Mobile Phone Screens Are Getting SMALLER!

If you bought a “6-inch” screen phone this year, it will have a SMALLER screen than the “6-inch” screen phone you bought two years ago.  Here’s why.
Call me old-fashioned (or just old), but I spend a lot of time reading stuff – articles, charts, and data – on my phone.  And I mean actually reading it – not ‘skimming’ through an article while my thumb is continually scrolling the page upwards.
A ‘Full HD’ screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels – which is nice for movies, and gives an eye-friendly ‘book page’ ratio of 16:9.   This has been the standard screen ratio of mobile phones for several years, up to the last year or so, when suddenly manufacturers have switched to a 18:9 ratio  (which is 2:1 by the way… no idea why they call it 18:9, duh).   For me, 16:9 is perfect for reading text.  2:1 isn’t – it’s too thin and narrow.   Supposedly, manufacturers have switched to this format because phones with skinnier screens fit into our pockets better, and are more easily used with one hand.   They hav…

What Can Bitcoin Teach Us About Retirement Planning?

So, you’re in the pub one evening, and a friend tells you about some fancy ‘investment’ called cryptocurrency. It all sounds a bit fishy. “I’ve been getting eight percent growth per month”, he says.You do the maths on your phone… $100 would become $108 after the first month. Then $117 after the second month. Then $126 the third. By the end of a year, it would be $252. That’s an annualised growth rate of 152% per annum. “Ok. Tell me more”, you say.You’re still a bit sceptical, but you drop $100 into the crypto. ~ ~ ~A month later, you’re back in the pub.“What do you think?”, says your friend.“Not bad, I’m up seventeen bucks”, you say.“Well, I’ve been putting in a thousand a month. I started ten months ago. My investment is now worth $15,650. Make hay while the sun shines, my friend!”~ ~ ~You get it. There’s an opportunity here. Your drinking buddy is onto something. That evening you go online and look through all those old bank accounts you’ve forgotten about. You manage to scrape toge…

Should UK Expats Pay National Insurance Contributions?

I live outside the UK - should I make voluntary National Insurance contributions?The decision on whether to make voluntary NI contributions depends on your own specific circumstances. National Insurance contributions for British expats?First a quick reminder. National Insurance (NI) contributions go principally to fund the National Health Service (NHS), the state pension, unemployment benefits, and sickness and disability allowances. Anyone employed in the UK will have an NI number, and make NI contributions via PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) deduction from salary. These are known Class 1 NI contributions (NICs).If you’re self-employed in the UK, you pay Class 2 NICs at a flat weekly rate, and annually Class 4 NICs based on taxable profits.If you are working abroad for up to two years and for a UK-based employer, you will likely be required to continue paying Class 1 NICs.  Alternatively, you can choose to pay voluntary contributions, Class 2 or Class 3. Depending on your circumstances, volun…

Roy Walker named winner Best Financial Planner (Financial Advisory Open Category) at the 2018 FPAS (Financial Planning Association of Singapore) awards.

It was my great privilege to be a finalist of the Financial Planning Awards run by the Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS) this year.And a surprise and an honour to be awarded Winner of the Financial Advisory Open Category.The FPAS was established 20 years ago, with the aim of developing and promoting the financial planning industry in providing independent unbiased financial advice.  The FPAS award aims to recognise financial planners in Singapore who excel in their professional knowledge, demonstrate financial planning skills at the highest level and uphold best practices.  The competition assesses the financial planning acumen of practitioners from three major industry sectors in Singapore namely the Banking sector, the Insurance sector and the Financial Advisory (FA) sector. The award also aims to develop and maintain high ethical standards and increase high quality financial advice within the industry sectors.The highly esteemed panel of judges represents the pinna…

Investment Outlook For 2018

After a nervous start to 2017 for investors, growth continued and the year ended on a higher note than most expected.  As we enter 2018, it’s a good time to survey the global economy and decide if our asset allocation is still appropriate.In this article I aim to address these straightforward questions:
Will there be a recession in 2018?How cautious should I be in my investment approach?Where are the investment opportunities for the year ahead?What asset classes should I overweight or underweight in my portfolio?
I will also reveal why an ox weight-guessing competition, held in 1906 at the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition, helps us derive more useful information than individual leading economists do about the risk of imminent recession.
This is good stuff, you really should read on!
Please share this article! >> Review of Key Economic Reports Remembering the First Law of Economists, it’s a good idea to conduct a broad survey of what the ‘experts’ have to say about t…

Why You Can’t ‘Beat The Markets’

Do take 2 minutes and watch this short video.In ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’, James Surowiecki explains how groups can be remarkably intelligent – often more so than the smartest people in them.  This is particularly relevant to the price of individual stocks, or indeed other financial assets that are efficiently traded in a broad open market.  Dimensional Fund Advisors call this ‘The Power of Markets’, and in the above video they elegantly explain why you can’t beat the market – because the price is already ‘right’ on the basis of known information and crowd wisdom.

