Comfort has to find a way to keep their taxi drivers from moving to Grab.
One way is to reduce the rental rate, but this will cut into their revenue severely. A better way is to improve their booking system so that their drivers will continue to get a stream of customers.
Most of the customers call their call center but many are now booking through mobile app.
If Comfort can improve its mobile app, the customers may prefer to book through Comfort to get experienced taxi drivers and predictable fares.
Comfort can make it attractive for these customers by removing the booking fee of $3 or reduce it to $1.
Under the current booking system, the booking is send to several nearby taxis. The first taxi to respond get the booking.
This approach is disruptive to the taxi driver. They have to read the message and respond to it quickly, while they are still driving.
A better approach is to allow the taxi driver wait until he has dropped off a passenger and then to use the app to see the nearby customers arranged according to distance to the pickup point, and showing the pick up point, destination, fare. The driver can select their customer. See an example below.
I think that the taxi drivers will like the new approach. Do you agree?
I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd a week ago - Will the global stock market crashed badly in the coming week?
52% of those who voted said that it is too early to tell. 23% said that it is a temporary correction and the stockmarket will recover. 16% said the market will be lower but will remain healthy. This made a total of 90%.
Only 10% said that the market will crash badly.
The stock market did not crash. This does prove the wisdom of the crowd.
Thank you for your videos and thoughts on insurance, investments. They are easy to understand and I have a learnt a lot watching them. I think you are doing the public a great service and I want to thank you.
I am married, in my mid 30s, and do not have any children. I give a monthly allowance to my elderly mother.
Here are the details of my insurance policy ........
I am paying over 10% of my take home salary monthly for insurance
Mr Tan, am I over insured? Do I need whole life plans as well as the early critical illness? Do we need income protection incase we get sick and cannot work? I think I am more concerned about getting sick and needing money more than what we can leave behind.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - When MPs and civil servants get back at each other, who is to blame?
38% of the people who voted said that the minister, Teo Chee Hian, is to be blamed. He is in charge and failed to understand and address the problem.
28% said that the MPs are to be blamed as they expect the civil servants to bend the rules. 21% said that the civll servants are to be blamed as they refuse to exercise their initiative. The remaining 14% said that the people are to be blamed as they expect too much from the MPs.
Most of our ministers and top civil servants are quite myopic and narrow in their thinking. They follow the practices adopted a few decades ago, and often do not review how these practices should be changed.
One example is the ban on musical instruments on procession for Thaipusam. A second example is the double clearance at the land checkpoints between Singapore and Johor. A third example is the need to register at the security counter before entering an office building.
They should review these practices. What is the purpose? Can the goal be achieved without causing a high cost or a lot of hindrance?
Sure - Thaipusam procession is held in the early morning and is noisy. Some people will complain about the noise. How do we deal with the complain? Surely, the answer is - the noise at any spoit is only for a short while. The processing moves along the road. It happens only once a year. Can we relax the ban?
At the land checkpoint, do we really need double clearance affecting 300,000 travelers every day? Each checkpoint adds another 15 minutes to the people travelling by bus. Can we have a joint checkpoint? Can we have a computer system that allows the traveler to register with the country of exit and to be checked at the country of entry?
We need to find a way to deal with a traveler is not allowed to leave the country of exit? Is this too difficult to handle? How many such cases will happen daily? Surely, we can find a way.
What about the registration at an office building. How many people are affected every day? What purpose does it serve, except to create additional jobs for security guards and waste of time for the visitors?
Surely our ministers and top civil servants should be aware of these matters, provided they come out of their ivory towers.
What about our members of parliament? They are supposed to meet the people regularly. Can they provide feedback on these issues and ask for explanations in Parliament?
I sent this greeting by email to 7,500 people who have visited my website. Several of them have replied back to return the greetings.
Lunar New Year
I wish greetings for a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year to friends who celebrate this auspicious occasion.
Let me also inform you about the activities that may interest you.
FISCA Talk - Protect against Retrenchment This talk will be held on 14 April. It is important for young people to learn some tips on how to protect themselves against the financial stress of retrenchment and loss of jobs. This is now becoming a real risk that people have to prepare for. Parents should also encourage their children to attend this talk.
FLYER WEBSITE If you are running a business, you can distribute your flyer in this website for FREE. This can save you a lot of money in printing and distributing the physical flyers to your targeted customers.
If you wish to rent your house, flat or room, you can also use this website. It is FREE.
The Straits Times Forum printed this letter a year ago. In that letter, I suggested that the Singapore and Malaysian authorities should introduce joint check at the checkpoint, so that travellers do not need to pass through two checkpoints.
This talk is targeted at young people. I will not be able to protect people from being retrenched, which is likely to occur frequently in the future, but I can protect them against the financial stress.
