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Something actually happened to me lately….something bad. My PlayStation Portable (PSP) which was bought less than a year ago at around RM 1000 (around USD 300-400 ?), was pronounced dead by the second doctor. I was feeling very sad (er…maybe i should use “I am feeling very sad”).

There’s something within me that shouts the line “Alvin, go ahead and buy another PSP for goodness sake. It’s only RM 700 now!” And I seriously mean it, I do have that urge to drive to the shop and purchase another PSP…especially with all the nice games coming up.

If this happened 6 months ago…..I would’ve bought myself another PSP…around RM 700 (total cost of owning a WORKING PSP will then be around RM 1700). But now…something within me, is telling me not to buy another PSP. Why?

Because it’s a liability.

A lot of things around us can be considered liabilities. Branded clothings, bags, shoes, luxury watches, video games, LCD TV….I’m sure you know better than me. True, some of you might argue with me (or with yourselves) that the NICE thing that you’re planning to buy (such as Nintendo WII) is NOT a liability. Well, let me ask you this question “How sure are you?

Asset is something that you should buy, if you want to be in control of your finances. Assets can earn more money for you. These are the things which will make you rich. These are the things which will make money work for you. Example? Shares, bonds, etc….of course…the right ones. 🙂

Liabilities, on the other hand, are mostly our desires. The “nice-to-haves” such as …well, i just listed some of them down.  These are the things that will make you spend money….but there will not be much (if any) returns of investment.

One of my best buddies told me he plans to buy a new PC…cool. I asked him one question “Do you think it’s a liability or an asset?” He said…”It’s an asset“, and I asked “Can it make money for you?” and he said “Of course! I can start an e-business using it!“. Pretty relevant. You can indeed start an online business using your PC………but…….i pushed on with my last question “How sure are you that your main purpose is to start an e-business using this PC?“…and he went silent.

If you are pretty sure the “liability” you are buying can earn you some $$…then please, go ahead and prove to yourselves (not to anyone else). Most of us thought that these liabilities that we are planning to buy, will end up bringing some $$ to us….but most of the time, this “dream” of ours will not materialise.

So, the next time you are planning to buy something….think about this. 🙂

p/s…of course, it helps to reward yourselves from time to time with nice-to-haves. Don’t be so stingy to yourselves. 🙂 But please don’t overdo it especially if you have big dreams. For me…I don’t think I’ll get another PSP just yet. 😉 …..even though I seriously want 1. LOL.  

Phew…last week was a pretty busy one for me. 2 of my good friends got married (yea, the husband n wife are my good friends). Congratz to Ryan and Andrea 😉

Wasn’t been able to post up something until now (which I think, is late Monday).

I’ve been reading a book titled “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I’m sure some of you have heard about this book before. It actually enlightened some of my friends who have read this book. I’m still at chapter 2 or 3….so…don’t expect me to talk much about it. 😉

What I intend to discuss today is the so-called “Rat Race“. In the book, the author mentioned that most people work for money…and not the other way round. Don’t believe so? Let me ask you a simple question. I am sure most people (including myself) have this big dream of doing whatever we like…pursuing our passions in life…abandoning our current job and go chasing after our dreams. But we didn’t. Why? Because we have something called commitments – families, bills, etc.

We need money to support these things.

In other words…we’re being controlled by money. We are working for money.

Also, most of us will say that a higher pay can actually help us to solve the problem. I can assure you, it won’t. The higher your pay…the higher your expenses. You will have more bills to pay, more desires (nice-to-haves) to fulfill. The cycle will go on and on and on…never ending, and this is what they called the “rat race“.

So if you are in a situation I’ve described above….do take some time to ponder…whether you are really in control of your lives…or you’re being controlled by money.

Think about what you really want. I know what I want…. and it’s not paying bills. I have the option to go to the SAP world…earning big bucks, but I chose not to because I realized that’s not the direction I wanted to go. Bigger bucks might be able to solve some of the short term solution……but the long term problem here is, I am still chasing after the $$…working for the $$.

Do take some time to think about this. 🙂 Life is not just about chasing after money…or involving in the never ending rat race.

