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Old 06-02-2019, 06:46 PM   #991
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Always learn so much when I read BBCW’s posts. Thank you BBCW!

One question I have is re: integrated MediShield for my dad. He is foreigner (on LTVP here), and his last premium on the highest tier private hospital plan (with full riders) is at a very hefty premium of over S$7000 per year. I am exploring to downgrade my dad’s plan to the lower-tier restructured hospital (with full riders) so that I can save $3500 a year. I think an A class ward in a restructured hospital, given Singapore healthcare standards, would suffice.

Question i have is, say, my dad’s entry date for the current original higher-tier plan is 1 January 2017 and he subsequently developed condition X after 1 January 2017. When he downgrades to the lower-tier plan now, this condition X won’t be excluded right ? This is a downgrade, not an upgrade of the plan, so no medical underwriting is required and whatever existing conditions covered under the original higher plan should continue to be covered under the downgraded plan -correct ?
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:52 PM   #992
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Always learn so much when I read BBCW’s posts. Thank you BBCW!

One question I have is re: integrated MediShield for my dad. He is foreigner (on LTVP here), and his last premium on the highest tier private hospital plan (with full riders) is at a very hefty premium of over S$7000 per year. I am exploring to downgrade my dad’s plan to the lower-tier restructured hospital (with full riders) so that I can save $3500 a year. I think an A class ward in a restructured hospital, given Singapore healthcare standards, would suffice.

Question i have is, say, my dad’s entry date for the current original higher-tier plan is 1 January 2017 and he subsequently developed condition X after 1 January 2017. When he downgrades to the lower-tier plan now, this condition X won’t be excluded right ? This is a downgrade, not an upgrade of the plan, so no medical underwriting is required and whatever existing conditions covered under the original higher plan should continue to be covered under the downgraded plan -correct ?
Downgrading is not subjected to 'new medical under-writing'.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:57 PM   #993
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Question i have is, say, my dad’s entry date for the current original higher-tier plan is 1 January 2017 and he subsequently developed condition X after 1 January 2017. When he downgrades to the lower-tier plan now, this condition X won’t be excluded right ? This is a downgrade, not an upgrade of the plan, so no medical underwriting is required and whatever existing conditions covered under the original higher plan should continue to be covered under the downgraded plan -correct ?
That’s correct, but please confirm it with the carrier. And I have a few more comments:

1. His carrier might not allow him (a foreigner with a LTVP) onto the public hospital A ward plan, so just check that first. I think Prudential does allow it, for example.

2. Check to make sure there’s no “special” proration factor for foreigners on public hospital A ward stays. Some of the carriers seem to be playing games on the benefit side in adding proration factors (for PRs and for foreigners) rather than on the premium side.

3. While he can stay on a “zero dollar” rider, I don’t recommend that in general. Have a look at the new rule compliant riders which include a minimum 5% co-pay and a maximum annual out-of-pocket cost for covered services. The rule compliant riders should be rolling out any day now across all the carriers since April 1, 2019, is the deadline for implementation. The rule compliant riders should be priced more attractively, and a 5% co-pay (capped at $3,000 per year) is hardly an end-of-the-world calamity.

4. If his “Condition X” is well managed and is one of the three conditions that Raffles Shield will ignore in underwriting, then he could take a look at Raffles Shield A (with their rule compliant rider) as a possible alternative.

5. His immigration status in Singapore is pretty stable (presumably), BUT he should give some thought to what would happen if he were to leave Singapore to return to his home country, and what his medical coverage would be there. Integrated Shield coverage is inherently national in scope.

Last edited by BBCWatcher; 06-02-2019 at 07:08 PM..
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:52 PM   #994
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HI BBCWatcher,

I have taken up your suggestion and used Charles Schwab for buying T-bills. It has worked great so far.

I have another question, what do you think are the pros and cons of using Interactive Brokers to buy T -bills when compared to Charles Schwab?

For Singaporeans,what do you think about setting up Vanguard or Fidelity?
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Last edited by boroangel; 06-02-2019 at 07:54 PM..
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:55 PM   #995
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For Singaporeans,what do you think about setting up Vanguard or Fidelity?
You can't set up Fidelity unless you have a US-based address or you are a US resident/citizen.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:00 PM   #996
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You can't set up Fidelity unless you have a US-based address or you are a US resident/citizen.
Ah thanks for pointing that out. Are there any other good brokerages that I can use for buying T-bills with zero commission like what I am getting now at Schwab?
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:23 PM   #997
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I have taken up your suggestion and used Charles Schwab for buying T-bills. It has worked great so far.

I have another question, what do you think are the pros and cons of using Interactive Brokers to buy T -bills when compared to Charles Schwab?
The biggest benefit with Interactive Brokers is the lower cost currency conversion in and out. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat Schwab for U.S. Treasuries.

For Singaporeans,what do you think about setting up Vanguard or Fidelity?
You can't set up Fidelity unless you have a US-based address or you are a US resident/citizen.
And much the same is true of Vanguard U.S. For either firm you need what I’d call a “U.S. footprint.” And neither Vanguard U.S. nor Fidelity U.S. cater to the needs of non-U.S. persons particularly well, so you’re probably not missing anything.

