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Showing posts from August, 2013

College Grads and Jobs

There is a growing discussion about whether or not college graduates are generally prepared for the workforce.  This is a very interesting (and revealing) discussion.

This is not so much about GPA as it is about more fundamental problems -- attitude tops the list.  Far too many college graduates think that they have 'paid their dues' by attending college and collecting a degree.  Many seem to think that joining the work force is akin to joining a fraternity or sorority.  They seem disappointed that employers' have high work expectations and are in no hurry to provide massive benefits and a club-med work environment to a rookie employee.

What every employer wants is someone committed to work hard, to learn new skills, and to already possess basic writing and mathematics skills.  The vast majority of college graduates, measured against these expectations of business do not measure up. 

That's the sad truth about higher education.  We don't insist that our graduates have…

Work Ethic of 70s, 80s, 90s

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Different generations have their own view on working. You like it or not, working is part of our live. No work = No life. However, this equation has since changed to "Working = No life". Do you agree?

Generally, those born in 70s were perceived to be loving their job. They work hard mainly because of 3 meals/day. For them, a secured life means having a stable job with stable income. They believe that with every efforts you put in, that will reward you back later. As such, over time (OT) is nothing for them.
As a responsible 70s, losing their job is a serious matter they tend to avoid. That's why they usually found another job first, before resigning.
How about 80s? Other than chasing for stable income, those 80s working adults will also look into the job scope, opportunity for promotion, or working environment. They will take initiative to find for better job. Hence, job hopping is very common for them.


Notably, 80s are reluctant to sacrifice their quality of life because of …

How Much You Need To Save If You Ever Want To See Your Kids Graduate?

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In an age where the common degree has become a pre-requisite and not so much an advantage, ensuring that you have enough to see your children through a reputable university has inadvertently become one of the most important responsibilities you’ll face as a parent.
Unfortunately, knowing how much to save for your kids’ tertiary education is not an easy question to answer.  In fact, it is downright complex in view of the vast differences in costs from degree to degree, university to university, and country to country.  And even for those who do have a number in mind, there is still the question of when you should start saving, using which savings / investment vehicle.
If you have been wondering about your financial capabilities to finance your kids’ tertiary education, or you have been seeking a workable method to save a sizable study fund for your children; allow iMoney to shed some light on this matter with their latest infographic:

Courtesy of iMoney.my

Lesser Amount can be Withdrawn for EPF Members Investment Scheme effective January 2014

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Are you an EPF member who withdraw money out for investment scheme? Then, this is a very important news to you.

Effective January 2014, the minimum basic savings required in Account 1 was revised upward. This will affect all of YOU who withdrawn certain amount from EPF account 1 for eligible investment purpose. Higher limit means lesser money you can withdraw from EPF in the future.
How much will be increased? Based on the chart below, the percentage increased can be as high as 64%. Generally, the increasing amount was at least 50% once you're age 27 onward.


How to calculate how much can I withdrawn from EPF account 1?
What's the different or impact? Depending on your age and how much savings in account 1, the impact varies by members. For better explanation, please see example below:


Finance Malaysia hopes this post can enlighten you on EPF members investment scheme withdrawal. You may share this to your friends. Thanks.

The Nasdaq Flap

The Nasdaq halted trading today and was down for a couple of hours.  Listening to the financial media (CNBC, Larry Kudlow, etc.), you would have thought a great crime had occurred.  99 percent of the investing public had no idea and could care less, me included.

What serious investor could possibly be harmed by a two hour shutdown of the Nasdaq?  Are these pundits serious?  If there was ever an 'inside baseball' issue, this is it.  Only manic traders and hedge funds could possibly care one way or another about the Nasdaq shutdown.

No portfolio of any serious investor could possibly be damaged by a temporary shutdown of a stock exchange.  This is a ridiculous tempest in a teapot.

Obama and Higher Education

Just what we need, the Obama tenacles reaching into higher education.  In typical style, Obama points to a problem -- the high cost of higher education -- and proposes a solution that has nothing to do with the problem and actually will likely make the problem far, far worse than it is now.  This has been the pattern with the economic rescue plan, with the 'affordable' health care act, with wind and solar initiatives, and on and on.  Every problem that Obama has inherited has become a much bigger problem under his leadership.

