Monday, June 2, 2008

Are you working because of your pay?

On 26 May 08, CNA ran a report with regard to business fresh graduates earning starting salaries to the tune of S$15,000! The original article can be found below.

For the majority of the population (much like myself) who have had or who are having measly starting pay in the range of $3K and below, I wonder what is the real motivation in going to work for us when we learn of some young punk earning 4X higher than our original salary, and who are presently earning much more than us, despite the 5-yr age gap? Do we simply compare ourselves with those earning $1.6-$1.8K to feel better and ignore these so called "top earners" as merely "rare individuals constituting perhaps 0.1% of the workforce"?

Alternatively, we can always tell ourselves that the job is not about the pay/salary - We work because we Love our job!! We love to attend meetings that have no meaningful conclusions; We love to spend 8 hours in office because we have nothing better to do with our lives; We love answering to bosses who should be our subordinates; We love the office politics, fake smiles and sarcastic remarks; We love to wake up early and squeeze in the commute because it's unhealthy to wake up late and lonely without the squeeze; We love to meet up with unreasonable clients because we enjoy getting scolded for no apparent reason. We love receiving projects with datelines that have expired 2 weeks ago because we have the power to reverse time.

Oh yeah, it's never about the pay; We just love our job.

Here's the original article:-

Survey shows NUS business graduates get higher starting pay

By Imelda Saad, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 26 May 2008 1937 hrs

SINGAPORE: The job market is looking rosy for business graduates from the National University of Singapore.

A survey on its 2007 batch of graduates showed that almost all secured jobs within six months of graduation.

Eight in 10 got a job even before graduation and about seven in 10 received two or more job offers.

The graduates are also getting higher starting salaries, with top earners receiving up to S$10,800 a month.

NUS said the mean starting pay of its business graduates rose by some 13 per cent to more than S$3,000.

Most of the graduates are employed in banking and finance, oil and energy, and fast moving consumer goods industries.

Also doing well are graduates from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Its largest cohort of more than 4,800 last year were the highest paid.

Nine in 10 of them secured jobs within just a month of graduation and more received multiple job offers.

Salaries of some top earners exceeded as much as S$15,000 a month

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pro Financial FX

The foreign exchange (currency or forex or FX) market exists wherever one currency is traded for another. It is by far the largest financial market in the world, and includes trading between large banks, central banks, currency speculators, multinational corporations, governments, and other financial markets and institutions. The average daily trade in the global forex and related markets currently is over US$ 3 trillion. Retail traders are a small fraction of this market and may only participate indirectly through brokers or banks.

At Pro Financial FX, they offer professionally managed forex accounts (or forex managed accounts) for individuals who have no time to monitor the 24-hr currency markets. These accounts offer 3 trading strategies for people with different risk appetites:-

(a) Premier - For those with a longer time horizon;
(b) EurAsia - For those who can stomach the intra-day volatility;
(c) On target - For those with a risk profile falling between (a) and (b).

If you want to profit from the falling US dollar, why not trial run the trading systems of Pro Financial FX today?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Top Ten Reasons Driving the Stock Market Back to its Year Highs at Year End

Those concerned that the US sub-prime crisis will continue to have an adverse impact on the Equities front should read John's article. In it, he talks about why he believes the Stock Market will move up by year end, despite ongoing circumstances. Even though the Fed has cut rates by 0.25%, financial stocks tanked as investors were expecting a 0.5% cut. Are people over-reacting to the whole situation? We will know in 2 weeks, won't we?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Housing Woes (Part 2)

Telok Blangah Towers

We have applied for one of the 210 Premium Units (4-rm) of the above and there are already 6100+ ppl on queue for this. This translates to a ~3% chance of getting a flat for every couple. Assuming a 50% drop-out rate, we will require a Q no. of about 400. To make matters worse, it is a BTO exercise, so we have to wait for another 5 years for the flat to be built, even if we do get it. This means that during these 5 years of waiting, we have to find another flat for rental. With rental prices soaring every month, I wonder how much it will cost to rent a 3-room flat.

