Monday, August 6, 2007

Career Choices

OK, I confess... I have been procrastinating and not been posting. Just changed jobs and trying to settle into it. Thats just for the past couple of months and before that? I was just plain lazy!

Something popped into my mind last month. For all recently graduates looking to move into the corporate world, my career advice is to find some time to try out at least 2 of the following 3 jobs

  1. Stock broking
  2. Property sales
  3. Insurance sales

Why do I choose these 3 jobs/careers? The reasons that I put forth are as follows:

  1. Besides working for money, we should let our money work for us as well. The first 2 allows your money to work for you while the 3rd protects your money.
  2. Share and property investing are 2 of the best ways to grow your money and it is my experience that some personal experience is the best when dealing with the world of finance and real estate. Never leave your money solely in the hands of the so called "professionals" as no one will take as much care as investing your money as yours truly!
  3. If you leave the above 3 jobs to 3rd parties, remember how they are being compensated, via commissions. Therefore there is a skewed alignment of interests as most products/services have upfront fees/commissions and is not based on performance. So in the above cases, your interest is to make more money from these investments, which probably take time. And the agents of the products and services are interested in how much is the value of your transaction, simply because their compensation is based upon that.
However, I am not saying that all such agents are money sucking folks, it is just that they are in a job whereby the compensation is structured this way. So by simply putting yourself in their shoes, you accomplish 2 things:

  1. You find that you have no choice but to sell based on volume of transactions, thats how you are compensated and you should not fault them for their actions (unless they defraud you).
  2. You learn how to "DIY", you learn what to look out for... how to value companies so that you can work out how much you are willing to pay for their share price, what to look out or when buying a property, which company offers the best insurance plan etc.
I give this piece of advice based on my experience as I have tried insurance sales, have not really gone into stock broking but my previous job gave me exposure to equity investing which also sparked my interest in value investing (Warren Buffett's investing philosophy). I am starting to dabble a little bit into property investment. And I do hope that this is enough to get a head start into getting a tidy nest egg when I retire.... I am still constantly reading and learning to sharpen my skills.

Without such financial instruments and a little appetite for risk, how can we hope to make enough money to retire comfortably?

Am waiting for client to revert so that I can get my things done and go home!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life - My wife has started blogging

Big news, my dear wife, I better name her - Yvonne has started to blog, she has never been much of an internet person and she has always been critical of me spending time in front of my laptop. So why do I spend so much time online? I spend time online chatting with friends on MSN, reading up news worthy article and also conduct research for my investments, as such I spend a fair bit of time in front of the laptop. I used to spend even more time on top of that, playing games but have almost stopped playing.

OK back to my wife's blogging, I think its good for her, like she said an avenue for her to let go.... Rather than keeping it to herself. She found out about my blog accidentally.... Hang on, I did not have anything to hide, but I wanted the blog to be more established before I let her in the know. So far her posts have been quite good, some entertaining, some made me think about my own actions towards her.... I shall not reveal her blog address here, I advised her to make a few more posts before she decides whether she wants to go public.

I wish my wife all her best in her blogging and perhaps we can get to know each other thoughts even better through blogging eh!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Books - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows update

The date of release of the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book by JK Rowling has been announced. 21 July 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Work - Office Politics

Office politics.... Many cringe at these words, others love to use it in advancing their careers. According to The Brazen Careerist - Penelope Trunk, whose blog I love to read, office politics is about being nice.... huh? Her basic rationale is that no matter what you do, office politics happen and if you do not get with the game, you will die a slow and painful career death.

I personally do not like to dabble in office politics, I just want to get on with my work, collect my paycheck at the end of the month and go home early (whenever possible). However the sad truth is that no man is an island, especially in a working environment where there are lots of people around and you have to work with other people. Office politics will find you, no matter where you hide..... My personal philosophy is to become an insider, know what is going on around you in the office, keep your mouth shut and ears open, stick to your principles, treat others with respect, do not back stab others, watch out for other people trying to back stab you, have genuine interest in others.

Anyway, if we look at other aspects of our lives, politics exists everywhere, between family members, neighbours and friends, so why should work be any different? Especially when we spend a better part of the day, week, year in the office. I probably see more of my colleagues than my wife!

In my humble opinion, there are different levels of politicking, from an end of water cooler talk and gossiping to an extreme end of backstabbing to vie for a promotion. In the middle portion will be maneuvering to get others to agree with you. So we need to make up our minds on which level of politicking we want to get involved in.

