Author: Lizardo Realm (Investment)

A Fantastic Investment Deal at the Bank – Or Maybe Not

I received a call from a relative recently. She was at a bank. Apparently, she had a fixed deposit that had matured and she wanted to cash out. The Bank Officer had proposed that she invest the cash in a Unit Trust offering a return of 2% per month. She was pretty excited. I laughed. Obviously it wasn’t a Bank Officer. It was one of those Customer Relations Executive (CRE) pedaling investment products to the innocent individual. At 2% a month, I told her to ask the CRE to put that down in writing and guarantee it. If it...

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A Millionaire and Yet Completely Broke

How does a multi-millionaire become a bankrupt? Time’s story about Allen Iverson is instructive. Allen was a NBA basketball star who earned an income of US$145 million over a 15 years playing career. That’s a shitload of income. It’s almost US$10 million a year. Yet, he appears to be completely broke now. Broke. Zero. How did it happen? Simple. Not living within his means. It’s a lifestyle of extravagance, indulgence to the extremes, and a complete lack of prudence in financial planning. Perhaps none at all? Almost. Luckily for him, as broke as he is now, there is a silver...

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My Singapore Team of Dividend Stocks 2015

My first 11 team of dividend shares have remained largely unchanged over the past year. Goalkeeper (1) OCBC remains my stalwart to guard the goalpost. An increasing interest rate environment can only benefit the banks. Defenders My defence is built around Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) in the form of (2) Capita Commercial Trust, (3) Capita Retail China Trust and (4) Mapletree Industrial Trust.  That gives me 3 REITs covering commercial, retail and industrial properties, with some exposure to China. My fourth defender is (5) Vicom.  a proxy play for car ownership in Singapore. It could be facing some windy resistance as there are supposedly less cars...

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Size Matters – How Much Is Enough?

Size matters. No sleazy thought please. Rather, Singapore Man of Leisure had an interesting article on Size Does Matter for Income Plays where he blogged about an investment approach to reap a $50,000 per annum income. The question he posed was, just how much capital would be needed to do this? He offered a few possibilities and discussed the implications of: (a) $1 million at 5% yield; or (b) $500K at 10% yield. His conclusion however was to go with (c) $2 million at 5% yield. Why? Because the earlier options all hinged on the assumption that the portfolio do not diminish...

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4 Financial Options in 4 Months

It’s only been 4 months since the start of the year. But if one were to reflect back, it seems like a roaring year with lots of significant changes affecting our personal financial options. Consider: Reduction of lot size for shares from 1000 to 100. So some of the high value shares become accessible. Changes to CPF. Interest rates to go up. Singapore Savings Bond. Comparatively risk-free bond for the conservative. Review of ETF (related: Navigating ETFs) so that more ETFs can be invested by entry level investors. Seems progressive....

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Thank Goodness we had Medical Insurance!

Over the past year, my wifey experienced a muscular injury which seriously affected her quality of life. After struggling for a year, and weeks of therapies, the specialist recommended that she undergo a keyhole surgery to fix the problem. We decided to go ahead with it. The sufferings had gone on long enough. The surgery took place late one evening and required an overnight stay at the hospital for the anesthesia to wear off. I drank quite a bit of coffee while waiting. Coffee Bean was a beneficiary. Guess how much was the bill? $14,000+! No doubt it was...

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Ready, Aim, TARGET!

A Path to Financial Freedom posted an article on Psychology in Crisis and Herd Investing. Worth a read. I pretty much prefer to buy a share of a company if I have a reasonable idea why the company will likely be viable as a business for the longer term. For instance, it sells essential products (or products with a brand) that are consumed at an increasing rate as the world (its customers) develops. One such company I was watching was Target. Wifey and I have personally visited their stores and have always preferred to shop at Target than most other...

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So What? Is it Worth Buying a Stock with a Lot of Cash?

ValueEdge had an interesting post on the The Art of So What? I recall an encounter once where my boss was running through a proposal with his boss. His boss then said, “So?” After providing a response, he was again asked, “So?” And this went on for five more times. It wasn’t asked in a malicious way. It was a matter of fact, trying to dig deeper into the subject. Finally, having dug in five levels deep, he then went on to analyse the issue strategically. Fascinating to say the least. Sometime back, I came across an analyst report about...

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Singapore Savings Bond – As safe as it can be

Plenty has been said about the Singapore Savings Bond (SSB), so enough said on the general idea. We will have to wait till the second half of the year however to understand better how do we, as lay peons, go about investing into it, and if there are limits for each investor. Is this yet another Singapore-only innovation? Interestingly, it was in fact announced during the week of the most momentous event in Singapore’s history. But it probably went low key because of it. The blogging community largely also respectfully abstained from publishing during that week. It looks like this...

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Nationhood and What Singapore Means to Me

This has been a week where nationhood has shed new meaning and interpretation in Singapore’s history. In one week, the value system of what it means to be a Singaporean has come to the fore. From the 62 year old uncle looking fit and trim in in his Temasek Green National Service uniform, to the uncle and his stiff salute of respect and farewell, to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Service Chiefs conducting vigil in full military regalia, to the businessmen who took the initiative to provide water and food, to the SAF quietly working through the night to...

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SG50 – Celebrating the Year with the Nation II

[An update of a previous post] It is the 50th year of Singapore’s independence. That’s half a century of nation building. It’s quite an achievement to have come so far. Bloomberg recently listed the Top 100 ideas of the century and “Singapore” was strangely listed as one of those ideas! At #71, Bloomberg highlighted Singapore’s growth of 1356% in GDP per capital over that 50 years while the world grew 146% and the US at 96%. World #1 in ease of doing business, #2 in shipping container traffic per capita, #2 in global competitiveness, #4 in financial centre, #3...

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Another Way to Avoid Paying More Tax – The Act of Giving

Previously, drawing upon the latest budget announcements (2015), I shared about One Way to Avoid Paying More Tax. There is yet another interesting way to avoid paying more tax come 2016, and this involves Giving from the Heart. The tax deductible for donations to recognised charity organisations will be increased from 250% to 300% for donations in this Jubilee year. For subsequent years till the end of 2018, the deductible will revert to 250%. Suppose I were to donate $1,000. The tax deductible at 300% would be $3,000. If my tax bracket is at 19.5%, that would be $585 of tax...

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One Way to Avoid Paying More Tax – SRS Adjustments from 1 Jan 2016

According to the latest budget announcements, the personal income tax will go up by as much as +2% for the higher income brackets. At the same time, the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) contribution limit would be raised from $12,750 to $15,300 for Singapore citizens and PR with effect from 1 Jan 2016. For foreigners, the corresponding SRS contribution limit would be raised from $29,750 to $35,700 (they do not have CPF contributions). Supposing that with the new taxation levels, my tax bracket is at 19.5% (i.e. taxable income above $240,000). By maxing out my SRS contribution at $15,300, this...

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Lunar New Year – A Flurry of Ang Pows

It’s the Lunar New Year, the time of the year when coffee shops are closed, fast food restaurants are crowded, as are all the fancy restaurants. Calories intake are up. And stocks are stable, only because the market is closed. For that matter, all the markets are closed too! What does one eat during New Year? Maybe that one buffet orgy at wherever it is you’re at. Steamboat, “lo hei”, pastries a plenty. All it takes is one meal a day and I’ve consumed all the intake that I should be consuming. But that’s not what I wanted to...

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