Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Bring Forward Or Delay The Inevitable?

 

For those of us snake oils who have planned or participated in sales promotions or marketing campaigns, have you ever experienced this inconvenient truth?


I mean we celebrate when the marketing campaign has been a success! Get our extra commissions, bonuses; plus accolades and recognition from top management.  


But then sales for the next few months dropped quite a bit lower than previous years...


It quickly dawned on us that we have merely brought forward the sales from future months.


In fact, the company would have made more money had we not done the sales promotion in the first place...


What do we do?


Of course next quarter or next year, we will still propose doing the same thing all over again!


That's the difference between hired guns/sellswords from business owners.


Especially when we noticed the business owner is "passive" or not very hands on. Wink.




Got to feel for big daddy. 


During early days of Wuhan virus pandemic, got "recognised" worldwide for our zero Wuhan virus strategy.


Compared to the alarming number of deaths and infections around the world, we really stood out. 


Even got "luxury" to start planning how to "profit" from this pandemic like in past crises. If we open up before everyone else...


Then discovered we are merely delaying the inevitable...


While other countries have peaked, their deaths and infections numbers coming down...


We are now playing "catch up"...




This is not a smart alec "behind horse cannon" poke. On hindsight, everyone is genius!


This post is for those who like to parrot.


"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."








Monday, 25 October 2021

SkyParc@Dawson Lauded For Good Design And Construction

 

Not I say one hor!


HDB said so!





For those who prefer to Trust but Verify:



Living With Birds And Bees




Luck is sometimes preparation meeting opportunity.


Total 5 sites for us to choose our replacement enbloc flats from.


With the exception of 1 site where its "normal" HDB flats for the budget conscious, the other 4 sites are same same "premium" HDB flats. 

All paid similar prices; yet my chosen site won the design and construction award. Wink.


Let's just say my chosen site is definitely not the most popular one during balloting. Heng ah!

If not, how would I have gotten the top floor with my ballot number?


To paraphrase Steve Job's connecting the dots backwards, my time spent loitering at the Art Club during my secondary school days has turned out useful after all...

I've shared in my "look see, look see" photos that I have a thing for design and sculptures, and architecture is 3D Art that's all around us!


Appreciating good design comes natural to me.

Especially the sensuous 36, 24, 36 curves on the female form.

Now that's heavenly Art! 







Sunday, 24 October 2021

Well, more colleagues down...

 

Guess what?


When I reported to work yesterday, one of the managers looked and said to me, "Ownself take care of ownself OK?"


I thought what happened?


Another TV promoter took 3 days MC for the weekend. Took the PCR test and lucky came out negative. Normal flu. 

Our cashier also not feeling well; on MC. Awaiting her PCR test results.

And one computer section sales staff confirmed tested positive for Wuhan virus.


Just like that, the showroom has lost 2 staff and 2 promoters for the weekend!?


In the old days, we could easier "borrow" staff or promoters from others showrooms to cover.

But big daddy made it crystal clear last year when it "punished" a global fast food chain for doing so during the early days of this Wuhan virus... 

You'll be surprised on the level of "common sense" at management level.

One showroom or outlet shutdown is better than the whole chain being contaminated with staff intermingling between different showrooms/outlets...


In a way, we were "lucky" store traffic has been dismal for the past 2 months. So its manageable, despite the lack of manpower.


If you like me, still prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, or like eating out at restaurants, I hope you can be a little understanding if you find the service a bit "lacking" during this Wuhan virus period.

Would prefer a longer wait? 

Or do you prefer "black heart" profit first landowners ignore "common sense" and insist staff that tested positive, but asymptomatic, still report to work? 

Or they secretly roster staff from other showrooms/restaurants; play the cat and mouse game with big daddy?

Don't believe?

One one hand, we can sympathise with long suffering F&B business owners; on the other hand, we can also see how many black sheep F&B owners are constantly testing big daddy's resolve by flouting all the safe distancing measures...

And we have idiot consumers "enabling" these errant business owners!?


Stay cool everyone.

Don't let fear overcome us. Life has to go on.

Just practice common sense.


And common sense is a great edge when it comes to your financial pursuits!

Be it the Earn More path, or the Save More path.




  




Friday, 22 October 2021

My Close Brush With Wuhan Virus

 

Tuesday evening, I received a call from the Supervisor of the retailer I was attached to on the weekends.

A TV promoter, who works just opposite my concept corner, has just tested positive for the Wuhan virus...

Guess what? During last weekend, a customer who is positive also visited our showroom during the weekends...


No panic. 

The very same Tuesday evening, I just took the free ART kit that big daddy sent out to us - ownself violate my own nostrils.

Great! 

Result negative.


Thursday did the ART test again. There's a thing called incubation period.

Safe! 

Tested negative.


Tomorrow I'll do another ART test. This one using Zoom as its part of the weekly group ART tests for all of us working in retail.

If still negative, I'll go to work.

I do my part not to infect others. 


Look. Everyday 3,000 plus cases. 

Sooner or later we all will test positive one lah!

Please don't blame your colleagues or family members.

Do you want others to blame you if you got the Wuhan virus and unknowingly spread to them?


If well and don't know, cannot say.

But if you feel unwell or suspect you may have come into close contact with someone who got the Wuhan virus, for goodness sake, do your part OK?


Each household only got 6 "free" ART kits. Yes, you may have to buy them on your own...

