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--- insight777 (5/9/2012)
Growing up poor made Darren Tan Zi Hong, 36, determined to strike it rich on his own.

It is why he became an insurance agent right after he completed an engineering degree at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2001.

In his third year at NTU, he underwent an industrial attachment and knew then the field was not for him. 'I knew I wasn't going to get rich being an engineer,' he said.

He thus joined Mr Peter Tan, who is with Prudential Assurance, and who taught him how to build his first pot of gold through insurance sales. 'I was looking for a mentor and I joined him, rather than the trade.'

He is now a group financial services director and is in the midst of building a property portfolio. His wife Alisa Tan Li Ping, 32, has her own estate planning business. They have no children.

Q: Are you a spender or saver?

I used to save about 20 per cent of my income for a rainy day. Now I save about 5 per cent to 10 per cent of it as I have built up a six-month pool of reserves for emergencies.

I invest about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of my money in insurance products. The rest is spent on my family's lifestyle. Every year, I go on shopping holidays with my wife to cities in the United States or Europe.

Q: How much do you charge to your credit card monthly?

I charge about $10,000 to my cards monthly and I pay up in full. I have five credit cards but use two of them most frequently because of the frequent flier points.

I withdraw $2,000 in cash every fortnight, a chunk of which goes to supporting my parents and my wife's parents.

Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?

My life insurance portfolio, which is a mix of jumbo term plans and whole life plans, is worth about $4 million.

If something untoward happens to me, I want to leave enough money to generate a certain amount of returns to sustain my wife and our parents for the rest of their lives.

We have full medical hospitalisation protection and would not need to pay a cent should we be hospitalised, and I have $500,000 worth of endowment policies.

I am in the midst of building my property portfolio, which now consists of commercial and residential properties. To diversify my portfolio, I recently invested around $50,000 in gold. I bought a gold certificate as I did not want to keep gold in my house.

Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

I grew up in a four-room flat with my hearing-impaired parents, two brothers, grandmother and an aunt.

My dad was a helper at a wet market stall. If not for my aunt, I would not have finished university. She was very thrifty and whatever money she had, she would spent on me and my brothers.

While I never felt that I lacked basic needs such as food, I was envious of those who managed to rise from rags to riches. I was determined not to be poor and I decided to find a mentor who would be able to show me the route out of poverty.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

I took up a financial management elective taught by Mr Peter Tan in the fourth year of university and my world opened up to the world of finance.

I made 40 per cent from my first unit trust investment, which was in global telecoms. I bought it direct from the bank in 2000.

Subsequently, I lost some money in penny stocks as I became overconfident.

Q: What properties do you own?

I started investing in property in 2005 together with a few friends. I have flipped more than 10 properties this way. I literally poured in everything I had to do this.

But when the market came down in 2008, I decided to buy and hold.

I own a 969 sq ft unit in Southbank that cost $529,000 and a 958 sq ft two-bedder in the Kembangan area that I bought for $900,000. The latter is being tenanted out at a 4.6 per cent yield.

I also own a substantial stake in a 1,604 sq ft commercial unit in The Adelphi that was purchased for $2.95 million, or $1,839 per sq ft (psf). It is now worth about $2,200 psf.

Eventually, I want to diversify into the region, perhaps to places like Hong Kong.

Q: What's the most extravagant thing that you have bought?

I spent more than $100,000 on my wedding celebrations three years ago.

We had our wedding shots taken in Paris and hosted a grand wedding dinner in St Regis hotel. I don't regret it as the wedding was very memorable for me and my wife. Memories are priceless.

Q: What's your retirement plan?

My retirement goal is to ensure I have an inflation-adjusted monthly income of $30,000.

When I retire at 65, I will have about $500,000 cash from my endowment plans. The rest of my retirement funds will be from the rental income of my properties and from my alternative assets portfolio.

I don't have time to do charity work now, but this is my future goal. My wife and I want to support charities that take care of underprivileged children.

Q: Home is...

My Southbank apartment.

Q: I drive...

A fully paid-up black BMW 5 series.


Q: What's your worst investment to date?

In 2009, I lost nearly $50,000 in a tech firm. It was that one time when I bought on a merger and acquisition rumour.

The acquisition didn't materialise and my $50,000 became less than $1,000 when the price plunged to below 10 cents a share.

It was a lesson learnt and I decided to focus instead on my insurance business.

Q: What is your best investment to date?

I bought an 883 sq ft studio office unit in the 99-year leasehold Central above Clarke Quay MRT station for $1.13 million at the launch in 2005. I sold it for $1.59 million in 2008. That's a profit of $460,000.

Source: The Straits Times
6/2/2012 9:15:03 AM
There are no herbal cures for dietabes. According to the FDA that has run hundreds of clinical trials and testing for just as many so called herbal cures, non have ever been found to have any significance on treating dietabes. This is one of the reasons that the FDA has not approved any of them for use in treating dietabes. Even things like cinammon, and chromium picolate have absolutely no significant actions in lowering blood sugars. (although some people swear by them) I went to a very reputable chinese doctor for acupuncture and herbal treatment and ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks and almost died from it. Herbal remedies may be fine for some things, but dietabes in NOT one of them. I go to diabetic ed. classes every month and have talked to dozens of people who tried herbal treatments with no results, and some actually had adverse reactions. It has also been the subject of a few of our classes..
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