Saturday, October 29, 2016

Weekend Sharing - Something New , Something Fresh!

Happy Deepavali to all the Hindu friends who are celebrating the festival!

Time fly, we are at another weekend and it is already the last weekend of Oct 2016. We are one month plus away from Christmas and then here come the 2017 (the Year of Rooster, according to the Chinese Zodiac). 

Today, I will write something off the market, something new, something fresh that I've done/experienced in the month October. Since I have zero action ON the market (except collecting dribs and drabs of dividend once in a while. So, I will focus on the OFF the market stuff :-)


1. Enrolled myself with the company's lunch-hour health program (to counter hypertension, my BP is on the high side). It's a 3-month long program with health talks and exercises, hence, first time in my life doing an 1 hour non-stop Zumba with some of the colleagues. Intense and tiring but a very fulfilling. 

2. Enrolled myself with the National Steps Challenge Season 2 (organized by HPB, click here to find out more details if you are interested). Basically, HPB will provide you with a step tracker and encourage the participants to walk (objective : 10,000 steps a day). 
Free Step Tracker
To encourage more participants to participate in this national healthy lifestyle movement, besides throwing in the tracker and some free stuff in the goodies bag, if you've achieved certain steps milestone(s), you can redeem free CapitaVouchers or NTUC Vouchers, I've just gotten my $5 voucher :-) 


1. Visited Asian Civilization Museum (ACM) for the first time, an eye opener to see quite a number of different displays like Tang Shipwreck, Ancient Trades like ceramics, textiles etc..Oh, this weekend (28 and 29 Oct 2016), they are also having the River Nights 2016 program with numerous performances and lighting shows (if you are interested, click here for more details). 

2. Visited the IMAX theater in Melbourne (Australia) for the first time, the screen is generally wider and longer than Singapore's (the IMAX theater at Shaw Lido) and the tickets price is slightly more expensive than Singapore. The show that we've watched is a documentary called "A Beautiful Planet" (narrated by Jennifer Lawrence)

3. Met up with a veteran retail investor and peer financial blogger whom officially went FI recently. Great sharing session (mainly from him) on his life and investment strategy. Feel great to be able to finally tag the face to the blogger that commented so regularly on each other's blogs.  


1. Speaking is one of my weakness, so, in order to face it head on, I decided to create a Video Channel as a mini project to brush up my speaking skills and at the same time sharing my thought on the topic closer to heart i.e. Happiness! The title of my video channel is called UP the Happiness and I've decided to create a new Page in this blog to share the new episodes here

That's all for now! What about you? What is your new life experience in the month of October 2016? 


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF - How Is It Doing After Almost A Week of Launch?

As a follow-up to my earlier post (click here to view) of the launching of the first ever home-grown REITS ETF - Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF, it is almost a week now.

So how does the ETF perform so far?

From my earlier tracking, the ETFs launched with the following prices @ 20/10/2016:

Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF (SGD) : SGD 1.294
Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF (US$) :  US$ 0.931

As at mid-day today (26/10/2016), the ETFs are traded at the following prices:

Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF (SGD) : SGD 1.279 (down 1.16%)
Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF (US$) :  US$ 0.920 (down 1.18%)

Of course, this one-week performance doesn't mean anything to the mid-to-long term investors (which I personally think that ETFs is meant to hold for longer term) but just to share the sentiments of the ETFs at the moment.

Are you vested in any of these ETFs? What is your view so far?


Note : I am not vested in any of these ETFs at the point of writing this post.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekend Sharing - Keep Going Amidst Gloomier Environment

Recently, local and international environment/market are surrounding by the gloomier sentiments. Retrenchment (especially in the O&G sector), poorer company results, potential recession etc.. 

What should we do during this cyclical gloomy environment?

Some retail investors/friends of mine are busy accumulating the equities (as they deemed this is the right time), some are accumulating their war chest and waiting for an even better opportunity to whack big big, while others are just cautiously observing (in Chinese we called it 静观其变). 

Whatever it is, life goes on and maybe it's time to leave the market sentiment aside for awhile and take this opportunity to pick-up some books or learning some new skills or just doing/starting new?  

For me, I have just started a mini project to challenge myself and embrace my weakness (in speaking) i.e. I've created a Youtube channel (no, it's not meant to share the investment or personal finance tips as I am still newbie among the peers). The channel is called "UP the Happiness" and I intend to discuss/share the topic that is closer to my heart i.e. trying to motivate and influence more people to be happy or at least to smile more! :-)

So far, I've created 2 Episodes and if the topic is of your interest too, do check out my second episode here (Can Money Buy You Happiness?):

What do you think? Feel free to provide your valuable comment, if any.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF - My Sharing

Mid last week, the folks from Phillip Capital management organized a sharing session with the peer financial bloggers on their upcoming, home-grown and first ever REIT ETF - Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leader REIT ETF. Personally, I do invest in a couple of local REITs for dividend yield purpose and here come another option for consideration. 

