Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The actual return of my Manulife investment-linked insurance after about 13 years of regular premium payments

My first investment-linked insurance is purchased with John Hancock (later acquired by Manulife and now known as Manulife) in April 2000.

Every month, I have to pay RM120 to the insurance company for the sum assured of RM30,000, and the bank will charge me RM1 for auto-debit from my savings account to Manulife. I was told that Manulife does not accept auto premium payment by credit card. Anyhow, I have added in this RM1 to the cost of this insurance, so its monthly payment is RM121.

Of course, the sum assured of RM30,000 is too small an amount. I have a much larger sum assured in another whole life saving assurance with cash bonus policy to cover up my protection need, which is out of topic here.

Every end of year since 2007, I have the habit of login to Manulife eLITE Customer Service System to check and record down my investment-linked return, and here is my record from 2007 to 2013.


As you can see, every month my premium paid will be invested into Equity Fund (40%) and Managed Fund (60%). The admin fee, insurance fee, etc. will also be deducted from the invested units accordingly.

Today (31 December 2013), I have paid a total amount of RM18,513 for this investment-linked insurance, and my return is RM30,507.62 which translates to 64.79% gain of total premium paid, annualized to 5.08% per year. (This is a rough annualized calculation, the more precise annual return is around 5.58%)

This return is better than putting the money in fixed deposit, not to forget that on top of the actual return, I still have a protection of up to RM30,000 for death, TPD, etc.

However, it also shows that the actual return is lower than the projected return that the insurance agent shown to me 13 years ago.

My actual return in investment-linked insurance as shown in the table above should be good enough to tell you that, don't expect too much return from investment-linked insurance. As my age grow, the insurance charges will also become higher and higher, which will erode into the invested portion of premium paid. I probably will surrender this insurance policy and get back my return around the age of 55-60.

For me, the best investment option is still directly invest in stock market. I can't imagine after 13 years, the money still unable to double up. In my own stock market investment, that return figure should have added one more digit behind.

Changed the firmware of my TP-Link TL-WDR3600 router from stock to OpenWRT then back to stock again

Recently, I have successfully changed the firmware of my TP-Link TL-WDR3600 router from stock to OpenWRT Attitude Adjustment (12.09 final). After some times, I decided to changed back the firmware to TP-Link stock Malaysia firmware version 3.13.32 Build 130723 Rel.9433n again.

The reason for me to make a move to OpenWRT firmware includes:

  • There is no way to have an SSH terminal access to the router to gain more access and control to it.
  • The 5GHz WiFi powered by stock firmware is auto-selected by my dual-band mobile devices within a short distance only. When the device is more than 5 meters from the router, it will auto-select the 2.4GHz WiFi instead.
  • There is very little information and logging on real-time connections and bandwidth usage.
  • The bandwidth control function is very basic, and lack of QoS functions.
  • IPv6 is not supported by the Malaysian version of stock firmware yet.
  • The stock firmware doesn't have VPN function. The router is unable to act as VPN server or connect to another VPN server as client.
It is pretty easy to convert the stock firmware of TP-Link TL-WDR3600 to OpenWRT Attitude Adjustment. The steps are as follow:
  • Go to http://downloads.openwrt.org/attitude_adjustment/12.09/ar71xx/generic/ and download the OpenWRT firmware with SquashFS file system. If you select the firmware with JFFS2 file system, the steps below might not be applicable, and you might brick your router if you don't know what you are doing. The file to download for TP-Link TL-WDR3600 is: openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wdr3600-v1-squashfs-factory.bin
  • Backup current stock firmware settings by going to Backup & Restore and click the Backup button. If you haven't performed any backup to the firmware settings, you will need to manually configure back all the settings later if you decide to revert back to stock firmware.
  • Do a factory reset to the existing stock firmware by going to System Tools > Factory Defaults and click the Restore button.
  • Flash the downloaded OpenWRT firmware by going to Firmware Upgrade section of stock firmware and select the openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wdr3600-v1-squashfs-factory.bin file just downloaded.
  • When the firmware is successfully converted to OpenWRT, you can access its LuCI web interface by going to http://192.168.1.1 and login as "root" with no password.
  • Before you do anything, perform a factory reset to the newly flashed OpenWRT firmware.
  • To setup OpenWRT to work with TM Unifi, you can refer to this article here: http://klseet.com/index.php/tl-wr1043nd-ver18/setup-for-unifi-10031-rc6
With OpenWRT firmware, I am able to access the router with SSH. OpenWRT is modular, and you can add new function/feature by installing new packages in System > Software section. I have played around with monitoring tool, VPN, QoS, print server, DLNA server, and some other features.

