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BBCWatcher 03-09-2019 03:54 PM

The British pound is hitting new multi-decade lows against other major currencies in currency trading today. Aside from the anomalous "flash crash" on October 7, 2016, that lasted just for a few minutes, as I write this the pound is at its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since 1985.

The only thing I'd suggest in reaction to this movement is to consider some British pound denominated spending if you're already planning that spending. As one example, Bupa Global sells my favorite annual travel medical insurance policy online, their "Medical" plan -- and it is available in British pounds. Here are their current premiums for a hypothetical 35 year old resident of Singapore for one year of coverage starting on October 1, 2019:

U.S. dollars: 165
Euro: 140 (~US$153.67)
Swiss francs: 168 (~US$169.61)
British pounds: 93 (~US$112.54)

The U.S. dollar conversions are spot current estimates. As you can see, the British pound price is by far the best.

As another example, Amazon.co.uk can ship many items to Singapore, so if there's something you genuinely need that Amazon sells, take a look at what they're offering.

When you spend Singapore dollars using a credit card, be sure to use a low cost credit card and let the card network handle the currency conversion -- not Amazon or any other merchant (no "Dynamic Currency Conversion"). The ICBC Global Travel Mastercard is one good choice for overseas shopping.

ChinoGirl 03-09-2019 06:27 PM

Hi,
I have read through BBCWatcher's and Shiny Thing's comments on portfolio allocation, and personally I agree with BBCWatcher's views on having a 80% global stock allocation, and gradually increase the percentage to bonds as we move closer to retirement age, instead of the 110-your age allocation. Also makes it easier for me to work out the percentages 😂
I am not allowed to post images. You can refer to BBCWatcher's rationale for having a 80% global stock allocation in post #97 of this thread.

Quote:

Originally Posted by killtuna (Post 122556415)
Hi ChinoGirl, noticed that we have similar initial lump sum investment and subsequent monthly investment.

I already lump sum MBH of $10,000 with DBS Vickers, and have purchased monthly IWDA $4k (twice a month) and ES3 $3k since July.

I am undecided on the ratio between IWDA and ES3/G3B. Do you mind sharing what is your rationale to put 80% of stock in global?


nyl3v3 05-09-2019 05:50 AM

Hi BBCWatcher!
Thanks for your recommendation of Schwab and Alliant Credit Union on ST's thread.

Managed to get my husband to do Alliant debit card and accounts, but not for Schwab. I am moving back to SG in Dec for good and he's not willing to do investments (he's the kind who lets money sit in banks, not even on those high interest accounts unfortunately).

Anyway, thank you very much still! So now I have invested in IWDA, G3B and MBH using IB, POSB and OCBC. Now I chanced upon your rationale of having a heavier weightage on global stocks over local stocks, I kinda agreed too so I would like to check with you if this distribution is right?

For age 30,
IWDA (global stock component) 64%
G3B (Local stock component) 16%
MBH (local bond) 20%

In what situation(s) would investing CORP and/or EIMI are feasible? and how would the ratios be like if these two are included. CORP 1/3 and MBH 2/3 for bond components and EIMI being 1/10 and IWDA 9/10 right?

Last question, how would the distribution shift towards retirements? I am a little confused actually after reading your post 97 (thanks ChinoGirl). is it if I decide to retire at 55, I will start making the adjustments from age 45 with this following distribution

IWDA (global stock component) 52%
G3B (Local stock component) 13%
MBH (local bond) 35%

next 10 years to,
IWDA 15%
G3B 15%
MBH 70%

Am I right about the figures?

And thank you for the US related recommendations! I should have asked 3 years earlier T_T We are about 2 years left in US before moving back to SG permanently, unless he decides to pursue a post-doc in Cambridge or Pasadena areas.

BBCWatcher 05-09-2019 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nyl3v3 (Post 122606231)
Managed to get my husband to do Alliant debit card and accounts, but not for Schwab. I am moving back to SG in Dec for good and he's not willing to do investments (he's the kind who lets money sit in banks, not even on those high interest accounts unfortunately).

First of all, opening a Schwab One account doesn't mean you have to buy any securities. You can just park cash in it if you want.

That said, Schwab recently announced they're closing up their local office in Singapore and closing out local accounts, so unless you have a firm U.S. nexus (such as U.S. citizenship) it's probably not going to be helpful to have a Singapore mailing address on any Schwab account going forward.

How about (a) U.S. TreasuryDirect account(s) before everyone leaves? I know some people who are very uncomfortable investing in securities, but those same people are often much more comfortable with high quality government bonds, such as U.S. and Singapore Savings Bonds.

