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 Its now been replaced by CFDs and Forex.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 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!


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Things envolves and changes as time gradually progresses. I think that the basis of the scheme is the same. It's just different packaging as per said. I have learnt valuable lessons when I first started working about 20 years ago. I also suffered massive losses. Life insurance, unit trust, MLM and investment-linked products. I picked myself up and avoid all these schemes. Dividend investment through share is my preferred choice. I guess that there is the way to learn and never forget for the rest of my life.

    I am approaching 40 soon and a decade plus your junior. I can understand your feel when you suffered the financial losses in the earlier part. I guess that this is the way how I grasp the essence of "Tao" which you earlier mentioned.

    Through the previous valuable lession learnt, I advocate taking the route of not having debt for the rest of my life. Debt is a metal chain which restricts my mobility. I know that we are not common ground on debt. You have your reason on the debt and I have mine. I respect your view. On the whole, we are humans and there are bound to have differences in our minds. The most essential thing is that we learn from each other.

    Hope you don't mind my lengthy (lo soh) comments. This view flow along while I was typing and after reading your post. It comes natural and impromptus.


    1. Ben,

      Ha ha! You learn from "crash got sound" too!

      Thanks for sharing a bit more about yourself. I see you are 10 years my junior :)

      Where were I during 40? I was still in Shanghai! Man, 10 years just blew by just like that...

      Debt to me is like fire or water - they can aid us; they can hurt us.

      The key is mastery ;)

      Just be yourself. We are not orchestra players here; we are jazz players ;)

      My comments are usually longer than my post! Who's counting anyway?

      It's better to seek forgiveness than permission.


  2. I just have one serious concern with having debts on hand leveraging for extras. Does it disappear together with me if I disappear tmr?

    1. CW,

      Anyone with a bit of legal knowledge will know ;)

      That's why they teach business law in business classes!

      The very fact you stay clear of debt is a dead give-away you already knew the answer ;)

      But then again, that's because you are an Investor and Employee in Poor Dad Rich Dad quadrants.

      If you are a Business Owner, what you fear can be "managed" ;)

      The whole essence of the book is about the out-sized benefits of being a Business Owner. Somehow the majority of readers just focus on Cash Flow!?


  3. SMOL, may be you need to promote a new course. How not to buy snake oil - SMOL style.

    1. Yaruzi,

      Won't help one.

      Look at the number of Singaporeans being duped into scams year after year...

      Its as if no one reads the papers or watch the news!?

      Even during my weekend gig, there are "bei kambing" customers who asked me which brand or model sells the best?

      It's just like investing for some. I don't trust my own thinking; others buy what I follow!

      I find it strange despite our higher education, there's still a preference to let others tell us what to do???

      Quick! Tell me which stocks to buy!


  4. Jared, good to use your midlife-point to share some experiences with those less age-experienced among your community of readers.
    I learnt whatever sounds too good to be true, is probably not true. For me successful investing is found at the intersection of being respectful of the past, indifferent to the present, optimistic about the future and skeptical of all salespeople - not only the ones with that snake oil.
    As Oscar Wilde put it so accurately “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

    1. Andy,

      I can't tell you how liberating and a great load of my shoulders when I can finally remove my "mask" and "armour" at 44.

      There's a reason why in China during the middle ages the merchants (sales people) were placed right at the bottom of the social class hierachy...

      Now that wealth is celebrated, the merchant class is elevated to the top!

      I share your sentiment that not just snake oils, ALL salespersons we should raise our defence up.

      And that would include politicians, prosperity shepherds, investment bankers; etc. Those selling ideas and dreams can be most persuasive!

      I run the hell out when bleeding hearts come to me smiling and chanting, "Its for your own good."

      The road to perdition is paved with good intentions!

      Leave me alone to make my own mistakes. Thank you very much!


  5. Agree. After a 8 year bull run, it is hard to find value. Better to use the time to read, relax and maybe blog a bit ")

    1. apenquotes,

      I guess its all about perspective?

      I am comparing current prices with the ones I bought in during 2009 and 2010.

      Others may be comparing the peak 2015 prices with current prices and spotting "discounts" all over?

      I can hear the sniggering from the fisherman who bought in at 2003 prices and sitting on multi-baggers.

      The price we enter in MATTERS!

      Just ask Temasek or GIC who went into Swiss banks too early ;)

  6. Perhaps you can add Bitcoins to the list! ;)

    1. WolfT

      Mercifully, its still a niche vehicle and not mainstream for the masses.

      Once we see seminars and workshops to "educate" bei kambings how to "invest" in cryptocurriences, then it will be added into the list ;)

      Let's watch and see which snake oil "guru" will be tempted to gain first mover advantage in Singapore...

      I don't think Singaporeans have a massive need to "smuggle" cash out of Singapore, or to "launder" our cash flows anonymously ;)

      We are too bei kambing! Maybe more for countries where corruption or tax evasion are more rampant?

  7. Hi SMol,

    Mine is so much simplistic and naive. Get a degree and I can work my way to glory. I even sat at what used to be esplanade and think when can I have my logo or name on top of a building!!

    When I dream big, and it remains as a dream. I share different dream now. I do once think of earning a lot of side income from stocks, but never rich. Lol...

    1. Sillyinvestor

      I am glad I can banter philosophy with you!

      Money with no soul - that just makes us like any other nouveau riche? LOL!

      That's why although I earn so little to burn my weekends, the reward is I am back to where I've started - close to my 初心。

      It's good to be reminded and be grateful least I forget...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...