Some people just don’t believe in Life Insurance. It’s incredulous to us, but there is a sizable population of them out there.
The notion of people not believing in proper financial risk management seems pretty far fetched in this day and age where the literacy rate is 97%, until we are reminded that there are people who believe in the flat earth theory and that the moon landings were a hoax.
Maybe some people just believe in doing things that hard way.
The best poster boy we know that embodies doing things the HARDEST way possible
Regardless, being the nice folk that we are, let us examine what options exist for people that stubbornly refuse to purchase life insurance. In descending order of seriousness, here are the options available:
1. Self Insure
Insurance 101: Insurance is the pooling of risk, such that when disaster strikes a small subset of the population, they receive financial compensation for the disaster. Everyone pays a small amount to participate in that pool.
For a person who refuses to enter that pool (buy insurance), he or she can simply self insure. Meaning set aside a sum of money at regular intervals of time (say monthly), until something happens (say cancer). Then its time to break the piggy bank and use the savings for treatment.
Here’s a worked example on how this is executed.
John hates all agents with a vengeance and decides to self insure for cancer. He sets aside $400 dollars a month to use for medical fees if he gets bad news from an oncologist.
To achieve a payout sum of $400,000, he needs to save for 100 months (8 years 3 months) and ensure he does not contract cancer during that period.
This concludes month 16! How many more months to go?
The alternative is of course just to purchase cancer insurance, which works out to around $600 a year, depending on which insurer provides the quote. But hey, let’s just do things the hard way!
What else is possible?
2. Risk it
If setting aside a sum of money that needs to be locked up for eternity does not appeal to you, then the next most viable alternative is just to YOLO it. And since there are two ways of interpreting YOLO, we mean the more irresponsible way (You only live once, so heck it!)
In stark contrast, the responsible interpretation of YOLO is: You only live one, so better do it right! We don’t refer to this interpretation here.
Our same protagonist John can also just throw caution to the wind and live his life as if nothing unexpected would ever happen to him.
After all, life is all about sunshine, bubbles and flowers. At least on insta anyway
Except that cancer is already the leading cause of death in Singapore, contributing to 29.7% of deaths in 2015. (Source here)
How’s Russian Roulette with one bullet in a 3 chamber pistol sound?
Which brings us to our last option.
3. Hope and Pray
This is self-explanatory. While John is praying for the avoidance of cancer, he should also pray for the avoidance of:
– 35 other critical illnesses
– Workplace mishaps resulting in loss of income
– Premature death that might send his family into financial hardship
– Losing his luggage on that trip to Taiwan
The key is to adopt a good prayer position. Pay extra attention to the eyes, they need to be cast skywards
Easy peasy, really. Just secure the services of a sympathetic deity of choice.
Which ones of these options resonate with you?
Let us know in the comments below!
www.ClearlySurely.comaims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.
For people that cannot recognize satire if it bit them on the leg, this article has been one of satire. (Duh.) If you haven’t done so already, get yourself properly covered by speaking with a trusted financial advisor. If you don’t know any, we can help hook you up with some of the great ones we know.
Once upon a time, there was a small town in Germany called Hamelin. Ordinary name notwithstanding, the city was overrun with rats. They were in houses, inns, shops, schools and in every street. Over the years, the people had been practising open dumping of food and refuse, and the rats multiplied, then their population exploded.
The mayor had often held meetings with the town folks to discuss this problem. They were well-meaning folk but had no real expertise to solve the problem. At first, they had thought that cats would drive away mice.
It turned out that there weren’t enough cats around to chase down the hundreds of thousands of rats in the streets. Besides, some of the villagers were more of dog people, if you know what I mean.
Then they tried using poison.
Incredibly, that backfired to a spectacular degree. Not only did the rats build up an immunity to the poison over a matter of weeks, but the poison also killed many other livestock and regrettably, even the cats as well. The prognosis wasn’t looking too good for the beleaguered town.
One day, a stranger sauntered to the town of Hamelin. He was a weird looking man, dressed in bright, outlandish colours that would make Lady Gaga blush. Oddly enough, he also carried a flute along with him. He had a stern look on his face and had walked straight to the mayor’s building.
Squaring down with the mayor, he said, “It is well known around Germany that Hamelin has a problem with rats. I will get rid of all the rats. What would my reward be?” For a moment the mayor was stunned.
It was difficult for him to believe that a man who was coming from somewhere suddenly was claiming to drive away all the rats from the city. Not only did a ratless town make it a great place to live, but industries like tourism could finally thrive.
“Ten Thousand gold coins from our treasury if you can do as you promise,” proclaimed the mayor without hesitation. The stranger nodded his head and said, “In a day’s time Hamelin will have no rats. Would you be so kind as to show me where my Airbnb is booked?”
After settling his accommodation, the strange man got to work.
He walked out in the street, pulled out his flute and started playing it. An eerie sound floated in the air. People of Hamelin could hear the beautiful tune from every corner of Hamelin and were paralyzed hearing this enchanting tone.
All of a sudden, there was a rustle that grew in volume until it nearly became unbearable. Thousands of rats came all the way from various directions, out of the hipster bakeries and fusion restaurants and indie cafes.
It seemed that the rats were mesmerized with the delightful tone of the flute. The stranger headed towards the river, with all the rats of Hamelin behind him. It was an extraordinary sight for the folks of Hamelin to behold. Here it was, at last, the bane of their existence being led away in neat little droves.
If the piper realized the commotion and admiration he was causing, he paid no heed.
He kept his head up high and continued playing the flute and walked right into the river, stopping only at its deepest point. The rats followed him in a trance and were drowned in the fast flowing waters of the river. Success! The strange piper had got rid of all the rats and kept his promise.
The mayor and the town’s people were rejoiced watching the bizarre yet wonderous scenes right before their very eyes. Work complete, the piper approached the mayor for his reward.
But the unscrupulous mayor had changed his mind. When the stranger went to him, he said, “It is a wonderful task you have accomplished but isn’t ten thousand gold coins a hefty reward for a day’s work. I will pay you five hundred gold coins instead. Besides, we didn’t have anything in black and white.”
Being an old timer on Carousell left the piper rather used to being lowballed, but this was a first. The stranger looked at the mayor up and down for a full minute and then walked out.
“Woohoo!” exclaimed the mayor. Not only did he get the de-ratting service for free, but the piper wasn’t even gonna put up a fight. The major had visions of buying a new bell for the town hall with the money he saved.
But this wouldn’t be a financially prudent (nor morally prudent) bedtime story if this mayor went unpunished. When people do stuff for you, common sense and morality dictate that you give stuff back in return. Especially when the compensation was agreed upon to start with.
As the pied piper walked out to the town square, he was approached by three other rather downtrodden people.
“Did the mayor just stiff you? I am the town doctor, and have been treating the spread of rat-vector diseases without compensation since the start of its outbreak,” lamented the first man.
“And I am the town architect, who has not been paid for designing new sewage systems that carry refuse away to prevent the rats from breeding. I can hardly keep my family alive these days,” a tear rolled down the left cheek of the second man.
“I am the town’s only financial specialist, and the mayor has denied my dues despite me providing adequate insurance protection for those affected by the rats. He literally has not given me a penny for over hundreds of hours of work,” said the third man.
Upon hearing this, the pied piper’s resolve hardened. “No worries, gents, for I am here to settle the score once and for all.”
