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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick Check on FY2011 Before Moving to FY2012

Well, in just less than 25% of a day, it will be 2012. It also means that we should all have our mind set on what are the financial goals that we are expected to achieved and proper execution plans to meet those financial goals.

Like last year in my Looking Back 2010 Before Setting Financial Goals for Year 2011, I will also start have a quick check on my financial year 2011 and what I have achieved and what I have failed to achieve and the reasons for failing to achieve the financial goals that I have set for the year.

I have very simple 2011 financial goals and it is sort of generic as well. The generic goals were to

  • Continue tithing

  • Clearing 10% debt

  • Stocks portfolio to grow another 15%

I am pretty sure that I have successfully completed the three financial goals that I have set.

Tithing requires discipline and I always ensure that I set aside the money to tithe. Debt repayment is also the same. I always set aside the same amount of money to pay my car loan and this year, I again managed to reduce the car loan to another 16%. However, the same cannot be said to my education loan as I only managed to pare down 6%, due to I need quite amount of money for my property renovation.

My stocks portfolio grow 17% - which is about 2% better than my financial goal. But overall I feel that the stocks are doing good considering that the index actually gained less than 1% throughout the whole year. What I like most about the growth is that 32% of the stocks growth actually came from dividends and now I actually have 11% from the stocks allocation are cash which means I can go on shopping spree if the market doesn't look good and at the same time, I can continue to grow the cash via dividend.

Overall, it is another great year for me although I feel like cash strap due to the renovation cost.

Disclaimer: This blog post only serve the purpose of updating the financial goals progress which I've set last year, and nothing for show off, which is why I only do a short review rather than posting everything in details.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How a Financial Pro Lost His House

As we all read it from the news everywhere that the household debt in Malaysia is on the rise and the household debt has been going from 66.7% in 2009 to 74.6% end of 2010.
What this is actually telling us is that for every RM1,000 that we earn, RM746 is used to serve loan (source).

While I have been thinking of promoting debt or loan in this blog, but finally kill the idea of doing that as I know there are many people who cannot control once they stepped into the world of debt - even a financial pro.

Below is the story of How a Financial Pro Lost His House. I find that this article can serve as a reminder to us that excessive leveraging has its danger as well.

ONE night a few years ago, when the value of our home had collapsed, our debt was out of control and my financial planning business was shaky, I went to take out the trash.

There was this enormous window that looked right in on the kitchen table, and through it I could see my wife, Cori, and our four children eating dinner. It was dark outside, so they couldn’t see me, and I just stood there looking at them.

After a while, I pulled up a bucket and I sat on it, just watching my children eat. I found myself wishing that I could get back there, connected to the simple ordinary stuff of my family’s life. And as I sat and watched, filled with longing and guilt, two questions kept arising:

How did I get here?

And how am I going to get out of this?

There are many stories these days of people who lost their financial bearings during the housing boom and the crisis that followed, but my story is a bit different from most.

I’m a financial adviser. I get paid to help people make smart financial choices, and I speak and write about personal finance issues for this publication and others. My first book comes out in January, “The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money” (Portfolio, a Penguin imprint).

The thing that few people know, though, is that I learned a lot of this from experience. I made a bunch of mistakes, the very same ones that I now go around warning people to avoid.

So this is the story of how I lost my home, the profound ethical questions that arose along the way, and what my wife and I learned from the mistakes that led us to that point. It made me better at what I do, but it wasn’t much fun getting there.

Like most financial stories, this one is personal. It starts with me getting into the financial services industry more or less by accident. I answered an ad in 1995 that I thought was for a job related to “security” (as in security guard) but was in fact related to “securities.” That’s how little I knew about the stock market. A few months later I found myself working a phone at a Fidelity Investments call center.

Things went well, and by 1999 I was a Merrill Lynch financial adviser and a certified financial planner. By then, we also owned a house in Salt Lake City. We’d bought it two years earlier, with a $25,000 down payment.

A few years later, an opportunity arose to form a partnership with a successful Merrill adviser in Las Vegas. The place was on our top 10 list of never-move-to cities because we had always associated it with the Strip. But Cori and I were looking for an opportunity to have an experience somewhere else, and we met some great people when we visited the city. I took the job, and we moved down there.

That was May 2003. Housing prices were already crazy, so we rented. But our neighborhood had zero character and lots of cookie-cutter houses. Within a few weeks, we were looking for a place to buy.

I felt we could afford around $350,000. We called a real estate agent named Mitch, who had signs on all the bus stops: Talk to Mitch! He picked us up in a gold Jaguar, and suddenly we were looking at houses that listed at $500,000 or more.

It felt a little crazy to be shopping for houses that cost half a million dollars, but my income was growing rapidly. Everywhere I looked, people were being rewarded for buying as much house as they could possibly afford, and then some. There was this excitement in the air, almost like static. I started to think that if I didn’t buy a house right then, I would never be able to afford one.

At moments during our house hunt, I felt in my gut that something wasn’t right. We’d go to open houses for $400,000 homes and see lines of couples in their late 20s — younger than we were — waiting to get inside. I kept wondering where all the money was coming from. How did all these people make so much?

But prices just kept rising, and when people kept buying, that made it seem safer. I knew from my work as a financial adviser that following the crowd could be costly. But like everyone else, I felt safer in a crowd.

We didn’t find anything we liked with Mitch, but one day in September 2003 Cori spotted a for-sale-by-owner sign in a really nice neighborhood. We ended up buying the house and paid the asking price of $575,000. (When we tried to negotiate on price, the owners were amused; it just wasn’t that kind of market.)

We borrowed 100 percent of the purchase price. In fact, I was told I could borrow even more if I wanted. I had perfect credit and a solid income that was growing. But even so, when the lender approved us at 100 percent, it was more than I had expected. I remember thinking something like “Wow. I guess if they’re willing to lend it to us it must be O.K.”

I should have known better. No matter how well things are going, borrowing 100 percent of the purchase price of a home is not a good idea. I shouldn’t have relied on someone else to make that calculation, let alone the guy who was making money putting me in the loan. I was a financial adviser, and I never sat down to figure out what it would take to make this work. I just wanted to believe him. And it was so easy to believe he had been right, at least at first. We loved living there. The children went to an awesome public school, and we made some great friends. I could ride my bike to Red Rocks, the wilderness area outside of town. And for a time, the real estate market erased any doubt I may have had. It just kept going up.

