Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Infographic - All You Need To Know About HDB Loan And Bank Loan (Guest Post)

Buying a HDB flat for the first time can be an intimidating experience. It’s probably the first big ticket purchase in your life that will take the next couple of decades to pay off, so you’d definitely want to rake in as much savings as you can.

Perhaps you have not really thought about what kind of loan to take up. If you don’t already know, you have a choice between taking up a HDB or bank loan, as long as you are eligible for them.

You might want to hold on to your cash and pay off your home loans using your CPF, but did you know that taking up a bank loan allows you to pay less interest? This is because bank interest rates are lower as compared to the CPF Ordinary Account (OA) interest rate which home loans are pegged to.

And while the down payment required to take up a bank loan may be higher – at 20%, with at least 5% paid in cash as compared to 10% with a HDB loan, fully payable with your CPF –you get to enjoy greater flexibility in retaining your savings in your CPF OA. Conversely, upon the collection of keys to your new home, HDB will wipe out your CPF OA balance to reduce the loan quantum required for you to service.

In the following infographic, we run through the main factors to consider while taking up a home loan for your HDB flat, and the main differences between taking up a HDB loan and a bank loan.

To find out more about taking up a bank loan vs. a HDB loan, refer to our full guide at Ultimate Guide On Singapore Home Loan

This is a guest post from Redbrick Mortgage Advisory.

The team at Redbrick Mortgage Advisory has more than 60 years of banking experience and is proficient in structuring and sourcing for the best financing terms for both residential and commercial real estate in Singapore, Malaysia, USA, UK, Japan, Thailand and Australia.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What This GHOST Tought Me About Investing?

No, I am not talking about the famous 1990 Ghost movie by Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore!

No, I am also not talking about any ghosts in the Ghostbusters movies.

In fact, I am not even talking about any ghost from any of the Hong Kong movies/series. 

What I am referring to is an old Korean TV drama series called Ghost (or Phantom). It was released in 2012 (5 years ago) and is not an horror genre. It is a detective drama revolved around a team of cyber unit (computer forensics unit) with intriguing and twisting plots. Personally, I am not a K-drama fan and in fact this is the only K-drama that I managed to complete the whole series.

So, what have I learnt from this K-drama series that I am trying to relate to investing (stock in general)?

Here we go.....

1. The way I chanced upon this K-drama series?
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a K-drama fan, so how did I chance upon this K-drama series and got hooked ever since? It all started with a fantastic and superbly acted horror movie called "The Wailing" (2016) which I watched on the New Year Day. The superb performance of the main actor (Kwak Do-Won) immediately caught my eyes and after a brief "research" on his previous works, it lead me to this gem (Ghost), of which he won the best supporting actor in one of the Korea Drama Awards. As they said, the rest is history.
The Wailing - If you are an horror movie fan, you got to watch this!!!
If you think about it, it kind of resemblance on how many retail investors chanced upon a gem stock (value buy) in the massive sea of stocks. Usually, it started with one company that lead us to yet another some-how related company(ies) that we found value in. For example, you might be invested in Company A and satisfied with its performance (value), after reading through their Annual Reports and related market news, it might leads you to dig deeper into its partners, suppliers or even key customers, of which, some of them might just be another gem.

So, keep digging (researching) as there are always gems waiting to be uncovered. 

2. The Plot
One of the reason that I managed to complete the whole series in (my) record time (20 episodes in 1.5 weeks) is because of its intriguing plots and twists. In one episode, you might thought that the Good is winning the "race", next, they are at wits' end (fighting for their lives). The key? Both are constantly digging out/uncovering the new (or hidden) trace of information and made quick and informed decision/action out of it. The good vs evils continue to outwit each others numerous times throughout the show.

Of course, at the end, the good wins but it is a hell of the ride.

Ain't stock market work the same? At one point, your counter(s) might be shooting up the roof with better-than-expected business results etc, next, they are tumbling down because of the weak micro-economic news (or whatever). The Ups and Downs will continue regardless of how hard you evaluate the counters. Having said that, it is important to constantly making use of the new set of information like the quarterly business results, pertinent micro-economic news etc.. to make decisive decision whether to continue to hold, add or release. 

Of course, we are not in the TV series setting whereby the good always win but with that momentum, I am sure we will have a better chance in winning. In any case, we can't win all the time!      

Have you seen any good movie/series recently that set you thinking?

Cheers!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

January Is A Busy Month For Me!

