Tuesday, July 20, 2010

99 vs 1

A working person faces the following risks:

a) premature death
b) serious illness and disability
c) unemployment
d) insufficient income during retirement

The chance of (a) and (b) occurring during the working life is quite low, perhaps less than 1%.
By getting bad advice from insurance agents, they spend too much of their savings to insure against these risk.

Most people (i.e. 99%) are likely to face the risk of (c) and (d). This risk can be best managed through personal savings.

The savings should be invested to earn a good rate of return and can be withdrawn without penalty, e.g. through a low cost investment fund. The personal savings can be used to cover cash flow needs during a temporary period of unemployment, without the need to depend on borrowings which incur a high interest burden. If the savings are invested prudently, they will provide an adequate amount for retirement.

As an alternative, they can also buy a personal accident insurance for $100,000 at a premium of about $175 a year. Most of the risk of premature death is caused by accident, right?

The key priority is to have adequate savings (say 15% to 20% of your earnings, in addition to EPF) and keep it for an adequate rate of return (low risk fund). Spend not more than 5% of your savings on term or personal accident insurance.