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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!





Saturday, 13 May 2017

「我」字丟了一撇是什麼字?




初生的路,跟著父母走;學生的路,跟著老師走;社會的路,跟著名人走;這已成了一些人成長的模式。

人生的路上唯獨缺少了自己。

其實,跟著是要學會獨立,而不是隨從,更不是模仿。

讓心靈中開出屬於自己的花,結出與眾不同的果,雖然可能要付出代價,經歷風雨,但也會讓你自豪,讓別人羨慕。

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

What's The Edge For Successful Retail "Investors"?



Their day job.



To be precise, it's their annual cash injections to their portfolio.



Especially when the annual cash injections in dollars exceed the annual portfolio returns in dollars!






Friday, 5 May 2017

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Saphir Renovateur Leather Cleaner & Conditioner (ShoeTree Project)


During my retail selling days at Metro and Robinsons, we do get rotated amongst the various departments.

And one of them was the shoes department.

No, I'm not going to share with you the unexpected perks of "downblouse" moments!

Then there were my IMM leather sofas selling days with Melandas Casa Mobili (Closed shop liao... Don't look at me! Not my fault!)

So I guess I know something about leather care. Wink.


Often while taking long MRT rides, I like to look at the footwear of the passengers.

OK, I think I got a shoe fetish of sorts...

Whether they were colour matching and well co-ordinated with what the person was wearing?

Were they scruffy and worn out; or were they well taken care of and polished shining?

All these can tell a lot about the person wearing them.


Two weeks ago, I received a complimentary sample of this 2-in-1 leather cleaner and conditioner.

Tried it on my leather shoes, belts, wallet, and satchel bag.

It worked well. I'm impressed.


You can check-it out here:



Also, they have other shoe care accessories that you may want to explore.

Own time; own target.





Sunday, 30 April 2017

Why Goals Are Not Enough



Read this article here:




Just yesterday, one promoter was teasing another "otaku" promoter and interrogating what the "otaku's" 5 year goals were... In another words, where this "otaku" promoter sees himself in 5 years' time...

You know, the classic question you get during job interviews or annual performance reviews.

Its basically a "veiled" attempt to put down the "otaku" promoter after discovering he was a polytechnic diploma holder.

People can be "unintentionally" cruel.

This after knowing the "otaku" promoter wanted to be a pilot in his 20s...Rejected. Wanted to sign on in the Navy as IT specialist... Rejected.

The promoter asking the question is in his early 30s. Before joining this sales line, he was a shift manager at McDonalds in Malaysia. 

I see it as a case of 50 steps laughing at 100 steps.


The "otaku" promoter understandably - after many career setbacks - replied he has no goals. He lived one day at a time. (I always see him smiling and joking on the selling floor; while his tormenter is always under self-imposed stress)


I knew the "if you fail to plan; you plan to fail" bayonet twisting will come soon. So I just casually chimed in that I have no goals too!


This shut-up the promoter doing the "bullying".

He knew my "pecking order" at this selling floor. Many things he can't do; I can do.

Sales is very realistic. Those who can sell; talk louder.

This promoter is struggling at the bottom of the 4th division himself...


Notice a similar pattern in our community?

Those who struggle are the loudest parrots of conventional wisdom that everyone already knew.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

I don't even trust what I say or do!


First, a shout out to the butterfly who spotted a pattern that 99% of the readers here would have missed...

My previous posts on Survivorship Bias and "人家说你就信?" have something in common:


One is don't believe what others do; the other is don't believe what others say.


I am part of the 99%.

I did not plan it to be so. Honest!

LOL!

But once alerted to it, how can I not complete this "unplanned" trilogy?



Don't believe what I say

I think most of you can relate with me here.

I often say things for the sake of say, say only.

Like eating healthy, do more exercise, read more, I would visit this place one day; etc...


How about in investing?

Stock we eyeing is $1. Too expensive! We tell others we will nibble at $0.70.  Right...

Remember Jan 2016? When STI dropped near to 2500? What did you do? Now price back up to $1, we say next time the price drop back to $0.70 again we will surely buy this time! Right...


When colleagues are bitching about management at the water-cooler, I nod my head and say, "Yalor, yalor." All for the sake of blending in.

What do I do when management shouts, "Jump!"

I echo back, "How high?"

Hello! You think I want to be sheep all my life? Of course I want to be shepherd!