It has been 3 years since I started working. I only took 2 weeks of rest after my final exam….and started working immediately after that. Fortunately for me, I’ve found my passion in the world of IT (though some may feel it’s a bit hopeless) ever since I decided to study IT (it stands for Information Technology in case some of you may wonder, and it’s not Idiotic Transformation). Till now, I’m beginning to step into another new field called Business & Management (but i’m not letting go of IT just yet).

That’s me. I’ve sort of found my own direction….the direction, the route that I wanted to take.

What about you?

There are few people I know who do not like what they were doing in the university time. Some of them who graduated with a degree in IT, ended up in the world of investment…or banking…or marketing. I even have few friends who have worked in all kinds of jobs/fields…just to find their respective direction. They do not know what are their passions…they do not know what drives them forward. They are trying hard to find the answer by switching jobs, again and again…and again.

One of my friends graduated with a first class honor from a reputable university in the IT field. He started his working life as a programmer. Within months, he got bored and switched to sales….car salesman. Again, in less than a year, he realized that his personality is not really meant for sales. He changed and became chef (lowest ranking) in a restaurant. Again…he left within months. He was shopping around for few years before deciding to return to the world of IT. He has spent so many years…in vain. When he went for the interview, he was treated as someone with a lot of working experience but minmum technical experience. He was treated as a fresh graduate.

Don’t get me wrong. I always support people to switch jobs (not job hopping, mind you)…either within the same company or not…just to find your own direction, your own passions. It might take a while…and it might not. For those who did not take too long to find their passions, good for you. For those who did…just always remember that one is never too old to discover that. 😉

However, there is one thing that you must know….you should not continue to change job or type of job once you have found your direction. Keep the pendulum swinging…and you should be pushing the pendulum in the direction that the pendulum is swinging…to increase its momentum. This means that once you’ve found your direction, you should work hard and improve yourself in that field.

Remember not to push the pendulum in the opposite direction…thus decreasing its momentum…and eventually bringing the pendulum to a halt. Try not to switch too much…especially after you know what you actually want to do with your life.

LOL, hope you all can get my idea from this article. My “weather” inside my brain is cloudy…very tired today.

Hope it helps. Do drop your comments 🙂

In our world today, money is something that you no longer can escape from. Everything that you need…you’ll need money. Food, vacation, daily necessities, entertainments, etc….all of these, you will need money to buy them.

For myself, I am actually looking into investing my money in certain areas right now. I’m planning to diversify a little – maybe a bit in mutual funds, a bit in stock, and when I have enough money, put into real estate. The latter is less volatile but has bigger risk. So…it really depends on your financial capability and how big a risk are you willing to take.

Well, in the end, the most important thing is…do you actually have the money to start buying or start investing?

For the younger generation (20s and 30s), spending your money on something you really like is quite normal. For guys, gadgets and for girls, clothes, cosmetics, etc etc. I used to be like a typical young man…spending a lot on gadgets, games, food and entertainment. I used to spend like 5k in 3 months…on such things (my salary is not much, fyi).

But recently, I’ve changed. I no longer spend so much on gadgets and food. I feel most of those stuff are “nice-to-have” and not “need-to-have“. With 5k…there are a lot of things that I could do. I can buy a lower-end blue chip stock in Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. I can deposit the 5k into a Fixed Deposit…or even put them into the mutual funds. There are so many things that you can do with 5k…and all of them will lead to making you 5k multiply. True, it’s not something that you can see overnight and it’ll most probably need some time to grow..and at times it might gain negative progress. However, it is still better than using your 5k on purchasing a liability.

So, how much have you save this month? I am sure all of you have your own ambitions, your own dreams…and everyone wants to see their current money grow. But I can seriously tell you……..spending majority of your money on short-term happiness will never help your money to grow. 🙂

I’ve learnt this, and I hope you do too.

Offtrack a little….

I’ve started a new blog (with few friends) called The Life Frame. The new blog is something like a photo blog. My intention is to minimize wordings (less serious stuff…not like this blog), replacing them with interesting photos.

The selection of photos are quite random. 🙂

Do pay a visit to this blog whenever you’re free (or plan to escape a little from the forever serious Thinker blog).

Thanks!

Here’s the link – http://lifeframe.blogspot.com 

Many people praise about the great achievements of our so-called heroes of our society. Articles, posters, stories, novels, songs or even movies have been made based on these so-called achievements. But there is something that most of us neglect everyday – the simple things.

