The Sky is Collapsing on Wall Street and…

…stop checking your portfolio! You heard me right. Stop checking your portfolio. I know you are very tempted to keep checking it these days. But stop. If you must, move away from the keyboard and mice so you can’t log into your account. I tell myself the same.

Unless you are extremely smart or extremely lucky or simply clairvoyant to have bought ONLY in the last 1 months (last few days?), your portfolio is likely in the red. Bloody red. It’s a disturbing image that can turn your stomach inside-out and very tempted to sell to cut the losses. Perhaps I will sell and wait out the downturn and recession, you think. Perhaps that is true for particular individual stocks you own. But otherwise…

Au contraire, you should keep contributing into the solid investments that I’m confident you have selected (need I say index funds?) and keep looking into the long-term. The long-term is that the downturn will last couple months, a year, or even a couple years, and who knows, but for sure, it will eventually go back up. Why not just keep contributing regularly, buying investment on bargains available now, and wait for the upturn to happen? Assuming you listened when I said you are best to have at least 5 years time horizon for your investing money.

Even better would be if you have extra cash and a stomach for volatility to pick up more bargains this year.

One more thing is, if you sit on the sideline and wait, the upturn will likely happen before you know to jump back in. And if you can’t handle the volatility and risk, perhaps it’s best to stick with high yeild savings/CDs and bonds or… your mattress… just kidding.

Originally posted 2008-03-10 11:10:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Housing Slump Saga Continues

On the topic of buying my own place, it has always been my thought to wait until half way through next year to make a decision on buying. This MSN Money article, House prices expected to fall until 2009, reaffirms it for me.

“It’s going to be a long time before we see it bottom out and recover,” said David Lowman, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase’s Global Mortgage unit. “There’s too much inventory already in the marketplace.”

Lowman and the three other participants in a round-table session before most of the convention’s 4,000 participants differed slightly on the size of price declines still upcoming, but they agreed no price recovery is likely until at least 2009.

“I think this year we will see a 2% decline in national home prices, and we’re projecting about a 4% decline next year,” said Thomas Lund, an executive vice president at Fannie Mae.

Prices likely will flatten in 2009, Lund said, before gradually rising.

Lowman said it might be 2010 before the price decline ends.

This is not hard to imagine, because it is only since last year 2006 that the rate has begun to reset for many home buyers with ARM. Those ARMs are borrowed on a fixed rate for either 3-year or 5-year for many people spreaded over time. Hence, it is not difficult to imagine that as many more of those ARMs’ rates get reset in the coming years, there will be more defaults and foreclosures following. Together with an already over-supplied market, housing price is bound to drop further

So honestly speaking, who knows when the housing market is going to bottom out? Nonetheless, that is my vision and what I believe. That is the reason why I am waiting until next year to get a better perspective before making a decision to jump into home-ownership.

There is no hurry because while I wait,I will continue to put my money to work in some high-yield saving accounts and stocks/funds investment.

Originally posted 2007-10-27 13:08:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Understand Yourself

Do you understand yourself?
Do you know what you want?
Do you know why you act certain ways?
Do you ever talk to yourself?

Can you answer all those questions?

You may think, “Why the heck is this dude asking all these question? He crazy…”
Or you may think, “Only crazy people talk to themselves? This guy’s crazy…”

Hear me out. I want you to understand the importance and the need to get in touch with the self. Take a look around you, these days people seem to be so busy that they never pause for a moment to get to know themselves. They’re so busy with life. They work all the time. They drive to and from work, angry with traffic or thinking about work, or stressing about life. They study and study to obtain some degress or certicates that may move them further in career. When they don’t do those, they sit and watch TV, go on a shopping spree, talking on the phones for hours, listening to iPods, so basically, filling every void possible in their time.

Let me pop another question, “So what’s the most common reason for relationship breakdown?”
This should get your attention.

I would have to say it’s the lack of communication or miscommunication.

Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Wife/Husband: I thought you know what I meant. -OR- Why couldn’t you do this? -OR- I thought we are going to do xxxxx.
The other half: You never told me. -OR- We never talked about it. -OR- You didn’t explicitly say it.

Fit in any scenario in the above example, be it scenario where ones does the wrong thing, or both persons share different outlook in life, or both persons have different spending habits… These are common themes in conflicts that bring relationship to an end when the couple finally realizes the difference without prior communication and understanding to allow solutions and compromises to keep the relationship going. That’s why it is important to get to know each others. It goes for any relationship.

You can translate that into business scenario. Usually when employer and employee terminate their relationship is when one side or both sides cease to listen and understand the other sides, therefore, they no longer can fulfill the needs and expectation of the other side inthe relationship. Perhaps the employer is not getting the work he wants done. Perhaps the employee is not getting the opportunity he wants. Either way, when such problems persist for a long time without communication to solve them, one will fire the other.

You should get my point of the importance for communication in relationship now.

The same thing can happen to the individual person. What happens if I don’t establish communication with myself? Unlike those other relationships, I terminate my relationship with myself. I can’t separate from myself unless I commit suicide, but let’s not go there. So what happens next?

