#ReaderAsks: Investing Questions From Readers Will be Answered

Every week, I try to give answers to #ReaderAsks or questions sent by my beloved readers through email, Twitter or Facebook. If you have questions of your own, feel free to send them through those media. 

You might want to take a look at the questions from #ReaderAsks that were already answered:
For this week, I got several questions from colleagues and readers alike. The following questions from readers will be answered:

Updated with Links:

4. "Should I invest in the stocks or mutual funds?"

5."Where can I find a list of traditional brokers?"

While I try to answer each question to the best that I can, I do not claim expertise in this field as I am a newbie myself that continues to learn from various people and mentors that I meet along the way through my investing journey. If you have been investing in the stock market and have quite an extensive knowledge regarding the subject or may have more details to share in regards to the questions, feel free to leave your comments below or contact me through the media mentioned above. Me and my readers would like to hear what you got to share so if you may have additional answers to the following questions, feel free to let us know. 

The answers to the questions above-mentioned will be published each way so stay tuned or be the first to know as soon as they are published through the following social media sites Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

3 Main Reasons Why Chinese People Save

He who does not economize will have to agonize.  ~Confucius 

Photo Credit: China Internet Watch

If you're dead serious about wanting to save some cash for your future, you might want to look at why and how Chinese do it. Chinese people save more than a third of their total incomes. When you come to think of it, it is way more than Americans, for example, who currently set aside just 5% of their incomes. Chinese have a personal savings rate of 25 percent and a national savings rate (which includes corporate savings) of 47 percent in 2005.

Growing up in a small town wherein most establishments are owned by Chinese people, I developed a notion that they are rich people. Later did I learn that not all Chinese are born with silver spoon in their mouth and most of them actually earned and saved their way to where they are now.

China ranks #53 worst worldwide in terms of income inequality, with a Gini index (measuring wealth inequality) of 41.5. In comparison, the U.S. ranks #40 worst with a Gini index of 40.
[ CIA World Factbook, accessed March 2011 ] via

There were actually stories from my older colleagues that during the Marcos era, Chinese people actually moved in the Philippines to serve wealthy Filipinos. It's funny how the times and tables have turned today.

In 2008 a study by St.Louis, China’s saving rate is one of the highest in the world. The figure below shows that China’s personal saving rate is about 25 percent and national saving is roughly 47 percent of GDP (in 2005, compared with 0.5 percent personal saving and 12 percent national saving in the United States)—and these savings rates have increased in recent years.

Why Do Chinese People Save? 

While there may be the usual social security reasons as to why Chinese people are saving more than they are spending caused by their dilapidated social welfare system causing fear and the need to save for their health care, social safety and private education and many other services that are supposed to be covered by the government, below are just 3 of the most intriguing reasons that affect their spending and investing habits.

1. Mortgage
Chinese men find mortgages a prerequisite for marriage which explains why China is currently facing a problem with having too many single men. Yang Jiah, along with other Chinese men, believe that their ticket to getting married to a decent Chinese girl is to own a nice property. 

One of the strongest motivations why I currently save more than I spend is that I want to save for the rent-to-own house which we will hopefully move in on September this year. However, unlike those Chinese men, I am saving for this property because it has always been a dream since I was a kid. I grew up like an NPA (No Permanent Address) because me and my mom would always transfer from one place to another. Such situation has helped me to become inspired to really work hard and strive to change it. 

2. Wedding
The first motivation for Chinese to save for a property is actually linked to their second strongest motivation which is in order to be married, they need to save enough money. According to BBC, "Every year in China more than ten million couples tie the knot. Weddings are a multi-billion-dollar business and expenses for the big day can quickly spiral out of control."

3. Luxury
China is world’s second largest consumer market for luxury goods, behind only Japan (after passing the U.S. in 2009) and expected to be bigger than that of Japan by 2014. 

China's saving and spending habits are clearly being greatly affected by their being family-oriented. You can see that most of them save for the wedding, parents retirement and the kids education. May I encourage you to think of something you want to improve in your life and make it your biggest motivation and source of strength as you journey towards saving for your future so it will be easier for you to be focused in reaching such goal and would make the journey worthwhile.

How to Revert or Bring Back the Old Facebook Chat Box

"Move fast and break things" is Mark's prime directive to his developers and team. "Unless you are breaking stuff," he says, "you are not moving fast enough."

Looks like Facebook has been fast in breaking things to the extent of breaking the chat box interface when they rolled out "something awesome" - Skype Video Calling and Group Chat, that is.  Basically it's Skype on Facebook. So when they moved too fast, they ended up messing with chat box. 

The New Facebook Chat Box Layout

This is how the new Facebook Chatbox layout looks like. You would have no idea as to the exact number of your friends are online and there's no way to scroll down or up. Also, it looks like my grouping doesn't work because it simply shows a limited view of a few friends online all at one view and I could not sort them in any way. It means I could no longer be offline to a specific group. 

