Friday, March 30, 2007

Going Back to My Home Town

This is to inform that this Saturday morning I’m flying back to my hometown where I born. It has been 4 years that I have never gone back there. I miss the place so much. Most importantly this is the place where I enjoy my doggie life. So I will be off for 1 whole week and will not able to update this blog.

My hometown is called Taman Sibuga, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. I bet you’ve never heard about it. It is okay, it is a very small town in east Malaysia. Well, that’s all I have to say and one last thing is I’m in holiday mood now. :D

Dell Inspiron 640m Review

I have bought this laptop for few months and I think it is time for me to review this guy. As for all the good things, I am not going to mention them here because you can check them out from the Dell website. So, I only list down the things what this guy screw up and you can decide whether you want to buy it or not.

1. Memory leak in PCMService.exe

If you open your tasks bar and you will notice this PCMService.exe consumes a lot of memory resources. That is okay but the problem is if you check few seconds later, the memory used by this guy is increasing. What the heck? If you leave your laptop for few hours, it shoots up to 1G bytes of memory. What is wrong, Dell? Why this simple thing can’t be caught by Dell? So the solution I did is to disable this service during Windows startup. Honestly, I don't know what the use of this PCMService.exe but anyway my laptop still operate perfectly without this thing.

2. No Build-in Microphone

I’m aware of this before I bought this guy. The problem is Dell does not mention this at all in their website. Again, what’s wrong Dell? How hard to have a build-in microphone? As for myself, I’m still okay with it because I seldom use microphone. If I must use it, I can use the microphone in port instead but it may not be that convenient. However for those who wants the build-in microphone for whatever reasons (e.g. chatting or recording) and you don't want to plug in the new microphone, please do not buy this Dell Inspiron 640m product. I’m sure you will regret.

3. Incompatible Sonic Drivers with Vista

Hmm… When you boot up your windows and you always have the “This Driver is blocked due to compatibility issues” Now I think there is already a solution for this. Not a big deal, just to search around and I think you will able to find the patch to download.

4. Display Resolution Change after wakeup from Sleep

Ok, what is wrong Dell? Or should I say, what is wrong Intel? But I prefer to blame Dell as they do not test this properly before they introduce the product even though this is Intel Chipset Graphic issue. The problem is when you put your laptop in sleep mode and wake up later, the resolution change from 1280 * 800 (My original Setting) to 1024 * 768 (which is lower). Strangely, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, I do not have time to figure this out in what condition it triggers this. Anyway for the solution, I just change back to 1280 * 800 whenever this happens or I just shut down my laptop instead of put my laptop into sleep mode. This is what Dell people recommended me too.

In summary, if you’re okay with the top 4 issues above for Dell Inspiron 640m (perhaps it also applies to other models), then this laptop is a good buy. The main advantages for Dell product at least the reason I buy it is cheap and less expensive as you compared to other brand. Also another advantange to buy from Dell is you have more freedom to customize it (e.g. add extra memory, change your LCD screen display and etc.). Anyway this laptop is my baby now and I will bring him with me for all my vacation.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Brief History of Retirement

Retirement is not as you think that it has been around here forever. Most of us do not aware that retirement did not even exist until industry age in Europe which is in the late 1700s, 100+ years ago. There was no such thing as job before the industrial age. As there was no job, there was also no retirement.

Father, Mother, Sons and daughters work together and share the work load for maintaining the farm to keep them survive. This is something like “Clark Kent”, our superman life in the Smallville town. :) I am just kidding. As the fathers got older, they did less and less of the manual hard labour and become less efficient. A lot of manual hard labour tasks were now handled by the stronger sons and this continues to the rest of the generations.

However, the industrial age revolution changed all this by migrating from the farm to factory. In order to maximize productions, factories divided the work into operators, engineers, administrators and so on. Sounds familiar huh? This is what you see today in many companies.

So when the workers become older, he become less effective to the companies as he could do less work. However, the company still need to perform and maximum the production, but this is too cruel to fire them. Therefore the concept of “Retirement’ was introduced where the workers had to retire when he reached a certain age. The concept of pensions was also introduced where the retirees should be able to claim their benefits after retirement. All started in Europe and slowly moving to the rest of the countries.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What is career?

A career is defined in one dictionary as a job that has prospects for promotion. This is a rather simplistic definition.