What is wrong with higher education?  Mainly the government, as in most other things.  Federal funding for research grants and student loans has made higher ed less interested in scholarly pursuits and more interested in the pursuit of federal largesse.  Students are borrowing huge amounts of money to maintain a college lifestyle that for prior generations was simply unavailable.  Who could spend that kind of money on beer and fitness centers in the good o…

Media Misleads Once Again

Reuters has a story today about the jobless claims number that is completely absurd.  According to Reuters, "...then new claims... rose...but...gave a positive signal for hiring during the month."  This conclusion is based upon absolutely nothing. 

What the data, in fact, shows is that jobless claims rose last week and rose more than the market expected -- not good news at all.  Worse, the numbers are barely (five percent on average) lower than the numbers in the early part of the year.  Given that revisions are typically well above five percent, a drop of five percent is statistically irrelevant.

The real truth is that the economy is not producing enough jobs and the few that are produced are mostly part-time, low wage jobs.  Not surprising, given the Obama economic program, which guarantees economic stagnation as far as the eye can see.

The media has made a habit of consistently distorting the truth about the American economy in their cheerleading effort to defend failed poli…

Read David Stockman

A new book by David Stockman, "The Great Deformation," challenges the current orthodoxy of financial market regulation.

This book is a great read.  Don't expect a calm and collected analysis.  This book is definitely not calm and collected.  Stockman takes on all comers and his style is blatantly polemical.  He aims his brickbats at the right and the left as he excoriates the rise of indebtedness, public and private, since the 1960s.

Don't think conservatives get a free ride in this book.  They don't.  Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman are targets of Stockman.  Indeed, Stockman sees Reagan and Friedman as major culprits in the incredible growth of America's financial liabilities.  Some of this is, no doubt, sour grapes for his well-publicized split with the Reagan Administration in the 1980s when Stockman was Director of the Bureau of the Budget.  He resigned that post in a feud with the Reagan folks over their unwillingness to support spending reductions to ac…

Should or Would Government Privatizing MAS? (Aug 2013)

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Both of our ex & current Prime Minister already voiced their views regarding this matter. Yesterday, our ex-PM said Government should SELL MAS if it can be run more effectively by private sector. Meanwhile, when asked, our current PM said there was no plan to privatize MAS now because it was on track to its turn around plan under the helm of new management. So?

In fact, this was like a million ringgit question for many speculative investors. Maybe, they or YOU were hoping for the deal to materialize if you bought the shares just recently. Anyway, it won't be as easy as you might think.
MAS is a national carrier. It carries the national flag wherever it goes. (Some more, national day is approaching now) How much to privatized? Especially for a still loss-making company... Definitely, Government won't get much if MAS being privatized now.
However, everything is possible given the facts below:
National company is just a company anyway. We have just witnessed the privatization of K…

Time to Buy Emerging Markets?

Emerging market stocks have been hammered this year as the US and Europe have enjoyed one of the best stock markets in history.  Why?  What happened to the argument that slow (GDP) growth in the developed world and much higher (GDP) growth in the emerging economies argued in favor of a heavy commitment of investment funds to emerging market?

As it turns out, emerging market economic growth has, indeed, been much, much higher than economic growth in the Western nations.  So, why did their stock markets put in such a pitiful performance thus far this year?  A similar pattern occurred in US history when foreign investors, mostly British and Russian investors, lost bucketloads of money betting on growth in the US economy in the 19th century.  This is not the first time that dramatic GDP growth failed to help investors in public stocks.

Many of the most vibrant companies in the countries that fall into the 'emerging market' category are not public companies.  They are privately owned…

European Recovery -- Seriously?

The news services are abuzz this morning with the "news" that Europe has finally turned the corner with an economic rebound in the 2nd quarter of this year.  Underneath the headline is the dismal number of an annualized 0.3 percent estimated growth rate for the 2nd quarter.  Whoop-to-doo!  This is a recovery.  This number is not significantly different from a negative number, given the pattern of revisions.  Meanwhile, unemployment in Europe remains above 12 percent and sovereign debt is soaring on to new highs.

There are further stories that Greece is on the road to recovery.  What are their current statistics?  GDP only dropped an annualized four percent in the first half of this year.  Wow!  That's really something to write home about.  Combined with almost 28 percent unemployment overall and nearly 70 percent unemployment among youth, it sure sounds like Greece is just humming along.

Wonder what the statistics would show if Europe was doing poorly?

