What’s happening to my IP Hospital shield plan, again?!

As you may be aware, the Ministry of Health (MOH) recently released a list of cancer drugs that will be covered by MediShield Life and other integrated shield plans. The list includes both generic and branded drugs, and covers a range of cancer types, from breast cancer to lung cancer.

The inclusion of these drugs on the list is a significant step towards ensuring that cancer patients receive the treatment they need without facing undue financial burden. However, it is important to note that not all cancer drugs will be covered by your integrated shield plan. If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment or are simply concern with adequate coverage for cancer treatment, it is important to review your plan and understand the coverage available to you.

We understand that cancer can be a challenging and difficult disease to navigate, and we want to ensure that you have the information and resources you need to make informed decisions about your healthcare.

How am I affected by this?

From 1 April 2023, upon renewal of your Policy, your Policy’s (As Charged) outpatient Chemotherapy benefit and Immunotherapy benefit (if applicable) will be replaced with

– a new outpatient Cancer Drug Treatment benefit and

– Cancer Drug Services benefit.

• Cancer Drug Treatment benefit (CDT) – Only outpatient cancer drug treatments on the CDL will be claimable under your Policy, up to the treatment-specific benefit limits. Selected outpatient cancer drug treatments beyond the CDL will be claimable under riders. If you require cancer treatment following the changes, please consult your doctor early on whether your treatment is on the CDL.

• Cancer Drug Services benefit (CDS) – Services that are part of any outpatient cancer drug treatment (including treatments not on the CDL), such as consultations, scans, lab
investigations, treatment preparation and administration, supportive care drugs and
blood transfusions, will be claimable under the Cancer Drug Services benefit, up to
specified benefit limits.

Changes to the IP plan by the various insurers are as follows

Main plan

Singlife ( known as Aviva previously)

  • up to 5x Medishield Life claim limits for CDT (CDL) and CDS


– up to 5x Medishield Life claim limits for CDT (CDL) and CDS


– ranges from 3 to 5x Medishield Life claim limits for CDT (CDL) and CDS depending on the plan

HSBC (known as AXA previously)

– ranges from 2 to 5x Medishield Life claim limits for CDT (CDL) and CDS depending on the plan

Next, IP riders


  • Existing rider does not boost limits for CDT (CDL) nor CDS. However, it includes a benefit for CDT (Non-CDL)
  • Introduced a New Cancer Cover Plus rider
  • boost the limits for CDT (CDL) and CDS and includes a benefit for CDT (non-CDL)
  • benefit limits are on As Charged basis up to S$1.5mil/yr, subject to plan deductibles and co-insurance
  • you can apply for the rider, subject to health underwriting and additional premium
  • Note : this rider can be purchased to complement IP policies issued by third party insurers



  • Existing rider seeks to cover part of the deductible and co-insurance for CDT (CDL) and CDS

New Cancer Care Booster rider

  • Boosts the limits for CDT (CDL) and CDS and includes a benefit for CDT (non-CDL)
  • this rider will be automatically added to your policy upon renewal without need for health underwriting but will be subject to additional premium. You can choose to opt out.


– Existing rider boosts the limits for CDT (CDL and Non-CDL). Nothing for CDS

– No new rider


  • Existing rider boost the limits for CDT (CDL) and includes a benefit for CDT (non-CDL)
  • No new rider

In summary

  1. IP main plan does not cover CDT (non CDL)
  2. Cancer treatment is no longer on As charged basis and shall be catagorised into CDT (CDL) and CDS and shall be subjected to certain benefit limits.
  3. Main concern for policyholders will be the uncertainty on whether the CDT and CDS limits are adequate and whether it’ll be adjusted for inflation down the road.
  4. To address these concerns, Insurers have either enhanced existing riders or introduced new riders. Personally, I’ll encourage to apply for the rider especially if you’re on a private hospitalisation plan. However, new riders may be subject to health underwriting and additional premiums
  5. Perhaps an additional solution may be through a life plan with critical illness cover
  6. Switching of IP insurer is highly discouraged especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions
  7. IP plans have gone through significant changes over the years (e.g removal of full cover riders and introduction of panel specialists and pre-authorisation) and I foresee that it will get increasingly more complex

If you have any questions about your coverage or would like to discuss your options, please get in touch with your trusted adviser.

