Monday, August 31, 2015

UMobile HERO Plan VS MaxisONE plan 188

U Mobile HERO plan, the new postpaid plan from U Mobile is expected to launch tomorrow. What’s most interesting about this plan is the unlimited free calls and the flat low price of RM70/month, including 7GB of Internet data. There no contract and the voice calls are truly unlimited.

Details of U Mobile HERO Postpaid Plan:
  • Truly unlimited free calls to all networks (including calls to Maxis, Celcom Axiata, Digi, TM, U Mobile & others)
  • 7GB Internet data (all day, all night)
  • RM70/month
Our sources told us that all current U Mobile P70 postpaid plan users will be upgraded to the HERO plan automatically. The other two U Mobile postpaid plans, U28 and P50 will remain with extra Internet.
U Mobile won’t be offering Unlimited SMS for the Hero plan. Our source said that the 7GB Internet data is more than enough for using messaging apps such as Whatsapp, WeChat, KakaoTalk, Viber, etc.
Customers can walk in to U Mobile service centre and sign up for the U Mobile HERO plan starting 1st September 2015. More details please refer to U Mobile.
MalaysianWireless Comment:
Last Thursday, we published a story about MaxisONE plan, being expensive and we compared it to the U Mobile P70 plan. MaxisONE plans were only revamped about 2 weeks ago. The cheapest MaxisONE plan starts at RM98/month with only 1GB Internet. We believe U Mobile is responding to Maxis with the launch of HERO plan.
Here’s an updated comparison between U Mobile HERO and MaxisONE plan 188:
PlansU Mobile HERO planMaxisONE plan 188
Monthly feeRM70RM188
7GB7GB+1GB (8GB)

The U Mobile HERO plan offers more value for money. Not only it is 2 times more cheaper than MaxisONE plan 188, it has a faster 3G network too.
U Mobile is a new Telco, about 7 years old and it is still improving network coverage in Malaysia. Its 3G network works best in KL, Negeri Sembilan and other states such as Johor, Penang and in Perak. Apart from these areas, U Mobile has 3G RAN sharing network agreement with Maxis in selected towns in West Coast Malaysia, East Coast (Kuantan, Kota Bahru and Kuala Terrengannu) and major towns in East Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak).
The “Orange” operator is deploying 1,000 new 3G sites and 1,000 new 4G LTE sites this year.
[Tip: U Mobile roams on Maxis 2G network, nationwide. U Mobile HERO users can set their phone to 2G and continue to make unlimited calls using the Maxis network]
In general, Malaysians spend an average RM80-RM100 every month on postpaid plans. As of Quarter 2 this year, the average revenue per user for postpaid are: Digi (RM82), Maxis (RM97, for MaxisONE plan its RM150) and Celcom (RM90).
U Mobile has a smaller base of postpaid users (likely due to its smaller coverage areas and perhaps it isn’t spending as much as the big boys when it comes to marketing), but we think that they now have the most attractive postpaid plan, flat at RM70/month (Hero plan).


Sunday, July 12, 2015


Here are eight red flags to look out for when reading your next statement.


A strong cash flow is one of the hallmarks of a successful business. But the key word here is flow. A growing but static reserve of cash can be a sign that your backlog is dwindling and you’re running out of work, leading to a stockpile in the cash column.
On the other hand, if you find yourself drawing on a line of credit when payments for a given project are slow in coming, you could also be headed for trouble. A construction company should always be in an overbilling position on a job. If underbilling is occurring, ask your financial advisor to perform an over/under billings analysis to get a handle on this dilemma.


Slow periods in your business can lead to an unnoticed decrease in your equipment’s value and force greater spending down the line. You may be tempted to think that, because your assets aren’t getting as much wear and tear, they’re maintaining their value.
But, just as it does for a new car driven off the lot, annual depreciation continues to steadily do its work on your assets. Plus, you’re not buying replacement equipment at current market prices, meaning you’ll likely pay more when you finally have to upgrade.


Substantially changing liabilities warrant a close look. If your profits are dwindling, for example, certain liabilities may shrink as well, such as payments to profit-sharing plans or deferred tax liabilities.
On the other hand, liabilities can balloon if you take out a loan to keep your construction business afloat. Having a large amount of unsecured debt is a particularly bad sign for any company.


Because many contractors have seasonal swings in their businesses, you may have more bills to pay than cash on hand at one time of the year or another. This is something worth tracking and planning around. Also, consistently having more current liabilities than current assets is typically a sign that you’re overleveraged.


Your gross profit margin is equal to your building costs for a particular period — not including overhead, payroll, taxes and interest payments — divided by your sales revenue for the same period.
If this ratio is dwindling, it means your production costs are rising more quickly than your prices, or you’re charging less for your construction services (perhaps in an attempt to gain market share). Both trends can sink your business quickly, so track your profit margin closely.