One evening in 2006 comes to mind. My sister-in-law was thinking of moving to Las Vegas, and a real estate agent told me about an open house for a new Toll Brothers community. This wasn’t a come-by-for-cookies type of open house; it was held at a Las Vegas hotel ballroom. I arrived to find a line that led down a flight of stairs and out of the front door. Before I got to the front of the line, they stopped admitting people. Then people rushed the door, like it was a rock concert.

The market’s continued strength meant we could borrow even more. It was easy. In late 2004, a year after buying the house, we refinanced our mortgage with World Savings Bank, which later ended up in the hands of Wells Fargo, using one of the pick-a-payment loans that let you choose your own payment each month.

We picked the lowest possible payment, the one that added to our balance each month instead of subtracting from it. And we added a line of credit with Wells Fargo.

The extra borrowing power was important, because while my income was growing rapidly it wasn’t enough to support all our expenses. Around that time, I left Merrill Lynch to become an independent financial adviser, so it was easy enough to convince ourselves that we were borrowing to pay for the start-up costs.

There was some truth to that, but we were also borrowing against the house to finance our lifestyle. The line between business expenses and personal ones is sometimes hard to draw when you run your own business, and during those heady times it seemed even harder. But in hindsight it is clear that we were spending more than we should have on things like recreational gear and family trips for ourselves and our four children.

It was extravagant, but it seemed modest compared to what some of our neighbors were doing. Our house was the smallest model in the neighborhood (though at 3,500 square feet it was hardly tiny), and we drove a Chevy and a VW. Cori and I and some of our friends had a lot of conversations comparing our spending habits to those around us. How can so-and-so afford a boat? How are people buying new trucks and four-wheelers and 5,000-square-foot homes? Do they know something we don’t know?

At times, it seemed as if maybe they did. I knew a builder of custom homes who urged me to buy one of his houses for close to $2 million. I told him there were at least a million reasons why I couldn’t do that. He looked at me like I just didn’t get it. He assured me the house was appraised for $200,000 more than the asking price, and that after I lived there I could take out a line of credit to live on while the house went up even further.

The crazy thing is, he was right. The place eventually sold for more than $3 million. When I heard that, I felt a little silly that we hadn’t taken that risk.

As for our spending, we told each other that we’d catch up later, as my income and the value of our home continued to rise. As late as February 2006, a comparable home in our neighborhood sold for $998,000. We made the classic mistake of projecting recent trends — even extreme ones — into the future.

But slowly — and then increasingly — we began to have a different kind of conversation, “When are we going to stop and just get on top of this?” The solution was always making more money, not cutting back. The fact is, it’s much easier to set a goal of making more money in the future than it is to buckle down and cut back today.

We never really worried that things would go to pieces the way they ultimately did. But then came the collapse in the stock market. I had clients calling in tears and breaking down in my office. People who had never worried about their portfolios were calling me from their vacations. It was like talking people in off a ledge virtually every day, maybe three times a day, for maybe 90 days in a row.

The range of potential outcomes had gotten so broad in people’s minds that it now included the end of the world. What they wanted and needed more than anything was reassurance that things would be O.K. and that they should stick with the investment plans we had created together. Providing that reassurance had been my job for 10 years or more, but this was the first time that I really wondered if my advice was right.

It was my job to assist them, but I found it incredibly stressful. It didn’t help that we were in increasingly dire straits ourselves. My income fell about 20 percent because my take-home pay depended on the amount of money I managed. At the same time, our cost for health insurance and property taxes kept increasing, and the payment on our mortgage reset higher as well.

By then, housing prices in Las Vegas were falling quickly, and the bank had cut off our home equity line of credit. We quickly got rid of a car and stopped taking trips. I moved into a smaller workspace and cut back on my administrative and marketing costs. Even so, we found ourselves using credit cards as emergency stopgaps.

Then, the sickness set in. The pain would start in my stomach, and then I’d spend six hours vomiting. It happened once, then three months later it happened again, then one month later it happened yet again. Eventually, it was happening every couple of weeks. The doctors couldn’t find a physical cause.

Right around that time, it became clear that we might need to get back to Utah, where 90 percent of my (still nervous) clients lived. We spent the summer of 2009 living in my in-laws’ basement in Salt Lake City, while I tried to stabilize my financial planning business. By that fall, I was convinced we had to move back permanently to save the business. But that meant we faced the question of what to do about the house.

By then, we owed over $200,000 more than our original loan balance.

Borrowing that much had seemed to make sense when the value of the home was still rising substantially every year, taking our net worth higher with it. But at that point, there was no way we could sell the home for anywhere near what we owed. Some of my friends were already doing short sales, where the bank agrees to let you sell the house for less than your loan balance. I was also aware you had to be three months behind in your payments before the bank would talk to you about the possibility.

At first, I dismissed the idea of a short sale. Late that summer, I sat down with a really close friend in Las Vegas, someone I looked up to. He cut to the heart of the matter right away: Why, he wanted to know, were we still making the payments?

Because I have a moral obligation, I said. You pay your debts.

He proceeded to explain that I didn’t have a moral obligation to the bank. I had a moral obligation to my family. I had a contractual obligation to the bank, along with a clear moral obligation to be honest in my dealings. What he was asking was this: Which is more important? Your contractual obligation to the bank or your obligation to your family to preserve your ability to make a living?

I had never thought of it that way. But it made sense. I summed it up to myself like this: I have a contractual obligation to the bank (as well as a moral obligation not to skirt the consequences of breaking it: losing my house and wrecking my credit score). But my moral obligation to my family trumps the contractual obligation to the bank.

Cori and I thought about this for months, but we finally decided to let the house go and stop making payments so we could pursue a mortgage modification or a short sale. The fact was, we didn’t have a choice. We simply couldn’t afford it.

I remained troubled by the ethical implications of what I was doing, but I soon started seeing some of my friend’s arguments echoed in the work of Brent T. White, a law professor at the University of Arizona. He and others were arguing that homeowners should act more like companies — taking into account legal and economic reasons for stopping a regular payment rather than “perceived moral obligations.”

That was reassuring in the dead of night while I sat in front of the computer trying to make sense of the world financial markets and my own personal situation. I remember being relieved at discovering a way to frame my decision.