British Expat? Here are the Huge UK Tax Benefits of an Offshore Investment Plan...

Would you like to maximise the tax planning benefits of being a British expat abroad? Read on for a summary of some key reliefs and allowances available from the HMRC tax man…(Note: this article is relevant to British expatriates working in Singapore and other overseas locations, as well as other nationalities who may be moving to UK in the future.)Click to download this information in PDF format.
Summary of Tax Benefits of an Offshore Investment PlanUnder HMRC tax rules for ‘foreign’ investment bonds and investment-linked life policies have additional tax planning benefits compared with their domestic equivalents. The purpose of this article is to briefly highlight the most important. The content is not intended to be specific tax advice of any kind, and rules can change at any time. Everyone’s tax situation is unique and you should consult a qualified tax accountant regarding your own circumstances.5% withdrawal allowance Time apportionment reduction Top slicing relief Clustering …

Tax Free Savings Plans for Australians?

Question: How can returning Australians (and expats moving to Australia) make MASSIVE tax savings by using offshore investment bonds and investment-linked life policy wrappers?Answer: Set it up while you’re an expat working abroad, and keep it running at least ten years (even if you go back home) for maximum tax benefits.(Note: this article is relevant to expatriate Australians working in Singapore and other overseas locations, as well as other nationalities who may be moving to Australia in the future.)Click to download a copy of this information in PDF format. Background - Repeal of Foreign Investment Fund legislationFor several years the Australian Tax Office (ATO) had very defined, and perhaps harsh, rules for how foreign insurance bonds were treated in respect of capital gains for tax residents in Australia. In effect, these tax wrappers were treated in a ‘look through’ manner and holders were liable for tax on actual gains made or at a deemed rate set by the authorities. This reg…

Why You Almost Certainly Need Critical Illness Cover

If you have an accident and become disabled so cannot work, or are diagnosed with a serious critical illness, … how will you survive financially?How will you live? Who will take care of you?Now, it’s self-evident that if your family relies on our income, then you need life insurance.What’s not so obvious is the other types of financial protection that are available, and why you might need them. Have no dependents and think you don’t need insurance? Think again…What’s The Point of Critical Illness Cover?People are living longer. The average lifespan of men and women is steadily increasing as a result of numerous factors - healthier lifestyles, nuturitional factors, and even simple genetics. Also, of course, the incredible advances in medical fields such as diagnostices, pharmaceticals, and surgical techniques amongst many others. Diseases and conditions that two decades were a death sentence are now quite survivable.But staying alive does not necessarily mean recovery or return to work.…

Health Insurance – Key Points To Consider

Professionals working abroad, and their families, have particular needs for health insurance. When you are away from your home country, access to quality healthcare is essential - both for emergencies and also general medical treatments that may be required from time to time. It is important to plan for the uncertainty of illness or injury, to make sure you can afford private medical care at the times you need it.If you took out health insurance back home, and haven’t checked if you’re covered when living abroad - check now!National health insurance schemes have restrictions on cover when travelling abroad - they are not designed for those planning to permanently move abroad and cover often lapses after 90 days. That’s why you’ll need to look at options available from the specialist firms that provide international cover for expatriates. There are a wide range of policies available and numerous international medical insurance institutions. Using a broker will save you time and also he…

Essential Considerations When Choosing Life Insurance

There are several different types of insurance, and if you download the LIA Guide To Life Insurance you will see Singapore-licenced products described such as Whole of Life, Universal Life and Term Life.A key feature for international professionals is portability - meaning that once the policy is in place, your coverage will stay in place pretty much wherever you live in the future.For expatriates and local professionals in Singapore, a common and popular form of life insurance (for insurance not investment purposes) is Term Insurance.Term InsuranceTerm insurance pays out a fixed sum on the death of the life assured. A term insurance policy provides life cover for a certain period of time, e.g. 20 years, so long as the premiums are paid regularly (usually monthly or annually).A term insurance policy for life cover only usually has a fixed premium due, which is guaranteed not to rise in the future as you get older.A term insurance policy does not accrue any cash-in value. At the expiry…