It's literally impossible to live in Singapore.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Review: Car Guy Garage

What do you do with your garage? Is it still a place for your car to sleep in? After I have sold my car off last year (as I live a mere 10 mins away from my workplace), my garage has become my storeroom. I really dread going in there as I fear my old junk may just fall on me if they are not stacked properly, haha!

If you, like me, are thinking of "pimping up" your garage by installing some cool garage cabinets, why not pay a visit? They cabinets, workbenches, tool boxes, garage flooring, garage storage, garage cabinets, garage door openers, organization, garage heaters, garage floor tile, floor mats, garage floor paint, storage systems, laundry room cabinets and other garage packages. You should be able to find something to spruce up your garage.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Housing Woes (Part 1)

It's so difficult to get a place to live in Singapore.

Let me share some statistics on the resale flats I have viewed in the past month for your own research:-

(1) Stirling Rd
Block 181
Floor level: #11 to #15
Size: 4-room (95 sqm)
Convenience: 1 min walk from/to MRT
Overall feeling: Although the flat is only 7 years old, the flat exterior looks like it has been around since the late 80's. How about the interior? It's worse - It's not renovated at all and the current owners look like they can move out at a whim's notice.
Valuation: $398K
Asking Price: $478K ($80K COV)

Block 63B
Floor level: #5 to #10
Size: 4-room (100 sqm)
Age: 6 years
Convenience: 3 mins walk from/to MRT
Overall feeling: They have marble flooring! That's worth like $20K I was told. Its quite well renovated, so we can definitely save on renovation costs.
Valuation: $410K
Asking Price: $495K ($85K COV)

So amongst the 2 above, I don't mind paying $17K more for the Redhill property.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Magic Loans

Magic Loans.

The name itself makes you wonder if the lender will just disappear with your money, doesn't it?

This company basically offers 3 types of loans:-
(a) Homeowner Loans - For new homebuyers or for existing homeowners who can use the money towards the refurbishment/improvement of their houses;
(b) Consolidation Loans - To pay off those outstanding repayments and high interest credit card bills; and
(c) Secured Loans - For those miscelleaneous purposes like buying a new car, taking that dream holiday or financing something very special, such as a family wedding or similar special celebration.

At the prevailing interest rate of 10.9% per annum, I think you can get a better deal elsewhere.

My advise? Caveat Emptor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My article was featured!

I have previously written a finance article for Helium back in May, and it was recently featured on the homepage! (Don't ask me why they took 5 months to feature it as I have no idea) This is the first time my writing has been recognized! And it's not even highly ranked amongst the Helium readers... Hmmm... I wonder why it made the cut in the first place...

Here's a link to the article.

I have stopped writing for Helium since 18th May 2007 because my consolidated earnings for these 5 months has been a staggering 65 cents... Haha...

PayPerPost has definitely been more rewarding, although I am only picking up drips and draps... Those US$100+ Opps are out of my reach due to my low Google PR...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Do you have adequate insurance?

With over a thousand general insurance companies operating in the UK, wouldn't it be great if there's a website that will compare the insurance plans, premiums, T&Cs, etc., and simply tell you which plan is most suited for your particular profile? Well, head on down to then!

To adequately protect your wealth in the event of a fire or a burglary, I would advise that you do not save on Home insurance.

Similarly, if you own a car, you should protect yourself by buying adequate Car insurance, especially if you are still servicing a loan on it.

Lastly, to minimize your loasses from the loss of a luggage during an overseas trip, you should have travel insurance before you even embark on the holiday.

In conclusion, whatever you may do, mitigate your risk with the appropriate insurance policies. It's money you cannot afford to not spend.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Why oil isn't so expensive after all


I was reading an email form an ex-colleague in America this morning. He was arguing that the oil price would hit $300 a barrel should the US invade Iran. This seems more and more likely in my mind as the rhetoric ratchets up - and I hold my head in despair. (aC: US$300 per barrel on pure speculation?? Can that still be considered speculation or a calculated move?)