Vanguard U.K. (actually Vanguard Ireland) has a rather good and popular stock index fund, VWRD, that you can buy through Interactive Brokers and other brokers. VWRD is not tax appropriate for U.S. persons, however.
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Old 06-02-2019, 11:31 PM   #998
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Awesome stuff - thank you !

That’s correct, but please confirm it with the carrier. And I have a few more comments:

1. His carrier might not allow him (a foreigner with a LTVP) onto the public hospital A ward plan, so just check that first. I think Prudential does allow it, for example.

2. Check to make sure there’s no “special” proration factor for foreigners on public hospital A ward stays. Some of the carriers seem to be playing games on the benefit side in adding proration factors (for PRs and for foreigners) rather than on the premium side.

3. While he can stay on a “zero dollar” rider, I don’t recommend that in general. Have a look at the new rule compliant riders which include a minimum 5% co-pay and a maximum annual out-of-pocket cost for covered services. The rule compliant riders should be rolling out any day now across all the carriers since April 1, 2019, is the deadline for implementation. The rule compliant riders should be priced more attractively, and a 5% co-pay (capped at $3,000 per year) is hardly an end-of-the-world calamity.

4. If his “Condition X” is well managed and is one of the three conditions that Raffles Shield will ignore in underwriting, then he could take a look at Raffles Shield A (with their rule compliant rider) as a possible alternative.

5. His immigration status in Singapore is pretty stable (presumably), BUT he should give some thought to what would happen if he were to leave Singapore to return to his home country, and what his medical coverage would be there. Integrated Shield coverage is inherently national in scope.
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:42 PM   #999
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When buying into ETFs, does it make a difference DCA, value averaging or buy at dips? Assuming one can handle the Calculation..
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:41 PM   #1000
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When buying into ETFs, does it make a difference DCA, value averaging or buy at dips? Assuming one can handle the Calculation..
Here's a study: https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/s315.pdf
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:25 AM   #1001
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Here's a study: https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/s315.pdf
Note that this study is for when you have a large sum immediately available to invest. Not if you invest part of your monthly income.

Quote:
"DCA in the context of our research
To some readers, our research may seem to
discount the benefits of dollar-cost averaging
often cited in popular financial commentary.
Such articles tend to recommend DCA largely
on the ground that investing a consistent dollar
amount at regular intervals allows investors to
diversify the prices they pay for a security, buying
more shares when prices are low and fewer
when prices are high.
This is true, but there is a notable distinction
between DCA as commonly discussed and as
a subject for the research covered in this paper.
Most popular commentary addresses DCA in
terms of consistent investments made using
current income—i.e., an employee transferring
a portion of each paycheck into a retirement
account. In that case, investable cash becomes
available only in relatively small amounts over
time, which makes DCA a prudent way to invest
(and really the only sound alternative to
accumulating that money in cash and then actively
trying to time the market at some later point).
Our research, in contrast, focuses on the strategies
for investing an immediately available large sum
of money. Here, the average performance results
have favored lump-sum investing."
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Old 08-02-2019, 02:43 PM   #1002
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When buying into ETFs, does it make a difference DCA, value averaging or buy at dips? Assuming one can handle the Calculation..
This article suggests that DCA'ing works.
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Old 08-02-2019, 03:04 PM   #1003
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Question: does it make sense to pay the loan principle for next month in the current month?

Hi BBC,

I recently came across a suggestion from a book, originated by Marc Eisenson in his book "The Banker's Secret", to pay the housing loan principal for next month in this current month. This way, we can dramatically reduce the interests paid to the bank.

I just want to confirm my understanding:
- This is true. However, the principle paid in advance could generate more interest if we can reliably achieve higher return from our investment/bank account etc. So combined, we should not pay the principle for next month in this month, if we can reliably achieve a better return through our investments.
This is essentially the same as repaying the housing loan in advance, assuming no pre-payment penalty.
- I cannot imagine any math that would prove above wrong

Hope I described it clearly. Thank you.
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Old 08-02-2019, 03:26 PM   #1004
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I recently came across a suggestion from a book, originated by Marc Eisenson in his book "The Banker's Secret", to pay the housing loan principal for next month in this current month. This way, we can dramatically reduce the interests paid to the bank.

I just want to confirm my understanding:
- This is true.
Yes, it's true, but it's within the U.S. context in typical financial conditions. Translated to Singapore in present financial conditions, it's not a good idea.

However, the principle paid in advance could generate more interest if we can reliably achieve higher return from our investment/bank account etc. So combined, we should not pay the principle for next month in this month, if we can reliably achieve a better return through our investments.
Yes, exactly. Never bring forward the end of a money making machine, assuming you are financially responsible (actually saving and investing prudently, etc.) Enjoy it fully while it lasts for however long it lasts.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:54 PM   #1005
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This article suggests that DCA'ing works.
Thanks! This was a good read. I'm going to try the 30 -30-40 ES3-IWDA-SSB recommended here. Do you have any other useful reads? Or any other pointers I should know about.

Really thankful to have ppl who are reliable and knowledgable here
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