Critical illness plans are one of the most common types of health insurance policies that agents typically sell. It’s also an important health insurance policy that many consumers will purchase, either as a stand-alone plan, or as a rider tagged to a life insurance plan.
A critical illness (CI) plan provides a lump sum pay-out to policyholders in the event they are diagnosed with an illness covered under the policy. In Singapore, most traditional CI plans will cover 37 common types of critical illnesses.
However, not many people would know that policyholders have to meet the common definition of these critical illnesses before they are eligible to receive a pay-out. These are as defined by the Life Insurance Association (LIA) and it includes some exclusions. Here are 5 important definitions and exclusions that you should take careful note of.
Kidney failure is defined as the irreversible failure of both kidneys, which requires either permanent renal dialysis or kidney transplantation. That means if only one kidney has failed, it does not constitute a critical illness (yet).
A coma that persists for at least 96 hours, and as a result, brain damage which causes permanent neurological deficit assessed at least 30 days after the onset of coma is considered a critical illness.
However, it’s important to note that coma resulting directly from alcohol and drug abuse are excluded from coverage.
Many people don’t realise that early and intermediate stage of major cancers are excluded from coverage in traditional CI plans. Traditional CI plans only cover cancer during the critical stage, also sometimes known as late-stage cancer.
HIV is covered under CI plans but it’s only restricted to infection as a result of blood transfusion and occupationally-acquired HIV. In other words, HIV infections resulting from consensual sexual activity are excluded.
Liver failure which comes as a result of drug or alcohol abuse are excluded from CI coverage.
If you purchase an early-stage critical illness plan, you will enjoy a wider scope of coverage provided by the insurer. For example, unlike traditional CI plans that only provides a pay-out when an illness has reached “critical stage”, early-stage critical illness plan provides a pay-out during the “early stage” and “intermediate stage” of an illness.
Based on our observations, however, any illness that is a direct result of living in an irresponsible manner such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse and consensual sexual activity would still be excluded, even for early-stage critical illness plans.
The post Critical Illness Plans: 5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Excluded From Traditional CI Plans appeared first on DollarsAndSense.sg.
Anyone who claims they have no bad habits is lying, or at a job interview. We’ve all got some nasty little habits we’d rather nobody knew about. For some of us, it’s flicking boogers out the window. For a select few, it’s taking upskirt videos and decapitating cats.
But some habits, other than being gross or downright criminal, are also expensive. Here are five expensive habits that are costing you money, and that you should make it a resolution to break in 2018:
You wake up on a sunny Saturday morning, and there’s no work. What are you going to do with a glorious weekend’s worth of free time? If the first thing that crosses your mind is “shopping”, you’ve got a bad habit you need to break.
Recreational shopping is one of the worst hobbies you can have, so tell yourself you’ll go cold turkey and find other activities to fill the space. Online shopping also counts as retail therapy, so if you constantly find yourself drifting to your favourite online shopping sites, block them on your browser and find other things to do online… trolling on forums or creating memes are totally free. Just saying.
When you fail to pay your credit card bills in full, you get slapped with very high interest that can make your initial sum quickly bloat beyond recognition. If you don’t manage to pay even the minimum sum, you also get hit with a late payment charge. Ouch.
This means you need a pretty damn good reason to not pay your bills in full and on time—like losing your life savings in an internet love scam or something equally as sordid. Forgetting is not a good reason. To make sure you never forget again, automate all your bill payments which can be made by GIRO. If you do have bills that you’re struggling to pay off, consider taking a personal loan to pay off your high interest debt and then pay that down in monthly instalments at a much lower interest rate.
On any given day, we make many poor decisions. And most of these poor decisions are the result of stress and fatigue.
Let’s say you stay up till 2am surfing Facebook in bed, and as a result wake up late for work the next day. You miss the feeder bus to the MRT station, an in order to avoid being late to work, you call a Grab or Uber. Before rushing into work, you grab a coffee at the Starbucks outlet downstairs so you can stay awake throughout the day.
A lot of unnecessary stress can be avoided by adhering to a strict bedtime and practising good sleep hygiene.
Convenience is something Singaporeans are more than willing to pay for. Whether we’re spending money to have food delivered to our doorsteps, buying groceries online or paying someone to clean our homes, convenience is often more important than cost.
This intense need for convenience is often exacerbated by poor time management. When we always feel like we’re playing catch-up or there are too many things to do in a day, we’re more likely to resort to eating out instead of cooking at home, or jumping into an Uber or Grab instead of taking the train.
Improving your level of time management often leads to cost-savings. Making a meal plan and streamlining your grocery shopping process can save you from having to eat out every day, and working efficiently so you can leave work on time can reduce your reliance on Uber/Grab.
The percentage of Singaporeans with expensive gym memberships is not representative of the number of people who actually regularly make it to the gym.
Likewise, the number of people with subscriptions to local newspapers is not representative of the number of people who actually consider them an unbiased source of news.
