One of the privilege in working in the Monetary Authority of Singapore is you get to see the port activity when you look out the windows. When I was a trainee there, an economist told me all the statistics could tell you so much, look out the window and you could tell how the economy was faring. She meant it as a tongue in cheek comment.
But it was a valuable lesson. In Boston, I invented the Magazine Thickness Indicator (MTI). Take your 5 favorite magazines that you read and measure their total thickness and track it over time. My favorite during the dot.com boom was of course Wired and Business 2.0, essential reading for technopreneurs. They were so ridiculously thick due to all the cool advertisements that you could kill your mother in law just dropping them on her head. Trust me, this is the most humane way of committing inlawcide. Then came the dot.com crash and the magazines became iPad thin. I think the exception to this rule is fashion magazines for ladies- we all know women defy economic gravity when it comes to fashion item purchases.
The signs are aplenty.
Check out the classified ads in the straits times. It has shrunk considerably and the jobs mostly came from public sector.
Buy a condo and you get an iPad free.
Here is the latest indicator:
I have been delaying servicing my cranky car. It is an old BMW bought at the price of a Toyota Camry because the tai tai lady owner decided to upgrade 4 years ago. I got it at half the original price she paid and it proves that bargains exist in the real world and value investment is right. Humans have a tendency to misplace everything, including themselves.
Serious warning lights were blinking whenever i step into the car and one of my best buddies, Jhin Chan told me as Singapore's only self declared Gypsy CFO, Fund Manager and Money Hunter, I actually spend more time working in my car than in the office. And I may endanger other road users although I am absolutely expendable. So please get the darn car service...Now! You can't argue with that kind of logic. I called up the service center at Autocare and guess what- there is no waiting time! Last year, I had to book for next week's time slot. Other drivers in Singapore are thinking the same.
So I know we are in for a rough ride. So hang in there, be nice to everyone, save your hard earned cash and think of ways to cushion yourself in the next few years.
And look out the window for signs of recovery.