Monday, August 31, 2015

Simply Wall St - Simply Amazing

As promised in my earlier post, Weekend Sharing, I am going to share about one cool stock tool that I've discovered recently, Simply Wall St. It's slogan/motto says it all :
We help investors understand the stock market by turning complicated data into simple visuals.
Simply Wall St is a tool (or should I call it App) that turns pages and pages of information/stats from Financial Reports into stunning visuals. It enables to investors (even the newbie) to digest and apprehend the critical information more easily and hence make a better investment decision.

Currently, the app is still in beta and hence you can use it without any restriction. Once it is officially launched, I believed it will be in freemium model (free plan with options to upgrade for advanced features). Anyway, after playing with it for a couple of days, I really like the visuals and never thought of such complicated information can be represented in such a visually stunning manner.   

Key Features:
1. It covers stocks from US, UK and Australia.

2. Each stock will be represented in a Snowflake graph which was compared based on 30 checks in 5 different areas i.e. Income, Value, Future, Past and Health
The Snowflake for Apple
3. It has 16 filters allow any newbie investor to get started, example : Potential Undervalued Stocks, High Growth Potential Stocks, Bank Account Beaters etc..

4. It has a Beginner Mode you can turn on to give an easy to understand explanation notes/cartoon on each of the element.

Current Share Price vs Future Cash Flow Value - Very Easy to Digest
The cool PE and PEG barometers
5. Navigation is quite self-explanatory, once you've selected  your stock of interest, it will display the key visuals in the following fashion/order :
a. The Snowflake
b. Competitors
c. Value
d. Future Performance
e. Past Performance
f. Health
g. Income
h. Management

6. You can register and log-in via your Facebook credentials to create your own portfolio for subsequent monitoring. 

Give it a try and let me know what do you think? On the side note, I hope the tool will expand to incorporate stocks from other Exchanges, including our very own local bourse, in the near future. 


P/S : This is not a sponsored post!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Sharing - Bersih 4.0 And More...

Time flies, it is yet another late Saturday night whereby many of you folks might have already in the midst of meeting the "周公“ at the moment (means : sleeping). Been busy with work recently and hence the post count for the past few months has been dropping.

Before I call it a day myself, thought just to share something that keep popping up in my Facebook's newsfeed.

During this weekend, thousands and thousands of yellow warriors are taking part in the Bersih 4.0 rally in our neighboring country, these brave individuals are doing their part and fight against something that is not right! No, I am not talking about the minions... 

Being an ex-Malaysian whom still greatly attached to the country with fond memory, I hope that their voice is finally heard and more international pressure can be established to at least help them to have a bersih (clean) next election. 

All the best to the YELLOW WARRIORS and remember : Safety First!

Also, recently I've chanced upon two sites/tools which I thought are quite cool. One is on the cool visual display of company reports/performance and the other is on how to easily create the visual effect media like Infographics. 

Give me sometime to explore them further and I will be sharing them in the upcoming posts.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Markets Are Tumbling.. And Here Are The 3 Things That I Will Do

China's Black Monday has sparked the global market tumbling (or so the report says). It is truly nerve wrecking to watch the crimson tides across the board, from Dow Jones to STI.

On Monday (24/08/2015) alone, billions of dollars have been wiped out due to panic sell-off and many Exchanges have introduced some trading limit/restriction to contain the bleed. In short, the worst might not be over yet.
Following are some highlights of the crimson tides:
Dow Jones                          :  -3.58%
Nasdaq                                : -3.75%
S&P 500                             : -3.93%
Shanghai Composite Index : -8.5%
Taiwan's Index                    : -4.8%
STI                                      : -4.3%

A couple of my financial blogger friends are closely monitoring the market now and eyeing for the potential "on sales" counters to release their Titans (I mean warchest). Of course, this could very well just the beginning of yet another Great Fall and there are a couple of things we can do right now :

1. Review my current portfolio. Being a long term value investors, this episode of market volatility might not be my concern, but it is still good to review what's on my plate and decide whether to do any necessary adjustment or portfolio rebalancing. Fortunately or unfortunely, my portfolio is still at its minion size, so, it is a simpler task for me ;-)

2. Never leverage. I know many of you might think that whatever come down will go up and it is a great opportunity to trade/invest/hamtum big big and some even think about leveraging.. We don't know when we will hit the bottom and no one know, so, better don't take the risk, otherwise I am sure your stress level will be on the rise.
3. Keep calm and keep going. I know it is easier said than done, personally, my portfolio has dropped slightly more than 38% over the past weeks.. but I guess double digits drop is not uncommon in these few weeks ;-)

If you are heavily vested in the market, probably the best thing to do now is to have a break (from monitoring the prices) and have a Kit Kat.
Life goes on....

