Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Investment Return for Top 10 Stocks in 2008 – What about 2009?

Time to look at the stock investment return that recommend by CNN last year -The Best Stocks for 2008. Here are the investment return results (as in 26 Dec 2008):

Stocks % Return (YTD – 2008)
Annaly Capital Management (NLY) 0.77%
Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) -0.06%
Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) 0.46%
Electronic Arts (ERTS) -3.04%
Genentech (DNA) -0.71%
General Electric (GE) -0.87%
Jacobs Engineering (JEC) 0.79%
Merrill Lynch(MER) -1.38%
Petrobras Energia (PZE) 1.15%
St. Joe (JOE) 1.56%
Average -0.13%

In average, if you buy all these stocks in 2008 and your average earning will be -0.13% which is not that bad given the unpredictable economy crisis. So what is next? Perhaps you should start buying the stocks that recommend by CNN in 2009? – Top 10 Stocks to Buy in 2009

Here are the top 10 picked stocks in 2009:
  1. Altria (MO)
  2. Annaly Capital Management (NLY)
  3. Dell (DELL)
  4. Devon Energy (DVN)
  5. Diamond Offshore (DO)
  6. Fluor (FLR)
  7. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
  8. Medco Health Solutions (MHS)
  9. Pfizer (PFE)
  10. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT)
I wonder why hypermarket stock such as Wal-Mart (WMT) is not listed. Aren't these companies usually performing better during bad times? No?

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Irish Tax Scheme is Pretty High

I don't aware that the Irish tax scheme is so "HIGH". See below...

Tax Rates and Tax Bands

Personal Circumstances

Tax Year 2006 €

Tax Year 2007 €

Single / Widowed without dependent children

32,000 @ 20%, Balance @ 42%

34,000 @ 20%, Balance @ 41%

Single / Widowed qualifying for One Parent Family Tax Credit

36,000 @ 20%, Balance @ 42%

38,000 @ 20%, Balance @ 41%

Married Couple - one spouse with income

41,000 @ 20%, Balance @ 42%

43,000 @ 20%, Balance @ 41%

Married Couple - both spouses with income

41,000 @ 20% (with an increase of 23,000 max), Balance @ 42%

43,000 @ 20% (with an increase of 25,000 max), Balance @ 41%

I read some article which mentions the incomes in Ireland are currently under-taxed and the Irish workers are the lowest taxed in Europe. Is it true?So the rest of the Europe countries have the higher Tax Scheme... Perhaps we should be happy to be Malaysian...

Monday, December 08, 2008

3 Weeks Experiences in Ireland

Just to write down some notes every time I travel around the world. When I was in Shanghai, China, I learned that I can’t deny that Chinese people are indeed very good in business. They basically understand human’s weakness and attack from there. When I was in California, United State, I learned that how systematic the country is. Driving has never been a problem once you understand the how U.S road system works. This round I spend 3 weeks in Ireland, Europe and what did I learn from Ireland? I learned that Ireland is a very relax country.

Why I say Ireland is a very relax country?

This is perhaps a little bit negative observation (depends on how you look at it) that I had while dealing with most of the local people there. This contributes to the major factor why I said Ireland is a relax country. Most of them have “Don’t Care” attitude while I was dealing with them including police man (i.e they call it Garda there), my wife’s land lord, most of the cashier, my wife’s relocation consultant, agents from the air port and etc.

"As long as the things works, who cares? Let’s close one eye as long as no body complains about it. This is good for you and good for me, win-win situation."
Not to go into details about the quality of works, I’m honestly not impressed too. With all these experiences, I conclude that Ireland is a very relax country and they know exactly how to appreciate life. What their main focus is definitely not “Work” but rather than how to enjoy life. Perhaps this also applies to the rest of the Europe which I kind of suspect too.

More things about Ireland (based on my experiences) if you’re interested to know:
  • Irish drivers are friendly
  • Road system in Ireland sucks
  • Building structures in Ireland is amazing
  • The nicest bear that I have ever drunk in Ireland
  • Ireland has a very enjoyable natural environment
  • The best food in Ireland is Indian food

Why I say Irish drivers are friendly?

What I was impressed is while I was driving in the rural area is almost everyone says hi to me while we’re passing each other. Driving is generally aggressive and fast there. Most drivers can drive pretty fast in a very narrow road and what I’m really impressed is they’re still following the rules and drive safety. Unlike in Malaysia, we’re aggressive but we do not concern on the safety and do not follow rules (perhaps we don’t even know what the rules are). Although they drive fast and aggressive, they’re also a patient, polite and friendly driver. They don’t simply use the horns unless it is really necessary. :D

Why I say road system in Ireland sucks?

In short, I don’t think the road system is designed for visitors. It is not really well organized at all. These are the few things are totally unacceptable to me:
  • No sign board, no road names on the road
  • Sign board in the Dublin City is embedded in the building. There is no way you can see it while driving.
  • No lights in the junction. At night it is completely darkness even at the junction of the roads.
  • Some highways, you need to pay on-line before we can use it or else you will get
So basically if you have a map, you can’t survive in Ireland. I bet you will be definitely lost. Luckily I can still survive is because of my GPS device. :D . I 99% depend on my GPS device while driving in Ireland. I can’t imagine what would happen without the GPS. A very funny thing is you need to pay on-line for using some of the highways or else you will get summon. How the hell the visitors will know?

Why I say building structures in Ireland is amazing?

If you like to see all those historical building or castle, Ireland is definitely a place to you. A lot of castles and cool buildings structure there. Looking at those buildings is not really my interest but 1 out of 10 building, I did feel impressed. Wow! How they can build such a thing? Also, they like to use stone to build those buildings or houses.

Why I say the nicest beer that I have ever drunk in Ireland?

Beer in Ireland is unbelievable fresh and nice. It just tastes so much nicer than the one we have in Malaysia. In Malaysia, it is like torturing ourselves with the beer but in Ireland, it is like rewarding ourselves. Used to hate “Guinness Stout”, but it doesn’t taste that bad at all when I visited the factory.

Why I say Ireland has a very enjoyable natural environment?

To me, the nicest thing in Ireland is the weather. I love the weather there which is between 0 C to 10 C throughout the whole years. It is like natural air conditional to me. Not much dusk and dirt there even in the larger city or larger town. There are a lot of natural places such as the water fall, cliff, lake are really cool. If you like hiking, camping, rock climbing, I bet you will love Ireland very much too.

Why I say the best Food in Ireland is Indian food?

Perhaps this is a little bit weird but according to some of the Indian guys, they mentioned that the Indian food in Ireland is even better than those in India. I have tasted it myself and I can tell that, it is better than in Malaysia and better than the one I have tried in U.S. too. I love Indian food the most in Ireland. Irish food is okay but it contains too many of potatoes. They're treating potatoes like our rice. As for Chinese food or Thai food, don't waste your money. It is purposely designed for Irish (drinking a Tom Yam soup is like drinking a plain water).


I think Ireland is a very good place for retirement provided that you have enough money to spend in the rest of your life because the living standard is generally higher as compared to most of the countries. To me, it is definitely not a place for me because I can’t really stand on the “Don’t Care” attitude culture. Sorry…

If you just want to visit Ireland, there are 3 things that you can enjoy. The first thing is the building stuff, the second is the natural places (e.g. along the sea side, rivers, cliff) and the third is beer. If you’re not interested in these 3 things, you may as well visit other countries. That’s all about my experiences in Ireland. :)

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