Sunday, 20 December 2015

A mock S-REIT portfolio

If I were to construct a high-yield REITs portfolio of 10 stocks (prices were taken from Nov15 as I drew this last month), this is how it would look like:

Market $ Entry $ Div yield% Shares P/B EV/EBIT Amount invested
Ascendas Hosp Trust 0.625 8.20 4800 0.7 26.7 $3,000
First Reit - health 1.19 7.00 2600 1.1 20.1 $3,094
CDL hosp 1.32 7.20 2300 0.8 15.6 $3,036
Ascott hosp 1.2 7.10 2500 0.7 28.8 $3,000
Mapletree logistics 1.005 7.30 2800 0.8 18.5 $2,814
Lippomall 0.305 10.20 10000 0.5 10.8 $3,050
Starhill global 0.765 6.80 3000 0.8 19.3 $2,295
Frasers Centrepoint 1.89 6.10 1600 1 20.3 $3,024
Ireit 0.685 7.60 4000 0.896 $2,740
CapitaRetailChina 1.335 6.90 3000 0.8 16.9 $4,005
0.998333 7.44 $30,058

This basket would give an average yield of 7.44% with an average price of $1 per share. I steered away from industrial reits because they weren't performing well. Each REIT is allocated about the same weightage in the portfolio. I cut down slightly on Ireit shares due to its very concentrated tenants portfolio (risk) but included it in this basket due to its unique exposure in the Europe market. I am currently vested in Capitaretail China.

Target entry prices are deliberately left blank because I want to observe how the market would react to the rising interest. It's too early to decide on the entry prices when the market is still bearish.

Also note that the REITs with oversea assets or debts in foreign currencies are subjected to exchange fluctuation risks.

I would review this in a few month's time.

If you are new to reits please read this first -

*Disclaimer: this is a mock portfolio for my experimental purpose and does not serve as a stock recommendation.

Revisit: Singapore Savings Bond

Singapore's interest rate is expected to rise in the coming year as Fed hiked interest rate ( So let's keep our eyes peeled to see if SSB would be following suit should bank savings interest starts to rise.

Is the economy really expected to be recovering next year or would it be toiled by the rate hike? I really have no idea... but if you want to have an inkling of idea how a rate hike would affect investments read interest-rate-and-its-effect-on-market.

To read more about Singapore Savings Bond, click here.

SSB is for you if...

  • You do not need money for middle to long term
  • Have a stomach for low risk bonds
  • Wanna park your money somewhere safe but more flexible than the lock-in CPF
  • Think that banks would not raise their interest rate any higher than SGB's

Get updated information at
and for bond rates.


Update Oct 15:

I have gotten $5000 subscribed just for the fun of it. I have not checked out how to liquidate it and how fast it would take should I need to, so dare not park too much cash there first.

Update Dec 15:

How to apply or redeem it?

SSB is issued by the government monthly. Full term of bond is 10 years with step-up interest.

You would first need to apply for a CDP account (which could explain the under-subscription rate as people who don't know about this or find it too troublesome would probably give a miss).

Then apply through DBS/POSB, OCBC or UOB ATMs or DBS/POSB internet banking. Please have your CDP account number ready when you apply. 
You CANNOT apply or redeem Savings Bonds over the bank counters in person.

A non-refundable $2 transaction fee will be charged for each application and redemption request. (Ya we know banks don't serve free lunches without service charge)

Maximum you can hold per bond is $50,000.


Saturday, 19 December 2015

5 reasons why I don't use a budgeting app

I have tried it but eventually gave up. Here are the top five reasons why I do not fancy a budgeting app:

1. I don't like to do frequent data input.
It can get quite irritating at times if I forget to key in any income or expense and the figures don't add up. Also it's a headache to be counting 'every cent in the wallet'.

2. I consolidate spending / savings on 3 monthly basis, since online banking statements are usually laid out in 1-3 months frame. I do a personal cash flow excel sheet yearly (or half yearly, depending on my mood) and review what are the unnecessary expenses.

3. I have a rough mental monthly budget on regular fixed spending, example: daily meals, transport, insurance. Then I just take note of any infrequent, extra spending that month, example: books, clothes, gadgets, travel. Groceries are all accounted for using one credit card.

