Thursday, 15 October 2020

Quick! Which is Easier? Properties or Stocks?

You tell me!

Either from your very own personal experience, or from your anecdotal observations on friends, neighbours, school mates, colleagues, relatives; etc.


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Crypto easier :p

    GMGH got 10000% (no typo) returns from capital gain, 2500% per annum dividend yield (no typo again), and his hedges are offensive. During two crypto market crashes, he is up 1000% from his hedge each time.

    Tell me. How to lose?

    Oh yah, and he took partial profits liao, so people cannot poke him for "unrealized gains are just........unrealized."

    I stand in awe.

    1. Unintelligent Nerd,


      The asset class for youths!

      OK, that's a wonderful data point of ONE ;)

      But still, quite impressive I must add!

      I mean that's the dream of all retail bei kambings:

      Start with less than $10K.

      In less than 10 years, see it grow to more than a million :)

      Of course he has taken partial profits as REALISED gains. He is not bei kambing who only knows how to parrot what others have said ;)

      If one does not know how to take profits, just ask those startup millionaires who "forgot" to cash out BEFORE the 2000 Nasdaq crash... Wealth can be illusory...

      Truth be told, we can see such examples of great % returns in ALL asset classes.

      There will always be that outlier that is able to turn $10K to more than a million in less than 10 years.

      Whether it be penny stocks, options, futures, professional gambling, and guess what's the best in my opinion?

      Starting your own business ;)

      Even working for others can become a millionaire. That's provided we brave or lucky enough to work for startups that turned into Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, Microsoft, Apple, etc...

      These titans have created millionaires for their early employees.

      In local context, I know HP has created quite a few millionaires - co-workers brave enough to strike out on their own to become sub-suppliers to HP.

      A bit like what Acer has done in Taiwan. One big MNC can support lots of SMEs millionaires!!!

    2. My ex-colleague recently told me thathis university mate working at SEA is a millionaire now with his stock options.

    3. CW,

      I believe youths of today are more willing to take risks like working for startups or small fledgling unknown companies. Good for them!

      I think our generation have been poisoned by our parents to seek "safety" and "security" through working for big daddy or big MNCs.

      Then again, can't really blame our parent's generation as they grew up in an environment where jobs were hard to secure and life quite uncertain...

      Imagine being in our 30s during 1965!

      Don't talk about career. Worry whether Singapore as a country can survive!!!

  2. first thing come to mind is stocks

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      I'll say properties ;)

      Can see, can touch.

  3. Property! Lagi best is to become property agent and keeps the best lobang to yourself!

    Read? You Love Your Job But Your Company Doesn't!!! (3)

    1. CW,

      Insurance and property agents are the 2 professions that come the closest to working for yourself without actually setting up a company ;)

      Yup, when the more successful (must have capital) property agents spot great bargains, of course they will keep these great buys for themselves!!!

      Why settle for measly commissions when they can go for big CAPITAL GAINS ;)

  4. Property, if not where will REIT comes from?

    And what's best is you're inside a physical product, while promoting the product.

    1. Small Time Investor,

      Now that's insightful!

      Property, ALL of us would have some "user" experience on it - never mind if we are merely renting, leasing it for 99 or 999 years, or buying it outright as freehold ;)

      We know whether a location is "atas" or "ulu"; whether its convenient or too out of the way...

      Even without knowing fengshui, we know whether the facing is "alamak" or "cool" ;)

      You mean we need to know fengshui to dislike the main road stabbing us in the face when we open the door?

      As for stocks, the more I learn and study about them, the more I realised I don't know! Its a bit like Zen.

      Very humbling and ego deflating :(

  5. Hi Smol,

    Whether which one is "easier", I'd say sama sama.

    (Personally I prefer stocks as I'm physically lazy LOL)

    But in terms of which is more "emotionally powerful", hands down it's property.

    There is just something primordial & pathological about having physical security & safety in land and properties.

    PS: In the ancient days both east & west, one's body/life is considered a piece of property if you're not in the aristocracy or warlord class. The very first property rights pertain to right to own life & way of life (where to live, what job to do etc).

    1. Spur,

      "Emotionally powerful" is right!

      We'll go to war over territorial disputes. (Hope we won't be dragged into an actual war over the Spratly Islands during my lifetime)

      But stocks?

      No so, judging by the "meek" response by CLOB investors... No one marched to KL with pitchforks!?

      You are right.

      The first "property" we own is our own body. If we can't even have the freedom to do what we want with it, we can forget about everything else.

      A slave's role is to remain faithful and loyal to its owner. Even the good book supports it...

  6. You didn't define "easy".
    Easy could be easy to manage? Easy to make money?
    Properties could be in US? Paris? Bali? SG? London?

    As someone who's flying around for god knows how long, I'd say I prefer stocks as I can manage them anytime. Provide liquidity anytime, don't need to think of tenant issues when I'm out of the country, etc. Less physical stress and management issues.
    But need to think about companies going bust? Price fluctuates everyday. Stress everyday?