January, new year resolution
For the past few years, January seems to be my travelling month and there is no difference for this year. Will be heading to Eastern Europe during Chinese New Year period. So, yes, I will be away from the blogsphere during this period :-)

So, spending quite a fair bit of time sourcing for the right tour package since mid-December 2016 (finally decided to go with Chan Brothers), sourcing/buying the winter clothing (just attended the tour briefing yesterday, January will be the coldest month in Europe), sourcing for the travel insurance etc.. Talking about travel insurance, will be getting it from GoBear as I have good experience in buying much cheaper travel insurance from the site previously. 

So, yes, January will be a busy month for me to accumulate more life experience, I noticed that the more years I've lived (i.e. the more "senior" I am), I am more willing to spend [time and money] on new life experiences (like getting to know new friends, doing/learning something new, travelling etc...) than materials stuff (like new clothing, new gadgets etc...). 

Directly or indirectly, it also means that I will have low or no action in the stock market this month, it's not like I have plenty of action in other months, in the first place :-) For those who are deploying your cash recently, hope you have a huatful year, so far, it is a good start for most of the counters in the first week of 2017. 

Lastly, just like to end this post with the following inspirational quote (from web) : 
Inspirational Quote
Inspirational Quote (from web)
Cheers!

Monday, January 2, 2017

My "Rojak" Sharing #1 in 2017

Time fly, we are already at the second day of 2017, in less than one month's time, we will be celebrating the Chinese New Year (CNY), the Year Of Rooster. I will be travelling oversea during this year's CNY and looking forward to the upcoming group tour (it has been a while since our last group tour to US many years back). 

As I always said, life is not always about money or investment alone, so, I decided to start a regular sharing of anything under the sun that I chanced upon and find it interesting to share. I called it Rojak Sharing. Why rojak? Because it is really rojak (Malay word for mixture of stuff) :-) 

On high level, I will start my first Rojak serving (I means sharing) with the following "fruits" :

1. The Movie - Being a movie buff, how can I not share some good movie that I've just watched? Chinese there is a saying : 独乐乐不如众乐乐! (loosely translated into : instead of enjoying myself alone, it is better off to be enjoyed together with others) 

2. The Facebook Page - Facebook, being the hottest social media at the moment, there are plenty of good stuff (mostly informative and entertaining) we can get freely from there. So, why not?  

3. The Site - I will share any website or blog that I find worth my time and "got liao" (with good content).

4. The Kang Tao (Hokkien  word for hot tips) - Any tip that I can find online or offline...

The Movie :
Finally! I managed to watch one of the highly acclaimed Korean horror movie of 2016, The Wailing (哭声). It worth every second of my time.

It is suspenseful! It is intense! It did everything right for an horror movie. All the casts are excellence in their performance too.

It is a movie with most ambiguous ending but with a purpose. I am sure you will be cracking your head after the ending credits and trying to find clue to decipher the movie i.e. is he a good guy? Is there really ghost or demon? 

If you like Asian horror movie and missed this movie for whatever reason, don't miss it again!
The Wailing (Korean Movie)


The Facebook Page:
Many motivational or entrepreneur gurus like to ask his/her followers to THINK BIG! Today, I am going to share an Facebook Page called BIG THINK. There are regular sharing of insights by the popular/famous authors/entrepreneurs/thinkers..It will really open your mind...

  
The Site:
James Altucher, the author/podcaster/entrepreneur/investor that I get to know only recently, after a fellow blogger friend introduced a book by him to me, Choose Yourself. I've completed the book and continue to read his follow-up book entitled, Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth. His perspective is really out of the box and mostly sharing of his personal experience. You might not buy all his ideas but some of them like Ideas Machine, Idea Sex (nothing sexual) and Daily Practice are pretty cool!

The reason why I recommend his site (James Altucher) is because there are regular podcast series with the other famous authors/entrepreneurs like Dan Ariely (author of many popular books, like Predictably Irrational, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty), Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert comic) etc... lot's of insights again.

The Kang Tao:
I used to make monthly remittance to my Malaysia credit card via a remittance house and being charged $10 for the remittance fee. Recently, I got to know that they are no longer making remittance to Malaysia bank and hence I need to look for other sources. That's where I found DBS Remit service with $0 transfer fee to 9 countries (Malaysia is one of it! Yeay).

The best part is, I can make the transfer at the convenient of my home or office via the Internet Banking and the money is remitted on the same day. And the best best part is that for the time being, you can do it with $0 transfer fee (not sure how long the free transfer will last but I managed to take the opportunity and made the first transfer successfully).

