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All You Need To Know About Emergency Fund Planning
“Save one third, live on one-third, and give away one-third.” – Angelina Jolie Although Angelina Jolie is not a financial expert, but her suggestion maybe one of the most prudent advice we must take it seriously enough.“Prevention is better than cure”.Yes, you heard it right, you should prepare for your future, a step ahead, and so you will not suffer later. An emergency fund is a readily available source to help you solve financial crises due to unexpected reasons. This fund can help provide financial security by creating highly liquid cash to meet any emergency and reduce the use of unsecured loans. What if you had a job loss, a major sickness, an accident or a natural calamity? Imagine what you would do, when there is no one around? Or when none of them can help you financially? Difficult isn’t it? Here comes to rescue, your “Emergency Fund” Have you set aside enough money, for an emergency?If yes, how fast can you access this money?Can your family access this money, if youare not around? If yes, How much and how fast can they access this money? What if you said you have already enough money in the bank?Some people who may think they have funds in the bank, may find themselves in dire situation to realise it’s not enough when they need it the most.Hence the money for emergencies should not be used for any other purpose; it can be used only for emergencies.People worry about some situations, they don’t want to face but can happen, like a job loss, accident or other such unexpected situations.BUT IF you have already put aside the funds and are ready for the worst. You may suffer and it can’t be fully eliminated, but the intensity will be reduced, at least financially. Here is a Sure Way to Start an Emergency Fund1. List your monthly expenses The first step is listing all your monthly expenses. Differentiate between expenses that are a must and which are not. Considering unnecessary expenses will help you cut down these and increase your savings. Include all kinds of expenses like rent, electricity bills, movies, dinner out, clothing, etc. 2. Decide your emergency fundHow much to set aside as an emergency fund?Keeping aside 3 to 6 months’ worth real living expenses is a thumb rule. If you have a stable income you may plan for the lower figure i.e. 3 months. If your credit limit is near and your income is less secure (job insecurity), you must plan to save for the higher figure i.e. 6 months.E.g. you earn $5,000 a month and you spend $3,000 for meeting your expenses, then your emergency fund should be in the range of $9,000 TO $15,000.To calculate the exact amount, you need to calculate what 3 or 6 months worth of expenses is for you. Add up what you spend each month and multiply by 6 (if taken for 6 months) and 3 months (if taken for 3 months). 3. Plan to saveYou have to develop a plan to save for your emergency. Your plan should include specific and measurable targets. Like how you saw in the above example, you have to decide whether you have to save for 3 or 6 months. ✔ If you are the only breadwinner in your family : You will have to save a bigger sum of emergency funds. Because if you lose your job, there will be no income at all. So you will need it as there is no one to support you. ✔ If you have an unstable job : You must have a larger emergency fund as the chances of losing your job is higher and you should be prepared. ✔ If you or your family have serious health issues : You should have a higher emergency fund as you may incur a lot of medical expenses. Talk to our consultants who can help you with an “income and expense tracker along with the Planner for Emergency Reserve Creation”. 4. Make emergency fund accessible It is better to put your funds in a liquid asset, as it is easily convertible into cash. If you invest in non-liquid assets like land, real estate, etc, it will be hard to liquidate them and take months to receive cash from sales. So for emergency funds, it is best to invest in liquid assets as you will be able to withdraw it when you need it with no delay. You should also ensure you are not fined.It may be a savings account that provides return and lets you withdraw at any time without penalty. 