But we didn’t know what would happen in the harsh light of day, and we were scared to death. Would we be kicked out of our house? What would the neighbors think? What would the children think? We worried about the stress on our relationship and even the survival of our marriage. I felt like a complete failure.

We looked into a mortgage modification, thinking it might let us keep the house and rent it out after we moved. But the offer from Wells Fargo, which owned our loans by then, was too modest. That meant we could either walk away from the house or work with the bank to do an orderly short sale.

A bank representative came to the house and met with us. He was such a nice guy. Cori had treated it like an open house, and the place was spotless. The guy said he’d never met anyone more qualified for their short sale program.

Somehow, even in that horrid market, we sold the home for $531,000. That was in late August 2010. In exchange, the lender released us from both our first and second mortgages. Today, Zillow estimates the home’s value at $505,000.

We were pretty low when we packed up to leave. We hadn’t told anyone about the short sale — not family and only one or two friends. But we sensed that people knew anyway.

We borrowed a truck from a friend who owns a wood mill to move our belongings. Back in Utah, we found a house to rent— much to my relief and after months of being terrified that we’d never be able to find a landlord willing to take a chance on us. I had to tell the owner what had happened. He looked at our personal references and let us lease the house anyway.

We love where we live now. Still, there are consequences. We lost our home. It’s not clear when we’ll be in a position to become homeowners again.

But the worst thing was my sense of complete failure and powerlessness when I realized that things were out of control and that it was my fault. These days, there is still a sense of genuine regret that I screwed up and hurt myself and other people. I still worry about what others think of my behavior, which is one reason I haven’t shared this story with many people until recently.

We have a friend who is under water on his mortgage even though he has lived within his means and done everything right. He’s sticking with his mortgage for as long as he can.

Someone recently asked me what I’d say to people like him. I guess I’m saying it now. As I was writing this article, I pulled behind a truck with a bumper sticker, “Honk if I’m paying your mortgage.”

I thought about that for a while. I guess one of the ideas behind that bumper sticker is that people like Cori and me who couldn’t afford to pay off our mortgages are to blame for the financial crisis and the bank bailouts that followed. This isn’t the place to explain the causes of the economic slump, and I’m not the guy to do it.

Still, the questions linger. As I ponder all this — and I think about it a lot — it occurs to me that we are a nation of risk-takers. Some of us were overoptimistic; some were ignorant; some were deluded; some were greedy; some just had bad timing. We erred to different degrees. Our experiences varied; each story is different. Now you know mine.

The experience has changed just about everything about how I do financial planning and the advice I give in public. For one thing, I am less quick to judge other people’s financial behavior. I’m also more inclined to take into account personal factors that determine how people behave around money.

I have a friend who is going through a tough time financially. He has a high income, but is burdened by debt from a few real estate deals that went south. He continues to take fairly expensive ski trips. That would seem irresponsible in his situation, and maybe they are.

But I now realize that it is not that simple. Maybe those trips are keeping the guy alive, or saving his marriage or keeping him sane enough to work.

I have another good friend who borrowed against his house to pay for a therapist. Unless you were walking in his shoes you might think that was stupid, but it saved his life and changed his career. It ended up being one of the best investments he ever made.

The process of making financial decisions is about more than building a spreadsheet to calculate the answer, because life rarely fits cleanly into a spreadsheet. Our decisions often appear irrational until we understand the whole story.

I’ve also learned some things about risk. Risk is an arbitrary concept, until you experience it. And I’ve noticed myself focusing more on the consequences of something going wrong than just the probability of that happening. As a result, I tend to urge my clients to make decisions that err on the side of caution.

As for Cori and me, things are much better now. Moving back to Utah clearly was the right choice. The business is doing well, and we’ve managed to pay down most of our debt. It would be easy to say that we’ve learned our lesson, that we’ll never screw up again.

But it’s not that simple. At times I’m absolutely clear about what makes sense. Then ordinary life choices arise, and things can get cloudy. Should our children play sports that cost money? What kind of family vacation is O.K.? How much is enough?

We’re still working on that last one. But we are asking the question, repeatedly. And the temptation to overspend, to go for it, to tell ourselves that things will work out in the long run, is tempered by a feeling that something big is at stake.

All I have to do to remind myself of that is to remember what it felt like to stand outside the kitchen window two years ago, looking in on my life, and thinking I might not get it back.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Malaysia Budget for the Year 2012: "National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-Being of the Nation"

The followings are the key take away from the Malaysia Budget for the Year 2012 which was tabled by the Malaysia Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak last Friday in the Parliament.

- The theme for Budget 2012 is “National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-Being of the Nation”

- Last year our FDI growth was the strongest in Asia and in the first 6 months of this year have already reached RM21.2bil

- In 2012, private investment is forecast to climb 15.9%, supported by foreign and domestic investment

- GDP in the first 6 months of 2011 was 4.4%, driven by strong domestic consumption

- In 2011, the economy is forecast to grow by 5-5.5%

- Private and public investment are forecast to increase by 15.9% and 7%, supported by foreign investment, the ETP and 10MP

- In 2012, the service sector is expected to grow 6.5%, the construction sector 7% and GDP is forecast to be between 5 and 6%

- Budget 2012 allocates RM232.8bil for Government plans, including RM181.6bil for management and RM51.2bil for development

- RM29.8bil has been allocated for investment in infrastructure, industrial and rural development

- RM13.6bil has been allocated for the social sector, including education and training, welfare, housing and community development

- Total revenue for 2012 is forecast to increase 1.9% to RM186.9bil and the deficit to decrease to 4.7% of GDP from 5.4% in 2011

- We will focus on accelerating investment and further liberalise 17 services sub-sectors, in places enabling 100% foreign equity.