Don't everything depend on big daddy...

If you have financial difficulty, just talk to your MP or family doctor. I'm sure they can refer you to organisations that can help.

I know. Its not cheap. One ART test kit costs $10...

 

Then again... What's the point of seeking FIRE if you can't afford or too cheap to get the ART kits on your own?







  

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Health District Pilot Project Launched In Queenstown

 

If you are planning to monetise your private property to free up cash by rightsizing to a HDB flat during your retirement, you may want to check this out: 


Health District Pilot Project Launched In Queenstown



On one end, you get to immerse yourself into the peacefulness and greenery of Queenstown. 

We have Botanic Gardens, Mount Faber, Henderson Hill. Hort Park, Labrador Park all within walking distances - if you are into hiking or walking that sort of thing. 

Then there's the awesome rail corridor that used to be our railway track.


And on the other end, if you appreciate the finer things in life, like scintillating dining experiences, or checking out cool new watering holes, we got you covered!

Orchard Road and the future Greater Southern Waterfront project are just a stone's throw away. Treat them as our "backyard".

Getting a cab or private hire ride home after midnight won't cost you a bomb! 

Retirement does not mean no fun allowed anymore... Wink.


No rush.

There is plenty of time.

Cheers from Queenstown born and bred resident!









Monday, 18 October 2021

SP Wholesale versus Electricity Retailers

 

I noticed some Singaporeans are quite pissed off with the increased in electricity tariff for households by a "mere" 3.1% for October to December period.

Really?

I mean for a HDB 4 room flat, the average monthly electricity bill will increase by $2.49 before GST. 

That's if you are one of those who have not switch to any of those OEM Electricity Retailers, still happily on the SP Group default regulated tariff plan. Those who laughed at you for not switching are not laughing now... Are they?


To be precise, these pissed off Singaporeans are very "buay song" their chosen Electricity Retailers are no longer giving them the generous 20-30% discounts they used to enjoy.

I mean if you are not in sales, don't have profit and loss responsibility in your day job, you got excuse.

Then again, you mean you have already forgotten what happened with Grab and Uber? 

What about those generous "carrots" that banks and credit card companies dangled in front of you, but after a few years, they'll give you a bigger hamster wheel to run on, or else the carrot incentives will be taken away... 

So fast forget?

You really believed the 20-30% discounts from OEM Electricity Retailers will be forever and ever? You didn't anticipate the spread between Standard Regulated Tariff Rate and Non Standard Rates will narrow over time?  

If you're an investor or trader, I'll be betting you'll be more drawn towards Technical Analysis. Wink.


Before I go on, I believe MOST of you will not be affected by the price increase of electricity FOR NOW.

Steady lah. Don't anyhow panic for nothing just from reading headlines.

Firstly, if you are still on the SP Group's default Standard Regulated Tariff plan, the impact is non-event.

Secondly, if you already have switch to any OEM Electricity Retailers, you are only affected if you are RENEWING your electricity plans within these 3 months from October to December.

Unless you were one of those "unlucky" customers who chose the "wrong" electricity retailers that decided to throw in the towel... Now feeling very jilted and abandoned...

Can anyone spot the biggest difference between those electricity retailers that are still thriving and those who cannot make it? (You may want to reflect if you always thought you're a fundamental investor)


Want to know why LUCK is better than skill?

During May 2021, I blur, blur, no goals, no plans, just renewed my Tuas Power PowerFix plan for another 24 months.

The price locked 4 months ago was - $16.80 cents per kWh with GST. 

Today if I were to renew the same PowerFix plan for 24 months, it would cost me - $25.68!!!

Crazy right?

Not so crazy if you knew during April 2020 last year, WTI Crude futures went negative!? And today one year later, WTI futures is now above USD$80!!! Now that's what I call a reversal!

So what's next year's energy price? Your guess would be as good as mine!


For the majority of us who have locked-in a much lower price till next year or two, don't be complacent.

Use the extra time to prepare in advance what would you do if oil prices were to revert back down to mean. What to do if prices go higher and higher and breaks USD$100? 

If you think oil prices will go lower going forward, would switching from a fixed price plan to a guaranteed percentage discount variable plan be better?

Then again if prices were to go higher, of course remaining on a fixed price plan would make better sense. You should be asking whether to lock the price for 6 months, 12 months, or 24 months? It all depends on the level of conviction for your thesis, doesn't it?


OK, there's a reason I've left the trickiest one till the last - SP Wholesale Electricity Price (WEP).

On paper, its the "cheapest".

If you believed in the Market Efficiency thesis, why isn't this plan the most popular???

I'll let you figure it out for yourself.

But I can help you along with some poking questions:

If big daddy were to liberalise the electricity market today, would it succeed?  

Would you make the switch for a mere 3% discount from standard regulated tariff?

So was big daddy lucky like me? Or did they spot an opportunity 3 years ago, and quickly acted upon it? 


I would humbly suggest you can consider WEP if you are NOT one of those who were genuinely surprised that HDB flats will go to zero after 99 years. 

If your england is so poor you don't understand what a lease meant, you're probably the type of customers that SP Group want to avoid having. Hence the reason why SP Group not pushing WEP so hard in the market.

They probably don't want the CPFIS scenario where customers go to Hong Lim Park complaining why offer the WEP option to me when I can ownself hurt my ownself!? 