5. Follow the plan If your goals are realistic, sticking to the plan is easy. One way is to set up a systematic transfer from your savings account. The emergency fund should be separate from your regular savings account so you are not tempted to spend it and also don’t think you have more cash than you do. Questions you must ask yourself before using the Emergency Funda) Is it an emergency?b) Is it a need or a want?c) Do you need it now?So only when in an emergency, this money should be used. Underestimated Benefits of Emergency Fund Peace of MindThere is psychological power in knowing you have funds to rely on, in case of unexpected expenses. This emergency fund can give you peace of mind by assuring you that you can manage an unexpected expense. Financial stress can affect your health and life.By minimizing financial stress, you can improve other areas of your life. Experts say all should have an emergency fund, regardless of their financial situation, because it protects you against all the unexpected expenses that may damage your financial plans. It helps maintain discipline in investing.It will help you in the habit of saving regularly. As it becomes a routine, you will always save and have enough money for an emergency. You will look for reducing your daily expenses, so you will have more money to invest. This will stop you from being in debt and also pave the way for spending on things that are most important to you. The protective layer of your financial life.It helps protect your financial life, as you are ready for any emergency that could come your way. Your finances will not be affected due to crisis, as you have saved for all your emergency needs. You will be financially safe if there are future mishappenings or unexpected expenses. ConclusionAs you have seen the Importance of Emergency Fund, it is suggested you set aside some money for this purpose. If it is used for some other purpose, then in an emergency, you will not have funds, especially if it is a huge sum.So on the safer side; it is better not to use it for any other purpose. When in need, you will have the funds to use. You will not suffer much as you have already planned.You can save 3 to 6 months’ worth of real living expenses, according to your requirements. You can invest in a savings account, fixed deposit or liquid funds.What in case you are still not saving an emergency fund?When emergencies happen, you will not be able to manage and fail badly. You will have no safety and no way to access cash. Not able to pay an emergency can cause personal and relationship stress as well. Ending up in debt can be the worst you can face.Why take this risk? Are you ready to start saving for emergencies?Once you have 3 to 6 months of living expenses set aside; you will have peace of mind. You will be happy you saved for an emergency.
Structure of Hospitalisation Protection Plan
Hospitalisation coverage can be complex. There are simply 3 main components of insurance to cover for a typical hospital bill:(a) MediShield Life (using Medisave) for basic coverage for all Singaporeans/PR,(b) Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) by the private insurer(secured using Medisave / cash) (for added benefits such as “as-charged” & to upgrade hospital ward to 3 different tiers: Tier1 Private A; Tier2 Gvt A; Tier3 Gvt B1 wards.(c) Rider(secured using cash) to cover for both deductibles (can go up to $3,500 for A wards) & co-insurances (10%), less a 5% co-payment (of total bill due to a recent government ruling to curb medical overconsumption).Effects of Not Getting Complete Hospital Coverage Case Study: Client X has component (a) & (b), without (c) rider, and is discovered with late-stage cancer early 2020, and requires frequent hospital visits (A&E), hospitalisation, scans & blood tests, chemo treatment, specialist consultations. Cost incurred includes (per policy year) of $2,500 as they chose the Gvt B ward, and 10% co-insurance of all bills. Interim medical bills put the overall cost at $30K, with $2,500 & $2,750++^ required as cash outlay & a significant portion using Medisave.. Note the premium for the rider under Tier 2, is $41.80/mth (age 51-55). This rider is recommended for this case because it would help to offset the thousands of dollars for this case, & the overall claims experience will be better as all bills are eFiled, instead of filing under medical reimbursement (ie pay cash, claim later, lead time 1-2mths). Also, note that different bill sizes require different amounts of cash outlay based on the formula. to find out more if you need someone to discuss the typical bill size & payment structure.. *$2,750++^ is because some of the CT scans related to the chemotherapy sessions are claimed under post-hospitalisation treatment with a window of 100days only. Such related bills incurred post this 100days window will not be reimbursed.. ‘Wrong Sized’ Hospital Coverage Case Study: Client Y got the ‘wrong sized’ hospital coverage, ie component (b) – Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) (Tier 1), without (c) – rider. When seeking medical treatment, client opted for B1/2 ward due to government subsidy & overall costing. If you do not intend to secure the component (c) rider, why opt for Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) (Tier 1), because you would most probably (in reality) be utilising it at tier 2 (Gvt A) or tier 3 (Gvt B).Let’s see how much does this ‘wrong sized’ hospital coverage mistake cost a 51 YO male client.Option A: If you are on (b) ISP (Tier 1) – Private A ward w/o (c) rider, the premium is $1,165 ($600 medisave, $565 cash), ie if you decide to stay in Gvt B ward (for