Quote:

Anyway, thank you very much still! So now I have invested in IWDA, G3B and MBH using IB, POSB and OCBC.
I cannot remember if you are fully under the U.S. tax system, but if you are that (non-U.S. funds) was premature. Your last U.S. tax filing is going to be "fun." ;) But I think you're on F-1/F-2 visas, right?

Quote:

Now I chanced upon your rationale of having a heavier weightage on global stocks over local stocks, I kinda agreed too so I would like to check with you if this distribution is right?

For age 30,
IWDA (global stock component) 64%
G3B (Local stock component) 16%
MBH (local bond) 20%
I'm fine with that. Just to keep the math a bit simpler you could make it 65%/15%/20% if you wish. If you're aiming for full retirement at age 65, let's suppose, then starting somewhere between ages 55 and 58 you'd begin a programmed portfolio readjustment, as I've discussed previously. That should involve gradually, progressively reducing the IWDA percentage while increasing the MBH percentage, assuming you're retiring in Singapore. G3B can stay at 15%, and thus at age 65 you'd converge to IWDA 15%, G3B 15%, and MBH 70%. Pretty simple! Yes, I know Shiny Things and I have slightly different suggestions, but I happen to think fixed percentages during the bulk of one's investing life is a useful, desirable feature because it's simple, and it happens to make a lot of financial sense. (The most important aspect of long-term saving and investing is to be dogged and reliable about it, insofar as possible. After that core principle, we're just talking about tweaks, really. But I like the Vanguard-style "trapezoid" allocation approach, mostly because I think it's simpler and reinforces the "be boring and dogged" approach.)

Quote:

In what situation(s) would investing CORP and/or EIMI are feasible? and how would the ratios be like if these two are included. CORP 1/3 and MBH 2/3 for bond components and EIMI being 1/10 and IWDA 9/10 right?
That's way too complicated. If you like emerging markets then just use VWRA in place of IWDA. VWRA's expense ratio is only very slightly higher than IWDA's, and that's acceptable.

CORP (CRPA actually, the accumulating variant) may be appropriate if you want to have a little global diversification in your bond portfolio, just to defend a bit against Singapore-specific risks. Or if you're not retiring in Singapore, or if you're only retiring in Singapore half the year (for example). I think CRPA is something you consider from mid-career or later, when you have some more visibility on possible future retirement choices. For now I wouldn't worry about it, assuming you plan to retire in Singapore (and have that right of abode).

Quote:

Last question, how would the distribution shift towards retirements? I am a little confused actually after reading your post 97 (thanks ChinoGirl). is it if I decide to retire at 55, I will start making the adjustments from age 45 with this following distribution....
First of all, I don't think you're going to retire at age 55. :) You might do something different, possibly even for less pay and/or part-time, but we'll see.

That said, let's suppose your full retirement age is N and that you're going to take 8 years, starting at N-8, to reorient your investment portfolio for retirement. You start with this:

IWDA/VWRA 65%
G3B/ES3 15%
MBH 20%

and you want to end up with this at age N:

IWDA/VWRA 15%
G3B/ES3 15%
MBH 70%

So your "program" is to shift 50 percentage points of allocation from IWDA/VWRA to MBH. And, to make the math easy, we'll translate that 8 years into 100 months, so you would execute this readjustment over a 100 month period. 50 percentage points over 100 months means 0.5 percentage points per month. Now, I don't think it's necessary to execute this adjustment program monthly. You could do it bimonthly, for example -- shift 1 percentage point every two months. Let's do it that way. At the two month mark you'd rebalance to this:

IWDA/VWRA 64%
G3B/ES3 15% (this stays at 15% throughout)
MBH 21%

and so on. Repeat that 49 more times, every two months, and you end up at your target full retirement portfolio allocation at age N.

If you want to insert CORP or CRPA into the mix during this programmed adjustment, or even starting before that, you can.

Note that if you have a spouse who likes to hoard cash (and/or government savings bonds), OK, then you might decide to reduce or even potentially eliminate the MBH/CRPA/A35/SSB portion and just let your spouse handle that part. It's up to your and your spouse.

chekseng80 05-09-2019 11:49 AM

I have some questions on insuran:

1. For DII, what is the best plan out there? Im fine with 180d waiting period and I have sufficient emergency fund (10m expenses, saving towards 12m) and my monthly expenses is 50% of my salary. Should i still go for 75% or 50%? Lastly, i an wondering why there is still only 3 DII providers when the claim ratio is either on par or lower than CI.

