Thursday 30 August 2012

Gasp! I've gone half-naked!

Yesterday, I went down to the AIA tower at Robinson Road to cancel my Life insurance policies.:

Term, critical illnesses, disability, and personal accident.

The only one that I've keep is the remaining whole-life policy that may "break-even" in 2 years' time at the 20 year anniversary mark. 

But looking at the surrender cash value today, its far behind the projected cash value when I first signed up for it age 27. May have to wait for a few years more to break-even due to the current low interest environment...

This is not a rash decision.

Insurance is great to create an immediate networth when I was age 27. 

It's a bit like playing options: we speculate on a high probability that we will "lose" small money (make no insurance claims), to benefit from a low probability that we will "win" big money (Choy! And double choy!)

OK, whole-life insurance is another animal. It's more a play on your inflation expectations (why would you buy insurance if you no faith on your government with the printing press?) and more a savings plan for conservative (or clueless) savers.

For example, savvy Indonesian insurance buyers who bought whole-life policies in Sing dollars rather than in Indonesian rupiah 20 years ago would have "won". Those who chose US dollars would have "lost"... (and praying hard US don't devalue their currency even more!)

Now why no one told me at age 27 that I need to have some ideas on inflation expectations, yield comparisons from alternative investments, and some forward currency views!? 

The good news is that after 18 years of hard work and pure dumb luck, my net-worth today is now more than the "created" instant net-worth from my insurance policies. So the policies have served their purpose and are now "obsolete".

I have no desire to "profit" from my lost. 

But more importantly, I am at peace with myself.

I know my own medical and family's history. And in the event that I'm diagnose with a serious medical condition, I know what I would do.

If it's terminal, I'll focus on palliative care than expensive "Hail Mary" medical procedures. It's interesting what doctors and nurses would choose themselves knowing what they know.

If it's wear and tear replacements, with medishield and medisave, I should be able to afford them. Class B2 is OK with me. That the benefit of being a care-giver now. I've base my observations and decisions on personal experience rather than hearsay.

I am pleasantly surprised that mom's medical costs were quite affordable after the medishield and medisave deductions - and she is a full-time housewife all her life. (OK, for families that earn less than $2,000 per month can be a different story... Hence I count my blessings daily.)

I exercise (I'm a walker - no, not that kind of street walker! I walk 1.5 hours average per day), and go for my annual medical health screenings (early detection increases my odds of recovery). 

My vice is I eat "unhealthy". Baby steps.

I've never understood why millionaires have life insurance policies. Once upon a time when there was estate duty I understand.

But putting my salesman hat on, the answer is crystal clear.

Cheers to all the million-dollar-round table members!

Friday 24 August 2012

4 biggest bubbles in the last 40 years

Bottom-up investors can skip this post. You wouldn't be interested.

This post is more for macro top-down (that's how I check girls out too!) speculators like me.

The below chart is interesting!


Iron ore? It's one of the key ingredient for steel making in case you never studied Chemistry or Physical Science.

But unlike copper or crude oil (other more commonly used economic activity indicators), there's no paper futures market for speculators (leveraged hedge funds, investment bank's trading desks, etc) to "manipulate" the prices.

You take away from this chart whatever you like. Being prepared and having a plan may help during these whipsaw markets...

I don't know about you, but I am one confused speculator!

Good news is good news. Bad news is also good news!? Huh? (QE expectations?)

That's why I love this chart that I've found!!!

Now my mind is clear despite all the "manipulations" by Central Banks.

I am at peace.


Monday 20 August 2012

Singlish and Technical Analysis

Let's have a bit of fun!

Remember when you first started to learn Technical analysis?

It looks so simple right?

This line cross that line; a bounce off (imaginary) support; a breakout through resistance (yes, it's imaginary again); and we are off to the races!

But once we commit real money, eh!? Why are we still losing money?

The answer lies in Singlish!

It's a bit like explaining to our Ang-Moh friends the nuances and different shades of meaning when we speak like we do in Singapore:

Singlish                                What we meant
Can lah                                    Yes.
Can leh                                      Yes. Of course.
Can lor                                         Yes. I think so.
Can hah?                                       Are you sure?
Can meh?                                        Are you certain?
Can can                                             Confirm.
Can gua                                               Maybe.
Can liao                                                  Already can.
Can wor                                                    Yea.
Can liao la                                                  OK, enough.

Can or not?                                                    Tell me the answer quick!
Can your head!                                                 Not possible you idiot!
Sure can                                                              Confirm. (If you believe me)
Sure can?                                                                Are you sure?

Happy can                                                                  Whatever you fancy      

We think we knew Technical analysis after reading a few books or attending a few courses. 

Like Singlish, we have to immerse ourselves into the culture before we see see the context and see the shades of grey.

To a newbie, all  we see is the word "can" in our charts (black and white).

But to a battle-hardened Technical trader, it's Singlish (shades of grey)! 

Wednesday 15 August 2012

The World is Mine

Today, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman
And wished I were as beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and used a crutch.
But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it'd do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
"I thank you,
you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you.
You see," he said, "I'm blind."
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
"Why don't you join them dear?"
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he couldn't hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I'd go..
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I've been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

Thursday 9 August 2012

What have you done versus what have you got

This is my first National Day after being away for 7 years…

How sweet it is!

Somehow, my mind can’t help but drift back to (oh my goodness!) 30 years back…  

It was the same National Day parade but in 1982.

I was one of the participants from Gan Eng Seng School performing in the Mass Display!

Yup, I was the yellow alien bug or something… 

Without false modesty, I believe our display were one of the more popular ones – judging from the screams and applause from the girls in the stands! Or am I adding oil and vinegar (exaggerating) to my memory? (Hey! My recollection; my rules!)

I think we were popular because we were the early pioneers in Singapore Mass Display to use 2 colours on our uniforms. So when we turn, we created a colour changing effect together with changing pattern formations.

I was especially proud to be the rocket tip in one of the formations. But during one of the rehearsals, I went to the “wrong” marker, and it’s not so funny to have a “bent” rocket… LOL!

Due to our popularity, we were asked to perform next year for the 1983 SEA games.

A fellow blogger and I were exchanging comments on collecting stuffs versus experiential moments recently.

When you look back at your blessings this 2012 National Day, do you count the blessings of the physical things you’ve owned (car, house, luxury watches, etc); or do you look back and smile at the memories of what you have done during your yesteryear's?  

Hey! Whichever makes you happy!

Saturday 4 August 2012

You're So Vain - Carly Simon

You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

You had me several years ago
When I was still quite naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Yield hogs will be slaughtered

Last month, I sold a Growth and Income REIT that I've bought 1.5 years ago.

It's was yielding 9% at price of purchase;and has since gone up by 40% in capital gains when I sold it.

Total returns is slightly more than 50% for 18 months of "waiting". (I am hiding behind percentages for a reason. A blogger friend's experience has taught me sometimes it's better to be coy!)

I replaced it with a beaten down S-chip that's "only" yielding 3%...  I am speculating that this S-chip will grow by at least 50% in capital gains within my 6-18 months time frame. (Some call it sector rotation)

Hey! I've told you I'm an equities man-whore didn't I? 

OK, I jest! 

The real reason is that I find this S-chip offers a better risk-reward margin of safety for me than the REIT that I've bought at "wholesale prices. 

And when others are willing to pay "full retail price" from me, I sell!

Funny... I never even call myself a value investor?

For those of you who are new to dividend plays, you may want to take a look at this Bloomberg's video:

Yield hogs will be slaughtered 

And if you want to know when you have fallen into a dividend trap, I've this old post:

Dividend trap

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