Selling combs to monk

Lifetime Membership Special Offer!  The story of selling combs to monk is an age-old story that never fails to inspire me to become a better version of wealth builder. Most people regard it as a motivational story for salesmen to achieve sales target. But I see it as otherwise because the learning points can also be applied in investing, career development and entrepreneurship.

I have adapted the story for the sake of my followers. But before proceeding, readers must note that this article is not meant to mock any religion nor aim to make fun of any professionals. My objective is to inspire readers to learn how to be better wealth builders. In today’s context, this is important because hard work alone would get you nowhere in this competitive society.

sell

Once upon a time, a merchant who owned a comb factory in Singapore wanted to penetrate the huge China. Thus, he advertised for a position of Regional Sales Manager in the newspaper. Understandably, many applicants applied for the job. Therefore, during the interview sessions, he asked the applicants on how they would sell combs to monks. Many of the candidates were stumped by his question because we all know monks do not need combs. Some of them also felt that he was mocking at them.

Eventually, three applicants impressed the merchant during the interviews with their attitude and they were dispatched to China to test out their strategies. After three months, all of them reported back to him with surprising results.

Candidate 1 told the merchant that he managed to sell a comb to a monk. Out of curiosity, the merchant asked how he did it. To this, he lamented “Every day and night, I traveled to all the temples in China and tried to sell the combs to the …

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Seeking happiness amid pandemic

LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP It has been more than a year since the outbreak of COVID-19. Just when we thought that the vaccines would enable the world to see light at end of tunnel in 2021, mutant variants have led to multiple waves of infections across countries. In Singapore, we are in a month-long of heightened alert, with new measures being implemented to curb the spread of the virus. Against this depressing backdrop, I thought it is useful to pen down some thoughts on happiness habits.

No doubt about it. Pandemic has caused many to feel anxious, depressed and stressed out. The social restrictions and public health measures not only upend our social and work routines, they have also contributed to plenty of financial woes as those working in sectors badly hit got laid off. With these challenges confronting us on a daily basis, finding happiness may seem like easier said than done.

happiness

Indeed, I am not going to sugar-coat and claim that finding happiness is a straightforward thing. It does take effort but it is not unattainable. To achieve happiness, there is a need to shift our mental modal. Given that there are reports of rising mental health cases in Singapore, I hope this article will serve as a motivation to inspire people to take charge of their lives and harness the power of happiness.

Building wealth, fostering happiness

As wealth builders, we cannot ignore the importance of happiness. Many of us have the assumption that if we find success, then happiness will follow. To be honest, this is often not the case. Take for example, a person may think that nailing that promotion will give him a pay rise and creates happiness. But the positive feeling will surely fade away after a while. With more responsibilities, he could end up …

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SG Wealth Builder celebrates 10-year anniversary!

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In life, time flies. In the blink of an eye, it has been 10 years since I founded SG Wealth Builder! It seems like yesterday when I founded SG Wealth Builder. I can still remember the raw passion and explosive excitement when launching this wealth blog.

A decade had passed and the energy remains amazingly strong. During this period, many fellow bloggers had come and go. Some of them were really outstanding bloggers but fizzled out in no time. Nevertheless, I continued to push on and the brand of this blog grew from strength to strength. Over time, I have also developed a voice that connects with my readers. It is this distinctive voice that attracted readers to keep coming back to this blog and many had become long-time followers.

Value is what attracted readers and followers to SG Wealth Builder. Many people who visited my blog had provided numerous feedback that they had learned useful things that they were able to apply in their wealth building journey. Such compliments often invoked deep sense of self-satisfaction and achievement inside me.

To be able to make a difference in others certainly create a profound feeling. Thus, the motivation to bring this relationship to another level. In this article, I am going to share 7 reasons to sign up SG Wealth Builder Membership. Read on if you are interested to grow and become a better wealth builder. Remember, this is a blog for wealth builders, by wealth builders. Hence, this is not about me, but about you.

wealth builder

Manage money

The mission of this blog is “to make money, to build wealth and to preserve wealth”. In short, this is a journal detailing the process of building wealth in Singapore. It contains my strategies, insights …

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Biggest regrets in life

It is often said that regret is the most terrible thing that can happen to anyone. When we talk about regrets, images of unfulfilled dreams and results of inactions may flash across your mind. Indeed, people tend to have the most clarity of mind in their dying moments. After all, there is a saying that goes “a healthy person can have many wishes but a sick person will have only one wish”. In one of the most poignant moment, a former nurse (Bronnie Ware) revealed in her blog the biggest regrets of the dying.

Bronnie spent several years caring for the dying and her job was to counsel terminally ill patients in their final moments. Her article on the biggest regrets of the dying is considered to be thought provocative and holds profound impacts for many. We can gain valuable insights from those are near the end of their life journey and make meaningful changes to our lives before it’s too late. In this article, I will share my thoughts on the top 3 biggest regrets of the dying.

