Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
During the pregnancy, i know that life will be different upon the arrival of the little babe .... but how different .... it finally dawned on me when she did arrive!!!
how our worlds revolve around tis little tot ;) shall write more about tat.
but thank God for answering our prayers and His presence, protection and guidance throughout the entire delivery process. All through the pregnancy we've been praying and during the delivery process, we really experienced the meaning on relying totally on Him for help and strength. and also the privilege of experiencing answered prayers. His grace has been so abundant and His love so great throughout this 9 months , i can only say thank you Lord for your love so deep. The Lord's love for me, for hubbie and newborn Kaira.
Here's a pix of the tiny tot .
Her vital statistics at birth :
Saturday, November 03, 2007
anywayz....i am depressed ....... i gained 4 kg in 2 weeks and waaaaaaaaah only 300g went to the babe. the rest stayed on me....... i am like majorly depressed......kekekekeke.
told my gynae, i shall go on a diet this last 4 weeks.....hahahaha....she thinks i am crazy.
anywayz, babe is a healthy 2.6kg .... guess she'll come out average weight .... but mama's not doing so well......... waaaaaaaah ........ i feel terrible now!!!! how now brown cow????? heehee.
Monday, October 08, 2007
time realli flies, another 8+ weeks and we'll see the little babe :) in fact, doc was telling me in another 6 weeks... will be considered full term and the babe can decide it wants to join the party outside anytime :)
so now itz a flurry of activities buying the stuff, washing them, packing up the room and making space for the babe :0) thank God now i am still "mobile" and altho i do get tired easily .... can still manage to go shopping for hours !!!
can't imagine that i will continue to balloon in the next 4 weeks! heehee.
praying that the Lord's hands will continue to be in this process throughout :)
Monday, September 17, 2007
so often, in my life, i am caught up with things. and also the belief that through my own effort and "wisdom" things will be done/resolved/achieved. whatever they are.
it is true that the Lord grants us wisdom and ability to achieve success. but last week, a simple reminder to pray about a rather "small" issue was the Lord's way of telling me, that, by coming to Him, there's alot more rest and less fret ;p hahahaha
actually, itz no big deal .. we were juz looking for short-term accomodation for our parents/siblings when they come over to hkg in december. and when i started looking for the accomodation ..... i juz started looking. no prayers, nothing. afterall, itz a small matter!! i mean, watz so difficult about finding short-term accomodation? as long as we are willing to pay ....... we should be able to get one rite?? ;p
but the Lord prompted me to ask for prayers during home group 2 fridays back .... and it seemed that He wanted to show me that by coming to Him in prayers, and committing to Him, He can guide me to "discover" the "better" alternative ...... cheaper, nearer, better quality .......what an amazing God ! He loves his children so much, that nothing is too insignificant for Him to care. Praise the Lord, within a week, we did find an cheaper, better alternative. and now, i am praying that He will seal this alternative!
Have you tried coming to the Lord today? Try it and let Him amaze you with His grace and love......
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
hmmm, baby waz in a rather uncooperative position ... so difficult to see her face ...lol.
doc commented that her legs were "longer than average" and her weight was 900+ grams.
i think she's slightly "bigger" than average babies her "age" .... heehee.
wellz, importantly, she seems to be developing well :)
now, my hands have this tight and achy feeling, especially the fingers joints. and my legs displaying swelling symptoms on certain days and crampz. and the cramps!!! oh mine, not the usual type of cramps yea??? it waz very painful :( thank God it doesn't happen that often ..... so now i try to stretch regularly to prevent it from happening ;)
and did i mention, i think eating kang kong (aka morning glory) results in me having leg cramps. not sure if there's any scientific reasoning but it happened the few times i ate kang kong....so i am going to avoid kang kong for the rest of my pregnancy!!!
other than that, my appetite is quite OK :) the only thing is i like to snack on chocolate .... heehee. i am going for my glucose test soon .... hopefully it doesn't come back indicating i have pregnancy diabetes otherwise ..... sianzzzzz ah ! need to control diet ...... so these few weeks i've decided to control my intake of chocolates ;p
okie dokes, tatz all the update for now ......