Winds of change beckons

In the course of the past few weeks, I have received inquiries on new and pending changes to the insurance industry and so I would like to share this news and how it’ll affect you as a policyholder.

1. Updated Critical Illness (CI) definitions come Aug 2020

Life insurers to change definitions of critical illnesses

CI definitions_new Vs old

This is done to “address ambiguities that have arisen due to medical advancements and health trends in the past five years,” said Mr. Khor Hock Seng, president of LIA Singapore and allow standardization of CI definitions across all insurers.

Existing individual life policies are unaffected but group insurances are expected to be I believe.

If you wish to benefit under the current set of definitions, do get in touch with me asap.

Singaporeans lack critical illness insurance cover: Study

2. Expanded list of CI

If you are holding on to a policy purchased at least 2-3yrs ago, it’ll probably cover just 30 CI. Now, it’s pretty common for insurers to provide 35 CI and there are a few offering up to 55 CI.

More comprehensive coverage is of course better for you.

3. Early and Intermediate stage CI

3 stage CI definitions

This was introduced sometime back in 2015 and the product terms and premium have now reached a certain level of stability and maturity.

Given that people are now more concerned over their state of health and will attend more regular health screenings, it, therefore, allows early detection of health issues and necessary treatment.

Allowing an early claim on health conditions will provide you greater peace of mind over healthcare bills and the option to say, take sabbaticals or take a step down from work to focus on the recovery of your health or spend more time with your loved ones.

Using Cancer as an example, you will note that Carsinoma-in-situ is excluded under the Advanced stage cancer definition whereas you will note that it is a covered or claimable event under Early stage cancer.

This then leads to the question on whether you prefer an early claim or when the illness has deteriorated till a possibly irreversible point? I believe the answer is obvious.

As Early CI coverage significantly increases the probability of a claim, the premium will be higher compare to an Advanced stage only CI cover, but well worth it’s value if you can budget for it.

4. RBC2 (Risk Based Capital 2)

Par policies could yield lower bonuses with new risk-based capital framework

In a nutshell, this will be a new capital framework by MAS for insurers to enhance risk assessment so that capital requirements are more aligned to it’s business and risk profiles.

While the new regulatory requirements will serve to improve the solvency of the insurer and ensure that the guarantees in their policy contracts will be better backed by appropriate assets e.g long term government bonds, the prevailing low bonds yields will mean a higher than desired proportion of the par fund will have to be allocated to bonds.

Resulting from above, a lower allocation to equities in the par fund may impact the insurer’s ability to meet investment returns originally projected. Worst case, you can expect to experience cuts in reversionary bonus and/or terminal bonuses on existing issued policies.

For upcoming policies, you can expect a lowering of the investment projection to max 4.5%p.a (was at 5.25%p.a when I first joined the career back in 2003), lower guarantees and restructuring of bonuses away from reversionary bonus towards terminal bonus. This, in turn, creates greater uncertainty for the policyholder to evaluate the non-guaranteed projections by the insurer.

Will this mean that endowments will no longer be attractive?

– This is a new normal and your bank deposits are not immune.

Banks here cut deposit rates in line with global markets

Local banks cut interest rates on savings accounts amid Covid-19 outbreak

UOB further cuts interest rates of flagship account

– In my opinion, it will still remain a relatively attractive form of long term accumulation for your children’s education funds and retirement.

– However, lower yields will mean that we need to

If you wish to secure the accumulation savings plans under the current guarantees and bonus structure, do get in touch with me asap.

Lastly, don’t let short term disruptions like Covid-19 put a pause on achieving your long term financial goals. With courage and determination, your continued action today will serve you well in future.

Singapore life insurance sales rise 10% in Q1; may take Covid-19 hit rest of year

Covid-19 and your Finances

The PM speech yesterday is a sobering reminder that the Covid-19 threat, now being a global pandemic, is far from over and we can expect to see a spike in infections and perhaps deaths. While our government can put in all the necessary measures to contain and eradicate the virus, it also boils down to the social responsibility of the individual to exercise personal hygiene and self-isolation if feeling unwell. 

But having said that, life goes on, just with some added precautions.