Some Good News for the US

Steve Moore's column today in the Wall Street Journal is worth a read.  The sequester, according to Moore, has worked.  Total federal spending has been slowed, even reversed, in the past two years, according to Moore.  This is, indeed, good news.  Let's hope it continues.

Moore notes that all it takes to continue to hold federal spending in line is to not undo the budget deal that led to the sequester in the first place.  It will be interesting to see if politicians can stick with the plan by doing nothing.

Update on Greece

Now, after five years of European Union policies, how do things look in Greece.  The headline today on Yahoo looks encouraging: "Greece Beats January-July Budget Target."  In fact, Greece did not do any such thing.  More bailout funds from the EU, though, made it look that way. 

Here is what the EU has done for Greece:  GDP today is 20 percent lower than it was in 2008, when the EU bailouts began.  Unemployment is at a record pace, pushing toward 30 percent.  These numbers are not very different from where the US was in 1933 at the lowest point of the Great Depression.

Meanwhile, civil order is breaking down in Greece.  Crime is rife and the only things growing are the nation's indebtedness and the black market.   Political discourse is moving to the extremes as the center breaks down.

Finally the debt to GDP ratio is rapidly climbing to 200 percent.  The EU has made a small problem into a large problem and has obligated the entire European continent to back a bailout that …

The Changing Face of the American Workplace

The US economy was once the envy of the world.  From 1865 to 1965, the US economy grew faster than any large economy in the world.  The great American middle class came into prominence during this period and American income and wealth had no rivals anywhere in the world.  For most of these years, there was no Federal Reserve or central bank in the United States, though central banks had a long history in every other large country in the world.  For most of these years, there was little business regulation and no income tax.  The Federal Reserve and the Federal income tax came into existence in 1913, coming on the heels of the best 60 years of economic growth in the history of the US.

Not that everything was rosy.  Financial panics and the great depression occurred during this 100 year span.  Unemployment rose and fell.  Markets rose and fell.  The dynamics of American growth were chaotic, though powerful.  But, with all of the chaos and panic, the American pie grew at an unprecedented …

Another "European" Jobs Number

162,000 new jobs in July.  Not only is that an absurdly low number for an economy as large as the US, the job numbers for both May and June were revised downward as well.  No one is much interested in hiring anyone.  That's the main message of this report.

A subtext is reflected in the unemployment rate, which fell to 7.4 %.  How, if a pitifully low number of jobs are created each month, is the unemployment rate falling?  When people give up looking, they aren't counted anymore and more than 6 million have given up looking. Unemployment could get down to 1 percent if almost everyone just gave up and went on public assistance.  Is this the Obama plan?

The White House is succeeding in getting the economy that they have wanted -- the European economy -- no growth, no opportunity for the young and ever rising debt levels that have no conceivable way of being repaid.  This is the liberal dream.

Interviewing 非常好歌 Superstar - Quek Shio Yee

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Learned piano and violin since young, started writing songs when in high school. This is the background of new born superstar - Quek Shio Yee. After wining the BEST SONG with Lexi Chan, Finance Malaysia blog managed to grab the opportunity to know her better.

When asked about her future direction, the UCSI undergraduate yet to plan for it. Hmmm... I guess her fans out there for sure would loved to see her on stage again. Right?
Full Interview here: When did you realized that you're in love --- with music? How did it started? I started my music lessons since I was 4 years old. Since then I've always been musically active. It has been important to me. My parents led me into the world of music. 
On the BEST SONG you won with Lexi, what goes into your mind when she find you to sing in the first place? I was introduced to the program by my friend and auditioned. The producer gave me a few demo songs to try, and I was chosen to sing Lexi’s Mission Incomplete. I was happy to sing it becaus…

Big Companies More Valuable Than Small Companies

So what explains the surging stock market, when the fundaments of the economy remain weak?  Again, micro-factors favor large companies with access to government.  This is true for banks as well as for non-financials.  Smaller companies are getting hammered by higher tax rates, more mandates, and looming ObamaCare.  Large businesses, with some exceptions like coal, can deal with all the bureaucratic regulatory stuff because they have so much scale.  Not true for smaller businesses.

So what you're seeing is a change in the playing field.  The big guys are doing relatively well and small business is in the doldrums.  That is keeping with the Obama playbook of the grand corporate-government teamwork.  Obama can relate to big giant companies, because they are so much like the government and, in some ways, indistinguishable.  But small business is an annoyance in the Obama scheme.

The problem is: small business produces the new jobs for the economy; big business is a stagnant employer in …