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Bluerosesolady will not pay for her children's college costs

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Tamar Lewin of The New York Times wrote that "the more college money parents provided – whether in a absolute terms or as a share of total costs — the lower the children’s college grades."

Lesson 1:
"Everybody has always assumed that the more you give, the better your child does."
Blueroselady thinks that everything popular is not always right.

Lesson 2:
Do not give a blank cheque to your children.
Professor Laura Hamilton (UC Merced) suggested that "students who get a blank cheque from their parents may not take their education as seriously as others."
Blueroselady: Children are the ones who should write a blank cheque for their parents.

Lesson 3:
Both capital / cash and connections matter. Education alone is insufficient, especially if one’s grades are mediocre.
"Affluent families are not hurt most by the lower grades, because they had the connections to get their child a job."
Blueroselady personally hearts those middle-class parents who had worked hard, scrimped and saved, borrowed from family members, taken out loans, used up their retirement funds.

Lesson 4:
Parents, never use your retirement funds for your children’s college costs.
If they really desire to learn and go to college, they have to fight their own battles.

Lesson 5:
Setting goals is highly important.
Professor Laura Hamilton shared that she planned to pay for her children only after they talk about how much it costs and what grades she expect her children to achieve.
Blueroselady: It is important to set goals from early age, perhaps babyhood.

For more info:
More is More or More is Less?
Professor Laura Hamilton, UC Merced.

Written by blueroselady

January 17, 2013 at 1:38 am

What does money mean?

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I admit that money is important.
Without money, we cannot eat delicious food, travel to see the world and meet friends, pay for rent / mortgage, or receive formal education. As I grow in my life, I have to prepare for raising progeny.

XP of Lijiang told me that he has no money to buy imported milk from Australia or NZ, after the tainted milk incident in China. Clearly, money can provide a better living quality.

On the middle Fri In May 2012, I bumped into EC. He was formerly an engineer, who decided to do master in finance and now works for Credit Suisse.

I like money, but I do not know if I have the interest to study finance. I did well for introductory accounting and finance. A good knowledge of finance (and IT) is essential to survive in the 21st century.

Perhaps after I finish my thesis 2, I will take a CFA course.
Unlike EC, I do not want to take any formal education anymore. It is time to learn on my own.
The exam deadline will force me to study. Does CFA can give hope for securing a job?
But I want to be an entrepreneur.
Yes, an entrepreneur with CFA will be more knowledgeable and has a higher chance to succeed.

Now, let me work my best for thesis 2, a dream of decades.

Written by blueroselady

December 5, 2012 at 5:14 am

Posted in entrepreneur, finance, money

Tagged with , , ,

On defining, dreamlining, doing, being, and having

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I am a BIG dreamer.
I have many dreams.

I am very grateful that I have achieved many of my dreams, from receiving free education in top universities, flying an airplane, to sponsoring my parents for their trip to UK.

Recently, I learned about dreamlining from Tim.
Dreamlining = DREAMs + timeLINEs
It means applying timeLINEs (e.g. 6 months, 1 year) to what most people would consider DREAMs.

In autumn 2012,

Things I dream of HAVING :
happy, healthy and independent children (by 2016)
profitable property (by 2015)
freehold property in the city area (by 2019)

Things I dream of BEING :
entrepreneur (by 2014)
millionaire (by 2019)
author of a New York Times bestselling book (by 2014)

Things I dream of DOING :
increase my income (by 2014), see the target in my pink board
achieve financial freedom and abundance (by 2019)
donate 80% of what I have for charity and live comfortably with the remaining 20% (by 2019)
visit Iceland / Antarctica (by 2014) and see aurora borealis

Tips:
1. If you do not know what you want,
brainstorm on what you do not want / what you hate / fear,
and write down the opposite.
2. convert BEING into DOING (actionable).

See also my bucket list, focusing on a happy and fruitful life beyond a century.