Why must we always look at the big things (either good or bad) when there are other smaller things that we should be paying attention to? For example, your team recently managed to close a deal with a client and all the staff approach your team to congratulate you all. It’s definitely a good feeling to feel appreciated by so many people after you’ve worked so hard for the deal. However, what if the deal did not materialize? Nobody would come and congratulate you since what they notice is normally the so-called “achievements“. Nobody would remember the small little things that your team has done – the hard work, the efforts, etc. If everything goes well and the deal got clinched…..fine. What if it doesn’t?

To me, we really need to realize that the “big thing” is important but what matters most are the small little things that create the “big thing“. A guy courting a lady he loves a lot. Do you think he could win the lady’s heart if he gives her a car (this scenario doesn’t apply if the lady is someone materialistic)? Or do you think he could win the lady’s heart by showering her with love & care, remembering special occasions, always appreciate what she does and be grateful? Believe it or not, it is the little things, the little “Thank you”, the little gifts, etc. which will ultimately win the lady’s heart.

Take another real life example. Just recently, my friend went to have a meeting with his Japanese clients. The representative from the client side was a middle-aged Japanese lady (marketing manager). During the 3 hours meeting, the Japanese lady pointed out what my friend’s company failed to provide them, what they should be providing, etc ….typical work-related stuff. After the meeting, everyone in the board room left…..except for my friend who was tidying up his files and the Japanese lady who, unselfishly, helped the cleaners to clean the tables and took the cups/plates back to the kitchen. My friend was surprised. A simple thing which won’t take much of her time…..yet, it left a deep impression to my friend.

The point that I am planning to bring out here is that most of the time, we are too absorbed into the “big achievements” or “success stories” or “major contributions” that we always neglected the smaller things. Don’t cloud yourselves that way. Open up your eyes and pay attention not to the “big things“…but to the smaller things that are equally, if not more important.

Remember, a simple “Thank you” can sometimes brighten up a person’s life……….or even give hope to someone who has lost faith in this world. 😉

Hope it helps…and hope you all can understand what I’m trying to bring out here.

In case you’re wondering, NO, I’m not referring to multi-personalities syndrome. No Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde here. I’m referring to the multiple roles each of us play everyday in our life.

Just recently, a radio DJ (again) talked about this topic on multiple roles/responsibilities and why we should make sure we know how to differentiate them. I find this topic rather interesting, and decided to write this post.

Each and everyone of us do have at least 1 role to play in this world. Most of us, though, have multiple roles to play. Take myself for example. While at work, I’m a IT Developer in my company. But that’s just my position in the company. My role here is as an employee who delivers based on the timeline given. That’s my role in the office (besides trying to help my colleagues or cheer them up when they’re down or give them moral support, etc… see? I’m a nice guy). At home, my role is as a son to my parents and a brother to my elder sister. I need to look after them, love them, care for them, pay for the housing loan, etc. That’s part of my responsibilities at home. But to my friends, I am, well, a friend. Someone to hang out with, someone to seek advice or help from whenever necessary.

You see….some of us already know what are the correct roles we should play at specific time and place. However, the problem lies with how many of us actually can practice what we know? Not many.

Let me ask you this question – how many of you actually bring your work back to your house? I must admit I do that (and I love doing that). But I also must admit I am an expert in multi-tasking. When you bring your office work back to your home, it is never a good thing since you’ll most likely neglect your family. You are bringing the role of an employee from your office, back to your home. Thus, replacing your role as your parents’ son, or your wife’s husband, etc.  It’s okay if you do this once in a blue moon….but if you always do this (and you can’t multi-task at all), then it is very unhealthy. Even if you can multi-task, I must admit it is better to separate work from family.

On the other hand, some people who don’t bring their work back to home, will instead bring their mindset back. No matter which industry you’re working in, you can never escape from work-related stress. But, do you think it is appropriate to bring whatever stress you have accumulated in the office and release everything when you are back at home? Many of us know it’s WRONG but how many of us actually can say the sentence “I have never done that before“. 10% maybe. My advice is, no matter how stressed up you are at work….you should leave it as it is once you stepped into your home. You won’t want to end up shouting at your innocent 3 year old boy who is just trying to help his worried-looking dad.

