Thursday 30 March 2017

The Reason Why Men Don't Understand Women

Limited vocabulary.

And lack of situational awareness.

What do I mean?

The body language, the tone the words were spoken, the context in which it was spoken; etc.

Yup, the same words can mean one thing today and meant something totally different tomorrow!!!

Low EQ women will scream and shout at men for failing to understand them. As if shouting and screaming will help make things better...

High EQ women will hug their men and give them a kiss on the forehead. And call their girlfriends out for tea to bitch about how dense their men are!


Monday 27 March 2017

Herding Affirmation Meets Contrarian

Monkey see; monkey do.

We know what it meant (not exactly flattering); but it feels so much more comforting to swim as a school of sardines, to graze together as a herd of zebras, fly as a flock of geese, and hunt together as a pride of lions.

Although we call ourselves DIY "investors", we buy subscriptions to newsletters that tell us what the famous investors or hedge fund managers are doing and jump on the same bandwagon.

The freeloaders just mimic other commercially vested financial bloggers. Free what?

That's very comforting until we stumbled onto Contrarian Investing.

And now we jammed.

Idiot. We have to make a decision on our own for once...

Thursday 23 March 2017

What's the most difficut thing to Plan for our Retirement?

No, its not your rate of investment returns.

Nope, its not the rate of inflation that will eat into your rate of investment returns above.

Or for that matter, what withdrawal rate to use? (Friend, its not that birth control technique)

Ah... You almost got it if you say how to plan whether at 65 you'll be still healthy to do line-dancing, marathons, and overseas travelling; or will you have an Eldershield kind of lifestyle...

Are you ready?

Please tell me when you intend to see your maker?

If you got 2 more years to live, I suspect you'll discover you have enough right here, right now. Can quit and do the things you wanted to do all along but always no time...

That's the acid test to find out whether you love what you are doing right now.

Anita Mui sang till her last days. She no need to quit and do what she loves. She is already doing what she loves!

If you believed you will live till age 100 and beyond, have fun moving your goal posts!

At this rate, you'll never have enough!

There is no such thing as foolproof or "bao jiak" when it comes to the vagaries of life.

That's why people through the centuries have engaged in astrology, palm reading, and all sorts of voodoo...

Will I win the battle tomorrow?

Will I succeed to the throne?

When will I die?

I find it quite amusing. Some even use astrology to speculate in stocks!?

But then, seemingly savvy and literate investors also exhibit similar behaviours by believing in investing myths...

Prostrating before the god of compounding (mixing up compounding interests with compounding returns).

Blind belief that forgoing a cup of "atas" coffee a day will make you financially rich.

I would have thought its more about wisdom and luck. 

(Any hipster café owners reading this? I can bring more business to you by organising our kopi sessions with fellow journey companions at your joint. Just write to me at the bottom. Wink.)

And this fable I liked the best!

If you fail to plan; you plan to fail. (So those O&G companies on the verge of bankruptcies never planned?)

No need to look at your parents and wonder why they never did more "planning". Just look at your own lives. Did it turned out how you have planned?

I know. You feel like giving a slap to that pimply-faced young graduate who tells you the reason you're still working at age 65 is because you failed to plan in life...

Sounds familiar?

Yes, it's your fault!

Monday 20 March 2017

How to ownself snake-oil ownself - Investment Goal Setting

Why do people like to set "SMART" goals on consequential activities they have little control or influence over?

For example, setting an investment goal of 8% return per year when you are a long only retail "investor". Hmm...

When they hit their goals, they say its their stock picking skills (STI went up 20%).

But when they failed to hit their goals, they say it bad luck, its a bear market you know? (STI went down 20%)

Eh... Like that how is it any different from Passive Indexing?

Smart Passive Indexers don't set goals on investment returns. What's the point of setting goals on passivity? The whole point of Passive Indexing is you get Market returns. Period.

How to spot a long only retail investor who knows his stuff? (Notice I removed the " "?)

