Saturday, September 29, 2018

Will Both Monk and Warrior Eat The Banana?

Recently, the personal finance blogsphere is filled with a vibrant debate between the monk and the warrior (and recently a few farmers and a Voltron also joined in the fun). I think it all started because of the blog post by Alvin Chow of Dr Wealth (Are Financial Blogger Sufferings?). In case you still do not have a clue of what I am referring to, in summary: if you are in the monk's camp, you have a strong mind to endure "suffering" (read rigorous saving) and if you are in the warrior's camp, you have a strong mind to do bold thing (read rigorous earning streams). 

Of course, there is no right and no wrong answer here, just a cultivated preference. Oh, the Voltron whom joined in the fun recently came from owner of The Finance SG, you can read Derek's I Am Voltron post for more details. I think enough sharing by the peer bloggers on this topic, some of the more prominent ones are from:

I will not dwell much into whether the monk or the warrior is better? My only question is : Will both monk and warrior eat the banana?

You see, either monk or warrior, they also need something to keep their brain/mind/body afresh so that they can continue with their respectively lives "fruitfully"(whatever it means to them), so banana here is just a symbolism of something "of value" to them.  

I think the most sensible answer is "it depends!" 

Depend on what? A few thing...

1. Whether the monk or the warrior like to eat banana or not? Just like me, if you ask me to eat fish, it is a no-no (unless I've got no choice).

2. Whether the banana is within their reach? If the banana is not available (our of stock), too bad for them. 

In short, my point is - instead of just focusing of weather you are more of a monk or of a warrior, I think it is equally important for everyone to better understand yourself whether you will eat that banana or not? If not, how about apple? Orange? :-)


Saturday, September 22, 2018

What Is Your Next Breakthrough?

We are coming to the last week of the 3rd Quarter and soon we are heading to the last quarter of 2018. Like last year, and the year before last, and the year before last last year (I think you get what I mean), we are living with hits and misses every single year. I am not only talking about your personal finance or your investment but rather life in general. 

We are deemed growing only if we learn/do something new, otherwise, we are just passing the time with repetitive daily routines. So, it is important to have regular breakthroughs in experiencing new things (of course I am referring to something legal and morally right). Today, I "conquered" our highest Bukit Timah Summit for the second time and it's a breakthrough to me. Wait! why is second time still a breakthrough? You see, this time round, we trekked with another NEW route and it took us shorter time to reach the summit (around 25 minutes) as compared to the previous round, which took us around 40 minutes. Also, we extended our trekking to another path which lead us to a Quarry that we never knew exist.

Also, personally think that breakthrough need not be something grand or massive, even though the satisfaction level might not be as great, but I would rather collecting many smaller breakthroughs rather than only one or two big breakthrough in life. Remember, life is not a sprint, life is a marathon. 

My next breakthrough probably is in the space of art. I always wanted to try my hand on those freestyle water color painting to reignite my creativity/imagination, so, I guess I will arrange one in the near future. 

What about you? What is your next breakthrough?  


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Those Who Like To Complain Tends To See The Glass Half Empty

Recently, the famous vlogger, Nas Daily's video about Singapore - "The Almost Perfect Country" has attracted a fair share of sour grape comments from fellow Singaporean. Of course, everyone has their own rights to provide their opinion (be it online or offline), having said that, such negative comment on such a positive video do reflect something about them i.e. they tends to see the glass half empty. 

Again, there is nothing wrong to be on the side of "glass half empty", just that people on this spectrum tend to forget (consciously or unconsciously) the water they already have in the glass. To me, able to enjoy and appreciate what you already have is the panacea to happiness. Without contentment, regardless of your current stage in life, you will never view yourself as well as others as "enough", like what Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) said in the Crazy Rich Asians, "You will never be enough!"

In case you have not watched The Almost Perfect Country from Nas Daily, check it out below:


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Captain Marvel - First Trailer Is Finally Here!

