SG Wealth Builder

Sharing of personal finance experiences and thoughts

SG Wealth Builder

Sharing of investment insights

SG Wealth Builder

Sharing of entrepreneur insights and business opportunities

SG Wealth Builder

Sharing of career insights

SG Wealth Builder

Sharing of wealth building strategies money making opportunities

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Earn your first million as an appreneur

Nowadays, most people carry smart phones and download apps. This represent a good opportunity to make good money from making apps. In fact, with the advent of online technology, the entry barrier to develop an app has been lowered. Nowadays, you don't need much programming skill to develop a simple app. All you need is a good solid idea that has not been developed as an app and is useful in our daily lives.

Every now and then, you would come across articles on wonder kids who became rich from developing apps. Some of these kids were not even 10 years old when they made their first million! So now everybody, whether you are old or young, has a chance to become rich through developing apps. You stand a much higher chance earning your first million from developing an app than striking the toto or lotteries. And you don't need to quit your job to become a full time appreneur either. You can develop apps after work and at your own sweet pace.

If you don't like the process of developing an app but nevertheless would like to own an app, you can engage a developer for help. That would of course cost money and would be a double whammy to your wallet if your app is a flop. There are developers who are willing to develop free apps for customers who provided the creative idea. In such win-win situation, the arrangement would be profit sharing between the developer and the idea provider. But you need to be careful that the developer might steal your idea. So you should establish an intellectual propriety agreement before you engage a developer.

Do you have any experience on developing your own app? Care to share?

Magically yours

Monday, November 19, 2012

Retiring in Singapore

Recently, on a flight to Japan for work, I watched Andy Lau and Deanie Ip's A Simple Life. The heartwarming film is based on a true story of a producer and his servant. It is about a relationship between a young master called Roger (Lau) and the servant of the family who raised him, Sister Peach (Ip). I had a lot of mixed feelings after watching the film and decided to blog down my thoughts.

Just like Hong Kong, Singapore is also facing the ageing population issue. To tackle the "silver tsunami", the government is currently building up the infrastructure, such as nursing homes, community hospitals, training more nurses, doctors and therapists. But I suppose there is so much our government can do, in terms of hardware. In Singapore, we are still lacking in software to manage the ageing issue. For example, every now and then, we read in the news of elderly who passed away unknown in their homes. Their decomposed were only discovered after their neighbours reported foul stench to the police. I believe as more and more Singaporeans choose to be single, the issue of providing community support to lone seniors will be a problem in the next few decades. Singaporeans also need to adjust our mindsets and accept that nursing homes and community hospitals are needed to support the needs of the elderly. Our social attitude of "NIMBY" (Not in my backyard) need to change.

In the film, Sister Peach did not marry and was fortunate that Roger took care of her after she was down with stroke. As Roger had a busy career and needed to shuttle between China and Hong Kong for work, he had no choice but to send Sister Peach to a nursing home. Initially, Sister Peach was concerned about the cost of enrolling in the nursing home, but Roger was kind enough to pay for her monthly fees. In Singapore, the cost of enrolling in a nursing home is also very expensive and not many elders can afford it without the support from their children. So unless you have substantial savings or financial support from children, you might not afford a nursing home in your old age. Of course most people, including me, would prefer not to stay in a nursing home when we are old. But what if our partner had passed on, our children moved out and we have permanent disabilities?

After watching the film, I feel that there is a need for me to make retirement plan even though I am still quite young. I am making retirement plans so that my investments, passive incomes, assets, insurance and savings will be able to allow my partner and myself to end our life journey in a retirement village. We want to be independent and not burden our kids financially. Most importantly, I want to be a responsible father and not leave behind shit for my children to clear. I want to retire and age with dignity with my partner.

Magically yours

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reckless HDB buyers

Lately, one of the fellow bloggers responded to one of my previous posting which criticized him for promoting unethical values in The Finance SG. I always believe in differences in views and accepted that different people can have different opinions and outlooks in life. But promoting unethical values that border on criminal act of false information declaration is another matter althogether (the culprit actually lied to the Authority and gave fake information for delaying the signing of Agreement so that he can use his girlfriend's December CPF bonuses to pay for the downpayment). The culprit got the cheek to claim he got the money to pay the downpayment. Fine then go ahead and pay in cold hard cash please. By delaying the payment, the blogger is actually depriving another deserving Singaporean couple of a chance to own a HDB flat. My sister-in-law is among those who are affected by such scumbags.

The blogger got the cheek to brag that their combined household income WILL be guaranteed $6000. I bursted out laughing when I saw this statement. In this day and age, even taxi drivers earned more than $7000. In fact, my personal salary is already close to $7000. So what is $6000? This fellow needs a reality check but obviously he is still a student and has not stepped into the working world. He has no idea what the hell he is doing. $6000 won't get you anywhere in this present society. If he thinks that having a royal combined monthly income of $6000 will allow him to achieve a net worth of $200,000 and afford a 5 room HDB flat, then he is still dreaming.