What if you are the president of some large corporations who recently joined a non-profit organization to contribute? Should you bring your “status” as a president into this non-profit group? Again, know your role. You should never assume yourself as the president of the company anywhere else other than in your company. Not in this non-profit organization who shares a completely different ideology, not in your family, and not even in a shopping complex. Know to play the appropriate role based on the situation, the timing, and the location you are in. You won’t want to end up bossing people around during a charity dinner when your main objective is to contribute to those in needs.

I know it’s never easy to do whatever I said above. Human beings are very “dynamic” creatures. We can change roles as we like…. but sometimes, we just won’t realize we are playing the wrong roles until it’s too late. The ability to be “dynamic” is a double-edged sword.

In the end, I believe it is up to the person himself to control this and balance up his life. Play the appropriate role at the right time, right place….. and never make the roles overlapping each other.

Hope it helps.

If you are one of the employees who think that way, I strongly encourage you to think again carefully.

People come and go within a corporation/company. The bigger the company is, the higher the turnover rate will be. And no matter how good the company is, it will never be perfect. Everything has its pros and cons. And believe it or not, no matter where you are working, you will surely meet up with someone who is very unhappy with his/her company.

These kind of people feel they have been “bullied” by their employers. They have been asked to work extra hour for a pay which is way below the market price or whatever they (as the employees) are worth. Or worse, they have been made a scapegoat for something they didn’t do.

These things do happen to people, whether you like it or not. In this world, there will always be some idiots out there pulling the strings of all these evil master plans to irritate you. Either the idiots are you yourselves (sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy), or some other people…. in the end, it’s still the same answer – you feel disappointed and you seriously feel you want to “repay this kindness” …maybe in two folds, 3 or 4…

I’ve experienced this myself….and I know how useless this could be. Some people will take their revenge by screwing up the jobs or their responsibilities. If this is what YOU are thinking….well, do take some time to think about the possibility of getting a testimonial from this same employer you are trying to get your revenge on. Some companies have certain recruitment policies where you need to get some positive testimonials from your previous employers in order to pass their “final screening“. If you managed to screw up your previous job, I am pretty sure your ex-boss will be quite unhappy with you. So…there goes your hope of getting a testimonial, and maybe a new job.

There are also some people who prefer to keep quiet. They will not say a single word even if they have been forced to a corner (again, either by themselves or by other people). They will control…and control…and control… until one day when they couldn’t stand anymore, they will resign. And well, these people will normally think that the company cannot do without them…and the company will be in deep sh*t if they left… “They will never find someone as good as me“, “They will surely have to pay 2 times what they are paying me now to get a replacement“, “They will regret this“. Well, the problem here is…….a company should and will never be relying on one single person. If it does, then the company’s management sux. A company’s management should know that one person does not equal to the whole company. Always be prepared to replace the person with someone else….to the company, everyone within the company can be replaced. This is the way it should be run. So if you think your resignation will make your current company suffer…….well, think again. 🙂 In the end, you will be the one who suffers.

My point here is that, nobody should ever think of getting their revenge against their company or bosses. It will never work out for the better. Always remember to keep a good image of yourselves no matter how bad they are. Leave your company with a good reputation. 

If you really want a revenge, you can choose to buy over the company. 🙂 But again, if your company is so bad that you wanted to take revenge on it, then… no point buying over it right since it will perish sooner or later (provided the company is the one having the problem, not you).

Again, hope it helps.

Ah well, human beings ARE greedy. Even if we are paid “this much“, we will never be satisfied. Thus, we’ll end up pursuing more and more $$$ to fulfill our greed for money. This will result us in possessing more than enough money that we need. What should we do?

If you are someone who prefer short term gain, you’ll most probably end up like the old me – buying something of no value (or the value will depreciate, and never the other way round) or buying something related to our interest(s) or hobbies. For myself, I must admit that everytime I have some extra $$ in my pocket, I’ll look at technology gadgets or gaming equipments such as the latest Nintendo WII (which really caught my eye). I can easily spend all my “extra income” on this so-called “short term gain“. The resell value of this WII? Close to zero I’m afraid. I’ll most probably have to lose more than 50% of the price that I paid if I were to resell it. That is why…until now….few months later, I’ve yet to buy this WII. 😛

To me, short term gain will always remain as short term gain. It is better to use our money elsewhere. If you haven’t get an insurance, go get it. It’s the first thing that you really should invest in for the sake of yourself and your beloved ones. We will never know what might happen tomorrow. 🙂 It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you have any outstanding loans – car loans, housing loans or even study loans (yea, I have all of them), use part of the money to pay them off. You’ll surely be charged some extra interests from the banks or financial institutions……but you will also take off some burden off your shoulder. Trust me, having a number of “big money loans” on your shoulder is NOT an easy thing to cope with.