In the street, he pulled out his flute again and started playing it. This time the sound that came from the flute was different but was eerie as well. All the children of Hamelin stiffened and started to follow the stranger with glazed eyes.
The stranger walked out of town and disappeared into the mountains. Children followed him, impervious to any exterior stimuli.
The parents of the children wept, “Where had the stranger taken their children,” they went to the mayor and complained about it. The mayor was helpless. He knew that he had been dishonest (and a real prick) with the stranger.
The stranger returned to Hamelin but children didn’t accompany him. The mayor rushed to him, begging for forgiveness.
Pleading with the piper, he wailed out loud on this knees, “Please sir, I admit that I am in the wrong. I am prepared to make good our original agreement.”
Without batting an eyelid, the piper stated his terms, “Actually, not so fast. If you broke our agreement, then there should be some extra compensation given to me. After all, if you had been straight up with me, there wouldn’t have been this mess in the first place. Also, you need to pay the other professionals their dues.”
Completely and utterly broken, the mayor was left with no choice and paid up his all his debt, and then some.
Satisfied, the pied piper played his haunting tune to beckon all the children up in the mountains, and the town rejoiced. (Only those with children, mind. The singles were kind of ambivalent. Such is human nature.)
The mayor was shortly replaced in the next elections by someone with higher moral standings, and legend has it the pied piper bought a new set of Versace suits with his money. No one said that heroes couldn’t have weird fashion tastes.
The morals of the story?
Pay your professionals for the work they do, and never try to lowball them as you would on Carousell. They are professionals for a reason!
Once upon a time, there were a family of three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was Baby Bear, and one was Mama Bear, and the other was Papa Bear.
Now, these were no ordinary Bears, but they fancied themselves to be trading and investment gurus. Instead of hunting rabbits or gathering berries like the other bears, this family made a living out of buying and selling paper assets.
They had each a bowl for their porridge; a little bowl for the Little Wee Bear; a middle-sized bowl for Mama Bear; and a great bowl for Papa Bear.
In addition to that, they each had a trading terminal for their own use; a little terminal for Baby Bear; a middle-sized terminal for Mama Bear, and a great big terminal for Papa Bear.
And they had each a bed to sleep in; a little bed for Baby Bear; a middle-sized bed for Mama Bear; and a great bed for Papa Bear.
One day, after they had made the porridge for their breakfast, and poured it into their porridge-bowls, they walked out into the wood while the porridge was cooling, so that they might not burn their tongues.
(They had time for a walk since the markets were not going to be open for another 45 minutes)
And while they were away a little girl called Goldilocks, who lived at the other side of the wood and had been sent on an errand by her mother, passed by the house, and looked in at the window. And then she peeped in at the keyhole and caught sight of the 3 bowls of porridge that were left unguarded.
It was all too much temptation for the little girl. So Goldilocks opened the door and set about helping herself.
First, she tasted the porridge of Papa Bear, but that was too hot for her. Next, she tasted the porridge of Mama Bear, but that was too cold for her. And then she went to the porridge of Baby Bear and tasted it. “Wow! It is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right,” exclaimed the greedy little girl and gobbled every last bit up.
Then Goldilocks caught sight of the 3 gleaming terminals that were set in the study room. Young (and somewhat criminally inclined) as she was, the little girl was actually a precocious trading genius. She knew a fair bit about equities, derivatives, pricing models, and general speculation/hedging techniques.
She sat herself down to Papa Bear’s Terminal and scrolled through his past trades.
“My! What an idiot! The fool is generating so many trades on a frequent basis, he is paying a tonne of dues via brokerage and commission charges,” she clucked her displeasure.
And it was true. Goldilocks knew that far too many novice traders feel that the mark of a good trader was to keep making trades. That agenda sits well with all brokerage houses since it was how they made their profits.
She leapt off the chair in disgust and climbed up to view the second terminal, belonging to Mama Bear.
“This is nothing short of lunacy, spreading all her trades out across 17 different sectors and 24 different industries,” she shook her head in disbelief.
Again, the girl knew what she was talking about. Diversification is great and all, but people have a nasty tendency to invest in businesses they knew nothing about. Fintech, Crypto, Biotech, alternative energies, modern art etc. The average person probably knows the ins and outs of one or two industries at most, and should really stick to investing in what she knows best. Dipping your toes into too many ponds is generally a stupid idea. Just do as Warren Buffet does, which is to stick to his circle of competence.
(Hint: It is a lot smaller for most people than they care to admit in public. “I don’t know enough” could be the 4 most wealth preserving words in financial history.)
Finally, she climbed into the smallest chair and examined the trades inside the smallest terminal.
“Hmm, sensible positions and holding periods across several industries, and the discipline to cut losers while letting winners run. This guy’s good!” Goldilocks smiled her approval.
And so he was. No fanfare of killer trades, no online boasting of huge profits, just good old regular investing wins the day for many people. The reality is, for you and me and millions of other investors out there, we simply don’t have the time nor inclination to keep trading incessantly. Getting rich slow is boring but ensures we sleep well at night.
Speaking of sleeping, Goldilocks felt drowsy after analyzing all those trades.
She went upstairs into the bedchamber in which the Three Bears slept. And first she lay down upon the bed of Papa Bear, but that was too high at the head for her. And next she lay down upon the bed of Mama Bear, and that was too high at the foot for her. And then she lay down upon the bed of the Baby Bear, and that was neither too high at the head nor at the foot, but just right. So she covered herself up comfortably and lay there till she fell fast asleep.
By this time the Three Bears thought their porridge would be cool enough for them to eat it properly; so they came home to breakfast. Now careless Goldilocks had left the spoon of Papa Bear standing in his porridge.
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE!”
said the Papa Bear in his great, rough, gruff voice.
Then Mama Bear looked at her porridge and saw the spoon was standing in it too.
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE!” said the Mama Bear in her middle-sized voice.
Then Baby Bear looked at his, and there was the spoon in the porridge-bowl, but the porridge was all gone!
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE, AND HAS EATEN IT ALL UP!”
said Baby Bear in his little wee voice.
Upon this the Three Bears, seeing that someone had entered their house, began their search for the burglar. They went upstairs into their bedchamber. Now Goldilocks had pulled the pillow of Papa Bear out of its place.
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED!”
said the Papa Bear in his great, rough, gruff voice.
And Goldilocks had pulled the bolster of Mama Bear out of its place.
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED!”
said the Mama Bear in her middle-sized voice.
But when Baby Bear came to look at his bed, there was the bolster in its place! And the pillow was in its place upon the bolster!
And upon the pillow——?
There was Goldilocks’s yellow head—which was not in its place, for she had no business there.
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED,—AND HERE SHE IS STILL!”
said Baby Bear in his little wee voice.
It was so sharp and shrill that Goldilocks instantly awoke. She opened her eyes to 3 angry bears and began talking at the speed of light to keep out of trouble.
“Good day to you, kind bears! I came across your cottage and did you a great service by sampling your porridge, analyzing your trades, and ensuring the quality of your beds!
Quick tip about the cooking – go easy on the MSG next time, and try adding a few spring onions for colour and visual appeal.
About the trading, you must be glad that I have a great big list of mistakes that you three have made – dabbling in far too many asset classes, keeping your losers on the portfolio for longer than necessary, and cutting your…” the itinerant little girl was cut off mid-sentence by a ferocious gobble by Papa Bear!