Following are some key summary of the REIT ETF:

Manager : Phillip Capital Management (S) Ltd

Currency : USD (Primary) and SGD

Dividend Distribution : Semi-Annual

Projected Dividend Yield : 5% (before taking into consideration of Expense Ratio of 0.65% per annum and Management Fee of 0.50% per annum).

Consist Of : 30 REITS from the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), the constituents sector breakdown are as per following: Australia (59%), Singapore (30%) and Hong Kong (11%)

Top 10 REITS :
REITS                     (Weights) - Country
Link REIT              (10.20%) - Hong Kong
Scentre Group        (9.72%) - Australia
Westfield Corp       (9.55%) - Australia
Stockland               (8.73%) - Australia
Vicinity Centres     (6.72%) - Australia
Goodman Group    (5.46%) - Australia
Mirvac Group        (5.34%) - Australia
Ascendas REIT      (5.16%) - Singapore
GPT Group/The     (4.84%) - Australia
Capital Mall Trust (3.97%) - Singapore

Rebalancing : If necessary, the index will be rebalanced semi-annually in March and September. 
Bloomberg Tickers : PAREIT (US$) ; PAREITS (SG$)

Trading : To be commenced from 20/10/2016 (Thu)

Bloomberg Tickers : PAREIT (US$) and PAREITS (SG$)

With the nett dividend yield of less than 5%, it might not seems appealing to the REITs lovers (myself included) as there are many other local REITs that can do much better than that. Of course, I do appreciate the other two key motivation/objectives that this REIT ETF trying to provide:

1. Ensure sustainability of the dividend yield (I believed that's where the semi-annual re-balancing act come into play, when deemed necessary). 

2. Diversification of the risk (minimally for a start, the risk are being spread out across 3 countries. According to the CIO, there are plan to bring in suitable REITs from other Asia Pacific [ex Japan] like India or China into the portfolio).     

If you are an existing ETF investor, I believed this is a piece of good news as it provides more option for you to flex your investment strategy. 

What is your view on this upcoming REIT ETF?


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to Improve Finances for Students (Guest Post)

College can be a very expensive experience for so many, but it doesn’t have to be. With a proper plan and good financial habits, you can minimize the amount of debt you acquire while attending post-secondary education. Here are some actionable tips to help students improve their finances.

Mapping out a budget

A budget is a vitally important tool for college freshmen, although not nearly enough of them bother to make one, let alone stick to it! In the budget you can see all the various sources of income against your likely expenses. Some of these expenses will be fixed, such as tuition fees and rent, but others will be more variable, such as costs for socialising. If a routine is gotten into then it will be easier to stick to the budget and not overspend.

Fund any extras with a part time job

If you want to spend money on something a little bit special, why not get a part time job to fund those parts of your life, then your core finances can fund your core costs and you get a bit on the side to enjoy life with.

Minimize your debt

Don't ever forget about that student loan (if you have one). It is much better to drive the debt down earlier if you can to avoid massive interest payments being incurred.

Take care of credit cards

Credit cards can be useful but they must be used responsibly! Be careful not to rack up the payments too much.

Avoid full priced products

Use discount stores or shop about online. There are loads of deals out there. You just need to look for them. Using sites such as can help you find deals on all of your favorite brands. Mamma is a coupon search engine that allows users to search for coupons on their favorite brands!

Make sure you have an emergency fund

There will always be times that are harder or when you meet unseen high costs. This is the time when an emergency fund comes in very useful! Try to add to it regularly and slowly build the fund. Then, if and when you come into difficulties, you will have this fund to fall back on.

Think about investing your money

As most freshmen seem to be struck for cash anyway the idea of investing might seem a little ridiculous. However, it's never too early to start. Planning for the future starts today. You never know, your investment might start to rack up and put you in a good position for after college. Don't forget, those days after college will come some day!

So, there you have it, some things to think about if you or your kid is heading off to college.

This article is contributed by Taylor Walker

Monday, October 10, 2016

My Scoot Experience - No Frills ; No Problem

Scoot, flyScoot
I am just back from my one-week short trip to Melbourne, Australia and this will be my first post after touching down. 

Usually, I will be taking full-fledged airlines like SQ, Emirates or Qantas for my regular trip to Melbourne. However, after receiving some good review from a couple of my friends, I decided to give it a try by taking the Scoot this time round. On one hand, I can save some money, on the other hand, I can have my maiden flight with the budget airline.  

My verdict? No frills , no problem! In fact, I am really happy with the experience and will definitely take Scoot again in the future. 

Prior to this, I always have negative connotation between budget airlines and the like of plane delay, re-scheduling without advance notices (to the passengers), lousy services and loss luggage etc... You can say that it's my luck, but I've never encountered any of such incident in both legs of my maiden flight. Smooth sailing...