For more details, you can check out DBS Remit here.

That's all from me today!

Hope you enjoy my rojak and wish all my readers have a great 2017 ahead!

Cheers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Your Options For Funeral Insurance (Guest Post)

Most people do not want to start on the topic of reviewing their options for Funeral Insurance. The good news is that it is not as daunting as so many make it seem. In fact, many people enjoy comparison shopping when it comes to insurance policies.

Funeral insurance costs are designed to cover all the expenses of your funeral. The thing about some plans is that when you subscribe to these, you end up paying more in premium payments. Some of the risks associated with these include:

  • Premiums that can be fixed or increased every year which vary according to your gender and certain habits, such as smoking and drinking.
  • When premiums are not fixed, you won’t know how much the amount rises in the years to come. This can be tricky, especially if you like to plan your cash flow ahead of time.
  • If you do the math, you will find that premiums can actually add up to around four times the real cost of the funeral.
  • Probably the worst thing about these policies is that as soon as you stop paying, the amount that you did put into the policy is no longer there for you to claim and neither is the insurance coverage on any partial level.
Fortunately, there are other suitable options that you can go for, such as life insurance policies, funeral bonds, and pre-paid funeral plan solutions. 

Funeral Bonds
Funeral bonds are offered by friendly societies and life insurance companies. They require you to make a lump-sum payment and pay in installments. The money is then invested and can be used to cover for a funeral. The bond can either be in one person’s name or a joint agreement between two people. With a joint plan, the benefit is paid at the time of the death of the first owner.

Life Insurance
There is a great alternative to getting yourself a feasible funeral plan; plain old life insurance! Life insurance works as a standalone policy as well as a superannuation fund. The amount that is covered does not only include insurance for funeral costs, but also results in a payout for the people close to you, especially those who rely on you.

Pre-paid Plans
The pre-paid option covers either part or all of your funeral expenses. Usually, this is done at current prices. The services that you pay for are covered at the time of death no matter how much the plan costs at that particular time. 

There are plenty of ways you can pre-pay for your funeral through these plans. You can go for Small Contributory Funds where you make regular, small payments. The Pre-Purchases Plan is where you pay for a cemetery plot, the wall niche and the spot in the memorial ground. You pay for the entire funeral in the Pre-paid Funeral Policies. You can even make a deposit to pay installments over time. However, it should be noted that not all services offer a refund when you decide to cancel.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How Is My Minion Portfolio Doing In 2016?

Time flies, we are one-and-a-half week away to bid farewell to 2016, most people are starting to recap/review their hits and misses in 2016 and making resolution for 2017 and beyond.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to recap my portfolio's performance in 2016. Even though there are still a couple more days to go but since my transaction volume is usually low and bearing in mind of my minion portfolio size, I don't expect it will change much during these few days.

Here goes the summary of my portfolio (status as at 21/12/2016):

Current Portfolio:
Total Invested Capital                                 : SGD 47,060 (from 9 counters)
Total Current Market Price                         : SGD 39.,460
Dividend Collected                                     : SGD 4,160
Unrealized Gain/Loss (Exclude Dividend) : -SGD 7,600 [-16%] 
Unrealized Gain/Loss (Include Dividend)  : -SGD 3,440 [-7%]


Realized Gain so far (include Dividend) : SGD 570

As you can see, I am still paying my "school fee" (i.e. making a loss :-)). Two of the main contributors are EV Energy, my only US stock which is related to O&G industry and King Wan. Also, through this short investing journey of mine, I've further confirmed (stamped and double chopped) that I am not good (or should I said not enjoying) interpreting/digesting the numbers. Not sure how many retail investors are like me but you know you are not enjoying it (the number crunching) when you tends to procrastinate it and don't have the sense of satisfaction. 

Having said that, it doesn't mean that I will stop investing or totally ignore the Fundamental Analysis, just that going forward I might not spend too much time in crunching the numbers, or I might start to learn some basic Technical Analysis to supplement my investment decision. Something for me to ponder in 2017 and beyond...

Cheers!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

From Fourth Telco To Fed Rate Hike - Exciting December

Exciting week! 

Exciting December!

While many of us are busy planning/clearing our leaves in the year end as well as cracking our head on what Christmas presents to buy, just within the span of one week, we've two major announcements (even though mostly anticipated, but still) smacked right on our face. I am sure at least one of the announcement has direct impact to what you are investing or about to invest.   

