Thursday, December 24, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Silent ‘epidemic’ of ageing

Just to share ......
23 years from today, number of Malaysia aged 65 or older will double to 14%....
23 years are very short indeed. Considering many do not have many dependents. What is worst even they have dependent, they are unable to support their parents. The financial markets have not been very kind either. The recent volatile financial markets have been very tough for most of the fund managers.
Years of low interest rates are actually making things worse. 

Malaysia, like many of its neighbours in Asia, is in danger of getting old before we know it.
CHALLENGES of the ageing population are no longer issues faced by developed countries. Developing countries are fast catching up and Malaysia is not spared.
 In fact, the speed of growth in the number of the aged in developing nations is so alarming that innovative thinking at all levels is needed to address it if we are to avert a crisis, says Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Institute of Gerontology director Prof Dr Tengku Aizan Tengku Abdul Hamid.
It is a “silent epidemic”, she says.
 “While France took more than 100 years to double her population aged 65 and over from 7% to 14% (from 1865 to 1980), the older population in Malaysia aged 65 or over will take only 23 years to double from 7% in 2020 to 14% in 2043.
 “So, compared with the more developed countries, Malaysia has a rather short time to prepare for the transition into an aged nation,” says Tengku Aizan. 
It is therefore urgent to prepare the nation for this eventuality as it takes more than a decade for social institutions to change, she stresses.
One main problem is that ageing issues in the country are handled by separate agencies, making them fragmented and hampering them from providing the best solutions. 
“There should a central planning body that oversees all aspects of population from the life course perspectives, with inputs from all stakeholders and made up of multidisciplinary team members who could analyse, organise and plan the kind of policies and programmes needed to best address the issues,” she says. 
A nation is considered aged when the older population makes up 7% of its total population, Tengku Aizan highlights, quoting a US National Institute on Aging report, “An Aging World: 2008”. 
As the study also points out, Sweden took 85 years to double her population aged 65 and over (1890 to 1975), Australia, 74 years (1938 to 2012), the United States, 68 years (1944 to 2012), Britain, 45 years (1930 to 1975) and Japan, 26 years (1970 to 1996) to double her population aged 65 years and over from 7% to 14%. 
In contrast, developing countries such as China would only take 22 years to double her population aged 65 years (2001 to 2023), Singapore, 20 years (2007 to 2027), Korea, 18 years (1999 to 2017) and Vietnam, 16 years (2020 to 2036), she highlights, based on the findings of K. Kinsella & Y. J. Gist in their book Older Workers, Retirement and Pensions in 1995 as well as Tengku Aizan’s own calculations from the International Data Base (US Census Bureau, 2013). 
Read the rest here:

Monday, November 2, 2015

< = > Less equals to more

21 Benefits of Owning Less

Minimalist living is countercultural. It is contrary to every advertisement we have ever seen because we live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of possessions.
But there is more joy to be found owning less than can be found pursuing more. Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions.
1. Spend Less  | Choosing to accumulate only the essential often results in financial freedom.
2. Less Stress | A minimalist home is significantly less stressful.
3. Easier to Clean | The fewer things in our home, the easier they are to clean.
4. More Freedom | The sense of freedom that comes from minimalism is truly refreshing.
5. Good for the Environment | The less we consume, the less damage we do to the environment.
6. Be More Productive | Our possessions consume our time more than we realize.
7. Example for my Kids | These are valuable life lessons they will never learn in the media.
8. Support Other Causes | Money is only as valuable as what we choose to spend it on.
9. Own Higher Quality Things | More is not better… better is better.
10. Less Work for Someone Else | Create a less stressful life today and lessen the burden on someone else too.
11. Be Happier | Owning fewer possessions makes you happier.
12. Do Work You Love | Own less stuff. Choose work you love.
13. Freedom From the Comparison Game | Our culture begs us to own more.
14. Time for Things that Matter Most | The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.
15. Visually Appealing | Make your home more appealing.
16. Not Tied to the Past | Release the past to create a better tomorrow.
17. Less Places for Your Heart | Invest your heart into meaningful things.
18. More Opportunity for Rest | Take a deep breath.
19. Find Things Easier | Own less clutter. Find stuff quicker.
20. Live in a Smaller Space | For most families, a house is the costliest investment they’ll ever make.
21. Display What You Value Most | Communicate what is most important.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bear markets already started

The most obvious one.....