However, I am unable to make its IPv6 to work, despite installing all the required IPv6 packages. It is either Unifi IPv6 is not implemented in my area yet, or I haven't managed to figure out how to configure IPv6 in OpenWRT to make it work.

With OpenWRT, I managed to configure the router to deliver a better 5GHz WiFi network with further reach. The 2.4GHz WiFi network is also able to stay in higher connection bandwidth with my mobile devices. However, I find that the WiFi configured by me on OpenWRT is not so stable, and after some times, some of my mobile devices are unable to establish connection with the router, unless I reboot the router and sometimes also need to reboot the mobile device.

After about 2 weeks of usage, I somehow concluded that the engineers at TP-Link have actually did a good job in tweaking and optimizing the firmware for this router, despite more improvement is needed in the area of WiFi, QoS, VPN support, and IPv6 for Malaysian version of firmware.

I decided to revert back to stock firmware due to the reason of:
  • Only the stock firmware supports hardware NAT.
  • It takes a few steps to configure something in OpenWRT, which can be easily configured in stock firmware with a single step.
  • To gain back the stable WiFi, despite a weaker 5GHz range.
  • To gain back the 2 years warranty of the router (just in case...)
  • The stock firmware is already good enough for me.
  • IPv6 is currently something good to have, but is not a must. Hopefully it will be included in future stock firmware upgrade.
  • The physical switch behind the router to toggle WiFi on/off is only working with stock firmware.
The steps to convert the OpenWRT firmware in TP-Link TL-WDR3600 router to stock firmware is as follow:
  • Download the version of stock firmware that is compatible to replace OpenWRT with ease here: http://www.tplink.com/resources/software/TL-WDR3600_V1_130129.zip. If you choose other version of stock firmware, it might not work, and you might brick your router if you don't know what you are doing.
  • Unzip the file to get the stock firmware upgrade file wdr3600v1_en_3_13_26_up(130129).bin.
  • Backup current OpenWRT firmware settings, just in case you want to use back OpenWRT again in the future. If you haven't performed any backup to the firmware settings, you will need to manually configure back all the settings later if you decide to return back to OpenWRT again.
  • Do a factory reset to the OpenWRT firmware.
  • Flash the TP-Link stock firmware wdr3600v1_en_3_13_26_up(130129).bin to the TL-WDR3600 router.
  • Once you get back to the stock firmware, perform a factory reset again.
  • You can now proceed to upgrade the stock firmware to its latest version. If you need the Malaysia version of firmware to support for Unifi or Maxis Home Fibre Internet, download the latest firmware from http://www.tp-link.com.my/support/download/?model=TL-WDR3600&version=V1.
  • Restore the stock firmware settings from your backup that you have done earlier.
  • If your Internet is not working yet after restoration, go to Quick Setup and run through the steps there. The VLAN settings should be properly restored now.

Auspicious dates for signing contract, register for marriage, etc. in 2014

Here is the list of auspicious dates in year 2014 for signing contract, signing offer letter, register for marriage, receiving religious baptism, and other similar agreement-related activities. It is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.



Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Auspicious dates for housewarming, open house, party, gathering, etc. in 2014

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2014 for organizing and hosting meet-up with friends and/or relatives (会友), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

The dates are applicable for housewarming, open house, home party, gathering, potluck, and any other similar functions to meet up with friends and/or relatives. (Click the image to enlarge)



Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Auspicious dates for renovation in 2014

Here is the list of auspicious dates for renovation in year 2014, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)



Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

If you are going to renovate your house, don't forget to visit the "home idea" section of my blog to find out some of my sharing there.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Auspicious and inauspicious dates for starting new job / post / assignment in 2014

For employees, especially those in leading/managing position, here is a list of auspicious dates  in 2014 for starting new job/post/assignment, including joining new company, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

There is only 1 auspicious date for this in 2014.
I also include the list of inauspicious dates in 2014 for starting new job/post/assignment, including joining new company.

The other dates are neutral.