First, the announcement of the fourth telco in Singapore. Finally, it was officially awarded by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to TPG Telecom (Australia). It made the winning bid of S$105 million for the spectrum on offer. For more details, check our the article from Channel News Asia. 

If you are currently holding or looking at the existing telcos (Singtel, Starhub or M1), what would you do now? Personally, I have some odd lots of Singtel and am looking into adding some during these few days. Failed to get it at $3.70 today and will try my luck again tomorrow, before the XD on 19/12/2016.

Secondly, the anticipated Fed Rate hike is REAL now! Finally, the central bank raised its key short-term rate to a range of 0.5%-0.75% from 0.25% to 0.5%. If the report is true, more rates hike is expected in 2017. 

The impact? The more obvious ones might be the stronger greenback, weaker gold and oil price and the performance of REITS (negatively). Certain industries will feel more heat than the others. In any case, my move is no move at the moment or like the saying in Chinese,  静观其变.

Cheers!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Are You Happier In Saving Extra $X OR Earning Extra $X?

There is a saying (from personal finance perspective) : "How much you earned is not the key, the key is how much you've saved"!  

Do you buy it?

Of course, again, there is no right or wrong answer to this but more of a personal viewpoint.

Having said that, I think it is beneficial for us to identify our own preference so that we can focus on the action that will make us happier. Hence, the purpose of this post :

"Are you happier in savings extra $X OR earning extra $X?"

Example:
Assuming all things being equal, you can either :
A) Save extra $1,000 per month  OR
B) Earn extra $1,000 per month

Which option (A or B) will make you happier?

Conditions:
1. For Option (A), you need to find way to cut-down your expenses in order to save the extra $1,000 ;
2. For Option (B), you need to find way to earn the extra $1,000 and can save or spend all or part of the extra money you've earned, it's up to you.
3. For Option (B), it can be passive or active income but try not to be restricted to the income from investment only
4. In measuring your happiness, please exclude the potential accumulated net-worth as one of the criteria, otherwise, Option (A) will have unwarranted advantage over Option (B).

Personally, I used to be more inclined to (A) but have since moving towards (B) nowadays. My rationale: Option (A) is limited to how much (expenses) you can cut while Option (B) has limitless upside AND opportunities to create multiple income streams (passive or active) is much more promising nowadays.

So, will it be Option A or B (not both) for you and why?

Cheers!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Disconnected - Another Perspective From My Boss

Recently, in one of my company section meeting, our boss shared a stack of pictures/photos (in the Powerpoint slide) revolving around the theme of DISCONNECTED (service). 

Two of the pictures shared that I can still remember:

1. At one of the cinema chain (no name will be mentioned here), long queue being formed to buy movie tickets and beverages.

2. A copy of cheque (with some highlight on the section whereby we need to write the amount in numeric as well as in word forms).

So what is the disconnectedness here? 

Let me explain (or rather recite what my boss shared with us)...

For the first photo (the queue at the cinema chain), if you noticed, nowadays most of the cinema chains allow you to buy movie tickets as well as food and beverages at the same counter (actually you have no choice). In this setting, the counter staff need to juggle between dispensing you selected movie ticket(s), getting your coke as well as packing the popcorn of your choice. Hence, don't you think it make perfect sense why the long queue is being formed? 

If you are frequent movie goers, you will know that a couple of years ago, there are separate queue for buying movie ticket and food and beverages and usually the queue is not that bad. So, why fix something that is not broken? See the disconnect here? 

As for the second photo (the cheque), I think the disconnect is kind of due to legacy but the point is why do we need to write the cheque amount in both numeric and word forms? To catch the error (for what?)? To double confirm the intended amount to be issued by the cheque issuer? 

Personally I think it is to counter fraudulent or at least minimize the risk. But is it the only way (now) and at the expense of cheque issuer (for double work)? Whatever is it, nowadays lesser people are issuing cheque but it is still a good point to ponder. 

I am sure there are many more other disconnectedness examples that we are encountering in every aspect of life but that might not be a bad thing, it just means that there are rooms for improvement. 

Come and think of it, what is the disconnect in our local equity market that you can think of? 
- The minimum share price of 20 cents that was introduced not long ago? 
- Why the IPO can only be subscribed through selected bank issuer's ATM and not all? 

What do you think?

Cheers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Darkest Day For Chapecoense Football Team

Being a soccer fan, my heart sunk when I read the news about the horrifying air disaster happens today in Columbia involving the footballers from Chapecoense Soccer Team (Brazil). The crash killed 76 out of the 81 on board. Three players are among the five survivors, report said. All prayers go to the victims/survivors and their families and friends. 