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Apparently, this is the most common regret of all regrets. I suppose [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

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Selling combs to monks

Whether you are an employee or entrepreneur, you must always strive to master the art of selling. As an employee, you are always selling your skill-sets to your employer and prospective customers. For a business owner, to be able to sell is a given. In this regard, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to master the art of selling because it is considered the single most important factor that determines whether you can succeed in life.

In 2017, I wrote an article, “you can sell combs to monks”. Readers can subscribe as members to access the full article but I would like to succinctly use that article to expand on several learning points on how to be a successful wealth builder. In this blog, it is my desire to help people become successful in their wealth journey because it gives me joy to know that people have learned from my articles.

selling combs

In the story of selling combs to monks, three candidates were selected by a Singaporean merchant to sell combs to monks in China. We all know that monks do not need combs as they are bald, so selling combs to monks is like asking the candidates to do the impossible. Nevertheless, one of the candidates incredibly managed to sell 10,000 combs to a monk and eventually clinched the coveted job. The reason for his amazing success can be distilled in several points.

Sell what people want, not what they need

There is phrase that you must always remember in life: sell what people want, not what they need. What does it actually mean? I am sure most readers can differentiate between needs and wants. But from a marketing perspective, the difference may not be so straightforward.

In most cases, providing what people want will …

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Singapore finance blogs and the story of the three thirsty monks

Yet another Singapore finance blog bites the dust. SG Young Investment is the latest local finance blogger to take a hiatus. This followed hot on heels the announcements from 15HWW and  Cheerful Egg, who are taking a long break from blogging.

Whenever such depressing news surfaced, I am always affected emotionally, spiritually and mentally. This is because when you have people leaving the scene, it is never a good thing. How can we build a vibrant ecosystem when you have players exiting one by one? And we are talking about good players, not mediocre ones.

Finance blogs

Although the exodus of finance blogs is not new, it highlights the fragility of the finance blog fraternity. Over time, if we are not careful about it, the community of finance blogs may become a thing of the past. Is this what Singaporeans want? I always believe the sum of parts is greater than the strength of a person. In this regard, I would like to share the story of the three thirsty monks.

The three thirsty monks

Once upon a time in China, there lived a young monk who lived in a temple high up on a mountain. Every dawn, he had to [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

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Programming your mind to financial success

Have you ever been told that you are stupid and that you will never achieve financial success? I ever did suffer from such traumatic experience when my Chemistry tutor (who happened to be my civic tutor) labelled me as “stupid” in front of the class during a laboratory experiment.

In life, our encounters and experiences shape our perspectives. Subconsciously, the actions and words of those around us could have significant impacts on us,  though they may not harbour any ill-intentions. To achieve financial success, we need to overcome such negativity.

But simply telling people who are slow to “buck up” or “work harder” will not serve to motivate that person to improve. Conversely, you are likely to trigger a defensive mechanism than inspiring him to change for the better.

In this article, I will share my insights on how we can achieve financial success by programming our mind to accomplish greater things. Read on if you are interested to become a better wealth builder and achieve financial success in your life.

In school, we don’t learn such stuff. And nobody ever coached me on mind programming. Thus, when I was being labelled as “stupid”, I felt lost. But through this blog, I hope to encourage fellow Singaporeans to become a better version of themselves.

financial success

Taking ownership with IQ

As a 17-year old kid, being ridiculed as stupid was certainly a morale-crushing experience. It took me years to get over the rut because when someone of such authority made that sort of comment, you would surely have self-doubts. You would question your abilities and intelligence. And then, you might start to question life.

Instead of spurring me to become a better student, my teacher had inadvertently destroyed my self-confidence and ignited a slippery slope of identity crisis. For years, I have …

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Make Singapore a caring society

The recent case of Annie Ee Yu Lian, a mentally disabled woman who was tortured to death by her long-time friend, certainly caused outrage among Singaporeans. It is indeed a tragic story and should never have happened in a first world country like Singapore. It made me wonder whether in the pursuit of wealth, can we afford to become a more gracious and caring society?

In life, what goes around comes around. I always believe in paying it forward. In response to my previous article, “GST should be raised to 12%”, some readers had also expressed concerns that the poor would be the most affected by the impending tax hike. Although such concern is indeed valid, it is important to note that part of the increased government spending could be on social needs. Then again, the perennial thinking is that the government should be responsible for making Singapore a caring society. Below is an article I wrote in 2014. I hope readers would be inspired to reach out for our fellow Singaporeans.

