Why Buy Insurance?

If you have followed my blog closely, I wrote about some ways of hedging against inflation last week. If you have not read my previous blog posts, you should go ahead and read them all. The reason is simple, it is 100% free and you will definitely be better off than you are right now if you act on my advice.

This week, I am going to touch upon the topic of insurance. As a professional in this field, I get to talk to people from all walks of life. People who own a car, they have to buy car insurance. People who own a house, they have to buy home insurance. People who stay in Singapore, they have to buy a basic hospitalization insurance. These are the defaults, people cannot opt out even if they want to.

Besides the defaults above, a common phenomenon occurs repeatedly. Many people show immense resistance towards personal protection insurance in particular. Majority of the people do not have one. To find out the numbers, you can ask around yourself plus yourself to find out what is the rough percentage of people who do not have a personal protection insurance against critical illnesses, total and permanent disability and death. At least, I was shocked when I found out the percentage.

In my opinion, those who do not have a personal protection plan are living their lives irresponsibly and they are selfish. Why do I think so? The reason is unfortunate events, such as accidental death or critical illnesses, can happen any time, if these unfortunate events strike, not only have they left nothing for the parents, but also they are potentially a burden to their parents. I knew a person who was diagnosed with cancer, and the costs of medical bills wiped out a large portion of his family savings, this person is still under treatment as of now. I knew a person who passed away while traveling overseas, their parents were left with nothing but sorrow and grief.

Nobody wants any of the above to happen to them, as a matter of fact, we cannot prevent unfortunate events from happening, but the questions we should ask ourselves should be “are we ready if unfortunate events strike?” or “what legacy have we left for our loved ones if we are no longer around?”

Now you might be wondering which insurance you should buy then. Usually, higher premiums come with better benefits. My advice is:

  • buy one that is suitable to your needs, NOT the one with the lowest premium
  • take note of what is covered and what is not
  • buy according to your budgets

In conclusion, everyone responsible individual should buy a personal protection insurance. I always think that I will take care of the small bills and I will let my insurance company take care of my big bills. Many a time, it is the big bills which we cannot cope with and end up helpless and hopeless financially. Be responsible and get yourself covered right now. It is not so much about you, it is everything about your loved ones. As usual, feel free to contact me if you wish to know more about the topics I have covered so far.

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Hedge Against Inflation

When it comes to growing your wealth, it is great to do it the fastest way, but this is not realistic. In reality, there is very few get-rich-fast ways out there. If there is any, they are laden with enormous risks. As an average individual, you should be really wary of those get-rich-fast programs. These programs are not out there for you to gain, instead they are there for you to feel the pain.

I personally have come across several such programs. They turned out to be the best learning experiences so far, they allowed me to realize what is suitable for me and what is not. It is great to realize this early, the earlier, the better. What I have realized so far:

  • Forex trading is not for me
  • Trading with leverage is not for me
  • Short term trading is also not for me

While experiencing the above, I lost more often than I won in spite of such program’s usual promise of sure-win. As a result, if you happen to get invited to similar programs, be very cautious before you take the plunge, it is always so much deeper than you can imagine.

In the context of Singapore, interest rates have remained very low for the past years. With inflation at about 3%/year, putting your money in the bank is definitely a sure loss.  As a result, what is suitable for an average individual who wants to grow his/her wealth without too much risk?

First, parking them in the Central Provision Fund(CPF) is quite good. Money parked in the CPF will return you somewhere from 2.5% to 4.5% per year. This is very much in line with the inflation rate in Singapore. You don’t gain much but you also don’t lose(guaranteed principle sum). The risk is close to zero.

Second, getting a savings plan will also be a good choice. For example, based on projection, one particular savings plan from AIA returns from 3.25%/year onwards and this plan comes with a bit of insurance element. Under this plan, the principle sum is also guaranteed. The risk is close to zero as well. You can also contact me to know more about this plan.

Above are the two ways you can counter inflation in the context of Singapore. They are meant to hedge against inflation in Singapore with close to zero risk. They are good for the cautious and conservative.

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Something Is Secretly Devaluing Your Money

Different people have different goals in life. Some want to enjoy their life daily. Some want to make a difference in other people’s lives. Some want to earn lots of money. Whatever it is, many people are so busy with their work or job, and they have forgotten their goals in life. Not only that, they are so busy with their work that they have become ignorant to one important fact of life. This one important fact of life is INFLATION.

