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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

If you really care, zip up!

In these low interest rate and relatively high inflation times, you often find people (who think they know) expressing shock and surprise when they discover their “friends” or acquaintances still keep the bulk of their money in plain vanilla fixed deposits and savings accounts. 

Like talking heads on business networks like CNBC, they will rattle off unsolicited one minute sound bites like:

  1. Invest in dividend stocks; you can earn more than 6-7% easy!
  2. Put your money in passive index funds – look, no brains needed!
  3. Buy gold, it’s a great inflation hedge. Even central banks are buying them!
  4. Get into the property market now! You can get both rental income and capital gains!
  5. And so on…
(Whatever happened to Options trading? Went the way like the bubble-gum tea craze a few years ago? Wait, bubble-gum tea has come back in another form… Now Forex is so “in” right? The wolves have gone, and the foxes are in their place…)

And these self-styled man-in-the-street “guru” will walk off without a care in the world. Just making conversation mah!

Guess what? You don’t really care do you?

You can’t even convince your spouse, your parents, your children, your siblings to do what you do (invest so wisely!), so you release your pent up pseudo-knowledge to your unsuspecting acquaintances and casual friends? You won’t risk damaging the relationship of your best friends, would you?  

Of course you meant well! Who doesn’t?

But will you compensate the losses of your “friends” who followed your recommendations? I didn’t think so!

So you don’t really care, do you? Contrast the below two statements:

“It’s my fault. I am sorry.”

“It’s my fault. I am sorry. How do I make it right?” 

Which one shows sincerity?

Help only those who are ready to help themselves. Or in your own backyard first.


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Many are leveraging with all the cheap money available. It makes people who do not take advantage of the situation look stupid. I am one of the stupid ones. :_(

    I know many local gurus are also asking people to take advantage of the cheap money available to make money.

    What inspired this blog post, by the way?

    1. but somehow we can't really blame those people who gives advises, we all do right? whether financial or otherwise.

      is like a rabbit telling another rabbit certain place have a big carrot plantation, but forgot to tell him that there are many foxes resting there also haha.

    2. so you loss money based on my advise, i have to pay you back? absolute nonsense!

    3. why not make it simple, trade my money, win yours, lose mine.

    4. on a second thought, thats what the propietory trading firm (like what fat is doing) are doing, but with profit sharing if you are lucky enough to get in.

    5. coconut,

      Good for you!

      So you won't be like those rich "investors" who lose money taking the investment advise from their private bankers, and sue right?

      Or those who complain and whine (cannot afford lawyers) why regulators or govt never "protect" them from themselves?

      So very de proud of you!

    6. oh thank you thank you haha but i'm not rich to have what private banker le.

      whether a person is vested or not giving advise is the same. without vested is free talk, with vested interest is ego and assurance, that all the different.

      this world is full of demand and supply, as long as there are people willing to listen, there will be people who want to talk (advise). who will you want to be? do we have any choice?

      remember my billiard friends? one of the night cos of holiday eve and we so hard up of playing, i park my car iligally along the road, my mind was thinking "oh well at most a $75 fine" with my friends strongly object.

      guess what, i received 2 tickets from the same cistic office at almost the same time! one say not parking in a parking lot, another say park at double yellow line. 2 tickets cost me $125 haha! blame who?

    7. Wow! This Certis Cisco officer very on the ball!

      Blame your "hard-up" lor! Next time cannot tahan, take cold shower ;)

    8. 2 different tickets, 2 different officers, between them - 15 minutes only! knn

      its the first time i ever hear of let alone encounter it!

    9. the best part is 2 tickets side by side on the windscreen, just like the ear of a rabbit!

      one guy i don't know who, he is more piss off than me after i told him what happen.

    10. The officer radioed his/her colleague: "Quick come here. Got one sotong to hit your quota for the day! Then we can go supper together."

      LOL! Expensive round of billiards!

    11. oh no problem at all, remember the casinos, they, all 3 of them offer to compensate me after making "killings" in the casinos haha.

  2. AK,

    In a perverse sort of way, I don't really mind those with "vested interest" who share advise to those willing to take the bait.

    At least being "bitten" a few times, people will soon wise up and ask the next promoter: "What's in it for you?"

    But it's those "kay-poh" nothing better to do "I tell you so adviser" I cannot swallow...

    With no "vested interest" (he/she don't profit from the advice they gave - no referral commission, not selling newsletter, not trying to promote books, etc), gullible people may really believe the message!?

    Forgetting that "adviser" could simply be a "parrot"...

    And the worst? Bad "journalism" like below:


    I treat such "johnny come lately" news as my contrarian indicator ;)

    1. Yes, almost everyone is singing praises about S-REITs these days. Even some of those who warned people to stay away from S-REITs before are changing their tunes.

      With two thirds of my portfolio in S-REITs, I am not complaining. However, I would caution anyone that there would come a time to divest, like with any investment.

