Wednesday 29 November 2017

Can Investing/Trading Be Taught?

Of course can!

That's because you've asked the "wrong" question, silly!

Look, if you have not learned financial accounting or business finance in school, of course I can teach you how to do fundamental analysis - look at numbers that sort of thing. And by calling it Value Investing, I can charge you even more by swapping old wine into new bottle!

Same for technical analysis. If you want to learn Candlesticks, I can teach you Candlesticks. If you prefer the more esoteric like Elliot Wave, I can teach you Elliot Wave too. What's so difficult?

But that's not the real reason you asking, right?

You are asking can we get RICH by investing or trading?

Ah! That's a more intellectually stimulating question!

Now not so easy to answer...

But then again, we all knew the answer already. Whether we want to admit it is another question...

Just look at your class reunions. 

Schools teach you how to read, write, and count. Will you send your children to a school that "promises" your child will be a millionaire after they graduate?


Sunday 26 November 2017

One Door Closes; One Door Opens (Hentak Kaki)

I'm in the Facebook group for returned overseas Singaporeans, and was pleasantly intrigued when our local actor Michael Chua shared a short film that he acted in during 2012 that's directed by James Khoo.

Not long, around 12 minutes.

For your viewing pleasure this cool lazy Sunday:

Life is not a straight line extrapolation.

Sometimes things will go bump despite the best of our plans and goal settings...

When we look back to yesterday, we often wish we can turn back time and do things differently. I know, wish you had not married him or her... That's about as practical as a one-legged stool.

And as we look ahead in our little fantasies to escape today, we often tell ourselves we will do this and that tomorrow... See? I have a plan! And a goal too! Well, that's still only as practical as a 2 legged stool.

Who we are today are the sum of the decisions and non-decisions we have or have not made yesterday.

Who we will be tomorrow? What do you think?

Still want to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

When one door closes, whether we can find another door that opens... Well, I think you get the idea.

Friday 24 November 2017

Lizard on the fence

Open field between the old Mei Chin secondary and primary school

The camera picture quality on a mobile phone 10 years ago was atrocious.

Now they are on par with most point-and-shoot idiot proof compact cameras.

Noticed this curious lizard watching the school kids playing football on my way back from breakfast at the Mei Ling street food centre.


I think I better practice more picture taking. Kung fu never use will depreciate one... 

Wednesday 22 November 2017

So what questions to ask, smart ass?

This is a stand alone post, but readers may want to read my previous post, especially the comments section for context and perspective.

Let's say you have done your research and have some experience with buying TVs in the past. You're not a white piece of paper.

You know LED TV is a specific type of LCD TV; both are using the same LCD technology - just the light source is different. So you won't be the "bei kambing" who thinks LED and LCD TVs are using different technologies.

So how to you test whether the salesperson serving you is competent to offer your "advice"?

Contrast "Which brand is most popular?" with "What's the main difference between QLED and OLED versus plain vanilla LED TVs? 

For salespersons out there, when we meet aficionado customers, we can talk shop for hours! Buy don't buy never mind right? 

Closing "bei kambings" is good for the pocket, and downright patronising as we would talk down to customers with, "Don't worry... I assure you... Trust me... This one good for you..."

But if every customer like that we would go crazy!

Even snake oils need to be intellectually stimulated. Everyday serve gullible customers who can "tahan?"

For stock investing, imagine if you get questions like:

"What catalysts do you see for this stock X to get re-rated?"

"Do you share the same opinion the the Oil and Gas sector is currently bottoming out?"

For the person asking, how the question is answered can reveal a lot whether the person answering got "substance" or not. Wink.

But you can only tell if you yourself got "substance" too. Double wink wink.

That's why if you are a white piece of paper or bei kambing, whatever people say, you'll believe!

When things go wrong, you blame others.

You don't reflect why you buy shoes you ask others what shoe size you should buy?

Monday 20 November 2017

Gullible customers I meet every weekend

"Which brand is the most popular?"