The scene was at a supermarket where grandmother and her two grandchildren were shopping for groceries. Her granddaughter saw a lovely strawberry cake and wanted to buy it. However, when checking out the items at the cashier, grandmother realized that there was not enough money to buy the cake. Thus, she promised her granddaughter that she would buy it another time.

caring society

The little girl was very disappointed but nevertheless, left the shop reluctantly with her grandmother and brother. Just then, a gentleman was standing behind them and saw the situation. He paid for the cake and caught up with them. Gentleman gave the cake to the little girl but grandmother refused to accept it. At that point of time, the gentleman related his story to them.…

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A Better Florist Blooming Flower Business

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time shopping online, scrolling through endless choices that force you to eventually give up, A Better Florist is the florist for you. They make your complete shopping experience a total breeze. Not only is it easy to shop via desktop or mobile, they offer high-class blooms at lowest prices.

florist

If you’re impressed by quality not quantity, this is the florist that is going to suit your taste. Their website isn’t overflowing with information. They know their clientele is there to purchase authentic, impressive blooms, and they are dedicated to giving you enough choices but not so much that you aren’t able to decide. At all times, you’re able to jump on their website, and choose one of the most popular bouquets, arrangements or bundles, that are always ready to go. Just click on your favourite, and your shopping experience may begin.

It’s my favourite cheap florist in Singapore, whose blooms impress me over and over again. Not only are they fresh, they are carefully and thoughtfully designed into a bundle that is sure to impress even the most avid flower connoisseurs.

They call themselves the bloomcrew, and their expertise definitely deserve even a higher title than just crew. They custom make all kinds of bouquets, hampers, fruit baskets, bundles… If you have a flower wish, they will bring it to life.

Their passion for flowers seeps through every single bouquet they make. If you take a closer look at their social media, you will see that every new bouquet is more beautiful than the rest. Only a first-class business is able to impress you after you’ve already been impressed.

It’s also impressing to see a passionate and dedicated team go above and beyond to cater to their clients. …

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Self-leadership

Learning to learn is a key part of how we manage our lives on a daily basis. Most of us tend to view learning as academic but it actually can be the way we live our lives. In essential, learning also means making the effort to develop self-leadership and knowing more about the people around you.

Recently, I had some really frustrating moments at home and faced challenges in parenting. I had been losing my cool and yelling at my kids when they misbehaved. At the rate it is going, my approach is not going to be healthy for my family’s physical health, mental health and emotional well-being. So I am making the effort to change. After all, as a wealth builder and being the head of the household, it is important for me to develop self-leadership so that I can be effective role model for my children. To improve the situation, the change has to start from myself.

Previously, I have shared with readers on my family’s wealth journey. Feel free to read the articles again:

  1. My family’s wealth journey
  2. SG Wealth Builder’s journey
  3. Build wealth with property

I found the guiding light in Dr George Kohlrieser who spoke at the inaugural lecture of the Lifelong Learning Council’s World Speaker Series held earlier this month. There are important life lessons that can be gleaned from his speech and so I am sharing the learning points with my readers. I also hope that in years to come, my children will read this article and appreciate the journey I am going through.

Self-leadership

Better version of yourself

Learning is about how we deal with the good things and bad things. An interesting sharing from Dr Kohlrieser was how the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, emerged from prison after 27 years during …

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The Gift of Life

Over the years, I noted a significant change in the social behavior among Singaporeans. We have become more cynical and developed a tendency to politicize issues in our daily lives. The mood has changed to the extent that I feel that we have lost the appreciation of the gift of life.

Being the most expensive city in the world, it is true that many of us struggle to make a living in Singapore. But then again, everyone encounters struggles in their lives as well. Nobody is born into this world without any struggles, worries or challenges. If you are able-bodied and is in the pink of health, consider yourself to be very lucky and do count your blessing.

Health is an incredibly important asset that is often being overlooked and under-appreciated. We start to cherish health only when we are about to lose it. This should not be the case. In fact, to be alive and able to enjoy the gift of life is a form of privilege. We should not abuse this privilege. Instead, we should always strive to identify the abundance of opportunities when we are healthy and make the best out of them.

Success

Then and now

In my point of view, the major source of our discontentment can be attributed to our desire for more material comforts. Unlike the Pioneer Generation and the Baby Boomers, this generation of Singaporeans have not endured the horrors of World War II nor the hardships of the post-war era. In short, we have not experienced tough times that our forefathers had endured. When compared to them, we do not understand what it’s like to be physically hungry, penniless, illiterate, homeless, critically-ill and no access to clean water. We also do not have to live in constant fear of being tortured, robbed …

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Self cultivation

Very often, we get so busy making a living that we forget to live a life. The woodcutter story never fails to drive home in me the importance of self cultivation. The story goes like this:

One day, a timber owner advertised for a helper to help him cut the trees. A very strong woodcutter applied and got the job. The pay was good and working condition was excellent. Eager to impress his boss, the woodcutter was determined to do his job well and so started work the next day.

In his first day, the woodcutter was extremely motivated and managed to cut 20 trees. The boss was delighted and praised him “Good job and well done!”

On the second day, driven by his boss’ praise, the woodcutter tried even harder but surprisingly could only deliver 10 trees. The third day, he tried his very best but managed to bring in only 5 trees. The next day, he could not cut a single tree and began to panic.

