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Old 01-06-2020, 11:58 AM   #2341
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Trafigura, the huge Singapore-based global oil trading firm, is reportedly under investigation.
The link is broken, wrong tagging. I get the 404

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...t-manipulation
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Last edited by CarlJung; 01-06-2020 at 12:13 PM..
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:22 PM   #2342
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Hit FRS or take up Tax Savings

Hi BBCW,

I currently have 74k in CPF OA and 116K in SA.
I'm wondering if I should transfer OA to SA and hit FRS or continue to let SA organically buildup and take up tax savings that SA cash top provides.

I'm still 24 years from hitting 55 and dont need CPF OA for primary residence. I also am not planning on any investment property in near future.

Does it make sense to go for FRS early?
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:41 PM   #2343
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Does it make sense to go for FRS early?
Yes, it does. You don’t need OA dollars as OA, so the higher yield sooner makes perfect sense. If you haven’t made this year’s $7,000 top up for tax relief yet and wish to, you would do that first. If you want to get slightly fancy you could estimate whether you’d reach exactly $179,000 in your SA on December 31 (inclusive of all 2020 interest that lands in SA, your top up, your OA to SA transfer, and compulsory contributions) in order to squeeze in one last top up with tax relief this coming January, but that’s a very difficult calculation.

As your OA fills back up you could take a look at whether the CPF Investment Scheme (OA) makes sense, probably just into ES3 or G3B, since you’d have 20+ years to run.
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:39 PM   #2344
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Hi all,

Does it make sense for you to buy local shares with CPF OA money?

What happens in the event of stock split and you don't have the min balance to take advantage of the split or other possible corporate actions?
Would like to hear your thoughts. Cheers!
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:41 PM   #2345
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BBC, currently i have DII with GE Payassure. I rmbr you mentioned before that DII will also be useful for singles? Also, once we signed this policy and gave our salary, does it mean we can't change the 75% payout anymore? What if our salary increases?

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Old 03-06-2020, 09:55 PM   #2346
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Hi Bfish, so you did the tax refund all by yourself, like what BBCWatcher mentioned, File W-7 to get ITIN and then 1040-NR next year? Or the broker advise and assist you?
I did everything myself
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:35 PM   #2347
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Does it make sense for you to buy local shares with CPF OA money?
After you’ve exhausted opportunities for OA to SA transfers (yourself) and OA to RA transfers (your eligible family members), and if you have a long enough time horizon, yes, I think so.

What happens in the event of stock split and you don't have the min balance to take advantage of the split or other possible corporate actions?
I wouldn’t buy individual shares. Probably you’d just pick ES3 or G3B which are unlikely to have the problems you describe. Also bear in mind the CPF Investment Scheme bank charges initial and ongoing fees per counter, so you’re penalized if you hold more than one counter.

BBC, currently i have DII with GE Payassure. I rmbr you mentioned before that DII will also be useful for singles?
Absolutely. You are your own dependent as long as you’re alive. If you cannot afford being unable to work for the rest of your life starting tomorrow, then you need DII.

Also, once we signed this policy and gave our salary, does it mean we can't change the 75% payout anymore? What if our salary increases?
All the carriers require some form of new underwriting when you want to increase the monthly payout. That could be just a questionnaire or sometimes a medical exam. The carrier might or might not require a new (second) policy number. Which also means the second policy doesn’t have to be from the same carrier as long as the 75% (or 50% for the MINDEF/MHA group DII) limit is respected when the policies payouts are added up.
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Old 03-06-2020, 11:14 PM   #2348
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London Stock Exchange Traders Want Shorter Hours

The LSE may make a change, which would have a very slight effect on Singapore-based investors in the popular global stock index funds (IWDA, VWRA, and others): you may have to submit your buy orders an hour later. However, compressing the trading day might improve liquidity slightly.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:46 PM   #2349
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Hi BBCW

if one can’t buy the integrated medishield plan due to pre existing condition, what other plans and options are there available ?
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:53 AM   #2350
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if one can’t buy the integrated medishield plan due to pre existing condition, what other plans and options are there available ?
In no particular order:

  • MediShield Life
  • international medical tourism
  • employer-provided group medical insurance
  • certain “expat-style” global medical insurance
  • MediSave
  • cash
  • MediFund
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Old 06-06-2020, 11:08 AM   #2351
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Here is something very basic that I should know... but I do not.