4. I am not at risk of negative saving. I only invest opportunistically, not keen on regular investment plans.

5. Data security reasons - I am not sure if the data would be use by the app developer for other purposes or sold to third party data collectors.


Budgeting is a practice of discipline and habit but I would prefer to do it more flexibly and less stress-fully. If you think you have ZERO discipline in doing point 2, 3 and 4, then it might be useful to invest some effort and dollars on a budgeting app. But again, we would need quite a bit of discipline here to make full use of the app.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Time of the year to jump ship (soon)

It's the time of my career once again and surprisingly this time it didn't take as long as the previous one to decide. I like to go with reasons more often than the heart
(although sometimes they coincide to the same conclusion). Here is my rationalization thought process:

Why I work

- To earn a living
- To satisfy my passion for something I like to do
- To sell / provide solutions to others
- To achieve a cause that I believe in

I resign because

- The main motivator above doesn't hold true anymore
- Of lack of recognition given for my work done
- There are better choices out there eg. pay, progress
- The big boss add fires instead of giving support in fire fighting
- Sacrifice for the cause is too big or stressful to bear

What I would forgo

- Stable income
- Work incentives and medical benefits

Post-resignation plans (or options)

- Take a hiatus, travel around abit, and work part-time in between
- Find a full-time job of a different field (need to redefine my 'passion')
- Take up a course (maybe a new skill, a new language...)
- Start healthier living (eat on time, eat less fast food, start an exercise regime again, enough rest)

However... it never hurts to get the BONUS first and continue to fire-fight just a little while more.... *fighting*


"There are two types of mistakes: mistakes of ambition and mistakes of sloth.

The first is the result of a decision to act—to do something. This type of mistake is made with incomplete information, as it’s impossible to have all the facts beforehand. This is to be encouraged. Fortune favors the bold.

The second is the result of a decision of sloth—to not do something—wherein we refuse to change a bad situation out of fear despite having all the facts. This is how learning experiences become terminal punishments, bad relationships become bad marriages, and poor job choices become lifelong prison sentences." - The 4-hour Workweek

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Troubleshoot Draco TV setup box

Another just-for-fun gadget troubleshoot post here. Stock market is currently too boring and I am not about to post another 'Blue chips still still in red sea" + triple sad face.

I have just bought a digital tv setup box in preparation for UHF digital signal migration which is reported to be entirely replacing the current analogue signal by 2016. If you have no idea what I am talking about or have not watched the Kim Ng's advertisement saying how clear her pink hair would look on digital, please youtube it.

If you already possess a digital TV (you will know if it has that label on the black box below), you would just need to purchase an antenna to receive the signal. And those of you with subscribed TV channels eg. Mio, you don't need to get any set up box or antenna.

Troubleshoot questions and answers

If you don't want to pay all this fees (below), please read on.

How to receive the signal?

1. Ensure the antenna that comes together with the set up box is properly plugged into the 'RF in' port.
2. On the switch at the side but don't roll to the max.
3. Switch to the HDMI screen and wait for menu to show. (If you are using HDMI cable. For those using coaxial cables, erm you need to try switching around to find the screen output for it)
4. Select antenna 'on'. 'On' the beep sound as well so you could tell if the antenna is receiving the signal well.
5. Position the antenna where you can hear the beep loudly (most often is near the window). Adjust its power using the on/off switch at the side.
6. Try scanning for channels.

It fails to detect any channel after scanning. What next?

1. Reset the setup to factory setting using the password '1234'.
2. Repeat the steps above on receiving signal.

It fails to capture some channels. So how to retrieve them?

1. Delete all existing channels or do a factory reset.
2. Go to tool menu and scan for channels again. Ensure the frequency is in UHF.

The antenna must sit on my window sill to receive signal. So unglam, sigh... It also seemed like some channels are easier to receive than others and even the slightest change in proximity from the window can cause signal loss. Image quality wise is not fantastically clearer either, probably because my TV is already on High Definition. The colour tones look a bit different or I would say brighter that's all.