P/S : Before Dow Jones closed on Monday (24/08/2015) with a 588.47 drop, it went through a record breaking drop of -1,000 in the early session. Phew! History was made on this day!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Why Singaporeans Fight About the Gini Coefficient, and What it Means to You (Guest Post)

Gini Coefficient
As the General Election heats up, you may hear the term “Gini Coefficient” brought up a lot. This is a big bone of contention, as it measures the income gap between the rich and the poor. In this article, we take a look at where you stand, and what you can do personally to close your wealth gap:

What is the Gini Coefficient?

The Gini coefficient is a way to measure the distribution of wealth in a country. It is a scale from 0.0 to 1.0. A score of 0.0 indicates perfect distribution (every household has the same amount of money), whereas a score of 1.0 indicates that one household has all the money. 

Governments track the Gini coefficient over time, to ensure wealth does not become too heavily concentrated in the hands of a few. When the Gini coefficient gets too high, there will be less social mobility (the rich get richer and the poor get poorer). Another consequence is social unrest. Corruption and violent crime, for example, tend to coincide with high Gini coefficients.

When the government determines that the Gini coefficient is too high, redistributive processes are implemented. An example of this is raising taxes on the rich, and redistributing it to the poor in the form of subsidies.

This is Singapore’s Gini coefficient up till 2014:

The blue bar (calculated after accounting for transfers and taxes) shows a lower coefficient. This is based on the assumption that, due to policies such as higher taxes on the rich and GST vouchers, the real Gini coefficient is lower than it appears. 

Singapore’s Gini coefficient (0.464) is somewhat on the high side. The highest Gini coefficient has historically been in Hong Kong (around 0.537), and the lowest in Norway (around 0.256). 

A desirable Gini coefficient is a matter of opinion, not a fact. This is why you will hear intense political debate, over the coming months, about what number is “right”. 

In some schools of thought, a number exceeding 0.4 is unfair. To others, it is only important that the Gini coefficient remains fairly flat over a period of time.

In addition, each country has different ways to calculate its Gini coefficient. Critics often point out that each government will use a biased method, to make the numbers seem lower than they actually are. It is up to you, for example, to decide if we have a Gini coefficient of 0.464 or 0.412.

It boils down to whether you believe the government's taxes and transfers improve income inequality. If you do, it makes the lower number valid. But all that being said...

What Does the Gini Coefficient Mean to You Personally?

The relatively high Gini coefficient indicates a significant rich / poor divide; one you can’t cross your fingers and hope will vanish. You need to take your own steps to be the right side of this income gap. Here are some steps you can take:

Focus on income growth, not just budgeting

Have a smart system for picking loans and clearing them out

If you can afford to, narrow the gap yourself

1. Focus on Income Growth, not Just Budgeting

Saving money is important, but it’s not enough. You need to be growing your money as well. Remember that inflation chews up around 3% of your wealth every year, and you need to be able to keep pace with that.

You should have a portfolio that provides returns beating the rate of inflation by at least 2% (look for 5 - 7% returns). This is achievable with many insurance policies, REITs, and index funds. Alternatively, work on building a side-business with consistent earnings.

2. Have a Smart System for Picking Loans and Clearing Them Out

One of the things which keeps people in poverty are loans. Too many people are terrified or bored of banks, and end up taking the very first loan offered to them. In many ways it’s hard to blame them, because when you have 140+ banks in one country the options get confusing.

But picking high interest rate loans is one of the key reasons people stay poor. It ranks right alongside misusing credit cards (use them as a mode of payment, not a source of borrowed money).

Whether choosing a home loan, education loan, personal loan, etc., you need to be picky about the interest rate and repayment terms. For advice on how to pick a good loan, follow this blog. And you can find the best loan with our comparison tools at, we’ve already picked out the cheapest ones. 

And if you’ve had to take a loan, learn how to consolidate debt to get out of it faster. Loan repayments are a gigantic poverty anchor weighing you down. Use balance transfers to shift multiple credit card loans into a single, zero interest credit card loan. Or even consider using a low interest personal loan to pay off higher interest debts.

3. If You Can Afford to, Narrow the Gap Yourself

The simplest way to narrow our income inequality is with direct action, from those who can afford it. You don’t need to wait for the government to narrow the gap. There are plenty of charity organisations who help the underprivileged. 

Every dollar you contribute to them helps to narrow the gap a little bit. And it the long run you’re ensuring a safe, harmonious home to live in. A society with few desperate people tends to be a safe and pleasant one.

