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8/25/2004

Moving to http://laymen.blogsite.org

I'm moving my blog to http://laymen.blogsite.org

You can now access my blog from there but it is still very new. Need more revamps than this website. It's still plain though; haven't do any changes to it yet. I'm in the process of doing conversions to it. So, hang on guys :)

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8/24/2004

Money vs Job Satisfaction?

We lie to ourselves all the time. We say that money is not that important, satisfaction is. Well, it applies on when I want to use that statement. Sometimes during the month when I'm short of money, I will say that money is the utmost important to me. But when I have a shitty job at work, I'll say that I don't care how much the money is as long as I'm happy with my job. Then, I'll job hop to get a better pay. Two years have passed and I'll think that I'm underpaid and I want another job that offers a higher reward. Another two years and another 5 years...this can go on and on or, until I rethink about my job satisfaction...?

I'm afraid that this will not only hit me alone. I think a lot of people in my age group will face similar situations. Please, please share your thoughts on this particular subject.

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8/20/2004

Reed on Robert T. Kiyosaki

As from my previous post, I have mentioned about Robert Kiyosaki and how I became of follower of him. In fact, I own 3 of his books which is the famous Rich Dad Poor Dad, Cashflow Quadrant and Rich Dad's guide to Investing. These books are fun to read, but I think they lacked actual facts. The book is more like 'You can do it' motivational books instead of sound financial advises.

A real estate guy from the US, John T. Reed wrote a review on various investment gurus which some he recommends but the rest he doesn't recommend. Robert T. Kiyosaki is on of his bottom list of gurus. An excerpt from his website:

I was told I would like this guy. His book was #1 on the Business Week best seller list. Eager to find another guy to recommend, I bought his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad in a bookstore and read it.

This is one of the all-time worst financial books ever written! I was so disturbed by it that I wrote an extensive
review of it.

Go ahead and read the extensive review.

I recommend you guys read stuff on his website. But don't forget to put your thinking hats and filter the advises that you will get from other people. Dangerous advises can lead damage to your life.

Other interesting read by John Reed:

John T. Reed views on various gurus

and all his other articles at http://www.johntreed.com/rateseminars.html



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8/17/2004

Favourite car financing company, a small review

This is fairly an interesting subject for people who are looking for a car. Be it brand new or second hand, I hope this article can be useful to you.

This I relate to my past experience of my foolishness in getting a car. As usual, I’ve just started working and was without a car. At first, being a budget guy I was attracted to Perodua’s Kenari due to its spacious feeling and their cheap price. But after consulting my wonderful wife, then lot of questions popped up in my mind. She highlighed things like on how long I am going to use the car?, do you really want to use the car for 7 years?, Do you want to sell the car after 2-3 years?. I knew that if I buy a brand new car, the moment it is out from the showroom it will depreciate at least by 10%. That is not good for me because I know I am going to use the car 3 years max. I settled for a 2nd hand car instead. I bought a 2nd hand Proton Wira year 1999 1.5 GL injection with automatic transmission grey in colour but…..green interiors!

Whoa I am so stupid on colour coordination. I sold the car after 1 ½ years using it. My wife has another car and I still have my bike. The moment I wanted to sell the car, I had problems because the inside of the car is green. I have to admit someone will like it. But the rest doesn’t like it. So, if you want to buy a car , be objective on your goals for the car. Don’t just judge on what you like. Sometimes, what other people like must be taken into considerations as well. That’s why when people want to sell their car, they have to change all their accessories to standard. I made the right decision on my choice on not buying a brand new car, but I slacked on my actual choice of 2nd hand car.

Before I start with car loans, get your reasons right for getting a car . The main questions asked is the usage of the car. Like myself, I wasn’t really sure. I just knew I needed to get a car. But in actual, I still use my motorbike to work… So the car is only for night and weekend use. What a waste of paying every month.