“It’s one thing to eat our food and sleep in our beds, but to criticize our trades?” growled Papa Bear, obviously disgruntled at the honest (yet accurate) analysis of their family’s mistakes.
And so the tale ends here, with the 3 bears forever doomed to repeat their financial mistakes till the end of their days. Thats the way it works, because people hate to be told that they are wrong.
Once upon a time, there was an old mother pig who had three little pigs and not enough food/cash to feed them. So when they were old enough, she did what all food/cash strapped mother pigs would have done: sent them out into the world to seek their fortunes.
And as all cast out children can attest to, the first order of business was to find a place to stay.
The first little pig was very lazy. He didn’t want to work at all and he decided to build his house out of straw. The second little pig worked a little bit harder but he was somewhat lazy too and he built his house out of sticks. Then, they sang and danced and played together for the rest of the day.
The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks. It was a sturdy house complete with a fine fireplace and chimney. It looked like it could withstand a hurricane, but not that any hurricanes were coming. It just could.
The next day, a wolf happened to pass by the lane where the three little pigs lived; and he saw the straw house, and he smelled the pig inside. He thought the pig would make a mighty fine meal and his mouth began to water.
It took him only but a second to conceive a devious plan to lure his next meal out of the house.
Boldly, he knocked on the door and said: “Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in!”
The first little pig caught a glimpse of the wolf’s gigantic paws and was instantly alarmed. “Why no thanks, you look like you would gobble me up in a split second.”
Possessing the charm of a second-hand car salesman, the wolf was undeterred.
“Why, is this how you blatantly disregard a golden opportunity? I bring glad tidings of an investment scheme that is bound to make you rich and comfortable beyond your wildest ambitions”, reasoned the cunning wolf.
Hearing no audible opposition, the carnivore pressed his advantage. “Ever heard of our company’s gold buyback scheme? There are thousands of investors already enjoying huge returns. It’s simple, really.
We sell you physical gold, and then guarantee a monthly return of 3% of your gold. If ever you want your principle back, we will buy your gold back at purchase price after 12 months. And oh, each person is limited to 1 kg of gold purchase per lifetime, so…”
Check out the Genneva gold investment scam, just one of the many that have arisen
Upon hearing that, the first little pig went into overdrive.
Drats! And to think I nearly turned him away. It is literally a golden opportunity. (pun intended) Goddamn, he sounds legit. I get physical gold at the very least, which I can sell in the open market if things go wrong. Thousands of investors can’t be wrong, social proof has never failed in the history of investing, right? And doggone it, that scarcity clause is making my FOMO (fear of missing out) senses tingle.
Once his internal monologue was over, the first little pig swung the door wide open. “Say, do you take cheques?”
No sooner was the door crack wide enough, the wolf rushed in and promptly gobbled up the first little pig.
Dear gentle reader, you might be wondering what happened to the original business of huffing and puffing the house down. That concept will reappear later in the story, but suffice to say, each individual house is a metaphorical representation of the financial sensibility of its respective little pig that built it. We are deep in our own little way. Right, on with the story.
Despite the meal of uncured bacon, the wolf grew hungry a few hours later. He chanced upon the second pig’s house made of sticks and had an inspiration.
Like before, he knocked on the door and cried out, “Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in!”
The second little pig peeped through the window and saw the wolf’s sharp teeth – and decided against being someone else’s lunch for the day.
“Nah, I’m good. I already gave to the salvation army earlier this month,” was the lame brush off.
Like any good fraudster, the wolf knew that the key to success was confidence and persistence. Funny enough, these things are taught in school too. Food for thought.
“Hey, don’t make a huge mistake now. Just hear me out for a minute, and if you don’t like what you hear, I will offer the chance to someone else more cognisant.” This wolf clearly knew his reverse psychology.
Sensing no resistance, he launched into his spiel.
“I represent a company called Moonshine empire, and we specialize in lifestyle packages. That is to say, if you purchase any one of our packages, we get to live in style. And by we, I mean you and me.
How it works is simple. Our CEO and founder is the unknown god of investors in these parts, his name is Jhames Pangh Hwah. He invests in companies like we purchase beancurd from the wet markets, and but generates tremendous returns on them. If you purchase a gold lifestyle package from us, you invest $12,000 to get a monthly return of at least $1600, forever.”
A face that everyone can trust. But should they?
Hearing that, the second little pig was lost in thought for a few moments.
Well, shoot! I was about to head to the market to buy beancurd. This lifestyle package thingy sounds far more attractive. Just the sort of thing I could just sink my life savings into and live off the fat returns. A net 60% return just in the first year alone! Why even that dude Warren Buffet can’t match this sort of returns. Some investor he is. Still, let me do my due diligence first.
“Yo, Wolfie. How long have you guys been around for?” questioned the second little pig.
“Over 4 years man, with offices in Singapore and Malaysia” came the quick reply.
That settled it. No fraudster of a company could survive for 4 years, and across two countries no less. This was a sure bet, and the second little pig had visions of all the beancurd he was going to enjoy in the months to come. Then he unlocked the latch.
Once again, no sooner could you say “sucker punch” did the wolf leap right in and helped himself to the second little pig.
Right about now we can sense a little consternation among our readers who might be bedtime story purists. What about the huffing and puffing and chinny chin chins? Can’t we stick to the original storyline a bit more religiously? Don’t you worry, it will come. Just read on.
Like before, the wolf soon grew hungry after his second meal of the day, which was understandable once you knew his backstory. He had been taking up CrossFit these days, and all the burpees and pull-ups and deadlifts were wreaking havoc on his appetite.
Seeing the third pig’s house over the horizon, the hungry wolf made his way over there and presented himself once again in the same fashion.
“Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in!”
The third little pig saw the malicious glint in the wolf’s eyes and declined ever so politely.
“No thank you, my good sir, I am busy right now securing my financial future” explained the third little pig.
And so he was. He was in fact, finishing up his purchase of insurance from FWD. The full online experience left him wowed and the experience was seamless, to say the least. Protection is something every financially savvy person should be concerned about.
Which is why the third little pig INSISTS you have to check out FWD Insurance. It’s for your own good. (And ours, cos it pays the bills)
Impressed, the wolf called out, “You seem like a sensible one, you should really explore my proposition once you’re done.”
Finishing up and receiving his policies via email, the third little pig replied, “Well go on then.”
“Ever heard about offshore arbitrage betting? We’re really good at it and have generated consistent returns of 10% per month. Initially, we took our early investors’ money and grew it to nearly 12 fold. Now we’ve refined our techniques and updated our algorithms to exploit every single betting platform in the UK.
We’re looking for the next tranche of investors to invest with us and make a killing, so if you don’t open your door in the next minute, I shall move on to the next clever person.” The wolf delivered his lines perfectly.
How arbitrage betting really works. If it looks complicated… it’s supposed to be. Don’t ask any questions, just collect your dues!
It took less than a minute for the third little pig to come up with his retort.
” I shall be passing this time, my good sir. As attractive as it may sound, it is just the sort of thing that confidence trickers depend on – greed. Any rational person who takes a step back would realize that if any program were successful enough to generate 10% returns monthly on its own, would never need to take in investor money.
At this rate of return, every single dollar would have turned into 31 bucks after 3 years – what’s the sense of taking in money from random investors and having to pay them off?”