On the Financial front, what actions should you take in light of the prevailing situation? Well, here are my suggestions:-

– to address a global slowdown, countries will probably inject liquidity into the system and that’ll drive interest rates lower
– Hence, there’s no better time to seek lower housing loan rates
– we deal with mortgage brokers in this area and they’ll help you secure the most appropriate loan packages for you, hassle-free 

– Do get in touch if you’re keen to explore 

– this is pretty obvious. If you have been procrastinating to insure you and your family, there’s no better time than now to take action. If a pandemic happens in S’pore, insurers may hike premiums and/or tighten their underwriting, so lock-in your relatively low premiums now and secure your coverage in the interest of your family

 – Do get in touch if you’re keen to explore 

– this is especially true for self-employed or entrepreneurs whose earnings can be affected by the economic slowdown 


– Deploy surplus cash reserves and monthly surplus cashflow to generate higher yield in order to achieve your accumulation goals, whether it’s for wedding, child’s tertiary education or retirement. 

– I’ve been a strong advocate for endowment savings type plans as most clients will benefit better with a hassle-free approach to generate a respectable return of about 4%p.a with capital guaranteed, for their wealth accumulation.

– On investments, you can benefit from our company structured portfolios with regular review and rebalancing provided. To better ride through market volatility, it takes a long term horizon, nerves of steel and a dollar-cost averaging strategy to achieve your accumulation goals.  

– Do get in touch to find out more and to review your investment portfolio  


In the above screenshot, you will observe that major markets have dropped 25-35% within just 1 month. Taking reference from the U.S market, it has wiped out the entire 2019 gain in just 1 month!

 So are there still opportunities to buy? Certainly!

Invest now? To be advised…

Do email me to register your interest so that when the opportunity presents itself, you’ll be among the first to get notified

A. Company managed portfolios 

Minimum investment – S$10k (recommend at least $50k)

Recommended monthly investment – at least S$1k/mth 

B. Tactical Portfolio strategy (only for experienced and responsive investors)
Minimum investment – S$200k Cash only

This is not a time to be passive but rather to take proactive action to secure your long term interest. Look forward to hear from you. 

Meantime stay safe and positive always….

If you know any colleagues, friends, parents or relatives who would like to benefit from the above, your kind introduction will be appreciated and feel free to forward this article.

Get in touch at gilbert@avallis.com

Start off the new year with up to 9 months FREE Disability Support Programme*

Disability and YOU

You qualify to receive the disability benefit in the event you are unable to perform at least 3 Activities of Daily Living (ADL).

Why Sign up?

It provides interim financial assistance should you be severely disabled before you enter the national CareShield Life scheme in mid-2020.


* Singaporeans and PRs aged 30 to 40 between 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020
* BMI between 19-30
* Never claimed from Aviva (for any Life & Health product) 

Input agent code : 60003220 

*Terms and conditions apply.

If you know any colleagues, friends or relatives who qualify, do forward this to them to share the good news!

Are you ready for take off to Retirement Bliss?

What comes to your mind when you think about your retirement?  

Option A
Staying at home looking after your grandchildren, taking public transport to meet friends over coffee or majong. Taking an occasional vacation to a nearby destination in Asia. Healthcare options are limited to government restructured hospitals. Financially independent. 

Option B
Zipping around town in your car meeting friends for a round of golf followed with a high tea buffet in a hotel and some shopping in town. Have the option to change your car every 5-7yrs.  Ability to afford at least 2 vacations globally a year with your grandchildren. Healthcare options are available up to private specialists and hospitals. Financially independent with a decent-sized estate that can be passed down to your children and grandchildren. 

Whether it’s option A or B will depend very much on your desired retirement lifestyle and the size of your retirement nest egg prevailing at that point. The more funds you have, the more retirement options will be available to you.  

For most working professionals, I believe they will desire a lifestyle similar to option B but interestingly, their retirement plans may not match that objective. Why?

Some of the possible reasons are as follows:- 

  1. Prioritizes immediate gratification over deferred enjoyment
  2. Low savings ability due to inability to curb lifestyle spending &/or over-commitment to car and housing. With our high property prices, it is not uncommon to see couples saddled with at least S$1mil in housing loan nowadays
  3. Having a single income to support the family after a spouse leaves employment to look after the children
  4. Being overweight in investments with a performance that did not pan out as expected. Wost still, ended with a capital loss.
  5. Procrastination leading to delay and underfunding in the accumulation plan
  6. Overestimated that CPF alone will be sufficient for retirement
  7. Underestimation of how much is required at retirement age to live that desired retirement lifestyle

In this article, I’d like to discuss point #7. 

