Tuesday 31 July 2018

99-year leasehold nothing burger

I was having my usual fun at CW's blog on this topic and hey! This poke is good enough for a post at this watering hole!

Reuse, reduce, and recycle mah!

The issue is not leasehold or freehold.

Whether one treats our homes for speculation or not (not everyone is a panda or koala bear).

The crux is have we OVERPAID or not?

If someone wants to sell HDB 3 room with 10 years lease remaining for $50,000, anyone who can count with primary school math would grab immediately (provided eligible)!

Where to find rent in Singapore for HDB 3 room at below $500 per month!? Some more can lock in the rent for the next 10 year! There goes one inflation concern if one is always fretting about rising prices ;)

Rent and invest the rest? LOL!

Similarly, if one OVERPAID for a investment/rental freehold property - like those Japanese during their housing boom - we may have to pass the "under water" property to our children (maybe our grandchildren even!) to collect enough rent to breakeven one day... Rent as panadols?

I remember someone smart did say IMAGINATION is more imporrant than knowledge. I wonder if this is true on this topic ;)

P.S. temperament, I agree with you. Singaporeans have been "conditioned" to parrot buy is better than rent for our homes. And our collective experience has proven it (so far).

Can anyone show me who bought a HDB flat DIRECTLY from big daddy who lost money? Its like trying to find a unicorn...

Now show me someone who lost money buying HDB flat and I'll show you a "bei kambing" who overpaid buying from the HDB resale market. These "bei kambings" who can't count are the target audience for big daddy when they reminded everyone what's the meaning of 99 leasehold. Wink.

But in Hong Kong, at current property prices and rentals we can get, I would prefer to rent. Buying has become speculation; even its for our own stay.

On the China part, I'll have to respectfully disagree with you. I 100% believe you when you said you "think"... LOL!

Our mainland cousins are sweating more bullets than us!

Renew for lease extention that cost only $1 is one thing. Renew and pay up to 1/3 of current property valuation is another thing totally!

Most of the China residential leases are for 70 years. We are better off with our 99-year leases.
99.9999% (yes, its a poke) of us will not live long enough to face this problem. Its something for our children or whoever is lucky to get this hand-me-down for singles like me ;)

Friday 27 July 2018

I almost joined the Life Insurance Industry

You may want to read the below post first for the backstory:

Are Top Salesperson Born or Trained

I was offered the job as Recruiter for life insurance salespersons on the spot. Yeah, just like that!

What the hell is a Recruiter?

Well, I am supposed to recruit, train, and motivate the sales agents for the agency. Its leveraging on OPT - Other People's Time/Talent.

Every policy they sell for us, I get a cut of their commissions. Sounds familiar? Yes, its a bit like multi-level marketing. Wink.

I guess the agency boss is not interested or have no time to do this cheerleading work; he prefers to outsource it to specialists like me.

At that time, I'm a management trainee at Robinsons. After so many years on the selling floor, they wanted to make me a buyer. Its like sending a Sergeant to Officer Cadet School (OCS).

I was exploring my options. 

As since I'm not desperate, I decide to find out more about the job before saying yes.

The "pui nei nei" interviewer turned out to be holding the current job of Recruiter in the agency.

He was kind enough to invite me to his office and offered me coffee as I blasted him with my "trust but verify" questions.

Right off the bat, I challenged him if the job of Recruiter was so great, why is he leaving then?

He is 28 years young. Teochew like me. Got his MBA from Canada. He liked life in Canada so much that he decides to emigrate there after returning to Singapore.

Fair enough.

Now comes the interesting bits.

When he recruits an insurance agent, straightaway he and the agency will make money.

Well, don't you think you need a life insurance policy yourself before you sell to others?

Even if you already have an existing policy, your first customer would likely be your own immediate family members right? Next would be relatives, classmates, existing and ex colleagues, etc.

"Smelly, smelly", the agency would gain at least one policy sale the moment someone decides to join them. (Yes, smells like MLM again!)

Where got people interested to help you become a millionaire (that time the phrase financial free not fashionable yet) if they don't benefit from "helping" you? 

There is very little costs to the agency. Its pure commissions remember? Office space is shared. And name cards and promotional materials you can order from the agency. 

The main cost is him doing cheerleading, "If you think you can, you can!"

Only 1 out of 10 agents he recruited will survive the first 2 years. (Same odds as trading!)

The first wave of resignations is around the 6 months mark. After you ran out of "pity fxxk" sales from your supportive relatives and friends, that's when you discover you can't sell shit. Even if you life depended on it!

Sales is meritocratic. Who wants to go to work and be reminded everyday they are F9 (lowest grade in school)?

The next wave of big resignations will be at the 2 years milestone. These are the better ones who can make cold calls and sell to complete strangers without relying on relatives and friends after 6 months.