It can be applied to first day reporting to new company/department/office/position, go for the post to lead/manage a new business unit/team/project/programme. It can also be applied to assuming new job position after promotion/restructuring/relocation exercise.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards during the Holidays

December and January are the two busiest months of the year, with everyone rushing to buy last-minute gifts for the holidays, even shopping and partying until early January while everyone’s on vacation. If you are using your credit card to cover your holiday expenses, it’s advisable to get the most out of your credit card rewards.

Here are some tips on how you can maximise rewards during the holidays:

1.    Focus on your interest.


          You won’t get what you want if you don’t focus on your interest. Before signing up for a credit card, ask yourself what specific benefits you want… do you want miles for an airline? Are you hoping to get shopping rewards? Are you planning to score gasoline points? Do you want cash back rewards? Make sure that when you pick a card, you don’t get one that offers benefits you won’t use anyway. You should also be careful in spending your money—don’t spend more than you would normally do just to get rewards. Another tip is to pick a card that provides you with the option to choose either points or cash back so you can choose which reward you want depending on your needs at certain times.

2.     Choose cash back.


          Cash back reward is still considered as one of the best advantages of credit card usage simply because you can spend cash however you want to spend it. However, most credit card users opt not to get a card with cash back rewards because of the amount of money they have to spend in order to get this benefit. Another reason why most card holders opt to choose other cards is because they would rather let their points accumulate to get something they want instead of going for the cash back benefit.

3.    Discard other less advantageous cards


          To get the most benefits out of your card, choose the card that offers the biggest benefits, rewards program, has a zero percent interest rate for the first year of use, as well as one that provides you with double or triple rewards when you make a balance transfer.  Then after selecting, transfer your balance to that account and close off your other cards. However, you may only do this if your credit score is good, you pay your bills on time, and you are far from maxing out your credit limit on your other cards.

4.    Take time in deciding which credit card to choose.


          Most current card holders apply for a credit card without putting much thought into it. Take time to choose which card provides the best benefits instead of making a quick decision based on a specific freebie offered. Caution is also advised in choosing a card with annual fees as annual fees can add up and really cost you more than just choosing a cash back that doesn’t require you to pay annual fees.

5.     Keep track of your reward points’ expiration.


          Reward points have expiration dates nowadays. To prevent wasting money along with the considerable effort you spent in collecting reward points, put the expiration date of your credit card’s rewards a few days ahead on your phone’s calendar. Better yet, schedule a day in your calendar when you plan to claim your reward points and set an alarm so you won’t forget to claim it before it expires.

6.    Read notices from your credit card issuer.


          Some credit card companies change policies and usually send notices at your home address via snail mail. To ensure there won’t be any surprises, always read the notices you get from your credit card issuer. An example of change is implementing fewer points in their rewards program, or reducing the percentage of cash back rewards. Reading notices will allow you to be more cautious in your spending. You can also take the opportunity to look for a card that will provide you with more benefits in case your policy changes and you don’t think those changes will be in your favor.

Maximizing credit card rewards is easy if you take time to consider what you really want. The tips above should help you get the most benefits out of your credit card rewards program and enable you to have more of which you can actually use.

Note: This is a guest post by MoneyMax, a Philippines’ leading financial comparison portal which helps Filipino consumers make the right financial decisions as they settle on the best credit card, home loan, broadband plan, and more—fast, comprehensive, and free.

Auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in 2014

Before becoming the life partner, marriage is proposed by lover and engagement is made.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in year 2014 (year of Horse), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)


Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Good luck in getting your right life partner.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Auspicious dates for opening business in 2014

Here is the list of auspicious dates for opening business in year 2014, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. It can be applied to new business opening, or reopening of business after a break/holiday. (Click the image to enlarge)


Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Auspicious dates in 2014 for getting a baby

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2014 for getting a baby (求嗣), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

The dates have good element(s) to embro/faetus. Traditionally, the dates are referred for conception planning (making love and expecting a baby to the family). Nowadays, people also make reference to them for Caesarian delivery of new born.



Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Auspicious dates for baby first haircut (Mundan) in 2014

In many culture, religion and/or tradition, the first haircut of a baby is considered an important milestone for his/her life. The day is known as Mundan, Chadakarana, Halaqah, Upsherin, etc.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for baby first haircut in year 2014, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)



Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

UTOO S5 (10,000mAh) Li-polymer power bank is available now

Remember the UTOO S2 (3000mAh) and S3 (5000mAh) Li-polymer power bank that I wrote about recently? Now there is another UTOO S5 (10,000mAh) joining the family.