"Can you recommend a good brand to me?"

Now that's an easy tell! 

It's like flashing a big neon sign above their heads, "I'm a bei kambing. Come fleece and milk me!"

They are probably the same customers who judge which hawker food to try by the length of the queue in front of the stall. Wink. 

If you were lucky, you'll meet a snake oil like me who wears the white hat. Then I'll try to salvage the situation with consultative selling.

But it'll only work if the customer is willing to make a decision for themselves. 

Its no secret I have little patience for stupid people. So I'll let these "need to be told what to think, what to do" white little lambs go...

Knowing full well they're the favourite prey of choice for my other promoter peers who wear the black hat...

What to do?

I must keep my competitor promoters "busy" and satiated so they'll "release" those "diffcult" (intelligent and/or street smart) customers to me mah!

Its more intellectually stimulating serving customers who know what they want and have done their prior homework.

I do enjoy the 15-20 minutes of "foreplay" the most!

Especially when customers (who are shepherds or landowners themselves) challenge me and I help them discover their blindspots...  

Now that's work satisfaction!

In the investing and trading arena, we get the same:

"What stocks to buy?"

"At this price can enter or not?"

If you're lucky, you get a bleeding heart who will patiently explain and coddle you; but leaves the final decision making to you - which leaves you frustrated as there's no clear, concrete, black and white answer.

So you go to the snake oil who is ever so helpful - tells you what stock to buy, at what price to buy and at what precise price to sell.

See? It wasn't so hard right? All for a small fee in wool and milk only...

If all you do is to follow the backsides of other zebras (inside joke to regular readers who have heard my zebra story), do you think after 10 years you'll be still asking others what stocks to buy and at what price to enter?

Like that might as well hire shepherds to invest (mutual and hedge funds) or trade (managed accounts) for you?

Or adopt passive investing (cough, cough)?

Won't this free up your time for other more interesting pursuits in life?

Its quite evident you are not into the craftsmanship of investing/trading anyway...

Why ownself bluff ownself?

Thursday 16 November 2017

How to avoid saying you jobless

Jobless sounds negative. As if you can't find or hold on to a steady ob.

Unemployed is worse. Now people assume you got fired or retrenched... No employer wants you...

Some may say there are "in between jobs". Good try. People are not fooled. They straight away think you jobless or unemployed. LPPL.

So what to tell others and at the same time can make ourselves feel good? Never mind they are little lies we tell ourselves?

1.  I'm studying; I've gone back to school.

Ego feels better right? For the next 1 to 3 years, no need to stress or worry about finding a job. That's until the course ends...

Then its reality bites again... Still, its a good stop gap measure against prying relatives during CNY. 

2.  I'm financially free!

You are living off your savings and investments. In the meantime, you try to put on a brave front until you find a new job.

Have you noticed quite a few have started their own small businesses, yet instead of acknowledging they are now business owners, they like to still claim they are "financially free"? 

Being a business owner so shameful meh? Unless...

3.  I'm a stay-at-home dad or mom (or bum).

You are living off your working spouse or parents...

Hey! If they don't mind, why should we care?

I personally find its very cool, provided its because you want to; not because you do it as a form of "escape"...

4.  Sabbatical from work

I like this the best!

"Retired" sounds too old... Like we've been put to pasture...

Sabbatical "officially" meant you are still employed but have taken time-off to pursue your own interests - with either fully paid, part paid, or unpaid leave.

Since all snake-oils like to take creative license with words, I'm no exception!

So I say I'm taking sabbatical from fulltime work.

Which gives me lots of wriggle room. Wink.

Words are powderful

No way I'll tell anyone I'm jobless.

Or unemployed.

Or retired.

Tuesday 14 November 2017






Sunday 12 November 2017

Makeup in the Morning

Thursday 9 November 2017


Quick "Trust but Verify" test.