- RP2 will be implemented in 2012, and it will be allocated RM98.4bil, to be split evenly between 2012 & 2013

- RP2 main projects will include the East Coast Highway from Jabor to T'ganu and road upgrades from Kota Marudu to Ranau

- RM18bil of the RM20bil PPP Facilitation Fund will be used for high impact projects, with RM2 billion for bumiputera entrepreneurs

- In 2012, the Government will allocate RM978mil to accelerate the development in five regional corridors

- The Treasury Management Centre will be established and offer incentives to develop M'sia as a competitive financial centre

- We will develop the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District, with incentives including income tax exemptions for firms

- We will develop the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District, with incentives including income tax exemptions for firms

- Income tax exemptions for non-ringgit sukuk issuance and transactions will be extended for another 3 years

- To promote the development of Exchange Traded Funds products I-VCAP will provide RM200mil for Shariah-compliant ETFs

- Felda GVH will be listed on Bursa Malaysia by mid-2012 to raise funds for the company to become a global conglomerate. Felda settlers are expected to receive a windfall, and the amount will be announced before listing

- A RM2bil shariah-compliant SME Financing Fund managed by selected Islamic banks will be established in 2012

- A RM100mil SME Revitalisation Fund offering loans up to a maximum of RM1mil for entrepreneurs will be available from Jan 2012

- Full exemption of import duty and excise duty on hybrid cars and electric cars will continue to be given until 2013

- To promote tourism, the Langkawi Five Year Tourism Development Master Plan will be launched with an allocation of RM420mil

I personally think the budget benefits the civil servants while at the same time, the budget neglect the needs of the middle class society in Malaysia. But what do you think of the Malaysia Budget 2012?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Price Is What You Pay. Value Is What You Get.

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." This is one of the famous Warren Buffett's quote that I like most. In fact, this has become one of my motto whenever I do shopping, be it in the stocks exchange, or in my day to day shopping routine like groceries, buying clothes or investing in transportation mode and expensive gadgets.

Ok. Why do I think this quote relates to the blog until I put it as the Quote of the Day? Well, let just say I just want to remind myself that price is only something that I will need to pay and it is the value that I should look into on something that I wanted to invest, be it stocks or clothes or food or many other more. So, in other words, this quote can apply to almost everything in our daily life.

Let me give an example over here. Hmm....let me see, well, I have few pairs of sport shoes, different brands and price range as well. I usually will get a pair of shoes made locally, price range about RM60-RM70. Here is what value and the lesson of price and value comes about. At the same time, I have few pairs of Nike shoes, price ranging from RM250-RM600. The value I'm talking about is my Nike shoes can last me for years, while the local brand shoes last me about a year. If I'm comparing a pair of RM60 shoes with a pair of RM250 shoes, the more expensive one certainly more comfortable and it last longer than the RM60 one and the fact that the Nike shoes are more durable means that I can save more in the long run. I am not saying that cheap certainly means bad, but just merely a lesson of price and value. Price wise, the Nike shoes seems more expensive, but after comparing overall, the shoes do have the kind of value. The good thing about buying cheaper shoes is that I have every reasons to change it every year, whereas if I just buy "slightly" more expensive shoes, I won't be able to do give myself reason to get new one - also might be way out of budget :p.

Sometimes, cheap can give one more value than the expensive one. It's all depends on one need. Back to the shoes example. Trust me, if there is a budget for it, I will still buy local brand shoes if needed as extra pair so that I will not feel bored wearing the same shoes over and over again. Doing this might prolong the lifespan of the shoes as well giving me time to clean the shoes that I might not be wearing for that whole week. The value here is that the cheaper pair of shoes is used as the buffer while not draining up much cash.

Surely, when Warren Buffett quoted this, he did not mean something so simple as deciding to get a pair of shoes. I like this quote especially when it comes to deciding what price range of the stocks that I would like to buy.

Trust me. I do not believe in investing in cheap stocks although the return could be lucrative say maybe 100% per bit of transaction, but I might buy into penny stocks, if the value is there.

How do I define the value of each stocks then? Is it based on the price? Not actually. I usually prefer to buy stocks within RM1 to RM3 range, because this range is the most affordable to me - simple saying, I prefer to buy middle cap stocks. However, the price alone does not dictate the value of the stock. Stock A might be RM1 but it is already overvalue, while stock B might be priced at RM10, but still undervalue. How I tell whether a stock is overvalue or not, well, I'm not a technical analysis person, so, I just perceive a stock value based on the financial strength and earnings of the company and the nature of the business.

This does not mean all these "undervalue" stocks will surge but at least by screening out based on the financial reports of the stocks, it will reduce the chances of one getting a stocks at high price.....well, overpriced stocks.

I will not talk on some of the criteria that I looked whenever I filter out the stocks selection at this post, but I might be sharing that in the near future. Or maybe sharing out why most of us ended up buying stocks at high price even though the stock is deemed "cheap" finally trapped when the sentiment turn sour.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to survive for a fresh graduate? [Part 2]

It wasn't a habit of mine to blog long post when I'm outside but the excitement and enthusiasm of mine looking ahead of my first job takes over.
I realize that being a fresh graduate, the income is not a lot and at times, it feels that it's not enough...but as my previous post mention, I believe the key is to follow the old phrase: "Spend less than you earn"
The first part on savings has already been posted and now I'm going to continue with my second part: earning extra income while keeping your day job.

If you are very much like me, freelance writing will be very suitable.
There are a lot of ways to be a freelance writer...writing for magazines, newspapers and even for could also consider blogging if you are into it...using Adsense, nuffnang and others will help you to earn the extra cash you need for leisure and luxury...imagine cashing out on this money for the usage during Christmas or other events...

Tutor, this is what I did during my University days to support myself...and amazingly, I had extras to save for investment as well...and if you are a fresh graduate now like myself, you could even command for higher pay...try applying as part time tutor with open universities as well...the pay and experience will be quite rewarding as well...

Baking? If you are into baking cakes, cookies, you could also consider showing off your talents on the Internet. You could also consider contacting the local coffee place, cake shops and show them your work...If it is delicious and the decoration is attractive, you might just land yourself a good deal.

Most people are into social network these days...and if you are reading this, I believe there is a 90% that you have a Facebook account and that you check it almost every 2 hours at least. And don't forget about Twitter...if you are the social networkers, consider social media can do it through churpchurp in Malaysia and I'm sure there are more companies out there in other countries...

And what about Internet business?? Now most people are afraid to venture into business because of the cost...I'm very much afraid as well but Internet business has its get to do it at a low cost...and I'm starting a supplement business on the Internet using blogspot for now. The cost is low and the risk is lower but it also helps me to be exposed into the business world.

