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Monday, 24 July 2017

LPG, Newspaper, and TV


Liquified Petroleum Gas

At my current weekend sales gig, one of the home appliances that I help "promote" are hobs (stoves).

When we sell a hob, we need to ask the customer whether they are using piped PUB gas (aka Town Gas), or using those blue liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.

Of course the majority of customers are using PUB piped gas.

I've noticed the minority still using LPG are the elderly (60s and above). And learnt something I didn't know before - there are some ancient HDB flats that have no piped gas installed for the whole block!?

Really!


Yet, there are always exceptions. I'm quite bemused whenever I get customers who are in their late 20s or early 30s opting for LPG.

So I casually surveyed their rationale for doing so.


2 main reasons:

1.  They grew up in LPG families. They never thought of considering the "convenience" of piped PUB gas. What their parents did, they followed as adults. No questions asked. (Big daddy would love them)  

2.  Then there's the equivalent of "giam kana" (stingy thrifty) financial bloggers. They know every nickle and cents about the cost savings from using LPG over piped PUB gas. Very financially literate!

Yes, that type that foams at the mouth over one extra % in bank interests, free miles, and count in 2 decimal places. (What? Someone got to troll them right?)

So don't say got lobang (good deal) I never jio (recommend)!

If you are one of those penny pinchers who believed saving 10 dollars a month compounded by 30 years will lead to a big mountain, then do consider switching to LPG for your kitchen. Especially if you cook a lot! 

(Tip: I got this from a gas technician who uses piped PUB gas for the cooking convenience, but use LPG for his gas fired dryer. He saved extra $20 per month!)


For those of you that have moved recently to your BTO flat or condo, you may want to take a look how many of your neighbours have opted for LPG gas? During house-warming parties, take a peek at their kitchen hobs.

You may even notice the some have opted for the electrical induction hobs. Wink.

Somehow, I am reminded of how good Li Ka-shing was when he listed his HPH Trust.

Respect.


 
Newspaper

I prefer reading the dailies in print form (same goes for book reading). I'm an old dinosaur in this respect. 

Once upon a time, there were lots of job ads in the classified sections. Now? Drastic reduction right?

Come to think of it, my current weekend job was found through online job search websites. And my previous one was walk-in when I saw Howard Storage World's job ads outside the store while drinking kopi at Ya-Kun HabourFront...

Have you noticed sometimes there were full page colour ads on the front page of our dailies?

Snake-oils out there like me, we see it as a sign of weakness... An act of desperation... 

For those who are not in sales, think about it for a moment.

Would you walk around dressed in a chicken suit to earn that extra income?



TV

I noticed I don't watch TV anymore.

Yes, sometimes I'll join mom to watch the 6:30pm Channel 8 news. That's more to keep mom company.

Now I watch movies and documentaries on Youtube. 

And surf the web for what's going in the world.

Question. When was the last time you watched TV?


I have a naughty thought. 

Can you make a guess when big daddy would monetise their TV assets?

Would you bite?



 





Saturday, 22 July 2017

Satires, Pokes, and Bullshits







Have you rolled-eyes at some of the posts and articles that are out there in our financial blogosphere?








Wednesday, 19 July 2017

In This Corner Of The World - Can I Take Setbacks?


Yesterday, I went to Yishun GV to watch this anime movie:









After the movie, my mind dirfted to 2 incidents.



Imagine if we had achieved everything we wanted in life.

We have our own small business - could be a restaurant, cafe, or hostel.

A warm and loving family with children and living with our aged parents; 3 generations under one roof.

Family house fully paid for. No business debts.

Except we work and live in Fukushima...

If I am the only survivor - lost everyone that mattered to me - would I be able to pick myself up and start over?



Imagine now I live in Singapore. Financially free; no need to wok.

I bring my wife and children to Phuket for holiday.

Tsunami struck.

Only I managed to make it back to Singapore...

I still have all my financial networth undamaged; unlike the me in Fukushima.

Would I be less distraught?

Yes, being devastated in my own "castle" with no money concerns is not the same as being devastated in a make-shift shelter and penniless...

Yet...



Am I wealthy?

My siblings and I get along. Parents still "healthy". I am in reasonable "good" health; although the latest health check revealed I'm a diabetic risk if I don't control my weight (rich man's curse)...

You bet I'm wealthy!