2. For shield plan, any better plan for my case? Is the new plan better? my family is on aviva's old plan 2 with rider for co-payment. The main reason i go for Aviva was the free cover for children. My 1st child is 100% free and 2nd child i only need to pay for the medishield life portion.

3. Currently i have a 1m term life with aviva untill 65. My annual income is slightly above 6 figures. My wife is working and my other dependats are 2 kids and mum (supoorted by other siblings too). My only debt is the hdb 3xxk which is also covered by hps for my portion of the shares. I was following the 10x annual income guide and i wonder if there is any need to further increase my coverage? If so, any better plan than aviva?

Appreciate any comments.

BBCWatcher 05-09-2019 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chekseng80 (Post 122610085)
1. For DII, what is the best plan out there?

Best in terms of policy terms and conditions, probably Great Eastern's.

Quote:

Im fine with 180d waiting period and I have sufficient emergency fund (10m expenses, saving towards 12m) and my monthly expenses is 50% of my salary. Should i still go for 75% or 50%?
Probably more than 50% to start because you have to factor inflation into the equation. As you accumulate wealth over the next several years you could reevaluate your coverage.

Quote:

2. For shield plan, any better plan for my case? Is the new plan better? my family is on aviva's old plan 2 with rider for co-payment. The main reason i go for Aviva was the free cover for children. My 1st child is 100% free and 2nd child i only need to pay for the medishield life portion.
Generally speaking you ought to stay loyal to your Integrated Shield carrier simply because you'd experience a preexisting condition "reset" if you switch carriers. However, I'm not a big fan of the old "zero dollar" riders especially in Singapore where most of us have compulsory medical savings (MediSave), so you could take a look at switching to Aviva's new rider.

Quote:

3. Currently i have a 1m term life with aviva untill 65. My annual income is slightly above 6 figures. My wife is working and my other dependats are 2 kids and mum (supoorted by other siblings too). My only debt is the hdb 3xxk which is also covered by hps for my portion of the shares. I was following the 10x annual income guide and i wonder if there is any need to further increase my coverage? If so, any better plan than aviva?
I'm not a big fan of the "10X" rule of thumb either. It sure seems like something an insurance salesperson or sales team invented, because it doesn't seem to have any basis in reality.

All you really have to do is figure out approximately how much money your dependents would need to maintain respectable, decent but non-lavish lifestyles if you were to die tomorrow. On the expense side you'd typically carry your dependent children through to age 25 (i.e. through university), for example. And you'd factor in net household wealth, perhaps with a reduction factor to account for unreimbursed/uninsured end-of-life care expenses. (Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos don't need life insurance. They can afford to self-insure.) If the final figure is $1 million, OK, great.

Aviva's MINDEF/SAF group term life insurance is an excellent value, so you'd stick with that one if that's the one you've got. Otherwise you can sanity check your term life insurance premium/coverage by visiting Comparefirst.sg to look at quotations for direct purchase term life insurance. Up to $400,000 is available via direct purchase, but if you want more than that you can just add together quotations for the coverage level you want to compare.

nyl3v3 06-09-2019 02:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBCWatcher (Post 122607717)
First of all, opening a Schwab One account doesn't mean you have to buy any securities. You can just park cash in it if you want.

That said, Schwab recently announced they're closing up their local office in Singapore and closing out local accounts, so unless you have a firm U.S. nexus (such as U.S. citizenship) it's probably not going to be helpful to have a Singapore mailing address on any Schwab account going forward.

How about (a) U.S. TreasuryDirect account(s) before everyone leaves? I know some people who are very uncomfortable investing in securities, but those same people are often much more comfortable with high quality government bonds, such as U.S. and Singapore Savings Bonds.


I cannot remember if you are fully under the U.S. tax system, but if you are that (non-U.S. funds) was premature. Your last U.S. tax filing is going to be "fun." ;) But I think you're on F-1/F-2 visas, right?


I'm fine with that. Just to keep the math a bit simpler you could make it 65%/15%/20% if you wish. If you're aiming for full retirement at age 65, let's suppose, then starting somewhere between ages 55 and 58 you'd begin a programmed portfolio readjustment, as I've discussed previously. That should involve gradually, progressively reducing the IWDA percentage while increasing the MBH percentage, assuming you're retiring in Singapore. G3B can stay at 15%, and thus at age 65 you'd converge to IWDA 15%, G3B 15%, and MBH 70%. Pretty simple! Yes, I know Shiny Things and I have slightly different suggestions, but I happen to think fixed percentages during the bulk of one's investing life is a useful, desirable feature because it's simple, and it happens to make a lot of financial sense. (The most important aspect of long-term saving and investing is to be dogged and reliable about it, insofar as possible. After that core principle, we're just talking about tweaks, really. But I like the Vanguard-style "trapezoid" allocation approach, mostly because I think it's simpler and reinforces the "be boring and dogged" approach.)


