A Time for Decadence

The Light

Last night, I watched Forbes Luxe 11: World’s Most Extravagant Meals.

It was circa 2009, a time when decadence was still in fashion, and people would stop at nothing to get the very best, and to live an extraordinary life (of course, to show off too).

Imagine, a $1,000 dollar pizza (with salmon roe, lobster, caviar), a $1,000 golden cake (literally made of gold, that is, 24 karat gold leaf), a $5,000 hamburger (with foie gras and a bottle of a really expensive wine), an executive chef cooking for you in the comfort of your own home ($10,000 for 10 people), taking a party (even a piano and a pianist, or a band!) high up into the sky (Dinner in the Sky, $50,000 – $100,000).

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Credit Card Debt? Bah Humbug

Yearning to See the Light

I read an article, a very interesting article about reducing your card debt.

The article said you should forget about it (pay the bare minimum on it), and focus your energies on earning more income.

Forget your credit card debt…?

Now, I am appalled and alarmed by that suggestion on a lot of levels.

Because that simplistic approach cannot possibly apply to (1) people who cannot handle their money, (2) people do not know how to grow their money, and (3) or who cannot (for the life of them) stop buying.

And they exist – an obscene number, in fact!

Besides, according to Carmen Wong Ulrich’s The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life, and Your Money, having a credit card debt has an emotional cost.

A huge emotional cost.

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Are You an Aggressive Investor?

To Whichever Way the Water Flows

You have a private equity fund. And you say to yourself, I have arrived.

But, have you?

Because, in fact, it may take you longer to arrive.

First things first. Let me explain what a private equity fund is (but please bear with me – we will be going a little technical here). It is typically a limited partnership, in which the private equity firm acts as the general partner and accredited investors fund the investments of the partnership. According to Daniel R. Solin in his book, The Smartest Portfolio You’ll Ever Own, the average returns on equity funds, net of fees, were 3% below that of the S&P 500 (an index that consists of 500 stocks weighted by market value, often incorrectly used as a benchmark for the performance of the US stock market) and fees were a whopping 6% a year.

The fraud (it is fraud) does not start, or end, with private equity funds.

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Men Do Not Want To Ask

A View from Within

A View from Within

Sometimes, I embarrass my husband.

I like getting my discounts and am shameless asking for it, while I see him at the corner of my eye, squirming in his seat, wanting to disappear.

Like the time our engine light came on during our trip to Tagaytay and luscious Canyon Woods (while we were singing – shouting – Don’t Stop Belieeeevinnn!!!).  Long story short, we had the car checked, had the car checked-in for almost a week (uh, sorry, we have to take a closer look at it, might be serious), and were charged an arm and a leg just so they can clean the computer box.

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Sharing With You Some (Seminar) Insider Info

All the Help You Need

All the Help You Need

I love seminars.  Don’t you?

And it’s not just because of the insider information that you get from it, but the people that you meet and re-meet who may just clinch the next deal for you.

Really, you don’t know what you’ll get in those – sometimes it is the education (which is the reason that you go anyway), other times it is the perks (like a password to the next big thing that will get you a discount, or will get you in for free), most times, it is meeting the network – that can be your network – people who can do your work for you (this is a wonderful bonus).

What do you do with what you get, though, is a different thing entirely.

Because the ability to see opportunity in information and in people is an art but I think it is an ability that can be cultivated.

What I want to do with what I got from the most recent one I attended, the MoneySummit, is to share them with you.  The speakers shared some valuable resources that can, maybe, hopefully help you if you have an online business (who doesn’t – and if you don’t, isn’t it about time you start thinking about owning a piece of that getting-to-be-scarce-and-crowded-and-valuable real estate?).

Here are some website-tools that can help take your business to the next level:

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How to Develop a Product (Yes You Can)

No Day Like Today

No Day Like Today

You start with a problem, or an inconvenience.

It could be the weather, or something you are used to but (by gosh) is really painful (like high heels), or something that you cannot control (like your weight, or the bulging of your tummy).

That’s right.  Start with you.

Then you search for an available solution online (information literally is at the tip of your fingers).

But there is none.

There’s your opening.  You have a need for a product.  And chances are, there are a lot of people like you searching for the exact same thing, or if they don’t know it yet, they will recognize their need once you get your product out into the market.

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So You Like to Sing

Sing!

Sing!

Many want to go this route – using the pipes to have a go at their wildest dreams.

And some have seen their wildest dream come true too, if the batting average of American Idol – or other singing contests – are anything to go by.

Before my memory goes to oblivion, let me share with you some tips from professional singers I had the great fortune to brush shoulders with:

1.  Practice.

And practice some more.  Like any other skill, practice makes perfect in singing.  And if you can afford it (or someone offers), hire a voice coach.  But know that not all voice coaches will do wonders for you.  Find one who will boost your ego and transform your voice to the most amazing instrument known on earth.  You will know this after a few days with teacher – if teacher makes you feel small, makes your voice squeak (like you don’t want to sing anymore), fire her.  She is not right for you.  Of course, there’s the truth too – you might not really have what it takes.  Careful balance and an open mind are needed.  And luck.  If this is what you were born to do, you will find the right voice teacher for you.

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Why Do Some People Succeed?

Sailing Away

Sailing Away

And why only some?  Aren’t we all genetically predisposed to be the best that we can be?

The answer, simply, is no.  Otherwise, no one would be successful.  And our journeys would all be, for lack of a better word, boring.

Here are some speakers in the Money Summit 2011 who defied the odds and became masters in their own fields:

NOLI ALLEJE

I was into everything before I started doing real estate.  As an entrepreneur, I started off with window furnishing in the late 70’s, then went into knitwear in the 80’s and a PR company that focused on beauty contests … We handled Triumph Court of Fashion, Palmolive Circle of 10, Mutya ng Pilipinas and Miss Asia Pacific plus Eupohoria Disco … in the early 90’s, Iwi Laurel and myself put up the first real estate talk show on nationwide television … sometime thru those years, I became the Philippine representative for Joe Weider products (muscle building drinks) and regular jobs in financial institutions such as Bancom Philippine Holdings, Union Bank and ULTRA, the concert and sport venue.

It was only when I started selling real estate and investing in real estate that I can say that I reached financial maturity.  The Property Forum was granted exclusive marketing contracts in the mid 90’s which was right smack in the Asian Crisis period … That is the time I realized that my expertise was on distressed properties since our sales was great during bad times … So the years after, I started doing auctions with the major universal and commercial banks …

We began doing bulk investment from bank assets 3 years ago and last year, we decided to buy the asset management company of GE money bank from GE Investment in Norway … As an investor, I basically buy and hold while I wait for nature to solve the headaches … Sometimes dump the lousy assets and just collect the good ones …

Lesson:  I like what Noli Alleje said here – that in real estate investing, particularly in investing in distressed properties – one technique is just to buy and hold while waiting for nature to solve the headaches.  So if applied to the US real estate market (or to stocks), the time to buy is now.  But many are still scared.  And that is why people like Noli Alleje emerge the winner.

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