Archive for the ‘Money Matters’ Category

Gold reserve by country in 2012

June 1st, 2013

Gold has always been an attractive metal, be it as jewellery or investment.

It was also once a commodity for trading before being replaced by money in the form of printed paper.

As global economy goes up or down, gold has always been considered a safehaven asset.

It is interesting though, to find out how countries are keeping them.

The following table is a copy from Wikipedia’s Gold reserve entry.

As of December 2012 (Top 40 based on World Gold Council data)[9]
Rank Country/Organization Gold
Gold’s share
of national
forex reserves (%)
1 United States 8,133.5 76%
2 Germany 3,391.3 73%
3 International Monetary Fund logo.svg International Monetary Fund 2,814.0 N.A.
4 Italy 2,451.8 72%
5 France 2,435.4 71%
6 China 1,054.1 2%
7 Switzerland 1,040.1 11%
8 Russia 976.9[10] 9%
9 Japan 765.2 3%
10 Netherlands 612.5 60%
11 India 557.7 10%
12 Logo European Central Bank.svg European Central Bank 502.1 33%
13 Taiwan 423.6 6%
14 Portugal 382.5 90%
15 Turkey 375.7[10] 16%
16 Venezuela 365.8 75%
17 Saudi Arabia 322.9 3%
18 United Kingdom 310.3 16%
19 Lebanon 286.8 29%
20 Spain 281.6 30%
21 Austria 280.0 55.0%
22 Belgium 227.5 39%
23 Philippines 192.7 12%
24 Algeria 173.6 5%
25 Thailand 152.4 4%
26 Singapore 127.4 3%
27 Sweden 125.7 13%
28 South Africa 125.1 13%
29 Mexico 124.5 4%
30 Libya 116.6 5%
31 BIS-logo.PNG Bank for International Settlements 116.0 N.A.
32 Kazakhstan 115.3 22%
33 Greece 111.9 82%
34 Romania 103.7 12%
35 Poland 102.9 5%
36 South Korea 84.4 1%
37 Australia 79.9 9%
38 Kuwait 79.0 13%
39 Egypt 75.6 25%
40 Indonesia 73.1 4%
41 Denmark Kingdom of Denmark 66.5 4.1%
42 Pakistan Islamic Republic of Pakistan 64.4 18.9%
43 Argentina Argentine Republic 54.7 6.4%
44 Brazil Federative Republic of Brazil 52.5 0.5%
45 Bolivia Plurinational State of Bolivia 49.3 22.9%
46 Finland Republic of Finland 49.1 24.6%
47 Bulgaria Republic of Bulgaria 39.9 12.0%
48 Belarus Republic of Belarus 38.5 41.4%
49 West African Economic and Monetary Union 36.5 12.9%
50 Malaysia Malaysia 36.4 1.5%
51 Ukraine Ukraine 35.2 4.9%
52 Peru Republic of Peru 34.7 4.0%
53 Slovakia Slovakia 31.8 67.6%
54 Ecuador Ecuador 26.3 32.0%
55 Syria Syrian Arab Republic 25.8 7.9%
56 Morocco Kingdom of Morocco 22.0 5.6%
57 Nigeria Federal Republic of Nigeria 21.4 3.2%
58 Serbia Republic of Serbia 14.1 5.1%
59 Cyprus Republic of Cyprus 13.9 58.3%
60 Bangladesh People’s Republic of Bangladesh 13.5 7.5%
61 Netherlands Antilles Netherlands Antilles 13.1 36.3%
62 Jordan Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 12.8 5.5%
63 Czech Republic Czech Republic 12.5 1.6%
64 Qatar State of Qatar 12.4 4.4%
65 Cambodia Kingdom of Cambodia 12.4 16.6%
66 Colombia Republic of Colombia 10.4 1.8%
67 Laos Lao People’s Democratic Republic 8.8 36.5%
68 Sri Lanka Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 8.1 5.3%
69 Latvia Republic of Latvia 7.7 05.5%
70 El Salvador Republic of El Salvador 7.3 14.6%
71 Guatemala Republic of Guatemala 6.9 5.8%
72 Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia 6.8 14.8%
73 Tunisia Tunisian Republic 6.7 4.5%
74 Republic of Ireland Ireland 6.0 15.1%
75 Nepal Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal 6.0 [11]
76 Lithuania Republic of Lithuania 5.8 04.1%
77 Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain 4.7
78 Tajikistan Republic of Tajikistan 4.4
79 Mauritius Republic of Mauritius 3.9 06.5%
80 Canada Canada 3.4 0.3%
81 Slovenia Republic of Slovenia 3.2 15.8%
82 Aruba Aruba 3.1 24.2%
83 Hungary Hungary 3.1 0.3%
84 Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Republic 2.6 7.5%
85 Mongolia Mongolia 2.3 4.8%
86 Luxembourg Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 2.2 10.6%
87 Suriname Republic of Suriname 2.2 13.1%
88 Hong Kong Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 2.1 0.0%
89 Iceland Republic of Iceland 2.0 01.3%
90 Papua New Guinea Independent State of Papua New Guinea 2.0 2.8%
91 Trinidad and Tobago Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 1.9 1.1%
92 Albania Republic of Albania 1.6 3.4%
93 Yemen Republic of Yemen 1.6 1.8%
94 Cameroon Republic of Cameroon 0.9 1.2%
95 Honduras Republic of Honduras 0.7 1.4%
96 Paraguay Republic of Paraguay 0.7 0.7%
97 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 0.6 1.1%
98 Gabon Gabonese Republic 0.4 0.8%
99 Malawi Republic of Malawi 0.4 8.9%
100 Central African Republic Central African Republic 0.3 8.4%
101 Chad Republic of Chad 0.3 2.4%
102 Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo 0.3 0.4%
103 Uruguay Oriental Republic of Uruguay 0.3 0.1%
104 Fiji Republic of Fiji 0.2 0.0%
105 Estonia Republic of Estonia 0.2 6.0%
106 Chile Republic of Chile 0.2 0.0%
107 Malta Republic of Malta 0.2 1.6%
108 Costa Rica Republic of Costa Rica 0.1 0.1%
109 Haiti Republic of Haiti 0.0 0.1%