For more details and update of the incident, check out the report from The Guardian.

This is Munich air disaster all over again! In case you don't know, Munich air disaster happened on 6th February 1958 and it claimed the lives of 8 players from the Manchester United team (I am a Red Devils fan).

Life is really unpredictable and usually I will quote to friends who complain or stress-up with their current situation with this : "tomorrow or death, we can't be sure which one will come first". On the same note, let's not "overly" plan for the future and forgotten (or omitted) to live life at the present, which is the only moment we are truly live!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Interview With STE from STE's Stock Investing Journey

Time flies! In less than one month, we will be celebrating Christmas then year end count down before saying sayonara to 2016 and welcoming a brand new 2017. Just like previous year and the years before, there are ups and downs in our life, some hits and misses, but overall as long as we keep going and constantly better ourselves, we are in the right direction. Oh, most important thing is to keep going and keep smiling

Today, I am proud to present to you one of the very established pioneer retail investors who have made it to ROME and enjoying the fruits now i.e. Financial Independence. I've personally met him a couple of times and learnt quite a fair bit from his sharing. He is non other than STE (no, not the ST Engineering :-)), it's his moniker in the online retail investors community. He has his own blog (STE's Stock Investing Journey) with regular sharing of his portfolio as well as his investing insights/philosophy. Do check it out often as I am sure you will learn something from his blog, like I always do. 

Now, let's zoom into STE's 18 years investing journey right away....

Q1 : Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
A1 : I am a father of two and left the corporate world in 2014 , currently depending on my dividend income to survive . After leaving the corporate world , I could spend more time with family and doing more exercise regularly and blog occasionally.

Q2 : Are you a full time or part-time investor at the moment?
A2 : I am not a full time or part time investor but a “serious investor “ who closely monitor my portfolio and doing asset (portfolio ) re-allocation ( re-balancing ) from time to time . I guess full time or part time is more appropriate for “trader “.

Q3 : When (at what age) did you start investing in shares and who has influenced you the most?
A3 : I started to have interest in investing since I was in secondary school and reading articles from my “mentor “ – “ 冷眼“ an editor at 南洋商报 in 1980s. His article were full of wisdom and I still keeping two of his books as kind of investing “ bible “.

Q4 : Do you view yourself as long-term (holding shares in years), short-term investor (holding shares in days/months) or mixture?
A4 : I don’t define share in term of holding period , it all depend on the fundamental and underlying business of that particular share , if it is a good fundamental stock and generate a steady income/cash flow , I would hold it for very long period of time , but if the fundamental has changed , I will not hesitate to dispose it as soon as I could .

My portfolio very much skewed towards income stocks (like REITs/ Biz Trust / Telco / Banks ) and some Conglomerate ( like Keppel Corp/ SCI / ST Eng ) , plus some speculative stocks.

Q5 : What is your basis of selecting the shares to invest (e.g. basing on fundamental analysis, technical analysis or other methods/sources [share a little bit more details if it is the latter])?
A5 : There is myriad of methods in stocks selection and valuing a shares . 

Please click Here : for more detail on my investing strategies .

Q6 : What is your targeted and achieved annual rate of returns (%) so far?
A6 : I don’t set any target for stocks returns as it vary from year to year, we should take a very long term view in measuring our returns . So far , my portfolio’s CAGR is about 10.8 % for the past 18 years of investing.

We should not set a very high or not realistic target (such as 20% of return ,year in year out ) for our investment , We should be happy if our portfolio could achieve “ Alpha “ in the long run . (which is above 8-9 % of long term market return : aka Beta).

Q7 : What is your most recommended online investing resource (site or blog) to share with our readers?
A7 : I don’t think one should spend more than thousand in any investing course just to learn how to “trade” , read more books on investment and there is also many good blogs which could be a good start . Please refer to “ My Book and Blog List “ for more detail .

Q8 : Besides shares, what other investment are you involved in (e.g. Real Estates, Bonds or REITs etc)?
A8 : I only invest in share (including REIT ) and some corporate bond … Real estate is just not my cup of tea ,,, but I know many “ millionaire “ being created by “ flipping “ the properties .

Q9 : What is your current Shares Investment portfolio size (in range, no need specific)?
A9 : My dividend is enough for me to cover all my household expenses and allow me to save some as well …. I have just updated my quarterly dividend income in my blog (Click Here ).