The Solution on How to Bring Back the Old Facebook Chat Box

The good news is that there's a get-around with it. If you're using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser then you can simply download a script or add-on, respectively.

Solution to Mozilla Firefox

Install this Firefox Facebook Sidebar Chat Reversion Greasemonkey add-on. Once you're done downloading it, simply restart your browser and you will be greeted with the old Facebook chat box. 

 Solution to Google Chrome

Google Chrome users don’t need to download Greasemonkey since the Chrome browser natively supports the extension so all you need to do is install the Chrome / Firefox Facebook Sidebar Chat Reversion user script.

Google Chrome also allows you to get back the old Facebook chat interface while in Incognito Mode. To do that, just tick the box that says “Allow in Incognito” under “Facebook Sidebar Chat Reversion” in Extensions (Settings > Tools > Extensions).

Facebook Chat Pop Out

If you wish not to install any Greasemonkey user script, you can always opt to use the Facebook Chat Pop Out

There you have it, there are several ways to fix the new Facebook Chat Box and easily revert or bring it back to its old form. You simply need to choose which one is being supported by your browser or whichever you prefer. Happy chatting! :)

When in Highschool - Reasons Why You Can't Invest While You're Under 18

There's nothing like high school life. If ever I would be given the chance to live back to a certain point in my life, it would be the time in high school when everything seems to be simpler, happier and perhaps easier.

High school life, high school life when everything seems to be easier and happier 

We were all so excited to graduate only to look back a few years after wishing we could go back to those moments again..one more time.

 A few years after...and we're still carefree..or we seem like

 Now that we're a bit more mature, or at least I'd like to believe we are 

 Yes, we have a serious and erm, mature photos too

Everyday we would group ourselves after school and ride the tricycle together with our barkada. Whenever the driver would ask us as to where we are going, we felt like the time would wait for us and our addresses changes everyday that we can't seem to decide right there and then where exactly do we want to go. We felt that being boisterous was fun and that everyone around us and their opinions don't really matter. Lunch time was the best part of the high school life because that's the time when we would take a break from our classes, talk about our crushes - whether he said hi or not earlier in the day, share our baon (packed lunch) and laugh about simple, random and sometimes stupid things. That's high school.

The inevitable reunion. Well, it looks like nothing has changed :) 

So all in all - except for the research projects - high school is fun. And boisterous. And disastrous. And gorgeous. ;)

But the thing about high school students is that if you're not one of them, they can be pretty annoying. The other day I went to a fastfood chain and a group of high school students really took their time thinking about what should they order - what size, color, flavor like it's a multiple choice kind of test and as if no one's behind them queuing. It is during that time when I learned and understood why it is not advisable and not even legal to invest when you're in highs school - under 18, that is.

You Cannot Invest in the Stock Market When You're Under 18

1. When you're in your teenage years, you're often confused.
From freshmen year till I reached the senior year, our teacher in values class (yes, during my time we still had that in our curriculum), our teacher always tells us how she understand that we're in the stage of our lives when we're easily confused and we often make wavering decisions. When you're investing, you cannot make confused decisions as this will lead to losing your money. Real, hard-earned money, baby!

2. Easy Go Lucky. Easy Let Go of Money
High school students are notorious for having easy-go-lucky attitude when compared to college students. Perhaps it has got to do with the fact assurance that parents are still there to watch over and iron out whatever trouble or issues a high school student would have or because peers are there to comfort and influence. When a person seems to be easy to lucky, there's a higher tendency of not taking finance matters seriously.

3. More interested in gossip than news
I remember so vividly when we would spend the whole afternoon talking about random things when our teacher is absent or late. We would take on every opportunity to fix ourselves in front of the mirror that all classrooms have one installed so every girl could freshen up and fix herself after every subject break. Oh life just revolved around our assignments, crushes, snacks and gossip time then. While a high school student may be interested in news about a particular person, an investor needs to be vigilant and aware about political and world news that affect businesses and economy in general.

While I enjoy my high school life immensely, I understand now why one has to be at the legal age of 18 before he could invest or perform acts and decisions that would have a great impact in one's life. Investing needs careful researching, planning and decision making and it is something that should not be taken lightly. While I often refer to the act of investing as playing in the stock market, it's not like your usual high school tagu taguan or patitentero game wherein you could just say rush home when you lose and go back again when you want to. There's real hard-earned money involved when investing in the stock market and the easy-go-lucky, carefree high school attitude just won't work. 

#ReaderAsks: How Do I Get a Job Even if I Didn't Graduate from College?

Good question, I must say. Based on the 2006 to 2007 NSCB statistics, the dropout rate in the Philipines increased from 8.6 percent to 9 percent, far from the 2006 target of decreasing it to 5.5 percent and 2009 target of 4.3 percent. The data above is for the primary or elementary level alone. 