Not because I enjoy being a shepherd; I want to gain access to landowners.

Now that's networking with people that matters!


At kopitiam, its a national sport to knn big daddy. What? You expect me to defend big daddy and risk being ostracised?

I think I should get an Oscar for my Hollywood skills!

I'm so fake I'll make a Mainland Chinese counterfeiter proud! 

What do I do during elections?

Of course I not stupid. I got own assets one hor! Even though its nano in size. Nano landowner is still landowner what?

Sheep will complain HDB 99 year leasehold is not an asset; we don't own it. Yet what do they do? Go apply HDB BTO... LL.


Yup, we all like to say, say only. Wink.



Don't believe what I do

I take pride that I practice consultative selling - I help my customers make their own buying decision themselves.

I'm not Sim Lim; I don't push products out.

Its all very nice posturing; I do so because I am confident most customers will buy from me. 

I am competent in selling.

If friends in sales say to you to support a friend leh... That means they are not competent yet in their craft of selling. They are using emotional blackmail to make a sale.

Back to my pride in consultative selling. 

The $64K question is - am I doing it for myself (one of Maslow's hierarchy of needs); or am I doing it more for my customers?


Last month, I found a purse on the bus and returned it to the rightful owner. Inside a few hundred dollars.

I was thinking to myself. Would I have done the same if I've found a million dollars?

I definitely would pause and think about it for a while. (My cultivation not complete yet, but at least I can question the reflection in the mirror)

All of us has a "price".

What would you do if you "found" a million dollars?

Careful now...

Do you honestly believe what you say?




Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Cancel Dependant's Protection Scheme


So embarrassing!

I should have cancelled my CPF Dependant's Protection Scheme when I came back at age 44.

I completely forgotten about it...

Talk about don't sweat the small stuffs!



I did cancel my Term insurance when I came back.

When the 20 years break-even for my remaining Wholelife policy was hit 2 years back, I cancelled it too.

I remembered because the annual premiums were in the thousands.



Yes, this proves the annual premiums for this CPF DPS policy were dirt cheap.

Highly recommended to get it when you hit age 21.

The annual premium for those age 34 and below is just $36 per annum! Cheap right?

$46K is not a lot, but when you have little or no savings in our 20s, at least its something for our parents to tide them over in the event we have to depart "abruptly".



But once we've reached our 40s, I think this CPF DPS policy would have out-lived its usefulness. Unless you tell me, in your 40s, you still don't have $46K to your name...

Most of us would have forgotten about it - just like me - as the annual premiums were frequently paid out from our annual CPF interests received.

However, this year different for me.

At age 50 and above, the annual premium will have a "big" jump in percentages. Although in dollar terms, they're still pretty modest.

If you want to keep it till age 60, also can.

It won't cost you an arm or leg - especially for those who like to voluntarily top-up your CPF - the increased CPF interests will be more than enough to offset the increased in annual premiums for DPS due to your higher age.

However, I prefer to take out my CPF; not put more in.



Just went down to NTUC Income as Bras Basah road to sign the opt-out form.

Then took the opportunity to say hello to Kwan Im Ma at Waterloo Street.

Wow! So crowded on a Wednesday afternoon?

Oh! Today is 初一!

  



  

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Stacked Homes - DIY Property Platform


Some people just love to assemble and pimp-put their own furniture or PC.

It gives them a sense of accomplishment.

While some just love the cost savings that goes with Do-It-Yourself.


Same for investments.

Most of us would prefer to do it online ourselves than dealing with a remisier or private banker.


It seems more and more HDB transactions are being transacted by owners and buyers themselves nowadays without the engagement of property agents!?

Not I say one hor.

You can verify yourself with our nation building press:

More buying, selling flats the DIY way



Come checkout this DIY property platform:

Stacked Homes



Is it me or what?

But do you find the 3D thing very cool and smooth?

Even not buying or selling, I don't mind browsing around to get some "inspiration" on home decorations.

Or maybe to be precise, what NOT to do when it comes to home renovations...

LOL!








P.S.  I am surprised to see condo and private properties listed there. One would assume rich people can afford a property agent...

I guess when you can save $10-30K, money is still money!




Wednesday, 19 April 2017

How to check how much CPF housing grant you eligible for


Confuse as to what CPF grants you eligible for?