My approach will work for most people, regardless of their financial background. It can be implemented through simple knowledge of financial planning. It is easy enough for any lay person to understand, and to carry out the financial plan.
Attendees will get a free copy of the book "Financial Planning, A Practical Guide" (usual selling price $12)
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Should hawker centers impose a deposit to encourage customers to return their trays?
50% of those who voted said that it is better to educate the customer, rather than impose a deposit. 23% said that it is better to let the work be done by people who need the job. 14% said that it is costly to set up the machine to handle the refund of the deposit. A total of 87% are against this move.
The remaining 13% said that it helps to improve productivity.
We should make better use of NRIC as a means of identifying a person. It should not be kept private. There is no need to keep a person's name as private. This approach should also apply to the NRIC.
If a person uses the NRIC of another person illegally and without approval, the first person is committing an identity theft. If found, he or she can be sent to jail. The identity theft is similar to theft of property.
Singapore has the advantage of a NRIC system. We can use it toimprove productivity and efficiency in processing our transactions.
We should not lose this advantage due to a misplaced fear of loss or privacy or identity theft.
In his first address as prime minister, PM Lee indicated that leadership renewal is his top priority. Some people observed that he was rather slow in carrying out this promise. But he did bring in many younger ministers into his cabinet and the selection of the prime minister should take a longer time.
Recently, my computer failed. It turned out to be the power supply.
If it was the hard disk that failed, I could lose my personal data on the computer. It does not bother me. Why?
I keep most of my data in the Cloud - Google Drive, GMail, Dropbox. When I change my PC, I do not miss any data. I also use several devices - hope PC, office PC, laptop, iPad.
If any PC or hard disk dies, I am not worried about the loss of the data. I have to take the trouble to install the various software - Microsoft office, Adobe, printer driver, MySQL Workbench, screen capture. This can be time consuming. But it only happens once in a blue moon.
I wish to raise the issue of privacy. What kind of privacy do we really need and how can the right to privacy be protected?
Do we need our medical records to be private? Why?
If we are applying for life insurance, it is better to let the insurance company have access to our medical records. They need this information to access the risk and charge the correct premium.
If they do not have access to the record, they will ask the applicant to declare their medical history. If there is non-disclosure by the applicant, the insurance policy can be voided. Surely this is a bigger financial risk to the applicant?
What about allowing doctors who are treating the patient to have access to the medical record? Surely this is helpful?
There is a risk that other unauthorised person have access to the record to use the information for illegal purpose. This can be declared to be a criminal activity.
Do we need our NRIC to be private? Why?
I am asked to provide my address and contact information many times for my daily activity. I prefer the information to be stored against my NRIC and for the authorised party to have access to this information from a central database.
There is the risk that unauthorised people may get their information for marketing purpose. The unauthorised access can be declared to be a criminal activity.
In practice, my contact information is already widely available. I get marketing messages by email or SMS. I regularly get marketing calls on my mobile and fixed line telephones.
While this is distrubing or intrusive, I have learned how to deal with them. I ignore marketing contacts by SMS, emails and telephone calls.
I do not need the Privacy and Data Protection Act (PDPA) to protect me against the unwanted calls. It is not effective anyway.
In fact, the PDPA is giving me a lot of trouble. Each time that I call an organization, I have to listen to useless messages that are mandated by the PDPA. I must have heard these messages a few thousand times over the past years.
Why impose a burden on ordinary people, without protecting them from the real threats and nuisances?
I do not understand why my NRIC should be kept secret. I will be quite happy to provide my NRIC number to allow authorised parties to retrieve my contact infformation directly. I do not want the hassle of providing the information repeatedly.
Anyway, my contact information is stored in many websites and some of them have been hacked. If the hacker have access to my contact details, it does not bother me.
If the hacker steal my password, what can they do? They can create nuisance by changing the password for my email account. They can read my emails. So what?
Anyway, they are taking the risk of carrying out a criminal activity.
They are not able to transfer money from my bank account as it is protected by a 2FA.
It may be troublesome for me to get back my email account. It is all right. It does not happen often. My email provider is able to allow me to reset my password. If I am really concerned, I can set a 2FA in my email account.
I think that the paranoia about privacy is misplaced. It is added a lot of unnecessary burden to our daily lives.
I wish to share my personal story about Bitcoin. I hope that it will be useful to young people who think that they can learn how to make money in Bitcoin or that they can learn how to trade in Bitcoin.
Dear Mr. Tan Recently my son purchased a GE $5k single premium smart invest plan. He selected 3 funds to invest in. He is also insured for $5100. Do you think he should keep it and hope the funds do well. The annual charges probably amount to 2%.
REPLY Your son had invested in an investment linked policy with Great Eastern Life. The money is invested in the 3 funds that he had selected.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the key reason for Singapore to have the lowest birth rate in the world?