Want to bet that even if OEM were to be introduced today and not 3 years ago, there will be customers who will still switch? Even if the discount is a mere 3%...

Those who voluntary contribute to CPF would do it! (3% not much different from 2.5 or 4%)

These are people who value certainty. And 3% saved, compounded by 30 years, these happy souls would probably giggle in their sleep! 


WEP would be ideal for those who are already into selling naked options for the "passive income".  Its fun collecting the premiums month after month, especially when most options expire worthless. That's until...

Similarly, WEP would appeal to REIT yield hogs gleefully collecting their dividends year after year. That's provided the REIT massacre don't happen again like in 2009. A more recent example is Eagle Hospitality Trust. And I guess most Singaporean yield hogs will never touch Shipping Trusts ever again, never mind their juicy yields were much higher than REITs!


If a 50% increase in electricity bills can get you all knotted up, would you go ballistic if your electricity bill were to spike up by 2 times, 3 times, 7 times?




OK, one year's data from SP Group is too short.

New Zealand has decades more experience with Wholesale Electricity Market. Try this:


Spiking Electricity Prices A Shock To The System


Figure out why those customers not on "spot contracts" were better "insulated".


And why WEP not popular due to "high market risks" according to insiders:


Switch and Save

 


I know. 

Who wants to do their own due diligence. What? Do my own reading and research?

Nah!

Come to think of it...

Why study when we can just copy the homework from our classmates?







Friday, 15 October 2021

Die lah! Your family of 4 don't earn $6500 per month...



Family of four needs $6,426 a month for basic standard of living in S'pore.



Let's round it up to $6,500 per month since I hate "precision" when its not needed.


Which means we can assume the man is making $3,500 and the wife makes $3,000?

(OK, OK. For feminists, we can easily say husband makes $3,000, while wife makes $3,500. There. Happy?)


If husband makes $6,500 per month, to have a better standard of living, the problem is easily "solved" by having wife go back to work. 

I mean their children are not babies right?

My time before maids were popular, when both parents work and children were left at home on their own, they were known at latchkey kids.


Now what happens if a family of 4 only earns $5,500 per month. And both husband and wife works. Die! Below basic standard of living!!!

How to overcome the shortfall of $1,000 per month?


What if I come "selling" the benefits of a dividend portfolio? 

I mean all this couple need is "just" have a $250,000 portfolio of dividend stocks that yield 5% per year. 

Problem solved!

Gee. Thanks!


Wait. 

How do this couple amass the $250,000 capital in the first place?

I mean first they have to increase their income to $6,500 per month, no? 

Unless you tell me the researchers got it "wrong"? $6,500 is not the basic standard of living? Its much lower?

To start saving, its only when their household income is above $6,500 per month before they can afford to save any surplus... Can we agree on this?

To save $1,000 per month, the couple have to increase their household income from $5,500 to $7,500 per month!?

And they would still need 20 years before they can have their hands on that "fabled" $250,000 capital to play the dividend income game!!!


Has anyone spotted the Elephant in the room?

If this couple can increase their earned income by $2,000 per month, is there still the need to wait 20 years for that dividend income!!!???

LOL!



What if the same couple meet the 1M65 people?

Would the 1M65 people awkwardly shy away from any families that make $6,500 and below per month?

Or would the 1M65 people still encourage voluntary contributions to CPF? 

I mean, man up! 

A little bit of austerity never killed anyone. 

Just take $1,000 from their current $5,500 per month and voluntarily contribute to CPF. The interests will compound and compound until...

Look! You both are already making so little mandatory contributions to CPF due to your low salaries... 

Cannot! 

Like that how to survive when you both retire???

No, don't live for today, we must live in the future! 

If we fail to plan, we plan to fail...


"Chotto matte"...

Pray tell how should this family of 4 survive on $4,500 per month again?

Giving advice is easy when the pin don't prick your own skin...



There's another "easy" solution.


Report on minimum income standards not an accurate reflection of basic needs


Well, that was quick!

What if the basic standard level of living income, for a family of 4, according to big daddy's calculation is $4,500 per month?

(Big daddy gives a knowing nod and wink to the 1M65 people. Don't worry. I got your backs)

Problem solved!!!

Invite the researchers for "coffee" for stirring shit?




What do I think?

Well, I know my own feet, I don't need others to tell me what basic standard of living shoes I should wear. 

Who wants "basic" shoes anyway?

I want comfortable shoes. Wink.


There are some ang-moh bloggers who can retire to Phuket or Chiang Mai on $1,500 passive income per month. Tell the whole world they have achieved FIRE before age 35...

Then there are non-HDB heartlanders in our community who would treat any retirement incomes below $10,000 per month as "hardship"...


Its like asking others how much you need to retire?

Now that's a dumb question!


Earn More; Save More.

Do both!

But focus on Earn More if you need to prioritise.

Don't believe?

Show me countries, companies, families, or individuals that achieved prosperity through austerity?








Monday, 11 October 2021

Too Focused On Opportunity Costs Can Drive You Mad!

 

Question: How often have you spotted Emperors not wearing any clothes?


I just spotted one recently.


So funny. 

Its about the so called "research" that if we use less CPF and more cash to service our housing loans, one of the examples (theory one of course) showed we could get our hands on a cool extra $800K from our CPF interests alone!

Its that easy! 

Just by not touching our CPF for housing loans!!!


Why stop there?