The UTOO S5 resembles the UTOO S3, but is thicker with double the charge capacity to 10,000mAh. It also has 4 LEDs in front, and with attached charging cable at its side.

With double capacity, we anticipate the S5 needs to have longer recharging time than the S3. UTOO says that the S5 is equipped with unique capability that can speed up the charging process safely, and the recharging time can be as fast as 7 hours only.

With double capacity, we also can have more spare power for our electronic gadgets, particularly smartphones with large screen, and also tablets.
 
 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Registering for CDS eStatement

Whenever our Central Depository System (CDS) account has share movement (buy shares, sell shares, transfer share, receive bonus shares, subscribe to rights shares, etc.), Bursa Malaysia Depository Sdn Bhd will send a Statement of Account (Penyata Akaun) to us via snail mail on the next month.

Even though there is no share movement at all, as long as there are still some shares in our CDS account, we will also receive the Statement of Account at a longer interval.

Now, we are given an option to subscribe to Electronic CDS Statements and Notices (eStatement) from Bursa Malaysia Depository Sdn Bhd to receive such Statement of Account and other notice paperlessly with our email account instead of the paper statement.

Converting to eStatement is free of charge, and can be done online at Bursa Malaysia website, as long as you have received your Password Phrase in your latest Statement of Account.

Here is how to do it.

Step 1: Open your web browser and go to the Request for eStatement webpage.


Step 2: Fill in the online form as shown above and click the Submit button. The Submit button will appear after you fill up the form.

Note that your complete CDS no. is "XXX-YYY-nnnnnnnnn", in the CDS Account No. field, you just need to key in "nnnnnnnnn" which is the last portion of your complete CDS no. You would not be able to submit the form if you keyed in the complete CDS no.

Also note that you need to obtain your Password Phrase from your latest Statement of Account. It will appear on every pages of the CDS statement.

Upon successful submission, you will be able to see the webpage as below.


Step 3: Wait for the confirmation email sent out by Bursa Malaysia to you. In fact, Bursa Malaysia still sent a paper confirmation letter to my postal address.

It's pretty simple, isn't it?



Monday, December 16, 2013

Auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in 2014

Here is the list of auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in year 2014, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)


Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

If you are going to move to a new home, don't forget to visit the "home idea" section of my blog to find out my sharing on mortgage, renovation, furnitures, electrical appliances, pest control, etc.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:
You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Trade-in old laptop and get up to RM650 rebate for new HP Pavilion laptop purchased at Thundermatch / SNS

For the limited time period between 1 December 2013 and 31 January 2014, now we can purchase a new HP Pavilion laptop from participating outlets of ThunderMatch Technology or SNS Network by trading-in our old laptop and get a rebate of up to RM650.

The qualifying HP Pavilion products are:

  • HP Pavilion 14-n060TX (Mineral Black)
  • HP Pavilion Touchsmart 14-n049TX (Silver)
  • HP Pavilion 14-n059TX
All the above comes with 4th gen Intel Core i5-4200U Processor, 4GB DDR RAM, 750GB HDD, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M display card. Their current selling price is around RM2,000.

The trade-in laptop must be:
  • Maximum 6 years old
  • Include the main battery and power supply adaptor
  • With working harddisk
  • No permanently marked or defaced
  • Complete and undamaged (reasonable wear & tear is accepted)
  • BIOS password unlocked
This would be a good chance for you to replace your old laptop. Beside getting the rebate of up to RM650, you will able be able to claim for income tax rebate if you haven't made such claim over the past 3 years.
 
For more information about this offer, visit to https://tradeupmypc.com/.
 
 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It is confirmed. OCBC Titanium Mastercard changed cash-back rebate terms

This has been talked about since 1-2 months ago about the Malaysian OCBC Titanium MasterCard implementing a new cash-back rebate terms and conditions effective 29 November 2013.

Well, good things would not last long, and it is now confirmed that cardholders of Malaysian OCBC Titanium MasterCard will get a less attractive cash-back rebate now.