subsidy), it will cover the bills, less $3,500 deductible & 10% co-insurance.Option B: If you are on (b) ISP (Tier 3) – Gvt B1 ward with (c) rider, ie covering the full bill incurred less a 5% co-payment, the premium is $503 ($215 medisave, $288 cash).. Summary: Understand what your plan covers, & under what situations how much of the bills are covered, and the premiums associated with the customisation of your hospitalisation plan. In this case study, if you are >51, probably using Gvt B1 ward for treatment, putting yourself on Option B would have the cost saving (premium difference) of $663, that is almost a -57% savings, with a peace of mind that the overall bill payment will not exceed 5% co-payment. Note: as your age increases across the age band, the cost savings quantum will be higher! . Note: there is real value in discussing with your consultant on the recent governmental ruling, as well as your considerations for the customisation of every plans, & to evaluate if they still hold true.Else you should discuss your options & to further customised the protection plan to suit you best moving forward.. What are the options for your parents? Case Study: Recently I’ve met up with many young working executives who are currently financing hospitalisation protection plan for their parents (retired, no active income). What are the options available? Most parents have been on Tier1 with riders all this while prior to retirement, is these plans (Tier1) still relevant? Typically client would choose Tier 1 during the prime working of their life (such that medical turnaround time is fastest to ensure that one continue working & bringing income home). However, as we age & transit into semi-retirement/ retirement, the real need for fastest medical turn-around will be greatly reduced. Furthermore, given the increasing premiums (age-band) of Tier1 plans past 50’s onwards, we will definitely need to review it.For client, age 51, to reduce (b) & (c) coverage from Tier 1 to Tier 2 (cost saving of $2,253^). For the newer riders (c) which has 5% co-payment, the cost savings would be $1,141. This cost savings will increase drastically with the increase of age band, eg for client age 71, the cost savings will be $5,345 & $2,561 respectively, and one might consider to reduce the coverage to Tier 3 even to ensure long term premium sustainability.Conclusion: regular review to revisit the rationale behind past decision will set the stage right for resource allocation moving into the future.^Figures extracted from AIA, accurate as of Apr 2020. What if I’m covered by Corporate Employee Benefits? Case Study: Recently few of my corporate clients asked if they are over-paying for their personal hospitalisation protection plans, since their company is providing some form of hospitalisation coverage. This question is applicable to most Singaporean working adults, as your company would have provide some form of hospitalisation & medical protection as part of the Employee Benefits. To answer this question, it is important to understand how a typical hospital bill looks like, & how does insurance company process the payout.There are 2 groups of hospitalisation policy holders in Singapore, one with the new rider (requires a 5% co-payment) & the other with the old rider (full coverage) (for component c), and there are many scenarios in which the Corporate Employee Benefits will come in to help offset part of the bill. If you wish to find out more about how your company benefits can work hand-hand with your existing coverage, you can arrange for consultation with (as I specialise in both Corporate Employee Benefits & Personal Hospitalisation Protection Planning). I know costing is at the back of all client’s minds when making a decision on which company & which plan to secure. For ease of comparison across the various insurer, you can find out more from .To end off, I highly recommend for everyone to understand the individual company’s claim processes, & what are some of the situations that will trigger the activation of this hospitalisation protection plan. I’ve dedicated the next few articles to share on the pit-falls if the last step was not discussed & thought out, so please STAY TUNE 🙂 The article was written by,“Committed to Protecting 10,000 Families, to Touching Lives with my Heart (Hard) Work”Chris Zheng LiyuanSenior Premier Consultant (AIA)Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)Associate Financial Planner (AFP)
Personal Accident Coverage