Angered by this show of rationality, the wolf was enraged.
“Well, if you won’t come by guile, then I shall have to take you in by force!
I shall huff
I shall puff
and I’ll blow your house down!”
And so he did. (Technically, he tried)
He huffed and he puffed, but the solid brick house was built to withstand far worse elements. After a couple of minutes of exhaling air hard, the wolf was winded and had to sit down for a rest.
“I’m gonna ask for a refund from my CrossFit gym, those guys suck at developing my cardio.”
The wolf danced about with rage and swore he would come down the chimney and eat up the little pig for his supper. But while he was climbing on to the roof, the clever little pig made up a blazing fire and put on a big pot full of water to boil. Then, just as the wolf was coming down the chimney, the little piggy pulled off the lid, and plop! in fell the wolf into the scalding water.
That was the end of the fraudster wolf, and the third little pig lived happily ever after till the end of his days, never to fall prey to any get rich quick schemes.
Once upon a time, there lived a widow and her son, Jack, in their small little kampung hut. They both worked hard but had very little to show for it in terms of real wealth.
This had something very much to do with Jack splurging on a car right after graduation, which immediately saddled him (and by extension, his mother) with a depreciating asset. More importantly, it made him a slave to his entry-level corporate job, with little prospect of investing his savings (he had none).
“What should we do now!” exclaimed the dismayed widow one fine day. She had exhausted her CPF and didn’t have enough money to buy fertilizer for her small plot of land, used to grow vegetables.
Jack suggested that they sell their cow, Betsy, to tide them over for a month or so. It was a short term solution but financially marginalized people have precious few options. With a heavy heart, the widow agreed.
After 7 selfies with the cow, Jack led it by the leash and finally made his way to the market.
It was then that he was approached by an old man with a stoop and nostril hairs that were desperately in need of a trim.
“Ah boy, selling your cow ah?” the old man asked.
“Wah uncle, how you know? Maybe I just take her to jalan jalan abit only mah” Jack was surprised that the old man knew his agenda.
“Eh, you don’t act cute can. You are Jackster2001 on insta right? Public profile. Simi hashtag #cowforsale #cowforcash #keepingitreal” the old man was constantly amazed at the amount of sensitive information people were posting online.
Yes, selfies with a cow is a real thing. Unfortunately
Sensing the game was up, and eager to return home to his game of Fortnight, Jack asked what was the old man’s offer.
The old man glanced furtively around to make sure no one watching, then opened his hand to show Jack what he had.
“SMLJ! Beans?” Jack was incredulous and wanted to carry on with a string of strongly worded expletives.
But before this story featured some real nasty vulgarities, the old man sought to calm the young boy down.
“Eh, you don’t judge so fast hor. These are magic beans. 3 of them, in fact. You plant them right in your garden, and tomorrow they will grow right into the sky!” explained the old man conspiratorially.
At this point, the more savvy reader would be thinking: Yeah right, cool story bro. But Jack was typical of a certain population that jumped into financial contracts and purchases they did not understand fully. (His past mistakes included an MRT bought ILP. The agent was too pretty to resist.)
“Sounds good, we have a deal then” declared Jack confidently, with the air of person that thought things through for a split second. The idea of stuff being able to reach the sky struck him as rather awesome, even if wasn’t clear if that claim could be verified.
So they both made their exchanges and Jack was soon sauntering back into the house. His mother was surprised to see him back so quickly and surmised that the boy must have gotten a great offer.
“Mother! I got something more IMBA than money for Betsy. Look at these 3 magic beans! I really tio beh pio already, machiam strike jackpot.” Jack was beaming from top to toe.
“WHAT?? JACKPOT?? MORE LIKE CLAYPOT LAH YOU STUPID SI GINA!” the widow grabbed the nearest broomstick and gave the boy a sound beating, before sending him into his room. She couldn’t believe that her cow was sold for 3 green beans and burst into tears of dispair.
Jack slammed the door to his room and flung the beans out his window in anger and disgust. “How could I have been so kum gong?” His self-reflection barely lasted 2 minutes before he caught sight of the Avengers Endgame trailer. “Oh cool, I better watch all the Marvel universe movies in sequence to prepare for this.”
And so he binged watched Antman and Captain America and Iron Man till he couldn’t stay awake. When he finally woke up, he found his room covered in darkness. The sun was shining into part of it, yet the rest of it was dark and shady.
Proceeding to his window, what Jack saw made him gasp.
“Wah piang! Heng the old man told the truth sia” thought the boy as he marvelled at a giant beanstalk that sprung out of the ground and into the clouds. (It didn’t enter Malaysian airspace as it grew vertically, just to allay the fears of our politically concerned readers)
Jack was about to climb the leaves of the beanstalk before he paused and did something uncharacteristically savvy.
“Since I could well be in mortal danger while making my way to the sky, I might as well be properly insured first” he reasoned with himself. Whipping out a tablet, he accessed the most user-friendly and hassle-free insurance site he knew.
Turning to address the readers, Jack has this sage advice to offer: Guys, don’t leave home without proper protection. Visit FWD Insurance to get your coverage in less than 5 minutes (or under 3 minutes if you click really fast).
Shameless advertising bit over, Jack planted one foot on the gigantic vine and started climbing. He climbed and climbed, and soon the farmhouse was as small as an ant as he looked down. He climbed past the clouds, and that was when he saw a huge castle in the distance.
No sooner had Jack made his way to its entrance when the door swung open. There stood a giant female ogress who rumbled out loudly, “My dear boy, why don’t you come inside to enjoy a spot of breakfast?”
Jack was instantly impressed by two things. One, he relished the thought of eating a hearty meal after all that climbing. Secondly, her flawless British accent contrasted sharply with his Singlish.
“Kumsiahamida, don’t mind if I do hor”, replied the plucky boy, determined to infuse a bit of cultural exchange.
Chuckling to herself, the ogress led Jack to a spread of crumpets, cheese, and an enormous jug of milk. The famished boy barely hesitated for a moment before digging in.
It was after his 6th mouthful of gouda that the entire castle shook violently with a rhythmic “thump, thump, thump!”. The ogress jumped up and exclaimed, “Dearie me! That would be my husband. He loves nothing more than to eat little boys for breakfast. Come quick, and jump right in here.” She pointed Jack to a large copper pot beside the stove.
And it was a stroke of luck that Jack did not ponder upon the slightly pedophilic appetite of giants these days, and barely had he leapt in the shiny pot when an ugly giant of a man walked right in.
Standing over 9 feet tall, he thundered out,” I am so hungry that I could eat 3 cows right now. What’s that I smell?”
I smell the blood of a Singlish man
Be he alive or be he dead,
I’ll have his bones to grind my bread
“Balderdash, dear. How could there ever be a pimply Singaporean boy with a bad haircut in the house? Go wash up and I will get breakfast ready for you” pacified his wife.
The giant grunted his approval and went away. Jack could hear splashing sounds in the distance that reminded him of a mid-sized waterfall. When he returned to the dining table, the giant was clutching two curious things, one under each arm.
The first was a sickly, pale looking hen and the second was a golden harp with the face of a forlorn girl on it. The sadistic mountain of a man poked the hen and commanded, “Lay!”
The hen sighed resignedly and concentrated for a moment. Out popped a golden egg onto the table, to which the giant placed it in a basket with countless other such eggs. Jack stopped breathing for that instant, greedy thoughts filling his mind.