Before the change, these are the benefits of Malaysian OCBC Titanium MasterCard which had been offered for years:

  • 5% cash rebates on petrol, utility bills, groceries and restaurants.
  • 1% cash rebates on other retail transactions.
  • The above is capped at maximum RM50 cash rebate per billing cycle.
  • Waiver of RM50 annual government service tax if spending is more than RM10,000 in the year.
  • Zero annual fee if the card is swiped more than 12 times in the year.
  • Free access to KLIA Plaza Premium Lounge if you swiped more than RM3,000 for air ticket and travelling packages.
This credit card had a unique round cutting at its right side.

Now, the benefits of Malaysian OCBC Titanium MasterCard has become:
  • 1% cash rebates on all retail transactions.
  • There is no cap on the cash rebates.
  • No more waiver of RM50 annual government service tax.
  • Zero annual fee with no condition.
  • No more free access to Plaza Premium Lounge.
This credit card now comes with blue or pink colour, and fall back to normal card's rectangular shape.

Previously, you can easily get RM50 cash rebate per month (or RM600 cash rebate per year) by spending as low as RM1,000 per month on the card. Now, you need to swipe RM5,000 per month to get the same amount of cash rebate. On top of that, you also need to swipe another RM5,000 to offset the RM50 annual government service tax.

As a result, we can anticipate that OCBC will lost a lot of its Titanium cardholders. The OCBC Titanium MasterCard was once among the best cash-rebate credit card in the market, and now that has become a gone history.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Does it worth to put saving in Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN-i)?

Now has entered the last month for our income tax planning for year 2013, and no doubt SSPN-i which can bring up to RM6,000 tax relief is one of the major consideration, especially for tax payers who fall in the highest income tax bracket.

The National Education Savings Scheme (Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional, SSPN-i) is setup by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional, PTPTN) for the purpose of higher education.

PTPTN is an education financing scheme established for the purpose of providing education financing (government study loan) to Malaysian students pursuing studies in local public or private institutions of higher education.

Over the years, PTPTN has been facing difficulty in getting back the loan repayment from graduated students, and there are RM2.3 billions of unsettled loan as reported in September 2013.

As such, there is little doubt to view SSPN-i to be setup to maintain the cash flow of PTPTN, or new students might not be able to obtain loan from PTPTN as their cash flow dried up.

Back to our question. Does it worth to put saving in Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN-i)?

From the income tax saving perspective, if you are in the highest income tax bracket of 26%, and you deposit RM6,000 into the SSPN-i account for your children, you will enjoy a tax relief of up to RM6,000 x 26% = RM1,560.

On top of that, SSPN-i will give tax exempted dividend of about 4% every year. If you only deposit the money in December, you won't get much dividend for this year, and you will need to wait for another year to get your first full-year dividend.

As long as the SSPN-i account has savings of RM1,000 and above, there will be free Group Takaful insurance as below:

  1. Coverage of RM to RM (dollar to dollar) of up to RM50,000 (general insurance)
  2. Death benefit / compensation for the depositor (RM2,000) and the beneficiary (RM500)
The depositor must be 18-65 years, and the beneficiary must be 1 day to 28 years.

There is also a matching grant of up to RM10,000 if your family income is below RM2,000 by the time your child is accepted into and registered with a higher education institute recognised by the government.

If you want to enjoy the tax relief again next year, you need to top up your SSPN-i account with additional savings.

Note that once the money is put inside SSPN-i, it is very difficult to withdraw it. You can only withdraw once per year, up to RM500 or 10% of the savings (whichever is lower). You can only close the account with 100% withdrawal when:
  • Your child is offered a place in any higher learning institution
  • Your child has voluntarily withdrawn from the education system
  • Your child has been expelled for a specific reason
  • Suffering from an illness certified by a doctor as being incurable
  • Experience total permanent disability as certified by a doctor;
  • Death of the child
  • Death of the depositor
Assuming that you keep your RM6,000 in SSPN-i account for 20 years, your total return, including the income tax savings of 26% relief, is about RM8,200.


In order to see whether it worth or not to put the savings in SSPN-i, I have expanded the table above to show the accumulated gain every year, and the annualized return in percentage.
 

As you can see from the table above, it is a good choice to put saving in SSPN-i if your child is above 15 years old and going for tertiary education in 5 years time. You will get the annualized return of approximately 8.6% and above based on 4% dividend rate.

After that, your annualized return will drop due to the low dividend rate, but still comparable to the return rate of Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) which estimated to be around 6% annually.

