Thursday 18 July 2013

Common Ways to Earn More

For someone who earns below $1,000 per month, it can be patronizing to tell this person to save more... 

To get out of the poverty trap, the long term solution is to earn more. That's why micro-financing is so much better in helping others help themselves. Compare this to the destructive effects of subsidy and aid - good intentions; unintended consequences...

Let's say if you earn a good comfortable income of $6,000 per month, and you desire to own a landed property in Singapore, you do the math. Can you save your way to one?

Sometimes, we just have to earn more. Period.

Exchange time for money

For non-executive workers, it's very common to volunteer for overtime and work on our days off, if we need extra money. I know; I was there.

For executives with no overtime pay, it's to take a second job. Like giving tuition, teach at night schools, or work as consultant to companies if you are in academia. Sell property or insurance part-time anyone?

Students working part-time reading this, yes, some things don't change even when you leave school. Don't get discouraged. Thankfully there are many other roads to Rome!

Upgrade our skills

A more sustainable alternative to earning more can be to upgrade our skill sets.

A delivery driver with class 3 driving license may decide to upgrade to class 4 or 5 driving licenses - it's the same driving, but it pays more as a container driver and/or if you can handle those heavy construction vehicles.

Learning a new language opens up a new market if you are a tour guide. Similarly, if a remisier learns Japanese, you now can tap the Mrs Watanabe business amongst the Japanese expat community here in Singapore.

And of course there is the paper chase very prevalent in Singapore. Just make sure your skill sets have improved at the end of the course; not just collecting a piece of paper.

You guess why I showed the driving and language examples above first? Practical skills and academic knowledge are not the same.

Get promoted

It's no secret that the higher you are up on the corporate ladder, the more you earn. 
That's where the less you do, and the more you talk, the more you earn! Amazing!

For those who trade or invest during company time, you think your colleagues or boss not aware? You may want to read this: committed versus involved

But if you are already "condemned" in your job, then never mind. Carry on.

Otherwise, do be conscious that success is what you have to give up to achieve it. 

Switch to hunter professions

We may whine and bitch about the high minsters' pay, but no one complains when superstar salespersons earn more than our Prime Minister.

Why? It's meritocracy at it's best. And the entry barriers are frequently quite low - can speak can oredi!

(OK, you may need at least O' levels as now the regulators require more tests and certifications... No worries lah! If you can pass the Driving Highway Code, you're safe.)

The highest sales earners are frequently found in hardcore sales activities - no basic salary; pure commissions.

Just think property and insurance agents - you see their photos in the papers when their puppet master exalt their success. But no free lunch. Can you imagine the stress and pressure if your photo is not in the papers?

By the way, is multi-level marketing still hot in Singapore? Norni juice anyone?

Be your own Boss

Being an entrepreneur allows you to leverage on other people's money and other people's time.

That's where others work to help you earn more money. Cool or what?

Sometimes we don't even have to be our own boss. If we are brave or lucky enough to work in a small startup for a pittance in pay, we can hit the jackpot if the company manages to thrive and makes an IPO. 

That's where we can cash-out our stock options (would be worthless if the startup fails) during the IPO!

Hold that thought next time you apply for an IPO. Someone is rushing out; someone is rushing in.  No wonder Warren Buffet don't buy during IPOs.

Probability of success diminishes with the higher payout

From the order of the various roads to Rome, can you see a pattern?

The higher the potential to earn serious money, the lower the probability of success.

It makes sense right?

How much can you earn in an endeavour if 90% of the participants succeed?

I've deliberately left out speculation for financial freedom - be it forex, equities, options, property, etc.

You decide where it fits.

It's back to who you are again

A young fellow blogger hits the nail on it's head.

Some of us are naturally risk averse. So we choose to play not to lose. We minimise volatility in our lives. Steady as she goes.

Some are crazy risk takers! They opt to take the Roller-Coaster ride instead of the Ferris Wheel. Today a millionaire, tomorrow bankrupt. Like a phoenix, they rise again to start a new venture all over again when spring comes. 

They play to win.  

Of course the price is you fall badly if you lose. Some never recover... 

No one route is more superior than the other. We walk our own path. 

Be at peace with who we are.




  1. Read this book: The High Beta Rich.

    Fast come. Fast gone.

    1. CW,

      Well, at least they had fun! I hope.

      As I get younger at heart, I am slowly beginning to see the differences between joy, happiness, and bliss.

      Improving my vocab some more!

  2. Hi SMOL,

    I am a peasant. If I can be a happy peasant, enough liao.

    Cannot make all the money in the world. If wanna make all the money in the world, can never be happy.

    Doesn't matter which road we are on to reach Rome as long as we reach. Just don't go off course.

    I am feeling so tired today. Don't know why.

