Archive for February, 2011

NTUC 10km and 33 Storey Tower Climb

 

Yesterday was my first race of the year 2011, it was not fantastic neither it was fantastic, as usual I will not rant on the 10km distance but I want to share with you guys the feeling of running up a 33storey building stair well, I have to admit it is not easy but with proper anaerobic coupled with some speed training you should be able to fly up the 33 storey pretty easy. Its all in the training, also It was also my first vertical climb. I took 20min just to complete the climb which means , it took about 1min 30sec for each storey.

In my experience here come the “BEST” part of the climb, the staircase is meant for maybe 2 middle size person to walk and the steps was as big as a foot and not a inch bigger, the steepness of the stairwell was uneven, I can’t complain as I was walking behind people all the time. Oh if you want to know how people die of suffocation feels like try joining this race next year. *caution* if you are claustrophobic do not participate in this event (I REPEAT DO NOT JOIN) you will be the first to run out!! So yeah .. running up the stairs with little or no oxygen and competing with about another 30person at a time climbing *or rather walking up.. is crazy.

I will not join another vertical event unless I recce the area for the staircase width and air circulation, yesterday was bad !! despite all my complains and everything, we still made it to the top. Some beautiful picture from the top of the tower


( Me Gasping for AIR on top of the tower )

 


On Top of the OMB tower

The Tower from the bottom! and those gang signage is not from me !

 

Till the next race.. Hasta La Vista BabY !!

 


Teaching your children the value of Money !

I have been pumping articles about investment, money managing, portfolio, entrepreneurship etc..etc.. but this time it is about the teaching the kids. Now why didn’t I have this kind of education when I was young, I don’t think I was ever prudent in saving my money or learning the value of it, I only pick it up after when I was 18 or so, but anyway here is a very good article to keep in mind !

Money management skills for children

 


By Carol Yip

You can equip your children with money management skills to give them a head-start in life. Once they understand the importance and have mastered the skills of making ends meet, they can achieve financial independence at an early age. With that comes personal accountability for their actions. Your children’s financial independence would mean that you don’t have to watch over them so closely and you gain peace of mind. You can even help them to buy their own first house using their own money, to start being independent at an early age. Imagine what a great relief that would be!

You may think that your children are too young to learn money management skills, but the truth is that they’re learning by watching how you deal with cash and credit cards, things that you buy and investments that you have.

Take advantage of kids’ built-in curiosity and advice them. After all, there is no difference between teaching your children money management skills and teaching them good manners, attitudes and values, reading and writing skills. It is all part of the daily communication with your children, and it takes you and your spouse to work as a team.

Remember that you and your spouse must adopt the right and effective teaching strategies and methods, with the same messages and intentions. Otherwise, your children will know who they can bully or take advantage of to get what they want without you realising it.


Toddlers – 2 to 3 years old

Toddlers may not be able to understand money, but they can certainly understand “stuff”.

By the age of two, the “gimmees” have probably already started. Instead of seeing these requests for toys and candy as a battle, see it as a chance to teach.

Saying “No” to some of these requests shows toddlers that they can’t always have what they want – a very valuable money lesson indeed because you are controlling the expectation of instant gratification at an early age.

You introduce the concept of “later” by telling toddlers that they can’t have what they want now, but wait and be patient to have it later or have it in the future.

This sets the stage for lessons to manage instant gratification to avoid impulse spending and patience to save for big goals when your child is older.


Pre-school – 4 to 6 years old

By the time your children reach the pre-school age, you can be sure that they know what money is and recognise that it’s worth having. This is a great age to teach your children about how money is earned and how it is spent.

1. Explain to your children that you have to work to earn money for all of the toys, clothes and other things that you buy.

Children are generally very curious about a parent’s job at this age, so seize upon this curiosity by explaining why you work.

2. Teach your children how to identify coins and dollar notes of different denominations.

Your children aren’t likely to comprehend the differences in the money’s value at this age, but successful identification is a good first step and is a good way of teaching mathematics by way of counting money (plus, minuses, multiplication and divisions).

3. When your children pick out something to buy, let them handle the transaction.

Handing over money will help your pre-schoolers understand the connection between money and goods.

They learn to calculate the difference in price and change they get back.

4. Show them how to compare prices when you shop with your children


Primary school – 7 to 12 years old

By the time children enter primary school, their understanding of money is fairly sophisticated.

Children at this age can probably count money and understand how to add and subtract money as well.

This is the time to teach your children just how hard money is to come by.

1. Give your children a weekly allowance and explain that this must cover certain expenses, such as food in school, story books and toys. Make it clear that there will be no more money once the allowance is used up.

2. When your children ask you for expensive things – handphone, computer games, notebooks or iPad, dresses and makeup – you can introduce the concept of savings.