So what exactly does a Personal Accident protection plan seek to protect? PA plan has 2 main parts:Part 1 covers ‘Major‘ disability due to an accident – Accidental Death, Total Permanent Disability (TPD) & even Partial Disability. The payout is in the form of a lump sum (cheque) to be used to sustain the quality of life (yourself &/or beneficiaries) after the accident.Part 2 covers for ‘Minor‘ disability due to an accident – treatment for food poisoning, fractures, sprains, physio, and even TCM / Chiropractic, dengue fever, physiotherapy, MRI scans (slipped disc, dislocation), etc. The payout is in the form of reimbursement (ie pay first and claim later). Lastly, as per most plans, there will be optional add on (‘riders‘) to enhance overall coverage, which I will not discuss here as the list goes on & varies between the different insurers.Myth #1: Expensive & Overlapping Late last year in 2019, few of my friends called me up with reported injuries – dengue fever, muscle imbalanced (physiotherapy required), 2 cases of slipped disc, shoulder dislocation (MRI required), injury to eyes during soccer games, and other cases of sprain injuries requiring TCM treatment. To my surprise, some of them are not covered by any personal accident (PA) protection plan, why is that so?I feel that a common misunderstanding is that the PA protection plan is expensive & overlaps with hospitalisation plan.Firstly, for a basic entry-level PA protection plan, with comprehensive coverage ($100K major, $2K medical reimbursement & $500 TCM/Chiro), the premium is only $15.34/mth!Secondly, for most of the scenarios that I’ve mentioned above, they do not require hospitalisation stay or surgery, as such hospitalisation protection plan will not be activated to cover for these outpatient treatment & scans. Myth #2: Only for those Active in SportsFrom my conversations with some clients, I feel that there is another common misunderstanding is that the PA protection plan is designed & meant for those who are active in sports or in a high-risk occupation.Taking examples of the above common minor claims processed by me, I realized that the bulk of incidents/ claims arise from mundane daily routine & they are not specific to any particular activity, or age group. In fact, it happens to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, w/o any telltale warning signs. Which is why insurance company charge a flat rate across age (0-65), regardless of gender, and will not increase in premium even after any ‘minor’ disability claims has been paid out. And yes, only for those in higher-risk occupations, the premium will be higher due to the risks involved. Understanding the Claim ProcessUnderstanding the claim process is as important as understanding the coverage. Honestly speaking, if you secure a PA plan w/o knowing how to file for a claim or through a telemarketer, it is as good as not having the protection at all, cos you will end up not getting the medical reimbursement back from us. It is very important to appoint someone who is well-versed with the claims process as your Financial Service Consultant.Processing claims with is a breeze, as I will be there physically to guide you through the whole process of filing & signing a ‘minor’ claim form (usually about 10-15mins). Upon submission to AIA, it will usually take appx 4weeks for the claims to be processed & for the funds to be reimbursed back to your account. Moving on in 4Q 2020, we are moving to digitise this process to serve you better, & to enhance your overall experience with us.Ever since I started out in this career, I have processed countless claims, helping to reimburse >$10,000 of outpatient medical bills (under personal accident) & another >$30,000 for hospitalisation bills (post-treatment) & benefits. If this is the first time you hear about the coverage of personal accident protection plan, and do not have one(right-sized) in place, or do not know how to file a claim, you need to speak with for a consultation & professional second opinion!I stay fully Committed to Protecting 10,000 Families, & in Touching Lives with my Heart (Hard) Work. Case Study #1 Client X texted me one day about his fiancé having backache one morning, and was subsequently diagnosed to have slipped disc. In a separate case, Client Y felt numbness in his hamstring & thigh areas after a game of badminton with his sons and was subsequently diagnosed to have nerve compression issue near his spinal area. Under both scenarios, medical bills like MRI, specialist follow up & physiotherapy (with referral) can be filed under PA.Expected bill (at private clinics/ hospitals) can go up $1,000+ for MRI scan, & $150/ session of physiotherapy (number of sessions as required), $100+ for consultation with specialist. Case Study #2 Client Z was down with Dengue Fever, & require treatment & regular blood tests for the duration of a few weeks. Under such scenarios, all outpatient medical bills are filed under PA.The expected bill (at Gvt hospital) can go up to $350+. Case Study #3 Client A slipped & fractured her knee while she was back in her hometown (m’isa) over the weekend. As Personal Accident protection plan is 24/7 worldwide coverage, we are able to process this claim.Expected bill (A&E) $100+ for x-rays & casting, & TCM treatment $80+ / session (number of sessions as required). Case Study #4 Personally, I was down with food poisoning (Gastriatirc) in mid-2019 after having family dinner at Bedok hawker 