However, when human resource managers think of a career, they mean a series of jobs and positions that you take that provide an upward and rewarding path in your work life. What this means is that you start with a job and after some time move on to a higher level position, either through promotion or additional training. A person’s career, therefore, is a series of advancements that provide opportunities for self-development and financial improvement over a long period of time.

So if you plan your career well, the better financial situation you are in the future. Focusing on improving your career path makes you one step closer to Financial Freedom. Honestly, do you plan your career? I bet you don’t. If you do, well probably you can share some comments here. Proper career planning is the key to success.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Best Way to Save Money Tips

A lot of people are struggling and even asking for tips on how to save their hardly earned income. How to save based on the spending style that I have now? Well, let me reveal the best method to save money. This best method as also described by George S. Clason in one of his books - Richest Man in Babylon is to Pay Yourself First. The moment you get your pay, set aside a certain sum for yourself. Then you only start thinking about paying other people.

Thinking of it, it makes a lot of sense. The money that we earn belongs to us and so it is only natural that the first person to be paid is ourselves. So pay yourself first, then only pay others (e.g. your spending, your investment and etc.). For those who have difficulties to save, you will find this method extremely useful. Before you start spending, what you need to do is to set aside some money for yourself and make sure the money is untouchable. Then, you can spend the rest of the money as free as you can. Having trouble saving money? Try to Pay Yourself First. You may ask how much to save? Well, it depends on your goal how much % you would like to save right? Nevertheless, I will cover this in next topic as well. As far as I concern, paying yourself first is the best and proven strategy if you have trouble saving your money.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Buying a Car that You Can Afford

Sadly to many people, buying a car is more than just a car. Car is a symbol of wealth to many people. People judge you by looking at what car you drive. Therefore it becomes a driving team to many people. Unfortunately, buying a car is also the area where most people tend to mess up. The reason is simply they buy a wrong car. It is just too expensive for them. They buy a car even they cannot really afford it. Surprisingly, they will even to scarify many things just to own a car and even they can afford it, they upgrade to a more luxurious car that costs too much money.

The symbol of wealth is simply not true and I would suggest you to buy the car that you can afford. Unless you want to buy the car for different purpose, for example, to impress your clients by your Mercedes that looks convincing to join your business then I would probably agree with you to buy those car providing the investment (to impress your client) is worth. However if you buy the car just to impress some hot chicks by your Mercedes to still on your car, I would better suggest you to forget about it.

The most common question is how I know if I can afford to buy the car or not? As a rule of dumb, if you can able to buy a car with cash or 1 to 2 years loan, then you can afford to buy the car. If not, you would better to get a cheaper car. As for me, I will get a car as cheap as possible that I can tolerant with and at least it meets the purpose of the car (i.e. to carry you from one place to another) and of course meet certain standard of quality. You don’t want to buy car and pay all the huge maintenance cost just to make the car alive. The rest of the money I left, I will invest them either in property or stocks.

By the way, this is the car that I can afford. It costs ~RM 50K – Myvi Special Edition. Check this out:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Words of Advice for Stock Market Investors

These are the few words of advice I get it from the local news paper from one guy apparently a stock market investment guru. I just posted what his advice for all stock market investors and speculators out there. Here is his advice:

  1. Value for money you must insist
  2. Buying in a downtrend you must resist
  3. The trend is your friends
  4. Follow it to the every end.
  5. Holding on to a falling stock is unwise
  6. Cut your losses quickly is advised
  7. Never kill the golden goose when you have one
  8. Never sell prematurely, let it run for once.
  9. Undervalued unpopular stock is never a fancy
  10. Glamour stock is the choice normally
  11. Join the crowd; enjoy the ride, if you wish
  12. Be careful thought, lest you fall out and vanish
  13. The market is most tempting at the top
  14. Lock in your profit before volume has a good drop
  15. Sell your stocks when you love them most
  16. Take your money and let the deal be closed
  17. Buy when volume traded is at its lowest
  18. The market will then be at its dullest
  19. Investors should buy low and sell high
  20. Traders should buy high and sell higher
  21. Someday you will know what I mean
  22. By then, you are a stock market dean.