If you are a superhero movie fans, especially from Marvels, I am sure you are aware that the upcoming movie in the Marvels Universe is Captain Marvel (not so soon though, it will be released in March 2019). Apparently, this newly introduced superhero character i.e. Captain Marvel has quite an impact towards the development of the Part 2 of Avengers - Infinity War.

As usually, before the movie hitting the theaters, fans are looking forward to the teasers/trailers, it's akin to looking forward to the announcement of dividend when you are invested in a dividend-paying company's stock. Of course, you know that good dividend yield doesn't equal to good company i.e. good trailer doesn't always mean good movie.  

Today, the very first trailer of Captain Marvel has been released, if you have not already seen it, check it out below. What do you think of this dividend announcement, oops, I mean  the trailer?

Personally, the trailer doesn't give me the sense of excitement that I will usually get from the superhero movie trailer, but it is OK i.e. not too bad. Hope that the actual movie provide more punch!

What do you think?


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Book Review - Breakfast Club For 40 Somethings

Recently, I've just finished reading a book called "Breakfast Club For 40 Somethings" (by Vanessa Stoykov). It is a lighthearted and fun novel but also a financial planning book in disguise. Even though the book title mentioned about "40 somethings" but the financial teaching/sharing in the book is kind of universal and applicable to anyone at any age. Also, the story is based in Australia and hence some of the financial setting/context like more relevant to Australian, like the Super Fund etc... but we can always replace it with our local context like CPF fund etc.. 

A long-awaited reunion of six high school classmates in their 40-somethings unraveled more shortcomings of their respective current lives than they are prepared to disclose, but it also changes their lives for the better, with the help of an "angel" in the form of financial planner (their ex-classmate).

I would not disclose too much of the story line/plot here but I think it is beneficial for me to share the "5 Pillars To Wealth" that I've learnt from the book. Regardless of where are you at your current financial position, there is/are always one or more pillars that you can learn/unlearn to further improve your situation. 

The 5 Pillars:
1. FOCUS - Do you have a long term financial goal that aligned with what brings you happiness, or just focus on what's in front of you e.g. the next party, the next holiday, the next job? Most of the time, we can't see our focus quite clearly when we are younger (say in the 20s or even 30s), but with time and experience, our focus will get clearer as by then we would know what really brings happiness to us.  

2. DESIRE - We all have desire, owning things that are wants and not needs, hence, it is necessary to strike a balance before it went into shackle of debts. 

3. TIME - Time is unstoppable and ruthless. When we are much younger, we thought we still have lots of time to prepare for our future and by the time when we hit certain age, say the big 40, it might be too late! Time here is not only applicable to wealth, it is applicable to relationship, love as well.  

4. BELIEF - What you belief, you become! Mindset about money can be both nature and nurture. So, if you are not satisfied with your current financial situation, you need to change your belief. It is not easy, but it is definitely possible. 

5. ACTION -  Last but not least, you need to take action on whatever learning/planning you have, otherwise, they all mean nothing. 

Do you agree with these 5 pillars?

Before I end the post, just like to share that I really enjoy reading the book as it is easily one of the easiest personal financial book to read :-) 


Saturday, September 15, 2018

SkillsFuture - Have You Made Full Use Of It Yet?

Beside the money under your pillow or in your bank account(s) and the shares/REITs in your CDP account, as well as the physical properties in your real estate portfolio, the other equally important asset that we all should amass is the skill sets/knowledge. That's where SkillsFuture initiative came in to promote lifelong learning. 

I have checked with a few of my close friends and understand that all of us (including myself :-)) have not really made use of our SkillsFuture Credits (SGD500) since the implementation in 2016. Have you utilized yours?

These are the free money from Government to help upgrade ourselves (be it for career or personal purposes) and I think we should make full use of it, as early as possible. Not only that, Government has up the offer recently by providing additional funding for many of the eligible courses/workshops/programmes i.e.:

Singaporeans and Singapore PRs are eligible for 70% course fee funding for registration with effect from 28 October 2017.

Singaporeans aged 40 and above will enjoy 90% subsidy of course fee.