I am not an economist, but by ranking of gold reserve kept by any country, it does seem to be a correlation in terms of the gold amount they have with their economy?

If a country has lower gold reserve as compared to its neighboring country, would it spell disaster if the global economy crashes?

More on 10 Countries Hoarding Enormous Stockpiles Of Gold

Money Matters

The Little Book That Still Beats the Market – Joel Greenblatt

May 26th, 2013

The Little Book That Still Beats the Market is a New York Times Bestseller by Joel Greenblatt which is actually a revision on his previous book with almost the same title : The Little Book That Beats the Market

There are 13 short chapters to reveal the author’s very own ‘magic formula’ to beat the stock market.
The book is written in a very easy to understand way, in fact there is not much technical charts or formula presented as he has mentioned from the beginning of the book that he intended to write this book as education for his children, aged six to fifteen.

So rest assured, that any layman can understand the content and at some instances, examples are presented as small business (owned by children) to visualize a company or shares.

The question for any reader or interested to pick up this book would probably be : What is the magic formula?
In my own personal opinion, the reason that the magic formula term is used is only to hype up the interest towards the book as it has been used repeatedly in every chapter and almost every page.
There is nothing like a new breakthrough in science on how to consistently beat the share market.
The formula that the author presents is to buy above-average profit earning companies at below average price for long term investment, as simple as that.
However there are some tweaks to the formula or how to manage such portfolio, but I am not going to reveal that.
Anyone seriously interested should buy the book, as it is really not that much of an investment for a possible much higher returns.
Well, it is actually revealed here.

Most of the chapters are elaborated to make some points understood though, such as the formula will not work in short period of time, have proven to be effective with data for the past years and some more convincing on why it would work if you are able to hold your investment by following the magic formula.

It is mentioned that the formula will work for all the markets, although the author is primarily targeting the Standard & Poor’s Stock or North America’s market with data from Compustat‘s database.

The book shares the author’s creation of a website to screen such stocks. For more information, head here
The book is an easy and quick read, and again in my humble personal opinion, if you invest in good companies, they should be able to beat the market anyway in the long run.
If not, they are not that good! πŸ™‚

Happy Investing!

Books, Money Matters, Review , ,

WTF? 23 Properties By 30 by Faizul Ridzuan

January 7th, 2013

The huge WTF here is not the acronym for the typical online urban word that you and I understand. It is short for What To Find, When To Find and Where to Find.
Of course, i’m not buying into that, but using a huge WTF is an attention grabber for a book although a book titled ’23 properties by 30′ would have caught mine anyway.
Nevertheless, using a smart title like this for book perfectly reflects the personality of the Malaysian author, Faizul Ridzuan himself.

