Sunday, October 10, 2010

Maximising savings

WITH longer life expectancy, escalating medical and education costs, most people’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings will diminish over time.

The worst case scenario will be that retirement savings will run out in a couple of years if one has to finance their children’s tertiary education and pay for private medical bills.

So what should a person do to boost his or her EPF savings without losing out on their retirement savings?

Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Charlie Oropeza says depending on a person’s risk appetite, investment time horizon and income, one can opt to invest in, among others, properties, equities, unit trusts and investment-linked insurance plans.

It is important to invest in the right financial instruments to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Citing a retirement survey commissioned by Prudential, Oropeza says Malaysians tend to be conservative when it comes to the type of investment tools they use to save for retirement.

He says most people rely heavily on low yielding bank savings or fixed deposit accounts to grow their retirement nest egg.

Contrary to the common belief that keeping money in the bank is the best way to preserve capital, Oropeza says this may not be good enough given that interest rates of bank deposits can hardly outrun inflation.

He says regular investing and saving is an effective and convenient way to help one reach his retirement goal.

“Even a little money saved regularly can grow to a tidy sum over time. The easiest way to reach your financial goals is to start investing through a regular savings plan. By setting aside an amount each month, you will be well on your way to developing substantial funds for retirement,“ he says.

Besides putting money aside regularly, he says choosing the right fund and diversification of portfolio is equally important to ensure successful retirement savings.

Portfolio diversification helps spread the risk so that the retirement portfolio is not heavily impacted by one investment. Diversify within the asset class and among several assets, Oropeza advises.

Robert Foo, who is principal consultant of MyFP Services Sdn Bhd, says EPF funds should also be invested into unit trusts. He says investments should be diversified into different funds.

Although EPF has limited the upfront sales charge on unit trust investments to a maximum of 3% of the investment amount, Foo says it is still too high and should be reduced to 1%. Another alternative, he says is to spread this 3% over three years instead of having the investor lose the whole 3% upfront.

If possible, investors should invest through fee-based financial planners who can get funds at net asset value (meaning 0% upfront sales charge), which will be a substantial savings for them, he says.

If the Government is serious about providing ways for Malaysians to fund their retirement, they should allow EPF contributors to invest into offshore funds for greater choice and diversification.

Foo recommends buying a home if one does not own one yet because it is indirectly an investment. He, however, cautions not to over commit and buy a house that will stretch a persons’s finances too much.

Licensed financial adviser Jeremy Tan of Standard Financial Planner Sdn Bhd says another option available for EPF contributors is to withdraw for the purchase of owner-occupied home or settlement of mortgages.

It would only be wise for them to withdraw for this purpose, especially the latter, if the mortgage rate charged by the bank is higher than the average EPF dividend rate.

Based on current mortage interest rates, Tan says it will be more appropriate to keep the monies in EPF to harness the return rather than withdraw for repayment purposes.

On unit trusts, Tan says although this asset class is an option to grow savings, it may or may not provide an increase in returns higher than the EPF’s dividend rate.

The strategy to adopt is to invest regularly and diversify into different asset classes of mutual funds taking into consideration one’s risks appetite, to potentially gain higher returns than EPF rates, he says.

Great Vision Wealth Management Sdn Bhd associate director for tax and financial consulting Darian Lim says those who are not quite sure which unit trusts fund to invest into (there are about 223 approved unit trusts funds) and who “cannot stomach” the market volatility, might be better off just leaving the funds in EPF since it gives reasonable returns at much lower risk.

From EPF’s findings, Lim says about 72% of the members who withdraw their savings at age 55 tend to spend all the money within three years.

He says: “Proper retirement planning is of utmost importance as we slowly move towards a developed nation with better healthcare and medical advancement. People around the world are living longer with those in developed nations having an average mortality age beyond 80.

“As such, everyone needs to have sufficient funds to retire comfortably. It helps to find ways to maximise returns from EPF investments to increase one’s retirement fund.”






不必費神挑標的 投資成本比共同基金低




所以,2003年後,他陸續買進連結美股道瓊、S&P500指數的ETF,再搭配漲勢比較凌厲的中小型股ETF,例如連結美股Russell 2000指數的產品,一直持有到現在都沒賣過,他說,這些都是未來退休後,可以支持他遊山玩水的額外資產。

事實證明,2003年以來,S&P 500指數即使經歷去年金融風暴重創,累積仍有30%報酬,平均年報酬率還有5%。


為 什麼王文華會把ETF當做退休準備的投資商品?除了ETF本身具備分散風險的特性(編按:因為ETF為追蹤指數,也就是投資一籃子股票,已經分散掉單一個 股的風險,也因為被動的跟隨指數波動,比較不會有選錯共同基金的問題),投資成本低廉,也是長期投資者偏愛的主要原因。

專門研究ETF產 品、滙豐中華投信機構業務發展部協理游景德做過估算,若把共同基金跟ETF的主要投資成本(編按:包括基金管理費、股票買賣手續費等)比一比,若投資1 年,共同基金約比ETF高出2%,若以複利的方式計算,投資10年,共同基金的投資成本會比ETF高出22%。





瞄準新興市場 金磚四國最有成長潛力


劉 益銘認為,不管短線或者長線,新興市場的投資獲利機會都大於成熟市場。對比較積極的投資人來說,或許手上已經持有新興市場的共同基金了,不過,由於共同基 金大部分都還是投資幾個比較大的市場,一些成長力道強、比較少被注意、或共同基金選擇比較少的市場,則可以透過ETF來補強,例如土耳其、泰國或者印尼。



至 於長線投資,趨勢還是應該瞄準新興市場,劉益銘及游景德都認為,過去,大家都習慣把核心投資放在成熟市場,但是近幾年,新興市場不論在基本面或者經濟成長 面都大幅進步,反觀成熟市場因為去年金融風暴,可能還要花好一段時間才能修復損傷嚴重的經濟。未來,核心投資反而應該逐漸偏重在新興市場,其中又以金磚四 國最有繼續成長的潛力。

監管逾新台幣5,000億元資金的摩根富林明全球新興市場投資總監提塞林頓(Richard Titherington)也認為,若以獲利成長潛力的角度來看,新興市場股市目前仍處在合理價位,至於未來最具上漲潛力的單一國家股市,除了巴西外,他最看好非洲。


做好資金控管 3策略擴大投資續航力策略







挑ETF留意5件事 選擇規模大、流動性佳







ETF 因為是追蹤一籃子股票或者指數,根據追蹤標的的價格可以得出ETF的淨值,也就是ETF的真正價格,基本上,交易的市價跟淨值應該是要貼近的,但有時候可 能因為市場過熱,導致市價高於淨值(即所謂的溢價),如果用溢價買進,就是買得比較貴了;同理,如果賣在折價點,就是賣得太低了,最好的狀況是折價買進, 溢價賣出(編按:基智網www.funddj.com可查詢ETF市價及淨值比較)。