To facilitate the discussion, let’s think of retirement to like taking a long term overseas vacation…something that most of you will be able to identify with. After all, taking overseas vacations is one of the most favorite pastimes for overworked Singaporeans, wouldn’t you agree?  

A. The Destination

With every vacation, it starts with the destination.

Given our longevity, retirement may span at least 25yrs. Hence, for discussion purpose, let’s assume that we’re taking a Flight to Brazil which is a 30 hour flight time 

Perception pitfall: one may think that the retirement period is far shorter 
ST article

B. Plane type, Engine, and thrust, fuel capacity

Given the destination, which plane do you think can best bring you there most effectively in one piece with minimal refueling stops? A turboprop, piston, midsize jet or a wide-body airliner?
A wide-body airliner of course!

In financial planning terms, the size of the plane is akin to the size of the retirement nest egg required to provide you with the desired retirement lifestyle. If your financial adviser has done a calculation for you, you will realize that it’s no small change. After all, Singapore is reputed to be one of the most expensive cities to live in. 

With a large airplane, it needs to be equipped with large engines and fuselage to power the aircraft. Moreover, the cost of the plane is not constant. Instead, it goes up over time due to inflation.

Hence in financial terms, the earlier we start accumulating and the higher the regular contribution, the more power you will inject into the accumulation process…and the more likely we can achieve our retirement goal.

Perception pitfall: one may think that they can rely on CPF alone or that retirement doesn’t require too much money.
 ST article

C. The Runway 

Every plane needs a runway to allow it to pick up speed for take-off. Similarly for retirement, the runway is the time period from now till our expected retirement age. This is the critical period for us to contribute towards our retirement nest egg, and take advantage of the compounding effect of money.

Typically the larger the plane, the longer the runway needed. Since we have deduced from above that we’ll require a Airbus A380 equivalent, we do need a long runway for it to do a proper take-off, agree? That means that we really need to start early – as soon as we’re in our age 30s, to start the accumulation process. Appreciating this point is the most important part of the accumulation process.

If we take advantage of the long runway by starting early, small regular contributions can allow us to achieve our retirement goal with little financial stress. We can see that through the effect of compound interest in the picture below. It certainly looks like a plane take off trajectory, isn’t it?

However, if we procrastinate and start later in life e.g age 45, the runway will be shorter and we will be required to contribute significantly more on a monthly basis to reach the same end goal. That would be pretty stressful, wouldn’t it? Another example can be seen in the following 

If you’re only starting to accumulate in your 50s, your runway will be rather short and you will need all the financial firepower you can give to your accumulation plan. If you fail to do that, I’m afraid you may have to consider deferring your retirement age and/or downgrade your retirement expectation.

In summary, our ability to achieve our retirement goals are dependant on how well we manage the following 4 parameters:-

1. desired Retirement Lifestyle, expected Longevity and Inflation
– which will determine how much is needed at retirement age
2. Accumulation Period
3. Size of the Regular Contribution to the plan
4. Rate of Return on the plan (which I’ll address in a later article)

Ready to take off to retirement bliss? Get in touch with me at gilbert@avallis.com

IP riders – Navigating through the maze

IMPORTANT : This is particularly relevant to those who have a private hospitalisation plan AND 

– have an option C rider under Aviva Myshield (regardless of when it was purchased) OR
– purchased full cover IP (Integrated Shield Plan) riders with any insurer on or after 8 Mar’18.

As you are probably aware, all the IP insurers have made changes to their plans in line with the MOH announcement back in Mar’18, requiring co-payment features for IP riders by 1 April 2019

With the exception of Aviva, for those who bought IP riders before 8 Mar’18, you will continue to enjoy your rider with benefits unchanged. For Aviva policyholders, pls see “New Aviva Option C rider” below.

For those who bought full cover IP riders between March 8 last year to March 31 this year, your plan will transition to the new co-pay riders upon the renewal of your policies from April 1, 2021.