There are of course many more ways to earn income, using your skills and your knowledge...freelance photographer, setting up computers, gadgets and etcetra...the good thing about this is doing what you enjoy and earning money at the same time...Take some time and jot down what you are good at...the reward is better than you can imagine...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Coffee Bean, Jusco Ipoh

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to survive for a fresh graduate? [Part 1]

I was preparing myself for work and I realized that it is quite difficult to survive for most of the fresh graduate in Malaysia. So, as I was thinking about it, I realized that there are only 2 logical answers to this:

  • Save more money
  • Make more money

If you're observant enough, both of it also have to do with money and more money in fact.

So, I'm going to divide this post into 2:

  1. ways to save more money
  2. ways to earn more money

I need to say that these are not not too difficult ideas but one requires discipline to do so and I'm still very new into this so I'm more of experimenting with it.

Ways to Save more money

Now, it won't requite a genius to realize that in order to do that, one will have to eat more at home. Now it is not going to be easy given that I'll be staying in KL on my own with my housemates and that it will be tiring by the time I reach home (I suppose). Given this condition, it is probably difficult to suggest cook at home. Nevertheless, this is the key. One need not have to cook at home daily but by making it at least a day in a week, it will help to make a difference.

Secondly, we all know that coffee is an addiction and Malaysia is so popular with OldTown, Starbucks, Coffee Bean or even Mamak...Now, I know that leisure time is important and the Latte Factor is important but try to make it only once in a week where you drink will make a lot of difference when you make coffee at home instead of drinking outside.

Then, we also have the LUNCHTIME...we all know that lunchtime is the best time to connect with the people at work, heard about the latest juicy news and this connection is important. However, you don't have to do that all the time. Try bringing your own lunch for like a day or two in a week. Then make the other 3 days to connect. The balance is important.

SHOPPING SPREE....NO!! This is an important part for both men and women. It is important to make a shopping list before you decide to do so. Impulse buying is what people call it. And you must not get into it. There are going to be a lot of "PROMOTIONS" and by making simple plan, you'll avoid overspending.

PAYING BILLS ON TIME and avoid fines!! This is important. Whether it is your electric bill, water bill, credit card or etcetra, you must avoid these unnecessary additional charges.

If you are a book lover like I do, then you'll probably need to opt for a second option: BORROWING BOOKS. This is possible to do so by going to Novelhut, a secondhand bookstore that buy, borrow and sell books. Of course, another alternative would be to go to the library. I still have my university matric card and since I'll be staying nearby UM, I plan to head back to that place for books.

Transportation is probably a major issue in Malaysia so I'll suggest carpooling more often. Since I'll be taking the LRT to work, I'll most likely consider using the RapidPass RM100 that could be used for 30 days...that's a month usage and I think it is reasonable to consider that since it'll be much cheaper. Without the need to worry about parking and petrol, one could save about RM200 and more.

Get a credit card and use its' benefits. We all know the danger by owning a credit card but having it will also make your life easier if you plan well. For example, if I go to Starbucks, I could use the AmericanExpress to buy 1 free 1. By sharing with your friend, you could get it much cheaper. Or you could use the HSBC card for a 10% discount there. If you use Postpaid, where most fresh graduates do, you can consider using AutoBilling (this comes with using Digi iPhone package) with more points and rewards. And there are many benefits in using the credit card...utilize the benefits and you will find yourself saving more even as you spend. There are also times that you could use the monthly installment when buying something. Most of these monthly installments are with 0% interest. (of course, it is important to spend wisely).

Bottled your own drinking water. We all know that water is important but we neglect it most of the time. I learn this habit from my girlfriend, YenLeng where she would always bring a bottle of water with her when she go out. This could help you save money on buying other drinks when you go out.

Price Check. Now, this is important when you are buying stuff. Most of the time, the promotion might not even be promotion. Now, I'm not saying you do that all the time (otherwise, it will be a waste of time) but I'm saying that it is important to do so especially with expensive products.

Well, there are of course many other ways that you could save money, but just saving money alone is not enough...after all, what's the point of having money if you can't enjoy it. The most important is: BALANCE...
Coming up next, ways to earn more money for working fresh graduate...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Xbox 360 consoles sold passed 55 millions

If you are a big fan of gaming console, you'll realize that Wii, PS3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 are the top contender...

But when I read about the news of 55 millions consoles of Xbox 360 sold in the United States, we have a clear really tempt me to buy it as well since my brother will be moving to his new house soon...all the more with Kinect...

But I guess now is not the right time...this is because I am just starting to work...I'll need to spend a lot on working attire...then I want to spend more on investment and studies in the coming years...

Haha!! Suddenly thought of blogging bout this while sitting in the car...anyway guess that's it for now...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sell in May and Go Away

The stock market adage “sell in May and go away” is based on the historical tendency for stocks to generate most of their positive returns during the six-month period from November 1 through April 30. Since 1950, the Dow has appreciated 7.4% on average during this favorable period, versus only a 0.4% average return in the May 1 through October 31 interval. It is not difficult to imagine this seasonal pattern playing out again this year. The stock market was very strong in the favorable six-month period just ended. The Dow gained 13% from November 1 through April 30. The same cannot be directly applies to KLCI, but eventually all stocks will move in the same direction at about the same pace.

However, should we really sell in May and go away.....only return to the stock market in November? I have been seeing that indeed May is not a good month to trade, but surprisingly my stocks portfolio (paper) gain actually increased another 3% from the peak in January, but after all the ex-dates of bonus issues and dividends, it drops 4%, which is just 1% from the peak.

So, if you are asking me, should we sell in May and go away.....I would not really agree. If we actually wanted to liquidate our holdings, we should do it ahead before the massive sell off which is a month back, on April. Technically, we should not be selling when everyone else is selling, right?

Judging by the previous years, from May until end of October, the volume usually not high, and retailers and getting more and more hopeless about the stocks recovery, thus selling even at discount as cash is preferred. On the other hand, I feel some stocks are worth to be accumulated during this time frame, and come November, the stocks portfolio might be benefited from the stocks rally (assuming there is a rally coming soon :p)

In the meantime, I will just hold on to stocks, which fundamental is still intact and stocks that continuously generate income via dividend to me replenish the cash that was already used to accumulate some growth stocks. This strategy works for me quite well last year, so, hoping to achieve the same thing this year although I lowered my financial goal this year to have stocks portfolio grow another 15%, while at the same time building healthier cash ratio.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inflation and How We Can Cope With It

The recent surge of all the prices of the commodities has make me recall about the same situation that has happened globally three years back. Back then, the price of the crude oil surge beyond USD100, the same thing that what we are seeing now.

