Your 10 questions

  • Business
  • Saturday, 12 Sep 2009

As an investment guru, what is your advice to someone with little money and no expertise when it comes to investing on Bursa Malaysia? Why is it so hard to make money, but so easy to lose it? – Bulbir Singh, Seremban

I would suggest you continue to save your money, read and learn about investing. People get swept away by emotions and hot tips. It is easy to rely on other people but investing is something you must do on your own.

My strongest and most obvious advice to everyone – and I plead to people about this all the time – do not invest in anything unless you know a great deal about it. Just wait, and if there is something they know a great deal about, then invest in that. That is the only way to make money.

Subscribing to early wealth accumulation, if there is a single piece of advice on smart investing skills for young teenagers, what would it be? – Stephanie Teo

Have your own passions and pursue them. If you want to be a gardener, be the best gardener that you can be. Do not do what your parents or your teachers tell you to do. Follow your own passions.

You cannot be much more successful than doing what you want to do, and you will have a lot of fun in the process.

This decade is recommended by some investment gurus to be the decade for the commodities. Which commodities like oil, liquefied natural gas, gold, uranium, rare earth metals, copper, iron, timber, wheat or water will perform the best, you think? – James Ngu, Sibu, Sarawak

I have no idea which is the best. All of the above are good. There are shortages in developing all of the above. Everything is under pressure. We have supply problems from all commodities.

What are the prospects for the plantation sector, specifically, oil palm, as an investment tool? – Sonny Wong, KL

Oil palm is good. Like I said, the world is developing shortages in everything. The inventory for food is running low. However, it does not mean just because you have a plantation, you will make money. You will still have to organise and manage it well. I am very optimistic about agriculture.

Realistically speaking, could an individual earn a living full-time trading spot forex using technical analysis tool? Could the same tool be used for commodity futures trading? – Lieng Seong

If you are good at technical analysis, you will be successful. I personally do not use technical analysis and people have told me they do and they make money. You can analyse anything – bonds, commodities, forex, anything – if you are good at it. Many people use technical analysis and don’t succeed. But if you are good at it, you will succeed and you can trade in whatever you want.

Do you think Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke can save the world? – Ivan Ho, KL

No! They are making things worse. There are going to be many more problems – recessions – down the road. I am not optimistic about these two. The recession will get worse. This year will be better than 2008 but I am not optimistic about 2010 or further down the road. We are going to have more inflation and currency problems and they are mainly because of Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke.

You are bullish on China but had relocated to Singapore. Singapore is half-Chinese half-Western. Shanghai, or Beijing, provides excellent conditions for what you want to do in China. May I say you are hedging yourself just in case your investments in China do not perform as expected? – MJ, Bandar Utama

No, you cannot say I am hedging. These are wonderful cities but they are also very polluted. I have two young children and I don’t want them to grow up breathing all these polluted air. Everything in Singapore is good and in good working order. The air is fine.

I read your book, Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably in the World’s Best Market. How do you see the price of gold in the next 10 to 20 years? What commodities have you invested in? – Hafis, Terengganu

I do expect gold to be higher 10 to 20 years from now. The International Monetary Fund is trying to sell its gold. I do have some gold and I have commodities – all of them.

China’s political and economic developments in the last 169 years have been drastic, dramatic and unpredictable. The last 30 years were just phenomenal. You have bought convincingly into China’s future. Are you not concerned deep inside that the Chinese Communist Party will change course because nothing was indispensable throughout China’s long period of history? – James Chang

This whole world ... what can I say! Look at the US. They have been a capitalist government but today, they own the mortgage, the insurance, the banking and the motor industries. All governments change. But if you know of any governments which you do not worry will change, tell me! When conditions change, governments change, unfortunately. Yes, I worry about China, Singapore, the US, everything!

Many times, you have said that the sectors with potential are farming and mining. How do ordinary people take advantage of such opportunities, apart from marrying a farmer? – Ng Shi Ping

It is a good idea to go into the farming business. You don’t have to marry a farmer to do that. There are other ways to do that. You can go into a business which sells to farmers, like selling seeds, tractors or farm equipment. You can even move into a farm area and open a shop. Farmers will be very well off in the next few years. You can be an accountant, a hairdresser, a lawyer but you offer your services to a farming community. The best way is to be a farmer.

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