Hang Seng Index already plunged more than 24%

Singapore market also plunged by 20%

Can't imagine what will happen when S & P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial enter bear market.

Will these markets get even more depressed with another 20% down? Very likely.

What about KLCI which just entered in a correction territory despite of so much bad news such as 1MDB scandal created so much uncertainty and rapid Ringgit depreciation?

My view is worse is yet to come. I won't go posting a bear case everyday like what I did in 2007/2008 cycle. I will let the gravity rules - the markets will fall on its weight.

Just forget about the noise of 1MDB or Federal Reserves that keep everyone guessing on the timing of a rate hike.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Long time no post

If you are a vivid follower of the stock market, the recent plunged of Shanghai stock market was due to deleveraging. It can just declined more than 20% in 2 weeks. The above chart looks scary to me. The margin is even higher than the tech bubble. It will be too late to run when the margin calls are here.

'Black Fridaysweeps over stock market

By Dai Tian ( 2015-06-26 16:34
'Black Friday' sweeps over stock market
Investor at a securities brokerage in Huaibei cityEast China's Anhui provinceJune 26, 2015. [Photo/IC]
Chinese stocks suffered a "Black Friday", with the ChiNext indexa Nasdaq-style board ofShenzhen-listed growth enterprisesplunging 8.9 percent as fears saw leveraged investorsjettison their holdings.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dived 7.4 percent to 4,192.87 at the closeitssteepest fall in five monthswhile the Shenzhen Component Index slumped 8.2 percent to14,398.79.
"Signs of the market edging down have triggered panic among investorsmany of whom areleveraged and forced to close their position," said Yang Delongchief strategist at ChinaSouthern Asset Management.
Data showed pullback by leveraged trading as the outstanding balance of margin-debt at theShanghai Stock Exchange fell from a record high for a fourth day on Thursday to 1.42 trillionyuan ($229 billion).
"The market will remain volatile but likely to rebound if not in a short term," the strategist toldChina Dailyadding that it's too early to say the country's year-long bull market has peaked.
The market view diverged however as Morgan Stanley advised clients to refrain frominvesting in mainland shares in a report on Fridaysaying the top for the cycle has beenreached.
Nearly 2,000 stocks tumbled by the daily limit of 10 percent on Fridayamong whichtechnology shares and small companies led the rout.
"The decline is part of an automatic adjustment in response to the rapid surge earlier and isthe result of a market mechanismamplified by liquidity fluctuation and deleveraging," saidZhang Xiaojuna spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commissionat the weeklybriefing on Friday.
Despite the sharp correctionmarket liquidity is abundant and the economy has shownstronger signs of stable growthhe added.
The Shanghai gauge has surged nearly 30 percent since the beginning of this year and 124percent over the past year until Thursday.
"The deleveraging is healthier for the market after all," said Yangadding that he recommendsblue-chips whose valuations are below the historical level and defensive sectors such asbeverage and insurance stocks.
The CSI 300 Index slumped 7.9 percent to close at 4,336.20 on Friday.
Cai Xiao contributed to this story.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

When kings got dethroned.....

First, it was Bill Gross got dethroned as king of bonds and now we have Mark Mobious dethroned as king of emerging markets. Those basically believe in valuation practically got hammered and driven to the ground.