Wait. I double-check. 

Yup. No money goals. 

So why do I get up in the morning?



Saturday, 15 July 2017

Wolves in our midst


Remember the 80s Scholl sandled touts with high waisted pants and permed hair outside of Lucky Plaza? (Millennials, sorry. You too young)

Well, we have them too in our financial blogosphere:






Thursday, 13 July 2017

Netlink Trust IPO - who benefits the most?


If you answered Singtel shareholders... Not bad. You close.


Big daddy lah!


Or to be precise, Temasek. 


Smart people.



Perspective from not bei kambing retail investor  

Those of us who have core holdings that we've owned for ages. Would you sell 75% of a stock that's still growing, performing, and giving you good dividends?

You only do so when the reasons you bought have changed.

Or the valuations have gotten a bit "rich". You take some money off the table... (risk management, re-balancing that sort of stuff)

Talking about risk management. If you have taken too much debt/leverage in your margin account, paying it down is prudent. But you don't sell your crown jewels, do you?

Anyway, if you are a yield hog, you wouldn't want to "share" away 75% of your future dividends right? Got fantastic dividend stock you want to keep 100% of the dividends right?

And if you super bullish on the dividend stock's future prospects, you even will forgo cash and opt for your dividends to be paid in scripts instead. You know, delayed gratification so you don't consume the golden eggs to compond dividends on dividends! You smarter than smart!



Perspective from retail speculative trader

Worth a punt. Maybe.

You stag the IPO.



Animal Farm

Yup, we have bulls, bears, hogs, and now stags. 

Oh! How can I forget bei kambings (little white lamb)?

Where you have lambs, you'll find wolves too.

Who are wolves?

If you don't know, you are bei kambing! (Don't get offended. That's how you tell mah!)





Tuesday, 11 July 2017

TIP - To Insure Performance


In general, most Singaporeans have lost the Art of Tipping. (Or to be precise, never knew it from the first place!)

We can see the fumblings some Singaporeans make when they travel to cities where its expected that you tip.



Many, many years ago, I was on a date to watch the musical Jesus Christ Superstar (she tricked me) at World Trade Centre Expo (now known as VivoCity; and yes, its that long ago). 

After the muscial, there were a long queue for taxis as we were walking towards the taxi stand along the sidewalk.

Right then, a taxi stopped beside us to alight his passengers.

I looked at the taxi driver expectantly.

He pointed to the taxi stand.

I took out a $10 dollar note. 

The taxi driver waved us in.



That's why some people get the best tables at restaurants. The best rooms with a view in hotels.

Many of my customers who are salespersons or business owners themselves will make an effort to look for me when they've decided to buy sofas (now home appliances) from me when they come back after their 2nd or 3rd visit.

They want me to get the sales commissions. 


I do the same when I do my shopping. 

I want the salesperson who treated me well to be rewarded. 

And if the service is exceptional, I'll write a compliment letter.

You should see the service I get next time I revisit the retail shop or restaurant. Wink.


Professional property investors don't do DIY property transactions themselves to save a few dollars. They treat their real estate agents well.

No surprise they get first hand information from these real estate agents when a buying or selling opportunity pops up.

The same for brokers when it comes to IPO allotments, price moving news, or best deals before the rest of the retail investors get wind of it through the media.

Anyone who gets their financial news from the media (or financial bloggers) knows they are at the bottom of the information food chain...



TIP - To Insure Performance

There is a fine line between tipping and giving a bribe. 

That's why I say some Singaporeans fumble at it.

No, they don't teach you in school for this. And please don't blame schools and big daddy for everything.

Do they teach you how to be a good parent in school? (See, drop literature lah!)

So don't say no one teach you financial literacy (hello, there's math), how to be entrepreneur (can teach meh), and how to tip others (watch successful people behave).


Those of you who attend prosperity churches may recognise tipping.

Law of increasing returns. Sound familiar?

The more you give; the more you'll receive.

But do note a MAJOR difference:


Tipping is the more you reward others; the more you'll receive in service back.

The other one is where the more you give; the more the shepherd will receive.

Not the same OK?


Shepherds tip.

Sheep give wool, milk, and meat.





Thursday, 6 July 2017

People Are Like Garbage Trucks






A few months back, an elderly tanned big brawny old man (in his late 60s?) with bad knee and a walking stick shouted at me at the top of his lungs... Everyone turned an looked at us.

