Before lending money to others at a profit, I must check out the market.

Since I didn’t study so much, I’ll have to use my own life experiences:

1)    My broker charged me 6% interest p.a. for my margin account. To lend me money, I have to pledge “collateral” in terms of shares or cash. And not just any shares, my broker classify shares into 3 kinds of ratings: A – can leverage 3 times, B – can leverage 2 times, and C my broker just laugh at me…… I have to pay the interests charges monthly – but can put it on my tab until I hit my margin call limit (some technical stuffs I’ve no clue)

2)    For credit card companies, they lend money to me with no collateral. But the interest they charge is 24% p.a. (don’t they trust me?). OK, due to competitions, there are often “promotions” – like charging me 6% p.a. for six months if I transfer my debt from other credit cards to them.

Although no collateral needed, credit card companies require me to pay a minimum sum every month (they are so nice! I no need to pay the principal – just the interest will do. I swear they are in no hurry to get the loan back from me!? They must like me a lot!)

But miss a monthly payment, all sorts of penalties will appear out of nowhere and may even cut my credit limit! (Hey! How come they turn on me so fast?)

So if I want to be a “ah long” (illegal money lender) to lend money to debtors at a profit, 6% p.a. seems to be a good starting point – provided I use the same principle others used on me:

a)    I collect collateral of value from my debtor in advance and charge 6% p.a.

b)    Or I charge 6% p.a. for max 6 months period (hit and run; life is short!).

c)    Or I charge 24% p.a. for unlimited loan period. But I will insist on monthly minimum payments to cover the interests. If they miss a payment, I will do “free” exterior decoration services.

Now, one stranger asked me for a loan with 6% p.a. unlimited loan period. There is a sweetener that if he does not pay my loan back to me in 7 years, he will give me 2% extra to arrive at 8% p.a. How generous!

Meanwhile, I get the 6% interests in 2 semi-annual payments. But the catch is that he can opt not to pay me at all!? He can roll-over the interests into the next year. Like that also can?

That means he can promise me the “check is in the mail” perpetually!? Hang on! Did he pledge collateral to me? No! This stranger so very the brilliant!

There goes my dream of being “ah long”.  While I hesitated, many other people have jumped over me to lend money to this strange at “his terms”. And I thought if I lent money it should be at my terms?

Opportunity lost :(

But I felt better after talking to professional “ah long” – they charge 20% interest per month!!! Phew! And I almost lent it out at 6% p.a.  :)

About the Author: “Hi! I’m a Singaporean working in Athens, Greece. I aspire to be like the swan that’s here and gone. And if need be, I’ll rather be the hammer than the nail. Yes, it’s from that song. 123, Away, I rather sail away…. (El Condor Pasa)”

Singapore Man of Leisure (welcome to my blog; just google it!)

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you’d like to guest post for, feel free to contact me for details about how YOU can share your tips and knowledge with our community.