Presidential Candidates’ Obligation

It just crossed my mind that presidential candidates have always been able to propose whatever plans during their compaign and once elected president, do whatever else the heck they want. Doesn’t that constitute as lying? It seems to be the current trend of recent election.

Because of this, it is only logical for the candidates to say whatever it is that gets them the most votes. It is in their own best interest to do so. They would be stupid to do otherwise.

It just sucks to be the people because they will be stuck with the same president regardless. All we can really hope for is a president who feels a twitch when he sees child suffering or feels like barfing when he hears children being molested by people who pray to their deity. But hoping is too passive. I propose we implement a contractual binding to hold the candidates to their words upon presidency. I’m sure they will be more cautious about shooting spits across the floor. After all, this is only integrity, something that every president should have.

But we know this binding bill is destined for veto by all branches of governments because of the obvious non-existence of integrity among politicians.

Originally posted 2007-12-14 10:39:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Poverty Business

“The Poverty Business” is the title of an article from the May 21, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek. An excerpt from the article:

In 1989, households earning $30,000 or less a year paid an average annual interest rate on auto loans that was 16.8% higher than what households earning more than $90,000 a year paid. By 2004, the discrepancy had soared to 56.1%. Roughly the same happened with mortgage loans: a leap from 6.4% gap to one of 25.5%.

Does this help explain why the gap between the wealth and poor is expanding rapidly in the past years? Not only are these people making less, they also have to pay more. It’s a double whammy!

Another thing is, the poverty business, which includes service like pay-day loan, subprime mortgage, etc., use procedures and strategy that entice the poor or make use of their ignorance to use their service and then hit them with outrageous interest+fee (BlueHippo?). It is always my insistence that we are the results of our own action. Based on that principle, these people should educate themselves financially and know they are getting themselves into, otherwise, it’s their own fault. However at the same time, it’s also problematic that these business are exploiting these folks who are already making less. That’s just adding trouble to misery, kicking them when they’re down, and get them stuck in a vicious poverty cycle.

Who is responsible for this “poverty problem”? The business? Or the people themselves? What do you think?

Either way, this raises another point – there is a need in our society to better educate people on personal finance and raise their financial awareness.

Originally posted 2007-05-20 23:24:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Terrible June for Stock Market

arrow-down.jpgLet’s be thankful that it’s the 4th of July and the market can take a break from tumbling. The terrible June has left everyone staring at some bloody red balance sheets. Hopefully the market fares better in the 2nd half of the year.

I do not look forward to calculating my networth for June. Oh well.

Now is even more critical to be reminded once again of the important idea of investing long term, instead of dumping the all the stocks and funds at huge loss. As long as you maintain the idea of finding solid investment that provide modest gain and not some get-rich-quick-thingie, whether you went with index fund or not, you should be alright in the long term and hence, best to stay put.

Keyword being “should” because let us not forget that buying into the market does not guarantee return. Even if you buy index funds. Even if you diversify. There is always systemic risk. Perhaps a major catastrophe causes the downfall of the sector of your funds, or the Wall Street somehow disappears, or the global market gets destroyed all together ,or our money system simply disintegrates! Give me your best guess. These are not likely scenario but who knows. Pessimistic? Perhaps. But I am just reminding you that no form of investment guarantees return. It is not a privilege.

Actually, the results of the above-stated disasters may not be that bad. First of all, people are screwed all together in those cases, and as result, we may live in better harmony supporting each other. Yeah, I can be a dreamer sometimes. On another thought, the idea of money may disappear and could return people to the true state of living. Or we may return to an age of the survival of the fittest, which will force people to be physically healthy and capable. Alright, I digress. I am done exercising my imagination.

The current market is a mangled pile of mess that is the result of people desiring unsustainable amount of growth in a short period of time and many of these so-called growth are a result of manual fabrication through layers and layers of abstraction (ie. CDOs). A dozen drunken monkeys in a room probably cause less chaos that that. My opinion is that it will take awhile for it all to untangle. It may even take the next 2-3 years during which we see little to no growth, if no losses, in our investment. But like I said again, we should be looking long-term.

Speaking of long-term, people always quote that the market returns somehwere between 10-12%. I don’t really like that. Past pattern does not predict future, especially the future of a speculative market that is a projection of the ficklest human minds. And when you really think about it, a few decades of data is not even that big of a sample either. People just love pulling statistics out of their donkeys to justify arguments.

Here is the thing, I took a look at the Vanguard Wellington fund that has been around since 1929 and Vanguard’s website said the average return is 8.3%. That gives me some idea and helps set my expectation. I do my diligence in investing — studying, carefully selecting, diversify a good chunk through funs — and I shall be happy if I get a 5-8% return in the long run.

I am in no rush to become rich. The journey is the fun part.

Originally posted 2008-07-03 23:19:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Reaching Greatness – It Gets Lonelier On The Way

People are always coming and going in and out of life. This happens especially if we choose to strive for change and self-improvement.

Our perception and ideals would continue to change, and the people we use to hang out with no longer share the same feelings or in worse scenario, could become incapable to understand and communicate with our newer, improvedand character. Additionally, when our behaviors change, others will distance themselves from us as they reject us for being “different”. They may also envy us, wish us bad luck, try to deter us, as we strive for success…unfortunately. Of course we wish for them to change for the better together, but we all walk a different path in life. That is something must be accepted in life.

People fear difference. Sometimes people limit themselves because they are afraid to be different.

Consequently, it gets lonelier the more we change and try to become our better selves. Thus, the dilemma for each of us…

In the face of loneliness, how do I respond?
Can I maintain myself with confidence?
Or will I choose conformity out of fear?
Can I presevere, knowing it will only get more difficult?
Or will I take the easy way out instead?
And worst case, will I be okay with the fact that no one in the world can understand me?

Let me share this quote:

Anybody can be famous
Fame is cheap
Fame is easy
Fame is fleeting,
Try achieving greatness.

Greatness is hard
Greatness is lonely
Greatness is work
Greatness is humbling
Greatness is a responsibility and greatness lasts forever,
you don’t want greatness do you?

Therefore, greatness requires determination and perseverance. Striving for greatness is a true test of ourselves, and that’s why we need to know who ourselves really are and what we want.

For those of us who choose greatness, we can safely assume the individuals who stay with us by our side on this path will be the greatest companions we will ever encounter in life. Encounterance with these individuals are truly invaluable, so we shall know and cherish these individuals.

Originally posted 2007-06-08 23:50:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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