However, take note that the SSPN-i dividend between 2009-2011 are below 4%:
  • 2009: 2.5%
  • 2010: 3.25%
  • 2011: 3.75%
  • 2012: 4.25%
So it is not guaranteed you will get 4% dividend every year.

What if the dividend rate is estimated at around 3% per year? The table will be as below:


It is still a good choice to put your money in SSPN-i with an estimated dividend rate of 3% per year, for a period of below 5 years. More than that, there are a lot of investment instruments for your consideration which can give better return.

What if the estimated dividend rate dropped to 2%? The table will be as below:


Well, I think you won't consider it at that kind of dividend rate if your child is less than 10 years old now.

You might probably be interested to also read about:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Astro offers free On-The-Go (OTG) service to all subscribers until 15 Feb 2014

Parallel to the recent Astro price hike to sport pack and family pack in September 2013 which affects most of their subscribers, Astro has made an offer to all its subscribers to have FREE access to Astro On-The-Go (OTG) until 15 February 2014 to watch/listen some of their TV and radio channels over the Internet using either web browser from computer, or Android smart mobile devices (phone/tablet), or Apple smart mobile devices (iPhone/iPad).

Note that not all the channels in your Astro subscription are available in OTG, only some of them are made available. One of the good OTG features is Catch-up TV, which enables you to watch your favourite TV programme and/or drama that you have missed out when they are on show in Astro live TV.

In order to access Astro OTG, you need to register for an Astro ID that link to your Astro subscription account.

To access to Astro OTG using web browser, go to https://onthego.astro.com.my/ and login your Astro ID.


To access Astro OTG with your Android smartphone or tablet, install the Astro On-The-Go app from Google Play Store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.astro.astro



To access Astro OTG with your iPhone or iPad, install the Astro On-The-Go app from iTune App Store here: https://itunes.apple.com/my/app/astro-on-the-go/id521993797

After 15 February 2014, this Astro OTG will still be free to Superpack, Multiroom and Sports Pack subscribers.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Suitable home loan offers in Malaysia

Looking for the most suitable home loan?

Almost every bank in Malaysia offers housing loans at varying rates and terms. There is no definite answer, as to which one is the best because it all largely depends on the customer’s needs and capacities.

If you plan on applying for a home loan, the first thing you need to do is make a serious assessment of your current financial situation and a concrete plan that includes the property you wish to acquire, as well as the interest rate and loan duration that works best for you.

Other things to remember:

  • Most banks lend up to 90% of the property asking price or valuation
  • Some home loans only apply to uncompleted properties
  • The best loan will also largely depend on whether you are first-time home buyer or someone looking to re-mortgage
  • Many Malaysian banks offer flexi-loans
  • Loan approvals may be given depending on your minimum income and credit score

Once you are ready to shop for the most suitable housing loan, remember that the lowest interest rate or the fastest application processing period does not always mean the best. You may have to make a choice between taking a loan with a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate. Some home loans incur fixed interest for the first few years (lock-in period) before shifting to variable or floating rates. To get started in your search for the best loan to finance your dream home, check out the following housing loan offers:


AIA Tiered Home Loan

The Tiered Home Loan package by AIA is an example of a home loan with a fixed interest of 4.25% within a lock-in period. For the first two years, the rate on your mortgage would not fluctuate based on the base lending rates. Foreigners who are participants of the MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home Program) are eligible for this loan.


Citibank FlexiHome Loan

Flexible home loans such as those offered by Citibank allow borrowers to pay an extra sum on top of the designated monthly mortgage, whenever possible, as a way to reduce minimum and costs from interest. Eligible applicants can borrow up to RM100,00 with Citibank’s FlexiHome Loan, which can be payable over a period of 35 years. You would have to have an annual income of at least RM24,000 to be qualified.


Maybank Home Financing

If you would like a housing loan that allows you to pay a fixed amount every time you make a repayment, apply for Maybank’s Home Financing programme. Maybank Home Financing is shariah-compliant, which means that it adheres to the principles of Islamic banking. Islamic loans are offered by several other Malaysian banks.


AmBank Home Link

Loans such as Ambank’s Home Link come with flexible terms that allow borrowers to connect their loan account with a current bank account, as a way to shorten the loan period and save on loan interest rates. You can borrow up to RM800,000 at an interest rate of as low as 4.20%. Like most home loans in Malaysia, both citizens and non-citizens can apply for the Home Link program.