Tell your children to set part of the allowance aside each week until there’s enough saved to purchase the items.

3. Encourage your children to save money by matching contributions with a certain percentage, and explain to your children that it is an interest earned from saving.

4. Introduce the concept of interest by setting an interest rate that’s added weekly, say 5 per cent. At the end of each week, count up the saved money and add the interest. Have your children track this on a simple chart to illustrate how interest increases the value of saved money over time.

5. Once your children have saved S$25 to $50, head to a local bank and open a passbook savings account. Review the balance with your children and make a point to save up each month and visit the bank.

6. Show your children where to shop for cheaper things and substitutes as a way to spend within budget.

 


 


Wannabe an Entrepreneur

Tips for beginner entrepreneurs

 


By Aslam Sardar

Last week, we looked at the several things to weigh up when considering how to go about acquiring business skills. In this concluding piece, we’ll look at a couple of other priorities to keep you on track as you prepare for entrepreneurship.

Work-life balance versus the only meaningful currency you possess Do not make the biggest mistake of looking for work-life balance if you are planning to acquire the requisite experience.

Your only valuable currency right now is your energy – do not underestimate that. Ten years from now, you will probably not be able to summon the same amounts of energy.

Work overtime, ask for additional assignments, especially challenging ones that others do not want to take on. You may succeed precisely because you’ve not been told it cannot be done, and even if you fail to do so, the exposure compensates by far.

Find a coach within the organisation that will help your development, be prepared to pay for his/her advice by taking on their projects. There is no free lunch in the business world

.

Mentors versus parents

I would strongly advise you to look for mentors either in the technical area and/or in the business area. Your parents, who have been one of the key guiding lights for you for the better part of your life thus far, will find themselves in the unusual position of being of little value in offering advice in starting a business.

Their love for you will influence their assessment of your abilities and potential. Some parents are fearful for your ability to manage the stresses that come with running a business, this is especially so for those whose parents are business people. Or if they exhibit blind faith in your ability to succeed.

Friends are little better as a source of advice, unless they have worked in that industry or business sector. Otherwise, talking with fellow students about starting a business is akin to having the blind leading the blind. Once your peers have worked for a year, their feedback and information will begin to grow in value exponentially.

Mentors have limited stakes in your success, but can be extremely uncompromising in their assessment of your abilities. Having walked part of the journey, either on the business side or the technical side of things, mentors can advise you on what areas you should focus on, how much effort you should dedicate to it and when it makes sense to abandon a line of thought or business extension.

Finally, no one, including your mentors, should tell you what to do, only you can decide what course of action to take. Your mentor does not, will not and should never run your business for you.


The beginner’s mind

As you start out in any organisation, seeking to accumulate all the business skills you can, here are some tips to shorten your learning curve. Anecdotal evidence has highlighted that the biggest issue companies have with fresh graduates is their inability to fit in with the organisation norms and exercise the necessary humility to learn.

‘Think big, act small’

It is alright to dream big, but one should not act big. As one HR manager puts it,’Do not drive a bigger car than your boss, do not dress better than your boss.’ It is too early to act big. If you want the recognition that you crave, work for it the old-fashioned way, come early, work hard and be a person of value.

‘Banish ‘should’ from your vocabulary, keep ‘could’ and ‘would’

Accept the workplace realities as they are, not as they should. Do not compare your company to Google, Apple etc especially if you have only read about them and not worked there. Focus on what you can do, and what you will do. Anything else is a waste of time and effort.

‘When you are competent, your opinions matters by default’

One thing that you will learn is that when you are competent, you opinions automatically carry weight. As a matter of fact, the more valuable you are to an organisation, the more likely the organisation will bend the rules for you. So rather than complain that your views are not listened to, focus on doing your work diligently and develop a reputation for reliability and effectiveness.

‘Learning opportunities usually start off as unglamorous’

Your first projects are usually not the heady stuff of dreams – no manager will entrust an untested fresh graduate with a critical project. So your initial learning opportunities will be unglamorous and largely mundane. To get on the glamorous projects, cozy up to the project manager and ask nicely. Be prepared to undertake the work that the manager does not want to do – bring a shovel.

‘Be easy to teach, stop being willing to learn’

Conventional wisdom tells you that you should be willing to learn – this is over-rated. Managers are time challenged, they are overwhelmingly in favour of you being easy to teach. The faster you pick up the skills necessary to be effective, the more valuable you are for everyone. That is the measure of worth – not willingness.

A means to an end

It is important for the aspiring entrepreneur to remember that working for someone else is merely a means to an end, a way to acquire skills with limited risks.

There is a real danger that once used to taking home a regular paycheck, you then start to view your job as a safer alternative. And it is.

