All Posts by JonQ

Becoming a Millionaire – a ‘Must’ or a ‘Should’?

Have you ever seen a person who set a goal to stop smoking? Most of them get excited and motivated for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks but pretty soon they give up and fail to get any results. Soon they will start saying excuses like, “I just don’t have the discipline.”

Let me ask you this.. If the doctor were to tell a father that if he continue smoking, his beloved daughter who is by his side every single day will die, do you think he will be able to achieve it? I am very sure he will!

“When a Goal becomes a MUST.. We will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to operate from a different mindset” – Jonathan Quek

One of the best stories of the power of MUST and about doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to succeed is the story of Slyvester Stallone.

He is known as one of the most popular and highly paid stars in Hollywood, commanding a fee of US$20 million per movie. However, did you know that he was someone who seemed to have all the odds stacked up against him to be where he is today?

Check this out. Tony Robbins tells the Rocky story.

For most people, achieve success in anything is merely a wish, not a MUST! They would love to move to another level in their finances or business, but they won’t die without it. They wish they could take charge of their lives, but they could live without it.

Sylvester Stallone achieve success not born more focused, more disciplined or more lucky than the average person. What makes him different is that he make his goals a MUST for himself and he is not willing to accept anything but the best.

So, the questions I have for you this week is…

1) Is your dream to be a Millionaire a MUST or are they just weak desires that you can live without?

2) Have you been truly committed to do WHATEVER IT TAKES in the past or have you quit and given yourself excuses along the way?

“No one will change for the better until he sees the need for it” – Socrates

Awaken The Financial Geniuses of Nottingham University

It was indeed an honor to be invited by the Wall Street Society to speak at Nottingham University on 9th March 2010.

What did the participants say about the workshop?

“Awesome! It was what I needed to hear. Great!” – Ore Apampa, Nigeria

“Perfect!” – Nadya, Russia

“The seminar was informative and thoughtful! Wish to learn more from FORTRESS.” – Lim Tau Shen, Puchong, Malaysia

“Simple and fast-paced.  Excellent for young starters!” – Lim Ting Ting, Sabah, Malaysia

“Jonathan Quek has much amazing stage presence. He is inspiring and an example of the type of person I want to be. His talk for Nottingham students was frank and truly an eye-opening experience.” – Mah Ming Yi, KL, Malaysia

“The content is definitely intriguing, will look up on what they highlighted without a moments notice.” – Kenneth Loo, Sarawak, Malaysia

Have You Been Robbed by the Banks?

Do Your Bankers Love You?

In order to understand if your bankers love you, you must first understand how the banking system works. Looking at diagrams of the balance sheets may help:

Your Balance Sheet

Asset Liability
(Your Savings)

Banks Balance Sheet

Asset Liability
(Your Savings)

Well, it seems like your savings are an asset to you but a liability to the banker. Therefore, for the banker to create a win-win situation, it’s essential for the bank to find someone who wants to borrow your money at a higher interest rate than the bank pays you. So, how are they doing it?

You see, via the fractional reserve system, it allows the banker to lend your money out many times over. For example, if you put $100 in the bank, with a fractional reserve of 10, the bank is allowed to lend out $100 X 10 and at a higher interest rate than he pays you. Therefore, your $100 becomes $1,000 to the bank. The bank pays you 2.5% for your $100 and can charge 20% or more for the $1,000 he lends out. Therefore, the balance sheets will look like this:

Your Balance Sheet

Asset Liability
$100 (Your Savings)

Banks Balance Sheet

Asset Liability
$1,000 at 20% in new loans $100 @ 2.5% (Your Savings)

Do you have the desire to start a bank now? Well, as you can see, banking is probably the best business in the world. The banks are in a business of printing money! With the fractional reserve system in place, it creates inflation (a form of tax), causes prices to increase and decreases the purchasing power of your savings!

How Will This Affect My Investment Portfolio?

Now that we understand the concept of the banking system, let’s look at how it will led the world into a financial mess.

Many of our global economic problems started in 1971 when US dollar was taken off the gold standard. Massive sums of money and credit began to destabilize the world economy.

In 1973, the Arab oil embargo set off the world’s first oil shock. After trading between $2.82 and $3.56 per barrel for over 20 years, oil rose to $10.10 per barrel in 1974.

Such a rise in price couldn’t have been sustained if the dollar had still been attached to gold. That many dollars flowing to the Arab oil suppliers would have bankrupted America. US would have stopped importing oil, and eventually oil prices would have come down. That is the stabilizing effect gold had on world trade. But since the dollar was no longer pegged to gold, US had to print more and more dollars to import oil. The more dollars printed, the higher the price of oil flew!

Lessons To Learn

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Save A Seat On The “Financial Independence” Bus For Me!

Imagine.. As you step into the office in the morning, your boss calls you to his room and says, “You can only work and earn a salary for the next 30 days, after which you’ll be on “No Pay Leave” for 20 days. And during these 20 days, you can only pay your expenses by drawing on whatever money you have saved during the next 30 days.”

Given such situation and tight time frame, what would you do?

If most people were in such situation, they would immediately start to set aside some “savings” for the 20 days of “No Pay Leave”. How about you?

However, many of us have not started saving for our retirement even when we’ve faced with this similar time constraint. These are the commons things that most people like to say.

“I don’t have to worry, I’m still young.”
“Retirement is too far fetch to think about.”
“I’ve still lots of time to prepare.”

The truth is this.. Retirement is only days away!