A thought on definition / meaning
Tim Ferriss wrote on p58 of his book The 4-hour workweek that being fluent in Chinese means having a 5-minute conversation with a Chinese co-worker.
In my opinion, one does not qualify to state (e.g. in one’s CV) a fluency in a particular language by merely being able to talk for 5 minutes.
This comes to my awareness that definition / meaning varies among people. I do not blame people, but I am aware that it is natural for human beings to put their PERCEIVED truth in the best light.
Recent complaints by friends (WT, SH) about students and fresh graduates who have good paper qualifications, but end up not as productive / talented as expected, are indeed related to the concept of varying meaning.
Next time when I hire someone, instead of believing what he states as his ability, I will ask for demonstration.
e.g. if someone claims a fluency in a particular programming language, ask the person to write 10,000 lines of code.

Written by blueroselady

October 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

How to increase our income?

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Income = value x time x scalability

Indeed, in September 2012, I learned from an Australian mentor with numerous patents (KS) that scalability and low cost enable easy commercialization.

How much are you worth currently?
Your hourly current value = monthly income / hours worked per month

To create more value to our company and our clients, we must keep upgrading our knowledge, skills, intellectual capital.

We must constantly install new software into our mind in order to be able to create more value.

It is not one’s age, experience, or academic qualifications, but how much value one can create for his company / clients that matters and translates into different levels of income.

It is about "WHAT CAN YOU DO?"

Let us compare 2 insurance advisers.

Insurance adviser A, age 33, monthly income $3,000.
Waits for leads.
Follows up on leads.
Give adequate presentation on products / services

Closes the sale.
Never follows up with the client thereafter.
Closes monthly premium of $7,000.

Insurance adviser B, age 33, monthly income $20,000
Sets specific monthly sales target.
Actively generates leads from all source.

Creates partnership with other companies.
Ensures a minimum of 2 appointments for consultations / day.
Gives seminars on financial planning.
Writes and publishes a book on financial planning.
Does a a detailed needs and outcome analysis for potential clients.

Presents a highly beneficial and value-added plan for the client.
Helps the clients save money and identify important needs client may have overlooked (i.e. corporate insurance, estate planning, asset protection).
Follows up every 3 months to ensure client’s emotional and financial needs are met.
Sends a quarterly e-newsletter to his customers packed with tips on money management and investments.
Able to generate even more referrals from powerful services.
Helps recruit and train more sales people for the company.

Closes monthly premium of $50,000.

Now, let us compare 2 teachers.

Teacher A, age 42, monthly income $4,000
Has worked for 12 years.
Teaches the curriculum.
Gives and marks homework.
Gives tests and mark papers.

Fulfills minimum extra curricular duties.

Teacher B, age 34, monthly income $9,800
Has worked for 4 years.
Teaches the curriculum.
Able to motivate and inspire even the weakest and most unmotivated students.

Innovates / develops new curriculum / teaching methods.
Writes systems of best practices.
Trains new teachers.
Produces innovative marketing ideas to enroll more students.
Develops strong rapport with parents and provides additional family counseling.

Innovates ideas to increase department productivity, reduce expenses.
Has written 6 textbooks, assessment books that are sold locally and over the internet.
Uses accelerated teaching methods to boost grades.
Conducts seminars / workshops on weekends for parents on how to motivate their children.

Conducts seminars for students on exam skills.
Consultant to private tuition centers.

Things to increase in order to increase income:
1. leads
2. conversion rate
3. repeat business
4. average dollar purchase
5. net profit margin

In more details …

LEADS
learn how to create more effective advertisements (stronger headlines, more persuasive copy, i.e. text)
TV, radio, newspaper advertising
industry newsletter advertising
internet / email advertising
magazine advertising
outdoor advertising
flyers
promotion / sale
ask for referrals
member get member scheme
offer free gift
insert into other company’s invoice
letterbox flyers
sales teams
telemarketing / make more cold calls
buying / swapping database
seminars, events, roadshows
attractive window display / video
posters, large signage

CONVERSION RATE
define our unique selling proposition
set sales target
excellent customer service
introduce myself
survey our past customers
sell key benefits (not features) passionately
high quality in store posters / brochures
in-store sales scripts
be a consultant / problem solver
give a money back guarantee
benefits, testimonials list
give free bonuses that increase value
great prospects and use their name
learn closing techniques
ask for the sale more than once
personal grooming, high dress standards
video in store displays
leave price to last
study and prepare for objections
specialized knowledge about our products and industry
focus on client’s needs and emphasize benefits
convenient payment scheme (credit cards, nets)
offer installment schemes with 0 interest
allow mail order / home delivery
address concerns / possible objections upfront
sell on value not price
use NLP to build strong rapport with clients
follow up with prospects regularly
improve our presentation skills