About Author

Faizul Ridzuan, 31, is a regular employee who aspires to be financially free, before the age of 35 via investing in Malaysia properties. He has bought 23 properties in 5 years, starting with only RM2,000 in capital. To date, he has bought properties worth over RM5Mil. He just recently finished writing and publishing his maiden book on property investing, titled β€œ23 properties by 30”, as he aims to share his investment journeys and guide others on how to invest profitably. The book became an instant best-seller in major book-stores like MPH and Kinokuniya barely few weeks after it was launched.

He is also a panelist in a local internet property forum at Property WTF, an internet forum that help guides property investors.

In his spare time, he likes to meeting with other property investors and business owners to expand his horizons. He has been actively speaking in various investors gathering and advising other property investors in various internet property sites. He prefers bikes to cars as he hates driving, explains why he never bothered getting a driver’s license until he was 28 and after he bought his 10th property.

To me, Faizul is an ambitious, smart and down-to-earth Malaysian.
At a young age upon graduation and starting to generate income, it is not easy for a fresh graduate to save much in this country, even more difficult to buy a property.
Getting a single property seems a distant dream for all if not most of them. However, it is not for Faizul, he is ambitious.
It’s one thing to be ambitious, and totally another thing to be able to achieve them.
Faizul had done it, which is why to me, he is smart. He’s not only able to purchase his first property with a mere RM2000 seed and a RM2500 per month salary, but he went to get many more within 5 years to achieve his target of RM3 million net worth.
He knows what he wants, and had many ways to execute his property purchase plans with minimum cash. How could one purchase that many properties without much money in the first place? That seems like a high risk-taker but with diligent and thorough research and analysis, the risks involved can be reduced to a minimum with a possible high return.
It does sounds like something common that you read in all the investment books, but true enough, Faizul made property investments sound easy.
Remember, this is for a young employee at his time and notwithstanding the extreme peer pressure and common culture in the workforce to have a car, vacations and other luxuries before getting their homes.
If one is able to achieve the dream of having over 20 properties by age 30, why would that person share it with others? Well, I could only guess, like most ‘financially free’ people, they only need to do what makes them happy. πŸ™‚
By learning from Faizul, you will be able to notice that he is a down-to-earth, humble person that shares how he did it just because he like to.
Before you start to think that this guy has some major financial backing, wealthy family and overseas education, it seems like he has none of this traits at all.
Curious now?

The Book
It’s pretty good that this is not a theory type of book on how to get 23 properties by 30. Nothing like what to find, when to find and where to find.
Know you know why I do not buy the acronym used in the title. WTF right?

However, the book is about the author’s personal journey of getting his very first property and then subsequently building his property investment portfolio to 23 properties within 5 years from then on.
He details it so vividly that it would probably inspires a young reader to follow his footsteps the very next day.

The chapters are arranged well, starting with how he first got his first three properties, then on how one should evaluate a good property investment and then moved on to property flipping (buy early and then sell for capital appreciation).

The final chapters are a case study and his future plan of his property investment modus operandi.

Bear in mind that this book is not one written by a typical book author, so I could catch a few typos and mistakes here and there but these are of no significance at all if you’re really interested with his inspiring story.

Given the fact that this is his first book, it was written as good as how he built his kingdom of properties. A recommended read indeed.

Marvin’s Take
I got this book from the nearest bookstore the very next day after I learn about this inspiring story from an online webminar by Faizul himself.
I do have a penchant for local success stories, and definitely for an author who is a self-made millionaire who is still very young in my opinion, defying the common conventions.

This is a very inspiring story, especially for Malaysians, now that the properties are at sky high prices and that those prices had been multiplying rapidly for the last few years.
However, could the same strategy used by Faizal in his book be used now? I am very skeptical, but then again I’m not a person qualified with my views at all or else I would have been another guy with 23 properties by now.

This book is not timeless in my personal opinion, as it is more of a personal journey on achieving a big property investment portfolio, that was possible a few years back but not as easy now, and probably even tougher in the next few years.

It does provide a good guidance and pointers that would help one even if one never thought of being a property investor at all, the possible options and choices one could make in the property market.

All in all, this is a good weekend read, and might just inspire one to be more active in the property market and also be awed on how the author is able to accumulate that many properties and is able to be financially free because he has set his goals and executed them as planned.

The only problem with this book is, it was only written and published in year 2012 where the readers have just seen the ship departed from the port. WTF!

The book is only selling for RM29.90 and you get a 20% discount if purchased online from MPH.

Official website for WTF? 23 Properties By 30. column by Faizul, EXCLUSIVE! A Humble PAI – The Faizul Ridzuan’s Column.
You can also follow Faizul on his property investment adventure on Facebook.

Books, Malaysia, Money Matters, Review , ,