NEW Co-pay riders (how it works in general)

So how does the new co-pay riders look? Depending on which insurer and plan (we will assume private hospitalisation for discussion purpose) you are with, it may have the following features :-

1. 5% co-payment by you subject to a cap of S$3k/yr if you are using the insurer’s panel of specialists. No cap if using non-panel

2. AXA, Aviva and NTUC require an additional rider deductible to be payable by you if using non-panel specialist

3. AIA rider will not cover main plan deductible and co-insurance at all if using non-panel specialist

This is applicable if you bought the option C (combination of option A + option B) rider before 8 Mar’18. This rider will be effective upon your policy renewal in 2019.
– there is now a rider deductible payable by you as highlighted in the table below (Existing MyHealthPlus column)
– amount of rider deductible is dependent on whether panel specialist is used &/or pre-authorisation is given. Please refer to the table below- “Existing Myhealthplus” column.

New Aviva Option C rider (pls refer to Existing MyHealthPlus column in the table below)

New Aviva Option C II rider
This is applicable if you bought the option C (combination of option A + option B) rider on or after 8 Mar’18

Essentially, the Option C II rider covers 
– the main plan deductible after you pay a rider deductible (pls refer to above table, “New MyHealthPlus” column)
– 50% of the main plan co-insurance (your exposure is cap at S$3k if using panel specialist with pre-authorisation, otherwise no cap)

Insurer panel of specialists and pre-authorisation

In practice, on the issue of using the insurer’s panel of specialists and pre-authorisation, there may be a tendency for policyholders to overlook this as the specialist they see will often be referred by their GP or referred by their friends. Hence, there’s a possibility that your preferred specialist may not fall under the insurer’s panel.

This concern is real as I’m usually informed by my clients on their impending hospitalisation or surgery just days before the surgery or hospitalisation.

Moving forward, pls use the insurer’s panel of specialist (click on the link)

Telephone number for pre-authorisation – 66640246

AXA panel of specialists
AXA shield

AIA panel of specialists
AIA Healthshield Gold Max

To meet up for a discussion, just hit reply and we’ll get in touch soon.

Can your financial plan stand up to the Big Bad Wolf?

If you belong to my vintage, you might remember this cartoon fondly.
Besides being merely entertaining, we can perhaps draw some important lessons from it.
On reflection, we can note several parallels with financial planning.
Well you see, a financial plan is very much like building your home, to shelter you from the elements and to provide creature comforts to you and your loved ones.
However, there are 3 major differences between a financial plan and a home:-
  1. A house is a physical tangible item whereas a financial plan is intangible
  2. A house serves an immediate need whereas a financial plan serves a future need
  3. Unknowingly to most, the financial plan might be the only thing that can salvage your home
The 3 little pigs represent 3 types of attitudes towards financial planning:-

The pig that built a house of straw

This could represent an individual who

  • may lack awareness and knowledge on the need to plan financially or one who prioritizes resources for immediate gratification
  • prefers to DIY instead of seeking professional advise

The pig that built a house out of sticks

This could represent an individual who

  • has done some financial planning based on limited knowledge with the false comfort thinking it’s already adequate and has therefore underfunded the plan.
  • prefer immediate gratification over planning for the future
  • does financial planning on a sporadic rather than a systematic and holistic basis.
  • may have prioritized wants over needs e.g preference for wealth accumulation over family protection, thereby ending up with inadequate insurance protection.
  • has neglected to upgrade/upsize his financial plans to meeting his growing financial needs as he progresses through life (e.g getting married, starting a family and growing lifestyle needs)

The pig that built a house out of brick

This could represent an individual who

  • thinks long term and seeks the help of a trusted financial architect to design a sturdy financial plan that can withstand whatever life throws at it
  • has foresight and conviction to plan for the betterment of his family, he is willing to commit more time and resources towards meeting this goal
  • understands that a financial plan needs to be updated in accordance with his growing family structure and changing lifestyle needs so that the financial plan will always stay relevant in meeting his financial goals

  • In scene 1:58, he was being teased by the first 2 pigs on why he’s taking so much time and resources to build his house of brick when he could be playing. In life, it’s like when one is frugal/prudent with his money, choosing to defer immediate gratification so that he can channel resources towards meeting his future needs, while his friends indulge in parties and lavish/lifestyle goods? But he is not deterred and remains single focused, as he knows one day that the big bad wolf will be paying a visit and it’s best to be prepared in advance.
Ensure that everyone in your immediate family and elderly parents has an adequate financial plan 
In the story, when the house of straw got demolished, the first pig went to the house of sticks to seek protection, and when the house of sticks got similarly trashed, the first 2 pigs ran to the house of bricks to seek protection.
In life, this is like having a loved one who was uninsured, inadequately insured or not accumulated sufficient funds for children’s tertiary education or not having sufficient funds for retirement. Who do you think they will turn to for funds?
The Big Bad Wolf

The last character is none other than the big bad wolf but you know, so long as you’re financially prepared, there’s actually little need to worry and yes, that wolf can be tamed to become like a kitty cat.