Now here's a simple quiz to help you find out in a breeze!



Stacked Homes CPF grant quiz







Mind you! Its just for CPF grants only.

It does not tell you whether you eligible for HDB flats or not.


OK, own time, own target.

Carry on!



Friday, 14 April 2017

Practical Business Finance for Non-Financial Executives - (yes, got subsidy)


I am constantly bemused by new investing enthusiasts who were inspired to start their (harrowing) financial journeys and jump blind into the investment pit of snakes and dragons (龙蛇混杂).

If they come from a non-accounting or business finance background, one would have thought they would want to learn some basic accounting first - for accounting is the language of commerce.

No...

They go pay $3K for some voodoo investing course that's nothing more than A is for Apple level kind of education.

Of course they can't tell the difference! Only "bei kambings" will mistake A for Apple as the "holy grail".

They will get a rude shock when they pickup an "Investing for Dummies" book only to realise that's where their "mentor" has stolen with pride from!!!
 


OK, enough of foreplay.

Now click here:



Under point 3 you'll find this Practical Business Finance for Non-Financial Executives.


Notice something interesting?

Nanyang Technological University - power or what? Not some unheard of "self-proclaimed academy of sorts".

Academic of substance - not someone off the street (that would include me).



There are also other interesting courses - like leadership skills, critical thinking, and of course this one close to my heart - coaching.








P.S.  Those of you who are warm-blooded with your own internal combustion engines would have gotten the hint and now exploring the continuing education websites of NUS and other local universities, Polys, and ITE (举一反三).

Some are part-time courses with vigorous examinations for those who are into collecting boy scout badges. Yes, can add more ABCs behind your name. Wink.



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Employment and Employability Institute - e2i


Yesterday, I was invited to a e2i talk at a very cool restaurant.

Not going to bore you with the details but long story short, 2 target audiences for this post:

1) Small and medium sized business owners.

2) Professionals, managers, executives, and technicians - PMETs.



SME business owners

You got pay taxes right?

That makes big daddy a vested partner in your business.

The more you make; the more big daddy earns in taxes.

But if you don't make money; big daddy got nothing to tax... Bummer!

So don't be shy!

Take a look at the programmes and productivity solutions that e2i offers to help your employees help you EARN more and SAVE more!

That's what really matters, doesn't it?

And remember our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom: 

不拿白不拿!

Don't take wasted!



PMETs (and lost young graduates)

In the days of old, when it comes to retrenchment, job disruptions, and/or career displacements, its usually the "blue collar" workers that bear the brunt of the pain.

Most PMETs just shrugged since it doesn't affect them - the pin no prick them no pain.

Now?

Still think just as long you got a degree or diploma, big daddy owes you a job?

For those who are "warm-blooded", it can be good to know where to access the resources you can tap on, way before you may need them in the future. Wink.


By the way, if you are a lost young graduate who have no clue what you want to do, no harm to visit one of these e2i centres near you to get a feel for the industry or job sector you may be interested in.


Caveat!

I am a believer in small government. I never liked it when people try tell me what I should do or not do.

There is a big difference if you visit e2i as a sheep - people tell you go where you go where; versus you go as a shepherd - you merely looking up for support/resources that may help you do what you like

Don't believe?

Just ask your older cousins who are engineers.

Or talk to those who took up IT Computing in the late 80s because everyone says computers will be the next BIG THING!




Monday, 10 April 2017

Visions, Dreams, Ikigai, and Goals


I am better organised now!

For those of you who have this lingering feeling of "emptiness" in your heart even though you have hit all the goals you have set for yourself, you may want to click under:

"My interests" and on the "Dreams and Goals" tab located on the right column of my blog.


There, you'll find the deranged and hallucinated writings typical of a grasshopper.

Mind you, the perspective of the grasshopper was borne out by his past life as a purchaser visiting founder owners of factories throughout Asia.

Its a real privilege to be able to have tea or coffee with land owners who are in their late 60s to early 70s, and have passed the day-to-day operations to their 2nd generation.

They are more open to discussions on grey grey no conclusion topics of philosophy and life as opposed to the precision of nuts and bolts goal settings...

  

For readers who no time and no patience, no worries!

I have the short version (but cryptic):


Goal setting is like Western medicine - where pain; fix where  (治标).

Got headache? They look at your head. Knee pain, they fix your knee.