If we want to play Opportunity Costs "manipulation", I have more to contribute!!!



The CPF Ordinary Wage ceiling is $6,000 per month.


The maximum amount of mandatory and voluntary contributions that a person (employee or self-employed person) can make in a calendar year is subject to the CPF Annual Limit of $37,740. (Or $3,145 per month)



1. High Wage Earner/Corporate High Flyer


Let's say at age 30 you are earning more than $10,000 per month, imagine if big daddy only caps CPF contributions from the employer side, and no artificial salary cap from the employee side, how?

Isn't that easier? No need to do voluntary CPF contributions some more!

Think of all the CPF interests in hundreds and hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) you are leaving on the table by not being able to max out your CPF contributions from employee side, in tandem with your salary growth, as a corporate high flyer!!!

Time to talk to your MP?


2. Old Fogey Savvy Long Term Successful Investor

This old fogey will advise his children - must invest! 

Why settle for a few percentage in CPF interests when he had enjoyed around 20% annual returns from investing with Warren Buffett's Bershire Hathaway stock for 3 decades and more?

Just calculate the obscene amount of money he would have left on the CPF table had he only saved and not put money to work for the past 30 years....

 

3.  Youths High On Cryptos

These youths must be scratching their heads, "Why settle for single or double digit compounding when we could have exponential compounding with cryptos?"

I mean crypto acolytes are counting 2 baggers, 5 baggers, 10 baggers in years; not decades!

Ah! Never trust any adults above age 30. They have no clue what talking them!


4.  Entrepreneurs that made it

Eh... If you became a billionaire overnight from listing your startup in HK or Nasdaq, or able to afford Good Class Bungalows in your 30s, never mind your business not listed yet...

I would think you have more exciting ideas swirling in your head than concerning yourself with "eating water melons all the way to the green bits"...

Ding!



The Peanut Joke

Those of you who got study cost accounting may know this Peanut Joke.

If you haven't, I would strongly recommend you read the link below. 

Especially if you are into Fundamental Analysis that sort of thing:


Funny Story on Activity Based Costing



Knowledge is just potential energy; its power only when we know how to apply it! 








Friday, 8 October 2021

SkyParc@Dawson - Future Million Dollar HDB Flats!

 

First, this is not an advertorial post OK?


Yes, I've worked with Stacked Homes before, but this is me talking my own book

You think those money managers are not doing the same when they go on Bloomberg or CNBC?


For those of you who don't mind paying a million or more to buy a fantastic HDB resale flat with a million dollar view, look no further!


SkyParc@Dawson Review



No, you don't have to wait 5 years for the MOP (minimum occupation period). Not if you're buying from those lucky enbloc owners who got first dip in the balloting selection process!

Our MOP starts 7 years from the date of selection of the replacement flat. 

I selected my SkyParc@Dawson flat on July 2015. 

That meant starting August 2022 next year, provided there are willing sellers, you may find listings for resale flats at SkyParc@Dawson. (First mover advantage)

You'll beat those "bei kambings" who thought MOP is always 5 years. Wink.

Who knows? 

You may even flip your purchase 3-4 years later, when most of the flats will be available in the open market for those owners who got their SkyParc@Dawson flats under the normal BTO process.

So don't say I got "lobang bo jio"!



If you bothered to read the review at Stacked Homes all the way to the end, you'll notice the surrounding resale HDB 3 room flats at SkyTerrace and SkyVille are now going for $600K.

The most expensive HDB 3 room flats at SkyParc@Dawson bought direct from HDB is $398K (Top 2 floors with balcony).

How? Luck is luck or what!?

Enough about me. (I not a bleeding heart; you don't care about me either)

However, I want to draw your attention to a group of SAVVY and SKILLED property buyers. (Either that or they have good, better, best property agents looking out for them!)


You know when our Tanglin Halt flats were selected for SERS or enbloc during June 2014, immediately there were property agents and buyers circling like vultures making offers to buy my Tanglin Halt flat for $500K!?

Of course its great for those Tanglin Halt owners who want to cash out immediately and not have to wait another 7 to 8 years to collect their keys to their replacement flats.

I mean, at $500K, these buyers were willing to pay $100K more than the $398K compensation I got from big daddy.

By not being "cheap", these savvy buyers, even if they got the worst and last ballot number for this SERS exercise, their ballot number would still be streets ahead of those who selected SkyParc@Dawson on the regular HDB BTO route!

How?

The only drawback is that for these buyers who bought the Tanglin Halt flats after the SERS announcement, their MOP is the regular 5 years from collection of keys - like any other regular HDB BTO applicants. That's all!

What's the upside?

They paid resale price but got a brand new HDB flat!!! That's if you're into "virgin" that sort of thing...

Making money is just icing on the cake! (Better than buying resale 5 years later and finding your savvier neighbour also bought resale but paid $100K less than you...)


That's Earn More mindset for you!



Now to address some of the cons in the review (I did say I talking up my own book remember?):


1)   The upper floors only have 4 units; unlike the lower floors with 8 units. (OK, OK. I'll stop! I think by now you know why people are willing to pay a price premium for top floors!)


2)  There's a difference between staying near and next to MRT stations or busy main streets with lots of bus options.

You just have to go to those flats immediately next to Alexandra Road that's 6 minutes walk away that have more bus routes (Opposite NTUC Dawson). Listen to the noise pollution and try smelling the car exhaust fumes.