Some still cannot grasp what INFLATION really means. Google gives me this meaning, in economic term, INFLATION means a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money. I am going to illustrate with a simple example, a decade ago, one bowl of fish ball noodles cost me only $2, but now the same bowl of fish ball noodles costs me $3.5. Within a decade, the price of a bowl of fish ball noodles has gone up 75% (increase in prices). Therefore, the $2 we had last time, assuming we have kept this $2 note safely under our bed till now, we are no longer able to buy one bowl of fish ball noodles with that $2 note (fall in purchasing value of money).

Does it make sense now? As a matter of fact, inflation is not going to go away and you must be wondering right now how much you have lost over the years? Let us do some calculation to find out the answer. These assumptions are made:

  • Starting with $100,000
  • Annual Inflation of 3%
  • Over a period of 10 years


The conclusion of the above calculation is that the initial sum of $100,000, over a decade, our $100,000 has lost a substantial amount of its purchasing value and now the same $100,000 is only worth of about $74,000. This means you have lost $26,000 by keeping your money under your bed. This amount of lost money – $26,000, let me put it into perspective, it can help pay off a university student’s 3 years tuition fees.

INFLATION may sound counter intuitive at the start, but that does not mean it is not possible. As a matter of fact, INFLATION is secretly devaluing your money. In my next post, I will be sharing with you all some ways to counter INFLATION. Stay tuned.

Remember to share this blog with your friends and family members and let them benefit from all the great posts we have got here. It does not cost you a cent to share my blog but your sharing is going to benefit many people. Sharing is caring, show your care to them now.

A Million Dollar Apart

It has been a long time since I last blogged on WordPress. Long story short, let us get to the real business. This time, I will be sharing with you all the idea of compound interest and how much a difference it can make at your retirement age.

The whole idea of compound interest is mostly summed up in the following image, and I have made the following assumptions while doing the calculation:

  • start at 30 years old
  • a consistent deposit of $36000/year
  • stop at 65 years old(retirement age)

1 Million Dollar Apart

As you can see from the image above, the difference of 1.5% each year over a period of 35 years of compound interest is a difference of 1 million dollars 35 years later.

I am sure you are amazed at the 1-million-dollar difference. When it comes to growing your wealth, start early and time is your best leverage.

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10 Must-Read Books For Every Entrepreneur From 2011

1. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively.  Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

3. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.

4. Start Something that Matters – Blake Mycoskie

Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world—all at the same time.

What matters most to you? Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you? The surprising truth is that you don’t have to choose—and that you’ll find more success if you don’t. That’s the breakthrough message of TOMS’ One for One movement. You don’t have to be rich to give back and you don’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love. You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once—right now.

In Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from such other innovative organizations as method, charity: water, FEED Projects, and TerraCycle. Blake presents the six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful without resources; from overcoming fear and doubt to incorporating giving into every aspect of your life. No matter what kind of change you’re considering, Start Something That Matters gives you the stories, ideas, and practical tips that can help you get started.

5. Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company From Concept to Creation in 54 Hours

“Startup Weekend is a global phenomenon that has attracted and encouraged a new generation of entrepreneurs. Startup Weekend has changed the world, and this book will change the way you think about startups.”—David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars

“Startup Weekend is the most current account of how the modern tech entrepreneur will operate and succeed. Sure, the person, the hustle, the persistence, and the environment all account toward success—but to hit your key fundamentals, this book will be the best.”—Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip

“There are lots of people who want to be entrepreneurs but they don’t know how to get started. How do you move from passion and an idea to a team, a product, and a launch? Startup Weekend has empowered thousands of entrepreneurs around the world to kick-start their startup dreams. If you want to start a business, stop dreaming about it and just do it—this book can teach you how!”—Neil Patel, founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics

“Startup Weekend is the modern-day equivalent of Woodstock for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.?It’s 54 hours of no-holds-barred company building that leaves pretty much everyone who participates saying ‘I can’t believe what we just built over a weekend!’ ?This book captures many of the insights and wisdom from those weekends and gives you a window into what is the mostintense entrepreneurial experience out there today.” —Greg Gottesman, Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group

6. The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk

If this were 1923, this book would have been called “Why Radio Is Going to Change the Game” . . .

