Stocks versus Unit Trusts – What are the Similarities and Differences?
If you are unaware… the CPF Board has just increased the Minimum Sum amount for 2012 which means that if you are in that particular eligible group – you have to ensure that your retirement account must be at least at the stated amount.
And if you are sighing and complaining that this is unfair… this trend is here to stay and I have also shared in my previous post on the rationale behind this annual increment.
So What Can You Do To Help Grow Your CPF Account And Better Prepare For Retirement?
For a start, at this point of writing, the economy is not in a good state and there’s a recent report that almost majority of CPF monies that have been taken out to invest (in plans like Unit Trust or other form of Equities) have yet to make profit (means these people are losing money) – which is a dangerous sign!
Why You Should Not Invest In Unit Trust With Your CPF Monies If You Are Not Too Sure Of The Future?
If you are currently served by a Financial Planner who is very keen to sell you some Unit Trusts using your CPF Monies -do you know that he/she gets to earn a one-time commission fee (certain percentage from the initial amount) and a trailer fee (certain percentage from the onset value, e.g. the amount after every 3 months period). And these fees are deducted regularly (until you decide to terminate) regardless of the economy. Therefore if your Unit Trust Fund is not performing and fees are deducted… it will just get harder for you to break even and make a profit!
Have you checked out your local banks’ websites (notice the ‘s’ for the banks) and their revised interest rates for having a normal savings account with them?
If you have not… please do check them out now and come back to this post later… because if you have always depend on your savings account to plan and fund your retirement, it’s time to think twice and plan otherwise!
For The Privileged Few Who Keep Their Earnings In The Banks
I do know of a few friends and acquaintances who are earning way beyond their means and they are good with their personal finances and planning as well, therefore even though the Banks are not giving them “that good” interest rate, their own earning abilities will help them through…
But if you are still working towards being like them… you can consider taking on these few suggestions to help you make your money work harder! They are not guaranteed to work for everybody but if you are persistent enough, they may just work well for you along the way!
A Lesson First – What Does The Interest Rate Work For Your Money In The Bank?
Back when some Local Banks can still offer an interest rate of around 1% per annum, if you manage to have $10,000 with them, you can see a good $100 being given to you as a form of interest at the end of the year. And if you keep that amount + interest for another year, you will have an additional $101 being added on. May not seem significant but if you do the calculations, the additional amount will just keep increasing as long as you do not touch the money!
The additional and increasing amount that’s being given to you is due to the Magic of Compounding Returns and because of the number that’s being attached as the Bank Interest Rate.
Secondly, if you want to know how long it will take for this $10,000, you can use the Rule of 72 to calculate the estimated number of years needed with that interest rate. Simply take 72 to be divided by 1 (the interest rate) and you will simply get 72 years! Don’t look too shocked as yet!
Now… When The Local Banks Decide To Lower That Interest Rate To An Even Lower Rate
When the interest rate is lowered down to just 0.1%, your $10,000 is just making you $10 a year (instead of the usual $100) and it’s also taking 720 years for that money to double! You can look shocked now!
So is this how you want your hard-earned money to work harder for you? If not, it’s time to make some adjustments and take on some of these suggestions…
How To Make Your Money Work Slightly Harder…
#1 Put Your Money Into Fixed Term Deposits With Local Banks or Foreign Banks
You can start shopping around for Fixed Term Deposits with different banks. Not all banks offer the same interest rate throughout, so it’s advisable for you to check out the different rates being offered. For example, I have came across Banks from India (but having their offices in Singapore) that offer slightly higher interest rate as compared to local banks.
#1.5 Put Your Money With A Foreign Country
This little tip is shared by one of my clients who operates a business in Vietnam. Because he works and stays there most of the time, he is able to open a bank account over there and guess what… the interest rate for their savings accounts is, on the average, a double digit per year!
If you do have the chance to work overseas for awhile, it’s advisable to check out this opportunity! But do take note of the terms and conditions attached to it.
#2 Put Your Money Into A Single Premium Plan With An Insurance Company
You may not get a double digit interest rate but you will definitely get higher interest rate as compared to a Fixed Term Deposit, given that you are comfortable with setting that money aside for a longer time frame.
2010 is coming to an end soon and we will be welcoming 2011 in around 11 days time! And before the year ends, this is a good time for you and I to look into our Financial Planning.
What Are The Areas That We Can Look Into?
In simple terms with regards to Financial Planning, as long as it involve some form of monetary sense, it’s always good to look into. And if you like to know something concrete, here’s a list of what you can start looking into:
>> Your Financial Investments
Financial Investments would include your Investment-Linked Plans, Stocks, Shares, Unit Trusts. This can also include your investment properties (though not much changes can be done in the physical area). And basically, you will need to know with the past and present economical changes, how has it impacted your investment portfolio?
You may ask yourself these questions:
– What Am I Doing These Investments For? Retirement? Mid-Term Wealth Accumulation? On Impulse? Answers to these will help you to keep track of your final objectives.
– How Are My Funds Performing? As compared to end 2009 and now end 2010, how’s the performance been? Any changes needed to make sure that I am on track to my objectives?
– Do I Need To Pay Particular Attention To Any Investments? This will better prepare yourself for 2011, keeping track of funds that need your most attention will make sure you will not face any last minute economical shock.