The giant then turned his attention to the harp. “Play!” The harp began to play a gentle tune while her lovely face sang soulfully. (Jack recognized the song as an acoustic version of My Immortal by Evanescence. Spotify did a great job of uncovering such gems)
Then the giant began to nod his head and to snore until the house shook.
When he was quite sure the giant was asleep, Jack crept out of the copper pot and began to tiptoe out of the kitchen. He grabbed the sickly hen and the singing harp and began to make his exit.
But the hen gave a cackle, and the harp strummed a loud advertisement (It turns out that the giant was using the free version of Spotify) which woke the giant, and just as Jack got out of the house he heard him calling, “Wife, wife, what have you done with my white hen and my golden harp?”
Jack ran as fast as he could and the giant, realizing he had been tricked, came rushing after – away from the castle and back towards the beanstalk. When he got to the beanstalk, the giant was only twenty meters away when suddenly he saw Jack disappear. Confused, the giant peered through the clouds and saw Jack underneath climbing down for dear life. The giant stomped his foot and roared angrily.
I smell the blood of an Singlish Man,
Mai hor Limpei lia tio!!
Strange linguistic turn of events notwithstanding, the giant swung himself down onto the beanstalk with surprising agility. Jack slipped, slid and climbed down the beanstalk as quickly as he could.
As he neared the bottom, Jack called out, “Mother! Kin! Hurry, bring me an axe, bring me an axe.” And his mother came rushing out with Jack’s wood chopping axe in her hand, but when she came to the enormous beanstalk she stood stock still with fright.
Jack jumped down, got hold of the axe and began to chop away at the beanstalk. Luckily, because of all the chores he’d done over the years, he’d become quite good at chopping and it didn’t take long for him to chop through enough of the beanstalk that it began to teeter.
The giant felt the beanstalk shake and quiver so he stopped to see what was the matter. Then Jack gave one last big chop with the axe, and the beanstalk began to topple over. Then the giant fell down and broke his neck, and the beanstalk came toppling after.
The singing harp thanked Jack for rescuing her from the giant – she hated being made to sing on demand, for free. She set her sights on making an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent for the longest time.
With a bit of patience and his mother’s help, it didn’t take long for Jack to get the sickly hen back in good health and the grateful hen continued to lay a fresh golden egg every day.
Jack learnt from his previous financial mistakes and set up a lucrative business of selling golden eggs and renting out the harp for weddings. With the constant earnings, he bought Betsy back, fixed up the house and invested the remainder wisely.
He lived happily to the end of his days with his mother. Last we heard, he was in talks with his publisher about his autobiography: The magic lies with me, not with the beans.
Once upon a time there lived near a large wood a poor woodcutter, with his wife and two children by his former marriage, a little boy called Hansel, and a girl named Gretel.
The family suffered greatly due to his own financial incompetence, there was once they were down to their last loaves of bread. The woodcutter sighed, “Why did I ever touch those 6% perpetual securities of Dyflux? They are barely worth anything now!”
His wife, who was way more astute as a person, reasoned with him. “Well, you could chalk it up to an honest mistake. You didn’t bother to read their books, thought that it was a company supported by the government, and was blinded by the large coupon. It’s a mistake that 34,000 other people could easily make.”
“Right you are, my dear wife”, muttered the woodcutter sadly, still dreaming of a government bailout.
“Next time, learn to diversify though. Ploughing our life savings into one single investment is rather dumb. By the way, we need to dump these kids into the woods so that we can save our own hides.” No one said that financially astute people were nice people.
The two children overheard what the stepmother said to their father. Gretel wept bitterly, and said to Hansel, “What will become of us?”
The boy had a brilliant idea. He got up, put on his coat, and, unlocking the back door, slipped out. The moon shone brilliantly, and the white pebbles which lay before the door seemed like silver pieces, they glittered so brightly. Hansel stooped down, and put as many into his pocket as it would hold; and then going back, he said to Gretel, “Be comforted, dear sister, and sleep in peace.”
The next morning, before the sun arose, the wife went and awoke the two children. “Get up, you lazy things; we are going into the forest to chop wood.” Then she gave them each a piece of bread, saying, “There is something for your dinner; do not eat it before the time, for you will get nothing else.” Gretel took the bread in her apron, for Hansel’s pocket was full of pebbles; and so they all set out upon their way.
Hansel stopped ever so often to drop a pebble out of his pocket upon the path.
When they came to the middle of the forest, the father told the children to collect wood, and he would make a fire so that they should not be cold. Hansel and Gretel gathered together quite a little mountain of twigs. Then they set fire to them; and as the flame burnt up high, the wife said, “Now, you children, lie down near the fire, and rest yourselves, while we go into the forest and chop wood; when we are ready, I will come and call you.”
But of course, the pragmatic parents didn’t. Hansel and Gretel waited till they fell fast asleep. When they awoke, it was quite dark, and Gretel began to cry, “How shall we get out of the wood?” But Hansel tried to comfort her by saying, “Wait a little while till the moon rises, and then we will quickly find the way.”
The moon soon shone forth, and the clever boy followed the glittering pebbles all the way back home. They knocked at the door, and when the wife opened it and saw Hansel and Gretel, she exclaimed, “You wicked children! Why did you sleep so long in the wood? We thought you were never coming home again.” But their father was very glad, for it had grieved his heart to leave them all alone.
A little while after this close shave, financial calamity struck the family yet again. The woodcutter had thrown whatever money they had left into a pyramid scheme, or better known as a Multi Level Marketing scheme, or identifiable as a Ponzi scheme. Same banana, really. You could argue it out in the comments section below.
“You freaking fool!” screeched the wife. “Did you know that for every person that eventually profits from an MLM, nearly 14 others lose their shirts?”
“I’m so sorry, I just wanted to better our lot in life. Besides, the computations of expected earnings were so attractive, I couldn’t resist,” lamented the clueless woodcutter. “They said all I had to do was to recruit 2 others to join me, and that the scheme had been successfully run for over 2 decades.”
“Did you even bother to calculate that if each person recruited just 2 others in a month, the whole of Singapore would be in on the action under 2 years?” the wife was close to despair. She pawned her jewellery at a steep discount just to keep the family going.
“Now that you mention it… it makes sense why all MLMs are destined to fail.” the woodcutter couldn’t hold back his tears anymore.
“Ah, what’s the point of crying over a shitty investment? Time to toss the kids out again.” At this point, our dear reader is beginning to pick up a pattern of problem resolution in this family.
The children, however, had heard the conversation as they lay awake, and as soon as the old people went to sleep Hansel got up, intending to pick up some pebbles as before; but the astute (yet evil) stepmother had locked the door so that he could not get out. Nevertheless, he comforted Gretel, saying, “Do not cry; sleep in quiet; the divine will not forsake us.”
Early in the morning the stepmother came and pulled them out of bed, and gave them each a slice of bread. On the way, Hansel broke his in his pocket, and, stopping every now and then, dropped a crumb upon the path.
The mother led the children deep into the wood, where they had never been before, and then made an immense fire, she said to them, “Sit down here and rest, and when you feel tired you can sleep for a little while. We are going into the forest to hew wood, and in the evening, when we are ready, we will come and fetch you.”
This time the kids knew the drill and resigned themselves to a long sleep.
