Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Life as IT Dinosaur

 

Just the other day, my sales colleague was shocked I don't have "PayLah!"


He helped me with a purchase on a weekday; saved me a 2 hour trip to-and-fro back to the store.


When he said I can pay him back with "PayLah!", eh...


Lucky he was kind (and liquid) enough to wait till the weekend for me to pay him the few hundreds I owed in CASH.




I'm definitely not an Early Adopter when it comes to new technology.


Although I'm a laggard, I do find it cool to see youths making payments with their watches and mobile phones.


But nah... 


I'll stick with cash, and continue to read books and newspapers in the hardcopy mode.


But I know I'll have to change one day. That's a given.


Especially when they start shaming me for not being environment friendly with my penchant for paper...


Well, don't be smug.


Try swiping your ass with your mobile next time you ran out of paper in the toilet!


Ding! Ding!







Saturday, 24 April 2021

Vaccine Shot After Effects

 

Went to my vaccine shot yesterday.


Mistake.


I've underestimated the side effects.


This morning woke up with arm sore until... Lucky I don't have to do heavy lifting in my weekend sales gig.


Head is burning. 


Hands and feet cold.


Feels like getting sick with a bit of nausea. (Is this how pregnant women feels?)


I shouldn't have booked on a Friday. But if you guys have weekends off, then Fridays would be best. Can rest 2 days at home to recover.


Lucky my 2nd appointment 4 weeks later is on a Monday. Got 4 days for rest!


Now I have to drag myself to work soon.


I guess I'll be a zombie today. Don't have energy to do my usual song and dance routine to entertain myself and the customers!


Just sharing my data point of 1: 


Feedback from a 54 years young uncle. 


Those if you haven't got your shots, plan accordingly,








Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Salary In Big Lump Sum Better!

 

Let's continue the discussion from my last post whether its  better to sell candies at $0,50 each, or offer them at $1 but "buy-one-get-one free"?


When I started work at 16, I often envied those who worked at banks where they get 3 months of annual wage supplements...

We at retail "only" get 1 month AWS, like most everyone else in most industries.

It was much later that I realised we got the better deal. Wink.


Let's talk about the rank-and-file workers first. 

Those of you who have worked at F&B outlets, hotels, or factories during your school vacations may remember this bitter/sweet jog down memory lane. 

You may earn $2K per month gross, but your base salary could only be $1.2K.... The rest of the $800 is broken up into shift allowance, punctuality allowance, transport allowance, and even laundry allowance! 

I'm not making this up! Yes, there's such a thing called laundry allowance!

Why?

So landowners can pay you less when you work overtime mah!

1.5 times or 2 times (public holidays) $1.2K base salary is less than over $2K. Simple math.

Furthermore, those of us who are hard up for money like to "sell" our annual leave back to the company. Pro-rated, your annual leave is worth a lot less now... Company smart or what?

And of course, if you get a 5% raise... You get the picture!


For those of you who never worked as rank-and-file ever, first job already executive or management, don't be too smug. 

But you are definitely better off! 

The offset is you don't get paid for overtime. Landowners will be landowners.

Once you rise high enough or lucky to be sent overseas, you'll get the same "3 bananas in the morning; 4 bananas in the evening" treatment too.

But first you'll be elated with the "free" housing. "Free" company car. "Free" country club/gym memberships. "Free" international school allowance for your kids. Who doesn't like "free"? 

That's until you realised you'll be better off financially, if everything "free" is bundled into your annual salary instead!!!

You tell yourself next contract you'll negotiate away all the "free" stuffs and add it into one big lump sum annual package. One ring to rule them all. 

You smart; company not stupid.

If they need to retrench you, and the compensation is 1 month for every year worked... Don't even dream about it!

And of course the elephant in the room is still - if you get a 5% raise...

LOL!





Friday, 16 April 2021

Nothing is FREE!

 

Its amazing this 3 bananas in the morning; 4 bananas in the evening is played all around us everyday.


At my weekend sales gig, I've lost count of how many "blue-eyed" customers (usually older housewives or uncles) who insists on "free" delivery or installation when they buy a bulky home appliance or electronic home entertainment device..


They will display shock that we charge separate for deliveries and installations. 