Monday, August 13, 2007
we are supposed to "inherit" some used baby clothes from hubbie's cousin who gave birth juz abt 2 months ago .... so we've been trying to restrain ourselves..... but alas.... a walk around the shop having sale melted all resolve!!!!
itz so easy to start with frills. we should have concentrated on getting the essentials which, we have yet to ;p . hope we don't start accumulating the unnecessaries .........
Monday, July 30, 2007
this muz be one of the longest gynae visits i had, over an hour as baby not very cooperative .... ;p but all's well and so, we are looking forward to a princess :)
this week 21 (i tink) and i weign 61.5kg.... put on 4 kgs since i was pregnant .... and all within the last 6 weeks i tink .... yipes ......
Monday, July 23, 2007
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot
Thou hast taught me to say
It is well
It is well with my soul
My sin oh the joy of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
O my soul
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer
O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations
Is there trouble everywhere
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Are we weak and heavy laden
Cumber with a load of care
Previous Saviour still our refuge
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Do your friends despise forsake you
Take it to the Lord in prayer
In His arms He'll take and shield you
You will find a solace there.
Friday, July 13, 2007
o, actually, i observed that my right feet does get a bit swollen sometimes .... i suppose it's the water retention that i've heard about...but at this stage, it's on and off ... so shall monitor.
i've put on abt 2.5kg since 3 weeks ago and most of it muz be credited to the trip back to sg last week....hahahaha. hopefully the weight went to the baby's growth and not to me ;p
Thursday, July 12, 2007
for me, being the, ahem ahem, prim and proper singaporean ...... i can safely say i would never, never jaywalk when there's a policeman around.
today while walking home from the supermarket (in hong kong), at a very busy traffic junction, there were 4 policeman stationed, one on each side of the road ..... it's kind of a t-junction ..... and when it's still the "red man" ...... i couldn't believe it, a few hong kongers (i assume they are locals) simply dashed across the road, in full view of the police. I mean, what else do u expect except that the police will call after u and ask for your ID card and details and give u a summon??
but the funnie thing is, some apparently did get away ..... when the police is busy with one offender, the other quickly scooted away ....even though the policeman has already signalled to the offender to "come over"...... i saw one young man in action .... it's quite funnie. there was a moment hestitation and then he's off.
so i thought, hmmmm, they are risk takers aren't they? they would "gamble" on the off chance of not being caught for the slight convenience. ;)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Baby has growned to abt 11cm and decided to show its quiet side tat day. Baby juz quietly did some stretching exercises ... touching its knee and stretching its arms.
According to the doctor, i should be able to feel the baby movement around this time ... but errr, try as i did, i still don't feel a thing. ;p ...... errr except when i sneeze??? hahahaha .... i am not even sure of that actually.
this stage of the pregnancy ... for me is good cos i feel quite normal .... hardly any nausea and stuff ... juz a bit of tiredness (especially if i don't take an afternoon nap). and because the tummy is not growing either ... there are times when i wonder is everything ok inside?? heehee.
anywayz, the next time when i get to see wat's happening inside is end Jul .... ;)
Hubbie and myself have been reading this book "Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas -- i find it really good. It addresses so many issues that i have in my mind....... not that it provides "how to do it" solutions .... but rather he points us back to the ultimate creator, the ultimate helper and how parenting fits into God's overall scheme! It's a perspective that i lack cos alot of times i find myself focusing on self, self, self ........
Quote from the book :
Today's Christian usually prays for relief, for comfort and for healing-- but that's not always what Scripture teaches us to do.
How true .... and when God doesn't answer our prayer ... we ask why ? why ? why? and we question God's love and sovereignty cos things are not done our way. We want God to bless bless bless. If not, we fret fret fret. Oooooo, how often i've acted this way.
If God gives us situations we already have the strength to handle, we don't have to grow in order to deal with them
May the Lord grant us strength juz as it's said in Colossians 1:11
When i bought this book, i really didn't know what i was buying. It was one of those spur of the moment purchase when we were browsing at the christian bookstore (looking for another book). But i am glad we bought it. This really gives the spiritual foundation for parenting before we get on to the "how to do it" "manuals" out there .......hahahaha.
may this book not gather dust on my shelf!!!!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Bear Stearns and MBS Hedge Funds: What are the real risks today?
by Paul Tustain
this article and other interesting articles can be found here : http://www.safehaven.com
"...What people don't fully appreciate is the extent to which our financial system has geared up over the last twenty years to finance the worldwide residential housing boom..."