Top 10 Richest People in the World

These are the Forbes’s list of 10 richest people in the world as per 03 March 2007:

  1. William Gates III, United States, Age 51 and net worth is US$ 56.0 billions.
  2. Warren Buffett, United States, Age 76 and net worth is US$ 52.0 billions.
  3. Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico, Age 67 and net worth is US$ 49.0 billions.
  4. Ingvar Kamprad & family, Sweden, Age 80 and net worth is US$ 33.0 billions.
  5. Lakshmi Mittal, India, Age 56 and net worth is US$ 32.0 billions.
  6. Sheldon Adelson, United States, Age 73 and net worth is US$ 26.5 billions.
  7. Bernard Arnault, France, Age 58 and net worth is US$ 26.0 billions.
  8. Amancio Ortega, Spain, Age 71 and net worth is US$ 24.0 billions.
  9. Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong, Age 78 and net worth is US$ 23.0 billions.
  10. David Thomson & family, Canada, Age 49 and net worth is US$ 22.0 billions.
The reason I list the top richest people in the world is not because I want to be one of them or want you to become one of them. The reason is rather the opposite which is to remind myself NOT to become one of them. Sometimes it is good to have dream but unrealistic dream is suicide. A lot of folks have dream too high until becomes greedy and fall into the financial trap and can never be recovered again.

Although I don’t want to become one of them, I don’t mind study them and see what I can apply to myself. So far, for all the top richest people I have studied, the only one guy I can learn from is Warren Buffett. He lives in a simple life which is the KEY to financial freedom and become financially independent. He not only understand The Secret of Wealth and Hapinessl and apply it. How he can do that? To see more about him, you go to my previous post at Interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet.

The Power of Influencing Skill

Anywhere, anytime, everyone talks about influencing skill in most of the motivation talks. How do you influence someone to meet your goals? Someone could be your bosses, you colleagues, your sub-ordinates, your customers and most importantly someone could be YOURSELF. Yet many people talk about it and they do not realize the most basic concept of influencing skill is to understand how your subconscious mind works.

To understand your subconscious mind, there is only one key to remember. Your subconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between you and the other person. This is also explained in my previous post at The Power in Your Spoken Words It hears the words and it believes you are talking about yourself. Because of your subconscious is dummy, it accepts everything you tell him to do. So, believe it or not, if you scold someone stupid, it basically you’re trying to program yourself and also the other person that you scold to become stupid person. A lot of folks do not realize that, what you see in others is also what you see in yourself. So, instead of criticizing others - unless you want to program the negative energy to yourself, praise them. Praise every person that you meet and within a month, you will see enormous changes within yourself. That is why you notice a lot of motivation books mention in order to get what you want you have to first give out what you want.

Influencing skill is basically a skill to control someone’s mind do the things that we want them to do without they even realize it. Sounds like Mind control isn’t it? Actually they are different. Mind control is fast and it takes 1 hour or less than 1 day to control someone else’s mind. I do not sure if this thing ever exists in the world. On the other hand, influencing skill takes time and probably takes few years to influence someone’s mind to change decision or do the things. How do you do this? It is all by your spoken words! Shape they way you speak! Remember also, it takes times and no short cut unless the mind control really exists. Even if it exists, I bet it is a extremely hard skill to learn unlike the influencing skills could be learned by everybody easily.

Friday, March 16, 2007

First Step to Financial Freedom

Perhaps you do not aware that the first step of thousand miles journey to become financially independent and financial freedom is to start saving. Saving is the basic and simple. 99.99% of us aware of that we need to save but the interesting point is most of the folks do not practise it. May I know why?

Let’s look at your environment, are you friends encouraging you to save or to spend? Watch the TV, what the advertisement try to advice you to save or to spend? Radio is the same thing. Our environment keeps encouraging us to spend but not to save. Even if they do advice us to save, I’m quite sure they did a very bad job and do not really emphasize the importance of saving.

This is the reason I write it here to wake you up and also to wake myself up that saving is very important and critical in managing our personal finance. Without sayings, don’t dream about financial freedom. Also, don’t talk about investment, real estate, or business because you do not have rights to talk about it. How can one invest when one has little or no money to start with? How can one capitalise on stocks or properties when the bank balance is zero? What about retirement? Where is the money come from?

So start saving and it is the first step you need to do before you ever thing about financial freedom. Saving part of your income will enable you to put aside funds for emergency situations. Saving part of your income will enable you to invest, be it in the stock market, real estate or whatever. Saving will enable you to take advantage of opportunities that arise from time to time. Saving will permit you to enjoy life’s little pleasures. Savings will allow you to send your kids to college and further their education. Saving will allow you to have a comfortable retirement. Do I still need to say more?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Avoid Television Mail Order

Television mail order is a multi billion-dollar industry in the US. The reason is not because they have a good product but the power of their advertisement. You have probably seen the products advertised on TV. The most common one I have to say is the losing weight product. It is very hot! It is very hot is simply because the TV tells you the short-cut to lose weight but in actual fact, there is no such thing. If losing weight is what you’re working very hard to achieve, after watching their advertisement I’m sure 90% of the chances you are going to order it.