Rome wasn’t built in a day , it took us ( Mr & Mrs STE) 18 years to have such dividend income , if you are not born with silver spoon , work hard and develop your career to increase your active income ( even with additional part time jobs ) , live within your means and Save & Invest the difference , have passion and patience throughout your investing journey.

Q10 : If the readers what to get in touch with you, how to get hold of you? (Sharing of your website/blog/social media profile etc..)
A10 : You may reach me by this LINK. 

Thanks STE, our alpha-man, for sharing his journey with us and I will sure to meet him again in the near future to tap on his insights, again!

Last but not least, if you are a retail investor and would like to be featured in my "Interview With The Fellow Investors" blog series, please feel free to email me at investopenly@gmail.com.

Also, for the complete list of my interviewees and their posts, check it out here.

Cheers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Any Sales In The Market For Black Friday Or Cyber Monday?

Time flies, we are drawing closer to the end of 2016 as well as the most celebrated festival of the year, the season of giving. Of course, prior to that, we need to get pass 2 equally important dates of the consumerism i.e. the Black Friday (which is only one more day to go) and Cyber Monday (next Monday, 28/11/2016, which is cater for more online sales).  

I am sure you know why they are critical dates that a couple of my friends even jot down the dates in their calendar to ensure that they don't forget to "take action" during these 2 auspicious days. Personally, I am not that much of a shopper (both online and offline), so there 2 dates doesn't really excite me.. 

Come and think of it, if the bourses and/or brokers (both local and international) introduce such similar sales (on cutting the commission like 50% OFF commission rate with NO capping!!!) during certain period of the year (need not be Black Friday or Cyber Monday, maybe can just invent a day or week call Bourse Day/Week), the transaction volume might hit the roof during this period, especially from the retail investors. 

Just thinking out loud, what do you think? 

On the side note, this year's Christmas festive mood is like creeping up rather slowly, is it only me? 

Cheers!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Interview With "Living Free" from Living A Free Life Today

It is encouraging to see many young retail investors-cum-bloggers popping up in the local personal finance blogging scene. I thought it is a good way to detail down our investing journey in writing as I am pretty sure that a couple of years later, when you look back, you will be surprised how much you have learnt/experienced/grown throughout all these years. 

If you are keen to know which are the new kids on the "blog", the most convenient way is to check out our friendly financial blogs aggregator, The Finance Sg.

It has been a while since my last post on the Interview With Fellow Investors series. Today, I am honored to share with you the investing journey from one of the young part-time investors who is also the owner of "Living A Free Life Today" blog. Just call him Living Free!  

Without further ado, let's get started...

Q1 : Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
A1 : I’m a blogger who writes about finance and my personal philosophy on life. I guess that makes me a personal finance writer. Oh, I’m also Singaporean by the way.

Q2 : Are you a full time or part-time investor at the moment?
A2 : I’m a part-time investor, part-time trader, part-time Airbnb host, part-time house-husband, and part-time blogger.

Q3 : When (at what age) did you start investing in shares and who has influenced you the most?
A3 : Back in the days, we used to have a TV program called tele-text, I think that’s what they call it. So my parents love to spend hours upon hours staring at a black screen with colorful numbers and texts. They were pretty emotional whenever the numbers on the screen changed. Clueless yet fascinated, I was determined to learn more about my parents’ obsession. Being the annoying kid that I was, I started questioning and irritating my parents. Their replies were always, “Aiya this kind of things children don’t know one. You just go and study la.” I thought investing in stocks was an adult thing to do. Now, I don’t want to wait to grow up so I can invest. Since they were unwilling to teach me, I set a goal to learn it myself. I’d say my parents sparked my curiosity to invest.

Over the years, I accumulated more knowledge through books. My reading diet consisted of: Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Think and Grow Rich; etc. I also played around with FX demo account on a platform called eToro. Not particularly different from anyone else. Once I reached 20 years old, I opened my very first trading account with the guidance of my parents. At that time, people were constantly talking about Blue Chips. So I did my research and bought my first stock: CapitaMall.

Q4 : Do you view yourself as long-term (holding shares in years), short-term investor (holding shares in days/months) or mixture?
A4 : I had quite a bad experience in the stock market. Initially, I made some money with CapitaMall. It was about 2k of profit on an approximate 10k investment. I took about 3 months to make that 2k. That was all my money accumulated over years working as a cashier and a tutor. Furthermore, I saved all my pocket money and angbao so I could invest. Crazy right? I know. Fueled by greed, I invested aggressively. This time, however, in penny stocks. Then I proceeded to win and lose some money. It was frustrating because my portfolio went up and down and there was nothing I could do.