The woodcutter went to see his boss and profusely apologized for not delivering in his job. Curious, the boss asked him “Did you sharpen the axe?”

“Huh? Sharpen the axe? Gosh no! I have been busy cutting the trees that I have no time to sharpen my axe!”

financial destiny

Learning points

In today’s context, most of us are so busy in our daily work that we sometimes forget to sharpen the “axe” in us and do self cultivation. Like the woodcutter, we all want to impress our boss so that we can get our work noticed and get promoted. There is nothing wrong with that because as a wealth builder, our goal is to make money and build a better life for our loved ones.

But in the midst of our busy schedules, …

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Loss aversion

For many wealth builders, winning $1000 in the stock market is very different from losing $1000 in share investments. In fact, many research studies have demonstrated that the impact arising from losses is twice as powerful as gains. This strange phenomenon is known as loss aversion.

Coined by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, loss aversion explains why most people prefer avoiding losses to making gains. Understanding this form of economic behavior may help us become better investors because it can shed some light on why people make irrational decisions consistently.

Stock Market

Our brains are geared to hold on to what we own because in ancient times, our ancestors survived by holding on to resources. As a result of such human evolution, our instinct tells us to avoid making losses at all costs. But what we don’t realize is that in doing so, we often make flawed decisions and end up being financially hurt. This is because times have changed and modern day economics have become much more complex, so we cannot afford to apply the same loss aversion mentality when managing money issues in today’s context.

Most stock investors hate cutting losses because most of us has a tendency to be emotionally attached to what we own as compared to what we do not own. Due to this psychological effect, most of us tend to hold on to losers for too long and miss out the opportunities of investing in winning stocks.

Throughout my wealth journey, I was inspired by many smart and intelligent people who are willing to share with me their investment adventures. Through them, I realize that those successful investors who are able to build up their wealth are those who have strong “Financial Quotient (FQ)”. These are the people who keep making mistakes in their stock selections …

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Inspirations from a Singapore finance blogger

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of finance bloggers joining the scene. Many of them are good bloggers who write better than me. But in my humble opinion, what differentiates a great blogger from a good blogger is his ability to create inspirations among readers. In one of his latest articles, Singapore finance blogger, “Got Money, Got Honey” (GMGH), inspired me.

In his article, GMGH articulated very well his philosophy of giving. I was very impressed by his structured thought-process because although most people donate to charity, not many can think so deeply as him. It also set me thinking about the future direction of my own blog.

As a Singapore finance blogger, it was never my intention to become an influencer in the first place. My original idea was to create a crowd-source platform that attracts readers to contribute ideas on various wealth building ways. Over time, SG Wealth Builder has evolved into a wealth blog that focuses mainly on stock analysis, gold bullion and career management.

           Gold and Silver Bullion

There are many Singapore finance bloggers who write about their dividend income reports and portfolio performance. They contribute interesting articles but I seldom read such articles because I prefer to look at those with deep analysis on stocks. There are a few Singapore finance bloggers who can write very detailed analysis and I gained more wisdom after reading these blogs. Sometimes, I was also inspired to write better analysis in my blog but I guess one of the biggest handicaps for me is that I don’t have any financial background or experience.

There is another realm of Singapore finance bloggers who write articles mainly on personal finance. When I started SG Wealth Builder in 2010, there were not many such bloggers around. But things have obviously …

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Safeguard your financial destiny

The latest labor market report released by Ministry of Manpower is discouraging for many job-seekers. Employment growth has slowed down and unemployment and redundancies have risen in the second quarter of 2016. In this uncertain market condition, it may not be wise to switch career or even quit without a job. However, regardless the case, you do not leave your financial destiny in the hands of your employer.

In today’s context, it is not realistic for Singapore employees to trust that they will never be made redundant. The rapid changes in technology inevitably led to unexpected transformation in various industries, resulting in massive restructuring in our economy. This means that many jobs have become obsoleted and when affected employees are laid off, their positions disappeared as well.

financial destiny

Thus, if you are not careful, you may find yourself in the frightening prospect of being retrenched. Even in the civil service sector, which is well-known in Singapore for being an iron-rice bowl employer, contract jobs have become prevalent. Being a contract worker, you may be let go after your employment contract expired. Even if you are a permanent staff working in the civil service, it does not mean that your career longevity is guaranteed. If you made any mistakes, especially when money is concerned, you may be asked to resign.

In this new economy, knowledge is key to your financial destiny. The market is ever evolving because of changing demands. So what you learned in your college or university may not be relevant to the industry any more. You need to re-invent yourself to stay more relevant and marketable to employers. Picking up new skills in emerging industries like cyber-security and green technology is one way of staying ahead of the competition.

In the past, if you have a post-graduate degree, you …

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The winning formula

Our ability to excel in life lies on whether we can constantly re-invent ourselves to continue playing the game. To achieve this, we need to keep learning new skills and knowledge in this new economy in order to position ourselves for success. Obviously to a certain extent, most of us yearn for career success but how many of us are willing to learn and earn? There is no secret winning formula as everyone has a different life path. But then again, successful wealth builders almost certainly share some common traits.