If you would like to see more housing loan offers available, you can try using a comparison tool and be able to view more loan offers from different Malaysian banks.

Note: This is a guest post by CompareHero.my, a Malaysia’s financial comparison portal which helps consumer in finding the right financial products at the right price.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Google Play Services is draining battery of many Android devices recently

Over the past few days, both my Android phone and Android tablet are experiencing abnormal battery draining, causing the battery to discharge at a faster rate than before and need to be recharged more often.

I suspect the culprit of this battery draining is the latest updated version of Google Play Services. Google Play Services is an integral part of the Android system and will automatically update itself from time to time when the Internet connection is available. It is used by Google Play Store (f.k.a. Android Market) and some other Google services in the phone.

If you search the Internet with the keywords "Google Play Services draining battery" and set the timeframe to "past week", you will find that a lot of Android device users are experiencing the same problem as well. If you don't set the searching timeframe, you will also find that this problem seems to happen occasionally every few months. However, the impact to my Android devices last time (if ever happened) was not as severe as this round, as I was not aware of such problem before this.

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8 shows that its Google Play Services stay awake and not gone for sleeping most of the time. That could be the problem.



Hope that Google will fix this soon, and update the Google Play Services in our Android devices with the bug fixed version at once.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Full report of HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2013 Results

Looking to live and work in a foreign country? Which is the ideal country for you to relocate to?

The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey claims itself to be the largest global expat survey of its kind. The survey compares and ranks countries across the globe based on over 40 factors like income, work/life balance and social life.

In 2013, over 7,000 expats in nearly 100 countries answered questions relating to their finances, quality of life and what it's like to raise children abroad.

The top 20 most desirable countries for expats based on 2013 survey results are:

  • China
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • Cayman Islands
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Belgium
  • UAE
  • Hong Kong
  • Turkey
  • United States
  • Qatar
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spain
Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, India, Brazil, etc. were not given an overall ranking as there is insufficient Raising Children Abroad data.

Excluding the Raising Children Abroad consideration, the top 20 ranking becomes:
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Switzerland
  • Cayman Islands
  • Bahrain
  • Singapore
  • Germany
  • India
  • Qatar
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Oman
  • UAE
  • Hong Kong
  • Mexico
Click here to download the full 81-pages report of HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2013 Results.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A family day trip to Sekinchan - paddy field and fishing village

Sekinchan (适耕庄) is a small town located at the south of Teluk Intan and north-west of Kuala Lumpur, which is well-known as the cozy village of fishing and paddy farming (渔米之乡). It is a major rice producer in central Peninsular of Malaysia, and also a main seafood supplier.

Departed from Klang Valley, we passed by a few small towns including Puncak Alam, Ijok, Kuala Selangor and Tanjong Karang before finally arrived at Sekinchan.

We relied on the Sekinchan map below for our trip planning.



You can download a PDF version of this Sekinchan map here.

Most of the attractions are located at Site A, which is in the middle of the paddy fields. Going in from the main road, we drove a few kilometres, surrounded by the paddy fields, before we arrived at Site A.


Each block of paddy fields is labelled.


By the time of our visit, the paddy is not ripe for harvest yet.



Along the way, beside paddy fields, there are also some specially built concrete structures for swiftlet bird's nest farming.

There is a Chinese temple with bright yellow walls which can easily be seen from far. This is a very good landmark for Site A.


There is a mango farm beside the Chinese temple.


And there is a small village inside Site A.

From Site A going towards Sekinchan town, we passed by PLS Marketing which is a paddy processing factory in the middle of the paddy fields. We saw several tour buses bringing visitors there. There are also lorries from BERNAS loaded with rice departing from the factory.

You can find Taiwanese pearl rice (珍珠米) available for sell in PLS Marketing. This type of premium rice can hardly be found locally.

There are also small packets of rice in brick size and shape, in nice packaging as good choice for souvenir.


There are several restaurants in the Sekinchan map above. We asked for recommendation and direction from a man we met at petrol station. He so kind to drive his car and lead us to a restaurant near to the fishing village. Sekinchan is famous for its seafood.

There are a lot of boats along the Bagan fishing village. There is a small beach called Pantai Redang next to the fishing village. The villagers are friendly to provide us the direction to the beach.

There are several tree houses and recreation facilities (such as swings) along the beach, available for free to tourists. The beach has quite a lot of sea shells. Unfortunately, it also has quite a number of rubbish left over by tourists. The nearby temple committee already initiated campaigns and activities to keep the cleanliness of the beach.