He is like your neighbourhood "ah long" or contactor with permed hair, wearing thick gold chains around his stumb of a neck, and multiple "Lords of the Rings" gold rings around his leathery fingers...

All I did was to make a "joke" that if he wanted "free" delivery and installation for the home appliance, I just need to change the price tag to a $100 more...

99.99% of the other customers will get the sugar-coated poke that there's no such thing as "free" delivery and installation. Its either included in the price, or its not.


I am glad I had some "cultivation or training". Although I was caught off guard by this sudden outburst, I simply smiled at him.

Seeing I did not "bite", the old man continued his tirade against me and threatening to complain to management.

I continued smiling at him with full eye contact (its an animal and man thing). No malice, no anger, no condescending pity on him.

It was actually a sorrowful sight.

I imagined he could be a gang leader or someone important in his prime in the 1970s or 80s...

But now... Not in the best of health, wearing all that gold to "mask" his current lack of means... If money was not a problem, why get so worked up on a home appliance that only costs $300? 

Since I've been on the receiving end of patronising smiles before, I made sure my smile is the "stand tall I wish you well" variety - not the "I pity you" kind. 

For that would have made the situation worse.


The old man lumbered out of the showroom mumbling to himself...

It takes 2 hands to clap.





Monday, 3 July 2017

What will you do AFTER retirement?


People who ask such questions are frequently the same person who use "work" to avoid the unpleasant task of figuring out the reason why they get up in the morining (ikigai).

Its not "work" - if you enjoy what you do.

Why stop if its stil fun and giving you a sense of purpose and self actuallisation satisfaction?

Perhaps that's why Warren Buffett, Li Ka-shin, Lao Lee, never retired?

Eh, don't say Li Ka-shin will be retiring next year. "Retiring" at age 90 is not retirement OK?



No need to look up.

Just look around you.

Can you spot some plain vanilla seniors in their 70s and 80s loving what they do so much they still continue to do what they like despite the paycuts and job title demotions?

They are definitely not working because they "have to"; or using "work" as the perfect tool of denial (too busy to think mah!) that they haven't figure out why they get up in the moring...



You know why corporations have grey grey fuzzy fuzzy Visions and Misson Statements before more concrete and SMART business goals?

Concrete goal setting is like climbing a ladder - the rungs representing the various milestones before you reach the top of the ladder.

However, shit happens when you discover at the top and after reaching your goal, that your ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall...

Argh!!!

Maybe that's why we have mid-life crisis?

Some woke up one morning and realised they no longer wish to spend the rest of their lives with the woman or man sleeping next to them...

Some found out the same job that nourished and inspired them yesterday no longer motivates...



Want to have a bit of fun learning to read people?

Next time you see friends or bloggers with manifestos to be financially free by age 35, see if you can spot those who are trying to "escape", and who are seeking to "achieve"?



Tip: Those who seek to "achieve" are the ones who have figured out which wall to lean their ladder against first ;)








P.S.  If you need a listening ear to your ikigai questions, just jio me out for kopi.

As a man-whore, professional ethics dictate I won't spill the beans on you. Who dares go to a prostitute who sleep and tell on clients?

Many have asked precision questions like how much money they need to retire...

How many will spend time figuring out why they get up in the morning in the first place?

Any people wonder why after achieving their goals, and having loads of money, still do not make them happy...







Friday, 30 June 2017

It must be bad when brokers start lowering their commissions and interest rates!?


Look! I'm not complaining!

But something is not right when STI is above 3200, with so many new financial bloggers popping out, and so many new players/businesses offering seminars/workshops/trainings to help bring World Peace...

What gives?

No lah!

Cannot because of that cheapo platform that I shall not name.



ComfortDelgro got Uber and Grab as "disruptors".

Who or what you think is making our local brokers do what they do?

Look. No one will voluntarily take a pay-cut, would you?

As landlord, you wouldn't want to lower your asking rent unless no choice right?


Something to talk about over this weekend!

Let's brain-storm!




For the record, I'm not vested in SGX stock. 








Tuesday, 27 June 2017

June school holidays almost over liao!







To teacher friends out there... Hang in there! 

December school holidays only 5 months away. Hope springs eternal!



To parents out there...

Hello! MOE and school teachers not surrogate parents OK? 