They will never set absolute return goals like 8% a year. That is only possible if you are both a long and short investor (operating like a hedge fund). Wink.

They are wise and honest enough to admit they can only set a relative return goal.

You know, to outperform a benchmark by X%?

In a bear market, the best they can do is to have no losses (moving 100% into cash before the crash). Already outperform like siao liao against their chosen benchmark!

Pray tell how to achieve that 8% goal of yours in a bear market if you can only long?

Of course, if you are iron-teethed (stubborn), you can still set your "SMART" absolute return goals with a long only investment strategy.

You add in tiny print after your goal setting:

This goal is valid only for bull markets. Its void for flat and bear markets for which I have neither the control nor influence over; I accept no responsibility whatsoever in such markets.

Well done!

You now very de smart!

You ownself snake-oil ownself!

Clap, clap.


Friday 17 March 2017

What exactly is Crash Got Sound?


To be precise, need to pronounce it in Hokkien, "Long dio wu xia".

Crash got sound.

What does it mean?

Instead of giving you a definition, let me give you 2 examples to illustrate.

1) CPF Life

Did you know before CPF Life was introduced in 2009, the then National Longevity Insurance Committee (NLIC) proposed to big daddy to give CPF members 12 options to choose from!

You heard me right. 12 freaking options!!! Want to cover backside also not like that...

Mercifully, big daddy watered it down to 4 options.

1st crash got sound moment: Too many; too confusing!

OK, OK. We now change to 2 plans. Happy now? 

And for those who don't like to think for yourself, no worries, I'll choose for you the Standard plan.

This one good, better, best! Provided you live up to 95 and beyond.

2nd crash got sound moment: How do I know what I want in 10 years' time?

Its already hard to forecast what's the weather for tomorrow, not to say 10 years ahead!

Sorli, sorli, my bad!

I wrong to assume everyone helicopter like me.

Done! You can now choose the CPF Life plans when you are 65 and just before the CPF Life payout starts.

Ya hor. Why I never thought of that in the first place?

Who's the idiot that proposed we need 10 years' advance notice?

3rd crash got sound moment: akan datang (coming soon) 

Red faced. Forgot Singaporeans study, work, travel overseas a lot nowadays. Even frog in the well also got internet access.

So you guys know about inflation adjusted annuities and TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities?

2) SGX

Smart goal to increase transaction volumes - delete the lunch hour and reduce spreads between bid and offer prices.


Get out of car.

Eh? Why transaction volumes no increase? 

"Anyone got any good ideas to solve this predicament?"


"What's that?"

"Undo button Sir,"


There! Hope you now have a better appreciation of this Hokkien words of wisdom phrase.

No, I not Hokkien; I Teochew.


Why I "angkat" (tripod) the Hokkiens?


They are legion in Singapore.

If every Hokkien buys me a cup of kopi, I can start my own non-hipster café!

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Price Triggered Orders - To temperament with love

People like to invent new names.

SGX call them Price Triggered Orders, some brokers call them Conditional or Contingency Orders, while traders just call them Stop Orders.

A Stop Order is just an instruction to automatically trigger a Market or Limit Order when a pre-determined price level has been hit. (Stop reading if you don't know what is a market or limit order)

1)  It can be used as money management tool to limit our losses:

Bought stock ABC at $1.00; set a Stop Order to sell if  and when the price drops to $0.90 - that's if a 10% loss is the most you can stomach.

2)  Or it can be used to protect our profits:

Bought stock ABC at $1.00. Price now is $1.50. You set a Stop Order to sell when the price retraces back to $1.30. 

3)  Less well known to retail "investors" is that Stop Orders can be used to initiate new positions to trade break-outs or for momentum plays.

Price of stock ABC has been ranging from $1.00 to $1.20.

If you are long, you set a Stop Order to buy when the price breaks above $1.25.

If you are short, you set a Stop Order to sell when the price crashes below $0.95.

I know, its quite counter-intuitive if you new to trading or only know about Value plays. Why buy at $1.25 when we can buy at $1.20 and below???

