Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stretching $ Further in Johor Bahru(JB)

With the relentless cost of living rising amid stagnating paychecks for vast majority of population i have started stretching my $ further in nearby JB. Takes around 65-75mins & skeptics questioned whether is worth it. I'm rather amused by this question of theirs as they ought to be asking 'how do i make the trip worth it?' instead.

Badminton & equipment(non yonex) as well as food are cheaper. Books slightly cheaper than opentrolley(excl. shipping). I haven't really check on groceries yet since is handled by my mum. For Plaza Kotaraya which is walking distance from City Sq there's a badminton shop at the 2nd highest floor as well as UO Superstore which is a good place to buy groceries.

Even for weekdays the crowd at the mall is less compared to S'pore's. I like the feel of it. Time in JB slow down for me metaphorically as i don't feel the rush unlike hectic S'pore.

Went to check out Landmark mall which is also walking distance from City Sq. Is supposed to be the Sim Lim Sq in JB. Disappointed since so many vacant premises as i was looking forward to Sim Lim Sq kinda variety of DIY components for sale. Seems many have relocated to Danga Mall. Buying dvd-r is a problem since not many choices. Around 20% of shops remain & fewer are open for business.

Went to MPH & Popular bookstore to check out new arrivals. There are more personal finance books by Msians than S'pore authors in S'pore. Had a haircut & bought some badminton stuff.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Construction Vehicle Crane

Construction of a lift shaft in my neighbourhood for corridors not served directly by lifts stopping at every floor.

Hoisted into place by 2 cranes. An extra heavy duty vehicle crane will extend its arm & another vehicle crane will help contruct the horizontal crane(which is transported via long long vehicle).

Lift shaft cubes which will be hoisted up & over to the front of the building. Relying on the arm extension is not enough to reach other side of building hence the need for horizonal crane extension. Shell of the shaft is metal plating. Light & easier to lift up for faster construction. Once completed & painted with the building's color, most won't know that is mainly metal shell plating & not concrete/bricks(ground floor).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Contagion Effect (Domino effect)

Was having a conversation with a friend regarding the new ippt(physical fitness test) system & how it further disadvantages the local reservists against foreigners in the workplace-20 remedial sessions if fail. He replied 'who cares since we(including me) pass already?'.

This led me to think about the short-sightedness of some people. A good philosphy to adopt is 'Everything is linked to everything else'. A good example is the subprime crisis started in America which spilled over to the rest of the world. In the globalised world we live in now it is even more connected.
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists & the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” - Martin Niemoeller
Just because something does not affect us does not mean it would not affect us in some indirect way eventually. The factor of 'lag time' blinds many people as well by fooling them into thinking things are ok for the time being.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Money as Debt

Sounds strange? I initially thought so as $$ is commonly referred to as a medium of exchange. Although i started reading personal finance books since 2000 i have no idea how money works in the current financial system until the subprime crisis which introduced me to the fractional reserve system of banking.

How come money is not taught in schools? This is something that have puzzled me since money is critical & affects us till we 'depart'. How come we are taught pretty useless stuff like binomial theorem, calculus etc & yet nothing about managing $$? I believe ignorance is used by a minority elite in order to take advantage of others.

This video on youtube titled 'Money as Debt' is rather eye opening. After watching it twice my understanding is around 80%.

Part 1: 2 of 5
Part 1: 3 of 5
Part 1: 4 of 5
Part 1: 5 of 5

I strongly recommend watching Part 2 as well:

Part 2: 2 of 6
Part 2: 3 of 6
Part 2: 4 of 6
Part 2: 5 of 6
Part 2: 6 of 6

Friday, February 18, 2011

Focus on What U can Control

Today is the govt's budget presentation day. Following is a good advice i stumble upon:
"Instead of sitting back & waiting for measures which you can't influence in any way or form, why don't you get off your butt & figure out how you can increase your income to the point where you couldn't care two hoots what the budget is all about.

You have no control over what the govt does but you do have COMPLETE CONTROL over how you live your own life. Make use of the opportunities that are presented to you every single day. Forget about the budget. It's nothing more than window dressing no matter where you are in the world."-ls
On another aspect of $ management, i used to be very focused on savings by cutting expenses in order to have as much savings as possible for investment. I'm pretty good in that aspect. However last year i got a deeper understanding (i know the concept already) that there's only a certain extent you can cut & save. After having made a few $k from the bounce in the stock market it dawn on me that i'm better off focusing on making more $(unlimited upside) than slashing expenses & saving (limited).

Figuring out how to grow $ is not difficult. Is the saving $ & tuition fees to stock market & having the right mindset(known as paying your dues) that hinders most people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Raindrop from Looming Storm-Courts@ Bkt Timah Closure

Is been there for 30 years & now is leaving the Bukit Timah area. Entire 3 storey building will be vacated. This caught my attention as Bukit Timah area is generally an area where affluent people reside. Affluent people can't afford the items?
More likely is the balance sheet affluent people are not easily sucked into paying exorbitant interest on installment payment plans in keeping up with the Joneses.

My family & i have never bought any appliance or furniture on installments. Upon surfing onto courts website i found that their annual interest payments range from around 12-24% which shows that they are in the loans business.

More businesses await them when they relocate to an area which has more financially illiterate people + people unable to control their spending + folks frentically trying to act rich by buying more stuff.

Ever growing consumer debt. S'pore in terms of consumer debt is nearing Peak Debt. Next recession will see more people suffering as housing debts has already resulted in increasing numbers of people unable to grow their retirement fund.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saving Up to Buy Things

Saving up to buy things is the norm before the advent of easy credit. Rollover credit card debt has hit record high in S'pore. People know about the killer interest rate if the debt is not paid in full. Financial books advise on cutting up credit cards.

1 thing that's hardly mentioned in personal finance books is that when someone saves to buy a thing the item is often cheaper. Let's say Mr A wants to buy an item costing $1000. By saving up he's collecting interest (yes very meagre) from the bank. Thus instead of interest working against the consumer(credit cards), interest is working for the consumer.

2ndly, if the item is electronic then perhaps by the time Mr A has saved the $1000, he can buy a more powerful version for the same price or buy back the original item at the lesser price.

3rdly, if the person is wise in investing his savings instead of putting it in the bank collecting meagre interest, he can reach his purchase target faster & get to hone his $ management skills while doing so.

4thly an item purchased with mostly profits are not as heart breaking if the item is stolen or damaged (eg. my 1st road bike) compared with one bought with sweat & blood from a paycheck.

Buying stuff through accumulating credit card debt is generally a bad idea unless the item purchased can earn even more than the interest charged by the banks. Instant self-gratification is a bad trait for the aspiring investor.