Let’s say my wife sees a doctor (outpatient) and is able to use her MediSave to pay the bill. My employer also covers her (self-insured, no policy), so I am able to submit the receipt for an 80% cash reimbursement in my payroll. The remaining 20% can be claimed through my employer tax advantaged flexible spending account. Is it ok to claim all on the same bill?

What if it was inpatient, in that case my employer coverage for her is through Great Eastern, would that make any difference?
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Old 06-06-2020, 02:54 PM   #2352
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Let’s say my wife sees a doctor (outpatient) and is able to use her MediSave to pay the bill. My employer also covers her (self-insured, no policy), so I am able to submit the receipt for an 80% cash reimbursement in my payroll. The remaining 20% can be claimed through my employer tax advantaged flexible spending account. Is it ok to claim all on the same bill?
Let's take a look at what the CPF Board says in the relevant portions of their MediSave FAQ (click on the FAQ tab, then on MediSave/MediShield Life Reimbursement):

Q. Can my employer or insurer pay me in cash if I have used my MediSave Account to pay my medical expenses?

A. Your employer or insurer cannot pay you in cash for the part of your medical bill that has been paid using your MediSave. The cash must be refunded to your MediSave Account. However, if you have used cash or MediShield Life to pay part of your medical bill, your employer or insurer has to refund you in the order of:

i. your cash outlay
ii. payment from your MediSave Account
iii. payment from your MediShield Life, if any.

Q. If I have received reimbursement from my employer/insurer for medical bills paid using my MediSave account (MA), how do I return the monies to my MA?

A. If you have received reimbursement from your employer or insurer, you may send us the amount via a cheque, with a copy of your medical bill and a letter to inform us of the request. The cheque is to be paid to "CPF Board".

You can send the documents to:

Central Provident Fund Board
MediSave and Healthcare Claims Department
238B Thomson Road
#08-00 Tower B Novena Square
Singapore 307685

Q. Who is required to reimburse my MediSave Account for my hospitalisation expenses?

A. Third parties who have a contractual obligation (e.g. your insurer/employer) are required to reimburse your MediSave Account for your hospitalisation expenses.

Q. Can an overseas insurance company disburse the approved claim to my MediSave Account by telegraphic transfer or only by cheque?

A. Your insurer may submit reimbursements to MediSave and MediShield Life electronically via http://www.cpf.gov.sg/. To access the MediSave/MediShield Life Internet Reimbursement service, please log on to http://www.cpf.gov.sg/ and go to Employers => E-Services => MediSave/MediShield Reimbursement. There are currently 2 modes of online reimbursement submissions available: (i) E-File and (ii) E-Form.
OK, so let's summarize:

1. You may use MediSave dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses in Singapore(*), whether yours or your qualified family member's.

2. Your insurer or employer has an obligation to pay directly into MediSave if the reimbursement exceeds your cash outlay. (Your U.S. FSA counts as cash for these purposes.)

3. Regardless of whether your insurer or employer actually does this all correctly and automatically (as they're supposed to do), you are ultimately responsible for making your own MediSave account whole again if/as required. In other words, spent MediSave dollars must remain only with the provider and cannot remain in your hands.

4. The total employer/insurer reimbursement cannot exceed the total claimable outlay (cash and MediSave). You cannot "double dip," a form of insurance fraud. (Also potentially tax fraud if you don't declare it as income.)

