They chose financial independence over home ownership.

This is somewhat extreme but watch how this Canadian couple chose financial independence over home ownership.  They are in their 30s and,...

Past blog posts now load week by week. The old style created a problem for some as the system would load 50 blog posts each time. Hope the new style is better. Search archives in box below.


"E-book" by AK

Second "e-book".

Another free "e-book".

Pageviews since Dec'09


Recent Comments

ASSI's Guest bloggers

We are not perfect but we can improve our lives.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hi AK,

I am also pessimistic, actually. The thing I realised these couple of months is in life things can be unfair or by a stroke luck fate deals a bad set of cards or bad things happen because of my incompetence.

However, whatever situation one is in, the cliche of being optimistic that's sold by people may not be too practical. What's practical I find is to be able to do something even a small little thing to be better off. Because I believe little things do add up. Of course, sometimes trying to improve can backfire or backslide but it's just part of life. No one is immune to failure lest they do nothing at all.

When I go out, I do see people working in jobs they cannot extricate themselves from and bosses that exploit people. I mean if they could they would have changed jobs or found a way to have a higher salary. So, not all people are fortunate enough to move into a better situation. I think they call it social mobility.

On the part of feeling very pessimistic, I can understand that. Take, for example, the guy that works at the train station control or the driver or technician or maybe even the engineer. 

Faced with stagnating wages and rising costs and the worst part is the company they work for has long ago categorized them into the lowest ranks in the company. Their advancement may not be existent. So, there is not much hope if u look at it. 

Who is going to help them? 

So, when they start thinking about retirement or old age it can look very bleak for our current generation. The government may look rich but they have other issues to think about as well. The countries around the world may not be as friendly as they seem to be.

But through proper planning and use of excess funds, however little, or to restructure the way their resources are being used or allocated, I believe people can improve their lives. The problem is, I feel, nobody told them how to do it. So, since no ideas were planted, nothing can grow.

So, I think if the SGX changes the board lot size to 1 share come next year, it can really help people who don't have much. Finally, they can own blue chips and, hopefully, reduce their risks. 

People would just have to pay a one time charge with Standard Chartered that's only 0.2% with no minimum fee.  At the very least, they can grow with the economy. 

Even people who don't know anything about stocks, they can just create their own index rather than depend on the ETF which has additional expense or blue chip share building program which I feel is restrictive.

A peeve I have with the STI ETF is that it is hard to sell. I bought the Nikko once and took a long time to get rid of my 100 shares and the pricing wasn't good. So, I gave up on that and just went to buy the blue chip instead. U know in some blogs people sing praises of it but I am not sure if they actually tried to sell it. 

I personally feel there's a bit of untruths to the STI ETF. When they took the 8% y-o-y growth, they were measuring the years where there was a nice increasing slope. However, if one bought at other periods, the return just doesn't look that good.

The flip side of the coin is people, by nature, want quick solutions. 

If I tell people u know u get 1.5% extra or u can save 100 dollars in tax every year, nobody is really going to take notice. But they are very interested in TOTO and 4D and making a quick buck in the financial markets, university graduates included. 

It is only after a long time, through some event happening, that some of the lucky ones will start to work on their lives and the extremely lucky ones meet someone who would hold their hands.

My reply:

Till today, I tell people that my ideas are simple but to really see them through might not be easy. I also tell people that I have been lucky and, in life, we always need a bit of luck, investments included. Sometimes, things do go wrong, like you said, and it could well be due to my incompetence too. No one I know has had a life that is smooth sailing always.

I do share your concerns and I do want to help people, especially those of able body and mind who think that it is impossible ever to be financially free. This has been a driving force behind many of my blog posts.

For sure, every little bit adds up. We just need discipline and time for results to show. Problem, like you said, is that people cannot seem to wait.

When I tell people that 4% is a whole lot more than 2.5%, they usually tell me that it is only 1.5% more. I would tell them that they are wrong. It is actually 60% more! It is simple that way but they could not see it. Some saw it and their eyes lit up but some just chose to be fatalistic and ignore the revelation.

I like it when you say how people can improve their lives and I always say that everyone's life could be and should be better.


“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
– Warren Buffett

Read Klein's earlier emails to me:
Tea with Klein: CPF, SRS and HDB housing loan.

Related post:
Take your time to pay down your HDB housing loan.


Song StoneCold said...

The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are improving yourself in some ways.- Tony Robbins . Life is never fair but i believe in karma. always do good and good will come to you. Good luck

Anonymous said...


your frequency of blogging seem to pick up, glad you have found a new tempo... ;)

I went through a period of low recently. It is not financially related, but it hurts terribly because its about people. I lost a lot more weight in that short period of a month than the many years of diet and running.

That is the period when my army training come to play,I just look forward to the end of each day. When you try to look further, you see only gloom and doom, and you feel even more miserable. Lucky for me, the storm passes rather quickly, and many things did not escalate further because I still keep my sanity. So many wrong decisions could be made then.

I consider myself lucky to have a stable job and supportive wife, but the most depressing problems got nothing to do with money, but rather expectations of money.

Nothing to look forward to? Just look forward to the sleep. Keep sanity to fight the dozen of unhealthy thoughts that will keep invading your space, guess that is how people slip from pessimism to depression. The more you want to move forward, the more you slide back and the more painful it is. sometime, standing ground is good enough, so as to wait for the right tide to make the one last jump forward, or if you have good karma, a hand will stretch out towards you.