MOST SIGNIFICANT MARKET EVENTS cause an immediate and substantial price reaction, which makes it hard to profit from them. But sometimes there's a sort of slumber, when the market gazes sleepily about itself not quite sure what to do.
We may be experiencing one of them now.
This week a major American investment bank called Bear Stearns was reported as having some serious trouble with a couple of hedge funds. It is difficult to be clear exactly what is going on, because this story involves lots of people and banks who have a vested interest in not being very open. I have been trying to find out the details.
It starts with the humble mortgage. Lots of people in the United States who have no money - they are called sub-prime borrowers - borrowed 100% of the value of a house right at the top of a housing market which has since fallen sharply.
The lenders, however, did not have to worry very much about the risk of default, because they rolled these mortgages into packages called Mortgage-Backed Securities, which they then sold. They got to be off-risk within a few weeks, because by then these MBS belonged to other financial organizations.
But it is not always easy to sell a package of these Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). The process of selling such a device demands that the credit quality is assessed - and because the underlying lender is marketing to sub-prime borrowers, the package of debt in the MBS is heavily composed of mortgages quite likely to go into default. So a credit ratings agency will give it a low credit score.
This makes it difficult to sell, which is where a bunch of smart investment bankers join in.
The investment bankers slice the MBS into several chunks or "tranches". These are known as Collateralized Debt Obligations, or CDOs for short. The idea is to create some higher risk assets and some much safer ones, slicing up the MBS into what are called equity, mezzanine and investment-grade bonds.
The equity takes the higher risk, and so it earns the higher return if things go well. But if things start to go wrong, the equity is lost first...and then the mezzanine. However, even if there's quite a high rate of failure in the higher risk end, the investment-grade bonds still get fully paid out. This persuades the credit ratings agencies to give them a respectable stamp of approval, thereby creating out of low-quality mortgages a respectable amount of highly-rated bonds.
In this way the bankers might, for example, convert a large package of MBS into perhaps 70% investment grade bonds, 15% mezzanine, and 15% equity. The original mortgage lender is in a hurry to get the whole MBS off its book, remember, selling the MBS into the financial markets. That way he replenishes his cash and can go out marketing more mortgages to more sub-prime borrowers.
The investment bank is well motivated to slice up the MBS, and it had better be good at selling all this debt on. It won't want to keep much - if any - of the newly created CDO tranches, since the bank earns its money primarily by distributing the MBS, rather than by taking risks with the chance of subprime mortgage borrowers not making their repayments on time.
It is relatively easy to sell the high-grade investment bonds. Stamped with an investment-grade rating, these bonds are sold off to mostly respectable investment institutions. But the mezzanine, and particularly the equity, are less easy to dispose of.
In effect the 30% of the mortgages in the original MBS which were deemed on a statistical basis to be likely to fail, are concentrated into what investment insiders call "Toxic Waste". How can these bonds be sold off?
Enter the hedge fund. Somehow, and possibly even using some its own money, a bank sets up a hedge fund whose objective is to trade in the high-risk CDO equity and mezzanine instruments. Let's say the bank puts up the first $10 million. The hedge fund then buys the equity tranche of the CDO from the bank.
With a bit of luck, and this is what happened over recent years, the housing market goes up. Now the equity is floating higher in the water, because there's a cushion of higher house prices preventing those original sub-prime borrowers from defaulting. This rather obscure equity instrument, which is not traded anywhere and is not liquid, appears to be worth more than it was at issue. It gets marked up in value, and much faster than the underlying houses, because all the price volatility is concentrated in this thin slice of CDO equity.
The hedge fund is now a performer! And that means it will be rewarded by further investment from outside. So what started as a vehicle with a little investment bank money can grow the funds it manages under its own steam - and that can make its managers very rich.
Next, and this is what hedge funds are all about, it will leverage its risk, too. The hedge fund goes out to a lending bank, holding its high-performing but illiquid toxic waste in its hand, and it asks to borrow money using the waste as collateral. The bank has access, whether directly or indirectly, to cheap money from Japan - where interest rates remain at just 0.5% - and so it has the prospect of lending for spectacular profits.
Now the MBS wheel is fully in motion. The hedge fund loses no time in marking up the value of its equity CDOs on the basis of rising house prices. There is an overwhelming pressure to do so, since the hedge fund's managers are rewarded based on performance - a figure which is far too easy to manipulate if your investments are illiquid and hard to value in the absence of an open market price.