REPEAT BUSINESS
direct mail offers of the months
keep in touch every 3 months
inform clients of our entire range of services
target likely repeat customers
send special occassion cards
make customers feel special (super experience)
build a close relationship / friendship
create a loyalty program
exceed customers expectations
discount voucher off the next purchase

AVERAGE DOLLAR PURCHASE
focus on a higher income target market
use a shopping list
sell add-ons/up sizes
make sure our client knows our full range of services
suggest most expensive first
create value packages / bundle several products in a package
buy 3 get 1 free deals
ask people to buy some more
increase prices by 10%
arrange easy finance and payment
free gift / lucky draw with $xx purchase
ask customers to buy more (e.g. McDonalds, do you want to have a combo meal? do you want to upsize? do you want to have a dessert? do you want toy?)
up sell
cross sell
do a complete needs-analysis to find out how we can add even more value to customers

NET PROFIT MARGINS
increase prices
sell on value / service than price / discounts
set monthly budget targets
track costs weekly and aim to reduce by 10%
stop running ads that do not work
sell more higher margin items / sell higher margin products 1st
source for cheaper suppliers which are just as good
bargain hard with existing suppliers
increase working efficiency

Written by blueroselady

September 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Entrepreneur: Merry Riana

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Recently, I met up with a two friends who were from Indonesia and studied in Singapore. They are lovely oung couple in love, L and S.

S adores Merry Riana so much, she wants to be like her, young, beautiful, successful, rich, famous, and is supported by a loving husband.
Like S, Merry Riana is Indonesian who came to Singapore for her university education. Both of them struggled financially, worked part time while coping with demanding courseworks.

I agree with S that the following qualities of Merry Riana is worth emulating:
1. determination. Merry Riana is a sales agent for Prudential insurance who has won many awards. She earns her first S$1 million at the age of 26.
2. discipline.
3. faith. Like S, Merry Riana is Catholic. I think having a belief helps one to overcome many challenges and turbulations in life.

L mentions that he does have some things that he dislikes about Merry Riana.
1. Her "rags to riches" story is not entirely believable. In her childhood, Merry and her family went to Australia, so Merry was actually living a good life. Most Indonesians have not been overseas. Both L and S had never went overseas for holiday until they finished their university education and started working.
2. To appeal to Indonesians, Merry said that she wanted to study in a university in Jakarta but was forced to move to Singapore by chance instead of choice, because of the financial crisis and riot in 1998. L and S admit that many Indonesian students want to go overseas, e.g. Singapore because of the perceived better quality of education. To apply for an admission in universities in Singapore, Indonesian students have to sit for tests that was held more than half a year before the end of high school, so Merry seemed to choose to come to Singapore, instead of being forced as what she said.
3. In L’s opinion, Merry’s motivation contents are more about herself, about dreams and money, instead of concrete tips for others to follow and realize their dreams.

I feel sympathetic to S, because S looks up to Merry, while L is not so supportive of her role model.
We grow up reading biographies of inpiring people, and it hurts when our partner told us that our heroes and heroines are otherwise.
Well, while people need heroes and heroines. It is disappointing when our heroes and heroines are not as perfect as we expect, but they are also human beings.

Personality aside, I learn about the following things that I want to pursue further:

PERSONAL MASTERY

Define what courage really means to you and putting that definition to work on your own life
Understanding the Real YOU !
Re-connect with your inner life & re-charge your energy
Learning how to trust your inner self
Overcome conflicts between caring for your loved one and managing your career
Build lasting passionate relationships with your significant other
Discover your inner strengths and master the art of self-appreciation

IMAGE MASTERY

The importance of image to your professional success
Your self-image and your external image
How your professional image influences your performance and the way others respond to you
How to recognise your body shape. Understanding your body shape is the first important step, in learning what style of clothes will best suit you.
How to Determine your face shape, and most importantly how to choose the right hair style for your face shape.
How to camouflage your worst bits and highlight your best features.
Understand the fashion do’s and don’ts for each body shape. How to look thinner, How to balance big shoulders, how to cover up a big butt, how to make your legs look longer.