Don't ask me. You go ask your broker or your trading guru lah!

4)  Go fishing.  Once you have setup your orders in the morning, you can go drink kopi and don't have to stare at screens if you not intraday trader. You're either stopped-out with a loss, made money, or the trades get unfilled when you check in the evening.  

Of course there are more advanced order types like One Cancel Other (OCO), If Done, Iceberg, and other variations. They are not difficult to understand if you understand the basics of Stop Orders first.

However, the question to ask is why are you bothering with them if you are not a hard core trader?

Keep things simple.

The Mind or Mental Part is the killer

OK, that's the mechanics. Its the easy part.

If you are struggling with the mechanics, you may want to pause and take a hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask whether you are cut out to be a trader.

Remember, no shame.

Most retail "investors" are failed traders.

You have the company of the herd. You are the majority. You are legion.

Ready? Here's comes the hard part.

Stop Orders are double-edged swords.

What usually happens for point 1 and 2 is that once your stops have been triggered, stock ABC will zoom all the way to $2.00!!!

OK, point 2 not so bad; make less better than point 1. Ouch!

As for the scenario under point 3, what happens? Studies have shown that 70% of breakouts end in failure. Yup, got tricked by false breakouts...

You think so easy enter orders in the morning and passive passive make money when you return in the evening?

Why the mental part is the killer? (Tipping my hat to coconut)

Imagine being stopped-out at a loss under point 1 at $0.90.

Next day the stock has a strong reversal day and now price has soared back and just broke $1.10.

What do you do?

Stare at screen and curse your "bad luck" or "blame" whoever introduced you to Stop Orders?

Do you have the mental strength to jump right back into a trade you've have just exited at a loss, and re-enter at a worse off entry price than before?

Now that's the rubber hits the road moment when you discover whether you have what it takes to be a trader!!!

Don't look at me!

I just suck thumb and crawl into my foetal position when it happens to me....

Wednesday 8 March 2017

朋友, 敌人, 初心



Success depends on friends; greater achievements are spurred on by enemies.

We are our biggest enemy; never forget why we started the journey in the first place!

Sunday 5 March 2017

Ankle weights around your legs

During secondary 3, I had a classmate who was very into Kungfu and Bruce Lee and all...

One day, he started wearing ankle weights around his legs to school. They were hidden by our long trousers so I guessed school didn't mind.

He told me he wanted to train his leg muscles to be stronger for kicking.

When CFDs were first introduced into our local market by one local Singapore brokerage, I was one of the early clueless retail customers who tried it.

Bloody hell, had to pay monthly roll-over charges and margin interests north of 6%.

Now? Roll-over charges have been waived, and now margin interests halved to 3-4% depending whether its a long or short trade.

When I were trading unit trusts (yeah, it can be done, now ETFs much easier), I was paying 1.5-2% in transaction commissions. Now? It's below 1% or no sales charge!?

Although I haven't started trading individual stocks before the liberalisation of brokerage rates where our seniors had to pay 2% in commissions round trip for their contra trades, I can empathise what they've gone through.

What do you think?

Which would you have preferred?

Start with ankle weights around your legs when you started your journey, and have them reduced progressively...

Or do you prefer to have more weights added on your body as your soldier on further down the road?

P.S.  Now you know why I say I didn't have a good start to my investing/trading journey... I made money from the get go...

Thursday 2 March 2017

How to train hamsters to jump through hoops

I used to keep hamsters while in Shanghai.

Bought lots of "toys" such as tubes, spinning wheel, wooden blocks to create mazes so I can "train" my hamsters to run through them.

Of course at the end of the course, I'll reward my hamster with sunflower seeds.

You'll be amazed what hamsters will do for sunflower seeds!

Come to think of it, that how animal trainers do to reward their pets for performing tricks.

Look out for it next time you see an animal act on TV.

You'll notice after each and every act, the trainer will put something into the mouth of his pets.

It seems quite a few people are upset their sunflower seeds have gotten a lot lesser.

Lucky I'm a cat.


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