The toxic waste gets marked up without the waste itself getting tested on an open market.
The lending bank sees the equity floating higher and higher in the water, and lends more and more cash against it to the hedge fund. Naturally - as with all collateral - it claims the right to sell if the underlying debt gets into trouble, but it certainly doesn't look like a real danger at this stage. The money lent by the bank against the equity goes back to the hedge fund, which buys more CDO equity from the investment bank, which buys more MBS from the mortgage lender, which provides more money to sub-prime borrowers, who then buy more houses, pushing prices higher again.
This appears to be the background to the Bear Stearns hedge fund problem today. Recently, US house prices have turned sharply down, so now the lending banks have asked for their money back and the hedge funds haven't got it. So the collateral needs to be sold. No problem, surely. It's in the books at a few billion dollars after all.
But with its concentration of risk, the equity slice has been hemorrhaging value. No-one is bidding. But that's not the full extent of the problem. There are so many similar hedge fund loans backed by questionable and illiquid securities at marked-up prices - untested by dealing on the open market - that the lending banks have stopped trying to sell for fear it will accelerate and exacerbate the problem into a full-grown systemic disaster, forcing every similar hedge fund out there to own up, catastrophically, to significant overvaluations in their CDO equity portfolios, too.
There is currently no market for this toxic waste. Everyone is taking a breather. All this came to light Thursday - and amazingly the US stock market went up. But it really could turn very nasty. Everyone with a hedge fund holding in any similar market is powerfully motivated to sell today.
I was chatting to a senior financier recently from AIG - the biggest insurance company in the world. Even his business has come to be all about finding and assessing risk in housing finance. Everyone is up to their nostrils in this market.
What might happen? I expect the recent rises in bond rates are related to this developing problem. People better informed than me are starting to gather in cash, rather than lend it out. This could accelerate. The banking sector - whose profits have surfed this business and turned the banks into the pillars of the stock market indices - are going to be hit with some monster bad debts. Barclays bank has already owned up, but the debts it's admitting to are mushrooming, with early reports of $300m being replaced with ones later in the week suggesting more than $1 billion of losses. That hits the stock market with a double whammy - of falling bank stock prices and higher rates for everyone.
The quick deal might be to short Wall Street, which seemed to be wholly in a state of irrational denial as this story hit this week. If you do that today, and things start looking bad next week, consider sending some money to BullionVault to buy gold, too. Few places are better able to ride out the credit squeeze which could result than physical gold bullion owned outright - with no risk of default - in your name alone.
But on the other hand do not underestimate the skill of people including Ben Bernanke at the US Federal Reserve in underpinning the financial system at a time like this. They seem so often to get away with it. It would be interesting to know if Dr.Bernanke has chosen to cancel his social engagements this weekend.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
wellz, on the safe side, we decided that we should "evacuate" cos we saw our neighbors from upstairs "kwai kwai" taking the stairs down and there was even a fire engine downstairs.
after walking one flite, the alarm stopped! phew i tot, episode over. but on the safe side, hubbie decided to go downstairs to take a look while i went back to the apt with the rest of my neighbors.
after sometime, he came back and apparently the all clear was given by the firemen downstairs....so probably false alarm.
and juz when we were getting ready for bed, the fire alarm went off again!! and it went on for a very long time ..... at least an hour!! i tink by the time i fell asleep it was 2+, 3.
this morning, a notice was put up that the fire alarm was faulty!!!! duh.
Friday, June 01, 2007
anyway, the baby according to the doctor is growing @ a normal rate. and it was in a really active mood that morning. bouncing up and down, here and there. kicking its limbs and doing boxing exercises.
and so i call it the "Dancing Baby". :)
wellz, nothing much has changed physically.... the baby's not really showing yet .... juz a little.
as for my nausea and stuff, it was getting better. but this week, strangely, it began to "plague" me in the afternoon/evening. especially after i eat something. i feel like i am suffering from indigestion, therefore nausea. wellz, let's see how this goes. mebbe the stomach grew smaller ???? hehehehe.
anywayz, till date, one thing that always eases my queasy feeling, oranges!!! so i've have them stocked up at home :)
next check up is end of June. can't wait to see the baby then.
