Thursday, October 28, 2010

EPF: Withdraw savings at 75

Read this article today...we should take it out as soon as we can and put it in ASB or any other channel that gives us better %

EPF: Withdraw savings at 75

KUALA LUMPUR: All contributors to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) should withdraw their savings upon reaching the age of 75.

This is because no contribution would be accepted upon contributors reaching that age and no dividend would be paid on their savings.

EPF Corporate Communications Unit head Nik Affendi Jaafar said contributors’ savings would also be transferred to the Registrar of Unclaimed Monies when they reached the age of 80.

“The EPF is not like a bank. That’s why we don’t encourage contributors to continue saving with the EPF because after the age of 75, we will no longer pay any dividend.

“We will also transfer the money to the Government if it is not claimed when the contributor reaches the age of 80,” he said yesterday.

Nik Affendi was asked to comment on the confusion relating to EPF contributions after members reach 75. — Bernama

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Children education fund

Frankly speaking, I always thought that funding the children education is usually from either the usual hard earned money that we put in our saving accounts, buying education fund via insurance companies, education loans from banks, grow your money via varios investment schemes etc..But it never crossed my mind to buy property as another option to fund the children education buy as their future homes yes but never thought it could be used for their education purposes too where you are able to buy and sell just like shares..pardon my ignorance heee....Anyway, I find these two articles by Carol Yip from the Start Property an interesting read especially on the "Part 2" and on the financial education bit read on if you want to know more ;p
Investing towards your children's education fund - Part 1
Ever wondered how our parents paid for our undergraduate education? Some of us attained our degree without our parents’ financial help, but it is safe to say that majority of us had help. For parents who had saved and paid for their children’s education, they worked hard and saved from their hard earned money. Some of them knew how to multiply their savings by investing in businesses, properties and shares, yet others merely kept their savings in the bank’s fixed deposits. Regardless, sacrifices were made to place us where we are today.

Nowadays, we face different challenges from those of our parents. Our more affluent lifestyles bring other concerns and worries about our future financial sustainability, including the ability to pay for our children’s education. It is obvious that we need to hedge our savings against the increasing cost of living and education costs for our children, but we don’t really know how to. Coupled with the unpredictability of interlinked global economies and fluctuating financial markets, we have a confusing mix.

Although we can use various financial formulas to project and calculate our children’s future education costs, there is no magical way to predict or compute accurately. There are many unforeseen situations such as:

a. Foreign exchange differences/fluctuation of future tuition fees and cost of living at college/university.

b. Rise in cost of inflation of the country where the children will reside for their education in the future.

c. To buy or not to buy a car when the child is ready to go to college? To buy an apartment nearby the college for child’s safety or to pay rental? If you decide to purchase property, where will the money come from – education fund or separate savings?

d. Unclear about the type of education that the child wants – local or international school, local, twinning or overseas degree? Is a Master’s degree necessary in 10 years’ time? Do future job markets demand higher education for an entry job?

Human nature when it comes to investmentsThere is a certain irony about being human. We have almost limitless amounts of financial information and know-how available in the market place, including financial advisors to provide advice. Yet still, some parents struggle to save and invest for their children’s education fund. Why is that so? Here are some of my observations:

a. Procrastination to look for ways to save and grow money.

b. Refusal to learn investment skills, financial education and literacy to grow savings and investment portfolio.

c. Fear of taking risks.

d. Not conducting regular reviews of savings and investment growth, at least on an annual basis.

e. Using the wrong investment products/strategies and realising it too late when there is a need to cash out.

f. Not increasing the absolute amount of savings to the education fund to cater for the increase in education costs and inflation rate.

g. Experiencing panic when discovering that savings is not enough. Unless the earning capability increases as the children gets older, it is better to be frugal in spending and save more as early as possible.

It is understandable that children’s education is important for parents and no parents are willing to risk their life savings in investments that will not give the required growth to pay for future education costs for their children. Hence, it is a continuous effort for the parents to keep a close eye on the choice of saving and investment strategies.

No amount of financial education and advice can help unless parents work on their personal finances via ‘hands-on’ money management and investments.

Investment strategy that suits youYour chosen investment strategy must suit your life’s situation and your ability to manage investment risks because it is a lifelong pursuit until the child is financial independent. You should nurture your investments with appropriate investing strategies to maximise capital appreciation. Possible styles include:

a. Choosing an investment product has capital growth and income yield over the long-term—property investments, shares with dividends, etc.

b. Choosing a portfolio that consists of several types of investment assets that you can buy and sell for investment returns over a period of time—properties, unit trust, shares, gold bars and alternative investments.

c. Choosing capital growth—business investments, company stocks, blue chip shares or private placement, venture capital investments, etc.