Receptive to new ideas

Even though you may be very experienced or have deep expertise in your job, you should always stay curious and be receptive to new ideas. In my job journey, I have come across many colleagues who are afraid of experimenting different approaches to resolve issues because they only believe in tried-and-tested methods. Because of their rigid mindsets, work productivity were often affected.

A few years ago when Singapore exempted Goods and Services Tax (GST) for investment-grade bullion, I asked a few fellow investment bloggers their main reasons for not buying gold and silver in Singapore. Most of them shared that they don’t believe in diversifying their wealth in gold and prefer to focus on Singapore shares. Their lack of understanding of precious metals could be the reason for the resistance to new ideas on wealth building. It is difficult to imagine that they would be successful in their wealth building journey down the road because it only takes a major stock market correction to wipe out their portfolios’ value.

gold

Know what you don’t know

One of the reasons why the rich always become richer is because they know what they don’t know. Thus, they either delegate it to professionals to focus on their strengths or improve …

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Miss the forest for the trees

Would you drive to Johor Bahru (JB) from Singapore on a monthly basis to stock up milk powder and diapers for your children? On a daily basis, we are confronted with choices to make regarding money. Ultimately, there are no right or wrong decisions but whatever choices you made, they always come with trade-offs. As a wealth builder, sometimes I feel that many Singaporeans miss the forest for the trees.

I saw an article by fellow finance blogger who pointed out he saved $50 by shopping in JB for his children’s milk powder and diaper. He then claimed that if he did so on a monthly basis, he can save a mighty $600 annually. With the magic of compounding, he would be able to pay for his children’s university fees in 20 years. As a parent of two young kids, I can certainly relate to his financial concerns of raising a kid. Nonetheless, I cannot agree with his way of thinking, which is basically warped.

Firstly, there is no way that you can pay off your children’s tertiary education with the above approach simply because most young kids start eating adult food and stop using diapers after 5 year-old. So it is unrealistic to make the 20 years extrapolation. Granted even if the assumption is true, there is no way you can make such explosive returns or saving interest rates enough to pay off your kids’ tertiary education fees in 20 years.

career

Secondly, as a wealth builder, I will not go through such hassle just to save $50 in a month, simply because the effort is not worth it. Imagine you waste hours on the traffic jam. Not to mention the possibility of being robbed or having your car stolen in JB. Is that $50 even worth it in this …

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Falling from the peak

Borrowing a phrase from the Taiwanese, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew described those Singaporeans born from the eighties onward as “The Strawberry Generation” because of the perceived lack of resilience. Indeed, compare to him, many Singaporeans don’t have the experience of living in the World War II period and thus do not understand what hardship really means. Due to this, we often lose the fighting spirit of our fore-fathers in overcoming life obstacles. This is especially so when we start falling from the peak of our lives.

Contrary to what most people thought, the difficult part of mountain climbing is not the ascending phase. It is actually the descending that is more treacherous because after reaching the top of the mountain, the climber would have expended all his energy and fatigue began to set in. He would not have put much thinking on the journey downward and because of this, he become complacent, which led to his downfall literally. In fact, statistics have shown that most climbers die on their way down the mountain, rather than on the way up.

Similar to our education system, you need years of training to build up your body stamina and fitness in order to scale the highest mountain. You would realize the lack of oxygen at high altitude and it’s all about mental endurance once you are up there. If you are not careful, you would fall. In Singapore, we spend at least 16 years to obtain tertiary qualifications and then enter our first jobs to start earning incomes. This is a very long period of gestation time but nevertheless, you need to ask yourself honestly whether the paper qualifications prepare you well for the challenges that you face in your daily life. If so, good for you! If not, then what …

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Are you a motivated wealth builder?

One of the worst nightmares of a salaried employee is being retrenched. This is especially so for mature workers in their forties and fifties. The prospect of losing your job at such career stage can not only be frightening, but also damaging to your financial health. In this regard, are you a motivated wealth builder?

Recently, a Singaporean called Mr Chua is still looking for work 6 months after losing his job. His experience is not unique in Singapore and can happen to anyone of us, given the competitive job market. To mitigate the damages arising from job retrenchment, we must always strive to be a motivated wealth builder.

One of the most common perceptions is that you must be good at managing your personal finances in order to be considered an effective wealth builder. To this end, I feel that ensuring employability and job longevity play an important role in our wealth journey as well. Most of us tend to place too much focus in our job and overlook the importance of enhancing new skills or knowledge with the aim of developing a second career in the later stage of our working lives. We are always too pre-occupied with our office work and tend to give less priority in upgrading our “individual software”. The wake-up call always came too late – when you are served the retrenchment notice.