Friday, May 25, 2007
You knit me together in my mother's womb
I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Your works are wonderful
I know that full well
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place
When i was woven together in the depths of the earth
Your eyes saw my unformed body
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them to be."
a prayer that we pray for the little one in me :)
during this period, my thoughts tend to wonder. initally there are times when i worry and worry and worry. cos, there's so much to think about and to wonder. and also because there seems to be nothing that i can do.
i t's like i have absolutely no control over pregnancy ..... over the baby's formation. It is all in the Lord's hands.
Even though i have been a christian for so being years and through many situations, i have learnt to rely on the Lord and to trust in him, this pregnancy, really drove home the point.
And so, there is something that I can do. That is to pray and trust that He has taken care of everything and everything is indeed in His hands. He who has created the heaven and the earth. He who is omnipresent and almighty. He who desires the best for his children. He who sent His Son to die for us. He who loves unconditionally. Hallelujah praise the Lord.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
First, i am very tired most of the time. To look for food and to think about what to eat wasn't my top priority.
Secondly, i don't have much appetite. I really don't feel like eating most of the time
Thirdly, i couldn't bear to cook! So there is only one option .... eat out! Which makes matters worse as i somehow didn't feel like eating those "char can tieng" food. and to go to a restaurant?? i am already so tired ..... it's difficult to make my way there .... hehehehe.
So for a few weeks, the one "cuisine" that i found "bearable" and "somewhat tasty" was "burgers, fries and pizza"!!!!
O wow, i ate Mac's (or other burger chains) a few times a week as well as pizza. Poor hubbie. Poor baby. Not much nutrition and high fat content ;-p. I call the baby "American Baby" .... hahahaha.
But thank God, that phase was over in a a matter of weeks.
and then i discovered, hmmmm, South East Asian food could do the trick so for another week or 2, my diet was hainanese roast chicken rice, nasi lemak, fried kway teow, fried hokkien mee, fried carrot cake and stuff ...... all @ South East Asian restaurants i could find. But of course, nothing compared to what we can get at home !! And so ..... for a while .... i wish i am back in singapore .....!!! eating all these wonderful food ...... hahahaha.
and in the between, one lovely fren invitation to her home for home cooked meal was my first "real" home cooked meal in weeks. Thanks JingYi.
I say "real" because i do cook at home for myself for lunch as i really cannot bear the thought of eating ......... but instant noodles, pasta with canned sauce, "rojak" sandwich and luncheon meat sandwich/fried rice ...... ain't really "real" home cooking ! ;-p hehehehe.
and of course, there's Sister Ollie's homebaked muffins and stuff and pork curry which she made and shared with me.
and finally this week, i have the energy to cook again!! The tiredness is now manageable and i can stand being in the kitchen without feeling nauseous @ the smell of cooking!! yeah!!! o wow, u can't imagine how happy i am to eat the food i cooked myself. and so, i hope i can keep up with it!
and for the record, i have not put on any weight yet since we discovered i am pregnant. let's see when the weight starts piling on.
Friday, May 11, 2007
sometimes it's becoz i feel a sense of discomfort in my lower back region so that makes sleeping uncomfortable. sometimes, it's like i'm having light cramps, so it's difficult to fall asleep. sometimes, it because i wake up in the middle nite to go to the toilet and cannot fall alseep after that. sometimes, there's no particular reason -- i simply cannot fall asleep.
sometimes i wonder is it because there's something bothering me? worrying me? that's why my mind cannot rest? subconsciously at least ..... cos i dun think there's any particular thing that's on my mind now that can cause sleepless nites ;-p
anywayz, mebbe this is one of things that is a result of the pregnancy. afterall, they say everyone has different reactions and symptoms rite?
okie, i will try and go sleepz now. nite nite.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
this year, we went to the Hong Kong 7s again(30 Mar -1 Apr)! (this is our 3rd time.... or izit our 4th??) anywayz.... no matter ....
this year it was even more difficult getting tickets and until a few days before the event, we thot we will be missing this year's event ..... but thanks to hubbie ..... hehehehe ..... we made it!
this year fei had his fav "chicken" headgear with him ...... i think its kinda of cute ;)
anywayz ...... we didn't realise it initially, but baby also attended the rugby 7s with us :) didn't feel a thing then and enjoyed the weekend tremendously .... ... helped by the knowledge on Sunday morning that a new life is being formed :)
Monday, May 07, 2007
now into my 10th week and feeling much better :) thank God!
