Opportunity comes – we recognise it?

I had a lot of fun the last few days facilitating a moot question here recently. One spin-off which deserves a post by itself is this thing - If opportunity knocks, can we recognise it? When I was working on the selling floor as retail sales assistant, the dream for most of us was similar to police constables aspiring to be plainclothes CID. In retail, most of us want to be Buyers! It's … [Read more...]

Round Table Reflections on Rental Property or Dividend Stocks exercise

Thank you everyone who participated in our exercise on which we would prefer - a rental property or dividend stocks? Again I stress there is no "right" or "wrong" answers, only opinions. Who is to judge whose opinion is better? For those who have attended workshops or trainings, at the end of the session, there usually is a round the table reflections from the participants and … [Read more...]

Rental Property or Dividend Stocks?

If you only have a million $ and you are allowed only 2 choices: 1) To buy a rental property to collect rent. 2) To invest in equity to collect dividends. Which one would you choose and why? My esteemed reader temperament asked this question and I think this can be a fun exercise to see what others think. I believe most people would say: a) It depends... b) How can buy either … [Read more...]

REITs versus Brick and Mortar Properties

Yes, REITs do own property assets. They could be residential, commercial, or industrial properties; hotels, hospitals, and what have you - just as long it's a building or space where you can lease it out to tenants. Does that mean when I own REITs, I am a property investor too? You can call me Al! First of all, if it makes you happy, why should you care what others think what you call … [Read more...]

What Passive Income?

There's some emotive words out there that work very well in attracting consumer attention: Free! Half-price! Buy 2 get 1 free! Bonus pack! And for the journey towards Financial Freedom, there is this popular "Passive Income" quote that never fails to attract interest and attention. When we were young, we get an allowance from our parents. To us, this allowance is "passive … [Read more...]

Specialist versus Generalist

The panda has a specialised diet consisting almost exclusively of bamboo. So is the just as cute koala bear that survives mainly on a diet of eucalypt leaves. Now compare them to humans or bears who are omnivores. We humans eat almost everything! In some countries, humans have diets that include spiders, insects, scorpions, etc. Talk about survivability! In the Corporate world, we … [Read more...]

Running in the Maze of Life

Have you noticed this phenomenon when shopping in IKEA? Don't laugh! There's a lot of science and understanding of consumer behaviours that's gone into the design of the maze. Isn't it true pretty much of most things in Life? After going through one meaningless relationship to another, we finally realised The One for us has all along been in our midst near us. It's just that we didn't … [Read more...]

Trading is lot like the movie Edge of Tomorrow

Yesterday Tuesday afternoon, I went for my discount movie watching fix. What do you know? This Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow was surprisingly entertaining! It's Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. For Sci-fi buffs, it's not anything "new"; but for casual movie-goers, I heard some people mumbling what what was it all about? Didn't understand this; confuse about that - as we … [Read more...]

Blending Cash and Equity together

When you drink Chivas Regal or Johnnie Walker whiskey, do you know they are blended whiskey? Blended whiskey is the product of mixing one or more higher-quality straight or single malt whiskies with lighter spirits and water. And no, the best whiskey is not always the "pure" single malt kind. Wink. Most people only consider black or white choices. Left or right? Yes or no? When it … [Read more...]

English, Mandarin, Dialects

What a surprise! This weekend, I got a morale boost while reading the local news. I'm not that 2nd rate after all! I do speak Singlish and can talk "male chicken" as well as any other loud-mouthed Singaporean. However, when the occasion calls for it, I can switch to Standard English - the kind spoken by our Ministers. It's not fun and games if you only speak Singlish. There's a … [Read more...]


When you think of Steve Jobs, which fits better? Visionary or Great Goal Setter? What's the Vision of the company you worked for? (Student readers can refer to the annual reports of any listed company you currently vested in.) What do you see? It's usually a few words that are vague and can mean anything right? Now look down at the Mission Statement. More words. Less broad. Less … [Read more...]

My vision for SERS came true!

9 years ago, after my 35th birthday, I started my journey to find a HDB 3 room flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme. The first priority was to find a place to call my own. But at the back of my mind, I had a vision to find a place that could be an en-bloc potential many years down the road. No harm right? Since I've lived in Queesnstown all my life, and would like to continue … [Read more...]

Trust is Good; Control is Better

For maximum effect, we should say it out loud with a German accent. Just to be clear, I belong to the "Trust but Verify" camp. Life is easier that way. I love to poke my fellow Steering Group members when we get overboard with "control": - we need another KPI to measure this... - we need another report to track the progress... - we need to reformat the reporting to … [Read more...]

Trust but Verify

It's not about being cynical. Nor is it about being skeptical. It's about basing our opinions or decisions on some backing of facts - if any. If we don't verify what we've heard or read and pass the same message to others, we are merely parroting and passing hearsay to others. Rumour-mongers? And if the message was indeed false or misinterpreted, what do we do? We say it's not our … [Read more...]

I don’t have everything; but I have enough

I don't have hair. (I not bald OK? I just shaved if off to frontload the balding process) I don't have six packs. (But I have 1 big round pack that looks like me having my 2nd trimester) I don't have eyes that make women want to squeeze their thighs... I don't have a yacht. What talking me? I don't even have a car! I don't live in landed property. I don't have a wife. (Boo hoo … [Read more...]

Bernard Baruch – A Stock Speculator

Baruch was recognized as one of Wall Street’s financial leaders and his teachings are as valuable today as decades ago. These are well documented in his book Baruch: My Own Story (1957) in which, among others, he said: “I have heard many men talk intelligently, even brilliantly, about something – only to see them proven powerless when it comes to acting on what they believe.” Baruch started … [Read more...]

The Little Notebook – Write it down!

Our thoughts are fleeting. Ever had a good idea, didn't write it down, and poof that idea vanishes as quickly as it surfaces? I carry a small notebook in my backpack nowadays. When I have an inspiration for a blog post, I write it down immediately. When an investing idea pops up in my mind, I jot it down. When I spot a trading opportunity, I write down my trading plan. Home … [Read more...]

Know your CPF queue number

During 2011, when the Greece economic crisis was brewing, I remember an interesting conversation with my Greek colleague in his early 30s. This colleague came from a privileged background - let's say his parents were the equivalent of the Bukit Timah landed class. My colleague questioned his dad on how his dad's generation has fuxxed-up the whole country... His dad admitted to the many … [Read more...]

Journey to Achieve versus Journey to Escape

Why do most retail investors embark on their journey towards Financial Freedom? Don't look at others, look at yourself. Yeah, you! What was the catalyst? The key motivator? It's "to escape" right? It's hard not to let these "escape" and "achieve" words colour your answers or judgement. Maybe it's best I start with myself before everyone gets defensive: 1) I trade to escape the … [Read more...]

Choose me! Choose me!

During the 70s, we often do the mad dog and Englishmen thing - play soccer or basketball during the hot noon sun. Remember how we choose the teams then? 2 natural leaders will normally self-appoint themselves as the team captains (ever wondered who died and made them Indian Chiefs?). Then in alternate turns, each Captain will choose 1 player for the pool of us. This is the time where … [Read more...]