This article is contributed by Allyson of

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UPDATE ON Profit Mastery Seminar : New Guest Speaker!

As the saying goes, there are many roads lead to Rome (Financial Freedom in this case), hence, there is no harm in getting to know more ways/roads. Being involved in the financial bloggers community for more than a year now, one salient point that I've learnt (mainly from the peer bloggers) is try not to mimic others in our investment approach. We are all unique individual and different people view the same company/stocks differently (because of our unique risk appetite, knowledge and experience), there is no right or wrong answer to our BUY or SELL call (when we are committing the transaction). 

Hence, the key is to boost our financial literacy and adopt the approach that we are most comfortable with. Talking about financial literacy, I've received an email notice from Mr Roland (Wealth Directions) about the inclusion of a powerful new speaker, Dr Tan Kee Wee in the upcoming of Profit Mastery Seminar. Dr Tan is quite well sought after by financial institution to give talks on current economic and how it will affect our investments (One of it is 938LIVE. Example here). 

I am really excited and looking forward to explore more roads from the 5 + 1 speakers in the Profit Master Seminars, following are the revised details of the seminar :

Seminar    : Profit Mastery Seminar
Date          : 27th Sep 2015 (Sunday)
Time         : 1 PM
Venue       : NTUC Auditorium @ One Marina Boulevard
Organizer  : Wealth Directions

Topics And Speakers :
1. A Winning Investor's Mindset (by Kenneth Tan)
2. Everyone Can Retire Early (by Brendan Yong)
3. Predicting Price Top Is As Easy As ABC (by Hendra)
4. Global Stock Market Outlook using the Investment Clock (by Dr Tee)
5. Alternative Investment Opportunity - Direct Market Access CFDs (by Leries Goh)
6. The Elusive Global Meltdown (by Dr Tan Kee Wee)
7. Where are the giants putting their money? - Discussion Panel (All speakers)

Registration Fee : SGD 20. For the readers of my blog, you can enjoy 50% discount by inputting the discount code of EARLY. It is supposed to be an early bird discount and it expires on 1st September 2015 (Tue), so you may want to register early to prevent disappointment.

Looking forward to see you around at the seminar.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The 5 Most Exclusive Credit Cards in Singapore (Guest Post)

Premium credit cards are reserved for high net worth individuals (HNWIs), which these days is defined as people with S$500,000 or more. 

These exclusive credit cards are “invite only”, so you have some ways to go before you can get one. Here’s what’s on offer once you climb the ladder: 

The Myth of Unlimited Credit and Low Interest

There is no true “unlimited credit”. Rather, it simply means that lending is approved or denied on a case by case basis.

If you are a multi-millionaire or billionaire, your bank or card company will know you by name. You will probably have a dedicated customer relations officer, who works with your account. They will make the call with regard to whether your card expenses are approved (e.g. when you try and buy a S$50 million mansion with it)

The interest rate on premium cards may also work differently. Some have the usual 24% per annum rate, but others are pegged to the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR). The SIBOR rate fluctuates constantly, so interest rates for these cards are inconstant.

A card pegged to SIBOR may be cheaper or more expensive, interest-wise, than a regular credit card. It depends on the rate at any given time. Overall however, a premium card is never cheaper; the annual fees more than make up for the occasional bout of low interest.

1. American Express Centurion Card

This is a premium credit card that is also an American Express (AMEX) branding effort. This card is generally offered to celebrities - Paris Hilton has been spotted using one, as has Kanye West.

The AMEX Centurion is thus not a card one usually applies for - it is offered and taken. (although if you have a private banker, they may be able to pull strings to get you one). It is estimated that around 17,000 people in the world have one of these cards.

The AMEX Centurion has unlimited credit (see above), and a legendary concierge service. Card holders can dial a number and get a seat in a Michelin star restaurant, or a room in almost any hotel, within the hour. It can also be used to purchase services that are not known to the public (e.g. a private tour of the Pyramids). The rewards system is not known to the public, and it is unlikely that the cardholders even care about such trifles.

Annual fees for this card are rumored to range between S$6,000 - S$7,500.

2. American Express Platinum

The AMEX Platinum is one of the best dining cards in the world. Apart from the usual concierge service that comes with premium AMEX cards, the Platinum gives you access to two dining clubs: the Far Card Gourmet membership, and Palate Premiere membership. These give you steep discounts (up to 50%) at selected restaurants.

The card also offers the regular reward system for AMEX cards, such as double points for shopping at preferred partner locations. They’re invitation only, but a fair number of people get invites every year.

Annual fees are around S$320.

3. DBS Insignia Visa Infinite Card

This is the most high end credit card issued by DBS, with a credit limit of S$1,000,000. The card allows the purchase of some exclusive products and services - these are rumored to include dining at the kitchen table in Michelin star restaurants (the table is in the kitchen, right near the chefs as they work), to custom tour packages and sports experiences (a few hours in a car with a Formula One driver).

You can apply for one of these cards, if you earn S$500,000 per annum and have a private banker with DBS. Annual fees are around S$2,000.

4. OCBC Elite World Card

This credit card provides a concierge service that will cater to occasional ridiculous request, like last minute front row concert tickets. It also gives you access to lounges in around 600 different airports, and special prices on room upgrades and hotel facilities. Great for frequent travellers, and especially golfers (you get exclusive invites to watch pro tournaments around the world).

You’ll usually be offered this card if you already have premiere banking services with OCBC. Qualifying criteria is an income of S$250,000 per annum, and expect an annual fee of around S$2,000.

5. Citibank Ultima Card

The Citibank Ultima card is more of a lifestyle service than a card. It’s targeted at persons with S$5 million or more tied up with Citibank. The card holder gains access to a lifestyle manager, which tries to tie promotions and rewards to the card holder. So if you’re a frequent skier you get notifications on the great ski trips or ski equipment, if you’re a car collector you may get invites to the hottest motor shows, etc.

The card has an annual fee of S$3,888, which probably doesn’t bother anyone who qualifies to have it.

But I Can’t Get Any of These!

Not yet at least. But you can still get a credit card with great benefits, and in time you might work your way up there. The key is to save and invest wisely, and never rack up too much debt on the cards you have.

You can use a loan calculator to find the best credit card for you at

This article is contributed by Allyson of

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

7 Deadly Sins of Investing (Guest Post)

7 deadly sins of investing
While a financial adviser usually won’t steer you wrong, it’s a good idea to know the more dangerous aspects of investing. And if you intend to do this on your own, you’ll need a smart, sharp lookout system to keep your portfolio safe. 

Here are the common pitfalls to look for:

1. Mistaking Trading for Investing

In the equities market, you can make money either by investing (buying shares and holding on to them for dividends), or by trading (trying to buy low and sell high).

Trading should not be considered the same as investing. It is a high risk activity that can result in capital losses, and you should be aware that no guaranteed trading system exists (or else everyone would never have to work again!)

A passive investment such as an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) outperforms active traders 70% of the time, so a layperson is better off buying those and collecting dividends.

2. Investing Without Diversifying

Diversification is the process of buying lowly correlated assets, to avoid your entire portfolio being affected by a single downturn.

For example, say you buy shares in a gold ETF, buy physical gold, and then invest in a gold mining company and a jewellery company. These are all highly correlated assets. Had you held such a portfolio in July 2015 (during the gold flash crash), your entire portfolio would have taken a massive loss.

When the price of gold comes down, your physical gold will be devalued, the jewellery company will earn less, the gold mining company may no longer be profitable, etc.

For this reason, you need to purchase assets that are not too closely intertwined. A common method is to divide assets between sectors listed by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). These range from consumer staples to telecommunications, and a balanced portfolio will have some assets in each separate sector.

If you do not understand how to diversify, and do not want to pay a wealth manager, you can consider buying an index fund like the ST Index. This will effectively diversify your assets across 30 blue chip companies.

3. Investing Your Time Instead of Your Money

It’s said that the rich buy time, and the poor sell it.

Make no mistake: time is not money, because time is more valuable than money. The whole point of money is to escape a nine to five job, and have spades of time to do whatever we want.

Think about that when you are offered a chance to work for equity in a startup, or when you are asked to “invest” your time in a scheme like multi-level marketing. It can be beneficial to work for free, but you must do so strategically and with a clear goal.

When will you see the rewards, and are they worth your time? When will you decide to walk away if things aren’t working? Never refuse to cut your losses, just because you’ve already “put too much effort” into a failed investment. 

4. Doubling Down on Something that Worked

If something works the first time, a common reaction is to “double down” and put even more money into it. This is a common fallacy that results in dramatic losses.

Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. The best performing business from 10 years ago may be obsolete by now, and face only declining revenues in the future (bubble tea shops are a prime example, as is Nokia).

Have a plan and stick to it, don’t divert all your money into a performance in the hopes of repetition. Do have a conversation with your financial adviser about rebalancing your portfolio, as this is a vital concern in formulaic rebalancing.

5. Investing in What You Don’t Know

If you are thinking of selling shoes, it would make sense to research the market for shoes before starting. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars to buy the shoes first, and then cross your fingers and hope they sell.