Since there are many possible investment choices, there is a need for a regular review of your investments’ growth. Constant review of the money set aside for your children’s education when the child begins his or her secondary level is important and more so when he/she progresses into Form 3 onwards. Even if the child is in college/university, continue to review your investment portfolio yearly. If the amount of growth is not according to the current trend of education costs increase, then you may need to restructure and/or find better investment alternatives. Continue to find ways to make more money when there is still time to do something about it.

Investing towards your children's education fund - Part 2

Property investments for your children’s education fund
You can save towards purchasing property as an education fund for your children in the future. Here are some tips.

1. Monthly saving, which is supposed to be saved for the education fund, can be used for loan repayment.

2. Select a well-located property for capital appreciation and rental income:

i. Rental income can be used for housing loan repayment while you continue your regular savings to build up a bigger pool for your children’s education.

The additional savings can be invested into other investment opportunities to grow your children’s education fund. You can create a diversified portfolio of investments to spread the investment risks.

ii. When there is a need to pay for children’s education in the future, 18 to 20 years’ time, the rental income can be used to pay for your children’s expenses when they are in college or university.

iii. When there is capital appreciation, the property can be sold for a lump sum (after housing loan settlement) to pay for your children’s tuition fees and monthly allowances.

Be creative when you invest in properties:

1. Buy one property for each child. It can be an apartment, house, shoplot or office – provided that it gives good returns.

2. Invest in a shoplot where you can rent out different floors or buy blocks of apartments or commercial offices for different sources of income.

3. Properties that are not sold for payment of education fees can be reserved for your retirement. It can even be given to your children as their wedding gift so that they can stay near you at your old age.

Financial education at home: Team work between you and your children
The ‘real value’ of investment is actually your children. They are your ‘lifetime investment’. The greatest return is when they value you as their parent more than money can pay for their education.

It is a team effort for the family – communicate with your children when you review the investments for their education fund. This way, your children are aware of your challenges and commitment towards having enough to pay for their education. At the same time, you are teaching them about the importance of financial planning at an early age.
Providing continuous career guidance and assessments when your children are growing up is important to ensure that you have invested your hard-earned savings in the right education. It is better to assess which career the child likes. Why pay for an education that they are not interested in? Make the right choice.

If the amount saved is not enough when it is time to pay for their education fees, there is a need to look for other degrees within your affordability limits. Your child has to keep in mind both the lump sum (tuition) fees and the monthly allowance required during college or university so that they can work with you to manage the limited savings for their education needs.

Financial stresses can affect your child’s studies. Your child needs to understand and live within these limits. If the issues are communicated clearly and approached as a family unit, a matured child will strive to study harder and find solutions for any financial difficulties. Scholarships, and/or a part-time job can help to relieve the financial burden.

Other important aspects of parenting:

a. Family lifestyle and values

The kind of lifestyle that parents expose their children to at a young age can impact how they behave in college/university. Parents have to think of the lifestyle that they have given to the children because it will directly affect how they spend their money.

Parents need to differentiate the savings for child’s education and lifestyle – like getting them a brand new car or secondhand car. The child needs to understand the priority of going to college/university is to get a degree and not enjoy a lavish lifestyle. They should take the public transport/share transport with college mates if they have to.

b. Teach your children about financial education – it’s free

Constant financial education and communication with your children about how to manage money at home is important. You and your spouse should advocate a frugal lifestyle – spend wisely, save smartly and quickly pay off any debts.

Soon, your child will understand that:

i. What is not used up for their education fund can be used to buy their first house or car. Money not spent comes in handy when they start their career and for your retirement.

ii. If there is insufficient money, they will know how to manage the limited resources and find ways to fund their education such working part-time to pay for their own living expenses or tuition fees. It is about knowing how to appreciate the initial financial support to embark on an education path.

iii. If there is a need to take a loan for their education fees, the child knows he/she is responsible to repay the debts.

In summary, even if you feel that it is the parent’s responsibility and obligation to give your children an education, it is just as fulfilling when you educate and teach your children important family values and good money management skills. These are important life lessons and skills that are not taught in our education system. So, teach financial education at home to prepare your children for today’s materialistic world.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mummy's Munchster

Remember I posted about a friend of mine who took our family pictures in 2009...well here I am blogging about her again but this time is about her blogshop called Mummy's Munchster..

So folks, go visit Mummy's Munchster, a KK based blogshop for funky, nitty and useful products for all the mommies and their darling little munchsters out there! ;p On second thought, I think this is not only applicable to mommies but also to all the wonderful aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, nephews, nieces, friends...ermm..well, practically anyone who wants to get something special for that special little one in their life...remember X'mas is just around the corner ;p

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eli clapping hands & peek a boo-ing

Blueberry: Free Shipping for Clearance Stock!

Got this in my grab it fast if you're interested!!