These are substantial funding! 

Just take an example from one of the Fintech programs that I am considering at the moment: Fintech Talent Program (an 80-hours joint program from NTUC, Singapore Polytechnic and Fintech Association), the original course fee vs subsidized course fees are as follow:

For me (obviously above 40), the after-subsidized fee is only $320 and I can make use of my SkillsFuture credits to cover this in full, so, it's a FREE course!

What the government trying to do is to remove/minimize the impact of one of the usual key considerations for us when talk about learning/upgrade i.e. the fee, the rest (like the time commitment) is up to us to juggle. 

I do encourage all friends to make full use of your SkillsFuture and the related subsidies (ASAP) to upgrade yourselves as I do believed that such assets has compounding effect too. Besides, such funding program might not be here forever! :-)  


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Kahoot - A Fun Tool For Learning and Sharing

Recently, I've chanced upon a fun tool/app called Kahoot! The name might not ring a bell for many but I like it very much and thought some of you folks might find it interesting too. 

Kahoot! is a tool with the ultimate aim of make learning FUN again. Basically, it's a game-based learning platform, it's suitable for schools, businesses or even social setting, as long as learning (or sharing) is the objective. You can create as many games (they call it Kahoots) as you like and host it (online or in physical setting) for the students/colleagues/audience to play. As long as you have smartphone (who doesn't have one nowadays?) and can connect to internet, the game is ON!

Creating the game is very easy as the tool is quite intuitive, to try it out myself, I did a 4 questions fun game for my colleagues (around 20 of them) to play during one of our department meeting and we have fun with it.

Check out the promotional video below and share the joy:


Saturday, September 8, 2018

We Are All Fall For Consumerism, One Way Or The Other

First, I wish to clarify that the "consumerism" I am referring to here is not equate to materialism even though the latter usually lead to the former. The idea is that you can consume something without the need to own it. Examples of consumerism that not equate to materialism are:

1. The addiction of consuming free wifi at any possible public/private locations (whenever you are in restaurants that provide free wifi, you will hear the common question from the dinners - "what is the wifi password"?)
2. Aggressive Consumption of news, especially junk news from social media

3. Playing the free games like Candy Crush, Pokemon GO etc..

4. Movies/TV serials binge on the go

I must admit, personally, I am guilty of such behavior (addictive consumerism), besides the above top 2 items, I am also leaned a bit towards materialism (but not an aggressive one, I hope), example:  

I have 2 mobile phones (1 Apple and 1 Android) with 2 service contracts

I subscribed to Straits Times newspaper

I subscribed to Netflix

I bought quite a number of Man Utd jerseys etc...

I am not here to promote consumerism or for that matter, minimalism (the opposite of consumerism), instead, I am of the view that it's just human nature for us to consume (may or may not be owned), either for pure survival, enjoyment or pure status conscious. 

The problem is NOT on consuming, the problem is on the ADDICTIVE consumption, just like anything in life, as long as there is imbalance, it creates problem. So, over spent our time (or life) in consuming (Outside In), we need to spend more time in contributing, producing and creating (Inside Out). Of course, it's easier said than done, try asking a smoker to quit smoking and you will know what I meant. Maybe it's time for me to try out the Pomodoro timer (productivity tool/app) that shared by the lecturer in on of the workshop I attended recently. 

Are you addicted to consuming? How do you deal with it?


Saturday, September 1, 2018

OCBC Service Outage - Is Singapore Really Ready For Cashless Society And Smart Nation?

If you are an OCBC account holder and trying to use your credit card or making some online transactions with internet banking or even withdrawing cash from ATM in the past hour (from 9PM+ onwards), I believed your action is futile as OCBC is experiencing a complete service outage (at the time of writing, all services are still unavailable). 

While we are still fresh from the Singhealth hacked a couple of weeks ago, this new event set me thinking whether we (Singapore) is really ready to be a cashless society or for that matter, our smart nation dream? 

What do you think? 

Latest update from OCBC via their official twitter handler:


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