If you have any memberships or subscriptions you’re under-utilising, do yourself a favour and cancel them. You’ll instantly save money each and every month, while undergoing zero lifestyle changes.
The post 5 Expensive Habits Singaporeans Should Consider Breaking in 2018 appeared first on the MoneySmart blog.
Saving seems hard. Whether it be mortgage bills or paying for groceries, gadgets and travel, there is always more to buy.
To reduce your spending and start saving without making your life too difficult, take the following steps to better manage your money.
First, plan and monitor your spending. Planning starts with preparing a budget, which will include income such as your salary and expenses that range from 87 cents for bus fare to a new iPhone or more.
Track your spending by writing everything down.
Review your bank accounts every month and compare your spending against your budget. Using apps such as Seedly can make it even easier to track your progress by syncing with your bank or credit card transactions and categorising your spending.
If your spending exceeds your budget, consider how to make changes.
Your review may show you are spending more than expected on certain types of activities, and you can do less without changing your lifestyle much.
You may also find automatic payments listed on your bank account for services you no longer need, and stopping payments for them can reduce your expenses a lot.
If you review your unit trusts or insurance policies, you may find that you are paying more than 1 per cent per year in fees. You can reduce your costs for new or existing investments by switching to lower-cost funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Planning in advance and monitoring your spending can, then, reduce your costs.
Next, use cards and mobile applications for discounts, and buy the right products. If you shop smarter, you can put money aside without skimping — and you may even enjoy a better lifestyle with higher quality food or gadgets and clothes.
There are a surprising number of mobile phone apps, for instance, that can help you save 50 per cent or more on everything from restaurant bills to gadgets.
Choose a restaurant from Eatigo or Fave to get discounts on your meals, buy through Shopback to save up to 30 per cent on your purchases, look for Uber or Grab promotions at TaxiBot, and consider using AirFrov or EZBuy to order items from overseas.
While you need to be careful to select the right services, and there are limitations on where you can buy, these and a multitude of other apps can reduce your costs significantly.
You may also use a credit card to get rebates. Using the right card can get you an 8 per cent discount on groceries, for instance, or 10 per cent for online shopping or 8 per cent in restaurants.
What you buy makes a difference, too. At the supermarket, for example, consider buying house brands such as Gourmet at FairPrice or Essential at Cold Storage rather than well-known names. The quality of house brands can be high, and costs are lower. A recent study by market research firm Nielsen showed that nearly 60 per cent of consumers here consider house brands as good alternatives to name brands.
Finally, whether you strongly support reducing climate change or not, lead an environment-friendly lifestyle anyway. Along with protecting the earth, it saves you money.
Use cloth napkins and reusable water bottles rather than disposable ones, for instance.
Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or LED bulbs that use about 30 per cent less energy.
Turn down the temperature on your water heater and install a low-flow shower head to reduce your electricity and water bills.
Whenever you leave a room, turn off the lights and fan or air-conditioner. The National Enviornment Agency offers this tip: If you use an air-conditioner, set the temperature at about 25ËšC and you could save up to S$25 a year for every degree you raise in the temperature setting.
Reduce, reuse and recycle: Even though it takes willpower to refrain from buying items that are not really necessary, when you do succeed, it translates into greater savings and you even get more space at home by reducing clutter.
Recycling efforts can be in the form of buying and selling items on e-marketplaces such as Carousell or more specialised sites such as Refash, saving money on your buys as well as making money from your used items.
PUT THE SAVINGS TO BETTER USE
After you make these changes to your spending habits and find that you have more savings, consider putting the extra money into a separate bank account to accumulate funds for your retirement or children’s education or other goals.
Some banks offer investment-savings plans, such as POSB Invest-Saver or UOB Regular Investment Savings Plan, where you may apply for automatic transfers through Giro every month to have your money go to investments in shares or bonds. OCBC Frank even has a plan called “Saving Goals”, mini-accounts that you can use to stash away your money and not use it until you release it.
It’s easy to think you don’t have enough money to save or that you will need to cut back too much in order to save. In reality, though, small changes can make a big difference, allow you to live very comfortably and still save.
What makes the most difference is managing your expenses and exercising self-control so that you shop smart and stop buying pricier goods you do not really need. By making small changes in lifestyle and saving a little more, you may reach your financial goals faster and live more comfortably.
You probably should consider vesting in Singapore Savings Bond (SSB) if you have been waiting out for the best rates.
According to the official site, the average return per year will be 2.31% when you hold out until the tenth year. That means a $10,000 investment will yield $12,340 in 10 years.
Do keep in mind, however, that the interest rate is only 1.42% if you decide to hold out for only 1 year, lower than in February.
You can apply through ATM or Internet Banking through UOB, OCBC or POSB/DBS with a minimum of $500 and up to $100,000. Application period closes at 9pm on 26 March. Results will be available after 3pm on 27 March 2018.
