Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

How I arranged for my father’s wake.

A good friend reminded me that I have to undergo six stages of grief. Right now, I have no idea which stage I am – I still feel sad and would tear a little when I think of my dad, but the best way forward would be to keep writing and sharing. In fact, I will be back at working on my next preview tomorrow. I am very grateful for the well wishers who were very supportive of this blog as well as social media presence. Right now I would just like to explain some thoughts regarding how I...

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Eulogy to my father, Kenneth Ng Fook San (1942 – 2019)

[ This eulogy was never delivered during my father’s wake. I was too distraught and cried throughout both attempts to finish this write-up. Before my father was cremated, I wished my families well and told them that my speech would be completed on my blog. ]  My father Ng Fook San passed away on 14th September 2019 3am. The doctors deemed that he died  due to an infection that got him onto the hospital bed for 3 months, but I believe that it was probably because he could no longer cope with an added dosage of antibiotics that was...

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A meaningful gift.

One of my students gave me a very meaningful gift last weekend along with a touching hand-written note. Perhaps I share a little bit of background of this gift while keeping the student’s identity secret. My student is, objectively, a very successful man by local standards – richer and way more successful than meĀ  to he point whereby I asked him whether he has a class that I can attend. He attained his wealth the hard way without family support and is much younger than me. You might want to ask why he would even bother attending my investment...

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MBA in a Nutshell #5 – Marketing : Miscellaneous considerations

When marketing to a customer, there are a series of extra considerations that has to be made. a) Other participants in the buying process Sometimes, it may seem that one party may be the key decision maker but another party exerts a very strong influence in the decision making process. When buying my EC, I let my wife be a primary decision maker, I just make sure that the final decision is within my financial budget. Fortunately, almost all my customers for the training program show up for my previews alone and there is only one key decision maker...

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Letter to Batch 7 of Early Retirement Masterclass students

Dear Students of Batch 7,It’s been a great honour and privilege to be able to conduct a 2-Day Early Retirement Workshop for you. This particular class is distinguished by its active class participation. The Q&A for this session is so intense that we finished both days at around 6pm. What I really like about this batch is that some questions shared are quite novel and learned a lot from everyone. I think the question that left the biggest impression on me is the concern that investment class participants being permanently tied to the trainer via an “umbilical cord”.  Having...

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Sorry ! You can never escape being part of the Sandwich Generation.

I’d just like to take the opportunity to provide a personal update on this post and take the opportunity to point out to everyone NTUC Income’s fairly viral advertisement on retirement planning that forms the theme of my personal update today. The conclusion I’d like readers to accept is this : There is no escape from being part of the Sandwich Generation. Managing your finances well can, at most,  mitigate the negative effects of being part of it. a) Training business and marketing First of all, if you are familiar with the going on in the Finance Blogosphere Wu Lin,...

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MBA in a Nutshell #4 – Marketing : Dimensions of Buyer Perception

Dimensions of buyer perception is a very practical framework that forces an executive to think really hard about his product offering. This is a very useful checklist for marketers to ask themselves whether their products tick all the boxes and where areas of improvement can be made. Let’s look at the primary dimensions of my own product offering, the ERM Masterclass : a) Perceived Risk – How can this product harm me ? It is impossible to avoid self-harm in DIY investing. The trick is to manage the harm when it does occur. Being one of the few instructors...

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How to think about the value of a Master’s qualification

I thought I’d follow up on this excellent but fundamentally flawed article on Rice Media. The article was excellent because the author was the first to admit that our financial blogs are  canonical literature in Singapore fueling my fantasies of becoming Singapore’s very own William Shakespeare and having my rants about our Polytechnic students and BBFAs studied intensely as the equivalent of the A levels in 400 years time. The article was fundamentally flawed because the author showcased too many examples of folks who took Masters Degrees in Arts or Social Sciences, and only had one example from someone...

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Do women prefer nice guys or rich guys ?

Today we are going to discuss, with actual scientific evidence, what do women actually prefer, nice guys or rich guys. This question reminds me of the flak I used to get over 20 years ago when I was a relationship troll in the nus.talk.romance forums – now in its latest incarnation on Facebook as NUS Whispers. Even in those horrible days, there is a lot of hypocrisy over Gen-X women’s purported preference of SNAGs or Sensitive New Age Guys. Fast forward to today, the SNAGs of yesterday might well be the Incels of today – involuntary celibates relegated to...

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MBA in a Nutshell #3 – Marketing : Customer Service and Customer Focus

As we continue with our exploration of marketing, we are now dealing with some key issues of customer service and customer focus. a) Most customers are decent and honest  This follows research that most customers are decent and honest. While I agree with this statement, I am mixed on how to follow up on this recommendation. Singaporeans are fairly astute life-hackers and I would not rely on the good faith on others when conducting a business. For months we had to keep tuning our money-backed guarantee program to prevent abuse. One classic champion customer asked for his money back...

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The Dunning-Kruger Effect

A friend is undergoing social media detoxification and is no longer following up on interesting developments in the personal finance space. When I asked him why, he replied with one of the most hilarious quips I heard last week : Some of these spaces have discussions that are so pointless, these forums should be re-purposed to become a research platform for social psychologists to study the Dunning-Kruger effect. So delightfully vicious ! But I need to reflect on this exchange so I thought I should put up some information on this effect because it is vitally important that, in...

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Breaking the Chains of Meritocracy

While I was never a precariat, growing up in a landed property estate made me very sensitive to being looked down upon. Even though I had more toys than other kids in school, I had poorer toys compared to my neighbors. I was also shamed because culturally I was not as sophisticated as my neighbors who consumed great works of Literature and knew pop culture more than I do. I watched channel 8 growing up, my fucking neighbours watched American Sitcoms. I hated cultural trappings and Literature because I don’t understand why it has to become an instrument of...

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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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