And to top it off, his younger sister of 21 years old is also applying for a HDB flat after getting into a relationship of 7 months. No wonder the government is implementing measures to prevent young couples from abusing the system. It is irresponsible people like this blogger and his sister who messed up our HDB system. These are immatured young adults who have zero personal financial knowledge and zero working life experience. They applied for HDB flats without knowing the consequences and heavy commitment. And this investment blogger is actually supposedly to be a role model for his younger sister. What a joke. The blind follows the blind.

To me, this blogger is not a man. I challenge his girlfriend to read this article and asked if he is worth her love. This blogger has no income, NO CAREER and no integrity at all. I have no respect for fellow Singaporean who cheat and beat the housing and bursary system for selfish gains. HDB should just reject his application and award the flat to deserving applicants like my sister-in-law, who have applied many times for a new flat with her boyfriend. Obviously this blogger has no income and should not have qualified for the Housing Loan Eligibilty, which should be based on the current and past income track records and not future potential earnings. This blogger abused the system and deprived other fellow Singaporeans who genuinely and urgently need a flat. He should be banned for one year from applying HDB flats. Period.

Magically yours

My investment adventure with YHM (formerly known as China Enersave)

I invested in YHM, formerly known as China Enersave, since 2008. Recently, I noted that it is currently one of the top traded stock in Singapore stock market. I would like to share with my readers my investment experience on this stock.

Back in 2008, China Enersave was a company that specialized in building and operating biomass generation plants in China. The business model was good as it collected waste biomass from farmers in China and used the waste as feedstock to generate electricity. However, instead of focussing on the renewable energy sector, the company made the terrible mistake of investing in one coal powerplant. The management team hope to generate revenue from the coal powerplant to fuel the expansion of its biomass plants. Apparently this strategy did not work out as the fluctuating coal prices hurt their revenue from the coal powerplant. Second mistake by the company was that it had diversified it's business ventures too much and had lost focus. At one point, it had 7 to 10 business associates/subsidiaries, ranging from property investment, renewable energy and marine scaffolding. Because of these factors, coupled with the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the company was on the brink of being liquidated in 2011. In 2012, the management was changed and the company changed its focus to marine offshore operations. It subsequently changed its name to YHM, which stands for Yew Hock Marine.

One of the amazing things about China Enersave is its ability to attract white knights investors to its rescue despite losing money year after year. In its heady days, they even counted Dubai soverign wealth fund as one of their institutional backers. Unfortunately, because of mismanagement, they lost the plot and subsequently everything went downhill. At one point, the company even have to pay their accountant through issuing shares. So to be honest, when YHM announced that they are in the midst of securing investment with a partner, I am not surprised that they would be successful. After all, this company has a knack of securing funding from big players.

My current investment in YHM is only worth less than a hundred dollars after the share consolidation in 2011. I had invested $8000 in total and still held on to the shares, but I had long written off this investment. Even though Ezion had declared an offer to invest in YHM, I had much reservations on whether the company is able to turn around and sustain its operations. For the last 4 years, I had lost faith in the company as I saw the stock prices tumbled from $0.22 to $0.0001. Even though the management had changed and the business model is different from its predecessor, investor should still exercise caution when investing in this counter and refrain from speculating. At least wait for another three years of sustainable profitable operations before considering to invest in this stock.

Magically yours



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lending money to friends

Recently, one of my army acquaintances texted me to borrow money from me. He is one of my reservist army bunkmates and I got to know him only a few years back (both of us were from different units during active times). When I received his message for help, I was a bit apprehensive to lend him the money. This is because my father was hospitalized recently and my wife is a full time homemaker. And I have a baby daughter. So I thought to myself if I had any spare cash, my priority would go to my immediate family first. After some thinking, I texted him back and explained my financial situation to him. I also suggested to lend him $50 instead. He understood my plight and politely turned down my suggestion.

I suppose most of us would face financial difficulties at certain points in our lives. Sometimes we really need a helping hand from close friends to tide us over obstacles. I believe in this case, my friend genuinely needed my help but unfortunately, I could not support his request due to my family circumstances. I wish him all the best and hope things would turn out well for him. But somehow I think he could have been more sincere in his request. Perhaps he should have dropped me a call to explain that he is facing severe financial hardship instead of sending me a text. Perhaps he should not have requested me to bank transfer him the money in his initial message, before I even agreed to lend him the money. No friends would like to be treated as an ATM machine!

Sometimes ago, I read an article from The Straits Times on the issue of lending money to friends or relatives. I shared the author's views that if you decided to lend out the money, you must be prepared to write it off. This is because the chances of getting back the money is slim and if you wanted to claim back your money, it could potentially damage the relationship. I am thankfully that my close friends and relatives had not approached to borrow money from me so far. I am not particularly close to this friend of mine and the other time I was approached for money was 4 years ago by one of my my ex-company internship students.With this outlook in mind, I had laid down three principles before lending out my monies:

1) my relationship with the borrowers
2) purpose of borrowing money
3) character of the person

What is your views on lending money to friends or relatives? Perhaps you can share with me your experience, good or bad. I am interested to know.

Magically yours