when we first found out that i could be pregnant, it was on the 31st march, when i did the home pregnancy test. and a trip to the gynae confirmed it.
as much as we planned this and looked forward to it, when it became a reality, it took us a few days to truly rejoice and be excited about it .... cos the first few days after the confirmation, there were juz so many things to think about and to pray about and stuff.....
and it seems so unreal ....... hahahaha.
and after that, came the discomfort and tiredness that literally knocked me out..... i will be like taking naps in the morning, in the afternoon and really don't feel like doing much ;-) good thing i am not working-- can't imagine having to trudge myself to the office and stuff.
of course, i still did my trading .... but honestly i pared down considerably, becoz some days i juz am not thinking straight.
anywayz, so my first ultrasound was on 3 Apr, my first visit to the gynae and there we saw the "sac" .... something so small yet going to cause such great discomfort later on....hehehehe.
due to my age(i belong to the high-risk pregnancy segment....based on age .... heehee), doc did ask us about the down's syndrome's test etc and whether we wanted to do it. at the back of my mind i know i didn't want to and so we prayed and commited it to the Lord. Praying and believing in the beautiful creation that we are going to receive in December 2007.
my second ultrasound was on 21 Apr, baby was abt 7 weeks + and it still looks like a "blob" but we can hear its heartbeat now! it's getting more "real" ....and my third visit to the gynae was 2 days ago on the 5th May and the baby is now taking shape and we can see it's hands and legs!!! so exciting. i felt very touched then.
amazing ! and it's only 2.5+ cm .....so tiny ......so precious .... and while we were all looking at it (doc, hubbie and myself), it's left hand suddenly moved. like it was waving at us ..... it's amazing .... like it knew that we were looking intently at it and it wanted to let us know that it's fine?! and it's legs too started to move. like the baby was in dancing. so utterly amazing.
continue to pray for God's protection over the baby. and also for ourselves that we follow in His ways in bringing up this child in the ways of the Lord.
also, thank God for sisters-in-christ whom i've got to know in hong kong who are so kind and helpful. To Pat, who introduced us the book "Praying for your Unborn Child" (by Francis and Judith McNutt) -- it's a really good prayer guide and offers insights to the development process and i would recommend it to all mums-to-be. and though she is in sydney and busy with her 2 children, family and ministry, continues to write and encourage me and pray for me.
To Ollie jie jie, who knew that i didn't feel like cooking during these last 2 months and therefore have been eating out most of the time, and took the trouble to bake muffins, bread, biscuits and share her home-cooked meals with me so that i get to eat some "healthy" stuff!!
To many others who pray with me and keep us in their prayer list.
Our parents are equally happy and excited for us. and i know that they are probably worried too since they are in singapore and we are here in hong kong. but Thank God for the love and support we have here in hong kong and the peace that God can grant when we choose to put our trust in Him.
i shall write another time...... byeeeee.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Over the long term, which are less risky for the reward they offer -- stocks or bonds?
Full article can be found on : www.kiplinger.com
By James K. Glassman
From Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, April 2007
As night follows day, when the stock market rises, I get phone calls from reporters who want me to talk about the book I coauthored in 1999, Dow 36,000. Just as inevitably, these reporters have not read the book and haven't the foggiest idea what it's about. What they want to know is the precise date that the Dow will hit 36,000, which I don't know now and never claimed I did.
But let's dispose of this question as we get on to more important matters.
Assume the future is like the past 80 years and the Dow produces the market's historical rate of return of a little more than 10% annually, including dividends. Also assume that dividend growth will remain at 2%, so the net price rise in the Dow will be 8%. As I write, the Dow is roughly 12,600. At an 8% growth rate, it will hit 36,000 on approximately February 14, 2021. Celebrate with your Valentine.
But Dow 36,000 was about a much more important subject than guessing when a date and a number would coincide. It was about risk. Normally, the riskier something is, the greater the payoff. The book pointed out an anomaly in investing: a situation in which the payoff is far greater even though the risk is about the same.
We examined what economists call the "equity premium puzzle," which is this paradox: Since 1926, a diversified portfolio of stocks has produced a return averaging, after inflation, about 7% a year, including dividends. Over the same period, long-term U.S. Treasury bonds have produced an average return of less than 3% a year, including interest. Stocks are much more profitable than bonds. The payoff is greater, so the risk must be higher, right?
