Thursday, August 27, 2015

Happiness is...

"You know, you only live once and we really ought to make the most of it and we ought to be happy", says Bill Bryson, the famous author. 

He dives into life, "I'm intensely interested in all the things. I pick up the paper and immediately I want to know everything there is to know..." I Just love his attitude to life.

This has nothing to do with PF. It's another random post musing and mulling over life.

Thus far in this life, I have met two people who have been unhappy with their life. Always sad and prone to regret something that they have or haven't done.

Prone to introspection and self reflection, I have thought about why some people are so unhappy with their life to the extent that they are miserable and discontent. I think about the wonderful brevity and transiency of youth being wasted on the young and unappreciated. 

We can choose to live our life in contentment and happiness or we can choose to live the very same life that we are given in discontent and unhappiness. Which one will you choose? 

I love RAKs. The random acts of kindness from strangers who help you carry heavy items, who give way to you in peak hour traffic, who smile at you, who offer you to proceed ahead of them in check out lines because they have a full trolley. Who get up and stand so that you can sit down. The list is fortunately endless =)

So I thought I'd start my weekend off with what happiness is to me and I hope if you are reading this, you will also start your weekend off with a list of things that make you happy and appreciate the beauty of life =)

1. Spring is coming, cold Winter dreary days are becoming more infrequent. Our garden is bursting into life with Tibouchinas, Daisies, Clivias and Arum Lillies, herbs popping up from seeds and buds of the Hydrangea blooming. Makes me happy:

2. Celebrating the joys of this winter by going on ski trips with family and friends makes me happy (except for the long queue for lifts lol). Check out the beautiful and awesome vista:
3. Being able to find time to cook and indulge in food fantasies makes me happy:
Bean sprout salad:
 Pickling baby cucumbers in a sugar, salt vinegar mix and throwing in some chillies and coriander seeds for variation:

 Pickling long green chillies:
 Madly creating and throwing together variations of salads even though it's winter:

3. Making time to blog again =)

4. Really enjoy the old skool way of charcoal barbecuing compared to just using the gas barbeque all the time =) :

5. Eating an entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts all by myself without giving a single thought to how fatty or cholesterol laden the fatty blobs of goodness are =)

Overall, spending precious time with family and friends makes me happiest. Being able to indulge in interests and hobbies makes me happy. Being able to work as much as I like makes me happy (workaholics can rejoice). Learning something new everyday makes me happy. 

I hope this inspires you to think about the things that makes you happy too. I feel so blessed in this life to have such amazing and wonderful family, friends and acquaintances from work and in the wider social context. Life is too short to be grumpy and unhappy =)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

We Bought Apple Stocks: Apple Inc Nasdaq: AAPL

We bought a few thousand dollars worth of Apple stocks (Nasdaq: AAPL) on 23rd July this year. (Sorry have had to edit some figures out due to privacy issues, ironic given this is a public blog =) )

My first direct international stock purchase and what an experience. The amount of paperwork that I had to complete just to get to that stage. 

I won't even mention that I wanted to buy Google Class A stocks but due to the broker stuffing up, I didn't get my order executed before their price kicked up after reporting positive results. Sigh. $16k worth of profits and gains down the drain.

Why did we buy Apple and want to buy Google? Those two stocks have always been on my to-do and to-buy list for years and years! If we had bought them years ago, we would have been multi-millionaires from just holding two stocks. This guy I once knew(let's call him Mr Cantankerous because he really is cranky and a cantankerous type of guy) shared his opinion with me, saying that he believes Apple Inc has had its heydays and the glory days are pretty much over.

My opinion is that this is still early days yet for technology. Apple and Google are well placed for future technological development and they both have such good business models for producing revenues and future growth potential from innovations. They create their own market simply due to their mammoth size and the free marketing they both receive. I could launch into the technicalities but let's leave that for another day before this post is too long.

Apple is the largest capitalised stock in the world at $655 billion. With over 200 billion dollars in cash savings. Cash savings! Ridiculously good savings. Now if only shareholders can all unite and request a special dividend...

Being an international stock for us, there are two market forces at play affecting returns. 
1) The stocks' price volatility (AAPL stock prices swinging up and down)
2) The foreign currency volatility (AUD weakening and strengthening against the USD)

I'm not one to be concerned about any of these short term fluctuations. In the long run, Apple is innovative just like Google, the history of these two companies having split their stock several times over the years is ample evidence. A pessimist would be at this point saying that history is not indicative of future performance, that is certainly true. However, after having regretted not buying either Apple nor Google over these years on multiple occasions, I am over regrets and will roll the dice on buying these two stocks this year.