If you are 25 now and plan to retire at age 50. Given that average life span for Malaysian or Singaporean males is 75 and for females is 80. What it means is simply for males: you have another 25 working years to accumulate enough money for 25 years when you have no income. For females, the numbers look even more challenging; it means you have another 25 working years to save for 30 years when you are not working!

By now, you should know that it’s obvious that retirement is nearer than you think and you had better start savings for your retirement because the only person who can take care of the older person that you will be someday is the younger you right now!
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Fun with Funds

At the beginnings, funds were positioned as a way for the little guy to get a piece of the pie. For those who do not want to spend time poring themselves over the financial pages of the newspapers, getting stressed by the financial jargons, and studying annual reports of companies, all you need to do was to buy a fund which will help pave the way to financial riches.

But the catch is this.. Investing in funds isn’t as easy as ABC. Not all funds are created equal and with innovation from financial institutions such as fund management companies to insurance companies, funds investing has become a science itself.

So, why are Funds are created for?
1) Investors who do not have time or expertise to manage their own portfolios.
2) Investors who do not have the sufficient initial capital outlay to invest into a portfolio of stock and share to get appropriate diversification from a portfolio allocation perspective.
(Think about it.. To buy a lot of Digi will probably cost you RM22,520 and Singtel will probably cost you SGD3,050)

These days investors have several ways to invest in funds. You can buy unit trust, mirror funds or ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). Do you know the commonalities and differences among them?
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Riding the Golden Tiger

The wand bearers at CLSA Securities in Hong Kong have been crystal-ball gazing to compile their annual Fengshui Index on what lies ahead.

In short, it looks rough – and history, after all, is on their side.

They warn that the typically tumultuous Tiger years are not for the faint-hearted. Stock markets tanked in 1962 and 1998, the year of the Water Tiger and Earth Tiger respectively, then-US President Richard Nixon resigned over Watergate in 1974, and August 1998 marked the start of the Russian financial crisis.

But if you are armed with courage and conviction, opportunities abound, according to the CLSA gurus – who have nailed some trends previously but would readily admit that the tongue-in-cheek index has not always proved reliable.

How was their predictions for the Year of the Earth Ox last year?

Recall that some of their predictions last year were right on the money: Gold surged past US$1,000 an ounce and the market bottomed despite bearish sentiment at the start of last year.

What’s in for us this year?

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Invest for the Next Decade, Not the Last One

If you have been following the media recently, it had been reported that investors who held US equities lost money over the last decade (based on the S&P 500 Index, as at end-Dec 2009). This situation is similar for those who have invested in European equities as well. Experts are now forced to predict which investments will do well in the next decade given the poor showing in equity investment in some regions in the decade that just went past.

Trying to forecast what types of investments to hold for the next one year is already tough, much less to suggest what investments to hold for the next 10 years! However, I’ll attempt to share some ideas based on our study into the historical performances of some investment regions and asset classes.

Asia, Emerging Markets and Commodity

As the world moves out of the Great Recession of 2009, we observe that Asia and emerging markets are in a much better position in their fiscal balance sheet and also demographics. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has updated its World Economic Outlook report and revised up global economic growth projections for 2010. Emerging economies, especially those in Asia such as China and India are projected to grow 10% and 7.7% respectively. In comparison, advanced economies are projected to grow 2.1%.

Two-thirds of the world’s population lives in the emerging economies. Think of the demand for capital goods when the economies resume on their growth path. As the earnings level improve, the standard of living will also improve and demand for TV, cars, food will all increase.

Commodity as a whole will possibly do well. The demand for energy by the developing world is likely to continue to rise as the global recovery gets underway. Metals within the commodity group seem to have a good potential as well. Investors who are now wary of Black Swan events such as the collapse of Lehman Brothers are increasingly looking at holding precious metals as a safeguard. At the same time industrial metals demand will resume as emerging countries embark on their infrastructure building rage.
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Millionaire Chicken King: Secrets Revealed!

Which of the following is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A) McDonalds
B) Pizza Hut
C) Burger King
D) KFC

Well, for me, it got to be KFC, not only for their tasty tender Fried Chicken but I was inspired and impressed by Colonel Sander’s success story! Colonel Sanders not only built an empire which made him a multi-millionaire but he also managed to change to eating habits of the world!

However, when he started, he was nothing but a RETIREE in his 60s. He owned a little restaurant that was going broke because the main highway was routed elsewhere. His idea to sell his recipe came when he got his first Social Security check (Apparently.. it was a very small sum which got him FIRED UP to do something bout his life!)
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Are You Prepared for HyperInflation?

US debt to hit current ceiling by end-February
Posted: 03 February 2010 2322 hrs

WASHINGTON: The US debt is on track to hit the current debt ceiling of 12.4 trillion dollars by the end of February, the Treasury said on Wednesday, a day ahead of a key vote to raise it.

“Based on current projections, Treasury expects to reach the debt ceiling as early as the end of February. However, the government’s cash flows are volatile, making it difficult to forecast a precise date,” the Treasury said in a statement.

For more at ChannelNewsAsia, please click here.

For those who are not prepared for Year 2010, the years onwards are going to be really challenging. For those who are geared up and prepared, the years ahead will be exciting and fulfilling.

This graph shows all the base money (coins, paper money, and bank reserves) in circulation. You may notice that since 2007, the year the subprime mess rocked the world, the Fed has essentially increased the circulation of currency supply, increasing the base money in circulation to roughly $1,700 billion.

What do you think this graph means to you and your family? The biggest possibility that I see –>

Hyperinflation & Increased Cost of Living!

This means prices of essential items such as food and energy will increase at tremendous rates.
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