Debt consolidation, Investing realistically and life insurance

How can I combine my three credit card payments into a single account? I also pay for a car lease.

_ Patinan

ANSWER BY... Teera Phutrakul, CFP, Chairman, TFPA I would suggest debt consolidation with a provider that can combine all three loans into one with a fixed instalment tenor running up to 60 months.

There are many providers you can inquire with including local and foreign banks _ look for one that specialises in debt consolidation. Once you have consolidated your loans into one for better management, make sure you do not take out more loans, because the situation will get out of hand.

As for your car lease, it is already a fixed instalment loan, so make sure you pay on time to preserve your credit rating.

My goal is 5 million baht in cash in five years. My income is 500,000 baht a year. Is it possible? How?

_ Bow

ANSWER BY... Teera Phutrakul, CFP, Chairman, TFPA: Anything is possible if you have the gravitas. Five million baht in five years, you say? That's easy. You need to start with 10 million and invest in shares of Facebook. The stock went public at $38 per share, and at one point it was trading down at $19 per share, a 50% drop.

Moreover, where did you get the idea about making 5 million baht in five years?

Because you're only making 500,000 baht a year, which works out to 41,000 baht a month. Assuming you invest the entire 500,000 baht each year, you would need a 60% annual compound rate of return to reach 5 million in five years.

So let me manage your expectations just a little. Realistically, by Thai standards you are doing very well already if you can put away 30% of your gross income for long-term investment.

In your case, let's say 12,500 baht a month earning a 10% annualised compound rate of return, and you should reach the 5 million mark in 37 years.

This may sound like a lifetime, but that's the reality.

In order to make a 10% annualised return, you need to rely on equity investment, commodities and real estate. Make sure your portfolio is well diversified by using low-cost index funds and adopt regular savings schemes.

My friend is trying to convince me to buy life insurance. I have never invested in anything, and my discipline is relatively poor but I think I should try. I wonder about the difference between insurance and a bank deposit. Are there any other options for savings?

_ Pep

ANSWER BY... Teera Phutrakul, CFP, Chairman, TFPA: Essentially, there are two components in a life insurance policy _ protection and investment. Depending on your personal circumstances such as number of dependents, debt level, monthly cash flow, age and state of health you may want to buy enough life insurance for the beneficiary to maintain the same lifestyle that existed before should you suddenly die.

But if you do not have any dependents or are already quite well off, then you do not need the protection component and would be better off looking elsewhere to invest your money.

The Thai Financial Planners Association is the certified financial planner (CFP) trademark licensing authority in Thailand. It is a self-regulated, non-profit group of financial advisers and experts from various organisations set up to give advice to investors. Questions can be submitted to them through or posted at TFPA's webboard at

About the author

Writer: Thai Financial Planners Association