I wonder when would Mediacorp totally phase out the analogue RF next year. Only then I would totally switch over and teach my mom how to operate Draco as she prefers the 'on-switch-can-watch' tv for now. =.="

Friday, 20 November 2015

Revisit: a few good reads on Stop Loss

It is in the human psychology to want to win back what we have lost. It is exactly this psychological notion which set us back and made us sit on our paper losses hoping that one day those losers would make a comeback. It is also this that made us 'throw good money after bad money'.

I think we should be treating our shares like eggs rather than antiques. If the egg has gone bad or lost its value, we should discard it. Don't live in the illusion that your eggs are golden eggs or antiques.

There's no need to time the market in cutting losses - because bad eggs do bad whether in good or bad times. (See fundamental analysis to filter the bad eggs. Undervalued egg ≠ Bad eggs.)

I first published this post back in 2012 but the articles here are still very much relevant.

*Note the following links would bring you to external sites.

5 simple things all wealthy traders do to gain an edge (in trader's context)

I was foolish... but this trick kept me alive

Trailing stops: lock in your profits with this not-so-secret sell strategy

The important lesson to be learnt here - remember to set a stop loss price. For long term holdings, when fundamentals changed - cut losses.

Perhaps we would find the same principle applies to other things in life - job, marriage, business?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Blue chips still in red sea

STI snapshot

STI components are down an average of 22.9% from their all time high this year. Highlighted in yellow are the "more shock-proof" stocks which are currently down less than 10%, whereas those in red are down by at least 30%.

The generally shock-proof ones are namely SATS, ComfortDelgro and SPH. I would expect Telcos to be resilient but I guessed because of being over-valued at the high, the rebounds are limited.

Most of the blue chips have slightly rebounded since my previous post in September, which were down by an average of 26.2%.

How many of these blue chips could ride the waves and retain their operating profits in downturn? Contract-based companies, those with steady income stream, those dependent on crude oil prices - go figure.

If you are vested, do keep a lookout for their annual reports. Most of the companies has already published their quarterly unaudited earnings on the SGX website.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

How to save $100k by age 30

I realised there was a same titled article published in Straits Times according to Kyith I didn't read that article but just thought I would share my 2-cents worth of a different approach.

Assuming one starts working from age 23 (for sg ladies who go by the JC route, for guys even if you start work later but could factor in your pay from NS or higher starting pay when you graduate, so do abit of plus-minus), there's 8 years to save this amount. If you are a poly grad, then you would start work earlier, so plus-minus again. To save $100k by age 30, you would need to save at least $12,500 a year.

In the table illustration below, you see that you could actually start off with a lesser saving amount and increase your savings gradually by 5% a year and still reach your goal. As along the way you may get pay-rises, promotions or experience job-hop - to paint a more realistic picture for your path.
If you have started saving from young then you would already have a 'foundation' to build on, so the yearly figure to save here could be lesser (you could choose to challenge yourself from ground up or set a higher target in this case).

Year 1 $10600
Year 2 $11130
Year 3 $11686.5
Year 4 $12270.83
Year 5 $12761.66
Year 6 $13399.74
Year 7 $13935.73
Year 8 $14632.52

If you find the figures are too intimidating, you could further break those figures down into monthly sums. Then ask yourself, how to go about saving that amount monthly?

Rule number 1, don't go splurging your entire monthly salary even though SG gov would probably thank you for boosting our economy. Rule number 2, not to forget rule number 1.

There are 4 main actions to execute - practice frugal spending, repay loans ASAP, earn more, manage your own finances.

Identify the area which you think you could save up the most from and work from there. Draw up an excel sheet, set up a separate bank account for savings and you will be surprised how a seemingly impossible mission suddenly become so much more achievable.

Practice frugal spending - Don't drink Starbucks, drink generic kopi-o

The above is an example, fret not if you don't drink coffee like me. The point is in 'substitution', substitute something you need with same value but different price. Pamper yourself with Starbucks once in a while, but learn to stick with a good no-brand kopi-o for most days. Remember, frugality itself is habitual - just like coffee drinking.

What are those daily expenses you could cut down on? Jot them down. (That's if you 
won't get depression without them.)

Repay loans ASAP - or you will dream of pigheads

Calculate for yourself the amount of interest you need to pay the bank yearly on top of the loans you have taken (if not the bank would calculate for you too). Compare the repayment interest for 5 years versus 10 years, how much more are you letting the banks earn?

ONE exception here is for outstanding loans that come with no interest or is generating you better returns than the interest you pay. Then take as long as you could to repay it while putting those money to good use.

For those on scholarships in your tertiary education years, good for you!

Earn more $$ - be a lobang king

This is more difficult. It's like how it is easier to lose weight by cutting down on calories consumed versus regular exercising. When you save, you are cutting down on the calories consumed. Earning more is like exercising. You either need to get in the boss's good shoe to get promoted quickly or moonlight to earn more income or...

There's a thing known as passive income. So if you have spare cash lying around, put them to good use by either putting into Fixed deposits or Savings bond instead of under your pillows.

I know what you are thinking, please don't buy lottery.

Manage your own finances

If you don't, sooner or later someone will and the someone will make sure his pocket is fatter than yours.

Learn about insurance, learn about banking services, learn about credit cards, learn about investment. There are still many things to learn in your 20s despite having thrown down the books. Wherever you decide to put your money, ask yourself what are the costs and the risks. If you are prepared to put your money to something risky, then be equally prepared to lose all your money there without spinning off into trouble.

What I could offer in this blog may be limited. You could click on the links on my blog side bar to discover more financial articles, learn more tips from or simply pick up a finance book to kick-start your journey.

Opps I thought I wasn't going to preach.

If you are up for some more really kick-ass preaching, here's a book by Richard Templar that I highly recommend . He wrote 107 rules in there about money issues in a very succinct and concise manner. How much of his 'preaching' you could put to use, it's up to your ability to decipher.

Related posts: 

Credit card maximization for small-spenders

That's me, I am the real budget barbie (er ok just kidding, I do spend on big items now and then... *sheepish smile*).

This year my trusty UOB One card has increased its tier for quarterly rebate from $300 a month to $500. It is quite difficult to hit since I do not drive and I have just quit my gym membership. So now my credit card spending just revolves around groceries (fyi I don't cook), dining, lifestyle shopping and holidays (max twice a year). I was disappointed to find out that I failed to hit the quarterly rebate before they up-ed the tier as my July spending did not hit $300 (I was still naively spending on big items the following month with the card). This is because UOB's definition of July spending is really 'June spending' as they take the month reflected on the statement date rather than the month which the spending took place. PLUS one must spend on at least 3 transactions in those months. Blur me.

The famous OCBC 365 is out of my picture because the minimum spending per month is $600, furthermore my salary can't be credited there.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Contract For Difference - how to be a short seller

*Links in the blog post would lead you to external sites.

The bearish stock market has led me to revisit this post on Contract for Difference which was what I have read up to kick-start short selling. BUT this is not a post to encourage anybody to do so, it's more of an FYI.

CFD is one of the instruments that can be used for short selling which gives you more flexibility to investment and also hedging power, read more here. Only some brokerages offer CFD and it is traded using a margin (leverage) account.

Type of CFD
The brokers that offer CFD can be subdivided into DMA or MM. DMA seems like a better option with higher transparency. DMA stands for direct market access which reflects the actual stock market prices.

Here's an interesting read about what is short interest. But I have yet to discover where can we find short interest ratio for sg stocks.

Using CFD & risks
Short selling can be used as a hedging tool. It can also be used to earn money in a bearish market. However due to the use of leverage, it can also be a double edge sword as an investment tool if not properly used.

CFD is not actual stocks - it is a derivative products (so you do not own any shares of the company which you buy or sell). It is provided by a market maker who earns interest and commission from your buying of CFDs from them.

There are 2 components - commission (usually min $25) and finance charges (p.a).

We could view an example of charge details here.

There may be no time limit to the holdings but as mentioned, since it involves leveraging most traders would use it as a short-term investment to prevent accruing high interest (finance charge from holding the position).

See also:

Last but not least there's 7 useful trading tips for CFD which can be found here.
And a quote to remember...

- "Risk is not knowing what you are doing." Warren Buffett


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

DBS Vickers promotion continues till dec 15

Hmm... Sweet deals for deploying your war chest?

Make sure you log in to Vickers from your POSB or DBS ibank site and not direct to Vickers in order to enjoy these offers.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid advert.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Indicators and intrinsic value - no magic formula?

In deciding whether to buy, hold or sell a stock, we need to do FUNDAMENTAL analysis. In determining the short term trend and entry point in a stock, we need to do TECHNICAL analysis and also review market sentiments.

Here's my understanding on fundamental analysis and what indicators should be considered.

Quantitative indicators:
  • Price to earning ratio (low or high relative to competitors)
  • Year-on-Year profit (note revenue does not mean profit)
  • Net asset value (how much is the company's asset worth)
  • Debt to asset ratio
  • Dividend yield (increasing, decreasing? is the payout consistent?)
  • Free cashflow & cashflow from operation

Qualitative indicators - Understanding the business:
  • Sources of revenues (does it earn from recurring income and not from one off from asset disposal?)
  • Business plans and development (what acquisitions made?)
  • Does it have a business moat? (eg. high barrier of entry, consumer cost-of-switching)
  • What are its business risks? (eg. currency, technological revolution, environmental...)
  • Any changes to its management lately (eg. CFO resigned)

Now now...
Another term we often see when people speak of analysis is 'Intrinsic value' or value investing, so what is it?

Definition by Investopedia - 'The actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value.'

It is a concept that I still find hard to fully grasp because we can't really put a figure to what's intangible. Even Investopedia failed to give me an answer, this is what it says - "...there is no "correct" intrinsic value. Two investors can be given the exact same information and place a different value on a company (Read more: Value Investing Definition |Investopedia )."

The most difficult part is the putting of a figure to the value since we need that figure in order to compare with the share price (or market capitalization $). The next billion dollar question is - what is the magic formula? Funny thing is, many people would just use 'gut feel' to pinpoint that figure.

Then to determine whether to buy or not... "Once Buffett determines the intrinsic value of the company as a whole, he compares it to its current market capitalization - the current total worth (price). If his intrinsic value measurement is at least 25% higher than the company's market capitalization, Buffett sees the company as one that has value.
(Read more: Warren Buffett: How He Does It (BRK.A))"

Glancing through some formulas when I did a Google search, the keywords in the formulas are "expected" and "projected". I got a headache from looking at mathematical symbols from some famous formulas even before doing any calculations. One website that gave me a simpler overview is this

Another simpler way is to compare a few qualitative indicators against the benchmark, eg. average PE ratio is 15 so if the PE is less than 15 a stock is possibly undervalued, Price/Book value versus its peers etc. But bear in mind that nothing can be absolute.

Then determine when to sell?
That one has caused hot debate here (make sure you scroll all the way down the page) -

Another SMOL post on Value Trap for your reading pleasure.

Have you found your magic formula? Or follow the 'don't analyse, just invest' cult?

Read also: Buying into the right business

Friday, 9 October 2015

Endowment and annuity policies 'trap'

When I step into any of the well-known local banks, one thing that never fails to irritate me would be having financial advisers (or whatever position the bank prefers to call the personnel) coming to sweet-talk me into putting my money 'somewhere with better returns' when all I was there for was to open an FD account. Upon further probing, the products or package that they are trying to sell me are none other than endowment or annuity policies.

By definition of wikipedia -

"An endowment policy is a life insurance contract designed to pay a lump sum after a specific term (on its 'maturity') or on death. Typical maturities are ten, fifteen or twenty years up to a certain age limit. Some policies also pay out in the case of critical illness."

"An annuity is a financial contract in the form of an insurance product according to which a seller (issuer) makes a series of future payments to a buyer (annuitant) in exchange for the immediate payment of a lump sum (single-payment annuity) or a series of regular payments (regular-payment annuity), prior to the onset of the annuity."

The policies are often beautifully packaged as 'saving plans', deposits $xxx every month and you will get this projected amount after xx years with x% growth. And sometimes they would throw in a few goodies like "you can enjoy a higher interest rate in your savings account" or "you can put your FD for x years at a higher interest rate". Some policies you would be able to do a partial redemption after say 3 or 5 years.

Before getting all enticed by the figures and signing on the dotted line (to part with your cash), here are a few things you should consider:

1. Do I need to use a big sum of money in the short terms? For example - buying properties, investing, family expenses. Because once you put them into the plan, it is a commitment on your part. Those money are being 'locked' in and there's no way you can withdraw them without suffering a penalty subjected to the mercy of the policy issuer.

2. Is it capital-guaranteed? Are the returns guaranteed?
Often you will see the words "for illustration only". Nuff said.

3. Can I put my money elsewhere that would reap me better returns with no lock-in? Say maybe the SSB...

4. What are the costs involved? (eg. how much are the admin charges, how much of the savings go to premium payment, what are the penalties for early termination)

5. Am I already adequately insured?
There is no need to buy a financial product which you don't need in the first place. Whatever perks that the bank gives would not offset the amount of money you need to cough up into the policy and any opportunity cost.
You need to be insured only when you have liabilities. How much you need to insure is proportionate to how much liabilities you have. Imagine if you are age 55, with children all grown up and working, housing loan fully paid for and a comfortable sum of money for retirement - you want to buy insurance? For what??!

I recalled buying an endowment policy some years ago which showed an illustrated interest rate of 2.5% and this was what happened one year after my purchase - It has not seen daylight since.

I was like '***!!!'. (Fine, blame it on the Lehmen crisis.)

So always remember when things sound too good to be true, they most probably aren't true.

Friday, 2 October 2015

10 Rules to closing sales

Blog post number 111.

It's been seven years of front line sales work, I start to think it's about time for me to move on to do something else. Doing sales may prove to be challenging work, especially for a fresh grad or natural introvert which I think I was once both.
Doing sales has toughened me up greatly. Along the arduous journey from which I didn't start off from a sales background, I have come to realize the following rules on doing and closing sales these years...

  1. Smile.

  2. Speak your customers' language.
    Communication is tough if one speaks chicken, one speaks duck. Language is really a power tool... Or does Google translate?
    1. Cluck cluck... you talking to me?

  3. Ask and listen more than you speak.
    There's a Chinese saying: "The more you talk, the more err." So learn to lend a listening ear.

  4. When you do speak, speak with confidence and conviction.

  5. If the customer can't describe what he wants (as he doesn't know what he wants), then he's a 'browser'. No need to waste your breath further.

  6. Avoid technical or bombastic terms. Use simple terms to instill ideas. Customers would not be impressed, they would be confused.

  7. Avoid giving customers too many choices. Because that makes it harder for them to make up their minds. 

  8. Look at what product(s) they seemed interested at and engage them about it (list some pros and cons).

  9. In times of complaints - instead of explanations, it's best to offer solutions.

  10. Customers might not be always right (I am sure your boss tells you otherwise). Still, do acknowledge their feedback and remember to say 'Thank you'.

See previous post: Body language - the key to success

Wednesday, 30 September 2015




1. 这是不是个必须品?
(如果没有这个, 有其他更好或更便宜的代替品)

2. 这东西实用和耐用吗?

3. 这东西我会每周使用吗?



Monday, 28 September 2015

Blue chips in red sea

My premonition of STI breaking support in June turned out to be true, just that I didn't anticipate the big plunge. :(

STI is on average down 25.1% from it's all time high this year. 8 counters have gone down 30% or more from their all time high. All counters suffer price decline with the only exception of SATS.

I did not go digging up each business's net profit/loss. Interested to go blue chip shopping yet? Then you could perhaps look up on the business profit/loss and maybe the dividend yields for those that interest you.

And once again the advice here is - don't catch a falling knife.

*Correction: STI was down 26.2% when CapitaLand is factored in instead of Singapore Exchange (repeated lines). 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Thoughts about Financial Freedom part II

Previous: My thoughts on Financial freedom.

Financial freedom is defined as having the passive income so that you do not have to work or can choose to work to sustain your current needs and lifestyle. The key word is PASSIVE. This is usually the case when one invest sufficiently in businesses and have enough savings to generate a hefty sum of interest from bank or whichever source (ok... 'hefty' is pretty subjective here).