Its the same for living next to MRT stations. You think why you see lots of sound barriers on MRT tracks nowadays? When MRT tracks were first built, where got sound barriers? Evidently those residents living next to MRT cannot stand it any longer!


There's 2 bus services serving Margaret Drive. Let's keep it that way. Buses are not exactly quiet...

The bus stops are just in front of SkyParc@Dawson. It's like having our own private bus stops!

If you want to travel to the East, bus 32 will take you to Bukit Merah MRT, while bus 122 will bring you to Tiong Bahru MRT.

And if you want to travel to the West, both bus 32 and 122 will connect to the Commonwealth MRT.

If you prefer taking buses, all the above mentioned MRT stations will give you access to a lot more bus options!!!

Just treat bus 32 and 122 as "feeder bus" services. Yup! Just go downstairs and walk 1 minute. Its that convenient!


3)  If you're into the 10,000 steps thingy, or is now currently practicing alighting one MRT stop (or a few bus stops) away from you destination to use walking as your "exercise", then SkyParc@Dawson is right up your alley! (I'm in sales; that's how you turn lemons into lemonade) 

Walking to the bus stops with more bus options opposite NTUC Dawson is 6 minutes.

Walking to the nearest Queenstown MRT is 10 minutes.

What's the problem again?

LOL!



I hope other SkyParc@Dawson residents will understand what to do. Wink.

Especially if you are looking to flip your flats a few years later. 

Use Facebook, Instagram, or whatever you familiar with.


Do what the crypto crowd is doing.


I not selling is also helping you out!


Don't forget to buy me coffee!






 

  

 

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

There Goes My Nostrils Virginity!

 

This morning, I ownself violated my nostrils by my ownself...

I'm no longer a 54 years young nostrils virgin anymore!


Starting this coming Saturday, my weekend sales place (the showroom I'm stationed at) require all sales and promoters to do our own weekly self-test for the Wuhan virus thingy before coming to work.

This is good.

For our own safety, and for our customers.


I am supposed to collect more ART kits from my company (the brand that I work for) tomorrow.  

In order to be sure I'm not putting my office colleagues in harm's way, I just used the free ART kits that big daddy gave to every household. 


Cool.

I'm negative.


I tell you. Let's move forward already...

Can't wait for us to join the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) in getting on with our lives to pre-pandemic levels.


In one study, around 588 persons die of influenza annually in Singapore. Yes, you guessed it - mainly amongst our elderly.

That's why those elderly who "kiasi" will go for their annual flu vaccine shot.


Let's treat this Wuhan virus as endemic.

And stop moving the goal posts.






 


Thursday, 30 September 2021

We'll Drive Safer With A Big Spike On The Steering Wheel

 

I sometimes drop little nuggets while "talking male-chicken" in the comments section.

I know its a bit far-fetched, but this putting a big spike on the steering wheel is not made up! I stole it with pride from an article I've read in the past... (Yah, surprise! I read!)

I couldn't remember the source, but here's one link I found that's close enough. And the spike got an actual name!


Tullock Spike



You know why I use my real name at this watering hole? 

Its precisely I'm driving with a big spike on the steering wheel! (行不更名,坐不改姓) 

This way, I write as if I'm speaking in public. No, you not talking to a man with brown paper over his head. 

Unless you are an IT hacker who knows how to cover your digital trails, even if you use anonymous or made up nicks, if people want to get you, they can easily CSI you out!

We know what happens to those who stir shit in the internet, thinking there are airbags in front of them just by being anonymous or have fake nicks... 



Why do some Singaporeans obey the law in Singapore, but when overseas, have no problem littering or spitting? 

And this one most shepherds know. Why is it so difficult for get feedback from Singaporean employees at a company meeting, but at the water cooler, the same church mice Singaporean employees have no shortage of opinions about management? 



Now look at your own investing/trading/saving paths. 

Yes, even the so called "safer" Save More route is included!

 

Is it possible those who are on the Earn More path, who assumes there's a spike on the steering wheel, are more cautious than those on the Save More path who assumes nothing can go wrong with the supposed "safety" of airbags? 


Just ask those UK savers who had savings/fixed deposit accounts with Icelandic banks just because of a few percentages more in interest rates during 2008....

Of course we had our own Lehman minibond saga in 2008. I mean they were sold and distributed by reputable banks in Singapore, no? Not from some clickbaity internet scammy ads right?

And yes, don't make statements like if this company goes down, the whole of Singapore will go down too...

You are just putting an "exclamation mark" over your head to alert all the snake-oil wolves in the vicinity,

"Hello everyone! I'm a bei-kambing!"

  






 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Money is Money lah!

 

Sell flower of course say flower fragrant!


I find it quite hilarious that when I find people in our community like to do the Joan of Arc thing, 


"If you believe me, follow me!"


I hope these people don't come to power... When they can really dictate what others can or cannot do!


We have seen this movie in religion and politics before. And its not pretty...


You don't laugh. 


As a left-handed person, I'll be hesitant to join in with the majority to "discriminate" or "demonise" some minority just because they are "different" from us.


You never know when these zealots, once they have run out of "labels" to persecute, will start picking on left-handed people like me!



OK, after going on a big tangent (that's how you express your social, religious, and political views without getting into trouble), let's get back to this funny phenomenon in this money chasing  financial freedom community of ours.