The surge of the crude oil price and other commodities can have serious effect to a lot of things especially in business. Cost of the raw materials used for manufacturing will increase, subsequently impact their earnings until these companies passed the cost to the consumers - which I assume asap.

Nevertheless, global inflation is real and it is going to stay for quite some time, so we better get used to it until the Fed decided to stop printing the money......or put it in this way, until the US economy recovers.

None of us would want to have reduced purchasing power, but it will happened. There are several things that we can do to cope with the global inflation, rising prices of the goods, properties and many more.

The first to to do to cope with the global inflation is by spending smart. This means that you still continue to buy the NEEDS, while eliminating the WANTS from the shopping list. One good way is to buy goods in bulk in hypermarket like Tesco and share with family or friends and then pay according to the portion that you requires. This can be done by taking turns to do groceries during the weekends. Buying goods in bulk usually turns out to be cheaper. Not only we can save from the groceries, we get savings from less car usage, petrol and car maintenance cost.

Next, we can try increase our income by a lot of ways....rental income, free lance jobs, dividend income, FD income. This is where invest wisely comes in as FD usually is not enough to offset the inflation, so it is not wise to put all the savings in FD. Just save enough for emergency use in FD, and invest in either properties for rental income or dividend stocks, as these two can give you something to offset the inflation.

In summary, to cope with global inflation, we need to spend smart and invest wise. There are a lot more examples from smart spending and invest wisely, but I think this post is long enough, so maybe I will just leave it for the next post.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011 Financial Goal

Previously by the end of 2009, I would already have the 2010 financial goals, but I did not manage to post my 2011 financial goals by the end of 2010. A lot of reasons behind, but mainly due to laziness. :p

Anyway, I don't expect this year financial goals will have much different compare to the 2010 financial goals mainly because there are not much changes in my current financial status.

The generic financial goals would be:-

  • Continue tithing
  • Clearing 10% debt
  • Stocks portfolio to grow another 15% (why I lowered it this year is because market been going up a lot last year, so, it would be not to grow so aggressively)

I am thinking to clear more loan and keep more cash in hand rather than putting more in the stocks as the direction of the stocks become more volatile. Last year besides growing about 30%, I also inject about additional 20% of my annual income to the stocks - however this year, I'm thinking of injecting maybe about 10%-15% of my annual income.

Other thing that I would like to achieve is to build a healthier cash ratio in my portfolio and who knows, maybe add in property in my portfolio by the end of the year as well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

MYR to Other Major Currencies Exchange Rate

Currency exchange rate is also one something that we should always look up on to gauge whether import goods from certain countries is getting cheaper or getting more expensive. Another reason for monitoring the currency exchange rate is so that we can know whether the economy in a country is getting better or worse, although nowadays currency exchange rate has slowly become speculative rather than fundamental.

As Malaysian, I am always curious how the country currency perform against some major nations like the United States.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Economical Way to Lose Weigh

Nowadays, people are slowly aware of the importance and benefits of keeping a body fit. Women choose to lose weight, so that they have better body shape that can indirectly attract attention of men, while many others lose weight to have a healthy living.

If there is a need for you to lose weight, you could opt for a smarter and more economical way, the HCG diet. It only cost about 69USD in comparison to those who go for injection or slimming programs that might requires you to dig deep. The effect of HCG treatment is as good as those who go for injection. There will not be any fear of pain as well.

If you are not sure about the effectiveness of HCG, here are some basic facts that you should know. HCG is a natural hormone or protein substance that helps burn off unneeded excess fat. It also alter your diet and preference of food in a healthy manner.

For those of you who are afraid of side effects, the HCG drops are homeopathic, so they are safe and have virtually no side effects. If you are in need of a weight loss method and exercise and strict diet doesn't seem to work for you, the smartest and economical way to do so would probably be going for the HCG diet.

Monday, February 21, 2011

EPF declares 5.8% dividend

Well, guess what....the long awaited EPF dividend annoucement for most Malaysians is finally over. EPF declares 5.8% dividend in a year. Read more for the explanation from the EPF. I will blog a post that will again compare EPF vs KLCI maybe by end of this week.

PETALING JAYA: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has declared a dividend of 5.8% for 2010, up from 5.65% declared the year before.

It will pay out a total of RM21.61bil to members, an increase from the 2009 dividend payout of RM19.37bil.

EPF declared that the rate, which was approved by the Finance Minister, was the “highest dividend payout amount ever”.

EPF’s total investment assets stood at RM440.52bil as at Dec 31 last year while its gross investment income was RM24.06bil.

“The dividend rate underscores an impressive year in which gross investment income reached a historical high of RM24.06bil, reflecting a 39.76% increase over the RM17.22bil recorded in 2009,” EPF chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said in a statement yesterday.

Samsudin said last year’s investment income was especially driven by the per­formance of equity investments boosted by improved financial and economic conditions.

“The dividend amount paid out is derived after deducting net impairment allowance on financial assets, investment expenses, operating expenditure and statutory charges as well as dividend on withdrawals,” he said.

Equities, the statement said, was EPF’s largest investment income contributor at 45.45% or RM10.94bil, followed by loans and bonds, Malaysian Government Securities, money market instruments and property and miscellaneous income.

According to the statement, two-thirds of EPF’s total investment assets last year remained in low risk fixed-income instruments with stable streams of income.

“As a retirement fund, our primary objective is the preservation of capital while adding value to members’ retirement savings.

Members may check their EPF account statement for the crediting of the 2010 dividend via EPF Kiosks, counters or i-Akaun, from today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How the Middle Class Became the Underclass

As I was browsing through some Financial articles, I came across this one .... How the Middle Class Became the Underclass. I am sharing the article because I feel that the article really fits the blog theme, in which we are talking on the Realm of Wealth. The article simply reflects the truth of the rich will get richer.

Below is the full content of the article which you can also get it from Yahoo Finance.


Are you better off than your parents?

Probably not if you're in the middle class.

Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed.

In 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer was $33,400, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward 20 years, and not much had changed: The average income was still just $33,000 in 2008, according to IRS data.