      Being a contrarian is not easy. I guess, until recently, I was a contrarian by being heavily invested in S-REITs. Now, I am mainstream?

      I sold two properties last year, believing that the real estate market in Singapore is going to see oversupply and softening rentals/prices in the next couple of years. Prices are still scaling higher but I believe the jury is still out on this one.

      Only Mr. Market knows what he knows and he is not the sharing type. All of us can only follow our beliefs and if we happen to be right, we are lucky too. :)

    2. oh my god! 2 properties in one go! like selling stocks haha.

      i think whether timing is good or not, i think you did a wonderful deal.

    3. AK,

      You the man!

      Buy when others fear until want to pee.

      Sell when Tom, Dick, and Harry poom-bi-bi.

      (I've not clue what I've written; but it sounded nice!)

    4. Hi coconut,

      Can do only. :)

      I am still vested in the Singapore property market although my exposure is much reduced. If the market should correct 20% in the next 2 or 3 years, I can stomach it more comfortably with a smaller exposure. If the market continues to stay strong, well, I would just make less money. We can never be too sure, I guess.

      As always, it is important to be comfortable with our investments. Peace of mind is priceless. :)

    5. Hi SMOL,

      Aiyoh, I fear also. I am merely mortal.

      At the depths of the last crisis, I was so fearful. I feared that buying then might be a big mistake but I acted despite my fears.

      Now, again, I sense fear and I also fear. People are fearful that bad things are around the corner and are staying away from the stock market. I am still heavily vested. I fear but I am holding on because I sense others' fear.

      Whether we are right or not is only clear on hindsight. So, I am not "the" man, I am just "a" man. :)

    6. wah AK, if i were to start a propietory trading desk (not firm haha), i know who to look for if i need capital haha.

      i'll beg and beg until you give up.....

      just kidding, it will never happen.

    7. Hi coconut,

      A trading desk? Means you want to be a boutique fund manager har? Haha..

      Aiyoh, at my age, what I have achieved is ok only. Many of my peers are worth many times more. However, I am quite contented as I am a low maintenance type of person. I only worry about caring for my parents in future.

      I have seen how much my mom spent on her late mother. I now see how much my dad is spending on his mother. The bills are shocking...

    8. if you worry, then all of us here will be doom already haha.

      back in my mind, i am wondering did you make that "fortune" (cannot use wealth haha) on your own?

      ofcos no need to reveal, even if is not, i can clearly see how savvy you are, really.

      er trading desk, i had one back home, not too big but very comfortable, can sleep you know cos i will be spending most of my time here. boutique fund manager? no way! trading others money is very different from trading my own from my prospective. the only down side is limited capital.

    9. now you know why i'm so "talkative", what can i do spending my entire day in my room alone most of the time, days after days, months after months, years after years.

      its the loneliest "job" in the entire world in my opinion. the only person that i can talk to regularly is mr. market haha.

    10. Hi coconut,

      I follow mainly 7 steps to achieve what I have today. ;)

      I am also lucky that my family does not need me to contribute financially ... yet. I am single. No wife. No children (I think).

      I like to think that if I were to lose my job tomorrow, I would be able to take care of myself and my parents with income generated from my investments. I think if my parents stay healthy, it is not a problem. I only worry about whether I can cope if they should become very sick or bed ridden. I wonder if I am alone in worrying about parents.

      You have a good life. I look forward to the day I become a full time investor, actually. I wouldn't have to deal with suppliers and customers anymore then. Yeah! :)

      Hey, you can always talk to SMOL here. Many times, I would visit just to listen in on your conversation. You and SMOL are crouching tiger hidden dragon. ;)

    11. coconut,

      And I thought you were trading in an arcade like Fat... Now it all makes sense ;)

    12. oh i...i.. i want to say this but i'm afraid to say cos someone (without hair) will pound on me cos i'd say too many times already haha.

      i guess your parent had nag enough already so i let you go this time haha. airn't anyone realise we are facing a (lack of) baby crises?!

    13. no smol, make no sense for me to trade in the arcade.

      those who trade in the arcade usually are the scalper, they need the wire speed, its not free you know. not to forget transportation la, lunch la.

  3. Hi SMOL,

    They don't say, " advice is a dime a dozen" for nothing. You know i have been investing for more than 23 years yet only recently some of my close relatives know very little about it. To tell the truth i am still hoping and looking for good advice how to improve on my investment returns. No joke about it, O. K.

    1. temperament! haha you serious? this is my frank opinion.

      nowadays, seems like everyone is a investor, to me is like everyone is doing business, wow everyone do business, who is spending the money?

      just like doing business, if one is not keen in the trade and need advise from others, its better to stay out of it, period.

    2. SMOL,
      Ha! Ha!
      i am serious. i meant "one mountain is higher than another mountain". i am always looking for another higher mountain. who am i to tell someone my mountain is the highest.