Merry Riana loves to share about her success, her story, about the importance of having dreams, but I do not find tangible things from her sharing (apart from vision, action, passion, get the right associates), that you and I can emulate to be as successful as her.

Since Merry Riana achieved her success by selling insurance products, I want to find out which insurance products bring success to the insurance agents. After all, not all products are created equally. As a consumer, I am also highly interested on which insurance products that provide the highest coverage per dollar that I spend.

About Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)

From the MDRT website "The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals, is an international, independent association of more than 31,500 members, or less than 1 percent, of the world’s life insurance and financial services professionals from 464 companies in more than 80 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of sales excellence in the life insurance and financial services business."

In summary, that members of MDRT demonstrate exceptional (1) professional knowledge (2) strict ethical conduct (3) outstanding client service.

But in order to qualify for MDRT, one only has to qualify for the minimum production (sales) requirements either in first year commissions or first year premiums.
For year 2011, the qualifying commissions that a Singapore adviser must earn in order to be a member of the MDRT should be at least S$103,000 to qualify for the MDRT. This is based on first-year commissions. Note that many life insurance products pay commissions over a few years. The qualifying commissions are even higher for Court of the Table (COT) and Top of the Table (TOT).

According to Wilfred Ling, the parts on "strict ethical conduct" and "outstanding client service" are outsourced to other parties.

Insurance agents are often rewarded with overseas incentive trips.

She has been to many overseas incentive places, including:
China (HK)
Korea
US (San Francisco, East Coast)
Europe (France)
… and many others.

Written by blueroselady

September 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

How to achieve financial stability, security, freedom, abundance?

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Criteria of financial stability:
1. liquid assets to cover a min of 6 months of current expenses.
2. have insurance (life, hospitalization).

To calculate expenses, see a previous post on how to make personal income statement.

Let say in 2012 (based on an estimate for the 1st 8 months), my monthly expense is $2,700.
Therefore, I need to keep a liquid asset of ~ $16,000 in my bank account.
Stocks are also considered as liquid asset, but to be conservative and safe, I only consider cash in my calculation.

Tips:
1. Get a term insurance with a much cheaper premium than a whole life insurance. Understand that term insurances are often up to only certain age, e.g. 65 and its purpose is to protect your family (not your retirement).
2. If you want to also get a whole life insurance, try to buy it at younger age and to finish paying the entire premium early. Unlike long-term housing mortgage, which can be protected with mortgage insurance, I hear many cases of people failing to pay for the expensive premium of the whole life insurance hence their policy lapses.

Financial SECURITY means your passive income can cover your BASIC expenses.
Financial FREEDOM means your passive income can cover your CURRENT expenses.
Financial ABUNDANCE means your passive income can cover your DESIRED expenses.

Criteria for basic expenses:
1. housing mortgage, utilities.
2. public transport.
3. food (inclusive for my children) / groceries.
4. all interest payments for debts.
5. all insurance premiums (life, hospitalization, fire).

Let say in 2012, my basic expense is $1,500.
To achieve FINANCIAL SECURITY, I must have passive income of $1,500 per month.

I realize that these components (a) gifts / donations, (b) insurance premiums, (c) dining out, contribute to my non-basic expense in descending order, but I want to keep on giving and enjoying the fruit of my labor, so let us set our target higher.
To achieve FINANCIAL FREEDOM, I must have passive income of $2,700 per month.

To calculate my desired lifestyle, for now I only add 2 items (but the list may grow over time).
I want to be able to give meaningfully and travel the world.
To achieve FINANCIAL ABUNDANCE, I must have passive income of at least $5,000 per month.

I am working smart and hard to have more passive income. Keep on the spirit!

Written by blueroselady

September 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

How do you perceive money and wealth?