But fate was unkind to them. The moon shone and they got up, but they could not see any crumbs, for the hundreds of birds and wild animals had eaten all of them up.
The two courageous children wandered far and deep into the woods, completely lost. Nearly delirious with thirst and hunger, it was a stroke of luck that they stumbled upon a cottage. But it was no ordinary house in the woods.
They went close up to it they saw that it was made of bread and cakes, and the window-panes were of clear sugar. Not skipping a beat to marvel at the architectural wonder that lay before them, their first thoughts were to gorge themselves silly.
“We will go in there,” said Hansel, “and have a glorious feast. I will eat a piece of the roof, and you can eat the window. Will they not be sweet?” So Hansel reached up and broke a piece off the roof, in order to see how it tasted, while Gretel stepped up to the window and began to bite it.
Then a sweet voice called out in the room, “Tip-tap, tip-tap, who raps at my door?” and the children answered, “the wind, the wind, the child of heaven”; and they went on eating without interruption. We can attribute their ridiculous attempt at pacification to their growling tummies.
Hansel thought the roof tasted very nice, so he tore off a great piece; while Gretel broke a large round pane out of the window, and sat down quite contentedly. Just then the door opened, and a very old woman, walking upon crutches, came out. Hansel and Gretel were so frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands; but the old woman, nodding her head, said, “Ah, you dear children, what has brought you here? Come in and stop with me, and no harm shall befall you”; and so saying she took them both by the hand and led them into her cottage.
A good meal of milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts, was spread on the table, and in the back room were two nice little beds, covered with white, where Hansel and Gretel laid themselves down and thought themselves in heaven.
The old woman behaved very kindly to them, but in reality, she was a wicked witch who captured children and built the bread-house in order to entice them in. As soon as they were in her power she killed them, cooked and ate them, and made a great festival of the day.
It was a strange way to be a cannibal, but thankfully this is just a madeup bedtime story.
In a cruel twist, she took up Hansel with her rough hands, and shut him up in a little cage with a lattice-door; and although he screamed loudly it was of no use. Gretel was next, and the witch said, “You lazy thing, and fetch some water so I can make a stew out of your brother. I hear the keto diet is all the rage these days.”
The smart little girl tried to distract the witch. “Aunty witch, isn’t it rather expensive to maintain an impressive yet delicate house like this? After all, you need to replace its contents each time some ravenous children visit. Those clear sugar panes must have been a pain to install.”
“Oh bless your sweet little heart, I have home insurance from FWD” cackled the witch. “They run some fantastic deals from time to time, and I love their UI and purchasing process. Besides, their CEO is good looking as hell. Here’s the link.”
“That’s a strange way to be using a bedtime story to advertise, but I suppose it keeps the lights on and pays the bills. Yet it was woven in so seamlessly by the storyteller. I’ll check it out later,” replied Gretel.
“Be sure to check out the rest of the policies they have! First, we will bake,” said the old woman; “I have already heated the oven and kneaded the low carb dough”; and so saying, she pushed poor Gretel up to the oven, out of which the flames were burning fiercely.
“Creep in,” said the witch, “and see if it is hot enough, and then we will put in the bread”; but she intended when Gretel got in to shut up the oven and let her bake so that she might eat her as well as Hansel. Clearly she had quite the appetite.
Gretel perceived what her thoughts were, and said, “I do not know how to do it; how shall I get in?” “You stupid goose,” said she, “the opening is big enough. See, I could even get in myself!” and she got up, and put her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a push, so that she fell right in, and then shutting the iron door she bolted it! Oh! how horribly she howled; but Gretel ran away, and left the ungodly witch to burn to ashes.
No one expected a keto diet to end this horribly.
Now she ran to Hansel, and, opening his door, called out, “Hansel, we are saved; the old witch is dead!” So he sprang out, like a bird out of his cage.
For the purpose of being a crowd pleaser and just so that we could use the ending “And they lived happily ever after”, the children discovered chests full of pearls and precious stones all over the house.
Oblivious to the fact that there was still a half baked witch in the vicinity and that they were committing house robbery, they stuffed their pockets to the seams with the ill-gotten treasure.
Gretel had an idea of how to get home, and told Hansel excitedly, “This may sound silly, but we could just walk in ever increasing circles until we find our way home.”
“You’re right, it is silly, but since I have no other better alternative to offer, I shall meekly follow along. Besides, you saved my life with your quick thinking.”
Miraculously, on their 28th circle, the children chanced upon a group of dejected investors protesting at Honk Lim Park. It seemed to be about the disastrous Dyflux saga but it was impossible to tell who was an investor and who was there simply there to watch the drama unfold.
Gretel noted that some placards made by the investors demanded their full capital be returned, but knew there was a 0 chance as they were at the bottom of the creditors’ list in the case of liquidation. That’s how unsecured credit rolls, like it or not.
Still, she kept her tongue to herself because she knew that people that lost huge sums usually lost their sense of logical reasoning as well. It was then that she spotted her father.
“My dear children, is that really you with pocketsful of Burmese rubies?” the wizened old man couldn’t contain his joy. He had not had one happy hour since he had left the children in the forest, and his wife was dead. (We surmise due to exasperation)
“Yes father, it is us.” And so the joyous reunion was complete and they returned home.
The father had plans to pay for some dubious trading classes ran by some hack known as Madam Khoo, but the children put their foots? feet? down.
“Father! Use your reasoning, please. If they are able to trade consistently for profits, why are they offering to teach you? That hag would already made her profits quietly and not bother with advertising on youtube, instagram, and facebook. When was the last time you saw a Warren Buffet advertisement?” Hansel was adamant in not letting his dad screw up his financial future.
“Same goes for all the amazon/ebay/qoo10 sales hacks that claim they can teach you to be equally profitable. Follow the vested interest, and you will never go wrong. These crooks just prey on the easy money mentality that most gullible people have,” chimed in Gretel.
It was then that the woodcutter finally realized his folly and admitted that active investing was not for everyone, only those with the correct mindset, training, and aptitude. He let the children manage the money which they did admirably. (In a properly diversified basket of instruments spanning various markets and asset classes, with minimal sales charges and trailer fees which could really eat into long term profits)
In 2019, we are expanding our article repertoire to include a broader base of financial topics, such as general finance management tips and opinions.
As usual, we are going to keep it light-hearted and fun for easy reading, so do continue to support us by sharing our articles or pledging your undying allegiance to our site. Thanks in advance!
This is a first of seven series of bedtime stories that we are re-writing to provide some personal finance insights. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed re-imagining them.
Little Red Riding Hood
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a village near the forest. Whenever she went out, the little girl wore a red riding cloak, so everyone in the village called her Little Red Riding Hood.
It would be strangely amusing to observe this practice of naming one after his or her commonly worn articles of clothing. There would be many Mr Too Tight Jeans or Miss Translucent Gym Shorts. Thankfully we live in a far more civilised world.
One morning, Little Red Riding Hood asked her mother if she could go to visit her grandmother as it had been a while since they’d last seen each other.
“That’s a good idea,” her mother said, since she obviously never heard of Facetime. So they packed a nice basket for Little Red Riding Hood to take to her grandmother. Foodpanda was only used when it had some swell promos, since the delivery charges were rather high (in percentage terms) relative to the food delivered.
When the basket was ready, the little girl put on her red cloak and kissed her mother goodbye.
