Wednesday, December 09, 2009

So this is what people call a "dangerous idea".

It's only this afternoon that I stumbled upon another conversation taking place in the Channel News Asia forum. The remarks about me and about my wife are pretty cruel but I really can't help having a big smile on my face after reading the exchanges. Discussion about my investment method and savings regime has reached 21 pages all thanks to one guy who just could not stop making personal attacks against me.

I'm starting to suspect that this guy is a my friend or a bookstore owner who is covertly helping me drive sales. It's actually hilarious how a person can get so pissed off with my article so much.

See for yourself:

http://forum.channelnewsasia.com/viewtopic.php?t=301530&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight

Well I'm done defending myself so today I'll try to guess why people are so heated over my appearance on the papers. Let's just assume that this guy is not some IT engineer I released out of contract years ago ( hey, when you lead a team of 100+ engineers, you do these things every now and then... ).

What makes my ideas 'dangerous' and so offensive to some people:

a) Singapore is actually a welfare state.

If someone who is not a career high-flyer can generate dividends to cover living expenses. Welfare is not only possible, it can be paid even while you have a job. Singapore's low tax rates and single tier dividends taxation allows investor a chance to buy freedom from the need to remain employed. This means that if one can sustain himself indefinitely, he may be able to demand better treatment from his employers or even buy time to take a political stand. $2,000 a month is a small figure but consider how difficult it would be to get the government to give you $2,000 in this country. Someone has shown that this is possible in this little red dot.

b) People who are in the upper 20% bracket can spend at the lower 20% bracket.

I won't reveal my income but I'm comfortably in the upper quintile of earnings in Singapore. My expenses are well in the bottom 20% quintile of expenses. The idea that a Singaporean can reject material consumption yet excel in accumulation is not something people are comfortable with. For one thing, folks like me hardly contribute to the Consumption variable in national GDP.

Some may find it unnatural and perverse to do it. It's almost like an "alternative lifestyle" the fundamentalists are complaining about. I reject material consumption for security. I reject goods for experiences. And I really like what I do.

c) Fundamentally most Singaporeans can do this if they are willing to focus on it.

Our society want to perpetuate the Singapore Dream that only scholars get rich, buy big cars and achieve self-actualization because they have above average intelligence or have Ivy league qualifications. Otherwise, you have to be a rich business man, take risks in the markets or be an excellent salesperson who hit the MDRT every year.

I am none of the above.

I'm just an IT guy who has a mildly decent salary, who invests about as well as anyone else and actually, can save money only slightly better than my peers as many working class Singaporeans can live on much less than I have. I might be special because I can do all three slightly better than others all at the same time.

This means that most people know deep down inside that all this is possible which I think explains why people overwhelming think that my news coverage was undeserved and nothing special to harp about.

Anyway, to that very fierce critic. I am going to offer a fig leaf of peace. Write to me with your name and address, not only will I promise not to sue you ( I don't work that way ), I will in fact send you a set of all three of my books for the excellent marketing I've been getting so far.

11 comments:

Xizor2000 said...

quote: "If someone who is not a career high-flyer can generate dividends to cover living expenses. Welfare is not only possible, it can be paid even while you have a job. Singapore's low tax rates and single tier dividends taxation allows investor a chance to buy freedom from the need to remain employed. This means that if one can sustain himself indefinitely, he may be able to demand better treatment from his employers or even buy time to take a political stand. $2,000 a month is a small figure but consider how difficult it would be to get the government to give you $2,000 in this country. Someone has shown that this is possible in this little red dot."

I agree with this completely, Chris. I have always called the housing loan (if not the entire economic system), a modern form of slavery.

I wonder why people are so upset when you have found a way out of this slavery. I would have hailed you are a liberator of the people, and all that without a bloodshed. As far as I'm concerned if some of these people refuses the liberty you have shown them, that's their problem. After all, Jesus Christ is pretty misunderstood too. :P

- Poon

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Thanks for the support man !

jason said...

hey chris, went through the 21 pages on CNA forum.....good grief, Huathuatbabe does have quite some pent up rage!Quite serious issues with the name calling etc.
Anyways, keep it up!
You might probably also give some details of your portfolio in terms of cost, capital injections etc of how you arrived at $250k

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Jason,

Well I'm looking forward to some more media exposure in the short term. Some light will be shed on my portfolio then.

But I think so long as some people stick to investing for dividends and manage to save some money, it should not be all that hard to do better than me.

Regards

ghchua said...

Hi Chris,

I can relate to you as I live my life quite similarly as yours. Just ignore those critics. Ultimately, you live your own life and nobody shall dictate how you would like to live your life.

Simple life. Simple hobbies. Simple pleasures. I enjoy my simple life, away from the limelight. Although my pay is not high, I invest prudently and enjoy contributing some of my excess funds every month to the charities that I supported. I am happy as who I am and I am sure you too with your simple life.

It doesn't mean that having high income and spending for pleasures will make one more happy. High income comes with high stress and long hours at work. It is a tradeoff.

Enjoy your simple life! :)

jason said...

Actually,at our age of mid to late 30s, we should look to growth and capital gain rather than just dividends.......dividend yields can only get you that far in say 10 years....there are hidden gems in the background that are potential 10X baggers or more; these are the ones which will lead to wealth accumalation, and then only head for dividend yields prior to retirement. Its matter of finding such gems. Moreover, one should look to the US stock markets, an abundance of huge opportunities abound.....a once in a lifetime opportunity as it were...stocks with good fundamentals tied in to BRIC......the next monstrous growths! USA is so passe already.

$0.02 worth.
Vader

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

ghchua,

Hey I'm a big fan of yours. Your endorsement means a lot to me because you are something of a legend in your right.

Hey do you have a blog ? I want to know what you are doing these days ( not investment related ).

Regards

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Vader,

I would buy growth if only I could find a more consistent way to pick consistent growth stocks. When I follow dividends, I can rely on free cash flow which explains how much money is left for expansion or shareholder's pockets.

Most growth metrics rely on trends for the past few years and i don't seem to be able to consistently score with them.

Anyway, by 2012, I should have budget to invest in trends, should attend some courses then.

Regards

ghchua said...

Hi Chris,

Yes. I do have a blog. Do pay a visit to http://ghchua.blogspot.com when you are free. :)

Wealth Journey said...

The internet has enabled ordinary folks to showcase how they fund their lifestyle and plan for retirement thru investing (be it property or stocks or other means).

Let's all spread the message of responsible financial planning and investing while still gainfully employed and practising delayed gratification and living within our means.

KennyLJZ said...

Public light is tough Chris.

But because there is a revolutionary essence to your message, you cannot downplay ego nor supremacy. Indeed, to drive the message across you do need to maintain your stance because it is not conventional.

Tough job.=)