General and administrative expenses, such as rent and utilities, are less “elastic” than project expenses, such as labor and materials. Thus, the ratio of these expenses to your profits will skyrocket if workload sags.
Also keep an eye on indirect costs, such as insurance, that you allocate to each of your contracts. If the amount of these rises significantly, it’s often because you have fewer contracts to allocate these expenses to, which could spell financial trouble.


If your receivables start to dwarf your actual sales, beware. It may be a sign that customers are taking longer to pay their bills — or not paying at all — and that it may be time to revamp your collection procedures.


Although you may take comfort in the sight of a lengthy project backlog on your financial statements, remember that not all projects are created equal.
If you have jobs scheduled in the distant future, but nothing for the next few weeks (or months), start strategizing how to pay your bills immediately. Quality also trumps quantity: A smaller number of profitable jobs may prove more beneficial than a large number of jobs with slim profit margins, or even potential losses.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I just became a millionaire at age 35

On a recent Thursday night I logged into my brokerage account and saw an extra digit I'd never seen before.
When I was in my early 20s I didn't think becoming a millionaire at 35 was even possible.
Back then I didn't have much money, but the little extra that I did — usually $500 a month — I saved and invested. So this is proof of what can happen when you do that:
You might think when your account rolls over to seven digits that fireworks light up the sky, confetti falls, and champagne starts flowing. I can tell you that doesn't happen, in fact it's pretty anti-climatic; I was like, "Oh, cool," and then went back to work.
Honestly, the financial milestone that really mattered to me was making my first $1K from investing. That meant my investments could make me $10K, which meant they could make me $25K, and so on.
Recently, a 25-year-old reader emailed me to ask where I was financially when I was his age. If you find value in benchmarking yourself against me — depending on your number that could be ill-advised — use this chart:
As you can see, getting to $1M isn't a straight line. There were numerous times when I lost a lot of money in the market. For example, before the recession in 2008 I had $175K and nine months later I had $120K. When that happens it's scary because you think you're never going to make that money back.
But you have two choices when the market is falling and you're losing money — flee, or the stay the course. If you let fear take ahold of you then you're likely to make the wrong choice. Psychologically, it's quite normal for us to equate price volatility with risk, and ironically end up doing risky things like selling at the worst possible time.
During the recession, the financial talking heads advised us to invest solely in safe Treasury bills or bank CDs. For the people who took that advice, they're now earning essentially nothing on their savings that they thought would support them in retirement. If they hadn't acted out of fear, they could have built a great retirement portfolio with low-cost index funds.
I've reaped the rewards of staying the course, and now when I lose $70K in a month (which recently happened), I recognize it's just part of the process to build wealth.

How long will $1M last?

The right answer is, "It depends." The financial talking heads make us believe we need $3M to retire, so we can draw a "reasonable" $130K a year. So that's true if you spend $11K a month.
When I plug my numbers into the retirement calculator FIRECalc — yearly spending of $36K, a $1M portfolio, and 51 years left to live (based on the U.S. government's death calculator) — it tells me there's a 98.9% chance my $1M won't be depleted before I die.
That means I never have to work again.
Even better, there's a few key assumptions not in this calculation:
  • When my 15-year mortgage is paid off my spending decreases
  • If I cohabitate my spending decreases (my girlfriend wants to split living expenses)
  • I'll probably make some money at some point during the next 51 years
  • My Social Security benefits kick in at 65
What I worry about are kids and their impact on spending. I think I can raise a child for $85K, but the USDA thinks I'll spend up to $500K. I just don't know yet, but my best guess is that my finances would be okay if I didn't work and had one or two kids.

So what's the secret to becoming a millionaire?

I didn't win the lottery, I didn't inherit any money, and I didn't start a company. If you're in the same situation then the fastest way to $1M is to decrease spending and increase income. Those are the two levers you have control of.
I found that the best approach was to go after the big wins, not like these crazy people.
Instead of peeling bananas at the store to save $0.25, that person could be:
Those are the big wins where a lot of money is hiding, so tackle those first before moving on to saving money in the produce section. Now, if you're pulling on the spending and income levers you're going to want to see the results, right?

How to track your spending, income, and investments

I know what you're thinking, boring! Nobody wants to plug numbers into a spreadsheet. I'm a weirdo because it might just be my all-time favorite thing to do. The reason I want you to start, or try it for one month, is because I guarantee you'll learn at least one thing about your finances you didn't know.
For example, in the late aughts I knew I was spending a lot but I didn't know it was almost as much as I was making. Through tracking came awareness, and that lead to making a decision in 2010 to my effort behind becoming financially independent. 
Not surprisingly, by decreasing my spending and increasing my income the amount of money I could save exploded! I went from having about $10K a year to invest to having over $40K.
To become financially independent, you need to reach the crossover point — when withdrawing 4% of your savings meets your yearly expenses. That is called the Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR).
On average, I used to spend $4K a month. By decreasing my spending to $3K, I was able to reach financial independence faster. Simply put, the higher your expenses then the more money you're going to need to save to reach the crossover point. 