The trouble is they are not million-dollar-round-table calibre.

80% of sales commissions is earned by 1 out of 10 sales agents. The remaining 20% is shared between the rest of the 9 if you think you can, you can...

Why do people want to become an insurance sales agent in the first place?

Tip: Its the same reason why you got interested in investing or trading. 

After 2 years, with little results to show, add to the mix burned weekends and evenings, the harsh realities of what it takes to make your first million from insurance sales has become a lot more crystal.

That's when an office job with regular salary becomes quite attractive. And like someone just said recently, can even "coast along" too!

With life insurance sales, how to relax? No kill; no meat.

I and the "pui nei nei" talked the whole afternoon. Learned a lot about the industry.

I passed on the job offer.

I can't treat people like that. 

I quit midway through my management trainee program at Robinsons too. I went to IMM to sell sofas with Melandas. 

Yup, I passed on the buyer position too. In retail, to become a buyer is like an uniformed cop becoming CID. What's meant to be, will be. I did become a buyer some years later. 

What we are today is the result of past decisions we have or have not made.

No, its not only about goals or plans. 

I'll throw a bone to younger readers. Find out who makes more. Decision makers or those who come up with goals and plans. Wink.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Do you have a plumbing emergency?

Do we still teach Technical studies at our secondary schools? 

I wonder why during my time they "teach" us Metal and Wood works? Its not as if we are going to be blacksmiths or carpenters later on in life...

I think it would be better if they taught us simple DIY electrical and plumbing instead!

At least I won't feel so helpless at home compared to my Swedish colleagues - they can install their own plumbing and electrical wirings at their summer homes!?

Well, it least I know how to change the light bulb in the toilet!

So I'm not totally useless...

Have you ever had a bad experience with your husband or dad when he tried to do plumbing repairs at home?

The more he tries to "help", the more costly and messier it gets! 

Especially when he "capitulates" and finally calls in the pros to "undo" the damage he has made worse...

So next time you have a plumbing emergency, call an experienced plumber in Singapore instead:


You don't even have to say Singapore Man of Leisure sent you. Wink.

Friday 6 July 2018

Well, that's policy risk for you!

And I thought volatility for today would come from the trade war tariffs... Plus the Non-Farm Payrolls tonight since I'm more into forex in recent years.

Not everyday we see STI component stocks swan dived -10% to -15% right?

And you thought big cap stocks can't behave like penny stocks... (There's a reason why I prefer to use big caps instead of blue chips to pigeon-hole stocks. I believe in the power of words to influence our minds)

In forex, after living through the EUR/CHF (Euro/Swiss) policy change by the Swiss Central Bank not to defend its floor (when it previously reassured the market it would) several years ago - where several foreign forex brokers went belly up - I had the fear of policy changes beaten into me.

(I benefitted from the above as I was in the EUR/USD pair. Although I made money, it was pure dumb luck as it could easily have been the other way round)

For equities, we say don't fight the Fed.

For Singapore properties, I guess if you didn't already know, you don't fight big daddy.

Its not new. Just ask veteran property speculators.

Remember my Chiang Mai vacation post about rental bikes being an eyesore?

Well, the policy change by big daddy some months later didn't come as a surprise to me. Wink.  

If all you did was to listen to vested interests telling you better buy property now or else... I guess studying past big daddy decisions on property boosting and cooling measures can be healthy to your pockets...

Investors like Singapore because of stability

You figure out why.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Hee, hee. I'm back!

Some stories and passages we've read we remember even though the author and book title we have long since forgotten...

My recent "missing-in-action" episode has reminded me of this story I've read during my late 20s. Yet, I've no clue where I read it from!

Its about this watch seller in Holland during the 1930s.  

His friend, whom he has not seen for a decade or more, came visiting his shop one day. 

The watch seller decided to close his shop early that afternoon to have coffee with his friend.

Surprised, his friend asked whether the watch seller has a business to run?

The watch seller smiled and replied his friend one of the reasons he started a business for himself is to have greater control of his time. 

What's the point of having a business if one cannot take an afternoon off to have coffee with a friend?

Well, I guess I didn't take an afternoon off...

I took 6 weeks off!


You can say I had my June holidays! 

No, its not a girl or woman.

But I am still glad I have the time to be able to spend time on this interesting "distraction". 

Some of you may know how I feel. Especially those of you who remember those carefree days of schooling before you started work. Skip classes anyone?


Work, family, and social commitments... 

Earn and make a lot; no time for unplanned distractions.

How to live in the moment when everything has to be scheduled and allocated way in advance into the future?

My distraction has faded away like the summer rain.

I'm back to where I were.

Nothing has changed.

Only memories remain.

One thing I've discovered.

Blogging is not a chore.

Neither is it a business.

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