The End of Mark Mobius’s Reign as King of Emerging-Market Stocks

For a quarter of a century the name Mark Mobius has been synonymous with investing in developing markets. A bald, energetic, New York native who often dresses in white suits, Mobius is constantly tweeting and appearing on television from St. Petersburg to São Paulo encouraging investors to put money into fast-growing developing economies. A Mark Mobius comic book published in Asia in 2007 chronicled his globe-trotting exploits. (Really.) In the U.S. he was voted by his peers onto a list of the top 10 investors of the 20th century, putting him alongside Warren Buffett, Julian Robertson, and George Soros. What Bill Gross was to bonds, Mobius was to emerging markets: the King.
His reign may be coming to an end. Like Gross, Mobius, 78, has posted mediocre numbers in recent years and seen investors depart. While they still make money, 11 of the 13 largest funds that Mobius oversees at Franklin Templeton Investments have underperformed their benchmarks over the past five years. At his zenith in 2011, Mobius oversaw $39 billion. Today that figure is down to $26 billion. And in December, his flagship Asian Growth Fund lost its long-held position as the region’s largest to First State Investments’ Asia Pacific Leaders Fund. “He’s one of the few well-known managers in emerging markets,” says Todd Rosenbluth, director of mutual fund and ETF research at S&P Capital IQ. “Unfortunately, the track record is below average. Investors are more frustrated.”

There is only one kind of people that I know is making money now: traders and momentum traders.....If you don't belong to this special breed, be very careful. You can loose your shirt minus your pants....yes....pants(plural).

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Random thoughts on the markets

Waiting for major market corrections requires a lot of stamina. But I know if I give in now, I would really an idiot. Why?

Look at this chart.

S & P 500 is valued @ 21x PE ratio. Except the extreme bubble or of the chart during 2009 crisis, it is certainly at top of the valuation range. The median is 15 x. I always believe in reversion to mean.

KLCI is selling for 17 PE ratio. Again it is above the long term valuation and also at the top of trading range. Corporate earnings have been dissapointing. 

My only market that I used to be bullish while the rest of the world keep saying China was about to implode due to property bubble, crashing economy and shadow banking. As time goes by, my convictions were proven right. China is heading towards managed landing. China stock market is getting very pricey, close to 20x PE.

What is really worrisome the stock market is fuel by high school drop out and "da ma".

I don't think I am looking for the end of the world scenario but we certainly need a deep 20-30% corrections before the bull run can continue.

Please note that the cheap money is here to stay forever, is an illusion. Look the US unemployment is approaching full employment. It's close to 2006/2007 level.

Yet the interest rate stays ZERO?

No, it will not stay for long, at least not what 10 year treasury traders think. It starts to trend up.

To those who still swimming out there, just be careful. Just like Warren Buffett said: "A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends."

Saturday, March 28, 2015


It was strange that I feel sad for a man whom I never met. Have not really even really read one of his greatest trilogy writings. Have heard about younger generations of Singaporean ranting for wanting more freedoms. Certainly have seen a successful Singapore, feel safe walking any where you want and getting a lot things done very fast.

If you want to know how much respect you got is what your people say about you when you are no longer around. Even Dr. M has something nice to say about him, in a personal way, Kuan Yew and I

What he has done inspired many third world countries to do the same. China was one of them. Deng Xiao Ping opened up China after a visit to Singapore. As a result of that, millions and millions of people were liberated from poverty. I am sure the world has also benefited from this multiplier effect.

The greatest criticism on him was authoritarian style. Many have also abused by saying a country can achieve what Singapore had achieved if they sacrifice some of their freedom. In a real world, it is not so simple.

I had a long walk this morning to think about this. My conclusion was, yes I don't mind to submit to a leader who is smart(1st class Cambridge graduate), a workaholics, 100% clean and like a candle that burning himself to light up the nation. That is why too, many tried the model, only a handful successful because some ingredients were missing. Thanks LKY.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ringgit to USD Chart ...... pray it does not breakout @ MY 3.70 !

MYR closed at 3.64 against USD today. It's getting very close to 2009 level.