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The media (TV, movies, magazines, newspapers) often portray the wealthy as those who wear designer clothes, eat fine dining, drive luxurious cars, and fly first class. Growing up and being fed by such information make many of us believe that is how the wealthy live their lives. In reality, this is only true for those who inherit their wealth, strike lotteries, or those super talented artists and sportsmen, but they risk losing their wealth without proper wealth management.

Examples:
Doris Day, a famous 60s Hollywood singer-actress, lost her fortune when her husband-manager cheater her and ran off.
Mike Tyson, a heavyweight champion who earned over $500 million, filed for bankruptcy because of his lavish lifestyle of luxury cars, huge mansions, and Bengal tigers.
Michael Jackson, earned over $700 million in his career, but he spent $20-$30 million more than he earns every year.

On the other hand, many people stay poor because of common negative beliefs about money and wealth. For example, when one sees one’s parents work so hard, being cheated, and still remain poor, they may adopt the common negative beliefs.
Here, I list the common negative beliefs and debunk why they are not true.

Myth: Having a lot of money will change you (into a bad person)
Myth: Money will make you less spiritual.
Myth: Money is the ‘root of all evil’
Fact: Money is a personality magnifier, it is neutral on its own, it is just a tool.
If one is selfish, having money will make him even more selfish.
Majority of causes of murder, cheating, stealing, lying are poverty (lack of money) and greed.
If one is kind and generous, money will enables him to give more to others, do God’s work.
When you no need to worry about money anymore, you can focus on more important things in life.
Some wealthy people believe that they do not own their money, they are merely custodians of God’s wealth.

Myth: We do not have a lot of money / time to make money because we love our children.
Fact: People who believe in this myth are giving themselves excuses. If they love their children, they will provide their best for their children, and not use their children as an excuse / justification for their lack of money.

Myth: Money will not buy you happiness.
Myth: Money is not that important.
Myth: Money is not everything.
Fact: It is true that money is not everything but everything is money. Without money, you cannot buy food / clothes and provide shelter for your family, you cannot buy presents for you friends, you cannot send your children to schools. Money can enhance the things that matter: family, friends, health, spirituality, career, education. Note that when someone says "money is not that important", he is just consoling himself. Analyze carefully before believing what others say.

Myth: The wealthy are materialistic.
Myth: The wealthy worship money.
Myth: Rich people are greedy and selfish.
Fact: Not all wealthy people work for money, some of them work for their passion / personal mission. People who lack money can also be materialistic, they constantly worry about money or are envious of their richer neighbors / relatives / friends.
If you resent rich people and think that they are bad, then your subconscious mind will never allow you to become rich.
It is important to find role models (rich people with integrity and kindness) whom you admire and are keen to learn from, instead of making hasty generalization.

Myth: If I am wealthy, my friends / family / relatives will look at me differently.
Myth: If I became wealth, I will lose all my friends.
Fact: If you lose some of your friends, then you realize that they are your false friends. True friends will be happy for your success and wealth. When you become wealthy, you will make new friends with wealthy mindset.

Myth: To have more money, I will be depriving others of it.
Myth: There is no enough money for everyone to be rich.
Myth: There are less opportunities to make money nowadays.
Fact: There is abundance in the universe. There are always enough / new resources for people who pursue wealth with integrity. In your process to make money (ethically, legally), you will create new / better products / services and jobs for others.

Myth: Having a lot of money will give you worries / problems.
Myth: The wealthy have a lot to manage.
Fact: Most problems in life (relationships, health, career) are the results of the lack of money.
Blueroselady’s reflection: I used to follow the myth in my early 20s, until a mentor VB told me that if I have no money, I will have more things to manage.

Myth: If God wanted us to have money, he would give it to us.
Fact: God helps those who help themselves. There is no free lunch in this world. Be self-sustainable. You have to ask (through prayer), believe that you deserve prosperity, and take action (work hard and smart).
Blueroselady’s reflection: Spending a larger proportion of my life seeking knowledge (as a student) than seeking wealth, the same principle applies. If we do not put in efforts in our study, we will not get good results, we will not gain wisdom, no matter how hard we pray, we need to take action. Now, in my chapter of life in seeking wealth to nurture the next generation, I will put my best efforts together with prayer to God.

Written by blueroselady

September 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm