24 August 2012

Condo, wife, kids and a taxi

Earlier this evening, I hopped onto a cab home as I typical do each evening.  I had a fascinating ride in the Mercedes Cab and an even more engaging conversation with the taxi driver.  He seemed young and educated.  He did not look like the typical taxi driver. 

He was a chatty fellow and volunteered that his wife was a housewife and he had three kids to feed.  I congratulated him for achieving above the national benchmark. 

Fascinatingly, he was working as a Senior Engineer in an electronics manufacturing company on weekdays. Driving the taxi was his weekend job.  It seemed like he already had a well paying job as a professional engineer.  Why then was he driving a taxi?  I've heard of professionals who had lost their jobs in times of poor economic conditions and turned to taxi driving as a last resort.  But this certainly wasn't the case here.

To my further surprise, he said he was living in a condo.  Now highly curious, I asked him why he was driving a cab given that he was living in a condo and was a professional engineer?  To which, he said, "That's precisely the reason!". 
Apparently, in order to meet the lifestyle demand of a singe income family, a condo (someplace at Marine Parade) and a family of four dependents, he was working weekdays as a professional engineer.  The taxi income was to supplement his regular salary.  He drove on Fridays and Saturdays nights.  As an added benefit, he then had the Mercedes for his family weekend activities on Sundays.  Not bad.

It must be tough living such a busy lifestyle working six days a week to sustain the lifestyle that he had.  But it was apparently one he had come to terms with.  He seemed jovial and happy.

He had an interesting view on economics too.  He said that ever since the two Integrated Resorts opened, taxi business had picked up significantly.  Elaborating, he said that Singapore used to receive about 7 million visitors a year.  But eversince the Integrated Resorts opened for operations, the number of tourists had increased to 10 million a year.  Therefore, the demand for taxis had similar increased.  Taxi drivers were therefore earning 50% more than they used to.  It was quite a eureka moment for me.

I thought I already had enough surprises from this interesting gentleman.  But there was more.  When asked how much he could make as a two-nights-a-week taxi driver, he shared that he was making an average of $500 per weekend.  And that was after deducting all his taxi operating expenses!  He was making an additional $2,000 a month just driving about eight nights. 

Fascinating insights from a taxi ride.  What a wonderful Friday!  I hope you have the opportunity of meeting this jovial Mercedes taxi driver one day too.

01 August 2012

Delisting of Cerebos

More bad news as far as I'm concerned.  First it was Meiban.  Then it was Adampak.  Now, it's Cerebos.  Sigh.  While in all cases I have or will be making a tidy profit from the delisting offer that were way above what I paid for these shares, I am in no way celebrating. 

Each of these companies have been giving out consistent dividends and I have benefited from these passive income (which were re-invested).  So I have benefiited both ways in terms of appreciation and dividend income.

They have been consistent sources of regular income that I am going to miss.  The loss opportunity of the future income stream is going to be sorely missed.  Au revoir!