We may think that USD is universally getting stronger against a lot of currencies but look this. I do not want to show SGD here because we always have something to say that they are a well managed country. Let's compare to Thailand.....Geez......holidaying in Thailand seems to get much more expensive.

I don't think Ringgit depreciation is driven by poor sentiments or uncertainty caused by 1MDB alone. First almost default on RM 2 billion loand and now rumors are swirling of RM 3 billion cash injection needed.

Something is wrong!

But at the same time, things seem to be quite calm in the bond markets.

Our 10 year yield is still quite stable and I do hope things will be under control. The movement so far has been in locked steps with US 10 year bond yield though there were some spikes that quickly brought back under control.

The divergent is building up. It's really time to be vigilant.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spring Cleaning.........Welcoming Goat Year

Aha.........the good news is I have finally done spring cleaning my house. When I was young, I remembered we all would gathered at grandma house turning her house upside down to make it sparkling clean. We would repaired leaked roof and repainted the gate. Then welcomed a new year.

During those days, it were really special occasions that we get to eat chicken and receiving red packets. 

During those days, red packets were more symbolic gesture of love than money.

The situation is quite different nowadays - the tradition is either disappeared fast or hard laborers of love replaced by maids......sigh.......The situation has also changed due to much smaller family size. In my case, I ended up doing most of the works(without maids).

I finally reached the last and my favorite place today -- my's a place that we tend to throwing in our stuffs or keeping our stuffs promise to deal with it. It's kind of writing IOU. Unfortunately we usually default on our IOU - don't make good on our promises. I finally resolute to make good of my spring cleaning. 

I found there were many things that obsoleted, I mean technologically....So I finally made up my minds to get rid of the ADSL modems  as we had transitioned to Unifi. I found copies and copies of old annual reports and also warranty cards that more than 5 years old. Sorry, those were also finally ended up in a big rubbish bag.

I also had something I really wanted to keep such as this old mobile phone which is more than  17 years old.....Not too sure it will worth a lot of money if I keep it for another 17 years old.

I also have a prized 17" Macbook Pro that was 12 years old. The screen was not in working conditions but it was still one of those stuffs that I wish keep.

Apple MacBook Pro 17in

Fortunately for me this year, when come to investment portfolio, I don't have to work very hard. It looks pretty clean because most of them are in cash or really long term investment that I don't intend to sell even during the next bear markets.  Despite of high cash position, I still have no intention to re-balance it by moving some of cash to equities or other assets. It is not so fun though seeing strong markets rebound from sharply oversold markets in December 2014. I keep reminding myself everyday that it is better to have lower return from risk free investment than making a negative return by making wrong moves at the wrong time. 

Wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year. May the year of goat brings lots of good lucks, good health and good fortunes.

Image result for goat year picture

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Are you(Am I) prepared to retire?

You might find it weird that I post about the subject as my first posting of 2015. No particular reasons just that after taking a long break, I want to get more clarity what exactly is retirement.

I am bored and tired of the same old, same old text book writings or advice about retirement. It's always about money, money and money. We all will be blasted of not having enough money to retire. We will run out of EPF money within 30 months and etc. Therefore, starts with PRS and so on.

What make me feel even more sick is whole bunch of these people who are advising other people about retirement, are people who never experiencing retirement themselves. They just copy and paste from textbook without serious efforts of getting primary or secondary research.

Money matters aside, I think there are some other big pieces of puzzles are missing. Let's warm up with simple questions like What exactly retirees do? We all dream of retiring, Yes? What would you(I) want to do with this new found freedom? Or suddenly turn ourselves into "billionaires" of time?

Before I go on, I have a qualifier: I have never experience retirement myself too. The subject pops up is just to provoke myself to kind of thinking through about retirement. Hopefully, I have sufficient clarity before I really decided to retire. After I started to make this entry I found out reality(facts) and imagined retirement(myths) could be two very different animals. I don't want to just focus on the financial preparation alone but also thinking through how am I going to live until the day I going back to see the Lord!