Sunday, 25 June 2017

I'm bored. Say something leh!


Let's do something different for a change.

You start the conversation first!

Anything!





Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Look Good By Helping Your Employer Save Money!


Big daddy has quite a few initiatives to help retrenched and unemployed PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians).

If you are one, you may want to explore your options with e2i.


However, you are not the target audience for this post. I'm not a bleeding heart, remember?


If you are a small or medium sized business owner, work in HR, or a manager looking for new help, listen up!

I may have just saved you $42,000 over 18 months. Wink.


Quick test: Have you heard of the Career Support Programme for PMETs? And its enhancements since 1st April 2017?

I bet its a no.

(Hey you from NTUC, put your hand down, of course you know!)


If you hire a PMET Singapore citizen age 40 and above who has been actively looking for a job from more than 12 months, and you pay him/her at least $3,600 /month ($4K for non-SMEs), you can get 50% back from big daddy (cap at $3,500/month) for up to 6 months!

(Who says I can't write in CPF style england? I under why they write the way they do after my sentence above!)

Big daddy will continue to provide salary support to your business for the second 6 months and the third 6 months, but at a sliding lower percentage and salary cap.

You get less if the candidate has been actively looking for a job for less than 12 months, or the candidate is below age 40.

But hey! Its still "free" money from big daddy! Might as well take!

Don't take "white" don't take!


Check out this website if you are intrigued: Career Support Programme



I know. You not a business owner (why would business owner read my blog). And you not retrenched and unemployed PMET. Why should you care?

Karma.

If you are now looking to hire someone for your department, you may want to consider our brethren who is age 40 and above?

What goes around comes around. 

You never know when you reach 50 you'll be retrenched too...

Besides, helping your employer save up to $42,000 for 18 months will look good to you.


As a business owner, I only care who can help me EARN more or SAVE more. 

Everything else is just bullshit.



Sunday, 18 June 2017

Don't do everything for me


Yes. I am single, not married, and not a parent.

You win.


But I had a childhood.

You did too right?


Was it a memorable and fun one?

Did you have the space and freedom to explore and make your own mistakes?


Remember you had to scrimp and save your pocket allowance (if you ever had one) to buy that silly plastic toy you always wanted? 

Hey! Its probably still in your treasured collection now while the more expensive toys others gifted you were long forgotten and thrown away...


How did you feel when you've done a task all by yourself for the first time? 

Like assembling your first model aeroplane?

Completing your first colouring book?

No?

Your over eager parents often will intervene and finish them for you... No fun one...


What?

You promise you won't do that to your own children?

You won't take away their own sense of accomplishments...

You rather be their cheerleader; not nanny state.





Tuesday, 13 June 2017

That's what an Emergency fund is for!


I can empathise the frustrations of youth when they hear "emergency fund".

Often in our haste to reach financial freedom, we take short-cuts by pretending that our Opportunity fund is also our Emergency fund. You become grey.

Which is ironic as when it comes to other financial matters, you count in 2 decimal places and you swear by "SMART" goal setting precision... You are super black and white.


Buying a fire extinguisher and not using it may look like good money down the drain... Let's say I'm glad I have a fire extinguisher lying around that I can use right now!


Someone close to me has a financial emergency right now. Thankfully its not the medical kind!

I'm glad I can chip-in without liquidating my existing investments or dipping into my Opportunity fund.

I have an Emergency fund for a rainy day, and its raining now. So don't have to think twice. I can ACT.




I am reminded of my 5 year old post: Taking Care Of Ourselves First
 





Thursday, 8 June 2017

Call Levels - Free Price Monitoring Alerts


First of all, I use Stops, but that's because I am trading full time.

Amateurs Part time traders and retail "investors" use Price Alerts.

What?

Ah ber then?



Most brokers do provide FREE price alerts service for equity traders/investors.

Even that cheapo stocks platform also got price alert service - albeit they will charge you for each SMS sent...

Don't look surprised; its like flying budget airlines - they'll nickel and dime you for everything!



How about price alerts for forex, commodities, stock indices?

Don't have right?

Want to have it for FREE?



Don't say bo jio!

You may want to check out Call Levels.

This one power.

Can track 10,000 assets in forex, commodities, stocks, and indices! You win liao!