Yet history also shows that, over the long term and after inflation, stocks are not much riskier than bonds. In fact, in his book Stocks for the Long Run, Kiplinger's columnist Jeremy Siegel, of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, presents 200 years of data in support of this conclusion: "Although it might appear to be riskier to hold stocks than bonds, precisely the opposite is true. The safest long-term investment for the preservation of purchasing power has clearly been stocks, not bonds."
In a common professional judgment, Nicholas Barberis, of Yale University, says, "By any standard measure of risk used by economists, stocks do not appear to be that much riskier than bonds." So what's the explanation for the paradox? Why does one asset return more than another -- that is, provide investors with a "premium" -- if the risk is nearly equal? In a paper co-written with Ming Huang, of Cornell University, and Tano Santos, of Columbia University, Barberis points to behavioral psychology as an explanation. Most investors, he says, are averse to losing money and see stocks, at least in the short run, as being more risky. So they demand a premium -- that is, a higher return.
What this means to you is simple: Own stocks for the long run and profit from other people's misconceptions. By long run I mean at least five years and, even better, ten or more. Stocks are far riskier than bonds in the short term, and that risk can't compensate for the higher average returns. Stick with bonds if your timeline is shorter than five years.
article continues here :
Thursday, March 22, 2007
It just may be possible to have it all. Business 2.0's guide shows you how to live large now - and bankroll your future.
(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- We all know the drill: To make sure you have enough green for your golden years, you're supposed to max out your 401(k) contributions, invest in index funds and growth stocks, and not - repeat, not - splurge on that top-of-the-line Ferrari. All sound advice.
But where's the fun in that? And what about now, when you're actually, you know, living your life?
Well, we believe it's possible to both live the good life and turbocharge that retirement account. In the articles linked below, you'll find ideas for investments and startup opportunities you won't see reported in the business section of your daily newspaper.
Like locking up rights to wind-farm and solar-power sites and then leasing them back to renewable-energy companies. Or snapping up a sampling of the works of today's underground artists for a surprisingly quick and profitable payoff. Or investing in real estate in places where supermodels lounge on the sand and beach houses can still be had for six figures or less. Want a preview? Aim Google (Charts) Earth at Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Maybe you'd like to go into business for yourself, or just want to ride the next wave. Think organic fast food, online luxury-goods rentals, and pet health insurance. And take a look at cooking schools for kids and upscale retirement communities.
Sure, your accountant might raise her eyebrows, but that's OK - while you're waiting for your 401(k) balance to grow, nothing says you have to sit around and watch the grass grow too.
Consider these five options:
Going global: Buy real estate in exotic locales.
Power play: Snap up rights to wind and solar sites.
Collecting profits: Invest in unknown artists.
Getting on the farm: Cash in on these crops.
Franchise this: Be your own boss.
Enjoy ! Article can be found here
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
and of course ....... expecting the higher temperatures ahead, i've already packed most of my winter clothing and guess what???!! it turned cool yesterday and today. Today it even reached 11 degrees ...... and me ...... i didn't want to bring out my winter clothes (most of which i've washed, folded and put away) .... i decided to wear hubbie's... hehehe. he is away and he had one woolly sweater hanging around ;)
dunno how the weather is going to be tmr .... but this sudden cool and warm temperature is not very comfortable .... not sure u know what i mean ..... it's like i'm juz getting used to the warmness and then suddenly, it's cool again ......hehehehe ...... but of course i like the cooler weather better ...... :)
actually, the weather a bit like the stock market in recent days ah ....... i think tomorrow is going to be another exciting day ....... :)
gooood nite .
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Gong Xi Fa Cai
Kong Hei fatt Choy
Xin Nian Kuai Le
Happy Lunar New Year
I know i am kind of late with my new year greetings .... but heyz .... at least it's within the 15 days of the lunar new year ;) hehehehe.
am feeling kinda lazy these days ...... less blogging ;p
plus, the markets have been crazy and the volatility is already giving me enough excitement in my life. wellz, not that i'm profiting from it ...... but the lessons i learnt, i hope will do me good in the longer term :) yea ...... that's my goal ....... i hope i won't be disappointed.
anywayz, that's all for now. check back soon!