Having said that, through my personal experience, there are a couple of action that the passengers of budget airlines can/should take in advanced in order to enjoy the flight even more (or minimize surprises):

1. Ensure you've purchased sufficient baggage allowance online - The basic FlyBag option provided 20 KG baggage (check-in) allowance, if you foresee that you need more than that, do purchase additional baggage allowance 48 hours prior to the flight time. Failing which, you will need to top-up more upon check in and the rate is much much higher than the online option. 
My experience : I need to top-up SGD100 for the extra 4 KG on my first leg to Melbourne, which is equivalent to SGD25 per KG. I can't blame them as the rate has been indicated clearly in the T&C. I did ask the ground staff on the rationale for such a big difference in the rates (for online, I just need to pay additional SGD12 for additional 5 KG) and she is not able to provide me with a convincing answer, anyone here know the rationale? 

2. Outside food is not allowed on the flight, so, if you think you need to eat/drink/munch during the flight, do purchase it in advanced (online) too to save cost. Of course, you can still purchase the same stuff during the flight but it will cost a little bit more.   

3. Since there is no in-flight entertainment, if you are not prepared to purchase their entertainment service, do bring along some books or pre-load your mobile devices with the ebooks, series or movies of your choice so that you can enjoy them there and then. 

Of course, I am not saying that every subsequent Scoot experience will be as smooth sailing as my maiden experience but I think Scoot has done a great job in upping the standard of budget airlines as a whole. 

Do you have any unique experience with budget airlines (not necessarily Scoot) or any budget airlines hack to share? Feel free to share them in the comment below.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Introduction to Binary Options Trading (Guest Post)

The Binary Options industry has seen impressive growth over the past few years. This is mainly as a result of how many people enjoy trading them. When one trades Binary Options, there are any number of underlying assets you can trade for a large range of time scales. 

There are also a long list of investors who have made a lot of money successfully trading Binary Options. Binary options can also be investing in with relatively little initial capital outlay. This is why it is a favorable investment alternative for new investors in the market. Before we dig into simple Binary Option strategies, we have to start from the basics.

What is a Binary Option?

A Binary Option is a special type of financial option. Financial options are instruments which allow the holder the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the underlying security at the expiry of the option. The value of the option at the expiry is determined by the original strike price of the investment and the current prevailing price. When it comes to a Binary Option, the payoff at expiry of the trade is either 100 or 0. So, in other words, if the current price at expiry is above the strike price, your option is "in the money" and you will get the payout. If, on the other hand, the price at expiry is below the Strike price, the value of your option is 0 and you lose the trade. Hence, when investing in Binary options, the gain and loss is always known at the beginning of the trade. This makes investing in binary options relatively simple and secure (you always know one of the two outcomes). 

In essence, a simple Binary Option trade is a bet on whether the value of asset will increase or decrease over the life of the option. There are two types of simple Binary Options, a "call" and a "put". The call is a bet that the stock will increase in value and the put is a bet that it will decrease in value. After you have decided which way you would like to bet, you have to decide on how long you would like to set the expiry. This time can range anywhere from 60 seconds to 6 months.

How to Trade a Binary Option?

Before you can trade Binary Options, you will need to open an account with a broker. Many brokers allow you the oppurtunity to test your trading skills with a demo account. This will give you the piece of mind to invest without staking any funds on the trade. Once you have opened your broker account, you can start trading. You have to now select the assets that you would like to invest an option on. Nowadays, there are any number of assets that you can bet on. These include Forex, Stocks, Indexes and commodities. Now that you have your asset that you would like to trade, you need to analyse it to determine in which direction you expect it to go in. 

There are a number of views you can take based on the type of analysis you choose to embark on. You could use fundamental analysis or technical analysis to inform your opinion. Fundamental analysis would be based around factors such as the Economy, interest rates, inflation and other macro-economic factors. If you were placing a position on an individual stock then you would analyze the company's earnings potential, cashflow and balance sheet position. You can also use technical analysis to inform your trade. This is based around the actual level of the asset currently and compared to where it was in the past. There are a number of resources and educational materials on how to use basic technical analysis disciplines to inform your trading. 

Once you have formed your opinion of the direction of the asset, you need to decide what sort of option you would like to enter. You need to decide on whether you would like a call or put option. Once done, you need to choose how long you would like the trade to last. This is the expiry time and the point at which the option payoff will either be 100 or 0.

Manage Funds effectively

As with all forms of Trading, investing in Binary Options requires a concerted effort to manage your money effectively. You should never allow emotion to enter your investing decisions. There may be occassions when a previous loss may make you reluctant to trade after a positive signal. The same can be said of entering a position based on previous success.

Use professional services

Assuming that you do not have the time to constantly monitor your position, you can make use of professional binary options managed accounts. These individuals study the market continuously and are therefore able to incorporate all of their inside knowledge in order to improve your chances for investing success.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

9 Global Black Swan Events Since 1997 (Infographic)

I believed most of you have heard of the term, Black Swan, popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a finance professor, writer and former Wall Street trader. If you are still clueless about the term, following is the proper definition by Investopedia:
"A black swan is an event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and is extremely difficult to predict"
Today, I am going to share a cool and informative infographic from Call Levels, called 9 Black Swan Events That Changed The History Of Finance Forever.
Source : Call Levels
With my young tenure in the stock market, the only black swan that affected me personally is the Oil Crises in 2014. What about you?


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