“Remember, go straight to Grandma’s house,” her mother cautioned. “Don’t dawdle along the way and please don’t talk to strangers! The woods are dangerous.”
“Then why can’t I Grab or Gojek on over? It would neatly solve the danger portion,” asked Little Red Riding Hood.
“Although you aren’t Chinese, these private hire car services can cost a bomb. Especially since we aren’t platinum members. Wait till the rivalry between them heats up, then we are going to make use of those sweet sweet Grab promos once again. Damn that stingy prick Anthony.” was her mother’s retort. “How else will we pay for your ballet lessons?”
“Alright, mommy,” said Little Red Riding Hood, “I’ll be careful.”
But when Little Red Riding Hood noticed some lovely flowers in the woods, she forgot her promise to her mother. She picked a few, watched the butterflies flit about for a while, listened to the frogs croaking and then picked a few more. It was a good thing that NEA officers were not around to observe her transgression.
Little Red Riding Hood was enjoying the warm summer day so much, that she didn’t notice a dark shadow approaching out of the forest behind her…
Suddenly, a wolf appeared beside her.
“What are you doing out here, little girl?” the wolf asked in a voice as friendly as he could muster.
“I’m on my way to see my Grandma who lives through the forest, near the brook,” Little Red Riding Hood replied.
Then she realized how late she was and quickly excused herself, rushing down the path to her Grandma’s house.
The wolf, in the meantime, took a shortcut…
The wolf, a little out of breath from running, arrived at Grandma’s and knocked lightly at the door.
“Get lost, will you! I don’t want to change my electricity provider! The perceived savings are nothing compared to the relative convenience I have right now,” yelled Grandma, peeved at having to keep fending off a small army of ferociously persistent electricity salespeople. Everyone knows that electrical power is a bloody profitable business, and SP was probably ripping us off for decades.
“You can’t fall victim to the Default Selection syndrome like this! By comparing just 2 or 3 alternate options, you would be so much better off. And I happen to be your granddaughter” lied the wolf.
(Actually it was a semi-lie, he was totally right about the Default Selection syndrome. Humans tend to stick to the default or standard setting, and companies have used it to great effect)
“Oh thank goodness dear! Come in, come in! I was worried sick that something had happened to you in the forest,” said Grandma. For a short moment, she was secretly proud that her granddaughter was able to point out her flawed decisional making heuristic.
The wolf let himself in. Poor Granny did not have time to say another word before the wolf gobbled her up!
The wolf let out a satisfied burp, and then poked through Granny’s wardrobe to find a nightgown that he liked. He added a frilly sleeping cap, and for good measure, dabbed some of Granny’s perfume behind his pointy ears. He didn’t have to, but who could resist a little Miss Dior? Especially when it was promoted by Natalie Portman.
A few minutes later, Red Riding Hood knocked on the door. The wolf jumped into bed and pulled the covers over his nose. “Who is it?” he called in a cackly voice.
“It’s me, Little Red Riding Hood.”
“Oh how lovely! Do come in, my dear,” croaked the wolf.
When Little Red Riding Hood entered the little cottage, she could scarcely recognize her Grandmother.
“Grandmother! Your voice sounds so odd. Is something the matter?” she asked.
“Oh, I just have touch of a cold,” squeaked the wolf adding a cough at the end to prove the point.
“But Grandmother! What big ears you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood as she edged closer to the bed.
“The better to hear you with, my dear,” replied the wolf.
“But Grandmother! What big eyes you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood.
“The better to see you with, my dear,” replied the wolf.
“But Grandmother! What big teeth you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood her voice quivering slightly.
“The better to eat you with, my dear,” roared the wolf and he leapt out of the bed and began to chase the little girl.
Almost too late, Little Red Riding Hood realized that the person in the bed was not her Grandmother, but a hungry wolf.
At this point we should pause to admire the stomach capacity and athletic ability of the wolf. Imagine running an 80 metre sprint right after consuming the equivalent of a hotpot buffet. That takes some talent indeed. But back to the story.
She ran across the room and through the door, shouting, “Help! Wolf!” as loudly as she could.
A woodsman who was chopping logs nearby heard her cry and ran towards the cottage as fast as he could.
“Before I burst down this door to address your obvious cause of distress, may I have some assurance that I will not be financially liable for its repair later? One can never be too careful these days.” thundered the Woodsman.
“Yes! You are invoking the Right of Private Defence, under the Singapore Penal code. You are allowed to defend another person or his property from harm. Since there is no conceivable opportunity to seek police protection within the next 7 seconds before this wolf catches me, and since he is also unlikely to be a public servant carrying out his duties, you are clear to act. By the way, the door is unlocked.” screamed Little Red Riding Hood.
“Orh.” The woodsman decided to trust her knowledge of the law and burst in.
He grabbed the wolf and made him spit out the poor Grandmother who was a bit frazzled by the whole experience, but still in one piece. “Oh Grandma, I was so scared!” sobbed Little Red Riding Hood, “I’ll never speak to strangers or dawdle in the forest again.”
“There, there, child. You’ve learned an important lesson. Thank goodness you shouted loud enough for this kind woodsman to hear you!”
The woodsman was about to knock out the wolf when he interjected, “Actually since I have done you this great service on this day, it wouldn’t really hurt for us to sit down and discuss your financial planning needs. I know of this superb savings plan that yields 3.856% in annualized returns, capital guaranteed.”
Little Red Riding Hood sighed.
“While it’s admirable that you are moonlighting as a woodsman while being a Financial Advisory Representative, we will not fall victim to reciprocity, even though it is a deeply ingrained human trait that has allowed us to survive as a communal species.
That is the reason why insurance agents always offer to buy us a drink in the hopes that we return the favour. I always decline. Also, everyone knows that you need to address protection needs first before savings or investments. Did you find that out first before enticing us with returns?”
“Surely you need someone to help suss out how much protection you need!” stammered the hapless woodsman/Financial Advisory Representative.
“Yes and No. Our needs are well served by this site’s discovery engine and also, I happen to like FWD Insurance. Full purchase online, no need for awkward situations like this. Check out the link below”
“No you may not. It is clear that the odds are stacked against us in this story written by the owners of this blog. They have made some excellent points which we are not able to fully deny nor affirm since everything should be taken on a case by case basis.” the woodsman admitted defeat and KOed the wolf, leaving to dump the animal to another part of the forest.
Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother had a nice lunch and a long chat, while they discussed the marvels of being able to purchase Life Insurance online, as well as Natalie Portman’s dewy crystal clear skin.
www.ClearlySurely.comaims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.
We are also having fun experimenting with a broader base of financial topics. Let us know if you have something you want us to cover!
Whether referring to home, vehicle or life insurance, customers need to be presented with the most important facts in a clear and concise manner. As most firms now possess an online presence, getting the right details to the right people is critical if they are expected to make an informed decision. While the type of content is obviously important, it is just as relevant to point out that web design always needs to be addressed. So, what can insurance firms do to ensure that they are presenting themselves in the most professional manner? Let us take a look at some top web design tips embraced by the best in the industry.
All About the Ease of Navigation
Insurance can be a complicated subject; especially for those who might be considering a policy for the first time. The last thing that a website visitor wants is to be presented with a confusing visual layout. In order to avoid a potential customer walking away, keep these navigation tips and tricks in mind:
Always make sure that the most important insurance products are listed on the home page.