Its optional, but for those who enjoy foreplay, you can take a peek at this ancient post of mine:


Is Snow Water?



Let's take 3 scenarios:


1)  Person A stays in HDB, maxed out all his CPF accounts early, prioritises paying in cash for his housing loan, voluntarily contributes to CPF up the the limit possible, and becomes a CPF multi-millionaire at age 65. Debt free.


2)  Person B stays in HDB, maxed out his CPFIS to invest in equities or equities funds. Never voluntarily contributes to CPF because cash is opportunity fund to invest in equities. At age 65, he is an Equities multi-millionaire. Debt free.


3)  Person C never invests nor is he a prolific saver. He just likes to upgrade his home of abode ever so often; no 2nd rental or investment properties. Took 2 bites of the cherry from HDB 3 room to 5 room. then when day job got better, upgrades to private condo or landed terrace/townhouse. CPF withdrew to max allowed for housing property loans. At age 65, he is a Property multi-millionaire. Debt free.



Multi-millionaire is so vague! 

$2 million is multi-millionaire, $100 million is also multi-millionaire.  

Tip: When someone uses the label "multi-millionaire" instead of saying $2 million, he is doing the snake-oil mind manipulation trick like for "pre-owned", or "high yield". Wink. 


Let's just use $5 million as the multi-millionaire definition for all 3 persons above. 


Tell me, is one person "better" than the other?


Its like arguing till our faces are blue that Green is "better" than Red!? 


LOL!



But for vested interests, it matter a lot!


If you are in the banking and property sectors, which path would you promote?


If you working for SGX, distributor for equity funds/ETFs, or in the equities brokerage industry, which flower would you say is the most fragrant of them all? 


If you big daddy, and you can't bring yourself to chastise your fanbase,

"Eh! If you idiot don't invest can or not?

Buy that time never write to me for permission...

Make money you genius! 

Lost money now its all my fault!?"


Then again, big daddy can't expressly "discourage" don't invest either... The wealth management industry you attracted here with dangling carrots are watching...

So you do the next best thing. 

Shh...



I'm tickled pink that our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom has it covered:


八仙过海各显神通 - 8 immortals cross the Eastern Sea, each in their own way.


I mean, money is money right?


Who cares how we got that $5 million at age 65 just as long its not illegal!!!



P.S.  For youths who want to be FIRE at age 35. one path is definitely out of the question.  

Unless you don't mind saving sex till old age.



 






Friday, 24 September 2021

STI ETF can be good for those who can't Cut-Loss

 

I'm not a fan of passive investing.


It just intellectually "weird" to me, to savour the pleasure of  getting rich, by not doing anything at all???


The analogue is like winning an Olympic gold medal by sipping pina colada while chilling in the shade on the beach...



But I must say there's one good thing about passive investing using the STI ETF - its great for those who can't bring themselves to cut-loss on losers.


STI will do it for you!


FTSE Russel and SPH do quarterly reviews on the STI component stocks. Any lemons/dead anchors that are dragging the STI down will be kicked out!


They will in turn add "hot" stocks of the season into the index. 


That's the secret sauce why stock indexes always go up!


How not to go up if we only include stocks that go up, and weed out stocks that go down?


Its never passive.


Can you imagine how bad it must be for SPH to ownself kick ownself out of STI?



The current STI ETF is still 3 banks and 1 telco (plus REITS & property if you pedantic). 


ZERO exposure to tech unicorns...


What about SEA Ltd? 


Oh! That's included into the MSCI Singapore Index.


Those who trade the SIMSCI futures will know. Wink.



I know what you thinking.


Is there an ETF for MSCI Singapore?


Yes, you can goggle iShares MSCI Singapore ETF. 


Its listed in the US.



But, but I already torn deciding which is better - SPDR or Nikko STI ETF?


Now I sharing another extra choice is not helping!



Don't worry. 


Just go back to the person who sold you on "passive" investing. He/she will tell you what to do.


Problem solved!


Snake oils love customers like you!








Tuesday, 21 September 2021

The "Free" Trade

 

What's the next best thing to taking your capital safely back and only risking your profits when it comes to trading?


I guess it would be the "Free" trade.


When I put on a trading position, the first thing my order gets filled is to enter a stop-loss order.

Its a bit like options (but not the same) where from the get go, I know the MAX I'm willing to lose on the trade.

Its a risk/money management thing.



Three scenarios will happen next:


1)  I got stopped out of the trade at the predetermined loss. (Well, that was quick!)


2) The price just oscillates around my entry price, going nowhere... (Some advanced traders will get out of a trade if it does not perform within their expected time frame. That's next level stuff...)  


3) My position becomes profitable. (This one I like best! Who doesn't?)



When I can move my stop-loss order point to my entry price, hey! I got a free trade!


Which means if and when the market reverses, I just scratch the trade. 


No harm; no foul.


But if the trading continues to work in my favour... 


Kaching!






Friday, 17 September 2021

Manipulation With Words

 

Those not in politics or sales have too little appreciation on the power of words.


The pen is mightier than the sword is just not some empty words uttered by some scholars who can't fight.


Let's take a snake oil word I hate the most:

"Pre-owned".

What the fish is that!?

2nd hand say 2nd hand. But no... Previously owned. 

No, can't spell it out like that! 

Write "pre-owned", somehow the 2nd hand; other people used before; no more virgin negative "stigmas" are no longer obvious.