What's the first thing that comes into your mind when you read or hear this word - minimalism?

Close your eyes and no peeking below!

If you "see" minimalism as in architecture, art, literature, music, fashion, and home decor, you are on the right track. You are Western educated - "ang moh pie".

You know minimalism is a visual arts movement that started around the late 60s in the States.

If you think of Zen, you are also "technically correct" since minimalism got some of its influences from Japan. In Japan, the philosophy of Zen got intertwined with the Japanese aesthetics of simplicity or ma (間) - empty or open space. You are more Oriental biased.

You know your aesthetics. Wink.

No. Minimalism is not about saving money or frugality.

Minimalism is about stripping down to its bare essentials, aesthetically speaking.

Yes, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are "minimalistic" when it comes to their work clothes - its the same turtuleneck and T-shirt - although they may own 10 pieces of the same clothe!

Not exactly "frugal" is it?

Minimalism is not about using the same detergent for washing your dishes, clothes, and bathing - that's when policemen still wear shorts - you really want to use that Lam Soon long bar soap for dishes, laundry, and bathing now? Seriously?

To appreciate minimalism, one cannot be hungry or worried about roof over head matters.

How come people are talking about minimalistic living or lifestyle in financial blogshpere?

Well, clever marketing isn't it?

I mean if I want to start a blog or sell a book, which sounds sexier - frugal living, "giam siap gui", thrifty squirrel, or the minimalist?

Who wants to be known as a miser?

So you convince your wife minimalism is about having one pair of shoes.

If you wife believed in your "Jedi mind trick", well, I am most envious of you...

That meant she has a pair of big big ding-a-ling-ding-dings! 

Sunday 5 November 2017

Investment Not Required - Real Life Cases

I think I'll follow up with more real life cases where Singaporeans are living or retiring well without the need for investments.

Remember this old post:  Landed Property and Car with $6K per month Household Income

Here's one interesting case about a 67 year old ex-Regional Sales Manager's retirement in Singapore:

What's my takeaways?

1.  Staying healthy can be more important than dollars and cents.

2.  CPF savings enough if you had a good career and didn't over invest in properties so that you are asset rich but CPF poor. 

3.  Flexibility and adaptability give us options. Driving weekend taxi is not "beneath" an ex-Regional Sales Mananger...  "Downgrading" from HDB 4 room to 2 room is not a loss of face...  Isn't doing what we feel like doing without fear of what others think - freedom?

Investment Not Required

Let's be honest now. 

The harsh reality is for the majority of people, the more we invest, the more we lose.

Everyone is sharing "succcess" stories, but where are the "chop fingers" examples?

Only CW mentioned about them in his blog.

Just like entrepreneurship, can't be the majority of new startups and new businesses all succeed right?

You really believed the spin vested interests are telling you?

Look, if you don't invest, how do they earn commissions and fees from you?

No, I'm not telling you not to invest.

Financial freedom is more than $XXX passive income or multiple baggers in capital gains...

If you are a stay-at-home dad or mom, your CPF is a pittance. But if you had brought up your children proper, do you have to worry about your retirement and anxious your CPF not enough to qualify for CPF Life?

Wait. Is there such a thing as retirement from being mom and dad?

No, invest only when you enjoy so. 

If you don't enjoy this craft of investing, then no big deal!

Don't have to feel pressured to join the other lemmings. Yes, most of us have no clue ourselves!

In bull markets we are louder than a peacock; in bear markets we are quieter than the church mouse... 

With a bit of common sense and listening to your heart, you'll find your own path.

Its OK to take the path less travelled.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

97% Will Fail This Test

I got this test question from my Buddhism class coursemate in Facebook.

Amazingly, everyone in his Facebook got the answer WRONG!?

All 80 plus of them! 

I don't want to embarass anyone. DON'T write down your answer at the comments below.

Just write out the answer in your head, and more importantly, HOW you got the answer as in the calculations.

I'll reveal the answer in the comments section.

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