Provide a navigation bar across the top or the left-hand side of the page.
A “help” or “contact” section should be included in each segment (at the same location).
Make certain that pages load quickly.
Uniformity here is essential, as this quality will provide a familiar sense of comfort.
It is also crucial in the event that the user wishes to directly speak with a representative in order to gain further information or to ask a question. While the layout of a website is critical, what about the actual insurance material that is being presented?
Clear, Concise and Entertaining
Many insurance-related articles are long and extremely technical. They have been written in such a manner as to assume that the reader already possesses a great deal of experience and knows what it is that or or she requires. This is not always the case. The subject matter should be explained in a down-to-earth manner that exhibits clarity and transparency. It is also a good idea to break up this content with graphics and similar images; these are excellent at helping to explain the “bigger picture”.
The material should also be presented with the ability to be displayed on mobile devices. This is also one of the main reason why choosing a mobile-responsive ecommerce platform is critical. It is more than likely that the majority of users will be accessing the website with the help of some portable device such as a tablet or a smartphone.
Ultimately, insurance does not necessarily have to represent a complicated and dry subject. The ways in which any material is presented will have a massive impact upon its overall appeal. In fact, this presentation could very well determine whether or not a sale takes place. Of course, it is always possible to refer back to this article for future guidance when needed.
So first up – required reading: George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. If you haven’t read it already, do yourself a literary favor.
If you have “no time”, here is a synopsis:
In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith wrestles with oppression in Oceania, a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother. Defying a ban on individuality, Winston dares to express his thoughts in a diary and pursues a relationship with Julia. These criminal deeds bring Winston into the eye of the opposition, who then must reform the nonconformist. George Orwell’s 1984 introduced the watchwords for life without freedom: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.
Everything is known, everything is controlled. Ideal for the benign propagation of say.. Life Insurance, right?
Lets take an objective look.
Personal data is everywhere these days
And the scary fact is that we seem to surrender it ourselves without much needed effort.
Just gave birth? Gotta Insta that for sure. Place a #proudparent tag for good measure.
Changing a new job? Photos of the desk and smiling colleagues go up on Facebook.
And its not only the momentous events that we are putting up for the world to see. A quick scan of my own social media feeds revealed the following posts:
Completion of a 5k run
Traipsing across Spain for a holiday
Baking of a cake
Painting of fingernails (Yes I have bimbotic friends, unfortunately)
Commentary of political opinion
Food review of a particular sushi restaurant
Cute kitten videos (Ok I enjoyed this one)
And the list goes on, anything from trivial to tremendous. And that is only the data that we give up knowingly.
Updated image of Big Brother
What about the data that we give up or provide on a compulsory basis? Government records on housing, salary (via CPF), bank loans, credit card spending, health records (from clinics and hospitals) are some sources that come to mind.
As we begin to transit to a cashless society, we trade convenience for our data – what we buy, consume, and how much we spend. Our locations are pinpointed and our preferences are logged. If that doesn’t scare you just a little, it probably should.
Also, some food for thought: In the early days of email, providers used to tout storage limits as a way of enticing sign ups. These days, the concept of an email box limit is almost antiquated. Store as much as you want, folks. No one is going to ever access that information. Right?
It is safe to say that the world knows more about us than we do about ourselves.
That world is becoming exceedingly good at using our personal data
Advertising is the de facto use that springs to mind. Search for airline tickets to Bali and you will be bombarded with Google ads for cheap flights for the next two weeks.
That isn’t even the most impressive bit. Data scientists and statisticians have come up with algorithms to analyze the things we purchase, to better anticipate what we would be needing (read: buying) next.
Read about how a shopping mall in the US figured out a teen was pregnant – even before her father did.
And if that didn’t draw out your “I’m officially impressed” face, then maybe this will.
In China, there are already pilot programmes set in place to establish a nationwide social credit system – where the state knows about every single one of your deeds (good or otherwise) and gives you a social credit score.
If you happen to be one of those that don’t toe the party line and have been a naughty boy, the state gives you a low social credit score and punishes you accordingly.
-restrict your travel options
-bar you from taking bank loans
-kill your job prospects
-slow your internet speed (the scariest punishment by far. imagine watching netflix on dodgy wifi)
Read about that article here, and an equally incredulous one here, involving lots of surveillance cameras (200 million of them), with a goal of achieving “algorithmic governance”.
Top left, 11832 – Didn’t upvote the latest National Day video. Make sure he has slow internet for 12 days
So we’ve established 3 things so far.
1) Our personal data is out there. Really out there, for anyone determined to use it
2) There are people or parties that are determined to use it.
3) They can use it in ways we can’t even dream of.
How does this relate to Life Insurance?
Personal data, as it so happens, is what Insurers crave
More accurately, heath related data.
Hence the springing up of “Health and Wellness” apps by insurers. Record your health data away! Quit smoking. Exercise regularly. Eat healthy food. Guess who is the ideal insurance customer now?
Side note: Some people may then point to blockchain as a savior. A decentralized ledger, they call it. Autonomy for the masses, and anonymity for all. In a most polite manner, I call this hogwash. The transaction records are more transparent than ever. They might just be more tamper proof.
For all its hype, blockchain is just another way of managing data. We’ve been doing fine without it for millennia. Kinda like the spreadsheet. Useful, but simply an enabler.
Back to the discussion on hand. Just who owns the most amount of data best suited for Life Insurance?
The benevolent Zheng Hu (government) of course.
Just. Couldn’t. Resist.
Hospitals and Clinics. Birth records (Of you and your children). Salary and income (via CPF). Marital status (via ROM). Housing records. Every key aspect of coverage requirement is known and kept.
Which leads us to ..
Life Insurance, Big Brother style?
With all that data and the increasing proficiency to use it, there could be a day where it is the government itself that undertakes the entirety of Life Insurance administration.
They have the data, they have the means, and they have the motivation.
(NB: Motivation includes monetary and social stability. The money part is self explanatory since Insurance is big business. The stability part entails financial stability of those that have befallen tough times and unfortunate circumstances like serious illness or premature death of a bread winner. They need a safety net (aka Insurance) to ensure these people are able to take care of themselves and one day contribute to society, instead of being a burden)
Everyone would be properly covered at a fraction of the cost of today’s policies (No need for commissions, and lower administrative cost)
That cover would be automatically adjusted according to your life events. 10/10 Convenience.
Do you even privacy, bro?
Do you even privacy, sis?
How now, brown cow?
Well…. nothing, really. We cant hold progress back any more than we can hold back the tide. (the sea type and also the erm, biological type. you know what I mean)
Fundamentally, we are not opposed to technology and the benefits that it provides. History sure doesn’t favor the Luddites. But the purpose of this article is to highlight the need for extra consideration before (i.e. think things through) implementation, lest there be serious unintended consequences.
Robert Oppenheimer might be the very first to support this. (Some people know him as the father of the atomic bomb)
So what do you think? Would you be in favor of a society where all your insurance needs are taken care of automatically, or would you still want to keep a measure of privacy intact? Let us know in the comments below.
www.ClearlySurely.comaims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.
Right now we are thinking of a vacation to the Caribbean. But having second thoughts about searching for it, lest we get bombarded by advertisements on cheap flights and top notch diving tours. Also not posting about on FB – till we have a sick photo to share!