As I thought about financial freedom, I have these questions popping into my head:

Is it possible to achieve financial freedom in Singapore on retirement by relying on our good o' CPF and good o' HDB flats?
Aiyo... retirement age is getting older and older. Resale HDB lease expiry getting nearer and nearer. At least the minimum sum in CPF is getting higher and higher. =.=

Can we really achieve financial freedom solely through investing? Then we won't have to wait till the gov-dictated retirement age...provided you don't lose your capitals and your pants.

Or... can we depend on our children / spouse as a source of passive income when we choose to retire?
Hmm.... being a tai tai doesn't sound too bad.

How much money do we need for maintaining financial freedom now or into the future, factoring in yearly inflations?
My maths sucks how...

What would be a realistic time frame to set for ourselves?

I am still trying to find my answers to the questions raised above.

To some people, it is about working very very hard for many years, invest smartly and diligently then rest and be lazy later in life.

Then the FF non-believers would say "Aiya stop worrying and planning lah. We should just enjoy what life throws at us, YOLO" - Just spend the money, work when it runs out and then repeat the process.

There is no so-called a right answer I guess.


Saturday, 5 September 2015

My Home Growth Fund - Nikko AM review

This is the very first fund I bought to test water 3 years ago. No RSP is subscribed. Here is a quick review on how it's doing.

When started: Year 2012
Price: $1.05 per unit

Received dividend payout ONLY twice (3c per unit) from purchase to date. Thereafter, I was told by Nikko AM that the dividend is being reinvested into the fund after I feedback to POSB on the lack of dividend payout when the fund annual report says there's dividend (why does it seem like coins dropping into an endless depth with no echo at all...).

Current price: $1.13 per unit (highest $1.31)

Annualized return: 0.2% (T.T)

Those bluechips that make up the fund are all dividend yielding, but the fund unit price growth is far from the yields. What does this mean?

As we all know bond prices fluctuates very little and the stability comes in getting the yield. There's a component of ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund. Assuming the yield gets reinvested then shouldn't the number of unit holdings increase with years? Maybe the fund manager's units but certainly not MY units (which remained the same throughout).

Even though it's components are not all from STI, but it mirrors. Diew....

Needless to say.
No more POSB or Nikko funds for me.

More information about Home Growth fund here:

Time or money?

When we can't fill our stomach, substitute time for money.

When our basic needs are fulfilled, then we should substitute money for ME TIME - go for a holiday, go shopping, gaming, upgrade your skills, read on self-improvement, investments etc.

In life we always need to find balance. (We can talk about 

Maslow's hierarchy of needs in another post.)

When we find ourselves selling ourselves, our souls and our precious time to money,


Take a break and think. 

My new book from Book

Ordered 'The five rules for Successful Stock Investing' by Pat Dorsey on 17 Aug. I saw that this book was highly recommended by a few finance bloggers and have personally borrowed it from NLB previously. The book was sent out 19 Aug (BD will email saying that item is on the way) and I received it on 3 Sep. The book came nicely packaged in a carton box-like parcel.

Quite happy with the purchase experience overall except the late delivery (website says to SG is 5-9 working days but I have waited beyond that duration).

There's no delivery charge, so what you see on the website is what you pay. No hassle at all.

Price wise is reasonable too and may be cheaper than what we could get at local sg bookshops. (I couldn't find this Pat Dorsey book anywhere in the local mall bookshops and I saw Kinokuniya is selling at a higher price than BD.)

Shall find time soon to read it again in more detail and dig out more 'gems' from it.


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Some thoughts on Financial Freedom

'Financial freedom' is used to describe the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live indefinitely without having to work actively for basic necessities according to Wikipedia. Although some others would define it as 'having a passive income so that you do not have to work or can choose to work to sustain your current needs and lifestyle'.

However, along the road to financial freedom one would need to make many sacrifices. To get out of the rat race, one might put it (escape plan).

If financial freedom is the ultimate goal, what is the purpose of you wanting to get to that?

Can one be fully satisfied after achieving the so-called financial freedom?