The wolf can represent the following:-
  • Untimely death, disability, critical illness, a serious accident in the family
  • Funds needed for your children’s tertiary education
  • Funds needed to fund provide the desired lifestyle for your retirement years
If the above concerns are important for you to address, then it’ll be to your advantage to have the right attitude towards financial planning – plan early and commit the required resources to fund such future needs. Your family’s long term financial future depends on it.

Raffles Shield – New kid on the block

RafflesHealthinsurance(RHI) , a fully owned subsidiary of Raffles MedicalGroup, announced the launch of Raffles Shield, making it the seventh player to enter the industry. Raffles Shield is the first Integrated Shield Plan (IP) developed in collaboration with Raffles MedicalGroup and is a Medisave- approved IP providing coverage for hospital and surgical expenses.

Raffles Health insurance has observed that many who purchase IPs are keen to have private hospital coverage without overly expensive premiums, and would like to have more flexibility to manage their premiums. In response to this, Raffles Shield offers two attractive options

1. the Raffles Hospital Option
– typically, one has to decide between choosing a private hospital plan vs a government restuructered hospital plan and the decision basically comes down to affordability of premium.

With Raffles Shield howver, it offers an hybrid option where a government restructured hospital plan is combined with a Raffles Hospital option at an afforable premium without any pro-ration being applied.

2. the High Deductible Option (HDO)
– whereby instead of the usual S$1.5k-3.5k annual deductible, one can opt for a S$10k annual deductible in exchange for a lower premium.

This works especially well in situations where the insured is aleady covered by existing employee benefits and thereby avoids duplication of cover and paying excessive premium at the same time. When you feel the need to have a smaller deductible, just remove the HDO anytime during policy renewal without any medical underwriting!

Pre-existing medical conditions

Typically, hospital type insurance plans have the strictest level of underwriting whereby if one has a pre-existing medical condition, a health exclusion can be commonly expected.

Hence, another unique feature of the plan is that it might be able to offer coverage to individuals with certain pre-existing conditions and work with them through the Raffles Care Management Program to improve their overall well being.

To find out more about the plan and seek independant advise on which plan option suits your needs best, just get in touch wth me at gilbert@avallis.com

What’s the weakest link(s) in your financial plan?

If you’ve watched movies cast during medieval times example, favourites such as Robin Hood, Braveheart, there will be a scene where enemies tries to take out a fortified castle. Well, here’s a clip

So what has this got to do with financial planning you ask, Well, a sound financial plan is akin to building an impregnable fortress to provide shelter to your family and protect your most precious assets from enemies of every possible kind and direction.

Well, how to go about it?

As with every building,there’s 3 major components

1. Foundation
2. Structural beams and walls
3. Roof


It starts with a strong foundation as a building with a weak foundation will certainly fail over time.

In a financial plan, this is represented by Insurance.

To build a strong insurance foundation, there must be comprehensiveness and appropriate size.

– because of life’s uncertainties, you can never predict what kind of curve ball life throws at you. It could be an accident, a serious illness, disability or death. Hence, the importance to secure comprehensive insurance coverage to protect against the various risks.

– for example, if one buys S$1mil in Death only cover but is afflicted with a major illness that requires significant medical cost. Resulting from this illness, one may not able to return to work and therefore loses income. Because there isn’t any cover for major illness or disability, not only is he unable to claim a single cent from his existing policy, he’s obligated to continue paying premiums…but his ability to fund the plan is already impaired due to his loss of income.

source: Guide to Health Insurance

Appropriate size
– this will depend on the size of fortress you plan to build which in turn depend on the number of loved ones and precious assets you plan to protect.
for example, a S$200k life insurance may be appropriate for a single person just starting work but no so for a married person with children, mortgage and a car.

Structural beams and walls
To hold up your fortress, it must be supported by strong beams and walls

In a financial plan, this is represented by Savings.

The ability is save is dependant on your ability to control your expenses which in turn is dependant on how you prioritise planning for your future over immediate gratification.