Convinced yet to start tracking? You can download the spreadsheet that I use at the end of this post, and try it out for yourself! It even makes that cool chart above.

Benefits of $1M

I know that I'm very fortunate to call myself a millionaire. While I wasn't excited about becoming one, it does allow me to live my life in a way that seemed impossible just a few years ago:
  • I don't have to stress about work: layoffs, getting fired, failing, or navigating office politics
  • If I choose to work I can be extremely selective, taking only jobs I'm truly passionate about
  • If I wake up and decide I want to take a year (or 51) off, that's what I do
Most importantly, I've learned that money is infinite. If I work I can get more of it, or I can let my $1M grow to $2M. There's always more of it out there. But time is finite. I have a limited number of years left, and now I have the freedom how I spend it. 

This post was originally published on Mr. Everyday Dollar.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

10 Investment Books You Should Read


10 Investment books we really like...and so should you

Whether you are into technical analysis or fundamental analysis, a beginner or an experienced investor, we encourage you to read the following investment books. Some of these are well known investment classics while others less so. This list is by no means exhaustive- we acknowledge that there are many other great and perhaps more instructive books out there. However, these are books that we have personally read and benefited greatly from. The ideas expressed within helped mold our investment ideas and philosophy over the years and made us better investors. We truly believe that any investor would be able to gain something from them too:


1. The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham

Definitive book by the father of value investing and Warren Buffett's mentor, Ben Graham. If Buffett deems it fit to be called "the best book about investing ever written", few can have any argument about this. It was this book that our founder read more than 10 years ago that truly opened our eyes to the investing world. It may open yours too.

2. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings, Philip A. Fisher

Investment classic by one of the most influential investors of all time. This book introduced to the investment community the now famous "Scuttlebutt" approach to investing, a qualitative method to analyse businesses and their competitive advantages. The technique focuses on the importance of gathering information from all possible sources. This work by Philip Fisher inspired and influenced generations of modern investors, including us.

3. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Lawrence A. Cunningham

More than just a compilation of Warren Buffett's annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, the author organises and presents the key concepts in these letters in an easily understandable and digestible form. What better ways to understand the inner thoughts of the world's greatest investor than through the words of the man himself?   

4. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Alice Schroeder

Only known official biography of Warren Buffett, this book details the life story of the legendary investor known as “The Oracle of Omaha”.  With unprecedented access to the man himself, his family and closest friends, Alice Schroeder, an ex-senior Morgan Stanley analyst, manages to tell a fascinating and compelling tale of how Warren Buffett built his massive fortune over the years. The book also contains less than flattering details of his personal life. At 800 over pages (900 over if you include end notes) though, this book is not for the faint-hearted.  

5. One Up on Wall Street, Peter Lynch with John Rothchild

Another investment classic. Legendary mutual fund manager, Peter Lynch explains how the common investor in the street can beat the professionals at their own game of investing. It is widely believed that this book popularised the term "multi-bagger", meaning a stock that returned multiple folds its original investment. Peter Lynch's record of 29% average annual returns in the 13-year period he was managing the Fidelity Magellan Fund speaks for itself.

6. Super Stocks, Kenneth L. Fisher

Son of wall street legend, Philip Fisher, Ken Fisher is a highly successful investor and billionaire in his own right. His firm, Fisher Investments, managed more than US$50 billion as of 2013. Find out, amongst others, how you can use the Price to Sales Ratio (PSR), as a measure to gauge relative valuation of stocks.

7. You can be a Stock Market Genius, Joel Greenblatt

Famed value investor and hedge fund manager, Joel Greenblatt's first book published in 1997. Corny title aside, this book provides useful insights on how you can profit from special situations such as spin-offs, mergers, rights offerings, bankruptcies and risk arbitrages. One of our personal favorites, we would not recommend this book to beginners still grasping with the basics of investing though. Investors might also want to check out one of Joel Greenblatt's other titles, The Little Book That Beats the Market.

8. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, Edwin Lefèvre

The only non-value investing book on our list. This book purportedly tells the story of legendary trader, Jesse Livermore. You will probably not learn any fundamental investing concepts from this book although it is fascinating to read about the roller coaster fortunes of the former wall street trader, whose life ended tragically in 1940.

9. Bull, Maggie Mahar

As the saying goes, those who never learn from history are doomed to repeat it. For younger generation of investors  who never lived through the boom and bust of the past 3 decades, this book provides a timely reminder of how volatile the markets can be as well as offer a rare insight into the inner workings of wall street. After reading this, you may never view brokerage reports the same way again.