On one hand, it is heartening to see local personal finance portal MoneySmart getting another round of funding to expand its operations. We need more of these resources to help with financial education in SG. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if profiting and gains would eventually outweigh and corrupt the potential good that it can do.

One would think that after the Straits Times debacle, people would think twice before peddling unit trusts to newbies of the investment world. The SG finance bloggers are about to strike back, I can be sure of that!

Guess not – lightning strikes twice thrice!

6 Things Everyone Should Know About Unit Trusts

The Smart Local posted a sponsored post by Aviva on 6 Things Everyone Should Know About Unit Trusts. The very first point made me cringe.

Unit trusts are managed by professional fund managers and it’s their job to make sure your money is invested in the best way possible.

At least they were honest about the fees & charges part. Live and let live, I thought. After all, many people already know not to take The Smart Local too seriously, right? I mean, they are sort of like a really entertaining Rojak portal (travel, food, hotel, shopping and lifestyle) with all kinds of content to begin with.

What On Earth Is A Unit Trust?

And then, I just had to see another post on unit trusts by MoneySmart, which really spice things up a notch because this isn’t a lifestyle platform we’re talking about. See, it is a personal finance portal, which seemed mildly amusing to me when I chanced upon this sponsored article by OCBC.

Besides cash, you can invest in funds via the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) or the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS).

Erm, investing with CPF money into unit trusts? No, thank you. Clicking on the link to OCBC’s platform –

1.5% sales charge when you purchase unit trusts through OCBC Online Banking.

And of course, we all like to show off our impressive numbers.

Our Balanced Model Portfolio produced 31.65% total return since 31 August 2012. Our Aggressive Model Portfolio produced 33.36% total return since 31 August 2012.

The fine print says “As of June 2015”. Did someone mention what happened from July to October 2015? The article was posted on 1st October, by the way.

Yes, there are mouths to feed, kids to raise and parents to take care of. Guess they just had to take up some sponsored posts huh? In fact, they do have plenty of decent articles with sound advice.

Quietly, I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody tripped up.

Best Items to Buy With 0% Interest Instalment Payment Plans

But this. This. Is. Utterly. Ridiculous. Either the author is genuinely clueless or he is intentionally messing with people’s lives for the sake of putting up content for page views.

Seriously? It could have been a really awesome post but it went horribly wrong in the worst direction possible.

For example, if I had the money on hand and I wanted to buy a big ticket item ($4,000 mattress), I could do it on a 0% interest plan. While I slowly pay it off over the course of 12 months, the un-utilized money ($2000 over the course of a year) could sit somewhere collecting interest ($20 on 1% interest) from banks or Singapore Savings Bonds.

In my opinion, there are indeed situations when a 0% interest installment payment is justifiable.

  • It is an option which actually makes you money, like the example I quoted.
  • It is an item which saves you money in the long run.
  • It is a tool or item which makes you money.
  • It is a mandatory expense which you have to incur within a fixed time frame, and it is cheaper to get it now.

Let’s take a look at the five things – there are so many gems I don’t even know which to quote first. You should ought to read the whole article.

These days, you don’t need to be self-disciplined when spending on big ticket items. You just need to charge it to a 0% interest instalment payment plan.

Whaaaaat?

If you don’t have an LED TV that’s at least 40 inches wide, then you’re lagging behind.

Why are you even buying a TV if you don’t have the money?

But if you’re planning to use your laptop for more than playing Candy Crush, you’ll probably be better off with a MacBook.

Isn’t that too much of a logical jump there? There are plenty of good Windows-based options that will cost you less than $500.

Neither should you compromise and buy a cheap $500 mattress.

Well, this point is debatable. Some folks indeed require a better mattress due to health issues, but cheap doesn’t mean it is bad. I have an Ikea mattress that cost only few hundred bucks and it is really comfortable. I also happen to have a Sealy Palatial Crest which is the most comfy bed I can ever hope for.

You often pay for a year-long (Gym/Yoga/Spa) membership that includes a whole package of sessions.

No money, maybe consider going jogging or swimming? Static circuit training at home works too!

These days, we can go for the trip first, spend what we like, and not have a single worry about it after. That’s because with 0% interest instalment payment plans, you can charge an entire travel package to your credit card and only worry about the monthly payments.

Wow. Really, wow. Spending our future earnings like this is simply mind-blowing. Thanks for boosting the economy of Singapore, huh?

With great power comes great responsibility. As a personal finance portal drawing 1.5 million page views a month and 500,000 in unique visitors, all the more it should be curating the content that it is pushing out on its platform. Don’t screw up people’s lives and accumulate too much negative karma.

As a consumer of online media, let’s all be discerning when it comes to the content available. This, of course, also applies to my humble blog as well. Take EVERYTHING with a pinch of salt, and say “No” to irresponsible content.

Live long and prosper.

More Than Index Investing

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