    Property... it's REAL, and I think humans like the touch and feel of something. Instead of just being a number on a computer. So there's some kind of awe in ownership. Can see can touch, I can tell my friend I own 2 condos. Sounds nice.
    No one says how much debt they take right?
    Alternatively I could say I own 2 BRK-A shares.
    Capital overlay around the same. But condo sounds more sexy right?
    Tell the XMM at the bar/club also got chance.

    One property also considered easy to manage. Just need to rent it out to 1 tenant. Don't need to do financial analysis. Don't need to see daily market fluctuations.

    But in the long run, everything is a coin toss no?
    Who knows what will happen to SG in 30-50 years?
    SG property means betting on SG as a country.
    Who knows what will happen to the S&P in 30-50 years?
    S&P is probably betting on the global economy considering most companies are global these days. Else a MSCI World ETF would also work.

    For me, I rather bet on the global economy. Not cos it's a better investment, it might be, it might not be.
    But for me, it's about capital preservation, ease of management, quick liquidity if necessary.
    Global economy in the long run will trend upwards so... long term should be no real concern.

    1. ERSG,

      I thought I've been quite crystal - from OWN personal experience or observation ;)

      There are no right or wrong answers like in Math or Science; its more like Literature where we express our own opinions :)

      Definitely not parrot what others say... LOL!

      You have shared some interesting points.

      2 points stood out.

      On one hand, you asked rhetorically who can tell what will happen in 30-50 years?

      Yet at the very end, you tell me global economy will trend upwards? So no real concerns?


      Stocks always go up!

      Got it ;)

    2. Due to the way the economic/financial system is structured, markets must trend upwards in the long run.
      Unless the economic/financial system gets overhauled in future. Then everything is unknown.
      Individual stocks/companies can go bust. But the economy as a whole must trend upwards, Governments will attempt to steer it up. Else the system fails and everyone is screwed anyway.

    3. ERSG,

      I see cycles instead. Empires rise; empires fall.

      Again, our 5000 years of Chinese wisdom:

      Unity will lead to disarray; disarray will lead to unity.

  7. Property - High leverage (20% down + CPF support if needed), Rental income to defray interest cost and can cover mid-long term appreciation loss if any. Hard to lose. Is how much gains.

    1. Cory,

      I think we need to collect "kopi" money from real estate agents ;)

      If buying direct from big daddy as in BTO flats, I've yet to find anyone who lost money.

      But if buying resale HDB or private properties, then that's another story - now that we don't have big daddy's subsidy support :(

      If we dumb enough to buy properties at the peak, then its quite boring to invest just to breakeven one day...

      And if we don't have holding power, or need cash quickly in an emergency (don't have emergency fund?), then losing money in properties can be very REAL!!!

      Some people think putting money in CPF is sure win???

      I'm of the opinion we still can lose money (purchasing power) big time if high inflation of the 70s return to bite us in the ass.

      I better put it out there in case some readers would mistake "easier" as equating to "sure win" ;)

      If I don't think CPF is sure win, properties "lagi" NOT sure win in my books!

      Although I do find properties "easier" than stocks.

      Perhaps its just me.

      Stocks read all those financial statements I would fall asleep...

      Properties at least can touch, can see ;)

    2. Yes holding power important. I am a little overboard to implied sure win. What I mean is relative to stock. Tax rate for properties in Asia is almost "non-existence". Again is relative.....

  8. Anectodally, more people got rich from properties than stocks.

    Historically, behind every deep financial crisis (at least the ones I have read), is a huge property bubble. Bursting of property bubbles not only destroys individual finances but national finances as well. Not surprising given the risk nature of real estate investment - highly leveraged, highly concentrated, illiquid, widely thought to be safe and almost sure-win. The last characteristic is key to the immense damage when bad things happen.

    When something is widely thought to be financially safe and turns out to be otherwise, the financial damage is likely to be fatal.

    1. hyom,

      Hence after the 97 financial crisis, big daddy will take away the punch bowl with property cooling measures - contrast this with HK, Vancouver, Melbourne, San Francisco, etc.

      Stocks? STI got any cooling measures?

      Majority of Singaporeans own their own homes.

      Majority of Singaporeans do not own stocks.

      Those who can read between the lines may also see why property is "easier" ;)

    2. One must do with. The other can do without.

      That's why now sg stocks stuck in the pit but property prices went up.

    3. Rainbow girl,

      You are right.

      There's a floor as we need to either rent or lease our place of abode.

      There's a lead and lag effect.

      Some cycles, stocks will lead the property market as those who made it big in stocks may recycle the profits into properties.

      Then in some cycles, properties will lead the stock market as those flushed with cash from their property sales will start to park their excess cash into the stock market.

      Just follow the money trail!


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