Dear Joyce ,

We just stocked our Clearance store with lots of one size diapers, and  MINKY!!!  All one size pocket diapers will come with 2 bamboo inserts--1 small inserts/doubler and a one size adjustable bamboo insert.

Get free shipping when you order any one size diaper or weehugger cover from the clearance section.  Use code 1010 at checkout.  For international customers, get free shipping with a minimum order of $50.  Use code 1010INT.  Free shipping code expires Oct. 24.

Click on the image below to go straight to the store. Clearance stock usually goes fast!!

Budget 2011:Abolition of import duty on 300 items...

.....The items include apparel, handbags, shoes, shampoo, suits, children’s apparel, wallets, hair colourants, golf balls, imitation jewellery, talcum powder, curtains, table cloth, blankets, bed sheets, shirts, undergarments, lingerie, nightwear, perfumes and mosquito netting...
Is this good news or bad news to you?? As for me, its both bad and good news...bad for my pocket (more shoppings!!!) but good for being able to afford better quality products ;p Now...I wonder if the price for this be reduced any soon...
I so loikey the color and the patent material combination...make it affordable please...yeah...another wishful thinking again ;p

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


We received Ethan's Progress Report Card from his playschool a few days ago...
 Here's the report on his general skills and attitude developments... (click on image for bigger view)
And this is what his class teacher says about him ;p

According to his teacher, overall he is okay...just that he can't sit still and VERY PLAYFUL...apparently he is the only one that cannot sit still...he will only join the group activities for a short period of time before he starts to wonder around and does his own stuff  ;p Do you think we should be concerned especially seeing not a single 'A' in his report card? BTW, A = Good; B = Satisfactory; and C= Need Improvement.

Personally, I think it is too early to worry because after all he is still in playschool ;p He should still be playing and having fun.. besides I do think he has improve although maybe not as good as others but I still think he has improve tremendeously in terms of speech and following instructions as compared with before ;)
Yup..that's my boy alright :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby poo

Yeah...I know the title doesn't sound appropriate but if you're a new mom or even experienced mommy the topic is quite a relevant topic especially if you have a constipated baby in your house ;p

I supposed all babies will go through this phase whereby they will experience some kind of constipation occasionally...sometimes your baby doesn't poo for a few days which sometimes really there is nothing to worry about especially if you're breast feeding...but other babies have to struggle hard while doing their big business to the extend you can see their faces turning so red and you may have to help them ...sometimes you may even see some blood stain on his poo/ diaper...which will definately rings the panic button!! Which parents wouldn't right!!

Well, in Eli's case, it is not so much of no bowel movement for fact he does poo poo almost everyday..the only thing is that his stool can be quite hard at times..we even have to help him at times as I'm afraid he will hurt his anus (pardon the language as my mind is blank and can't really thinkg of a political right word to use hee...) if we don't...this started when he starts on solid...unlike Ethan who loves water, Eli doesn't take much that probably is one of the reasons...we started giving him pureed fruits such as papaya which helps a bit though...and started giving him water using spoon instead of the bottle...we have also started to give him green leafty vege such as spinach of last nite...his poo still a bit hard...if you have gone through the same thing with your baby and have found a solution, please do share with me will you? :)

Anyway I got the article below from Abbott Malaysia and thought its a good article on constipation for my own reference and for the sharing...

What to Do When Your Child Has Constipation

How to recognize constiation
Hard and dry stools are the main symptoms of constipation. If your child has not had any bowel movement for 3–4 days, or strains when passing motion which consists of hard, dry stools, it's likely that your child is constipated. It gets even worse when your child’s stomach gets bloated, he/she is easily fatigued, refuses to drink milk or water, and the anus starts to crack and bleed when passing motion.
Causes of Constipation
1.Fluid intake
There is a direct relationship between the hardness of the stool and how much the intestine can withhold. Especially in the first six months after your child is born, he/she will easily get constipated due to the relatively small size of the intestines and loss of fluid. Fluid loss may occur in more obvious forms like sweating, passing urine and less obvious forms such as through the skin and breathing. Even in air-conditioned rooms, one can still lose fluid, which is one of the main factors leading to constipation. Try placing a pot of water in the room to keep the air moist. Also, make sure your child drinks plenty of water–if your child does not like drinking plain water, you can try to add some glucose.
2. Fiber intake
As your child grows older, you will start feeding him solid food, which slows down the speed in which stools pass through the intestines. During this period, water retention inside the intestines will increase, and if your child's fiber and fluid intake is insufficient, this will increase the chances of getting constipation. Therefore, when you start feeding your child solid food (around 4–6 months old), start with food that's less solid. When your child is 7–8 months old, feed your child with brown rice porridge which contains more fiber than white rice porridge, and fruit pulp rather than fruit juice. To effectively prevent constipation, feed your child with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables such as papaya, mango, banana, spinach and cucumber, grounded to a pulp.
3. Accumulation in the intestines
Even with a fiber-rich diet and plenty of water, constipation may occur due to a change of environment and missing the urge to defecate, resulting in stools staying inside the intestines for an extended period of time. When water is lost, the stools become hardened, blocking the intestines. That’s why when your child has an urge to pass motion, let him go to the toilet. Otherwise, you may need to see a doctor to treat the constipation when it gets worse.
Temporary constipation and change in bowel movement
If your child suddenly changes his bowel movement habits, or reduces his/her need to pass motion, it is normal if due to the following. After a short period of time, when your child’s intestines slowly get used to the changes, his bowel movement will return to normal. However if not, you may need to consult a doctor. Frequently seen causes leading to changes in bowel movement:
•When your child changes from breastfed milk to formula milk
•When your child starts eating solid food
•When your child switches brands of milk
•When your child’s appetite changes
•When your child’s dietary intake changes