For those mature job-seekers, this article may be of cold comfort to you but it is important to moderate salary expectations in order to remain employable. If you have been drawing $8000 to $10,000 monthly salary, there is a need to be realistic and accept a much lower salary ranges. Of course going back to square one is extremely painful because it means that the years of hard work have been …

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Opportunity is when knowledge meets preparation

From time to time, I like to review my previous blog posts. In an enlightening interview I done with Gerald Tay of Conspiracy of Real Estate Investments (CREi) Academy Group, I realized how accurate his predictions were in 2013. Check out my old article here.

As a wealth builder, I have deep respect for Gerald Tay because he was born to a rich family but subsequently had to start from square one because of some unforeseen family financial difficulties. As a result, his perspective is unique as he knows what it is like to be rich and poor. Below is an eerily accurate predictions made by Gerald in 2013 from my interview with him:

1)      The world economy might be headed for a major financial crisis, making the 2008 financial crisis look like a chicken in a coup. Major economies (China, USA, Europe, Japan) are supported by a large quantity of ‘phony’ money printed endlessly by their governments.  Instead of turning the economy around, massive debts are sending these nations towards default, and there’s no escape from a market crash in the future when you have such enormous debts.

SG Wealth Builder
SG Wealth Builder

2)      Even if there’s no such catastrophic event mentioned above to happen anytime in the next 5 years, there might be some ‘black swan’ event that might just tip the balance and burst the asset bubble, especially in Asia. The ramifications could be severe enough for our Singapore property market, especially when prices are already at ‘bubble-pricked’ levels.
3)      There’s a high possibility of interest rates going up, once markets realised that the bonds which they hold might never be redeemed by broke governments. Although higher interest rates have never been the sole catalyst for property prices to fall, they do have some impact nevertheless.
4)     
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The Peril of Marrying the Wrong Husband

There is an old Chinese saying that goes “A man’s greatest fear is establishing a career in the wrong industry while a woman’s greatest fear is choosing the wrong husband to entrust her life with”. This age old saying certainly still holds true in today’s modern society. In a recent UFM 100.3 radio programme, one of the interesting topics was the proliferation of dating agencies in Singapore due to the rising singles above 40 years old.

Inevitably, we will all grow old and die one day, but nobody will relish the prospect of dying alone. It is terrible to imagine that in your final days, you have no one to take care of you and provide the emotional support. Your friends, siblings and parents will not be together with you for the rest of your life journey. Only your partner and children will. So the important goal in our lives should be to find the right partner to grow old with. Given that life is a long journey, wouldn’t it be better to share the joy. bitter and sad moments with someone?

SG Wealth Builder

In the radio programme, one of the female Singapore listeners claimed that she would give herself until 50 year old to find a mate and set up a family. Beyond that, she would stop trying to find her true love. My thoughts is that by that age, it would be very difficult to find her soul mate. After all, most Singaporean males would prefer ladies who are much younger than them. And even if she does indeed found one, at that age, it is difficult to conceive and have children. By setting such an unrealistic goal, she is shooting herself in the foot.

I suppose that when we are young, we tend to take time for granted. But …

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The deadliest mistake made by most investors

The recent stock market routs must have caught many small time investors by surprise. The Dow Jones had the worst five day trading performance in history, wiping off trillion of dollars from the market. Both the oil decline and China’s stock market 7 percent drop combined to send Wall Street plunging down the cliff. In the midst of the chaos, many investors must be pondering whether to enter or exit the market.

Taking control 

Most people know that investing is all about emotions – greed and fear. These two emotions often over rule our rational thinking and affect our decision making in investments. To be a successful investor, it certainly take more than knowledge to make money from stocks. You need to take positive action. To take the emotions out of investing, you must set stop-gain or stop-loss level for every stock that you invested in. In doing so, there will be less chances of you looking back in regrets for selling a surging stock too early or live in fear for not selling away your stock investments during market sell-off. You will also have clarity when to enter the market and buy a certain stock.

Truly dividend or long term investors?

I know most investment bloggers and investors will claim that they are dividend or long term investors, so they will just buy and hold their stock portfolio forever, regardless of market conditions. This kind of approach is not wrong but you need to ask yourself whether the opportunity loss is worth it. For example if you invested $100,000 in a counter that pays yearly dividend of 4% but dropped in value by 40% during a market crisis, would you still continue to hold and collect the dividends? Bear in mind that market trend changes all the time, so …

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Three important skills to succeed in life

As a young parent, I always believe in giving the best for my children. In this regard, my wife and I have been sending my daughter for enrichment classes with the view of developing her thinking, speaking and writing skills. These are the three skills one should possess in order to succeed in life, so we hope to give her a good start.

Contrary to what many people thought, being academically good does not mean you are well-equipped to achieve great things when you enter the workforce. I have seen many scholars who can think and write well but cannot speak confidently in public. Like-wise I have many ‘A’ list friends who can think fast and speak confidently but lack substance in their writing. Henceforth, my view is that it is important to lay a strong foundation for these three skills, starting from a young age. At the end of the day, even if my children did not achieve great things, at least I hope to mold resilient characters in them so that they can overcome obstacles in life.