One of the most common these advertisements use is “This product is not available in the store but only can be bought through television mail order”. Why? Have you ever think of it if this product is so great, why can’t the manufacturer put it in the stores and sell more of it? The reason is that this product is new and still in the introductory stage. The manufacturer does not confident in this new wonder product and wants to see the responses from the market. One way is by limited releases using the television mail order. If the respond is good, they will then roll out the products to store and sell more of it.

In summary, if you buy through the television mail order, you will become the guinea pigs of that product. The product may turns out to be positive or negative to you. However as you know it is in the introductory stage, what are the chances that you get positive result as compared the one already matured and sold in the store? Still want to buy from television mail order? Smart people like you and me don’t go for television mail order.

Use Credit Cards Wisely

The credit card is often the source of much financial problems. The main reason is there is no cash involved in credit card transaction. Unlike as compared to direct cash transaction, you see the money flying out of your pockets. In credit card, since you don’t see the money physically, you don’t realize how much you have spent. Because of this reason, many folks fall into this trap of overspending. Yes, it is quite fun using the credit card for spending.

The real problem is not about overspending using credit card but is when you do not play the bill in full. The bank charges you for the interest 2% per month. Well, that’s a little you might think. That is mostly likely what the banker tells you too. We only charge 2% interest which is very low on your credit card loan. You should be able to pay the 2% interest. You just need to pay for 20 bucks for $1000 credit card loan. What they don’t tell you use, 2% per months is equal o 24% per year. The banks 24% out of your earn. This is a lot of money. I repeat, 24% interest per year is a lot of money which I think this is the highest return that the banks can make as compared to housing loan, hire purchase (car loan) and etc.

These are the 3 things you want to avoid to use credit cards wisely:

  1. Treating purchases as if you’re still using cash
  2. Paying bill in full before the due date
  3. Avoiding the cash advance facility
  4. Use one credit card is enough
You can also forget the credit cards advertisements that are trying to show that the credit card is a status symbol of wealth. This is obviously not true. Your wealth is not calculated based on the credit cards that you hold. So, don’t be fooled by the advertisement. Use credit card only with one single purpose which is to make your life convenient (e.g. to buy stuff) and not to use it as displaying your status of wealth. Most importantly, don’t use it as a loan – not paying the bill in full.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Inflation is A Slow Killer

Inflation is a state of persistent increase in the prices of goods and services. In general, it happens when there is too much money chasing very few goods. Let’s take gasoline as an example. In 7 years ago, it takes $40 to pump my car tank until full but now it takes $80 which 100% increase, approximately having 14% inflation rate for gasoline. When inflation happens, there is a loss in purchasing power as your money now buys fewer things. Therefore, it is clear that a high rate of inflation can be disastrous to any country. Having said so, this normally does not happen overnight because inflation is a slow killer, treating quietly in the background. The sad thing is when we realize it is a killer, it is already too late.

As investors, we need to realize that inflation is here to stay. We can either let it kill us slowly or we can use it to our advantage. If we keep our money in cash form (e.g. saving account, current account), that is it and you’re gone. Unless your saving account or current account has the interest of higher than inflation, then you still can survive. But most likely this is not the case. To benefit, we must place our funds in places, namely the stock market and properties that will outperform the inflation rate. This is critical particularly in periods of high inflation where money loses its value faster than a leaking bucket.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fees Charged By Unit Trusts

Many unit trusts charge different types of fee. The fact that your unit trust earns 10% does not mean that you will receive the full 10%. After deducting all the fees and charges as explained in the prospectus, the trust will make the distribution. It will be less than 10%

You have to read the prospectus to know what fees the fund charges to determine what your actual yield will be. Example of the fees will be management fees, trustee fees, agent’s commissions, and other expenses such as brokerage, commission, stamp, other duties, auditors’ fees, accountant’s fee, administrative costs and etc.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Power in Your Spoken Words

As what I have been discussed in the previous topic - The Power of Perceptive Reality ,one of the ways (at least this is what I know) to form a beliefs and thoughts is to start from your mouth. There is tremendous power in your spoken words. Yet most people speak in negatives words. I was never thought that my choice of words would have anything to do with what I would experience in life. Nobody thought me that my thoughts were creative, or that they could literally shape my life. Nobody thought me that what I gave out, in the form of words would return to me as experiences.