Meanwhile, the richest 1% of Americans -- those making $380,000 or more -- have seen their incomes grow 33% over the last 20 years, leaving average Americans in the dust. Experts point to some of the usual suspects -- like technology and globalization -- to explain the widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

But there's more to the story.

A real drag on the middle class

One major pull on the working man was the decline of unions and other labor protections, said Bill Rodgers, a former chief economist for the Labor Department, now a professor at Rutgers University.

Because of deals struck through collective bargaining, union workers have traditionally earned 15% to 20% more than their non-union counterparts, Rodgers said.

But union membership has declined rapidly over the past 30 years. In 1983, union workers made up about 20% of the workforce. In 2010, they represented less than 12%.

"The erosion of collective bargaining is a key factor to explain why low-wage workers and middle income workers have seen their wages not stay up with inflation," Rodgers said.

Without collective bargaining pushing up wages, especially for blue-collar work -- average incomes have stagnated.

International competition is another factor. While globalization has lifted millions out of poverty in developing nations, it hasn't exactly been a win for middle class workers in the U.S.

Factory workers have seen many of their jobs shipped to other countries where labor is cheaper, putting more downward pressure on American wages.

"As we became more connected to China, that poses the question of whether our wages are being set in Beijing," Rodgers said.

Finding it harder to compete with cheaper manufacturing costs abroad, the U.S. has emerged as primarily a services-producing economy. That trend has created a cultural shift in the job skills American employers are looking for.

Whereas 50 years earlier, there were plenty of blue collar opportunities for workers who had only high school diploma, now employers seek "soft skills" that are typically honed in college, Rodgers said.

A boon for the rich

While average folks were losing ground in the economy, the wealthiest were capitalizing on some of those same factors, and driving an even bigger wedge between themselves and the rest of America.

For example, though globalization has been a drag on labor, it's been a major win for corporations who've used new global channels to reduce costs and boost profits. In addition, new markets around the world have created even greater demand for their products.

"With a global economy, people who have extraordinary skills... whether they be in financial services, technology, entertainment or media, have a bigger place to play and be rewarded from," said Alan Johnson, a Wall Street compensation consultant.

As a result, the disparity between the wages for college educated workers versus high school grads has widened significantly since the 1980s.

In 1980, workers with a high school diploma earned about 71% of what college-educated workers made. In 2010, that number fell to 55%.

Another driver of the rich: The stock market.

The S&P 500 has gained more than 1,300% since 1970. While that's helped the American economy grow, the benefits have been disproportionately reaped by the wealthy.

And public policy of the past few decades has only encouraged the trend.

The 1980s was a period of anti-regulation, presided over by President Reagan, who loosened rules governing banks and thrifts.

A major game changer came during the Clinton era, when barriers between commercial and investment banks, enacted during the post-Depression era, were removed.

In 2000, President Bush also weakened the government's oversight of complex securities, allowing financial innovations to take off, creating unprecedented amounts of wealth both for the overall economy, and for those directly involved in the financial sector.

Tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration and extended under Obama were also a major windfall for the nation's richest.

And as then-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan brought interest rates down to new lows during the decade, the housing market experienced explosive growth.

"We were all drinking the Kool-aid, Greenspan was tending bar, Bernanke and the academic establishment were supplying the liquor," Deutsche Bank managing director Ajay Kapur wrote in a research report in 2009.

But the story didn't end well. Eventually, it all came crashing down, resulting in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

With the unemployment rate still excessively high and the real estate market showing few signs of rebounding, the American middle class is still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, as corporate profits come roaring back and the stock market charges ahead, the wealthiest people continue to eclipse their middle-class counterparts.

"I think it's a terrible dilemma, because what we're obviously heading toward is some kind of class warfare," Johnson said.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Knife Sets For Home

Starting a family means a whole lot of commitment. One of the major commitment is the house. To have a comfortable life, one should have a comfortable home, equipped with everything that a house will need to have ranging from bed to kitchen appliances. A lot of new couple neglect knife sets, but having complete knife sets mean that the couple can prepare dish and cook at home.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Using Payday Loan To Solve Temporary Credit Crunch Situation

Most of us at one point of time or another might suffer from credit crunch due to a lot of unforeseen circumstances such as accidents, house broken in and many more. This is not to say that we never have a proper budget to cover when bad things happen, it is just that sometimes bad things happen so drastically until we might stumble upon credit crunch.

Of course, a good way to avoid temporarily credit crunch is to save up to six or even a year of salary, but what if we run into credit crunch situation when just started to work? How are we going to have six months of salary in our savings? Not possible.

During the credit crunch situation, first of all, it is best to get financial help from family and friends, who can provide financial assistance without charging interest. By doing this, we can repay the debt to them in the following month when we have our first paycheck.

However, sometimes, the financial situation is so bad that even with the financial assistance from family and friends, it is still to be resolved and because we just started to work, it is not likely we can get any personal loan or credit cards from any banks due to low credit score.

This is where payday loans might come in handy as one can get payday loans almost instantly and without requirement of any proper documentations and credit score, but do take note payday loans interest are quite high - which is why after we get our first paycheck, the money should go to the payday loan first.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 CLSA Feng Shui Index: Watch the Metal Rabbit Bounce

As we are still in the Chinese New Year mood, let's look into what the Feng Shui master said about the overall market sentiment for the Rabbit Year. I even have a post on Investing With the help of CLSA Feng Shui Index last year, so this year we can even review some of the prediction to see whether any of the prediction comes true.

The following is the excerpt from CLSA website on the 17th CLSA Feng Shui Index:-

17th CLSA Feng Shui Index: Watch the Metal Rabbit bounce

Hong Kong - Wednesday, 19 January 2011 - CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets (“CLSA”), Asia’s leading independent brokerage and investment group, publishes the 17th CLSA Feng Shui Index (‘CLSA FSI’) report today with a tongue-in-cheek look at what 2011 holds for equities, commodities, property, celebrities, and the zodiac signs in the year ahead.

The year of the Metal Rabbit promises plenty of luck and material gain for investors, with many signs favouring the accumulation of indirect wealth. But, with a continuation of last year’s conflict between heavenly metal stem and earthly wood branch, get set for more volatility (though less than we had with the Golden Tiger).