But the 99.9 per cent of people who choose that route trade off satisfaction and control to the organisation they are working for. As a matter of fact, running your own business successfully is more likely to leave you financially better off in the long run.

It is hard to tell if running a business is right for you, and working for someone else can be a good way to test your resolve an

Sadly this is part 3, I hope I can get the other two article, If anyone know where I can get the other two article do let me know, I would like to keep it in my blog for everyone and my own reading. Thanks and have a great week ahead !


Coffee or Tea? Tough choice for runners

 

What do you reach for before you go for your run ? Tea or that hot cup of Java ? well I do neither its RED BULL for me !! but nevertheless interesting article to share with you guys. And let you decide for yourself.

By Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.

Reach for java–hot or cold–before a race, and you might outlast your competitors. Opt for tea and you’ll get less of a jolt, but your body will appreciate the antioxidant boost. The list of supposed benefits from coffee and black tea gets longer every day thanks to savvy marketing campaigns. So, we asked experts to sort through the fluff and determine the real winner for improving your health.

To Finish Strong

Coffee:
Athletes who swear by the jump-start that coffee provides have reason to gloat. Endurance athletes ran on a treadmill to exhaustion in 32 minutes, but were able to last an additional 10 minutes after drinking coffee with a good dose (250 milligrams) of caffeine, according to the Journal of Applied Physiology.

The caffeine in coffee likely stimulates the nervous system, helping you ignore fatigue and recruit more muscles for intense exercise, says registered dietitian Mary Lee Chin of Nutrition Edge Communications. Greater concentration may help your performance as well, she adds. However, coffee has the potential to reduce iron absorption, and low iron stores can leave you slow and tired. If your iron levels run low, drink coffee an hour or so before meals.

Don’t worry about the supposed dehydrating effects of caffeine. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies concluded that the liquid in the beverage cancels out the mild diuretic effect of the caffeine.

Tea: Ounce for ounce, there’s less caffeine in tea, so expect the performance edge to be less, too. Count on 16 ounces of black tea to contain 60 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. (An equal amount of coffee has 150 to 330 milligrams of caffeine.) In other words, you’d have to down about three cups of tea to equal one cup of joe.

However, this decreased amount of caffeine may be easier on a nervous stomach, especially on race-day morning.

Advantage: Coffee

To Gain the Mental Edge

Coffee: You know that the caffeine in a cup of high-grade brew will wake you up, but did you know that coffee can help boost brainpower? Chemicals in coffee may improve memory, says Dr. Peter R. Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. A European study found that over 10 years, participants who drank three cups of coffee daily had less than half the cognitive decline of non coffee-drinkers.

Many of the estimated 1,000 compounds in coffee have significant antioxidant effects and decrease total body inflammation, thought to be a precursor to many diseases, adds Martin. Drink brewed coffee–not instant–to get the most antioxidants.

Tea: Tea also sends your brain the message to perk up and pay attention. But tea has something coffee doesn’t: the amino acid theanine. Theanine increases alpha brainwave activity, which helps you concentrate despite auditory and visual distractions, explains John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Program at City University of New York. Further, the antioxidants in tea may help prevent the oxidative stress thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, says registered dietitian Marie Spano.

Advantage: Tie


To Keep Your Bones Strong

Coffee: No matter what you may have heard, coffee doesn’t stunt growth. Because of the high caffeine content in coffee, you’ll lose a bit of calcium with each cup, but take in adequate calcium, and you’ll still be standing tall. In a study of Swedish women, caffeine and coffee were associated with increased fracture only in women with the lowest calcium intakes. The real problem is having caffeinated drinks in lieu of bone-building, calcium-containing beverages.

Tea: Several studies suggest that tea drinkers have stronger bones. Adults older than 30 who were habitual tea drinkers for at least six years showed greater bone mineral density than non-tea drinkers. Researchers suspect tea’s flavonoids, compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, improve bone mass. To gain the most advantage, choose brewed teas and steer clear of the bottled and instant teas.

Advantage: Tea

To Love Your Heart

Coffee: Drink to your health! The more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to die from cardiovascular disease, says Martin. Among participants in the Nurse’s Health Study and Health Professional Follow-up Study, coffee consumption reduced the risk for death from cardiovascular disease, independent of caffeine intake. So how much coffee should you drink? “If you can sleep, drink more,” says Martin.

But beware: Unfiltered coffee like that prepared by boiling or French press contains compounds called diterpenes that raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. One more caveat: Some research has suggested that among high-risk individuals who rarely drink coffee and are slow metabolizers of caffeine, coffee may trigger a heart attack.

