Photo: DBS star ferry ad in Hong Kong captures UBS, AXA, and Pru in one shot

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Personal finance, Travel

When taking this quick snapshot of Singapore’s DBS bank’s “full boat” on Hong Kong’s star ferry this weekend, I noticed that by chance, the background also happened to include competitors ranging from Swiss bank UBS to French and British insurers AXA and Prudential, respectively. I wouldn’t say this photo alone is a sign that Hong […]

HKMC Annuity provides guaranteed income for life for Hong Kong

HKMC Annuity guarantees fixed income for life – is it a good deal?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Personal finance, Retirement

This month, HKMC Annuity Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the HKSAR Government’s own Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation, closes its first subscription round for the HKMC Annuity policy that promises a guaranteed fixed income for life for Hong Kong permanent residents aged 65 and older.  According to the HKMC Annuity plan calculator, a 65 year […]

Vanguard sets ETFs trading costs to zero

Vanguard sets 1,800 ETFs’ trading costs to zero today: Time to move all your money over?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Investing, Personal finance

About a month ago, Vanguard surprised clients and investment advisors (of which I am both) with the announcement that starting in August 2018 (today), Vanguard would offer free trading on almost 1,800 exchange traded funds (ETFs), all but a handful of which are those of Vanguard’s competitors.  Although I have earlier argued that even paying […]

Earning less than 2.5% on cash? Higher rates from bank deposits and bond ETFs

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Personal finance

The US Federal reserve has been raising interest rates slowly but steadily over the past 18 months so far, but many banks have been far slower to start paying these higher rates on to customer deposits. HSBC Hong Kong, as shown in the recent screenshot below, still pays 0.25% on savings accounts and 0.5% or […]

how much 529

How much should I put in a 529 college savings plan each year?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Education, Investing, Personal finance

529 college savings plans have no hard and fixed annual contribution limits, unlike IRA, HSA, 401(k), or many other US tax-deferred accounts.  Rather, 529 plans are often subject to state-set overall contribution limit that you should not put in more than 4 years’ worth of expenses at the most expensive university you could spend the […]

How to save $1,000,000 in an IRA by age 59 1/2 with Vanguard and DFA funds

How to save $1,000,000 in an IRA by age 59 1/2 on a few hundred per month

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Investing, Personal finance, Retirement

One of the biggest complaints I hear about US Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) is that the maximum contribution limits are too low and not worth the hassle.  As an illustration of how saving regularly in an IRA can be very much worth the hassle, I thought it would be worth showing how the low maximum […]

How to have over $1,000,000 in MPF by age 40

How to have over $1,000,000 in MPF by age 40

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Investing, Personal finance

If you have worked as a professional in Hong Kong since the first MPF scheme was launched in December 2000, and contributed the minimum each month into a low-cost Hong Kong stock index fund, you should have over $1,000,000 in MPF by now. MPF stands for Mandatory Provident Fund, and is Hong Kong’s equivalent to […]

Cambridge university, one of 415 on fafsa.ed.gov's 2018-19 list of 529 plans list of foreign universities

List of Foreign Universities on the US DoE list, for 529 Plans

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Education, Investing, Personal finance

529 plans are one of the best US tax-advantaged vehicles for college savings.  While 529 plans are sponsored by a US state, you do not need to be resident in a state to participate in that state’s 529 plans, nor will investing in a state’s 529 plan limit you to that state’s schools.    In […]

We recommend the Utah 529 plan as one of the best 529 college savings plans for US taxpayers living overseas

Why I recommend Utah as the best 529 plan for US taxpayers living overseas

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Education, Investing, Personal finance

529 plans are a US tax shelter providing 100% tax-free treatment of investment gains if used for qualifying educational expenses.  529 plans are set up by a state, but no matter where you live, you can invest in the 529 plan of any state, and use 529 funds to pay for out-of-state (and even some […]

When comparing travel insurance in Hong Kong, especially HSBC vs Aimviva, I have found Aimviva to be a better deal

Comparing Travel Insurance: HSBC vs Aimviva Travel Club

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Personal finance, Travel

Those who know me know I enjoy shopping for insurance far more than most people, so it should be no surprise I have often spent some time comparing travel insurance options before each of my many trips over the past several years.  Over the years, I have bought travel insurance from American Express, HSBC, Manulife, […]