With the increasing number of dropouts or people who could no longer afford to pay the tuition fees due to continuing tuition hikes more and more students enrolled in private colleges and universities find themselves either dropping out or forced to transfer to state institutions, we find more and more of our countrymen facing a much higher and direct problem of not getting hired in a country where educational background and status is very important. As of  the latest data available in 2009, Philippines has an estimated unemployment rate of 7.3%.

Now, instead of going to the streets rallying and protesting because the government has not done enough in providing programs and projects that will help ensure that our countrymen would get at least secondary level of education and providing trainings that will assist them in getting employed, let us focus on the individual efforts that we can do to help ourselves. Let us not depend everything to the government because while our state may try to assist us in every way, our success still depends on our individual efforts. 

In my previous post entitled, Don't Let Lack of Degree Get in The Way to Success, I provided a list of jobs that one could have even if he's an undergraduate. Also, you might want to develop certain qualities that could help you in Surviving the Recession by Quitting Your Job. Now once you're done learning those qualities, and having the right mind set, the following steps might be able to aid you in better understanding your skills and landing a job. While I may not guarantee you a managerial job, I would guarantee that once you have the right attitude and proper skills, you would get a job in one way or another. 

1. Learn an Employable Skill
Take a look at a local classified ads or even online job boards and see which skills are the companies you would like to work for. It should give you an idea what is in demand and what specific skills are required to be able to employed in the said job. 

There is a great difference between a hobby and an employable skill. Be sure to learn one that is both something you're passionate about and what companies would need.

2. Get Help from TESDA
The Philippines government has a specialized department in helping the less privileged in getting training and developing technical skills that would later help you getting employed. Browse their website and learn more about the programs that they offer and see which interests you the most.

When I graduated from high school, I was so confident that my aunt would help me out once I get to college since she has long been promising it to me only to be notified that she could no longer help us out. The notification came in late and I didn't really apply for any scholarship before so I sort of panicked that maybe I could no longer go to college. Luckily, our neighbor informed us that TESDA has a scholarship posting and that there will be an examination the week after. So we rushed in our local TESDA office and checked their requirements and the week after, I took their examinations. To make the long story short, I passed, finished college with a Diploma in Computer Studies while I was working part-time in Jollibee Foods Corporation and once I graduated, I took a chance in STI's E2E program and when Callbox went to our school after our graduation, I was interviewed and got hired the same day.

The government and even NGO's have a lot of programs and scholarships that are actually waiting for the right canditate. You just have to seek for it.

3. Start Low and Be Alert for Every Opportunity
Don't be afraid to take on an entry-level job, a part-time job because opportunities always come to the right person, with the right skills and attitude. While I was working with Jollibee, I knew I was destined for greater opportunities so I was always on the look out for one. Once people see your enthusiasm and dedication in what you do, the ladder of success will eventually be laid out for you.

4. Online Jobs
Since high school I was always looking for summer jobs and unfortunately, I found none. I felt really hopeless then because all I see are summer jobs for the US teens. I felt like there's not much opportunity for Filipinos at all. But then again, the internet proved me wrong, there are actually myriad of opportunities online and what they only need is your persistent attitude. Start with Bestjobs.ph or Onlinejobs.ph. I got my first ever online job as a virtual assistant through those sites. Be clear as to what skills or tasks you're willing to do and employers won't hesitate someone who doesn't have the previous work experience as long as you have the attitude that's willing to learn. Also, may this story of how a 17-year-old from India became a CEO.

First, you need to get rid of the thought that you will not find a job just because you are an undergraduate. Then, be willing to be trained and get the necessary skills to get you employed. Don't be afraid to start low and eventually work your way to the the top. Also, my uncle would always tell me to always be on the look out for trainings that will help you widen your skills, expertise and knowledge. I hope in one way or another, those tips would help you too as they have assisted me in finding my value and establishing attitude and skills that has helped me find a job and work my way to a better position. Oh, did I mention that the world's richest under 30, Mark Zuckerberg, is actually a dropout? So don't worry if you don't have a degree. After all, while a degree could help in preparing a person to a much more challenging real world tests - provided that you really learned from your classroom lessons and not just getting a diploma for an ornament - it is not a guarantee for success. Real success comes to those who know what they want and use whatever they got to reach their dreams - with or without a degree.

You might be interested to look at other #ReaderAsks:

#ReaderAsks: What Should I Do to Marry a Rich Guy?

While this post may not be your usual #ReaderAsks, there had been a trending Note around Facebook about how a beautiful lady asked in a forum on how could she snatch rich guys. I'm pretty sure many singe ladies out there are often wondering with similar question too so here's an interesting response allegedly from the CEO of J.P Morgan. It's a perfect example of how one should stop looking for a rich partner and start being one.