So I liquidated my stocks and invested in a logistic company called OttoMarine. Now, it was the 2008-2009 era, and everything was priced so low. Since Warren Buffet is so well known for his long term investing, I decided to do the same. I bought the stocks and went to university. I totally ignored the portfolio that I had since there were more interesting things to do, like learning. 5 years later, I came back to Singapore and reviewed my portfolio. (I managed to liquidate the stock before the company threatened to file for bankruptcy, pure luck!)

My portfolio remained virtually unchanged over 5 years, which made me question whether being a long-term investor truly works. I think in every portfolio, there should be long and short-term strategies. How you play such strategies really depend on your risk tolerance and capacity. So whether I’m a long-term or short-term investor, I’d say I’m both.

Do I invest in stocks? Yes, but not in the SG market. I’m holding US stocks because they are more liquid and they allow me to trade with options.

Q5 : What is your basis of selecting the shares to invest (e.g. basing on fundamental analysis, technical analysis or other methods/sources [share a little bit more details if it is the latter])?
A5 : I hate to break the news to the people around me. There are so many moving parts with fundamental and technical analysis, and it’s so hard to predict and control. Even CEO and CFO cannot forecast their own company’s results with 100% accuracy. So fundamentally, there’ll always be a room of error. For technical analysis, there are so many indicators.

Which one do you choose? Again, there’s a chance that you might be wrong and you’ll lose money. If you pour money into something that will not work in the long run, eventually, you will implode. It’s hard to scale that way.

I prefer to trade options because statistically stocks don’t move up and down by more than 10% a day. Most of the time, stocks don’t move at all. However, if you place your trades at the end of the bell curve, you are most probably going to be right. In order to scale this strategy, you have to keep trading and increase the number of occurrences. What this technique does is it doesn’t allow you to trade big. So you make many small gains. If you do fail, you’ll fail small too.

You’ll probably say, I’m paying high transaction fees to open and close trades. Yes, but that’s the cost of doing business. Trading becomes a business. If you cannot handle losing money and the nature of the business, it’s okay. Just don’t invest. You’ll be better off placing your money in a fix deposit. If you don’t agree with what I’m saying, you can come to my blog and we’ll have a discussion.

Q6 : What is your targeted and achieved annual rate of returns (%) so far?
A6 : I don’t have a target. I don’t think you can force a rate of return. Investing is not like getting a fixed salary. Currently, I’m underwater in my experimental option/stock investment so far, but I’m seeing promising results.

My philosophy is not to be overly concentrated by a fixed number, but to really focus on what gives you cash flow. Essentially, you want to diversify your income stream to have money coming in every month.

The economy is cyclical and we need to change accordingly. The last thing you need is to be left high and dry when the market changes. The best way to protect your portfolio is to have many other backup plans. But if you find something lucrative, you should go all-in. Otherwise, be conservative and stay small. I don’t want to give false expectation that everyone has a Midas touch. It’s just not realistic.

Q7 : What is your most recommended online investing resource (site or blog) to share with our readers?
A7 : There are many things you can learn online for free. But, I’ll blow my own horn here. Come to my blog: livingafreelifetoday.com and have a discussion with me. Don’t just stick to stocks. You can invest in real estate, business, crowd funding, etc. You can start your own blog or website and sell your services. You’ll have better control over what you are doing. There’s no such thing as a passive income. Most passive income requires you to do the work today so you can reap the benefits later.

So come to my blog and be engaged.

Q8 : Besides shares, what other investment are you involved in (e.g. Real Estates, Bonds or REITs etc)?
A8 : Yup, I’m venturing into overseas real estate at the moment. I have some friends looking to start businesses in various parts of the world. My brothers are also looking to create something and I’m interest to be a resource to them too. If you have any ideas and you are willing to put the effort, time, and money, don’t hesitate to talk to me. I’d like to learn more from you and help you.

Q9 : What is your current Shares Investment portfolio size (in range, no need specific)?
A9 : I like to work as a team with my wife since she’s the one financing many of my projects. Personally, we have 20% of our net worth in shares, 40% cash, and 40% in real estate. We are comfortably levered in real estate given that the interest rate is super low. To me, it makes sense to borrow money in order to generate cash flow. If we do meet with an unfortunate event, I’ll make sure that we’ll be able to pay off all our debt obligations and remain solvent.