Seriously $200 billion in cash savings which exceeds the GDP of Peru and the Czech Republic, it exceeds the total net worth of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma and Warren Buffet combined ( 2015). I'll be happy to sit on our Apple stocks for the long run and see where it takes us. I've never been the type to dwell on short term volatility in stocks or the property market if I'm not day trading or in the business of trading properties. I am all about the long run and the next 30 years. This strategy has worked very well for us across both asset classes over the past few years. 

Currently AAPL'S chart is not looking illustrious(see above price chart) =) but it's a long term holding for us that we have added to our portfolio. I'll keep readers posted on its performance and how it is going for SMG with the two market forces at play. 

The United States is heading into a monetary policy tightening cycle (raising rates) so the AUD will be crumbling further as investors switch back to the greenback. There will be interesting days ahead =) 

The dividend yield for AAPL is rather low, however we are pursuing capital gains and not dividend yield. That's the goal with this AAPL acquisition =)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Open Letter to Fuji Xerox: Thank You For Your Amazing Response!

It's notoriously known that people like to give negative feedback and whinge on the internet. Positive feedback is a lot rarer. So I consciously like to give positive feedback and reviews on good service from businesses and from staff. 

Fuji Xerox and your support team for warranty. You have outdone yourselves.

If I buy another printer in future, it will be one from your company.

I bought a Fuji Xerox multi function printer two years ago and it started printing pages in magenta.

Despite our best efforts in troubleshooting the issue(trying new toners, re-installing software and drivers, rebooting and unplugging and re-plugging, trying to print with different laptops, trying to print from different applications etc), the printer was still printing pages heavily magenta in colour.

The printer was out of warranty, however after multiple attempts at troubleshooting from Mr Talented SMG, the problem remained and it was a write off. I was very happy that Fuji Xerox acknowledged that we had a unique issue that it was no fault of ours.

They sent me a brand new replacement printer that is even more awesome than the outgoing one that I had. Scans pages in seconds! Faxes pages in seconds. Being laser, the printed pages roll out as if they were participating in a downhill snowboarding race =)

So this is my open letter of thanks to you, Fuji Xerox. Because I know all companies keep track of what is being said about them online. And I want you to know what a pleasure it has been dealing with your support team and the outcome of our printer issues.

Author of

SmartMoneyGuide Traffic and SEO

It's been a long time since I have posted regularly and I apologise for that. Google Analytics show that last month page views as you can see is at 7,091 with visitors looking at a few pages instead of 'bouncing' off after landing. I see visitors returning for repeat visits, so thank you for appreciating my writing and my thoughts.

That is positive feedback and why this blog is still on my mind after these two years of barely posting. 

All time page views is at 555,679. Over half a million visits and views. I guess it's not that much compared to a large site where the bloggers are actively working on growing traffic. But compared to the days when I first started and got excited when I got 10 unique visitors lol. And then 500 visitors lol. And they weren't family and friends back then because I never let any of them know that I had a blog! It was a little hobby of mine.

I have approximately 265 posts so 555,679 views on only 265 posts. Imagine the traffic if I had 2000 posts. If you blog and wish to grow your site, the more posts you write, the more visits, the less potential bounce and the more repeat visits. It's a positive cycle. I dont' really think about traffic when I blog though. It's more about exploring my ideas, my creativity and my interest in personal finance and how it can help us obtain that illusive financial freedom at a younger age, than waiting to retire at 65 years old.

Much has been happening in my life and investment wise. I hope to take readers through some of the exciting changes and investments that I have made recently and plan to make. If readers had taken action on my thoughts and posts from two years ago when I wrote about property, they would have been millionaires too. 

Forecasts and expectations have been realised and I'm happy to say that I haven't dished out bad advice ...yet lol. 

SEO wise, the more I write, the more visitors and the more networking, the more visitors. But organic growth on this site is pretty good and even though I rarely posted these last two years, Google has been favourable with directing traffic to this site. Thanks Google!

But Google will keep sending traffic if the post is relevant, informative or of use to someone. So I'm glad that readers have found interest and this site of use. I hope to write more often. I know I always say that but I will =) 

Here's to the last of 2015 with a bit more bang.