I have a hard time to think how are we going to fill our new found 16 hours(24 minus 8 hours sleep) for the next 15 to 40 years. One-Five is a long time, Four-Zero is closer to eternity. Looking back, during my career, I have quite a number of events that break my monotony. Most of the challenges are forced by changing business or personal environments. Living for next One-Five and Four-Zero years doing the same thing(or no idea of doing anything) is quite a scary thought to me. I have more to comment on this later.

An ideal retirement according to our imaginations or told by people are(my comments are in red color):

# 1 - Spend more time with the loved one. Be careful of what you wish for. You might find out the more time you have with your loved one ended up with more quarrels. You may ended up finding more ugly sides of yourself or loved one.

# 2 - Travel around the world. Each trip may last you 3 days to 15 days, what are you going to do with the rest of 350 to 362 days, not to mention the depletion in your saving account?

# 3 - Improve your home. Sounds reasonable. Repair here and there, do a bit of gardening, vacuum and shine the whole house. Technically we have just found ourselves a full time job coming out from retirement.

# 4 - Community service. Spend more time in the church, temple, mosque, etc......volunteer ourselves. It's a noble inspiration. But....a big BUT. Are you ready for public service? Public service can mean it's a thankless job. A candle burning itself? Not everyone has that calling. 

# 5 - Learn something new. Yea.....great idea. Do it today! If you can't do it today means you won't do it when you're retired.

# 6 - Execise. This is another no brainer. What is preventing you exercise today? Kick your butt and get the fuck out of couch watching the TV, surfing Internet, etc.....Just do it!

# 7 - Reward yourself.  Draw up a bucket climb Mount Everest, buy a xxx car, drink that xxx wine, switch to xxx brand clothing. Nice in theory.

The list can be endless.........on those so called retirement dreams.

In reality, these are more likely.

# 1 - Sleeping. When you are inactive, the tendency of sleeping or taking naps are high. 

# 2 - Watching TV. Most likely you will spend about 4 - 5 hours daily watching TV.

# 3 - Surfing the internet. Facebook, gossips, blogging, and etc.....

# 4 - Eating. In an unhurried life, we tend to spend more time to prepare food and also eat more slowing. Some may even travel miles and miles to find things to eat.

# 5 - Shopping. Like teenagers with so much time at their disposal. They ended up with lots of window shopping. 

# 6 - Reading. Yea, I think most people will try to read from cover to cover with a few cups of coffee.

# 7 - Socializing. Personally I don't have that many friends. So I am not so sure about this. Again, talking to the same friend over and over again for next 15 to 40 years is kind of weird and scary.

You may start to protest and demanding the punch line. What are you trying to say?

Do you have any aspirations when you quit your full time job(voluntarily or by forced)?

Before we talk about aspirations, let me share my views of what my retirement certainly SHOULDN'T be:

  • Running away from the world. We shall never alienated ourselves to a monastery to be monks or nuns(unless you strongly feeling that you have the calling).
  • Downgrade ourselves to become manual laborers - butler, driver or housemaid.
  • When time turning from a friend into an enemy. Getting ourselves into trouble of developing clinical depression that leads to all kind of other problems - alcoholism, womanizing, popping blue pills or all kind of escapism.
  • Wasting time endlessly gossiping about people, politics or any other special topics, stocks. Yes, especially the last one is dangerous because thoughts will eventually trigger action.
  • Mechanical programs that sold by imaginary successful retirement like go round the world, fulfilling exotic bucket list wishes, play golf, etc.....  
  • Volunteer ourselves to do community works just because we have nothing better to do.
  • Turning ourselves for next half our life into somebody who are worse off than our first half of our life. Why should l sleep more than it should be? Why shall I spend more time on a couch? Why should I allow my physical and mental sharpness to deteriorate?
  • Preparing our funeral.

P.S. My postings will be infrequent until market valuations improved or I might write additional follow up thoughts on this topic.

Happy New Year 2015!