As your family grows and prosper, you will have to continually build and fortify your walls

Having adequate savings will allow you to

a) set aside 6 mths or more in contingency reserves
b) purchase your home and car
c) provide for your children’s tertiary education
d) build your retirement nest egg


A fortress ain’t complete without it’s roof

In a financial plan, this is represented by Investments.

To protect against natural elements such as sun, rain, hail and snow, a roof needs to be properly designed.

Similarly, Investments comes with risk and needs to be properly structured such that it’s in sync with your risk appetite whilst being able to meet your investment objective at the same time

Hire an Architect/Builder

The above concept is probably easy to understand so what will you do next? build your fortress yourself or hire an architect and builder?

As with financial plans, you can already buy insurances and investments online, at a slightly lower cost but at the expense of much of your time and you may muddle through the process due to lack of expertise.

Successful people understand that their expertise lies in their career and their time is valuable. Hence, it’s actually more economical to hire a professional financial adviser to help design the right specifications for their financial plan and assemble the appropriate financial tools so as to help them achieve their life’s financial goals.

Without proper guidance, the propensity to buy what you like to buy instead of focusing on what you need is high – that’s where things will go wrong!

For example, there’s a high tendency to buy savings and investment products when in fact, insurance is a higher priority. Striking the right balance is key. Moreover, our financial needs evolve as we move through different life stages, and our financial plans should be adjusted accordingly to remain relevant.

Other weak links

If you have followed all the above steps in building your financial plan, that’s well and good.

However, your loves ones (parents and family members) may not have benefited from the same advisory process and may therefore ended up with a less than appropriate financial plan. Should their plan ‘fail’, you might be forced to downgrade your fortress to save them.

For example, should a family member fall seriously ill and do not have an appropriate plan to address this need, who do you think they will turn to for financial support?

Another example is when your parents retire and lack the funds for their ongoing expenses. Increasing longevity is a major concern and one may underestimate the amount of funds required at retirement. By the time one realizes it, it’s probably too late.

Hence, it’s important that every family member is equipped with a sound financial plan so that they will not become a financial burden to their loved ones.

Hope the above was beneficial. To meet up for a discussion, just send me a note on the form on the right, and we’ll get in touch soon.

From Flab to Fab

Have you outgrown your clothes and dread the feeling of buying bigger sizes?

Have you been eating more and exercising less?

Planning to go on a diet or exercise program?

Yes, I’m sure some of us have experienced the above…while a few have done something about it, others are still procrastinating…that’s understandable as it takes tremendous motivation, discipline and effort to stick to a fitness regime to get back into shape.

For those who have gone ahead to improve their physical health, well done and do keep it up lest muscle atrophy set in again.

For the others, buying a gym membership and not using it or having the mindset of “perhaps tomorrow” will be cold comfort and will unfortunately not propel you to where you want to be, wouldn’t you agree?


So what has the above got to do with financial planning?

Just like exercising to get fit, your financial plans need to be regularly updated to fit your current lifestyle and financial needs. Also, being disciplined in carrying out the plan mapped out by your financial adviser will certainly help in meeting your financial goals.

for example, as you grow from an individual with single needs to marriage and to starting a family, your financial needs will change in tandem and it’s best to update your plans to protect your interest and those of your loved ones.

Not having your financial plans updated will be akin to wearing clothes when you were in your teens. Most will probably not fit you anymore nor the style….not cool.

But some of you may say “Gilbert, it takes so much effort and financial resources to  get things done which is why I prefer to procrastinate“.

Well, I can appreciate that but procrastinate for how much longer?

How will that improve your situation by doing nothing in the meantime?

What happens if you realize that you need to file a claim and have cold sweat not knowing whether you have a plan that insures the event or that can cover it adequately?

Soon approaching your retirement age and finding out that you don’t have enough time to grow your retirement nest egg?

Realizing your investment portfolio has taken a hit during a market downturn as you didn’t respond to your adviser’s recommendation to rebalance your portfolio.

All of us have the same 24 hours of time and limited financial resources, thus how we prioritise these resources to better our future will separate the have and have-nots. Which segment would you like to belong to?

To get started on your financial fitness program, hire a financial coach today (yours truly at your service)!

“Most people do not plan to fail but simply fail to plan” It’s a personal choice. Take charge of your financial life TODAY!!