Solving constipation problems
1. Feeding your child to stimulate bowel movement
The stomach has a very unique attribute–the stomach colon reflex. When food arrives at the stomach, this will stimulate intestinal peristalsis and ease bowel movement.
2. More water, fruit juice and soup
When constipation occurs, feed your child more water, fruit juice or soup. Especially fluids with high osmotic pressure, for example a 5-gram packet of glucose powder with 50c.c. water will stimulate bowel movement.
3. Fiber
For children who no longer treat milk as their main source of food, select fruits and vegetables rich in fiber such as spinach, tomatoes, sweet potato leaves, broccoli, burdock, guava, dates, pears and mangos. Grind these into a rich pulp and feed children younger than a year old. Such rich fiber dietary intake is good for bowel movement, especially date juice and date pulp.
4. Yogurt
If your child is six months old and has constipation, you may try feeding him some yogurt to help bowel movement.
5. Check if protein intake exceeds regular consumption
Avoid adding protein supplements into your child’s milk, to prevent constipation caused by protein overdose. Remember, water is the most important method to solve your child’s constipation problems. If fiber intake increases while water intake stays the same, your child’s constipation will get worse.
Some misunderstandings
Some mothers are worried that constipation problems are caused by milk that is unsuitable for their children. After changing milk brands, a few of the children get better, but most of them have deteriorating conditions. What’s going on? In short, different brands of milk have different ingredients. When your child switches to a different formula, the constipation seems to go away, however after the adaptation period, the constipation problem recurs again. Otherwise, some mothers use fatty food to feed their children in order to relieve constipation. Often, this will result in diarrhea. Most doctors and healthcare practitioners do not suggest using this method.
How to handle an emergency
If your child’s constipation has been going on for 3–4 days, there are firm, hard stools present at the anus, and you have already tried all sorts of food therapy but to no avail, you may try the following methods:
•Apply some Vaseline or cold cream onto a paper stick, cotton bud or anus thermometer, and gently prick around the anus to stimulate it.

If there is still no bowel movement, gently stick the thermometer 2cm deep into the anus for continued stimulation. After milkfeeding, due to the reflex of the stomach-colon, it will be easier to pass motion.

•Bowel cleansing.

This is a last resort for emergency occurrences but mothers need to ensure this does not become a habit, or else your child will slowly lose the urge to pass motion. Especially for children below 1 year old, you may need to seek help from medical personnel.

The above information is about the causes of constipation and ways to relieve it. If it is still unable to solve your child’s problem, please see a doctor immediately.

Monday, October 11, 2010

7 months Eli!

Yes! My little cutie pie is now 7 months old since yesterday :)and yes he is on solid now...
roll over is not a problem anymore..
He loves his Koko

Eli is one happy baby boy...who wakes up with a smile on his face :)

and is able to wait patiently for his mommy, daddy and Koko to get ready before I will cuddle and change his diaper in the morning...

But he can be very fierce and can really shout when he is not being attend to after calling for a long time or when hungry pang attacks!!
He turns and tosses around and sometimes can turn 360 degree even in his tiny baby cot and this is how he will end up at times ;p
He loves looking at books and will get exctited whenever we show him colorful pages or when we tell him stories even if it is just boring black and white newspapers ;p

He can clap his hands now...
Another water baby as he loves his bath time and will certainly complaint whenever I bring him out of his bath tub ;p

Oh btw, I don't have his development stats now as his review at the clinic is only once in 2 months now :)

He loves outdoor...and is indeed a playful little baby

But most of all he is always generous with his absolutely gorgeous smile which make us adore him even more each day :)

30 Ways To Cut 100 Calories

Something interesting to read especially if you're trying to loose some weight ;p

30 Ways To Cut 100 Calories

Thursday, October 7, 2010

4th anniversary

Yes, it has been 4 years since the day we say "I do" at Stella Maris Church :) Happy Anniversary to me and hubby!! :)