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Thinking Skill

I have been sending my daughter to attend lessons at Clay Works Singapore in East Point Shopping Mall. The idea is to encourage her to think creatively and also to let her experience the fun of learning. In future, she would realize that studying for exams in Singapore is highly stressful and dull. So I want to sustain her interest in learning and instill in her that learning can be fun. The structured curriculum helps to develop her problem solving skill and unleash creative potential. More importantly, I want to boost her self confidence and self esteem upon seeing her own craft.

As a wealth builder, it is also important to think critically and not follow the herd mentality …

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The mystery of life

It’s that time of the year for self reflections again. Since 2013, year end reflections took on a whole new dimension for me with the passing on of Dad. It is strange that when he was alive, I never realized my love for him and that he was so important to me.

Dad had been an influential figure in my life and his abrupt death in early 2013 had a profound impact on me. Perhaps the mystery of life is that you would only cherish something after you lost it. Human beings tend to take things for granted, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

On looking back, one of Dad’s important words of advice to me was to manage and improve my temper. When I was young, I didn’t enjoy a good relationship with my mother and often argued with her over trivial matters. Because of this, Dad always chastened me over my foul temper. Indeed, since young, emotion management had always been a challenge for me. Sometimes when I see red, I would lose my head, much to my regrets later. Apparently, this Achilles Heel has spilled over to my job and thus affected my progression.

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This year, I achieved quite a lot in my job and had collected a few awards along the way. But I felt that all the good works would go down the drain and nullified by my head-on clashes with several colleagues from other departments. I was involved in several unpleasant arguments due to pressing deadlines and these incidents caught the attention of my big bosses. On several times, my big boss had to do damage control for me and behind closed door, he expressed concern on my emotion management. He urged me to improve my emotions before it spirals out of control. …

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Japan

During my recent business trip in Japan, my colleague and I visited a district in central Japan called Akihabara, which is famous for its wide variety of electronic shops. However, what got me so intrigued was that there is a complex called Mandarake that sells anime and manga collectibles. And lo behold, one of the store at level 7 sells retro card games like Dragon Ball prism cards!

I have been a collector of Dragon Ball prism cards for more than 20 years and I could not believe that I could get my hand on the prism shining cards again. There used to be a Dragon Ball craze back in the eighties and nineties when the comic series were launched. In Singapore, those in the 30s may remember that dragonball cards used to be sold in packets and those “rare” cards are those shining cards. Later on, the cards were sold in vending machine that require you to put on 20cents and turn a knob to displace out a card. The cards were sold by Japanese Bandai for only a short while and now there is no more vendor selling the old series of dragonball cards.

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As you can see from the picture, the cards are pretty expensive in Japan. I only bought three cards and they costed me S$75! However, the conditions of the cards are extremely good, so I feel that they are worth the money. I intend to buy more when I visit Japan for business purposes again next month.

For me, collecting Dragon Ball prism cards is not merely just a form of personal hobby, it is also about revisiting my childhood memories. Dragon Ball has been part of my formative childhood and the story and character had inspired me to persevere in the face of …

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Japan business trip

I just came back from a Japan business trip and thought that it is timely to blog down some of my thoughts arising from the experience. This is the 6th time that I visited Japan and previously they were all business trips that lasted only a week. What made this trip quite memorable was that I had the chance to visit several interesting places at Tokyo with my colleague.

The first place that we visited in Japan was Daibai to see the giant Gundam robot at Gundam Front Tokyo. I am not a big fan of Gundam but nevertheless was infected by my colleague’s enthusiasm. The place is really unique as there is a Gundam museum with hundreds of Gundam robot figurines and a movie theatre playing Gundam shows.

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Beyond the fanfare of Japanese anime and manga culture, I think it is important to recognize the Japanese’s culture of innovation. After all, the Japanese have created so many timeless icons such as Godzilla, Doraemon, Gundam and Dragonball. To develop such a culture is not easy and requires a nation to constantly dream big and think out of the box. In this respect, Japan is way ahead of Singapore.

Just think about it, what icons have Singapore generated over the decades that managed to capture the imagination of the world? None I would say.

We often pride ourselves as being an efficient society but actually that is a nice way of saying that we are merely good at conforming to an established system. Most Singaporeans, including me, are unable to innovate new ideas and come out with creative products because most of us are brought up in a rigid ranking education system whereby creative alternative solutions are not accepted.

I still remember that I have to memorize Chinese stories and history …

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A second chance in life

What would you do if you are given a second chance to re-build your life? Would you cherish it and change the way you live your life?

Last week, I received an urgent message from my boss that one of my colleagues was admitted to hospital after having difficulty in talking for 20 minutes. My first reaction was that this could be a symptom of stroke but thankfully it was determined that it was a blood clot as a result of head trauma that he sustained last month during an overseas trip.