When I wanted to sell the car, people always ask the current interest rate for the particular car with the particular year. So I called up the banks for the rates on my car. By the way, I was dumb because I used B*B finance which at that time was the highest interest rate at 5.85%. The reason is because B*B finance can offer a higher loan margin which is why a lot of agents like to use B*B. But now, I heard that their rates are more competitive.

This is the list I got 8 months ago. I believe it only applies for proton. But you can compare the rates between banks because it does not differ on the margin their getting. At that time, I’m selling the car at RM32k.

Bank

Maximum loan amount

Interest rate

B*B Finance

39k

5.4%

P*bl*c finance

29k

4%

M*yb**k finance

31k

5%

H*ng L*ong finance

28k

4.5%

For B*B you can take a full loan on my car, for the rest, you must add up on the down payment. Yes, the rule is of course 10% out of the selling price. But for many years salesman have practiced the art of manipulating the sale price to get the best loan amount.

To illustrate, let’s say a person would like to buy my car at 32k with no down payment, I will tell the bank that I sold my car at 10% higher which is Rm35.2k. Because of the maximum loan amount for B*B is RM39k so they would permit this to happen. I will just say to the bank that they buyer has paid the 10% deposit (which is RM3200) and the balance of RM32k he will finance the car with the bank. As you can see, if you’re a person who likes to invest in the bank, you can buy my car at 32k, but you can ask for a loan at B*B finance for 39k. The balance of money you can get cash. Huh, don’t do this friend. Car loans are killer loans.

The rest of the banks will follow the nearest market value. Like H*ng L**ng, they know that at RM28k they won’t have any problem selling the car at that value. That’s why they offer a lower maximum loan amount and lower interest for the sake of their own security. For B*B finance, they are betting on people like me to pay and continue their legacy on higher loan margin. To compare 4% between 5.4%, if you take a loan at 28k for 7 years, your difference will be RM2743.72 throughout your payments. Or, RM32.67 a month, or RM392.04 a year. That is a lot of money guys.

To sum up, do your survey on the financing company first. Of course, there are other factors to put in such as easiness, number of branches, a branch next to your house, people skills, the insurance company the are using and the list can go on and on. It can a another subject altogether.

I noticed that for other races, they will never take a loan longer than 3 years. For Malays like me, we will always take the longest years to repay our car. This is sad folks. That’s why we can never compete with them. They understood the effects on taking a longer loan. Now, new cars like the Proton Gen-2 can get loans up to 9 years with low interest rates. 9 years? Do you really want to use the car for 9 years?

By the 3rd year, you’ll get bored and you’ll want a another car. In fact, 3 years is just nice before everything in the car rattles and something starts to break…


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8/16/2004

RM7.5 million charity to ASTRO

I'm astonished with the figures in Utusan Malaysia's on how much Malaysian actually spent SMS'ing Akademi Fantasia. I don't know whether the figures are fabricated or not, but that figure can instantly help our endless poverty and people in need of a medical operation, you name it.

But we Malaysians are so hooked up with the epic drama that has been foolishly set upon us. So tied with our emotional feelings for other people to win. While we, sadly, buying top-ups and paying bills for something that is not beneficial at all. Even the spam SMS contest that I get everyday(which is Haram) promises some sort of a prize.

Myself, like you guys, was also part time in front of the TV during AF airtime anticipating who will win etc. I like the people, I like the performances but they could have channelled the whole money into charity. If they do that, I will gladly SMS. They only spare RM400,000 for charity. The rest of RM7.1 Million goes to ASTRO.

No wonder ASTRO increases their monthly charges by RM5. If we can AFUNDI up to millions of ringgit. What is RM5?



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8/12/2004

Pay yourself first?

A few years ago somebody gave me a copy of "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert T. Kiyosaki. In fact, It's still a bestselling book around the world until today. I was so intrigued with the concept of Asset and Liabilities that he introduced to me. But along the way, when I share these thoughts with my wife. I got a different point of view. Kiyosaki highlighted that you pay yourself first then pay others(such as bills etc). If the money is not enough to pay your bills then you will have to increase your earnings. Easier said that done!