511 (our regular eating place). My family was down with vomiting & diarrhea the whole night, and we visited a 24Hr clinic for consultation & to have an injection.Expected bill (24hrs clinic off-hour) $120 x family pax. Case Study #5 – RejectionClient B injured his hip during exercise (gym), & got a referral letter for physiotherapy. However, he did not realise that his therapist is actually an exercise therapist, & not a physiotherapist by qualification. The claim of 4 treatment sessions amounting to ~$700 was rejected.Conclusion: it is very important to make sure that you are seeking medical care from a qualified & registered practitioner. If you do not know of any physiotherapist, you can choose to speak with our certified partners. Case Study #6 – RejectionClient C brought a full package of chiropractic treatment, with a portion of it not utilised. This is a compliance issue, as this benefit is provisioned for medical reimbursement, ie to pay & utilise the treatment session, & then to claim. We do not allow for claims for package-buy (future usage of remaining treatment plans). There have been uncovered in the past. I seek your understanding of the claims & compliance check processes before making any decisions to purchase package plans (as there might be a chance of under-utilising the package sessions). Overall Such a protection plan seeks to help offload medical bills & other treatment options associated with an injury, to have peace of mind, & focusing on a speedy recovery. If this is the first time you hear about the coverage of a personal accident protection plan, do not have one, or do not know how to file a claim, you need to speak with for a professional second opinion! The article was written by,“Committed to Protecting 10,000 Families, to Touching Lives with my Heart (Hard) Work” Chris Zheng LiyuanSenior Premier Consultant (AIA)Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)Associate Financial Planner (AFP)
Four Disciplines of Financial Planning Success
With the global markets buffeted by the impact of COVID-19 and the oil price war, it’s natural to be concerned about the rapidly shifting investment landscape and how it affects our financial goals.With more than 20 years of learning and advising client’s financial portfolio, I have come to appreciate the disciplines of financial planning.The world is always looking out for new ideas, trying creative ways of turning a profit only to lose much of their wealth. These disciplines have stood the test of time and will continue to hold true. 1.Think long-term and invest with goals.2.Spend less than you earn.3.Maintain liquidity (an emergency savings).4.Minimise the use of debt.As you can see, they are simple yet not easy to carry through. They seem common-sense yet often forgotten.Specific financial plans require in depth insights to arrive at specific objectives and goals. They need to take into account regulations, laws, taxes, etc., based on specific circumstances.But these are core disciplines to build your financial lives that would be more shock-proof in a fast changing and uncertain world. The 4 disciplines of Financial Success should be the core, the base and the beginning of everyone’s planning. If your foundation is built on these core disciplines, you will be more able to make your financial plans work, both during good and challenging times.Let me expand and explain. Think long term. The longer-term your perspectives, the better financial decisions you’ll make. Set goals for the future. Choose the most preferred investment strategy and invest for the long term. Worry less about the short-term ups and downs. Spend less than you earn. First you need to know what you earn and what you’re spending. Write them down. Call it a ‘budget’ or not but get as close as you practically can so that you know your numbers and you can monitor them.Develop self-control on spending. If you spend less than you earn over a long period, you’ll more likely do well. Always understand that we only earn what we saved. Maintain emergency savings. This reserve set aside will help you ride out life’s surprises. You will need to be spending less than you earn in order to build savings.And this savings will help you avoid debt, and perhaps relieve potential stressful moments too. Minimise the use of bad debts. I have shared with many of my clients about debt management. There are “good” debts and “bad” debts. When you increase bad debts, you increase your risk. It may allow you to have more now, but it will detract from your abilities to save and invest in the future. Financial problems are usually magnified with bad debts. It is easy to overlook these simple financial disciplines. But in good times or bad, recession or boom, inflation or deflation, these principles have stood the test of time. They will help you grow your wealth, increase your ability to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Talk to your advisors to review your portfolio soon.