Dreams and visions are like Chinese medicine - holistic approach  (治本).

Complain about stomach ulcers?

They freaking ask probing questions about your lifestyle, diet, how's it going at work, relationship issues at home???

Hey! Fix my stomach can?

LOL!





Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Don't Sweat The Small Stuffs



Cutting coupons, jumping through hoops to earn that extra 1% plus in interest, skipping that drink during lunch, looking for the lowest cost ETFs or brokers...

I know, a little bit, little bit will slowly add up to a mountain as in the words of wisdom from our Malay friends:

Sedikit-sedikit lama-lama jadi bukit.






However, there are 3 major financial decisions that if we got them "wrong", all the nickel and dime above will come to naught...



1.  Your first property purchase

Buying our first home, whether it be public housing or private properties, this is probably our biggest financial purchase till now.

Get it right, or just plain being lucky, we have seen those who have parlayed their first property purchase into their first pot of gold. Those lucky bxxxxxxs!

Get it wrong as in overpaying... You do the math. You paid $100K more for your place than your neighbour next door. Multiply this $100K with bank interests over the next 20 to 25 years.

Pain right?

Now you know why someone the same age as you earning similar pay is able to inject a lot more cash into his portfolio or opportunity fund every year than you.

He paying himself first; you paying the bank first.



2.  To buy Car or not?

I'm not talking about getting a car to get girls or to boost your ego that sort of thing. I won't go there as once we start, there's no end one...

Here we just focus on we can afford a car, but the decision is whether we should spend that $100K first as in killing the golden goose?

Or do we keep the golden goose alive and be patient and slowly accumulate the golden eggs to buy that car?

This way, we can have both the golden goose and the car at the same time!

Problem is... Can your golden goose lay golden eggs every time? No rotten eggs ever?

And what if tomorrow never comes?

Also, driving a Ferrari at 50 is not the same as driving one at 30. Wink.



3.  Insurance

Want to know a fact? Insurance policies are mostly sold to.

Yah what?

If not why insurance companies dangle commissions and incentives to their agents to push these policies out?

When is the best time to push products out to unsuspecting bei kambings (little lambs)? Its when the customers are blur fxxxs, blur spiders, and blur sotongs...

For when these customers are financially literate, they will know HOW to buy WHAT they need online bypassing the agents. Just like how retail investors/traders are able to transact online without calling their remisiers....

Insurance is one area where many readers of financial blogs will readily admit their regrets in buying based on trust from friends/relative peddling insurance policies to them... 

They now know they should have practiced: Trust but Verify.

Imagine saving a dollar here, a dollar there for years... Only to discover you have been throwing away thousands annually in insurance premiums that you don't need or were not appropriate for you.



Don't sweat the small stuffs

Life is not a straight line extrapolation.

Above 3 examples are the "easier" financial ones.

I have not even gone to the much "harder" non-financial decisions like:

a) Marriage - divorces and alimony not "cheap"...

b) Health - well, that's a bucket with leaky holes...

What? We can't choose health? Well, we can choose what sort of lifestyle we want, our diets, to smoke or not; exercise no exercise; etc.... 

  


Monday, 3 April 2017

Do you drink beer?


Saw this great parody video in Facebook!

Especially when you have seemingly "financially literate" friends who like to bug you with silly exhortations to do away with the little things in life that make you happy.


Do you drink beer?  (You may need Facebook access)



Focus on ruining your own happiness (in the here and now) by skimping and scrounging before you try to make others as miserable as you.



This is the little test to see if you have conviction of your beliefs.

If you don't drink beer and all your friends do, and it doesn't affect you one bit, then that's conviction!

But if you need to mould others to your image, or will only mix with other friends who don't drink, well, your conviction may not be as strong as you think... Wink.



Perhaps that's why someone long ago don't mind to mix with prostitutes and tax collectors; and why the lotus flower has no issues with blooming in the midst of mud.

  




Saturday, 1 April 2017

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Reason Why Men Don't Understand Women







Limited vocabulary.

And lack of situational awareness.

What do I mean?

The body language, the tone the words were spoken, the context in which it was spoken; etc.

Yup, the same words can mean one thing today and meant something totally different tomorrow!!!



Low EQ women will scream and shout at men for failing to understand them. As if shouting and screaming will help make things better...

High EQ women will hug their men and give them a kiss on the forehead. And call their girlfriends out for tea to bitch about how dense their men are!