The same goes for investing. Never invest in any asset that you do not understand inside-out. Examples are buying mutual funds when you don’t know what the fund contains, or investing in a business without understanding the product (what if your friend’s software company, which you invested in, starts marketing a product that shortly after is labelled spyware?)

If you don’t know how it works, don’t bet your money on it. It’s that simple.

6. Investing with “Free” Services

Many investment services, particularly algorithms, claim to be free. They will only take a cut when you make a winning trade, for example, and charge nothing else.

These products can wipe out your investment portfolio in a matter of days.

Most “free” products focus on churning, making large numbers of trades (see point 1 about trading) in order to raise the odds of making a few successful trades. The person providing the service does not care if just one in ten trades is successful – she gets her money for her “free” service, and you bear the losses of the bad trades.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

7. Investing Without Saving

Never put your money into long term investments when you have no savings. You will likely incur losses.

For example, say you put $10,000 into the stock market, with a fairly safe ETF that gives you 5% returns per annum. This is not a bad deal, and many people have built retirement funds that way. However, you have no money in your savings.

You then get into an accident, for which you urgently need money. All your cash is in your ETF, so you will have to sell some units to raise cash. However, at the particular time you need it, the ETF’s price has fallen (not normally a concern to long term investors). If you are forced to sell at this time to raise cash, you will sell at a loss.

If the money had been in a fixed deposit at the bank, you would have lost all the accrued interest from withdrawing it. If it was a mutual fund, you may have been faced with stiff penalties.

So always ensure you have sufficient savings before making an investment. 

Alternatively, if you are in dire need of funds then consider a low interest personal loan instead of cashing out. You can find the cheapest personal loan using our loan calculator.

This article is contributed by Allyson of

Looking at the concept of INVESTING in a different way!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Profit Mastery Seminar - 50% Discount Code Inside

The team that brought us the inaugural Financial Bloggers Seminar in the early part of this year is back for the second serving entitled Profit Mastery Seminar. This sequel event look set to be grander than the first one. I am a supporter of such seminar/event that provide a platform to spice up the financial literacy of the general public at a low low cost. And you know what? It will go even lower with the 50% discount code below ;-) 

The objective of this seminar is to share the secrets (from 5 reputable experts in their respective fields) of maximizing the profits from the stock market. Following are the details of the seminar :

Seminar    : Profit Mastery Seminar
Date          : 27th Sep 2015 (Sunday)
Time         : 1 PM
Venue       : NTUC Auditorium @ One Marina Boulevard
Organizer  : Wealth Directions

Topics And Speakers :
1. A Winning Investor's Mindset (by Kenneth Tan)
2. Everyone Can Retire Early (by Brendan Yong)
3. Predicting Price Top Is As Easy As ABC (by Hendra)
4. Global Stock Market Outlook using the Investment Clock (by Dr Tee)
5. Where are the giants putting their money? - Discussion Panel (All speakers)

Registration Fee : SGD 20. For the readers of my blog, you can enjoy 50% discount by inputting the discount code of EARLY (valid from 4th August 2015, Thu onward only). It is supposed to be an early bird discount and it expires on 1st September 2015 (Tue), so you may want to register early to prevent disappointment. 

For more details of the seminar or for registration, click here or the image below:

I will be there and hope to see you guys/gals there too.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend Thought - Opportunities

On a cooling Saturday morning at around 26 Degree Celsius, the best thing to do is probably doing nothing and just cozy at home. But that's not what I did, I went back to office for a couple of hours to complete some of the outstanding tasks before my long leave from the mid of next week (will be heading to Taiwan for holiday). 

In life, many of us are studying and working hard/smart while waiting patiently for the special moments/triggers to knock our door, we usually call them OPPORTUNITIES! In fact, opportunities are everywhere, many a time it disguises itself in many size and form. Of course, not every opportunity will turn out to be a grand successful story, opportunities are mere chances that we can take to make a (potential) better future/success story, but there is no guarantee. In short, Opportunity < > Success!

Just this week, two opportunities are knocking on my door, both of them are related to "how I can take my blog and investment journey to the next level" :

1. Introduced by a peer retail investor friend to a local advertising network for potential partnership, a meal appointment has been scheduled next week to look into the possibilities. Am looking forward to meet the new friend and hope it will open up yet another door for my passive income stream. Will update more if there is any progress on this opportunity. 

2. Honored to receive an email from the organizer of the hugely successful inaugural financial bloggers Seminar in early part of this year with a complimentary ticket to their upcoming event in September 2015. I missed the earlier event and hope to be able to attend this event and meet them up close and personal. For me, this is a great learning opportunity, especially from the personal finance and investment spectrum. 

What opportunities have your grab or missed this week? 


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