I’m looking to deploy some money to start businesses that are low cost. In some parts of the world, there are some businesses you can start for as low as 1k to 2k. They are certainly not easy, and it takes lots of active work. However, everyone has to start somewhere and that means taking the time to learn and make mistakes.

Q10 : If the readers what to get in touch with you, how to get hold of you? (Sharing of your website/blog/social media profile etc..)
A10 : You can simply come to my blog at livingafreelifetoday.com. Cheers!

Last but not least, if you are a retail investor and would like to be featured in my "Interview With The Fellow Investors" blog series, please feel free to email me at investopenly@gmail.com.

Also, for the complete list of my interviewees and their posts, check it out here.

Cheers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust - EGM To Acquire Lippo Mall Kuta, Bali

Last week, received a thick package from Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust, LMIR Trust (can tell from the envelop itself) but didn't open it until today. Apparently, it is a circular in relation to the upcoming EGM for the proposed acquisition of Lippo Mall Kuta, Bali. The purchase consideration is S$85 mil

After attempting to digest the thick pile of sheets and given up after about 10 pages, most of the content are quite technical and lots of jargon here and there. For an existing investors, of course, the first thing that come to mind is the objective and financial upside of such acquisition?

Managed to skim through the pages and found some pertinent information here:

1. Rationale for the acquisition :
a. Provide organic growth potential
b. Opportunity to increase the size and enhance the earnings of the LMIR Trust.
c. Increase economies of scales in operation, marketing and financing.
d. Diversification of asset within LMIR Trust's portfolio to minimise the concentration risk.

2. Some key financials after the acquisition (based on the pro forma financial statements for FY2015):
a. Net Property Income (NPI) will increase by 4.2%.
b. Dividend Per Unit (DPU) will increase to 3.11 cents (from 3.10 cents)
c. Dividend Yield will increase to 9.72% (from 9.69%)
d. Portfolio size will increase by 4.5% (from S$1,830 mil to S$1,915 mil)
e. Net Asset Value (NAV) will remain at 37.86 cents (as at 30 Jun 2016) 
f. Aggregate leverage will increase to 31.1% (from 27.9%), which is still below the leverage limit of 45% (the acquisition is expected to be financed 100% with borrowings)

I will not be attending the EGM, which happens to be on 30th Nov 2016, Wed but personally feel that this acquisition is a timely expansion of the trust and will "silently" giving it a go-ahead :-) 

What is your view about this acquisition? 

Cheers! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Medishield Life - What Is Your After Subsidy Premiums In 2017?

Medishield Life
If you have not already known, our revamped Compulsory National Healthcare Scheme, Medishield Life is heading towards its second year from Nov 2016 onward. During this transition period, Government is dishing out a couple of subsidies to ensure that impact of the premium increase is mitigated (even though the full Medishield Life premiums can be paid via your Medisave account, as long as there is sufficient balance). 

Do you know what is your Medishield Life premium, after the subsidies, in 2017? Well, there is no need to wait for the renewal notice from CPF Board or your insurer (if you have an Integrated Shield plan), you can check out the easy to read premium table below as a gauge (source : CPF Board) :

These subsidy rates are applicable to Singapore Citizens who live in residences with an Annual Value of $13,000 or less. Those living in residences with an Annual Value between $13,001 and $21,000 will receive 10 percentage points less than these subsidy rates. Those living in residences with an Annual Value of above $21,000 or own multiple properties will not receive these subsidies. Table applies to Singapore Citizens.

For Permanent Residents (PRs), half of the relevant Premium Subsidy rates apply. PRs are not eligible for Transitional Subsidies.

All Singapore Citizens enjoy 70% Transitional Subsidies on the net premium increase in the second year, i.e., pay 30% of the net increase in premiums from the former MediShield.

Note: 
"Lower income" refers to individuals with a household monthly income per person of $1,100 or less. 
"Lower middle income" refers to individuals with a household monthly income per person of $1,101 to $1,800. 
"Upper middle income" refers to individuals with a household monthly income per person of $1,801 to $2,600.

(Information accurate as at 31 October 2016)

Oh! By the way, for those who are covered under the Integrated Shield Plan with the insurers*, do take note that selected insurers are set to increase the premiums of selected plans (only on the insurer's portion) from 2017. So, do pay attention when you've received your upcoming renewal notice from your insurer. 

Cheers!

*5 insurers that are currently providing the Integrated Shield Plans:
AIA (HealthShield)
Aviva (MyShield)
Great Eastern (SupremeHealth)
NTUC Income (INcomeShield)
Prudential (PruShield)

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