So go think about it and make a stand! Good luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Music – Lisa Ono – Romance Latino Vol. 1

Once again, Lisa shows her linguistic versatility in this first of a 3 volume Latin based series of songs. The songs are slow and easy listening, even though I have absolutely no idea what she is singing about, I have no problem enjoying the songs. I dun even think I can pronounce some of the songs.

Check out this review from

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tech - iPhone

Apple Inc (Previously called Apple Computer Inc) yesterday announced the launch of its latest product, the iPhone. Apple touts the iPhone as a combo of iPod, Phone and Internet communicator.

You can watch Steve Job's Iphone introduction here: (Please watch... its very interesting)

Tech Specs:

  • Screen Size: 3.5inches
  • Resolution: 320 x 480 @160ppi
  • Input method: Multi Touch
  • Operating System OS X
  • Storage: 4GB or 8GB
  • GSM: Quad band (Mhz:850, 900, 1800, 1900)
  • Wireless Data: Wi-Fi (802.11g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
  • Camera: 2 Mega pixels
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours talk / video / browsing
  • Up to 16 hours Audio playback
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

Apple has also partnered Google to include Google Maps, Yahoo to provide push mail service for all iPhone users. The sole distributor for the iPhone in the US will be Cingular and will be avaiable in the US from June 2007, Europe 4th quarter 2007 and Asia 2008 (sigh!)

Things that I like:

Wide screen

Wi Fi

The things that I am concerned with are as follows:

Will OS X be compatible with Windows?

There does not seem to be expansion slot

The battery is not removable

Till I have more information..... and also see what others have to say as well

Try this post in Treonauts, which compares the Treo 680 with the iPhone.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Social - Combating Internet Child Pornography

We have all seen the commercial on television which has children of various nationalities talking about internet child pornography. The last scene features a Caucasian girl and she says "We don't need your money, we just need your support." This commercial is an awareness campaign "Light a Million Candles" by a group of Singapore volunteers to encourage public action to combat child pornography on the Internet. This campaign is in support of the recently launched Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography (Coalition), which is being spearheaded by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The rise of the Internet has made the world a smaller place and it has made transactions more opaque, with online credit card payments. This has created instant access to child pornography, which is a billion dollar commercial enterprise. At the same time, the victims are getting younger and the images are progressively more graphic and more violent.

From the ICMEC website:

To eliminate commercial child pornography, we must stop the flow of money. To do that, we need the involvement of the world’s leaders in the financial and Internet industries, as well as governments, law-enforcement agencies, and the public at large.

The Light a Million Candles campaign is comprised of a 60-second public-service announcement, print advertisements, a viral email, and a web site. We ask that you please visit, and offer your support by lighting a virtual candle and challenging the world’s governments, law-enforcement agencies, financial institutions, Internet Service Providers, and payment associations to work together to tackle this problem. The goal is to collect one million pledges by the end of 2006.

We encourage you to visit the web site, view the public-service announcement, light a candle, and raise awareness of the global epidemic of child pornography."

I have lighted my candle and hope that you can light yours too.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Tech - Firefox 2.0

I have been using Firefox since its inception and I am a big fan. The free Firefox browser, developed by Mozilla, a non profit corporation dedicated to cultivate competitive, viable community innovation.

Personally, I like the tabbed browser windows that does not require you to open a new window for a new browser window, like IE 6 and before. Microsoft has wizened up and IE 7 has incorporated this feature.

Aesthetics wise, the new release looks more vibrant and hip. It incorporates a search engine toolbar and there are 6 defaults to choose from, Google, Yahoo, eBay,, Amazon and Creative Commons. You can even customise the search engines from mozilla's website.

As in previous versions of Firefox, 2.0 enables to use of add ons, widgets that increase the functionalities of Firefox. Some of the add ons may not be upgraded for use with 2.0 but you will be able to check or either that when you download the add on, Firefox will automatically check compatibility. One of my favourite add on is GSpace, a web based FTP like program that allows you to make use of your Gmail account like a storage space for your files.

There is also a smart spell check when you are typing in forms or for example as I am editing this blog post, it will underline words that are not in its dictionary.

When compared to IE7, which I do not really like, especially its interface, Firefox gets my thumbs up!

Other software improvements in this version includes:

  • Fixed memory leaks and improved performance
  • Built-in phishing protection will warn the user of suspicious sites
  • Persistent sessions will restore the session after system restart
  • Live Titles and microsummaries help sites convey the latest interesting content
  • Improved add-on manager helps the users manage extensions and themes
  • Enhanced security and localization support for extensions
  • Support for JavaScript 1.7