47% of the people who voted said that it is due to the bad social and economic policies of the government. 30% said that it is the need to work hard to make a living. 20% said that it is an incompetent government that does not know how to address the problem.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the best way to choose our next prime minister?
50% of those who voted like this person to be chosen by Parliament. 30% like him to be chosen by the people, like the US presidential election. 20% like him to be chosen by the cadre of the ruling party.
None like it to be chosen by the 16 younger ministers.
The law minister said that it is "common sense" that senior officers of an organization found to have committed criminal breach of trust should be liable for more severe punishment compared to ordinary employees. He is criticizing the decision of the judges in the court of appeal.
Is the law minister scandalizing the court? Is he saying that the judges do not exercise "common sense" that they are expected to? If this statement is made by an ordinary person, will the Attorney General Chambers charge that person for an offense?
Will the newspaper be charged for publicizing this statement?
A few Asian countries are studying how to tax the online transactions. Singapore is one of them.
The online transactions are eroding the tax that is being collected by these countries through GST and sales tax. As e-commerce grows the tax earned from this source is being eroded.
The online transactions are also threatening the retail stores in these countries. Many retail stores cannot continue in business and have to close down. It has already happened in a large scale. Many malls are empty. It will get worse.
Can these governments and their bureaucrats find a solution to introduce a tax on online transactions? It will be very difficult. it will be challenging.
I am not aware of any country that has introduced this tax successfully. Can you name them?
Even if the governments can introduce a tax on online transactions, there are so many ways that it can be avoided. Furthermore, some of the governments will be lax in implemented the tax to encourage the e-commerce platforms to operate in their country.
I know of a solution to this challenge problem. It requires an out-of-the box approach. In the old days, the civil servants and Dr. Goh Keng Swee would have found a solution. The leaders together, probably cannot see this soution.
Guess what is my solution? It comes from common sense and observation.
At the FISCA talk on 3 Feb, one elderly lady brought three nephews and nieces to attend the talk. One of them has started work, one is servicing full time NS and the third is still studying.
TKL - I want to thank you for encouraging the young people to attend. You will be doing them a great favor for their financial future. Why did you decide to register and pay for them?
Woman - I made a mistake in my own financial planning in the past. I do not want them to make the same mistake. I want them to learn something useful that will benefit them in the future.
What a wonderful woman. I hope that many other older people will follow her example and enrol their children, nephews and nieces.
Their kind gesture will be remembered a long time. When the young person knows how to avoid a mistake through this financial knowledge, they will be grateful to the older person who enrolled them for this talk.
I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Which country will contribute most towards peace and progress for the world?
63% of those who voted chose China. 17% chose the European Union and 14% chose America.
The world has changed a lot. The perception of Singaporeans has changed a lot. We must not forget that China remains a communist country. Its international standing has improved significantly in recent years.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - What is your reaction to PM Lee's statement that it needs more time to identify the 4G leadership?
43% of those who voted said that he is trying to stay longer in the prime minister's office. 33% said that it reflects the poor quality of the 4th generation leaders. 20% expressed disappointment at the delay.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you expect a global trade war in the near future?
45% of those who voted said that the trade war will escalate and the tariff will be extended to other products. 14% said that the global economy will suffer a large impact. The negative gotes accounted for 59%.
The remaining 41% said that the current tariffs are insignificant and will be withdrawn in the near future.
I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you expect MAS managing director, Ravi Menon, to enter politics soon?
41% of those who voted said that it is still too early to say, as his speeches are mainly related to finance and the economy. 49% said that it is quite likely. 10% said that he is not interested in politics.
In my presentation on 10 Feb about Budget 2018, I will talk about National Service.
I like to see the NS men allowance for full time service to be raised to $1,500 per month, i.e. closer to the market rate for a full time worker.
If the SAF has to pay a higher rate, they will look seriously into reducing the time that is needed to train the soldiers. In Switzerland, the compulsory conscription is for 8 months only. They are able to train the soldier effectively within this period. Singapore should follow this example.
It will take a longer time to train an officer. I prefer that all officers should be full time career soldiers as it is very expensive to train an officer. An officer needs to be a full time soldier to be able to do the work effectively.
We should think of the future for your young men. Some of them are our own children. Others are the children of other Singapore citizens. We should not put them at a disadvantage by holding them back for two years, and handicapping them in the competition for jobs against foreigners.
If the duration of full time National Service is reduced, they can enter the workforce or continue their tertiary education earlier.
Where to find the money for the higher allowance for full time NS men? How about cutting down on wasteful expenses, such as bin centers and new signal systems for MRT? How about adjusting the salaries of ministers and politicians? How about shortening the conscription period?
I am sure that the finance minister can figure out. That is his job for which he is very highly paid, right?
I hope that this suggestion gets your support. Your views?