Tea: The more tea you drink, the lower your risk for heart disease, says Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. There is “some protection noted in those drinking one cup daily, more protection in those consuming two to three cups each day, and the lowest risk in those with intakes of four to five or more cups per day,” he adds. Tea flavonoids inhibit the oxidation of
LDL-cholesterol, seem to reduce inflammation and improve the response of blood vessels to stress, he explains.

Advantage: Tie

 


Investing like it’s a Football Team ?

This is interesting, never seen it from that perspective, maybe because I don’t watch football, As I always say good things have to be shared so why not share with everyone if its good.

Edmund Teo wrote this on the business segment of AsiaOne, I bet he is one hell of a football fan, It’s pretty interesting to know how these two can relate, investment and football. He is the regional director for investment solutions in Asean, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India at Russell Investment. I have to say nice title.

Usually I will browse the business segment for knowhow and investment advice and tips. Check out this latest one about picking/managing your stock like a football team, they are really bringing it down to a layman perspective, which is good in every way.

Taking a leaf from football to build an investment portfolio

AS INVESTORS, we are often not fully informed about the investment style that our fund managers are adopting. We can be guilty of basing investment decisions on the reputation of the fund management firm or the past performance of the fund.

Would you do that when selecting your dream football team?

It may surprise you to know that the art of building a winning investment portfolio, where multiple funds are chosen, is very similar to the process of selecting a winning football team. Like investing, you are faced with many uncertainties: weather conditions, field conditions and the calibre of the opponents. Here are some rules of the game.

Rule 1: Identify the ‘styles’ in play

Investment managers, like players in a team, demonstrate different ‘styles’:

Growth managers: where the manager focuses on companies whose earnings are growing faster than average. Often, these fast-growing companies will reinvest their profits back into the business, so the dividend yield could be lower than market average. But note that if growth slows, their stock prices are more likely to fall harder than average.

Value managers: where the manager focuses on undervalued companies whose true value should be recognised and price should rise to reflect their potential. Often these companies are solid, but not spectacular performers with good cash flows and dividend yields above market average. The risk is that undervalued companies can remain undervalued for extended periods of time.

Market-oriented managers: neither growth nor value, but where the manager focuses on themes to choose companies that should outperform market averages. For example, if the manager feels that the Singapore dollar is about to rise, he or she might focus on companies that import and reduce the holdings of companies heavily reliant on exports. Note that many themes can have very short life and catch investors unaware.

Rule 2: Diversity across style types

Do you think that the coach of Brazil’s World Cup team would have picked four Robinho’s if he could? Probably not. The risk of the field not behaving the way they would expect would be too great. As great as Robinho is, the coach probably wants more balance in his team. This is a multi-style strategy. This blending of styles can reduce risk and help provide a more consistent team performance.


Rule 3: Don’t rely on past performance

Everyone is familiar with the regulators’ admonition that past performance is no indication of future performance. This is true. The premiership football team champion of last year is not insulated from a relegation zone performance in the next. However, knowing the long-term track record of the manager and the quality of its players can help to ascertain if the team is experiencing a temporary setback or if there is a more severe problem.

So how do you select managers and portfolios? Russell’s approach is to base its manager selection on in-depth knowledge of the drivers of future performance. The quality of the people, and the processes these people use to make investment decisions.

Rule 4: Going for a goal is not for everyone

A lot of investors want to emulate the great Maradona, or even Ronaldo or Messi, and score marvellous goals. Depending on your risk appetite, investors should strive for balance and long-term sustainability of their portfolio.

Every winning team would like a superstar. As we know, it’s hard to maintain top performance over many years. What may be more attractive for investors, are the solid performers who strive for consistency and shun the limelight.

Rule 5: Stay in the game

Concerned over the recovery in US exports? What about the outlook for regional economic growth? How about the sustainability of China’s juggernaut? There will always be questions surrounding financial markets.

Just as true football fans are committed to the game in good times and in bad, so too should investors be committed to the markets, fully understanding that there may be fluctuations along the journey.

Rule 6: Replacing a member of your team

Suppose Wayne Rooney is seriously injured and unable to play for the rest of the season for Manchester United. Manager Alex Ferguson would have the comfort of knowing that he can call on Dimitar Berbatov, who has played so brilliantly this year, for the rest of the season.

Those building an investment portfolio should take the same approach.

They should have a list of quality substitutes to replace a manager who is going to face a crisis. Or simply, they should have identified a manager who can do the same task better in that particular market condition. Just as every fund manager always has their eye on their stock wishlist, so too should that approach be applied to managing other managers.

An international dream team

Investors need to understand the style of different managers in their portfolio, and why they under or outperform in different market conditions. Employing manager and investment style diversification is critical for reduced volatility across market cycles.

Think about it, would you want a Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United – or your favourite team – to be comprised of only strikers?


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