I fear that an attack on Iran is becoming a real and present danger, despite US government denials. After all, I remember Donald Rumsfeld saying on TV soon after 9/11 that the US government hawks would not use the terrorist attacks in New York as an excuse to attack Iraq. We all know what happened next.

The thought of oil at $300 is shocking, but is it realistic? Isn’t oil really expensive at the moment as it is?

Well, although I believe that $300 a barrel is unlikely in the short, or even the medium term, but I don’t think that oil is particularly expensive at the moment, despite it being at historic nominal highs.

I expect the price to rise – we should easily see $100 a barrel next year… maybe even this year should the White House warmongers hit the red Iran button. (aC: Hmmm... somehow I can picture the US President having a physical red button labelled "War"... Not as hard to imagine, compared to a $300 per barrel of crude oil.)

If you adjust for inflation, the oil price peak at the start of 1981 was in excess of $100. We are still below that figure. But this is not why I believe that the current oil price is cheap. Let’s take a look at some figures to illustrate my point of view.

First, let’s ask ourselves a basic question – how much crude is there in a barrel of oil…

One barrel of oil officially contains 42 US gallons…
This converts into 35 imperial gallons…
There are 8 pints in a gallon…
That means one barrel of oil contains 280 pints...
WTI futures are currently approximately $87 a barrel…
That means one pint of crude oil costs 31 cents, or 15p in real money...

When put like that, it does not sound as outrageously expensive as some commentators claim. So, what else can you buy for 15p a pint?

I took a quick look around to try and find out…

One pint of milk costs 40p.
The one pint equivalent of Evian water costs around 70p.
The cheapest vegetable oil costs 39p a pint.
Extra virgin olive oil costs 227p a pint.

And then there’s beer… The average cost of a pint of beer in the UK is 250p, according to a report I read on the BBC. However, that’s not what it costs the pub. It is not exactly easy to find out how much your local boozer pays for its beer, so I have to go as far back as 2004 and a written submission from the Federation of Small Businesses to the Trade & Industry Committee.

In this submission, it was revealed that Carlsberg-Tetley charged 42p a pint for Carlsberg lager when it supplied it to a freehouse. You can expect it to be higher than this level now, but 42p for a pint of Carling is significantly higher than 15p for a pint of crude.

Now, of course we are not really comparing like with like here, I understand that. Crude oil is a feed substrate not a finished product like the items on my Tesco shopping list or a pint of beer from a brewery. However, I think for illustrative purposes it makes a good point.

The truth is that oil is NOT extortionately priced and it is almost inevitable that the price is going to rise.

Also worth noting is that in 1981, when oil hit its peak price because of the Iran-Iraq war, a pint of milk cost 17p. That is still more expensive than a pint of crude costs today; without even taking the monster of inflation into consideration.

Oil is cheap, despite the newspaper headlines. The world population is soaring and demand is rising significantly. According to US government forecasts, world petroleum liquids consumption is expected to increases from 83 million barrels per day in 2004 to 118 million barrels per day in 2030.

That’s an increase of almost 30%... and we are not finding enough new oil reserves to meet this demand.

The price of oil has to increase otherwise it would be betraying the laws of economics. I bet that in 10 year’s time after the Asian population has boomed and gentrified and peak oil has hit home hard, you will have to agree with me that oil at $87 a barrel was cheap, cheap, cheap… (aC: Just like how we thought the prices of 1981 were expensive when oil was just traded at $21 per barrel...)

(aC: Hmmm... But it leaves me to ponder - What if mankind discovered other renewable sources of energy that could replace or potentially replace crude oil? Would oil price still mindlessly climb up? Well, we all know from economics 101 what near perfect substitutes does to the price of a commodity. And in this day and age, is it impossible to make such a "discovery" in chemical laboratories? So before you buy go all out to buy gallons of oil futures at $89, think again...)