After you’ve settled insurance and loans, maybe you can start looking at other type of investments –  mutual funds, fixed deposits, stock market (highest amount of profit but it also has the highest risk. Make sure you know what you are doing before you get into this), etc. Remember, investments are very important because it helps you to “grow” the money that you have. It is the place where you plant your “money tree. Just make sure you seek advice from professionals before you commit to any investments….and beware of scams. 🙂

I hope that these tips (which I’ve read from a local magazine) will give some basic insights on how to manage your money and where are the right places to put your hard-earned $$$.

If you still cannot figure out where to put them, just let me know, I have a brand new (still empty) savings account looking for donations. 😛 Just kidding. Have a nice day.

Just recently, one of the blog readers (who is most probably reading this) mentioned to me that I sounded like a 30+ years old corporate manager (or someone in the executive level). Well, I was happy and sad. Happy because I didn’t know that I have such a mature thinking *ahem*. Sad because, I’m really not that old. I’m 25 this year and I’m not a high level executive. I’m just a junior staff in a UK IT consulting company. 🙂

Anyway, the “30+ years old” thing somehow prompt me to ask myself this question – does age really matter? I’m sure most of you have asked this yourselves (it could be something related to your career, love, friendship, etc) but does it really matter if you’re 24 or 30, or even 50?

To me, yes and no.

Let’s look at it from 4 perspectives – career, love/friendship and life itself.

Career

Every company has its own junior and senior staff. Some companies take age and experience very seriously. To them, someone at the age of 40 is always better and more mature than someone at the age of 25. I find this to be true in most cases but not true in few cases. I’ve known seniors at the age of 30+ who…basically think like a kid…. whereas juniors who are in their mid 20s think like they are 30-40 years old.

In terms of work experience, it goes all the way down to the efforts of the individual. If someone senior who only works 8 hours a day and has no interest in improving himself, he will (sooner or later) be replaced by someone junior but has the urge and will to work harder in order to improve himself.

Mindset is the key here, not the age. Working experience and maturity go hand in hand with age most of the time – not all the time. So, don’t judge a junior person to be “less qualified” than a senior who behaves like a kid. 🙂

Love life/friendship

I’m not very sure about other regions, but in Asia, age plays an important role when one chooses his/her life partner. Most Asian girls prefer older and more mature guys, whereas guys don’t really care about age (as long as the gap is not too big). Fact is, age is just a number. Being younger does not mean the guy is not financially stable, and it does not mean the guy is more childish than she is. What matters most in any relationship, be it love life or friendship, is how you two (or you all) “click” with each other.

Just make sure there’s no generation gap (too big gap will result in this) and you two love and care for each other (applies to friends as well), have the common interests, etc ….I guess that’s all that matters… I might be wrong though.

Life

To be honest, whenever we grow up or older…..our parents are too. My parents are no longer young. I can see that they get easily tired after some simple activities…and their muscles/bones are no longer that strong. It hurts my heart when I see that. But I know it’s something that nobody can change. All I can tell them is to stop thinking they are old. Yes…you need to keep that kind of mentality. Believe it or not, it works. Whenever they mention they are old, I have to lecture them and remind them not to say that again. And they will suddenly feel slightly more energized and said “Yeah ! We cannot say we’re old!” 🙂 Whenever they do that, it brightens my life a little……though I didn’t show much. 🙂

To me, age is indeed just a number. It’s true that in life, this “number” will influence some of the things we do. However, I still strongly believe that mindset plays an important role. If you believe that you’re young, you will be – physically and mentally.

So, for all of you out there who always have this fear of getting older …please don’t because you cannot change it. You can never escape from it. You just have to accept it with an open arm…and tell yourself “Age is just a number. It doesn’t really matter much“.

It only matters to the extent that you allow it to. 🙂