And I though pricing each cost item separately promotes greater transparency?

No... 

They will tell me how 20 years ago when they bought their home appliances, everything was "free"! 

Or this shop and that shop, delivery and installation are both free!!!

That's easy to overcome. I often teased why they didn't buy at those shops? Wink.

Well, our prices are lower. 

Exactly!

If you add our "lower" prices and pay for delivery and installation additionally, the final end price is around the same as our competitors who offered a higher price - but comes with "FREE" delivery and installation.

Smoke and mirrors.


A good example is the ubiquitous Value$ stores. 

Some years back, I noticed some of their stores were selling the Mars or Snickers candy bars for $1 buy-one-get-one free. While some other Value$ stores were selling the same Mars or Snickers for 50 cents each? 

Now I see all their stores have switched to the 50 cents model.

Did they do a test and found selling at 50 cents moves the candies faster than selling $1 buy-one-get-one free?


We see this all the time in supermarkets or for those who prefer to shop online. Some customers are seduced more by 50% discounts, while other customers are more drawn towards buy-one-get-one-free promotions. How to say no to "free"?

Then there are customers who can see the strings merchants and snake oils are trying to tie onto their arms and legs to puppeteer their actions. 

They save 100% by not being baited; only buying what they need.


Of course the above is just foreplay for what I really wanted to share.

If you aspire FIRE or getting rich through investing/trading, the odds are against you if you can't see the forest for the trees.

I know not everyone has worked in sales, purchasing, or have your own business. 

Just know more money has been made in the finance industry (includes financial education) through salesmanship than actual investing or trading.

No one is interested to help you get rich for free!

I'm sure many veterans have found out through crash got sound, "free" or "big discounts" can be most expensive... (Yes, I've been baited too)




 


 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Top Floor With No View How?

 

When we buy a top floor unit, the subliminal egoistic reasons can be as simple as:


1)  I can shit on you, you can't shit on me 

2)  I'm on top of the world feeling (like standing on a mountain summit)


Other than that, the main non-psychological (can see; can touch) reason is probably to get a good, better, best view! 

That's why we are willing to pay more for a hotel room with an awesome view of the lake, the ocean, the mountains, etc...


Would you pay a premium for a flat or condo on the top floor with lousy or no view?

So do your homework!

Don't be paying top dollar for a top floor unit only to have that wonderful view cutoff by another idiot development a few years down the line...

When you are looking into someone else's kitchen or living room, what's the difference if you are doing it from a top floor, from mid-level, or from the lowest unit?


For those who have a preoccupation with heat, just so you know, orientation like North/South facing versus East/West facing can be more impactful than how high or low your apartment unit is. 

Then again, there are inventions called air-con, blinds, curtains, solar blocking films to reduce heat in your apartment. 


Have you noticed there are people who will close their windows and draw their curtains/blinds and shield themselves completely from the outside world 24 hours a day?

If you are such a Dracula person, it can be a wonderful arbitrage opportunity if you choose the lowest unpopular floor instead!

For example, the price difference at my HDB BTO flat for a 3 room between the highest and lowest floor is $100K.

If you add the bank interests for a 20 or 30 year loan, that's quite a bit of savings!

Of course this works only if you buy to stay; not with an eye to sell in future.


If you buy with an eye to sell, what you like or prefer don't matter. 

Which means if you "think" you were smart to buy one floor below the top floor, using the top floor as a heat buffer, well, that makes as much sense as saying you're a 3/4 virgin!

Take those older HDB boxy rectangular flats. The corner units are sold at a premium over the other regular flats on the same floor in the resale market.  

No one would pay a corner flat's premium for a flat that's just next to the corner flat. Would you?

Similarly, if your flat is not the top floor, then it does not matter whether its one floor or two floors below the top floor. They will be lumped together as "high floor".

Big daddy quite smart. 

They sell the top and second highest floor at the same BTO price. Obviously they know about the urban myths and consumer psychology.

The price only comes down from the third highest floor downwards.

So if I want high floor but have phobia of heat staying at the top floor, I would choose the third highest floor and below. No way I would pay virgin price for an "almost" virgin. 

I don't think most future buyers would either.   