That's way too complicated. If you like emerging markets then just use VWRA in place of IWDA. VWRA's expense ratio is only very slightly higher than IWDA's, and that's acceptable.

CORP (CRPA actually, the accumulating variant) may be appropriate if you want to have a little global diversification in your bond portfolio, just to defend a bit against Singapore-specific risks. Or if you're not retiring in Singapore, or if you're only retiring in Singapore half the year (for example). I think CRPA is something you consider from mid-career or later, when you have some more visibility on possible future retirement choices. For now I wouldn't worry about it, assuming you plan to retire in Singapore (and have that right of abode).


First of all, I don't think you're going to retire at age 55. :) You might do something different, possibly even for less pay and/or part-time, but we'll see.

That said, let's suppose your full retirement age is N and that you're going to take 8 years, starting at N-8, to reorient your investment portfolio for retirement. You start with this:

IWDA/VWRA 65%
G3B/ES3 15%
MBH 20%

and you want to end up with this at age N:

IWDA/VWRA 15%
G3B/ES3 15%
MBH 70%

So your "program" is to shift 50 percentage points of allocation from IWDA/VWRA to MBH. And, to make the math easy, we'll translate that 8 years into 100 months, so you would execute this readjustment over a 100 month period. 50 percentage points over 100 months means 0.5 percentage points per month. Now, I don't think it's necessary to execute this adjustment program monthly. You could do it bimonthly, for example -- shift 1 percentage point every two months. Let's do it that way. At the two month mark you'd rebalance to this:

IWDA/VWRA 64%
G3B/ES3 15% (this stays at 15% throughout)
MBH 21%

and so on. Repeat that 49 more times, every two months, and you end up at your target full retirement portfolio allocation at age N.

If you want to insert CORP or CRPA into the mix during this programmed adjustment, or even starting before that, you can.

Note that if you have a spouse who likes to hoard cash (and/or government savings bonds), OK, then you might decide to reduce or even potentially eliminate the MBH/CRPA/A35/SSB portion and just let your spouse handle that part. It's up to your and your spouse.

TreasuryDirect.. okay, sounds like something he can consider. Once again, thanks for the recommendation! And the adjustments you have elaborated are easier than I thought! Thank you again too!

BBCWatcher 14-09-2019 01:18 PM

A Couple More U.S. Bank Accounts
 
For those of you who aren't U.S. persons and who have a legitimate, legal need for a U.S. bank account, I mentioned Alliant Credit Union as a possibility. I have a couple more nominees (in no particular order):

North Loop

North Loop is a smartphone-oriented bank that offers a checking account marketed to international students. However, you don't necessarily have to be a student (it appears). You can download their mobile app and open a FDIC protected U.S. checking account even without a U.S. Social Security Number or U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number, and before arriving in the U.S. Your Visa debit/ATM card will be waiting for you when you land in the U.S. (they claim, and obviously that requires a visit to the U.S. for this account). This account is devoid of most fees, which is common among U.S. online banks. There are no incoming wire transfer fees, no ATM fees (but no ATM fee reimbursements either evidently, although there are plenty of fee free ATMs in the U.S. in their network), no foreign transaction fees (just the pure Visa network rate, worldwide), no minimum balance requirements, and you can get some minor benefits otherwise. This account appears to be non-interest bearing.

TIAA Bank

TIAA Bank offers a basic, FDIC protected U.S. checking account that requires a minimum balance of only US$25 to avoid a monthly fee. You must have a U.S. Social Security Number or U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to open the account, although they're not necessarily hostile to "nonresident aliens" otherwise -- they do allow at least some. Fees are likewise generally zero across the board, at least in the areas that count. They also offer an interest bearing version of this account, but you need to maintain a higher minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee.

DOINK1 18-09-2019 01:57 AM

Hi BBCW & Gurus,

I would like to know if I am over or under insured with the insurance that I am currently having now.

I am a local born 37 years old with dependents (Wife and 1 child)

Insurance policy in force
-Term and disability insurance till 65 years old..
-Integrated medishield plan (Aviva Myshield Plan 3)
- MSIG Procare series personal accident insurance
- Dependants protection scheme (DPS), deduction from CPF OA with sum assured of 46k.
- Saving insurance which cover death & terminal disease (I know I shouldn't mix insurance with savings/investment). Will mature next year. Phew!!