To make sure this all works in practice, you'll want to make sure that the receipt you submit clearly indicates what portion of the bill was paid using MediSave (it should), then specifically remind the employer how to handle that, especially if this is your first time at this rodeo. Let's suppose for example the bill is S$1,000. Your wife used S$200 of her MediSave and the rest you paid in cash (S$800). You're then allowed to pull the U.S. dollar equivalent of S$200 (20%) out of your U.S. Flexible Spending Account (assuming this expense otherwise qualifies), and your employer covers the other 80% (S$800) and is supposed to reimburse you S$600 in cash and S$200 into your wife's MediSave Account. If the employer "screws up" and sends S$800, then your wife is required to redeposit the S$200 in MediSave funds via the instructions the CPF Board provides. If (let's suppose) the employer reimburses S$1,200 (double counts the MediSave redeposit for example -- puts S$200 into your wife's MediSave and sends you S$200 too much in cash), then you have to send the extra S$200 back to the employer because the total claimable outlay was only S$1,000.

Does all that make enough sense at least?

What if it was inpatient, in that case my employer coverage for her is through Great Eastern, would that make any difference?
Perhaps. The more "Singaporean" the insurance company or employer is with respect to settling medical claims, the more likely it is they'll get the MediSave part done correctly. But as the CPF Board points out, the insurer or employer doesn't have to be "Singaporean." In principle CPF accepts MediSave redeposits from any insurer or employer. You'll have to coach the "alien" insurer/employer to explain how they can pay into MediSave directly (and why it's your wife's MediSave account). But you're not required to coach the overseas insurer/employer and can just use the postal MediSave redeposit method. Likewise, the overseas insurer/employer isn't required to go to some CPF Board Web site and.... ("What is it you want us to do? Really? Seriously?")

By the way, you really want to follow the CPF Board's instructions about MediSave redeposits, because otherwise the money might get tagged improperly as a MediSave top up, meaning it's eligible for tax relief and must fit within the CPF Annual Limit. A MediSave top up is a different beast altogether.

Now I turn to the question of whether it's wise to use MediSave dollars if they're only going to get reimbursed a month or two later back into MediSave. Answer: "Maybe." Here are the scenarios when I think it makes sense to do this:

1. If you're strapped for cash, and the alternative to using MediSave dollars is a personal loan at 6.4+% interest or credit card debt at 20+% interest (as examples). Borrowing from your MediSave Account costs 4% p.a. (with a minimum one month of interest loss), and that's certainly a better deal than a 12 month personal loan or any credit card debt.

2. If you have room below the CPF Annual Limit, your MediSave Account is pegged to the Basic Healthcare Sum (S$60,000 in 2020), and you want to squeeze in a MediSave top up with tax relief. In the example above there's a S$200 deduction from MediSave, and so as soon as that deduction appears you'd swoop in with a $200 top up, before the payroll cycle hits. Then the insurer/employer, or you, redeposits the S$200, but since your MediSave Account is "full" the redeposit spills over into your Special Account (if below the Full Retirement Sum) or into your Ordinary Account. Yes, you lose a month of interest on that S$200 (i.e. about S$0.67), but if you're in the 11.5% tax bracket you get S$23 of income tax savings.(**) Plus you get a little bit of bank interest on the S$200 of cash you didn't use to pay the medical bill. Good deal!

Assuming you're still with me in understanding all this, let's suppose that you're a couple and both have MediSave accounts. (Not your situation as I recall, but let's suppose.) Both MediSave accounts are "full" (pegged at the Basic Healthcare Sum). Spouse #1 is in the higher tax bracket but unfortunately expects to hit the CPF Annual Limit. Spouse #2 is in a lower tax bracket and expects not to hit the CPF Annual Limit. In this example, Spouse #2 should handle qualified medical spending for the household from his/her MediSave account, assuming he/she is going to swoop in with MediSave top ups (with tax relief) immediately after any deduction.

....Whew, I'll stop there. Does all that make sense?

(*) There are rare cases involving planned overseas treatment from MediSave/MediShield Life-qualified providers when MediSave dollars can be used.

(**) Singapore income tax savings. Another tax jurisdiction, notably the IRS for U.S. persons, might effectively claw some of this tax savings back depending on your situation.

Last edited by BBCWatcher; 06-06-2020 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:18 PM   #2353
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Wow.. that was quite an answer!

I will need to re-read that a few times just to grasp it in its entirety. But, it sounds like generally, claims made on MediSave have to be repaid IF reimbursed by any other entity.