Also check out the co-founders. (Don't ogle too long; screen break oredi)

And their backers. (Love the Lippo building in HK with the cute cute Koala bears)



If you like it, you may want to upgrade to the paid version. (Hello, its a business; not a charity)





Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Power of Commissions!


If the power of compounding is one of the great forces in this universe, then the power of commissions will come pretty close as the no. 2?

There's a reason why Robinsons during my time was one of the better premier department store with excellent service in Singapore - commissions and incentives.

Unlike most retailers who just paid a basic salary only, at Robinsons, there's a tiny tiny personal commission when we key-in the sales with our own staff code. Then there's a department incentive pool that's shared by us if we hit and exceed the departmental sales target.

That's why when you shop at some retailers, whether you buy don't buy the sales staff couldn't care less. You don't buy even better! Less work for them.

(I don't shop at Robinsons anymore - new owner, new management, not the same)



Without commissions, you think your private banker, property agent, remisier, insurance agent (I refuse to call them financial consultanst) will be so interested in your financial "well being"?

Give you "free" advice on how to increase your wealth?



How about long lost "friends" and relatives who never stayed in contact suddenly called to just "meet up"?

During my 20s and 30s, some of my friends who were insurance and property agents offered me $50 for every person I introduced to them that resulted in a sale. 

You think why tour guides and taxi-drivers bring tourists to certain restaurants and retail stores only? Wink.



OK, even if you've never worked in Sales before, there's some "activities" in your corporate life that will be "recognised" and receive more "brownie points" over others.

Have right?

The other "bei kambings" in your department work hard; you work smart. Shh...




For those who are easliy trapped by words, I think I better spell it out for their sake. I'm in a generous mood today!

Commission is just a word. It can easily be substituted with "kopi money", bribe, "I scratch your back you scratch mine", greed, lust, power (here's looking at you, politicians), and all the other biblical vices.



Without commissions, who wants to be Shepherd?

Wool, milk, meat - now that's commissions for you!







P.S.  All those of you young young male financial freedom seekers. You don't bluff! The reason why you seek financial freedom is never about the optionality of work. 

Its always about girls. 


And the same reason why women buy beauty products and "invest" hours at the gym or spa - you want to be financially free.



 


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Get Rich Fast Vehicles - A Trip Down Memory Lane


I will be hitting the big 50 end of this year.

Like all "uncles", I too like to reminisce about the good old days...


I see the community is currently enamoured with trading of Penny Stocks, CFDs, and Forex. Which makes sense as a little capital can win a lot - provided you don't bust your trading account first.

It wasn't so long ago (Oh shit! Its been 10 years already?) that Options were the rage... That's until the students sued their "shepherd" for being a charlatan... Options never did recover their mojo ever since. Its now been replaced by CFDs and Forex.

Before Options, it was Contra Trading. Now a dying art. How many young 20 somethings of today have traded Contra? You may never have head of it even!


When I started "investing" at 1999 during the dot.com boom, it was mainly Peter Lynch this, Peter Lynch that. Everyone was into "Growth Investing". That's the realm of 10 baggers! There was little mention of Warren Buffett - who was lagging and under-performing big time...

Then things took a sudden dive. And out of now where, everyone sort of became "Value Investor" reborn?

I find it ironic, even to the point of comical, that after a 8 year bull run since 2009, people are still parroting "value". Really? 


Of course, it would be remiss of me to not mention the growth and popularity of Low Cost Passive Indexing. Its not my cup of tea. And looking at the trading volumes of the two STI ETFs, its not for the majority either!

However, in the States, Low Cost Passive Indexing is gainig market share at the expense of Hedge Funds. I guess most Singaporean "investors" did not get the memo? Or maybe the majority of us think we're the next Warren Buffett?



That's the investing/trading vehicles of the decade side.

How about careers and jobs?

I remember when I started working during the end of 83, the classified papers have lots of advertisements promising you can be a millionaire by becoming an Insurance Agent. Remember those cowboy days?

Then MAS clamped down the excesses of the insurance industry.


Next came the property industry during the great property boom. Using the same trickery, they promised you'll be a millionaire if you join their agency! Workshops and seminars were recruiting platforms, "Come! Join me and I'll make you rich!"

MAS too clamped down on the property industry's hyperbole.


Like chopping off the head of a Hydra, two more will grow in its place.

Yup, multi-level marketing jumped in to fill the void. Norni juice this, anti-oxidant vitamins that. Anyone still buying vitamins from MLM setups today?  