If it were 1995, it would be “Why Amazon Is Going to Take Over the Retailing World” . . .

The Thank You Economy is about something big, something greater than any single revolutionary platform. It isn’t some abstract concept or wacky business strategy—it’s real, and every one of us is doing business in it every day, whether we choose to recognize it or not. It’s the way we communicate, the way we buy and sell, the way businesses and consumers interact online and offline. The Internet, where the Thank You Economy was born, has given consumers back their voice, and the tremendous power of their opinions via social media means that companies and brands have to compete on a whole different level than they used to.

Here renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk reveals how companies big and small can scale that kind of personal, one-on-one attention to their entire customer base, no matter how large, using the same social media platforms that carry consumer word of mouth. The Thank You Economy offers compelling, data-driven evidence that we have entered into an entirely new business era, one in which the companies that see the biggest returns won’t be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but will be those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else. The businesses and brands that harness the word-of-mouth power from social media, those that can shift their culture to be more customer-aware and fan-friendly, will pull away from the pack and profit in today’s markets.

7. Enchantment – Guy Kawasaki

Enchantment, as defined by bestselling business guru Guy Kawasaki, is not about manipulating people. It transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility and civility into affinity. It changes the skeptics and cynics into the believers and the undecided into the loyal. Enchantment can happen during a retail transaction, a high-level corporate negotiation, or a Facebook update. And when done right, it’s more powerful than traditional persuasion, influence, or marketing techniques.

Kawasaki argues that in business and personal interactions, your goal is not merely to get what you want but to bring about a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. By enlisting their own goals and desires, by being likable and trustworthy, and by framing a cause that others can embrace, you can change hearts, minds, and actions.

This book explains all the tactics you need to prepare and launch an enchantment campaign; to get the most from both push and pull technologies; and to enchant your customers, your employees, and even your boss. It shows how enchantment can turn difficult decisions your way, at times when intangibles mean more than hard facts. It will help you overcome other people’s entrenched habits and defy the not-always-wise “wisdom of the crowd.”

Kawasaki’s lessons are drawn from his tenure at one of the most enchanting organizations of all time, Apple, as well as his decades of experience as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. There are few people in the world more qualified to teach you how to enchant people.

As Kawasaki writes, “Want to change the world? Change caterpillars into butterflies? This takes more than run-of-the-mill relationships. You need to convince people to dream the same dream that you do.” That’s a big goal, but one that’s possible for all of us.

8. The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You – Adelaide Lancaster & Amy Abrams

Despite the freedom that striking out on your own promises, most of the accepted wisdom on how to build a small business advocates a one- size-fits-all approach. So-called experts-and sometimes just well-meaning friends-urge business owners to grow fast, be more profitable, and imitate other successful start-ups. And while these tips may work for some, they fail to consider the astounding variety of values and motivations that individuals have for starting a business. Too often, owners sacrifice their personal satisfaction in order to conform to unnecessary (and often unworkable) standards.

Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams have seen this problem for years when working with women entrepreneurs like themselves. They set out to explore how successful female business owners have grown their enterprises in a way that sustains their own personal goals and needs, not someone else’s standards.

Drawing on the true stories of nearly 100 entrepreneurs, as well as their own experiences, Abrams and Lancaster guide readers through the best principles that really matter when you work for yourself. For instance:

  • Figure out what’s in it for you: Clarify why you started your business and what you want to get out of it over the long haul.
  • Find a role that suits your strengths: Identify where you add the most value and can have the most impact.
  • Embrace experimentation: Trying new things gives you the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t and opens up unseen possibilities.

This book empowers entrepreneurs to ignore popular “wisdom” and peer pressure to take charge of their businesses in a way that will help them succeed on their own terms.

9. Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance- Jonathan Fields

Properly understood and harnessed, fear and uncertainty can become fuel for creative genius rather than sources of pain, anxiety, and suffering. In business, art, and life, creating on a world-class level demands bold action and leaps of faith in the face of great uncertainty. But that uncertainty can lead to fear, anxiety, paralysis, and destruction. It can gut creativity and stifle innovation. It can keep you from taking the risks necessary to do great work and craft a deeply-rewarding life. And it can bring companies that rely on innovation grinding to a halt.

