Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

MBA in a Nutshell #2 : Different Schools of Thought in Marketing

So we’re onto our first chapter which is on Marketing. Marketing was the reason why I refused to do an MBA 15 years ago because I only wanted to focus exclusively on number. It is ironic that my career began in P&G which held thought leadership in brand management and marketing right up till today. There are four different schools of thought in marketing and these four schools have a deep impact on my work as a trainer. a) Product Focus Like any engineer, if I have any spare time, it will be devoted to my main product line...

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Letter to Batch 6 of Early Retirement Masterclass students.

We have just concluded Batch 6 of the Early Retirement Masterclass. Now the momentum for the classes is picking up and I have another session in the first week of September. In the following letter,  I try to capture the mood of the markets. ———————————————————————————————————————  Dear Students of Batch 6, It’s been a great honour and privilege to be able to conduct a 2-Day Early Retirement Workshop for you. In the world of Finance, the supernatural can take on a life of its own. August is statistically one of the worst months for the local markets and the worst performance...

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When your Singapore Dream dies, what will you do ?

A man in his 40s experiences the coming of the Autumn of his life. His parents are getting old and his children still need his support. He also has to deal with a tougher working world as he has less energy to spend at work. My dad has just been discharged from hospital and my mum is struggling with post-hospital care-giving. For the past few days, I have been helping out to buy to medical equipment to make my mum and our helper’s life easier. We bought a commode, a ripple bed, and expect the delivery of a back-rest...

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MBA in a Nutshell #1 : Universal Business Formula

If you want to summarize the running of a business into just one simple formula,  it should look like this : 1) Revenue – Costs = Operating Income2) Operating Income – Tax and interest expenses = Net Income There are only two ways for anyone to make more money in any business endeavour: a) Increase Revenues This happens only if I can get more customers to sign up for my program. One way would be to keep varying my marketing preview messages so that more potential customers sign up. Another way would be to increase the frequency of my...

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Stocks Cafe : A Nifty Portfolio Management Tool

It’s quite hard to find a good collaborator in this field. Fortunately, my working relationship with Evan Koh has taught me all the good traits in a great collaboration partner. I met Evan via my work with Dr Wealth, at that time I was not a trainer yet but I had noticed that Stocks Cafe is a really powerful tool for retail investors. After launching my program, I realize that there are psychological benefits of seeing dividends be taken into consideration when a stock goes ex-date. Evan is now a good friend, and I make a point to have...

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Harsh truths about local degree programs #2 – The Final Word

Before I begin… [embedded content]Ok, the first installation of this article went quietly viral. While there was no discussion on this blog, but the viewership hit the roof and it became one of the most popular articles this year.  Before I get to the substance of what I have to share today, I’d just like to address the commonly encountered criticism of my article. Some folks argued that choosing a degree for vocational reasons undermines the spirit of learning.  I think these critics need to check their privilege.  Singapore degrees are vocational !  A substantial proportion of the Singapore...

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Online lecture and tool demonstrations

Today I started teaching myself Camtasia and Video editing so that I can start sharing free lectures to the public as well as online tool demonstrations I typically do “live” with my students. This is my first attempt to show folks how to use a compound interest calculator. From now on, things should get much more excited in the future. If only I figure how to start making live videos ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2WRVUf5Hvo&feature=youtu.be [embedded...

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New Column : MBA in a Nutshell

I never believed in the magical career-enhancing powers of an MBA. Even as a first year Systems Analyst in P&G, I was able to gain exposure from seniors and managers who built fantastic careers with their MBA qualifications but somehow I never saw myself getting one. The main reason why I refused to do an MBA was because I was contrarian. It did not make sense to pay top dollar when you can self-study the CFA for the fraction of the cost. I also did not believe that anyone should be made to study and take exams for flaky...

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Harsh truths about local degree programmes

One of the really powerful ideas in Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen is the idea that your first degree will be a major driver that determines whether you can become financially independent, so you need to choose your first degree carefully. In her book, Kristy’s thesis is the idea that you should never choose a degree based on passion – you should choose a qualification based on your grades, and what she terms the Pay over Tuition Score or POTS score. So I decided to take her framework and shoehorn it to NUS degrees. In my rethink...

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Investing and The Barnum Effect

Funny things happen to Dr. Wealth part-time staff when they support our preview events. Yesterday, one of my colleagues was telling me about a hilarious thing that happened to him when he was supporting some other event. Apparently the trainer next door was doing a preview on numerology and the staff for that event decided to strike up friendly conversation with my colleague. This numerology masterclass support staff befriended and then attempted to “psycho” my colleague by asking to apply some numerology techniques to his phone number and then proceeded to make a couple of hilarious predictions. Some of...

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Personal Update

Thought I’d just share some random thoughts given that have just completed a major 29-week book review. a) My dad is still at hospital Right now my dad has been in hospital for close to three months. I got in for pneumonia but the doctors discovered a lot more issues with him and he had to undergo an operation to remove some abscess near his spine. Thereafter he was found to be allergic to four kinds of antibiotics, so we had to decide whether to treat his infection or his allergic reaction. The consequence was that he was shuttling...

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The Model Thinker (Final Episode) – Income Inequality

I can’t believe that we’ve arrived at the final chapter of this 29-week long exercise. In this final chapter, the author applies many-model thinking to the problem of income inequality.  Applying different models to review the issue of inequality is something every Singaporean should try to understand because this is  a priority for our 4G leadership moving forward. Let’s go through the perspectives one by one. a) Technological changes favor educated workers Using models of growth, we can theorize that one cause of inequality is that technological growth favors educated workers over unskilled workers. Making matters worse, increased supplies...

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Is it time for SIAMFIRE ?

I am an outlier Singaporean man because I do not go to Bangkok to hire prostitutes. In fact, my effect is so powerful that my friends who go Bangkok with me are often worn out so badly that they also do not have the stamina to call prostitutes. Why ? We’re just too busy eating the great food there and going to their night markets. Also Bangkok is home to Battlefield Bangkok which is the best Tabletop Game Shop in Southeast Asia. If you read the rest of the blogosphere and popular finance books, we’re starting see variants of...

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Can your money ever be happy ?

When reviewing the financial literature of the moment, one of the questions  I ask myself is whether a particular book or story can dethrone The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason as the best entry-level read for absolute beginners. Ken Honda’s book entitled Happy Money could have been such a candidate. Through no fault of the author, the book did not make the cut. Coming from a Japanese perspective, the book was crowned a best-seller, but bench-marked against books from the US, however, it seems more spiritual than practical. There is hardly any practical investment advice in this book....

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The Model Thinker #27 – Rugged Landscape Models

Imagine if we were to run a project to determine the optimal point of leverage for an investment portfolio. If an investor employs too low a leverage, he will extract too small a gain in the stock-market. If the leverage is set too high, then the investor can be wiped out in the next downturn. The fitness of an investment strategy can thus form a Mount Fuji like shape. As leverage goes up, the fitness of the portfolio hits a peak and then drops thereafter. In practice no one really knows what the ideal leverage multiplier is. Warren Buffett...

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