We normally leave her MediSave alone and just claim on my company to the extent possible.

The flexible spending account is actually a local, non-U.S. benefit. It consists of around S$2,000 annually to either top-up core insurance benefits and/or reimburse any medical that is not reimbursable otherwise. Depending on the expense, it might be taxable & CPF-able, non-taxable and CPF-able, or non-taxable and non-CPF-able.
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Old 07-06-2020, 01:57 PM   #2354
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Seek advice on how to optimize portfolio

Hi BBCW, I would like to seek some advice from you on how to optimize my portfolio. Many thanks in advance.

I bought a resale HDB flat 4 years ago under singles scheme when I turned 35. Owe CPF OA $125k for loan repayment in the past few years, and also owe accrued interested of $11k. I still have a 21-year mortgage of $396k that I'm servicing with $2k cash every month, at 1.92% interest.

Currently I have assets of -
$510k in cash & bonds ($100k) and ETFs and shares ($410k)
$160k in SRS in STI ETF and local blue chips
$165k in CPF OA in STI ETF (40%) and cash
$163k in CPF SA in cash
$60k in CPF MA

Every month, I take home 8k net of CPF and set aside for spending -
$600 food, transport, utilities and charity
$500 allowance to mum
$800 on whole life, ILP insurance, income tax
$300 on big ticket items like traveling, iPhone, laptop
I get a fixed bonus and save about $50-70k a year in the past few years, which I mostly invest in ETFs and shares via dca to IWDA.

I have chartered accountant qualification but I don't have career ambition. I'm in a relatively low paying job (compared to other experienced accountants), but I get recognized for good performance and rewarded with work life balance to do volunteer work. I don't expect my income to increase by more than 3-4% in the next few years, and it may even drop significantly if energy industry doesn't do well. I'm 39 and have no dependents (my mum and sibling are already financially independent). No intention to get married and start family. I hope to stay in the same company (been here >10 years) as it is quite stable, I have a good network, and medical benefits are great. I hope to retire before I turn 50, to spend more time on volunteer work and spiritual pursuit. When I die my money will go to temples, charities and legacy to my mum and sibing, cousins and friends. My long term financial goals is to support my retirement ($1,500/mo in today's dollars).

I think, except for a few years of mindless spending when I was in my 20s, I have done ok financially (not great but ok). But I feel a little stuck with my portfolio and would like to seek advice on how to optimize.


1) Should I pay back CPF OA loan and accrued interest of $136k? The money will earns 2.5% risk-free interest (for now). But that will also mean I'll have less capital to invest in the stock market. Also, how can I further optimize my CPF accounts?

2) Should I cancel my AXA WL insurance 50k CI/ death? My mom bought the WL when I was studying and I've been paying for the past 20+ year. Cash value is $16k, I paid $32k premium over the years. According to the latest statement I'll likely breakeven in 10 years.

3) Should I cancel my HSBC ILP insurance 200k CI/ 100k death? I bought this before I was more woke. Cash value $36k now, I paid $39+k over 13+ years.

For insurance, a consideration is, because of a breast lump 10 years ago, I cannot get new insurance now without high loading or exclusion, even with no detection of cancer and regular checkup. I asked about DII before but it seems like it would also cost more because of pre-existing breast lump issue. I'm covered by good company medical benefits as long as I'm working here, and also have a private shield plan.

4) What should I do with SRS monies? My blue chips made some gains in the recent spike and I just sold them two days ago. The best low cost option seem to be STI ETF, but the local portion of my portfolio will be >50% if I pay back my CPF OA loan (treating that as bond component), so I'd like to more global exposure.

5) Is is possible to retire before 50? What is a good ballpark sum for a simple retirement? I hope to stay in the same flat and not have to sell it to fund my retirement.

Any general advice on optimizing would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking to simplify as much as I can so that I can spend time on other things like spiritual learnings and volunteer work.
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Old 07-06-2020, 02:54 PM   #2355
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Hi BBC, I have an old whole life insurance which apparently has a lump sum TPD, total and permanent disability? Should I still be getting a DII?

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