On my way home, a lot of things went through my mind. I am in my mid-thirties and being a sole bread-winner with two young kids, what would happen to my dependents if I am down with a severe stroke? It would be good if I had a quick death but what if I survived but became a burden instead to my loved ones? Perhaps many people would dismiss such worrying thoughts as being too pessimistic. However, such an unfortunate tragedy did happen to my father.

Unlike my colleague, my late father was not so fortunate and was not given a second chance. He survived the stroke but permanently lost control of his left side of his body. At the tender age of 38, there was a terrible blow to him. Just imagine losing half your body functions at the peak of your career. Overnight, dad lost everything. Including his dignity, ego and pride. To top it off, he received very little education and was the family sole bread-winner. Under such dire circumstance, the prospect of having to feed three young children, an aging mother and a housewife when partially handicapped can drive even the most normal person depressed.

My dad’s stroke had certainly changed our family’s lives …

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How to build your wealth from young

Hi SG Wealth Builder,

I am one of your readers of your blog, apologies if this email came as a surprise, I stumbled upon your blog while browsing the net on my iPhone.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m John, a 3rd year polytechnic student. Though mentioning this might have made your head turn away, since I’m still young and probably in no position to search for any financial-generating opportunities like Stocks or Investments due to the lack of capital, but I believe it’s good to start young. I cannot find any tips that cater to someone like me, hence i wrote this email in hope to hear from you.

Problem is I don’t have any opportunity, or know of any methods to grow financially. hence I hope that through this email, I can get some guidance from you of what a person at my age and situation should do.

Hope to hear from you, thank you.The above is an email from one of my readers but the name has been changed to protect his identity. Since I started blogging four years ago, I have received quite a number of emails from readers seeking financial advice from me and normally my policy is not to reply their queries. This is because firstly, I am not a financial adviser and do not work in the financial sector. So I am not qualified to advise readers matters pertaining to investments. Secondly, I have not achieved the level of wealth that allows me to quit my job and retire comfortably. So without any form of track record to speak of, I don’t think I have earned the bragging rights to share insights on achieving financial freedom. But for this case, I felt compelled to share some of my thoughts because I am
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Gambling

Recently, I watched a video clip in YouTube featuring one of Singapore best known local celebrities, Lee Nanxing, who related his journey of conversion to Christianity after struggling with gambling problem. He recounted that when he reached his career pinnacle in the nineties, he unwittingly offended the Mediacorp top management and was being “frozen” by the media company for almost two years.

During that low period, Lee Nanxing was still paid his salary but he was constantly worried about his future as an artiste. As a result, he decided to venture into business and opened a pub with a few partners. Business suffered due to mismanagement and also because Lee Nanxing was too busy with a few projects in China. When he returned to Singapore, he was shocked to find the company in a financial mess. As he was the major shareholder, all the creditors pestered him for settlement.

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Saddled with huge debts, Lee Nanxing tried to salvage his company unsuccessfully. Eventually, he decided to try his luck at gambling but that turned out to be one of the most fatal mistakes that he made in his life. He thought that with his few tricks that he picked up in the popular drama “The Unbeatables”, he could make quick money and paid off the company debts.

However, he was proven wrong. He ended up losing away all his savings and even had to borrow from the illegal moneylenders. Lee couldn’t believe his bad luck and felt that he was victimized by fate. At one point, he was persuaded by his friends to buy Feng Shui items, costing him up to thousands of dollars. But it doesn’t help him at all and he was still heavily in debt. He was convinced that he was finished because all his close friends and
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Working and living in a foreign country

How is it like working and living in a foreign country? I just watched a Japanese documentary show detailing the life of a Japanese lady who married a Peruvian guy in Peru. It was a heart-warming show which narrated how a Japanese lady lived her life in a foreign country for 20 years.

We all know that the Japanese is a closely knitted community, so initially it was not easy for a young Japanese lady like her to be working and living in a foreign country like Peru. But she managed to overcome the language and cultural barrier. Along the way, she fell in love and married a Peruvian guy. Of course, her Japanese parents initially objected to their marriage, but they accepted him after he lived with them for a short while in Japan.

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What struck me was that despite working and living abroad in another foreign country for two decades, her love for her native country remains strong. She still misses Japan very much and what I found admirable was that she has been contributing articles to a Japanese publication all these years because she mentioned that nowadays people go for online news. So she hope to do her part and revives newspaper readership. She is paid 300,000 yen for her efforts, and so has to supplement her income as a local tour guide in Peru. I supposed she is not doing this for the sake of money, but rather out of passion and love for Japan. I have utmost respect for this honorable lady, because although she is not highly educated and does not have a high-flying career, she leads a fulfilling life full of warmth and love.

I think “Limpeh is Foreign Trash” has a lot to learn from her. The fellow bragged that he received

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