First thing that she said the concept contradicts with our religion. If you owe somebody, you should pay them first instead of being selfish by paying yourself. Although the concept Robert Kiyosaki is trying to say is to save more, he could have just said that you should just save some money to start with. Feedback I get from these people who have read the book would say that education is not a key area to be rich. And in the west there are cases undergrads dropped their studies because they got the wrong impression.

True, Bill Gates and the rest of the richest people in the world does not have a good educational background, But you're not Bill Gates! And, I think he will be rich anyways even if he finishes his studies!

The lesson I learned was, if we read, hear or see something, use our brains and inner feelings first to filter its content. We produce our own facts and findings based on our proportions.

Now I will pay my bills first because that is an amount that I've owed someone, but then I'll make sure that I'll save a minimum amount at least into my bank based on my projected calculations.


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8/10/2004

Getting your Citibank Credit Card Annual Fees Waived

Just use Direct Access Credit Card. Free For Life. With online facilities(pay bills etc). You can even pay from maybank2u.com for your direct access credit card bills.

But most of us stuck with Citibank. Their online services is one of the best. Their marketing strategy is staggering. But most of the time I have to go to Menara Citibank to pay my credit card payments. What an inconvenient way to pay! And yet...I have to pay my yearly fees. No way! I want to cancel my card! Wait, maybe there's a way. So I called them.

Me: Hi, I want to get my credit card annual fees waived.
Citibank rep A: Urm I'll transfer you to another person that handles that ok.
Me: OK.
Citibank rep B: Hi, Im B how can I help you sir?
Me: I want to get my credit card annual fees waived.
Citibank rep B: Can I have your credit card number?
Me: My credit card number is xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx
Citibank rep B: There are 2 ways sir to get your annual fees waived.
(I'm excited)
Me: What are the ways?
Citibank rep B: You can transfer balance from your another credit card with a balance of at least RM1000 or more
Me: Well, I don't have any other credit card with that amount of balance.
Citibank rep B: The other way is to have another 2 bills that you set for autopay.
Me: But I already have 2 bills that are currently being autobilled which is my Maxis and my Insurance. Can't I just use that to waive my annual fee.
Citibank rep B: Urm no sir. You have to put another 2 bills for autopay.
Me: But I don't have any other bills to pay.
Citibank rep B: Well...
Me: Nevermind, I'll just cancel my card anyway. Thank you for your answer.
Click!

So I wrote them a nice letter. Cut my card into half, faxed them a copy and mailed them the original copy. Waited for a few days and I'd almost forgot about it when somebody from Citibank called.

Citibank rep X: Hello, Im X from Citibank credit retention center.
Me: Hi, so you've received my Citibank Visa cancellation letter?
Citibank rep X: Urm yes...
Citibank rep X: Well Mr Azrin...You have been a very good customer to us, why do you want to cancel your card in the first place?
Me: I refuse to pay the annual fee.
Citibank rep X: There are ways to get your annual fees waived sir.
Me: The ways that was offered to me is not suitable for me. I don't have balances in other credit cards and I already have 2 bills on autobill...
Citibank rep X: Well sir, I have just spoken to my boss and he agrees to get your annual fees waived for 2 years.
Me: URM? :) Why didn't you just tell this before I cancelled my card? (I'm tempted again...)
Citibank rep X: Well the department is different sir. When somebody actually cancelled their card then it will be forwarded to us. If you agree I'll send you a new card with the same functionality as your previous card. But we will have to change 2 digits in your new card.
Me: So I will have to change my autobill to the new number?
Citibank rep X: We will fax you something for you to sign and we will handle that for you sir.
Me: Urm...so how soon can i get the card?
Citibank rep X: We will mail it by today sir. Is there anything else that I can help you sir?
Me: No. Thanks anyway,
Citibank rep X: It's nice dealing with you sir.
Me: Bye!
Citibank rep X: Bye..