My child insurance
- AIA integrated medishield plan. HSG Max B and Max essential B.
- AIA star protection plus.

Do advise if there is anything that I need or don't. Thanks.

ftpofmpo 18-09-2019 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBCWatcher (Post 122613211)
Best in terms of policy terms and conditions, probably Great Eastern's.

\

how do you view avivia's idealincome which has some discount for at least 3k, in terms of policy t&c?

kram62 18-09-2019 08:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftpofmpo (Post 122823757)
how do you view avivia's idealincome which has some discount for at least 3k, in terms of policy t&c?

I suggest that you have a look at the Disability Income Insurance threads on the forum. There are 3 of them. In one of them I made a very detailed comparison (I needed to get DII for myself last year and thoroughly compared aviva and GE offerings) and answered many questions.

In the end I went for GE. See the threads for why.

The "discount" on aviva seems just a marketing gimmick, it's constantly on "discount". Is like the ".99" prices, just to motivate people to buy.

IndianChief 18-09-2019 10:11 PM

Been buying iwda + eimi for past 3 years

This month bought vwra for first time... how much difference would the additional 0.05 % in expense make in the long run? Material enough to stick with iwda + eimi?

Side note - I qualify for no minimum 10 usd commission in IB... so there's a monthly cost savings of 2usd by buying vwra since its only 1 etf

BBCWatcher 19-09-2019 02:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DOINK1 (Post 122810801)
I would like to know if I am over or under insured with the insurance that I am currently having now.

I am a local born 37 years old with dependents (Wife and 1 child)

Insurance policy in force
-Term and disability insurance till 65 years old..

I assume you mean "TPD" (Total and Permanent Disability) insurance here, not "DII" (Disability Income Insurance).

Quote:

-Integrated medishield plan (Aviva Myshield Plan 3)
- MSIG Procare series personal accident insurance
- Dependants protection scheme (DPS), deduction from CPF OA with sum assured of 46k.
- Saving insurance which cover death & terminal disease (I know I shouldn't mix insurance with savings/investment). Will mature next year. Phew!!
You've got term life insurance, and that makes sense. It's in multiple forms, so you just want to make sure you're getting the best value term life insurance.

I'd replace your PA with DII.

Quote:

My child insurance
- AIA integrated medishield plan. HSG Max B and Max essential B.
- AIA star protection plus.
I'm not a huge fan of the third one. Which variant do you have?

Quote:

Originally Posted by IndianChief (Post 122825518)
This month bought vwra for first time... how much difference would the additional 0.05 % in expense make in the long run? Material enough to stick with iwda + eimi?

Side note - I qualify for no minimum 10 usd commission in IB... so there's a monthly cost savings of 2usd by buying vwra since its only 1 etf

I don't think it's worth worrying about either way.

DOINK1 19-09-2019 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBCWatcher (Post 122827939)
I assume you mean "TPD" (Total and Permanent Disability) insurance here, not "DII" (Disability Income Insurance).

Yes it's a TPD rider attached to term life insurance.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBCWatcher (Post 122827939)
You've got term life insurance, and that makes sense. It's in multiple forms, so you just want to make sure you're getting the best value term life insurance.

I'd replace your PA with DII.

I will look into it. If I'm not wrong only Aviva, great Eastern and AIA has DII. So which insurance company to you recommend?

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBCWatcher (Post 122827939)
I'm not a huge fan of the third one. Which variant do you have?

No other alternate other than these two. To be honest, I was persuaded to sign up after the agent told me it cover HFMD etc.Also my daughter recently got a minor heart surgery which was covered by insurance. So good idea to cancel the plan?

BBCWatcher 19-09-2019 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DOINK1 (Post 122832179)
I will look into it. If I'm not wrong only Aviva, great Eastern and AIA has DII. So which insurance company to you recommend?

Great Eastern appears to have the best quality DII (in terms of policy terms and conditions), and I like the fact they offer a 6 month waiting period to help keep the premiums more affordable. However, I don't have a strong preference. Shop around.

Quote:

No other alternate other than these two.
No, what I mean is that AIA's Star Protection Plus has a few variants.

Quote:

To be honest, I was persuaded to sign up after the agent told me it cover HFMD etc.
OK, so what's the catastrophic loss associated with HFMD that you cannot reasonably cope with on your own that a money payout would make better?

Quote:

Also my daughter recently got a minor heart surgery which was covered by insurance.
Covered by the Integrated Shield plan, I think you mean.

Quote:

So good idea to cancel the plan?
Well, as a "sanity check," look at the variant of that plan that you have and what its maximum possible payout could be if there's a valid claim.


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