This year’s CLSA FSI report includes the all-new ‘Sector-Vector Detector’ with the outlook for 10 key investment areas, including gold, as well as: our feng shui guide to Hong Kong; fates of the famous such as Ben Bernanke and Kim Jong-un; tips for getting luck to flow your way and much more.

The 2010 Year of the Golden Tiger CLSA FSI predicted the performance of the Hang Seng Index (“HSI”) so precisely that even we were a little surprised. Although past performance is no guarantee of future returns, we are confident that the HSI will provide great opportunities for investors to buy and sell their way to profit over the months ahead.

For the market, February 2011 should see a slow start to the year, with the Rabbit reluctant to emerge from its hole for fear the tiger still lingers. March calls for patience as opposing forces test investors’ metal. As the Rabbit finds his feet, wealth will come from the West in April and prove a great month for those with stamina.

May begins with one of the year’s four most auspicious dates (14 May), but we expect a tumble in June, providing a great buying opportunity for the savvy. Investors may want to rethink their summer-vacation plans: we see markets rising sharply over July and August. Money will flow.

With Fall comes a fall: the CLSA FSI predicts a sharp decline in September – but not for long. October marks a sustained market rally with money flowing abundantly through to the end of November. However, investors should remain focused as markets decline during December. Come January 2012, the Bunny bounces back to close the year on a high.

Sector-focused investors should pay attention to the five elements: Metal is hot, water is bubbly, fire is on fire, wood would if it could and earth is soiled. So where to invest? It will be a great year for Financials, Gaming, Gold, Resources and Transport. While gold didn’t break US$2,000 per ounce as we predicted in 2010, we are confident the Rabbit will provide the carrot this year. It will be a good year for Oil and Gas, Technology, Telecoms, Internet and Utilities, but an unexciting time for the earth-related Property sector.

In terms of the Zodiac, 2011 most favours those born in the years of the Cow, the Sheep, the Dog and the Pig, while Tigers and Roosters will experience a bumpy year. We foresee a great year for HK Tourism Board Chairman James Tien Pei-chun, a fire dog, and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s well-fed heir apparent, a water dog whose birth date has been amended to make it more auspicious.

This year’s most auspicious dates are 14 May, 4 August, 15 November and 16 January, while the least auspicious are 16 June, 22 June, 23 September and 15 December.

All in all, the year of the Metal Rabbit provides great opportunity for investors to reap the rewards of astute investing, but they should be forewarned: those who chase two rabbits will not catch one.

source: CLSA

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wishing Everyone A Healthy and Prosperous Rabbit Year

Wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year :D. Hopefully everyone will be healthy and prosperous in this year of this Rabbit year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Becoming a millionaire..

Ever wonder why some people make it to the top so easily while some others work hard day and night only to earn for survival. Well, it is not just a matter of the hardwork poured in. It is also about the way one live their lives, use their money and also the type of work that they do. But if you are indeed willing to struggle for it, it is possible for you to be a millionaire. 

The first step besides all the hard work put in your work is the willingness to create a personal expense account.  
You will need to open a checking account just for your household expenses. Then you will need to figure out the amount needed for monthly usage from electricity, food, right til entertainment. After that, put the rest of the paycheck that you are about to receive into savings account for it to accumulate. This is for budgeting purposes and if you felt that you are using more than you earn, it is time to consider cutting on some of the expenses. The money put into savings account will need to be used wisely...if you're under 30, put all those money into stocks...At 30 and above, it is time to consider drizzling in cash, bonds, and other safer investments. 

Secondly, manage your debt well. Debt is important as it helps us to make use of future money. For example, it will be quite impossible and ridiculous for you to fork out the entire 200k plus amount of money to buy a house. However, it is important to make sure that you know your debt and that it is manageable. Credit card could be used for this purpose as well...the ability to use future money and manage your debt will help you gain benefit as most products could be buy on easy payment basis these days. You could also consider the credit balance transfer for purpose of managing your debt and using future money. However, all of these require proper planning and one of the best way is to write it down. By using paper and pen, you will be able to have a clear idea on your debt situation. It is important to be realistic and open about your spending when you write it down. Only when you are honest about your own weaknesses that you could start managing your debt properly. 

Third, become a PREDATOR. While this might sound bad, but you shouldn't really feel guilty about it. It's all business after all. During the bad times, many people will seek to sell their properties at a lower price because they are not able to manage their debt. Here is your opportunity to buy these at a bargain. DO NOT FEEL BAD about it because you are actually helping someone to get into a fresh start. In fact, the economy ought to thank you for helping to boost it. 

Be steady and DON'T PANIC!! 
In investment, there are good times and there are bad times. It is important to look at the fundamentals of the company you are investing. Don't be panic just because of the news and the crowd that seems to be panicking. Hold steady and know when is the right time to let go if necessary. 

Last but not least, be INNOVATIVE and always looking for better opportunity. The world is a battle and survival of the fittest and if you are innovative in your approach to work, chances are you will see a better opportunity and grab hold onto it. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flowers for home decoration?

Well, in my planning for the new house renovation, my family and I were talking about setting up lightings like those that we see on AVATAR....if you remember the 3D movie that somehow earn a lot of money for the beautiful scenery.

Anyway, I went to look for some people who are good at these and they told me it would actually cost me quite a fortune. I wouldn't want myself to be financially tight down due to these. Instead, I am planning to look for beautiful artificial flowers that could help set a greenish environment, something that I love after watching Avatar. The lightings that would be needed will then be much cheaper. These artificial flowers will be long lasting, beautiful and I plan to look for those that could give an elegant outlook.

After some discussion, the idea of buying artificial plants come into mind as my mother was telling us it would have been better to set up some lightings around these artificial plants instead. It will cost much lesser and the house could still have the design that I wanted. I am really thinking deep into this because I wanted the house to be comfortable and beautiful but I wouldn't want to spend too much on it alone as I have other plans for the usage of my money. I believe this is important because it will be very burdensome to my sister and I if we invested too much on renovation and accessories alone.

The idea was appealing to both my parents and siblings. I have look for some professionals who could probably help us with the floral arrangement and it won't be too difficult to maintain it. This will help lessen my mom's work in gardening. These plants will not only help to maintain the elegant look but it also help to create a warm atmosphere at home. Hopefully, some of my readers who might have more experience in floral arrangement and interior design could give me some of their opinions.