I do understand how tough it is for some people to break out of the poverty cycle. We do not have really poor people that cannot even have 1 meal in Singapore, but that doesn't mean everyone has a fair shot at progress. Some are just handicapped so badly by their social and emotional circumstances.

SnOOpy168 said...

instead of sitting there making noise & blaming everyone else but ourselves.

just to have get out there and do something. Read a blog/book/magazine, talk to people, listen to music, take a course, go somewhere or doing something outside comfort zone (legal stuff please).

Solace said...


STI ETF does have its advantages . One common problem in individuals is their objective in investing STI ETF

1. Is one doing dollar cost averaging (DCA) approach with a long term view?
2. is one a value investor who only looks at STI when it is hovering around a certain range?

very important to know one objective.

AK71 said...

Hi StoneCold,

Thanks for the inspiring quotation. :D

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

I could feel the angst that you must have felt. This is through your words alone. It must have been terrible. :(

Well, I don't know how much truth there is to the saying that what does not kill us will only make us stronger but I certainly hope that it is the case for you.

You know I told my dad before that the worst kind of problems are problems which money cannot solve. If a problem can be solved by throwing money at it, it is actually not too bad.

Money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. If we know this and internalise this, we will all be happier people.

I am glad that you have a supportive spouse and that you have recovered from the episode. For sure, we should always count our blessings. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Solace,

Indeed so. Know our motivations and find the right tools! :)

Cory said...

In life, things can get much worst than our current "bad situation". People tends to less appreciate what they have. This doesn't mean we should not improve but the mindset needs to be on positive aspect.
In taiwan, fresh graduate on average, monthly salary is NT$22K = S$917. Their seniors (fresh graduate) 20 years ago are already drawing that salary in absolute. And their today cost of living in taipei is no less than Singapore. Maybe we all need to travel more to understand. Glass is half full for the enlightened i guess.

AK71 said...

Hi Cory,

Yes, friends in Taiwan say that at least fresh graduates in Singapore have hope. In Taiwan, it is hopeless. -.-"

Richard Ng said...

Oh I am also waiting for the odd lot (i.e. lot size of 1 share) to be implemented ASAP.

For the time being, I am penny stock investor, hope to get into the Blue Chip market when this is effected.

I thought is this year? If not this year, I've got to wait till next year then...

AK71 said...

Hi Richard,

Seems like a good thing changing the number of shares per lot. :)

M SI said...

Hi AK & Writer,

Kudos for this post.

I've experienced the same way just as you are and AK is right - What doesn't kill makes You stronger

The consolation factor here is at the very least, You woke up and there are so many Peers who are sleeping, knowingly or unknowingly!

There are Many roads to Rome, sincerely hoped You find Peace

Walked Same Path,

AK71 said...

Hi Ken,

Let us try to wake up the people around us who might still be sleeping. This is a good thing to do. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi AK,

I too had been through a rough patch which costed me few years (no kidding) to recover from, emotionally and financially. Fortunately I have a very good friend who helped me without hesitation (I couldn't let my family know lest they worry) and I am very grateful to him for as long as I live. So the saying "a friend in need is a friend indeed" is very true.

So I am a firm believer of "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". After this episode I felt stronger in character and am much more confident in myself in facing ANY difficulties in life. The world can actually be a very beautiful place if you have the right mentality and attitude, of course having family and friend support will make it even more beautiful. ;)

Hope in someway I also helped to motivate some of your readers here :)

AK71 said...

Hi aceirus,

Perhaps, one day, you might be comfortable enough to share in greater detail in a guest blog. Your story could be a source of inspiration to others here. :)

All of us need a bit of help at some point in our lives. Whether we seek it or whether we receive it is something else.

A long journey is made more bearable with good company. More so for a difficult journey. :)

EY said...

Hi folks,

Surprised at 'seeing' so many kindred souls around. *feeble smile*

惟是世变滔滔,党同伐异,任重道远,谨始虑终,往常书本生活,到此躬行实践,别有光景,如人饮水,冷暖自知. 明 鹿善继 《答范景龙书》I think Mike will be able to appreciate this.

When the going gets tough, learn to live one breath at a time. And of course, it helps a bit when we have friends around who would remind us to 'breathe'.

I was told that I shouldn't keep saying that I'll bite the bullet. The bullet is poisonous wor. So now I'm hugging the missile. :P

Bottomline is that we must know when to let go for the sake of our sanity. Living with less is not impossible. Life is about choices. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi EY,

Whoa, thanks for the prose, I will difficulty understanding every line, but I appreciate your sharing. Below my own interpretation without googling it or baiduing it:

Change is the only constant in this world; people embrace forming of like minded groups and discriminate against other group, get the end goal in mind, consider and analysis it such that we u be careful in even stepping out the first step towards the goal. Remember words of wisdom from
Books, follow them and practice them in new life, u will see a new vision in your life and know your place, sure of your preferences regardless of circumstances.

Doesn't matter if it is wrong interpretation this time since I am not taking exam hahaha

Chan jian wen said...

Lately everyone seems going from Financial Blogger --> Therapist.

Exit strategy?!


Monthly Popular Posts

Bloggy Award