As long as we covet a certain lifestyle beyond the basic necessity and constantly want better, we can never TRULY reach financial freedom. The road to financial freedom itself is a rat race with a moving goal post.

To work and enjoy life at the same time
vs seeking financial freedom and lead a stressful life

Which one would you choose? Financial freedom may be your goal but how much happiness do you need to sacrifice in its pursuit?

An interesting and thought-provoking read from Wealth Buch's blog, part 1 of 3 here:

What if....

So you want financial freedom in order to live that high life you have always wanted, then why not start planning on HOW to achieve that desired lifestyle now? Desired lifestyle does not necessarily means not actively earning income (they are not mutually exclusive).

Go grab this book called 4-hour work week and perhaps you would find some inspirations on this. Read also Time or Money II.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A note on Entrepreneurship

It's been a while again from my last update as I have been busy fire-fighting at work. A note to my previous post, Singapore Savings Bond is finally up for grab this October. So ready your cash cos the stocks don't look set to crash (despite the Greek crisis stirring in the background). I have remained dormant while I see my stocks go into the red zone and back to green again.

So what's interesting lately?

I have been to a job interview. To cut things short, it's kind of a one-man-show job which I could probably learn a lot on in terms of running a business. The downside is that the remuneration package is much lower than what I am getting in current job.

After weighing the pros and cons, plus the total working hours (8.5 official hours a day, with alternate Sat half-day. There goes my pilate classes..), my financial goals, direction of this business and what I thought of the boss - I said to myself "Heck with what learning la, you don't know what you are getting into".

Suddenly What Colour is Your Parachute comes into use and I remembered the 5 petals the book talks about. Cannot survive on just 1 petal right? sigh...

Nevertheless I am still interested in doing business. The thing holding me back is that I haven't found an opportunity that's in line with my passion and skill AND is what the market needs but lack. I need a spark - a force of ignition and a source of inspiration that could make me act.

I like Ma Yun's words here -

“Focus is essential for business. When laying down the strategic goals for your business, you must never exceed three. Once you’ve exceeded three, you won’t be able to remember them, and neither will your workers. When you set down goals each year, just determine the three most important, and cut out the fourth.

Why is Alibaba a seven-company business, rather than eight? A person’s management capabilities have limits; one can only manage at most seven teams. Seven and below will pose no problem, [but]exceeding that will definitely bring about problems. In terms of small start-ups, the strategic thing to do is to survive. To survive, you must think carefully about three issues: the first is what you want to do, the second is how to do it, the third is how long to do it for.”


To me, at least for now, investing in stocks is the first step to understanding businesses. Learning about how the industries' ups and downs, assets correlation, the economy. Zooming in, I learn how to identify value, look at business strategies, digest balance sheets...

However, running a business itself is a totally different game...

How long you can do the business - it's about passion.
How big the business grows - it's about ambition and farsightedness.
How much money it makes - it's about management abilities.


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

STI breaking support?

Or maybe support already broken? Looking at the market, it has been quite volatile in the past weeks with the Greek bail out still uncertain and oil prices nowhere near rebound. No major news that would shake the market but also no catalyst to push it back up at this point.

Some things to note in my portfolio - Keppel Corp which I bought when it was 8.83 not too long ago has plunged to 8.44.

Aztech group (AVZ) stock consolidation has taken place (10:1) in an attempt to raise their stock price in accordance to the minimum stock price requirement of SGX but it has resulted in further drop in price from $1.30 to 0.98 (I have yet to do an analysis on its business intrinsic value now but it was bought from years ago).
If OCBC drops further (now is trading at $10.10), I would consider picking some lots. I have just reinvested its dividend at a pretty good $9.52 premium price.

The sudden Mers outbreak in Korea might dampen Asia's economy, particularly as businesses and tourism would get affected should it shows sign of global spread. I went South Korea in April when Korean won is at its highest value. Korea is a really beautiful place especially in the cherry blossom season (view my leisure blog). Hopefully they could keep the MERS disease spread under control.


NB: Shares of small chip stocks would have more room to decline after consolidation. Unless it's business and earnings have been good, expect the price to decline post-consolidation.
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