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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Sharing, Swapping and Being Ecologically Responsible

Yearning

Yearning

I do not usually reprint what has been sent to me via press release, but when I saw the word “share” in this release from Andrea Woroch, I was suddenly reminded of the book Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

What fragile memories we have, author  Robert Fulghum intimated, that we only need to think of the basic, of what we used to do – being good and doing good – and the world would be a better place.

That advise still holds true and that is why this release appealed to me. The swapping and sharing websites featured in the article are just what we need in this materially-possessed world.

And I like the idea of being ecologically responsible.

I personally checked out the websites and was intrigued by BookMooch (book swapping), Home Exchange (travel) and Zwaggle (for baby stuff).  I have not actually shared or swapped, because I am located in Asia (which makes me wish for a similar service here – and why don’t I start one?).  But do let me know how it goes for you.

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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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The Cost of Opportunity

Windows

Windows

Opportunities appear not to those who wait, but to those who look.

The problem is, not everyone looks.  Most sit on their divans and wait for the apple to fall, although there is no tree around.  Okay, sometimes there is – outside – but most of the time, the leaves are not even ruffled by the wind.  

And these people – they wonder – why isn’t there anything happening in my life?

When the cost of opportunity is nominal, a pittance.

It can be bought by small talk, an exchange of looks, or a simple email.  But there has to be a dash of audacity, daring, bravura.

You only need a window – an opening that will give you glimpse of what is beyond – the something that is out there, and good, and waiting for you.  You also need a sprinkling of imagination to spur you on so you can take the first step.

And the second, and the third.

But some of the time, you do not even need a window – you can find or create opportunity.

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Why Are You Investing?

Within Reach

Within Reach

Today I embarked on my journey towards becoming a Registered Financial Planner.

I figured – I might as well plunge head-on into the world of personal finance.  And what better way to continue my education than by formal training.

Good too that I got a semi-scholarship / discount through MoneyDoctors partner and friend, Salve Duplito, who is a finance guru herself. (thanks, Salve, and to Mr. Henry Ong, head of the RFP – Philippines program)

So my friends, in a few months, I hope to be a Registered Financial Planner.  I also want you with me on that journey so I am cooking up something that I hope will positively impact the financial future of one (or two, or three) of you. (hint, hint)

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Greening of the Soul

Green Your Soul

Everyone feels it.

The earth is no longer young.  Its resources are no longer inexhaustible.  Temperatures are rising.  Entire species are disappearing.

Just yesterday, everyone cavorted in clean, sparkling water, drenched themselves in sunshine, fished an abundant ocean, breathed air that is fresh, harvested a generous, bountiful earth.

Something happened between the space of yesterday and today

Mother earth was taken for granted, and overtaken (over taken) by human greed.

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