be too heavily globalized in your investing any time soon.

  1. Is there a simple spreadsheet somewhere for me to track my DCA and the portfolio ratios?
It'd be pretty easy to create one, and I think practically everybody does. It should be simple, because you don't really need to watch this stuff much.

I have similar experience last week when the bank called me, but I have to answer a few of these "security questions" such as name, last 5 digit of NRIC, DOB. Although I have slight hesitation initially, I still answered him because I did send secured email to the bank for some stuff and he did refer to that email when explaining the purpose of the call. But I know I should NEVER EVER give them any PIN or password.
You might have some degree of confidence that the individual you're speaking with is from the bank, but what you certainly didn't know is whether that bank employee is acting in an official capacity and communicating over a bank monitored channel. If it happens again, inform the person you'll be calling your bank (don't even give the name of the bank), and ask the person if he/she wishes to provide a bank reference code. And stick to that.

Let's all work to shut down this nonsense, starting now.

Agree with you that banks should do more to protect customers. Given the options, I would usually choose email option rather than voice call option for reply or follow up action.
E-mail is not a secure channel, unless you're talking about the online "mailbox" that might be available through online or mobile banking.

Conceptually it's really quite simple: your bank needs to know who you are, but even more importantly you need to know that you're communicating with a bank employee acting in an official capacity over a bank monitored channel. You cannot verify those three elements when you get a cold (or "warm") telephone call or via e-mail.

If banks in Singapore absolutely insist on calling their customers, then I can think of one way they could do it: offer a "call me" option with a reference code. I don't recommend what I'm about to describe since it's lame, but at least it'd be reasonably secure. Let's suppose it's OCBC. If you were to visit:

https://www.ocbc.com/callme

then punch in your phone number, click Submit, and get a reference code ("XYZ1234") -- "This code is only valid for the next 30 minutes" -- then that might be OK. The person calling you would have to give you the reference code right away, e.g. "Hello, I'm calling from OCBC. Our reference code is XYZ1234." Otherwise, you would hang up.

THAT might pass muster in security terms, but I'm not necessarily recommending that.
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