Subject: Appropriate reply by J.P Morgan CEO to a Pretty girl seeking a rich husband..

To: A young and pretty lady posted this on a popular forum:

Title: What should I do to marry a rich guy?

I'm going to be honest of what I'm going to say here. I'm 25 this year. I'm very pretty, have style and good taste.

I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above.

You might say that I'm greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York ..

My requirement is not high.

Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married?

I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry rich persons like you?

Among those I've dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit.

If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden ( ? ) , $250k annual income is not enough.

I'm here humbly to ask a few questions:

1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym)

2) Which age group should I target?

3) Why most wives of the riches is only average-looking? I've met a few girls who doesn't have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys

4) How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)

Ms. Pretty 
Awesome reply:

Dear Ms. Pretty,

I have read your post with great interest. Guess there are lots of girls out there who have similar questions like yours. 

Please allow me to analyze your situation as a professional investor.

My annual income is more than $500k, which meets your requirement, so I hope everyone believes that I'm not wasting time here.

From the standpoint of a business person, it is a bad decision to marry you.. The answer is very simple, so let me explain.

Put the details aside, what you're trying to do is an exchange of 'beauty' and 'money':

Person A provides beauty, and Person B pays for it, fair and square.

However, there's a deadly problem here, your beauty will fade, but my money will not be gone without any good reason.

The fact is, my income might increase from year to year, but you can't be prettier year after year. Hence from the viewpoint of economics, I am an appreciation asset, and you are a depreciation asset. It's not just normal depreciation, but exponential depreciation. If that is your only asset, your value will be much worried 10 years later.

By the terms we use in Wall Street, every trading has a position, dating with you is also a 'trading position'.

If the trade value dropped we will sell it and it is not a good idea to keep it for long term - same goes with the marriage that you wanted.

It might be cruel to say this, but in order to make a wiser decision any assets with great depreciation value will be sold or 'leased'.

Anyone with over $500k annual income is not a fool; we would only date you, but will not marry you.

I would advice that you forget looking for any clues to marry a rich guy. And by the way, you could make yourself to become a rich person with $500k annual income.

This has better chance than finding a rich fool.
Hope this reply helps. If you are interested in 'leasing' services, do contact me..


CEO J.P. Morgan

For all the pretty ladies out there, if beauty is all asset you got, may you invest smartly and work your way up to your desired salary range instead of simply strutting your butt to any man who's got more money than brains. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being pretty, but it gets all wrong when that's all you have ;)

#ReaderAsks: How Much Is the Minimum Investment in the Stock Market?

 Every week, I try to answer questions from readers about previous articles that I have written. If you missed our first #ReaderAsks, I answered the question: How Did You Learn About the Stock Market & Could You Suggest Books?

Now for our second #ReaderAsksJoy Poh asked the following questions: 

Do you usually attend seminars..? and how much was your 1st investment when you started..? (if you dont mind me asking:))... thanks so much...

Do You Need to Attend Seminars Just to Learn Investing?

While I started investing without attending seminars, I did all my homework by visiting blogs of investors that share their tips and ideas during their journey in investing in the Philippine Stock Market. So is attending seminars necessary? Not a requirement but definitely advisable so you could get to learn from more the experts. 

In line with that, there will be a  Money Summit & Wealth Expo 2011 which will be held in Cebu from August 12-13, 2011, 8:30am to 5:30pm at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino. Speakers include Tomasito Academia of PAREB, Jay Aldeguer of Island Souvenirs, Noli Alleje of The Property Forum, Jojy Azurin of BusinessSummaries.com, Conrado Bate of CitisecOnline, Ian del Carmen of Fireball, Eireen Diokno-Bernardo of Dekada Arts, Bonner Dytoc of Absolute Traders, Vince Golangco of WhenInManila.com, Prof. James Ryan Jonas of PinoyMoneyTalk, Cynthia Palad-Yap of Real Estate Movers, Ardy Roberto of Salt & Light Ventures, Jerome San of Laurus Enterprises, Mark So of Forex Club Asia and Trace Trajano of Think Rich Quick. For details, visit YouWantToBeRich's post about the said summit. 

The fee, which is for the 2-day seminar and includes snacks, materials and some free items from sponsors, is P7,995 – but you get discounts through this site – especially for groups. Let me know if you're planning to attend so we could book together for a discount. :)

How Much is the Minimum Investment Required?

It varies depending on the broker that you are choosing. For Citiseconline, they require a minimum investment of Php25,000 while First Metro Investment Corporation only requires a minimum of Php5,000. Traditional Brokers like Angping Securities would require a minimum investment of at least Php50,000.

If you have any questions, feel free to join the #ReaderAsks session by following and asking me on Twitter.
photo by pfala