The way you talk yourself is really important. When you wake up in the morning, what do you think or say to yourself? What are your last thoughts before going to sleep? Are they powerful healing thoughts or worry thoughts? Do you read something positive before you go to sleep?

Your subconscious mind makes no judgments. It accepts everything you say and think and creates according to your beliefs. It always says yes. Remember this important point. I repeat again, your subconscious mind always says yes. Your subconscious mind gives you what you declared. If you choose poverty beliefs and concepts, then it assumed that you want them. It will continue to give you these things until you are willing to change your spoken words to your mind. One thing you want to know that is you are never stuck with what you get because you can always choose again – the power of choose.

Your subconscious mind doesn’t know true from false or right from wrong. You don’t want to say something like, “Oh, stupid, old me.” Because the subconscious mind will pick up this self-talk, while it will become a beliefs in your subconscious. When you think a thought or speak a word or sentence, it somehow goes out and comes back to you.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Emerging Market Funds

Emerging Market Funds are funds that invest specifically in emerging markets such as Vietnam, Russia, or the former Central Asian Republics. The funds have financial and company experts stationed in-country.

These unit trusts are riskier because performance depends on the economic and political conditions of the country. In order to have first-hand knowledge, these unit trusts have their personnel stationed in these countries. However, as stated earlier, these unit trusts are for high-risk investors who are willing to speculate. In some countries, there are only limited opportunities to invest in these unit trusts.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Power of Perceptive Reality

Everything you have experienced in your lifetime up to this moment has been created by your thoughts and beliefs from the past and what you are doing right now is laying the groundwork for tomorrow by what you think, believe and say right now. Your beliefs and thoughts from the past build perception. Interestingly, how you perceive the world is the real world and how you perceive yourself is the real you. So, to be who you are really want to be, you just perceive who you’re everyday you wake up in the morning and then that will become who you are. To build perception on something you first need to build up your thoughts and beliefs.

First, we need to understand how thoughts and beliefs are formed. Imagine that your thoughts are like drops of water. As you repeat thoughts over and over, you first notice a stain on the carpet, then there is a little puddle, then a pond and as these thoughts continue, the can become a lake and finally an ocean. What kind of ocean are you creating? Once that is polluted and toxic or one that invites you to enjoy its refreshing waters? This is how beliefs and thoughts are build up.

To change thoughts and beliefs is the most difficult part in human lifetime. This is due to the fact that your thoughts speed through your mind very quickly, so that it is difficult to shape them at first. So what can you do to change your thoughts? Your mouth, on the other hand is slower. So if you can start editing your speech by listening to what you say, and not letting negative things come out of your mouth, then you can begin to shape your thoughts and build your beliefs. This is the power in your spoken words. The way you talk or words come out from your month is basically program your thoughts and beliefs. So, to change your thoughts and beliefs start from your month first as simple as that.

Let’s go something more interesting on the perceptive reality topic. Perceptive reality is great topics that everyone is arguing around the world. Some said it cannot be proven by science. Why sometimes miracles do happen? Why a person having a cancer can recover 100%? Why a person having HIV also can recover 100%? Why some stuff in this world cannot be explained in science? Can all these answer be explained using the “Perceptive Reality”? So, if I perceive myself to be “Super Man”, can I really fly? If I perceive myself to be a rich person, will I become one? Can I use perceptive reality to kill someone by just imagine someone is going to die? How far the power of “Perceptive Reality” can go? Perhaps I have seen too many movies and now start talking crap to you? Well, I do believe the power of perceptive reality is unlimited. There is no reality in this worlds and the reality exists only because we perceive them.

By the way, if you have ever joined any Direct-Sale Marketing or Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) seminar, or Quick Rich Scheme Seminar, do you aware that they are also using some kind of “Perceptive Reality” method to help you to become rich? I wonder if I should start giving a seminar on how to become a “Super Man”? Just kidding…

[Updated on 12 Dec 2010]
TC Khew is right (See the comments). This article is in fact kind of similar to the Law of Attraction. See the following 2 posts that I wrote about the law of attraction:

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