Pre-owned has become "neutral".

And that helps in fetching a better price!


Stocks in general can be categorised as big-cap, mid-cap, small-cap.

These are neutral words.

But if I want to sell you buy-and-hold big-cap stocks (so I can milk the AUM fees forever and ever), I would call these stocks "blue-chips" instead!

Some how, when the brain hears "blue-chips", we automatically think sure win, "bao-jiak", and make silly extrapolations like if the stock goes to zero, Singapore will go down too...

See? Told you SPH is blue-chip! It never went to zero right!? Just buy-and-hold. Stocks only go up one!


Similarly, if I want to encourage you to trade penny stocks (I want to fleece the trading commissions from you), I not so silly to call them penny stocks. I would call them small cap stocks. 

The name penny stocks somehow got negative connotations... Like rubbish, risky, 2nd class; and all that... 

Most youths are not aware Venture was a penny stock before. So not all penny stocks are risky speculative bets OK!?


Corporate bonds are getting more and more common in SGX in recent years. 

Most are unrated and are called by a very nice and sexy name - High Yield Bonds.

Old fogeys would remember their former name - Junk Bonds.

What!?

You read correctly. 

But just like penny stocks, junk bonds can be very lucrative, provided you know what you are getting into. 

They say the bond market is smarter than the equities market.

If you wan to play high yield bonds, just make sure you are smarter than the average equities investor/trader. Wink.


What's the moral of the story?

Having a wider vocabulary helps!

Just don't over do it.

Remember the "ponding" incident? 

LOL!







 


Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Change Sucks For Old Fogeys!

 

Its harder today right?

Especially if you are in your late 40s to 50s...

Things just change and move so fast nowadays!!!

Remember that time when you were eyeing your boss' job?

Now that old fogey has retired, you finally got his job! Whee!


You not stressed on the greater responsibilities. Why say no to better pay and prestige?

I mean you have been his/her lieutenant, deputy, assistant for donkey years, its just wash, rinse, repeat. You can even do it with your eyes closed!


How hard can it be? Just follow the past precedents, and chant, "Faster, quicker, cheaper!"

Its all about Efficiency, isn't it?


Now imagine you are working in Comfort Delgro. A bit stunned and blindsided by the private hire competition right? Who the hell in your company knows how to code? 


How about Singtel? Your wash, rinse, and repeat tactic of buying other telcos overseas for growth is getting old... (Limpeh got money!) 

Now you got to relearn new tricks and explore opportunities outside your field of expertise?

Should you get into the mobile/PC gaming market? Let's sponsor a professional gaming team!

Or compete with the traditional banks and other smaller and more nimble startups to claim a slice of the fintech pie?

Then there's the ultimate - when all things fail, become a property play! (SingPost, SPH can, so can we!)


No need to say more if you working for SPH. How the hell do we compete with "free"!?

You finally understood and empathised when desktop publishing made typesetters obsolete in your industry so many decades ago... 

When the pin pricks your own skin, you don't become so smug like when you were a management trainee back then, 


Mind you, I'm not talking about CEO positions here.

Just you finally replacing your old boss to be a department head in your late 40s or 50s...

Not what you expected right? You envy your old boss can coast along for so many decades when change isn't so rapid...

You? Its so fxxking stressful! And no fun!


Especially when the pivot today is towards Effectiveness.

But that's like telling an old dog to do new tricks!

If I had to be "entrepreneurial" in thinking, I wouldn't have chosen a stable and consistent paying job in the first place!!!


In case you want to learn more about Efficiency versus Effectiveness.


Its the same for politics and religions too.

To win new converts to your sales funnel banner, you got to do Twitter, Facebook, Instagram?

Kissing babies during weekend walkabouts no longer enough...


Its so funny to see Trump sharing his ideas and policies on Twitter! Can you imagine our PM doing it?

Oh! It will come! "Akan datang"!


Of course youths would have the edge over us old fogeys!

You grew up with all these rapid changes in technologies and cultural changes. Its not new to you! 

We can see it in our community.

How would 1M65 be attractive to youths? When youths have goals to retire by 35?

 

A few have indeed done so by being early adopters of cryptos and are now millionaires in their 30s!? 

All the power to them!

There is some truth in the meme about not trusting any adults above the age of 30...

Go big or go home! (This works best when we have nothing much to lose anyway!)


Oh! What I would give to be young in my 20s again!

It sucks to be old IT dinosaur in a rapidly changing world.

Just when I'm finally comfortable with Windows 10... Windows 11 is coming!?


You got to be freaking kidding me!





 

Friday, 10 September 2021

Freehold Investment Income?

 

I think I'll help CW out.


Sometimes we use lingo or terminology that flew over the heads of readers. 


Don't laugh. Give chance.


When I started "serious" mobile gaming a few years back, I too was a bit lost when I went to their Reddit site.

I mean I knew in gaming, "OP" was "over powered".

But in Reddit, "OP" meant "original poster"!? 

Eh? 


Then there was TLDR - too long; didn't read.

Which meant my blog posts and comments would not appeal to these short attention span Reddit users!!!

LOL!


So what is Freehold Investment Income?


Before I explain, let's take a step backwards to explain how land/business owners think.


When a land owner evaluates a new business proposal from his in-house shepherd or outside snake oil, the first thing he calculates is how many years it would take to get his capital back.