Internet Marketing was the next one. This one I gotta laugh! It's so easy to spot the smarter students. These smarter students after taking the course will in turn offer their own Internet Marketing courses to others!!! Now that's how you make money off Internet Marketing! LOL!  


Now? I see less job advertisements that promises you a millionaire career. I suspect its because most Singaporeans are now better educated. If you are tertiary educated, why on earth do you need to do sales?

Since most people have a reasonably well paying job but its not something they enjoy, snake-oils have found its much easier to sell you "get rich schemes" than promise you a well paying career.

Hence the proliferation of scams like Gold Trading, Land Banking, Ostrich Farms, Binary Options and what not!


Totally legit, but still smell a bit "scammy", we have operators that promote overseas properties, forex, CFDs, and other derivatives that target "bei kambings" only. No way will they have courses that target advance investors/traders... Then the "bawu" will be obvious to all!!!

Now that's a red flag for you! Wink!





Thursday, 1 June 2017

Space Fillers and Fun Distractions


Doing trading full-time can get really boring especially for my style of trading.

If there's no wind, there's pretty much nothing I can do. So to pass time, I do play some intraday punts from time to time.

There was a period I hit a lucky patch where it was quite lucrative!

I had to consciously be mindful and tell myself not to be distracted by these small winnings.

Keep the focus on the main prize.



I had a Shanghai colleague who got promoted from company driver to IT admin.

You'll be surprised many of the receptionists at our China and Thailand offices were university graduates! They pay their dues for 1 - 2 years and when opportunity knocks, they'll be transferred to a job more in line with their qualifications.

This Shanghai colleague unfortunately got distracted with his gaming hobby... He was using company time and resources to maintain his network of Diablo gaming members - he was the Clan leader. 

My Romanian boss fired him. 



For more mature readers, during our younger days, we have done this to others or let others do this to us.

You know, while waiting for the right one to come along, we have a space filler for the time being...

Its all fun and games (although not something we want to boast about) provided we don't marry the space filler for the wrong reasons! Like out of guilt, sense of responsibility, shotgun accident, etc.



When we are clueless to what we want to do in life, a good space filler and distraction would be to jump on the financial freedom bandwagon like everyone else.

At least it gives cover or illusion that we have a goal in life!

But when questioned what you want to do after you have achieved your financial freedom, you realise you haven't seriously thought about it. You'll decide when you get there. 

And that's why people move the goal posts. To buy more time to figure things out... If they ever do.



When you see retirees playing jackpot mindlessly at those "members clubs" or at our "integrated resorts", understand that they need to find "fun distractions" to fill up the day.

The day can be excruciating long if you have nothing to do all day...

And that's not something you want to put yourself through when you've achieved financial freedom!





Friday, 26 May 2017

Go Find A Purpose!



Zuckerberg to Harvard students: Eureka moment is a lie, go find a purpose


I know what you are thinking. You are right. 

Newton's third law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

That's why I always like to hear the opposite view:


Survivorship bias





Want to have a bit of fun this weekend?

Look at those people who wear "goals" on their lips all the time. Take a good look at them.

In case you forget, goals usually have numbers in them, without them, goals would not be "SMART", would it?


Now try to come up with people who espouse vision, mission, dream, purpose, ikigai, and what not...

Yes, its all written in words that are fuzzy and super broad that can mean anything!


Can you spot a pattern?

Don't force it.

You'll spot it when you spot it. 

And not a moment too soon!




Sunday, 21 May 2017

Exclude this, exclude that...


Its quite easy to spot a person who is English or Chinese educated in cyberspace.

English educated ones like to compartmentalise everything; Chinese educated ones tend to be more holistic in their outlooks.




CPF

I don't include CPF as part of my networth.

OK...

What happens when we don't treat CPF as real money?

1.  We got suckered by snake-oils into buying "junk" insurance policies that we don't need or can't afford down the road...

I know, it cool to buy Integrated Policies to stay at private hospitals. Then you turn round and "pity" your friends who can only "afford" Integrated Policies for Class A wards in public hospitals... You poor thing...

Sure, gloat now. When you hit your late 50s or 60s, you may discover you can't afford the increased premiums.

You pray you won't need hospitalisations least your "poor thing" friends discover you no longer can afford private hospital stays... And have downgraded your Integrated Policy for public hospitals in your 60s.