LOL!



Monday, 27 March 2017

Herding Affirmation Meets Contrarian


Monkey see; monkey do.

We know what it meant (not exactly flattering); but it feels so much more comforting to swim as a school of sardines, to graze together as a herd of zebras, fly as a flock of geese, and hunt together as a pride of lions.

Although we call ourselves DIY "investors", we buy subscriptions to newsletters that tell us what the famous investors or hedge fund managers are doing and jump on the same bandwagon.

The freeloaders just mimic other commercially vested financial bloggers. Free what?


That's very comforting until we stumbled onto Contrarian Investing.

And now we jammed.

Idiot. We have to make a decision on our own for once...





Thursday, 23 March 2017

What's the most difficut thing to Plan for our Retirement?


No, its not your rate of investment returns.

Nope, its not the rate of inflation that will eat into your rate of investment returns above.

Or for that matter, what withdrawal rate to use? (Friend, its not that birth control technique)


Ah... You almost got it if you say how to plan whether at 65 you'll be still healthy to do line-dancing, marathons, and overseas travelling; or will you have an Eldershield kind of lifestyle...


Are you ready?


Please tell me when you intend to see your maker?


If you got 2 more years to live, I suspect you'll discover you have enough right here, right now. Can quit and do the things you wanted to do all along but always no time...

That's the acid test to find out whether you love what you are doing right now.

Anita Mui sang till her last days. She no need to quit and do what she loves. She is already doing what she loves!


If you believed you will live till age 100 and beyond, have fun moving your goal posts!

At this rate, you'll never have enough!


There is no such thing as foolproof or "bao jiak" when it comes to the vagaries of life.


That's why people through the centuries have engaged in astrology, palm reading, and all sorts of voodoo...

Will I win the battle tomorrow?

Will I succeed to the throne?

When will I die?


I find it quite amusing. Some even use astrology to speculate in stocks!?

But then, seemingly savvy and literate investors also exhibit similar behaviours by believing in investing myths...

Prostrating before the god of compounding (mixing up compounding interests with compounding returns).


Blind belief that forgoing a cup of "atas" coffee a day will make you financially rich.

I would have thought its more about wisdom and luck. 

(Any hipster café owners reading this? I can bring more business to you by organising our kopi sessions with fellow journey companions at your joint. Just write to me at the bottom. Wink.)


And this fable I liked the best!

If you fail to plan; you plan to fail. (So those O&G companies on the verge of bankruptcies never planned?)

No need to look at your parents and wonder why they never did more "planning". Just look at your own lives. Did it turned out how you have planned?

I know. You feel like giving a slap to that pimply-faced young graduate who tells you the reason you're still working at age 65 is because you failed to plan in life...

Sounds familiar?

Yes, it's your fault!





Monday, 20 March 2017

How to ownself snake-oil ownself - Investment Goal Setting


Why do people like to set "SMART" goals on consequential activities they have little control or influence over?

For example, setting an investment goal of 8% return per year when you are a long only retail "investor". Hmm...

When they hit their goals, they say its their stock picking skills (STI went up 20%).

But when they failed to hit their goals, they say it bad luck, its a bear market you know? (STI went down 20%)


Eh... Like that how is it any different from Passive Indexing?

Smart Passive Indexers don't set goals on investment returns. What's the point of setting goals on passivity? The whole point of Passive Indexing is you get Market returns. Period.


How to spot a long only retail investor who knows his stuff? (Notice I removed the " "?)

They will never set absolute return goals like 8% a year. That is only possible if you are both a long and short investor (operating like a hedge fund). Wink.

They are wise and honest enough to admit they can only set a relative return goal.

You know, to outperform a benchmark by X%?

In a bear market, the best they can do is to have no losses (moving 100% into cash before the crash). Already outperform like siao liao against their chosen benchmark!

Pray tell how to achieve that 8% goal of yours in a bear market if you can only long?


Of course, if you are iron-teethed (stubborn), you can still set your "SMART" absolute return goals with a long only investment strategy.

You add in tiny print after your goal setting:


This goal is valid only for bull markets. Its void for flat and bear markets for which I have neither the control nor influence over; I accept no responsibility whatsoever in such markets.


Well done!

You now very de smart!

You ownself snake-oil ownself!


Clap, clap.



 
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