Big daddy smart; I not stupid.





  



Friday, 9 April 2021

HDB Top Floor Good Or Not?

 

I was pleasantly surprised when I see this old post below getting quite a bit of readership recently:


Got lucky again - I got my HDB SERS penthouse replacement!



Then I found out there's a discussion at HardwareZone about this topic. Somehow my post turned up as part of the google search so some readers stumbled into this watering hole...

Funny thing the discussion about HDB top floor good or not wasn't even in my post - it  was in the comments section!?


Just thought I might as well write a "coaching" post for those readers who really want to know.

So here goes!




Eh bro! Is HDB top floor good or not?

I heard from some urban myths that HDB top floor no good. Very hot! 

And if unlucky, will leak when it rains...


Who told you so?

My mom.


Ah! So its not from first hand experience... 


Come, sit down and have a cup of coffee.

Let me help you find the answer yourself

You're an adult; tertiary educated some more. I won't treat you like a "bei kambing". Wink.


Are you buying a new HDB BTO or resale HDB flat from the open market?

If its BTO, never mind. But you can read on for the fun of it.

If its resale, go look at those HDB flats that were built from the early 70s to late 80s and those that were built within the last 10 years or less.

Can you spot the top floors, they looked different, no? 

Its quite obvious isn't it?

Does it solve your worries if you are buying a resale flat less than 10 years old?


How about those resale flats in between?

Then you may want to check when was the last time HDB did an upgrading work on the block. Especially whether they did a reroofing for better heat insulation and waterproofing.


Look, big daddy is quite transparent about during the early days of nation building, the focus was on speed rather than quality when it comes to delivery of HDB flats to the masses.

A lot of lessons learnt from "crash got sound" were internalised and used for future HDB flat designs.

Let's take toilets. 

The first generation of HDB 3 room flats (3S) came with only 1 toilet and shower combined. Which was very unpopular. Gor! Can you shower faster! I need to shit!

HDB quickly introduced the new improved (3I) version with 1 toilet and 1 shower separately. This makes more sense!

Over the years the design keeps evolving until we now have 2 toilet/shower in new 3 room BTO flats. No need to fight for toilets in the mornings! 

This makes renting out rooms to tenants more convenient too!


Ask yourself.

You seriously think HDB has not improved the waterproofing and heat insulation of their HDB flats over the years?

Why do you think we have those HDB upgrading for? 

If not to rectify old design oversights, what then? 

Remember those lifts that do not stop at every floor in older HDB flats?

My old flat at Stirling Road lagi poor design. We had lifts that stopped at mid-level between floors??? 

Of course can excuse the young architects then who had no idea about aging, wheelchairs, and hospital gurneys...  

Thank goodness nothing like a lift upgrading exercise cannot solve. Wink.


Let me guess.

Your mom is staying at the top floor of those HDB flats built in the 70s?

How did you know?

Just saying...







P.S.  For readers who aspire to upgrading to private properties one day, you may want to ponder whether only HDB dwellers will ask such questions. 

Would private property buyers ask whether top floor good or not?

Yeah hor?

If no good who would pay $20-$30 million for a penthouse apartment on the top floor of a condo?

Even landed properties have a "top floor". 

So only buy single story bungalows?

Wait a minute. 

Single story is also "top floor" between you, the sun and the rain!!!


Excellent!

You are thinking for yourself!










Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Delayed Gratification & Nature vs Nurture

 



Bet its not what you expected.

Did you?


Especially all you "giam siap gui" out there! 

LOL!


Sorry, sorry. I can't help trolling. 


For new readers at this watering hole, you may want to read this to know the difference between being frugal and being a miserly "giam siap gui":


Difference between being Frugal and Miserly




You can guess what's Charlie Munger's stance on whether top salespersons are born or train from the video too.

Die lor!

Kindergarten level financial literacy (what they can teach in schools) is all about savings, thrift, that sort of thing... 

Who in their right mind would dare to teach kids how to gamble invest with their money?

Unless you have a death wish to get sued by the kids' parents...

Which is ironic as the same parents who object, have no problem forking out thousands themselves to snake oils peddling, "If you think you can, you can!"


If delayed gratification is something we are either born with or born without...







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