SSB is backed by Singapore government and is available to all Singaporeans.
Under the advertising rules, which took effect on 1 November 2011, licensed moneylenders are only permitted to advertise only through these three channels:
(a) business or consumer directories (in print or online media);
(b) websites belonging to the moneylender; and
(c) advertisements placed within or on the exterior of the moneylender’s business premises.
Therefore those moneylenders that you see advertising via Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, are mostly unlicensed moneylenders aka loan sharks, and you should avoid them at all cost.
I forgot to mention that DO TAKE NOTE: The maximum interest rate moneylenders can charge is only 4% per month, and a fee not exceeding 10% of the principal of the loan when a loan is granted. Nothing more nothing less.
Be careful out there, don't get swindled and pay more interest than normal.
What drives customers to credit cards? A 2017 JD Powers survey reports that 50% of respondents suggested that the primary reason they acquired their card is for cashback while another 37% based their decision on rewards programme. But if we’re all signing up for credit cards to maximize our points, rebates and miles, are we all following up on that? Or are we improvising along the way? Although the concept of credit card points as “free money” makes it easy to overlook your own credit card strategies, consumers can leave money on the table by failing to take advantage of every benefit offered by their credit cards. Here are a few ways credit card users are using their points wrong—and what they can do to fix it.
Do you know how many points you get for specific purchases on your card—or do you use it absentmindedly, letting points accrue automatically? A lot of credit cards in Singapore tend to offer a "multiplier" rewards where you can receive 4x to 10x more points per S$1 spent on a specific category of expenditures like online shopping, groceries or dining. Therefore, it is possible to use 2 to 3 credit cards to truly maximise the amount of rewards you can earn by rotating through them depending on how you are spending your money.
For example, you could use a card like Citi Cash Back Card that provides 8% rebate on groceries and dining to earn rewards on food purchases, while using a different card like HSBC Revolution Card to earn higher rewards on shopping and entertainment. However, if you use only one card of those cards for every thing, you may be leaving more points on the table than you imagined. For those who want to concentrate their rewards and spending only on one card, it may be worthwhile to consider a flat-rate card like DBS Altitude Card that provide the same amount of rewards on every dollar you spend regardless of the spending category.
Many rewards credit cards in Singapore tend to offer some form of points redemption mechanism that allows customers to convert their points into different things like cash vouchers or miles. However, you should carefully choose how to redeem your points because it can have a meaningful impact on the value of your rewards points. In general, you can often stretch your dollar by opting to redeem your points for credit card miles rewards. For example, the average conversion rate of a point across banks was about S$0.29 per 100 points for cash vouchers (including vouchers for specific merchants), while travel related redemptions (i.e. miles and vacation vouchers) were worth about S$0.40 per 100 points (assuming that 1 mile is worth S$0.01), a difference of 33%. Miles can also be worth even more when redeemed for long haul flights or business class tickets.
Unless cash back rewards are your chief priority, you should think twice before using your credit card points to justify using your points for a random shopping spree or online purchases. In many cases, a credit card will reward you with more miles than the cash equivalent of those same miles, a trend we also observed in rewards credit cards in the US where airlines have also struck deals with banks to attract more customers.
Paying with cash or debit card can be a great thing when trying to manage a budget. But if debt management isn't a problem for you, there’s no reason you can’t put big purchases on a card. This is especially important in Singapore, where both credit card rewards and credit card fees charged to merchants tend to be higher than most other countries in the world. For example, top cards in Singapore tend to yield more than 3% to 5% in rewards, while top cards in the US yield around 2%. Since you mostly pay the same price regardless of your mode of payment, you would be leaving a lot of money on the table by paying with cash instead of a credit card.
With most credit card users reporting that rewards programs are high on their list of priorities for credit cards, it can be easy to get caught up in the mania of choosing those credit card programs that offer the most value upon signing up. However, credit card churning can be a very dangerous and counter-productive exercise unless done extremely carefully. Some expert credit card churners are adept at maintaining a high credit score while utilizing a variety of registration bonuses, but requires a relatively high level of monthly spending spread across multiple cards, a strategy that is difficult for many to replicate.
When you sign up for a credit card, you should make sure to include a number of variables in your research: whether there are minimum spending requirements to worry about, how much annual fee you are going to have to incur, and whether you can afford to meet these requirements without leaving an unpaid balance at the end of the month.
With the above in mind, how should most consumers utilize their points? It starts with planning. Understanding your individual goals as they relate to your credit card use will give you a leg up. Study your own credit cards and understand where you’ll find the greatest impact in your purchases (for example, do you get more points for grocery purchases?) and redemption (will you have opportunities redeem your miles to travel?). Even “free money” should not be treated lightly.
Hello! Thanks for posting this. You've got some really good points about using your credit card. Though I doubt any of the Fengshui (or whatever it's called) stuff would work if unless you find a job and actually work.