That is, unless you know how to use it to your advantage.
Fields draws on leading-edge technology, cognitive-science and ancient awareness-focusing techniques in a fresh, practical, non-dogmatic way. His approach enables creativity and productivity on an entirely different level and can turn the once-tortuous journey into a more enjoyable quest. Fields will reveal how to:

  • Make changes to your workflow that unlock buried creative potential.
  • Build “creation hives” — supportive groups that can supercharge and humanize the process.
  • Tap social technology and user co-creation to add clarity, certainty, and sanity, even if you’re an artist or solo-creator.
  • Develop a set of personal practices and mindset shifts that let you not just tolerate, but invite and even amplify, uncertainty as a catalyst for genius.

10. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur – Ryan Blair

Ryan Blair knows about building a business from the ground up. Like many entrepreneurs he had no formal business education. But he had great survival instincts, tenacity, and above all, a “nothing to lose” mindset.

Blair’s middle-class childhood came to an abrupt end when his abusive father succumbed to drug addiction and abandoned the family. Blair and his mother moved to a dangerous neighborhood, and soon he was in and out of juvenile detention, joining a gang just to survive.

Then his mother fell in love with a successful entrepreneur who took Ryan under his wing. With his mentor’s help, Blair turned himself into a wildly successful businessman. He started his first company, 24/7 Tech, at the age of 21, and since then has started and sold several companies for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now Blair shows readers how to start and grow their own profitable businesses by following his often contrarian philosophies:

• In juvenile detention, if you let someone take your milk the first day, they’ll start taking it every day. The same is true in business.

• When you’re dealing with an investor’s money, you have to act as if God himself wrote you the check.

• Most business plans aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

• Efforts don’t pay the rent. Have no sympathy for employees who talk about how hard they’re trying.

• Entrepreneurship is great because you can set your own hours — any 17 hours of the day, 7 days a week. But if you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t drain you as much as the 9 to 5 death cycle.

This book is an inspirational guide for people who are willing to put in the hard work, time, and dedication needed to see their vision through to the end. Blair shares lessons from his mentors and advice from his own life- changing experiences, and provides readers with a road map for entrepreneurial success.

What is your take from 2011? Leave a comment!

Sourced from http://under30ceo.com/10-books-every-entrepreneur-must-read-from-2011/


2012, it is the year the world is supposed to end, according to believers out there. And I am kind of a believer in it. Why? I do not genuinely believe the world will end this year, but I treat it as a constant wake-up call, there is not much time to waste.

We, human beings, are very lazy, we only start to do things at the 11th hour, other times, we tend to squander our time on meaningless tasks, if any.

In order to waste no time in this life, I have forcefully induced some changes to my post-2012 life. There are three resolutions I made at the very beginning of this year. They are:
1. Read 60 books in 2012
2. Reduce my weight to 60+ KG
3. Start a blog

The first two resolutions might seem selfish. Yes, they are, they are all about personal development. However, let us not make judgment too early. My purpose of starting a blog is to share my experiences while undertanking my first two resolutions. Therefore, those who are interested, and I am sure you will be, will reap the intended benefits if you read my blog regularly. And rain or shine, I will ensure to update my blog at least weekly.

What exact benefits you will be harvesting from following my blog? Well, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I will recommend the following three things:
1. cool websites to visit
2. cool books to read
3. cool places to travel

Trust me, I recommend things I undertake myself, otherwise, it will be meaningless. Therefore the benefits I have got are testimony to my undertakings. If we are doing exactly the same things, and it is very likely that we will end up at the same result.

It is my first post of the year. I would like to recommend three periodicals/magazines.
1.The Economist   http://www.economist.com/
2.Business Today  http://businesstoday.intoday.in/
3.Entrepreneur      http://www.entrepreneur.com/

On a personal level, I have gained immensely by following these three periodicals/magazines. Let me briefly introduce the three. The Economist exposes readers to the latest happenings around the globe, Business Today is an Indian periodical which focuses on the third largest economy of the world, while Entrepreneur is for would-be entrepreneurs.

Sharing makes a better world. Let us starting sharing!