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Malaysia year 2014 national and state public holidays announced

The 2014 national and state public holidays in Malaysia as distributed by Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is as below.

 
There are 14 days of national holiday, and 2 of them fall on Sunday and 3 fall on Saturday. Most of the states will have around 3 state holidays in addition to the national holidays.

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Astro price hike again for sports pack and family pack

From 24 November 2013 onwards, Astro will increase their Sports Pack by an additional of RM6 per month, and also their Family Pack by an additional of RM2 per month.

The last Astro price hike was in mid-2011.

If you are subscriber of Value Pack or Super Pack 3, this price hike will not affect you (yet) and your subscription fee should be the same as existing.

Click here for the announcement in Astro website.

For enquiry and protest to Astro, click here.

You can also post your comment in their Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

UTOO S2 (3000mAh) and S3 (5000mAh) Li-polymer power bank

With more and more mobile devices come into our lifestyle, most of us already have portable power bank to provide supplementary and/or emergency power to our mobile devices.

Majority of the power banks available in the market nowadays are still using Li-ion 18650 battery cells. Those power banks are at least 2cm thick, pretty bulky to carry along.

The UTOO Li-polymer power banks attracted my attention with their slim and lightweight design. Li-polymer is the same type of battery used in smartphones nowadays, normally rectangular in shape and can be razor-thin.

The Guangdong based UTOO manufactures several models of Li-polymer power bank. At the moment, the more widely distributed models are S2 (3000mAh) and S3 (5000mAh), both come with 1 year warranty.


The shape of UTOO resembles a modern smartphone (but without a screen). On the left is UTOO S3 with higher capacity of 5000mAh, and on the right is UTOO S2. The S2 is only 8mm in thickness.

They are slightly bigger than the standard size of credit card, name card, membership card, and the like. What if UTOO co-brand with some touch cards, like this...


Both S2 and S3 are buttonless and using 4 LED lights to show charging/discharging status. S2 has red LEDs while S3 has blue LEDs. The LED on the left denotes 0-25% of battery capacity, 2nd LED denotes 26-50%, 3rd LED denotes 51-75%, and 4th LED denotes 76-100%.

Being buttonless in design, the UTOO Li-polymer power banks automatically work when one or more of their USB ports get connected, and automatically off when they are disconnected. The charging/discharging operation is regulated by an S-Power smart chip inside the power bank to prevent from over-current, overload, overvoltage, overheating, over discharge, short circuit, etc.

Note that both S2 and S3 don't come with any power adapter. This should not be a big problem as they can make use of the power adapter that come with our mobile device.

The S2 also doesn't come with any USB cable, while the S3 has one attached charging cable at its side.

The S3 is able to charge 2 devices simultaneously with its attached charging cable and its USB charging port working at the same time.


Although the USB charging port of both S2 and S3 only has maximum current output of 1A, they are still able to charge up my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which needs 2A charging. However, the charging speed is slower than using the Samsung 2A wall adapter.


This is considered a very nice feature, as most of the power banks in the market which don't come with 2A charging port are unable to charge up tablets that need 2A input.

Another different between S2 and S3 is that, S3 comes with a somatosensory system. It is able to show its current battery capacity by shaking it with our hand when it is not connected to any devices. While it is in charging operation, sidelay it and the LEDs will indicate the charging speed. All its LEDs will be off when you turn it upside down.

The UTOO Li-polymer power bank is able to recharge the battery in my HTC One from 15% to 100% in 3 hours time, which is comparable to charging with wall charger.


When the power banks are fully discharged to 0%, the S2 takes 4 hours to recharge to 100%, and the S3 takes 6 hours and 20 minutes.

I have done an experiment to connect the power bank to the wall charger and at the same time also connect its charging port to my handphone. The device is smart enough to charge itself to 100% first, then continue on to charge the connected handphone using the power that comes from the wall charger.

This means you can have both the power bank and your mobile device charged by "looping" them to one wall socket. They won't get charged together at the same time, and the power bank will regulate in such a way that it will get itself fully charged first, then pass over the charging current to the attached mobile device.

If you are looking for a power bank that is easy to carry, with nice design, high quality Li-polymer battery, good safety feature and 1 year warranty, perhaps you can consider UTOO.


Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.