    3. true, i mean we have to build our own mountain rather than clamb other's mountain. if my mountain is short, so be it haha.

      2 different school of thought.

    4. Temperament,

      What you say shows wisdom.

      I would rather seek the advice from someone whom I've deliberately sought after, he/she is hard to find, and most unwilling to share - until I've proven myself to be worthy and ready

  4. Hi smol,

    I agree. The worst kind of advice are those given freely, with no consequences or benefits of any kind by the advisor because they can anyhow say it. It's still your wisdom and intellect to decide whether to take up their advice or not, that being said.

    Reminds me of my own position as a blogger. Since I do not get any benefit from advicing pple (I stopped giving advice a long time ago), will people think that it's more believable?

    My gut feel says yes.

    1. LP,

      Make a wild guess when it comes to blogging whom did I "copy with pride" the most?

      OMG! Almost 2 years now... Thanks for helping me out last year :)

      Appreciation from the heart.

      Yes, you are right.

      If we say "I love you" to all the girls all the time, soon the "I love you" that most girls love to hear, will be meaningless and cheapen coming from our mouths :(

  5. Did anyone trying to give you advice?

    1. CW8888,

      Yes and no.

      Yes, got vested interest trying to sell me "stuffs" recently.

      No, but I got "chong dong" after reading bad journalism doing work for vested interests.

      It's a bit like food blogger talking up an eating place after being paid to write it - but did not have honour to add "advertorial" to the post or saying the meal was paid by the eating place.

  6. sometimes if you don't to say anything/advise, you may offend friends especially when they know u are doing investing/trading. becoz when u keep quiet. so if u want to zip up, i feel it might better not let them know you are doing investing/trading at all! :)

    1. durio,

      There's unsolicited advice to others, and there's solicited questions from others.

      For solicited questions, we can choose to reply, how to reply or not reply.

      No "may"; no "if" :)

      One popular financial blogger in our midst is the star when it comes how to answer people seeking advice.

      Advertorials are clearly marked. Walk the talk by backing his beliefs with actual trades. Shared his "losers" together with the "winners". Straight talker all together.

      Love the way he answers every comment/questions - intellectual, stupid, wu liao (mine!), gracious, and even the rude ones (big tree attract wind) - he handled them all so well!

      High EQ man!

    2. Thanks!

      curious, may i know which star financial blogger you referring to? thanks!

    3. durio,

      LOL! I have my own favourites; and you will have yours.

      Hey! You have given me an inspiration for a post!

    4. SMOL
      LOL! if you uncomfortable revealing, just say so, i understand. no need to twist & turn ;)

  7. SMOL .

    "But will you compensate the losses of your “friends” who followed your recommendations? I didn’t think so!"

    So will you share your profits if it turns out to be a boom-town charlie ? and continue to share ?

    Can't win both ways.

    In our society of spoonfeeding, advice are often sought after. One must still do some homework and self appraisals.

    1. SnOOpy168,


      Qian bei CW8888's post about one Head of Research from a brokerage is the best example!

      A disgruntle investor stood up in a seminar and complained about his losses resulting from the "bad" stock calls from this Head of Research...

      The Head of Research said something to the effect that if she can get it right all the time, she won't be there giving forecasts of what she thinks the market will do in the next 6 months!

      What you say about self-appraisal is so true. If after 2 years of investing/trading we have no personal opinion of the markets, it simply means we have no "edge" over other retail players. Perhaps getting out or outsourcing could be a wiser option ;)

  8. maybe also because our education system don't expose us early enough. end up we got to learn the hard way.

    1. 4rexpiper,

      My view is that we have one of the better education system in the world - but I speak with muted voice since I left school at 16...

      I thought getting an education is about learning:

      1) How to read - checked!
      2) How to write - checked!
      3) How to count - checked! (Thank goodness trading don't need algebra!!! OK, that means Options out for me... Oh well!)

      And the most important to me that tuition crazed parents may have overlooked is: How to "make people" (zuo ren).

      Ahem. I like to think I am "educated".

      Every cohort, there will be those who walked their own way ;)

      Just look around during your next class reunion and see if you can spot them!

    2. SMOL,
      "My view is that we have one of the better education system in the world - but I speak with muted voice since I left school at 16..."

      Luckily you left school at 16 if not you will qualify for the post of "Professor Toad of Communications" at NUS. Err... also "Professor Toad of Super Sale-man-ship"

      Seriously, the moment we open our mouth to talk, we are all "selling". And looks like you do it best. i take off my hat to you.

    3. temperament,

      Eh... Was that a compliment?

      Can I don't be toad? Not what I would call a pretty animal...

      I vain. Is my hair messy?

    4. SMOL,
      You can't have all the good things lay.
      O. K. you can be the "GOLDEN FROG"
      Ha! Ha!
      Golden frog is very powerful, you know.
      But some people can keep them as pet.

    5. Wee-bit.


      I like Gao Ling Feng. I happy :)



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