I read an article in the newspapers by Sumiko Tan and felt the pain she must have felt. It is about her experience of buying an endowment policy and cancelling it, losing quite a bit of money in the process. Here are a few paragraphs taken from the article:
"I bought the plan from a financial adviser from a bank I have accounts with. He had cold-called me to arrange a meeting. He was patient in explaining the scheme. The returns looked decent and I didn't ask many questions.
"What really clinched it for me, though, was the shopping voucher... I would get a $1,800 Takashimaya shopping voucher. Shopping here I come, I thought gleefully."
By now, regular readers of my blog would be shaking their heads. Here are three points in response:
1. Always ask questions. No one cares more about our money than we do. If we don't care to ask questions, no one will do it for us.
2. Of course, don't ever ask a barber if we need a haircut. Get second opinions. Oh, we will be doing ourselves a BIG favour by making sure they are not from barbers too.
3. Don't succumb to the instant gratification of yield. If they come in the form of shopping vouchers, run away in double quick time.
"What I had regarded as welcomed enforced monthly savings suddenly felt like a debt I owed the insurer. I felt burdened. I hate being in debt.
"I decided to bite the bullet and backed out, and said goodbye to the two months worth of premiums.
"... at my age and given how I'm childless, waiting 23 years to experience its full benefits is foolhardy. I wish I had realised that earlier.
"It was an expensive lesson, but next time, I will read all the documents, compare products and ask more questions first.
"Needless to say, I also don't get the Takashimaya shopping voucher."
There is sadness but there is also a sigh of relief. I believe she did the right thing if for no other reason than the fact that the purchase robbed her of her peace of mind. Of course, she will be doing the right thing in future after this experience.
I would like to share 3 points a friend shared with me before:
Point number one:
Insurance is for savings and investments.
Insurance is a risk management tool.
Point number two:
Be insured for the highest sum we can afford.
Get sufficient coverage. Don't over insure.
Point number three:
All of us need all the different types of insurance.
We go through life stages and needs will change.
All very pertinent points and we will do well to remember them.
Here are some blog posts related to the points raised above:
1. Nobody cares more about our money than we do.
2. The instant gratification of yield.
3. Disastrous investments in the property market.
4. A true story about insurance and grapes.
5. Free "e-book": Retiring before 60 is not a dream.
Read the full article by Sumiko Tan: here.
Aiyoh, so tempting lor.
Alamak. What am I going to do?
AK likes freebies but are these really free? Or are they a return of capital? Hmmm...