Which is embarassing in logic.

When you young and healthy, you overpay for something you likely will not need. When you most likely would need it in your 60s, you now go the opposite downgrade way!?


2.  Since money in CPF you can't see or touch in a zillion years due to the constant shifting of goal posts, you decide to "gamble" with your CPF money under CPIS in the guise of "investing".

Don't worry! I'm a long term "investor"!

Even big daddy is embarrassed by the actual track record. The majority of CPF members who invested under CPIS have lost money or made less than the CPF OA 2.5% hurdle rate.

Well, so  much for loooooooooooooon term investing... And good intentions.

Not to worry. The smart people are at it to introduce new CPIS rules to prevent CPF members from "hurting" themselves. I'll bolt if they continue to say its for your own good!


3.  To those who include CPF as their net worth, what do they do? They will find ways to optimise their CPF funds.

I don't need to spell them out. 

In recent years, there are quite a few copycats of the bleeding heart. Voluntary this, voluntary that. LOL!

I'm not a big fan of that savings route. But it may work well for those who have neither the time nor competence for investing.

I prefer the earn more or investing route. (I abhor voluntarily adding more cash into CPF!!!) 

I delay the repayment of my housing loan by taking the longest loan period possible. This would free up more CPF funds under CPIS to "market time" my way to join the minority of CPF members who made money under CPIS.

Different strokes for different folks.

Does not matter whether its the savings or investing route; the important thing is we BOTH treat CPF as part of our net worth.

The Chinese have a saying on the line that if we do not respect money, why would money stay in your pocket?



Property

If we do not have a 2nd investment or rental property, the property we are staying in cannot be viewed as an "investment".
 
Want to bet the person making the statement is a HDB heartlander?

I'll take the bet anytime!

A person staying at a bungalow, semi-D, terrace house or townhouse will not make such a statement, would he?

The private banker serving high net-worth clients would not think that way too.

If a client walks in with zero cash but owns a bungalow, I'll see dollar signs straight away!

I'll suggest the client take out a home equity loan of $10 million for his $20 million bungalow at a special low low bank interest of X%.

Invest this $10 millon into several of my proposed investment vehicles (those that give me good commissions of course) that return a "projected" X+Y% returns.

Presto!

Now everyone can be a carry trader! Opps! I meant "savvy" investor. Look! You're an accreditted investor! Wink.


OK, not everyone is high networth. 

Lets return to the HDB heartlands.

Even without a 2nd investment/rental property, those who treat the humble HDB flat as an investment would play the 2 bites of the cherry, upgrade, downgrade game.

Look around your relatives, neighbours, colleagues and classmates. There are lots of annecdotal evidence. Verify for yourself!

See?

The Mind or psychological part of investing is quite powerful, isn't it.



Luck

My definition of luck is preparation meeting opportunity.

No opportunity is one thing.

Opportunity came but you can't recognise, its another thing.

Opportunity came, you recognise it, but you refused it... That's all you! 



Friday, 19 May 2017

$1 Billion Dollars Bid For Queenstown Land Parcel!



Record $1b bid for Queenstown land parcel



Cool or what!?

If you look at the bottom picture, to the North of the orange Sale Site boundary, there's a quaint Taoist temple just on the edge (not clear on the pic).

4 HDB blocks further North, that's where I grew up in my HDB 3 room flat 😊😄😅😏😛


And to the left where you can see landed bungalows, that's where my family GP lived. His clinic is the white HDB just North of the Sale Site boundary.

He should be in his 70s now? He inherited his clinic from his dad. Not bad right? I mean one clinic with an assistant only - 2 person show. And serving ordinary Singaporeans in the HDB heartlands; not "attas" patients in Orchard Road.

Those were the days when landed properties were within reach for most professionals.

He worked hard. I remember his clinic was open in the morning, afternoon, and night. Of course got 2 hours lunch and dinner breaks, but still...

Now the clinic is opened only in the morning and afternoon. I think he has earned the right to "relax" a bit. Wink.

People of his generation will never understand the youths of today seeking retirement by 35.


Big daddy very smart. That place had been left empty for around 15-20 years or more? Pay en bloc compensation at 20 years ago prices, patiently wait and wait, and when "Ah Tiong" comes awash with money, sell!

Now that's something I should emulate!