For those who studied Business Finance, its IRR (Internal Rate of Return) expressed in land owner language. 


Why is it important to take back your capital?

Have you noticed some landowners are doing very well despite letting their listed or non-listed businesses go to zero in a bankruptcy?

As a minority outside investor, we can only take back our capital from sale of our shares or cash from dividends.

But for the landowner, if he is CEO, he can pay himself big salary increases and bonuses despite the company bleeding in red ink.

And if he is Chairman of the board, he can pay himself obscene director's fees for just meeting a few times a year...

Even better if the landowner himself appoints himself BOTH as CEO and Chairman! 

Yes! Its ownself check ownself!


Then there's other tricks like siphoning funds out of the company through 3rd party related transactions. Wink, wink.

That's why most outside investors will sit up when they spot land owners divesting their own share holdings or surreptitiously and quietly move company funds back into their own pockets.


Ai yeah! Its the same in a divorce settlement lah! 

Some rich men will secretly put their assets in the names of people he can trust. Anything to prevent that bitch from milking him completely dry! 

(Eh! Don't get caught! Its against the law one!)



OK, now we've got the context out of the way, what better way to explain this home made investing terminology called - Freehold Investment Income than through examples?

Shock!

You mean its not proper Business Finance terminology? Can't find it in Investopedia?

Eh! Why you all surprised?

Especially those who are fond of using this home made XIRR.  Yes, its not proper business finance terminology too!


Why is it happiness whenever we have a 2 bagger or doubled our money in investing?

Its because if we are conservative or strolling down the mountain, we can simply SELL half our holdings and retrieve our capital safely back into our pockets.

Then we are merely risking the "unrealised" profits. 

Now its a matter of make more or make less.

We can even "pretend" to be Buy-and-Hold "investors" and chant "Let our profits run!"

Of course conveniently leaving out you already got your capital back...

Shh...

Why?

Because if that investment turned out to be a 10 bagger, pain!


As for those who prefer to flex in percentages, you are ecstatic too!

What's the percentage return for ZERO capital employed?

Infinity returns for the win!

Power or what!?


If you have a rental investment property, and your rental yield is 5%, in 20 years' time, you can do the Tarzan "or-yi-or" thing to others.

"See? This rental property is "free"! Who says you can't have your cake and eat it?"

"And every month, the rental is "free" money too!"


If you are age 25 or 30, compare the above rental investment property path to voluntarily contributing to CPF, which is better for climbing up the mountain?

If don't like property, you can substitute with equities like REITs?

How about cryptos? And double-digit yields from DeFi?


Hello! I'm not dissing CPF OK?

Just doing my gentle poking reminder that depending whether we are climbing up the mountain or strolling down the mountain, the strategies and vehicles we employ can make a world of difference!



 

 



Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Stable Consistent Income Versus Variable Volatile Income

 

One of the most underrated benefit of the Earn More path is Self Discovery.


Especially when we put real money on the line!


Once upon a time, I wrote this post to help newbies learn more about themselves:


First Things First - Invest In Yourself


There, I used the example of HOW you like to travel may give clues to which investing/trading vehicles or instruments you would be drawn to.



Today, I would like to draw attention to your day job.


Most of us, after several years in the corporate world, would probably know which we prefer:


1)  A stable consistent income month after month, year after year.


2)  Completely cool with a variable and highly volatile income. You know, some months like famines, some months bumper harvests!



Do you know anyone who earns $10K and more a month in a stable job, quit to become an insurance or property agent?


Or throw away their iron rice bowls to start their own businesses with an uncertain future?


If you have children, would you get a stroke if they come back home to share they would like to career switch to become a full time singer or actor?



How you respond can be interesting and revealing about yourself.


Would you be supportive?


"Sure! Go chase rainbows! We are only young once... I support you!"


Or would you with the best of intentions tell them the "odds"?


"Are you sure what you doing? Only a minority can make it. Majority just fail you know?"



Have you noticed to people that don't matter - casual colleagues or acquaintances - you almost always appear positive and all supportive?


Its because if they die its their own business, isn't it?


But to your love ones and people that matter, you are often conflicted...


On one side, if they fail, you really feel their pain. So you don't want them to get hurt.


On the other hand, you were young once too. You had your flames of passion snuffed out by well intentioned friends and family members... You don't want to repeat the sins of the father all over again...


Then again, if your love ones succeed, sure, you'll be happy for them! 


But that will also make you feel sorry for yourself... Sorry that you gave up before even trying so many years ago...



Can you now better understand why some retail investors are yield hogs? 

Why some even structure their dividend portfolios in such a way that they try to get dividends flowing in over as many months during the year, as opposed to one big or two dividend lump sums over the year?


Plus why some prefer the Save More path over the Earn More path?


That's not all!


I want to draw your attention that not everything is what it seems on the surface.


Context is important.


Your opinion of that ultra conservative "no bxlls" CPF voluntary contributor may totally flip, if you discover how volatile his day job pays... He probably got more guts than you!


And that fearless retail investor using leverage with abandonment wasn't as reckless as you thought... That's when you discovered he got tenure for his day job! That's not fair!



Bet you didn't see this coming!

LOL!


Its never about 4 legs good; 2 legs bad... 

Know your own feet; choose the right shoes that fit.

That's all!


If you are a penguin, no amount of "If you think you can, you can!" will help you soar into the air. Wink.

   


  





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