Link Roundup #15: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. 101 Ways to Make More Money – Forbes

A great list of money-making ideas. Some of them are not applicable to us Malaysians (do we even have mock jury duty jobs?), but most of them are possible.

I have personally done at least 11 of the ideas in the list, and in the process of doing one more – publish an (e-)book (the update). How many have you done, and what are you planning to do next to get more money?

2. Malaysians Could Each Be Paying One PS4 Pro, for 1MDB’s Debts. Here’s How  Cilisos.my

Scientifically speaking, it’s hard for the human brain to grasp big numbers, like RM49.5 billion. So I really appreciate the Cilisos.my team in taking the time and effort to explain the repercussions of 1MDB’s debts in a way that we can understand.

So. RM1537.27. Each. That’s how much each Malaysian must pay to fix this whole 1MDB mess, if we accept Cilisos.my’s calculations. They invite readers to check the numbers btw, so go ahead and reach out to them if you’re good at this sort of thing.

3. Goldman Sachs bankers ‘cheated’ Malaysia over 1MDB – PM Mahathir – Reuters

Another 1MDB-related article. Did you know that Goldman Sachs – one of the biggest multinational investment bank firms in the world – earned USD600 million in fees from 1MDB? Those fees come from taxpayers’ money. THOSE FEES ARE OUR MONEY.

And the thing is, they knew how shady the deal was. According to this Washington Post article,

…(Goldman Sachs) exceeded what banks typically make from government deals. The bank’s revenue from the 1MDB deals amounted to about 7.7 percent of the face value of the securities. Underwriters collected average fees of 1.32 percent in 2013 on comparable deals, according to Bloomberg data.

Goldman’s lead banker for the bond sales, Tim Leissner, has confessed to U.S. law enforcement that he bribed officials to get Goldman hired for the bonds deals, and that he and others arranged the fundraising as debt offerings because that would generate higher fees for the bank.

Prosecutors assert … a number of employees at Goldman knew about a bribery scheme but worked to hide it from the firm’s compliance and legal departments.

You know what seriously sucks about all this? It’s the fact that the greed of a few people is the cause of it. It’s not that they can’t earn money, they just wanted MORE money. To these people, to hell with all Malaysians, what do they care?

I’m very sure there are other examples of Wall Street greed going on right now. We just don’t know about them.

4. The most ‘disciplined’ people don’t have more self-control than you — they just make a different daily choice  – Business Insider

TL;DR – you can have better self-control by avoiding temptations in the first place rather than resisting them.

What an illuminating observation. Putting this in the context of personal finance, here are some things I’m going to do to improve my self-control with money:

  • Avoid going to shopping malls when I don’t actually need to buy anything
  • Uninstall and unsubscribe apps and emails from shopping platforms (very hard; I mute notifications but some still slip through via texts)
  • Limit exposure to people who like to show off what they own (doing well with this)
  • Install adblockers in computers/phones
  • Pay for the ad-free versions of services I like to use, where available
  • Limit my social media use (very hard too, not gonna lie)

What else can I do? What are your suggestions? Leave them in the comments section!

5. 10 Situations When We Lose Our Common Sense and Buy Useless Stuff – BrightSide

This brilliant article was shared by a Twitter follower (thanks Dzu!)

I am definitely weak against a bunch of these situations, in particular #7 – Sales and Promotions. I just, uh, bought 2 chokers, 6 hoop earrings and 2 drop earring from Lovisa because they had a sale…

6. UN warns over human rights impact of a ‘digital welfare state’ – TechCrunch

This is the first time I came across the term ‘digital welfare state’. As I understand it, from reading the article and the Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ‘digital welfare state’ is when we use technologies like AI to identify and/or disperse assistance to the financially vulnerable in society.

What’s important to know is while the technology is cool and saves a lot of money, it is also binary in its results – you either get assistance or you don’t – and it can (and have) miss out people who (1) do not have the digital skills or tools to access the help they need and (2) are excluded by error, because the system is not perfect.

Presently, I don’t think know if Malaysia has implemented high-level technology for welfare assistance and disbursement. But eventually – in a decade or two – we will, no? When that happens, we really have to keep this warning in mind.

7. Most Money Advice Is Worthless When You’re Poor – Vice

Hell to the yes.

8. HK$20 Miniso facial cleanser just as good as pricey SK-II version, Hong Kong Consumer Council finds – South China Morning Post

HK$20 = ~RM10.70, according to exchange rates at writing time

A few thoughts crossed my mind after reading this article:

  • Woah Miniso’s products really are that good?
  • How did SK-II and other high-end beauty brands get away with selling products ‘that are just as good’ at a much higher price? Is it really as simple as ‘because people are willing to pay for them’? I mean, SK-II is 20 times more expensive kot. Are we really that gullible with branding and advertising?
  • Nine out of 60 products they tested contain allergy-causing substances? That’s 15%, a pretty high rate. Why would companies knowingly include bad ingredients?
  • A whopping 19 out of the 60 products did not list their full ingredients on their labels? That’s one-third!
  • The study was done in Hong Kong, for Hong Kong consumers. If we do a similar study in Malaysia, what would we find? Are we better with the price/value ratio and ingredients-labelling, or worse?
  • (Most important) I am never buying super-expensive beauty products ever again

9. 6 work-life balance asks to request instead of a raise – The Ladders

The requests are:

  • Professional development opportunities
  • Remote work
  • Start-up fund
  • More paid time off
  • Wellness at work

Yep, there are only five suggestions instead of six. But they’re good suggestions, no? Sometimes it’s not just about the money. It’s about the quality of life.

10. Watch This Woman Curl Her Hair With Just A Plastic Bottle And Hair Dryer In 10 Seconds – Says.com

And finally, a genius and much cheaper way to achieve the same result from a $500 Dyson hair-curling tool (which apparently took over 200 engineers and six years to develop):


That’s it for this round, catch you next time! Want to submit a link you thought was great? Reach out to me on FB or Twitter.

To read past link roundups, please click here.

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