If I never really get to know myself, I will wonder in life aimlessly. I may wake up, go to work or school, eat, sleep, what some TV or play some video games perhaps, do what I am “supposed” to do, do what I need to fulfill my basic needs to survive, or do what satisfies the family’s expection. And that will be it. Then the day repeats itself.

I will be disconnected from myself. I will not know what I want to do. I will not know my priorities. My action will be out of sync from the person I truly am, or who I aspired to be deep down. The more action I perform that does not represent my true self, the further away I am from reality. I will live a life that is not one that I want. Because I don’t do what I want. Because I don’t know what I want. Because I don’t take the moment to think for myself, to talk to myself to understand what are the things that have meanings for me and the priorities in my life. I will do things that are not meaningful to me and some end up hurting myself, like how people hurt each other in relationship when they don’t know what each other wants. I will do stupid things. I will accomplish nothing, just as a relationship will go nowhere when communication ceases to exist.

Consequently, we need to get in touch with ourselves. We need to understand ourselves by continuous self-evaluation and self-discovery. With understanding, we know what we need to change and work on for ourselves. Below are 3 points for you to think about that should help you to get to know yourself.

Define short-term goals

Be it financial goal, change of life-style, exercise routine, develop a new hobby. Do something you WANT to do. Start doing it and stay persistent. Don’t give up after several weeks or months. Instead, slowly involve that as a part of your life.

Have long term goals

This maybe a little more difficult to define specifically, especially if you are young, like myself. Pay attention to what you like and don’t like to do in your job. Think about the way you want to live that you want 5-10 years down the road. What kind career? Having a family? Becoming a home owner? Starting your own business? Moving to another city/country? Something you can do to help others in the world? Basically have a vision of what you see yourself doing in the long haul. Find your passion.

Begin with the end in mind

This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habis of Highly Effective People and for me, this is one of the strongest messages from the book. The defines the ideal person you want to become in life. This is your personal statement for your life. Think about when you died, how others would react? (Sad…Excited…!?!?) What kind of person will they think of you are? (A good father…A good husband…A great teacher…) What would they recall you doing? (Stepping over people to get your way…Always helpling people…) What attributes will the associate with you? (Optimistic…Passionate…Hateful…?) What did they learn from you that will carry on into further generations? It is not what they think that matters, but if you answer these, you will have defined the person you want to be, and you can spend time and effort working toward it everyday day through your life. Make a list and stick to it. Of course, this list can evolve as you go through life and gain new experience.

Enough questions for one day. Also plenty of thinking for one day, if you care. You do care, don’t you? You did finish reading up to here. That proves something :) So onto the finale.

Take step, no matter how small

All these ideas and personal development are not a one day process but a life long process. Taking small steps everyday, however far, or little, each step takes us, is the only way. Make the choice to take the first step. Make the choice to get to know yourself. By beginning with the end in mind, you will have defined the ideal person you want to be. Then hereafter, make the choice take each step, one after the other, spending your effort accomplish your ideal self.

Originally posted 2007-11-11 22:46:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech on Personal Development

My fellow readers, I’m sure a lot of you are college students or graduates. Either way, I think it is safe to assume that we all have gone to friends’ or relatives’ commencement ceremony. I think it is also safe that there is one element of the ceremony, that we are ever so fond of, or perhaps dread it the most.. that’s right, THAT is the commencement speech.

Over the years, I have gone to many ceremonies, and needless to say, some maybe somewhat inspirational, some maybe fill with mundane phrases such as “you will be the pillars of the society tomorrow, etc.” and some are just utterly boring and filled with jibberish.

However, there is one exceptional commencement speech that I would like to share with everyone some interesting highlights from it, by Steven Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University.

  • I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK.He made a decision, committed to it, and BELIEVED that it will be okay. Sometimes we just do not know where life is leading us, but a decision has to be made. After making the decision, trusting that it will be okay may just the the key that “it will turn out okay”!
  • And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. – We have to learn to trust ourselves and our intuition. There has gotta be something right about doing the things that our gut tells us it feels right. Make sense? We may not have the beautiful typography we see on computer today if Steve Jobs had not done so!
  • The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. – This is a good synonym to keeping an open mind.
  • Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. – Again, trusting, having faith in your decision and yourself is important. Persistence is what takes us to success eventually.
  • You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. – Work and lover together essentially ARE a major part of our lives… how do we love life and live happily if we don’t love them? If you don’t listen to me, listen to Steve Jobs, “Keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
  • Here is the best piece of advice from the speech:

    “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

    Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

    He is right. If I know I’m going to die soon, I don’t have time to NOT do the things I want. If I ask myself the same question he did and I cannot answer with one thing that I would STILL do if I will die tomorrow for too many days, some changes are definitely needed.

  • Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. – Understanding your life is completely your own responsibility. Do not get bogged down or fear others and what they think. Do not live life based on others’ expectation.
  • Steve’s last words, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Just as the description of my blog suggests, life is a journey, an endless journey. It only stops when we choose to stop. As the earth is ceaselessly spinning, the world is constantly changing, and therefore we will never know everything and are always foolishwe. Knowing that, “staying hungry and staying foolish” becomes the only path.

Click here for the full commencement address.

Let’s all thanks Steve for his words of wisdom.

Originally posted 2007-05-24 01:48:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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