That is 3 ways already. If you know any, why don't you share with me? :)


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8/05/2004

3 types of credit card customer...

I believe banks usually deals with 3 types of credit card customer.
3 types is:
  1. Always pay on time
  2. Never pays
  3. Always pay the minimum amount or some amount
The first type never contributes to the bank. They only like the customer to the fact that when they use their credit card, the merchant has to pay 2% of the amount they have swiped. But to the consumer, we are winning because the bank cannot charge you anything for it. Some shops in Malaysia don't want to bare the 2% cost hence the will add up to the price. Big shops won't charge anything because they have higher sales and maybe get a better discount from the bank. Definitely consumers must be in this type group.
The second type is a no no to the bank. Even if they charge a hefty interest, the customers will never pay. So, they can only sue them and if they still cannot pay, they can only make him bankrupt and wait him to pay. Chances that they will get 100% back is very small. So, banks would like to stay away from these types of customers as well.
The third type is of course the bank's favourite. You pay only the minimum amount. The balance will get interest charged. People always get confused with interest charges and late payment charges. Late payment charge is worse. Many people falls into this category without realizing it. 1.5% percent a month is of course nothing! Banks will call these people their loyal customers.

No wonder our mother always warn us not to be a slave to the money...



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8/03/2004

Warehouse sale beware!

Following jeffooi's Mega Malaysia Boleh Sales I was happy to acknowledge that we Malaysians like to shop when everybody else are also shopping. My wife indicated that there are 2 types of people when it comes to shop. There are people that will shop for convenience, and people who will go all the trouble to get the cheapest price. I'm the first type while my wife is the latter.

Last week I received a flyer for Hush Puppies's Warehouse Sale which are held yearly at Armada Hotel. Their warehouse debut was a big success. Quality cheap shoes at a cheaper price. So, last year, we went there and bought a couple of shoes, and boy we were suprised to notice that the price that we've bought at their warehouse sale was the same price as the retail shop in Sunway Pyramid.Did we get a good deal?,NO!! The designs in the retail was better. Good designs at the warehouse sale all sudah habis...
This is the method used by the retailers to push sales as we Malaysian are always attracted to the word 'sale'. No need to reduce the price, just organize and sell! Maybe there are 2-3 items which are really on sale. Maybe those items requires you to be there at 6 a.m. Maybe?

I wonder how was this year's warehouse sale went by...

But, we have a different experience during our last shopping at the Diethelm warehouse sale held last weekend. Quality products sold at rock bottom price. 4 kellogs cornflakes for RM10, Fisher price toys at 80% discount. People were flocking the area. So we bought a few toys for our son. Maybe the next time they held these kind of warehouse sale the price won't be the same anymore...





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8/02/2004

Prime Land For Sale!

Penchala LINK

land for sale situated in Sg. Penchala, The Kenny hill of Malay Reserve Land. Elevated, surrounded by greenery in Mukim KL with uninterrupted view of TTDI and the expressway via tunnel to Mont Kiara/ Hartamas. 1.6 acres Freehold. Ideal for exclusive residence to the discerning.

Below market price. Email for picture and price!



Batu 9 Jln Klang Banting

4 acre leasehold land situated in jln Klang-Banting Batu 9 near Kg. Sijangkang/Jalan Kebun. Flat now grown with bushes. Can built/plant anything on the land except rubber trees. Road frontage ready infrastructure. Near to petrol station, shops, schools, etc. About 6.4 KM from KESAS highway. The road leading to the area is now very good as per election the govt. has finished the long awaited project.

Selling around RM100k per acre negotiable.



Sg Buah Bungalow Lots


5k sq feet – 11k sq feet bungalow lots situation in Sg Buah Mukim of Dengkil, Sepang. Many lots available. Freehold Malay Reserve. Near to cyberjaya/putrajaya/golf courses.

Kampung feel..Perfect for your retirement home with friendly neighbours, surau, etc.

Selling around RM16psf neg.


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