    1. AK,

      I love watching the water lilies and lotus at Botanic Gardens.

      There and then, Rome is at my feet ;)

    2. Hi coconut,

      Huh? I dun understand. Maybe too cheem for me. Told you I need to go back to school.

      Hi SMOL,

      I am allergic to grass pollen. Go Botanic Gardens? I got life go maybe no life come back.

      I always make sure I don't roam too close to grassy places. If Rome is a grassy place, I better change course. LOL.

    3. AK,

      No dating in the parks for you liao.

      No wonder you have a car. The back seat is more comfortable, can play Barry White CD, got aircon...

  3. people in speculation should treasure money, its their live line, they need money to produce money, yet most does not really care, especially the good one.

    and people who are in fix income should not be afraid of losing money, should not treasure it, why, its fix, sure have one, why worry? yet they worry about money too much.

    see the contrast.

    1. i mean fix income as in salary or something, not the fixed income in trading/imvesting in treasuries or bonds haha.

    2. coconut,

      You speak like Zen trading master now :)

  4. Hi SMOL

    The part when you say beware of your boss and colleagues who knows that you trade investment during working hours, I immediately look left right and behind!! :D

    Are risk averse people usually associated with "contented" people and risk takers people are "ambitious" people? I am currently watching the "Apprentice Asia" with Mr. Tony Fernandez as the boss and I must say oh gosh all the bad humane traits in business are being exposed and exploited in the show.

    1. "Ambitious" people will take whatever risks it take to reach their goals.

      "Ambitious" bosses are also ruthless or "black" heart.

      As employees, we must aim to earn more than our immediate boss by doing some ECA during office hours; otherwise how to beat him/her.


    2. B,

      No. Risk averse people can also be the most ugly green eyed monsters with lots of angst - this not fair; that not right, etc.

      Envy and jealousy, gnaw at them constantly. They will be the first to give fallen risk takers a few kicks as that's the only way they can achieve "equilibrium".

      Risk takers are usually type A personality types. Super competitive; not afraid to outshine others.

      The "bad" traits you mention could be the highly sought after "killer instincts" puppet masters are looking for.

      Don't let good or bad get in the way. These are value judgements.

      If you want a guard dog, go get the fiercest doberman you can find.

      If you want a cuddly pet, go get a puppy :)

      Contentment is being grateful for what you have (or who you are in this case).

    3. SMOL

      Thanks for the advise ;)

      You hit the nail there on the road.

  5. Hi SMOL,

    Sooo proud of you! You didn't say open gambling den at home especially if you are swingingly single! LOL~

    I also downloaded a gambling den onto my handphone, to execute and monitor my trades. Shhh...public servant also need to get rich one, mah! :P


  6. Hi SMOL,

    You can say what you want. Without the STOCK MARKETS, you will not have so much free time to blog. You can also see me standing behind one of Macdonald's counter. Actually i am tempted.

    1. temperament,

      My personal experience is that I started with $400 plus per month.

      If I had concentrated on savings, I would still be working.

      Before making money from the stock markets, I had to "donate" a lot first. Without earning to replace what I've lost in the stock markets, how would I recover?

      Water can float; water can drown.

      The talk I had with the taxi-driver - who is former business owner who lost it all in the markets - brought me to reality.

      CW is right. If we have to depend on the markets to fund our retirement, is that really sustainable or a realistic one?

      Hey! You thinking of working at Macdonald too!? It crossed my mind some weeks back - to work during the weekends?

      Welcome to Macdonald! This I can say with a bright cheery voice!

    2. working, i thought you guess means queue up for hello kitty haha.

    3. coconut,

      That's how marketers mind control from young.

      Queue for Hello Kitty.

      Queue for IPOs.

      Queue for property launches.

      Some flip for quick profit. Some buy because scared to lose out. Some do what others do.

  7. Hi smol,

    I thought of doing a stint at macs Donalds too. Together? :) i want to try out all the various jobs in the world, so that we can better appreciate their conditions. I think it'll be an interesting experience.

    1. LP,

      During my travels, I've met backpackers who work 6 months to a year, quit, and then travel. Once money ran out, they repeat the process. Incredible! They don't plan ahead. They just live.

      I've sent you a message at your Facebook.

  8. thought this is a timely article and shows whether you are in the comfort zone or whether you should be hunter mode. thanks for that

    1. Hi Kyith/Drizzt,


      Your kind comment allows me to expand a little on risk taking.

      We may change according to different stages in our life cycle - we are not condemned to one mode forever.

      We can start off with risk-off (influenced heavily by how we were brought up), then we switched to risk-on after a catalytic event (girl friend leaving us, sand kicked in our face, death of a close one; etc), and we switch back to stability mode after we have nothing to prove anymore.

      P.S. Welcome to the land of no brown paper bags over our heads!


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