I remember my Dad and our neighbours were quite excited about us being en bloc soon 20 years ago. Rumours were flying all over the place. Then the enthusiasm faded away with each passing year...

I guess the flame of hope has been rekindled?

I wouldn't hold my breath.

But in another 15-20 years? Who knows?

I mean when we hit population 8 million, tearing down older 12 storey HDB flats and replacing them with 43 storey HDB skyscrapers makes a lot of sense. 


First reaction when reading the news is a smile. I resident of Queenstown mah!

But then, it reminded me of the Japanese in the 80s overpaying for properties in the States during their shopping sprees before the Japan economic bubble burst.

Then I smiled again.

Good, good.

Sell high is always better than selling low like those investors who bought Sentosa properties at the highs and now selling low...

Big daddy making money is always a good thing.

Maybe.






Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Data point of One - That is all you need?


Tuesday is my movie watching day.

And the GV cinema at Vivocity is one of my favourite.

Had lunch at the "one person; one plate" Hokkien mee stall at Seah Im Food Centre:



Hokkien Mee at Seah Im Food Centre



I used to worked at the old Cable Car Tower 20 years ago.

Same stall; same owner.

Wife now wears spectacles; husband's hair has turned all white...

Husband still jokes and smiles to the regulars. I was once upon a time a regular.

Their prices very reasonable at $2.50 and $3.00.

The photo above is the $3.00 plate. I big tummy mah!

Want to know whether their chilli good?

Must pay extra $0.50 for more chilli!

That's how you know! Which means many have asked for more!

No, the picture shows they not stingy with their chilli - regular chilli portion. The extra $0.50 is more for "chow kuan" (greedy) customers.

We know the type. More chilli, more noodles, more veggie, more soup - but still pays the same...



No, this post is not about the Hokkien mee or the movie I've watched - Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

It's about drawing first impressions from data point of one.



I'm a fan of Dell computers. Had good experiences with them - whether its PCs or notebooks.

However, my notebook purchase last year was a "lemon". The motherboard had to be changed only 6 months into usage...

Their recovery was great! I even wrote a compliment letter to the third party technician who handled my case.

Took the opportunity to ask about the pros and cons of on-site recovery versus service centres. And how many cases the technician have to handle in a day. May come in useful when another ACCS like company wants to do a listing here. Wink.

I've worked in Supply Chain. I know no matter how good a company is, there will always be "lemons" that will slip through Quality Assurance.

Its too "expensive" if we really want to ensure "Zero defects".

With my previous pleasant experiences with Dell products and service, one "bad" experience will not deter me from buying from Dell again.


Now contrast this with a first time customer of Dell. If you had to change a motherboard six months after purchase, even if the repair was covered under warranty, you would probably go round telling your friends, if asked, not to buy from Dell, wouldn't you?



Just now, while having breakfast, the regular old lady selling paper tissues once again approached me. I ignored her, as always.

If you first time visitor to this hawker centre and saw me doing it this, you would probably think I so heartless, so stingy. One dollar only...

But if you regular or residents living around here,  you would probably do the same as I.

This tissue old lady uses the "guilt technique" which I don't like.

She'll either throw the packets of tissues on the table or shove it in your face. Expect us to "support" her because she's entitled?

Even if she is pleasant and nice, I can't be buying tissues from her every day. Can I? There's such a thing called charity fatigue...



The same applies to REITs. Some will sing praises because they have never made losses on them.

But some will complain and be cautious on REITs as they have been burnt by them - especially in 2008 during the Lehman meltdown...

Just like if you asked Sabana REIT retail investors. Those who made good money and those who lost money will each have their own versions to tell.



A financial blogger appearing in the papers sharing his financial journey. If you don't know his backstory, of course some may question whether $500K can be financially independent meh? Is that enough in Singapore? Really?

But to those who know and have followed his journey, you would understand what his financial independence meant. Especially knowing his heritage, and after his sharing of some projects in the pipeline...

That's because those who question are probably using financial independence to escape; while our blogger friend is using financial independence to achieve.

Once you know the difference, the perspective changes. Wink.



Next time you're tempted to form an opinion with a data point of one, ask yourself why in your day job when it comes to making a decision, you always like to wait for more analysis, more research, maybe ask a consultant?

When your rice bowl in on the line, all of sudden you can't rely on a data point of one?

LOL!





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