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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Price Triggered Orders

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 … [Read more...]

Investing is not Saving (Part 2 of 2)

To recap from my previous post: Invest - risk capital to capture (outsized) capital gains and/or income. Saving - seeking conservative yield in return for no risk to capital (in nominal terms). Why in nominal terms? Well, if you include inflation adjusted returns, it gets us no where since you and I know the CPI is just a statistical index. What we chose to include and … [Read more...]

Investing is not Saving – Know the difference! (Part 1 of 2)

I am back to mess with your head. There are times when I am anal when it comes to precision in our choice of words - we mean what we say; we say what we mean. (Of course it helps if we have a wider grasp of vocabulary) However, there are times we should not let the trickery of words fool us. Nor get trapped by words by insisting to split hairs when it comes to semantics... Today, I shall … [Read more...]

Shitty Financial Advice

shitty-life-pro-tips - cut tennis balls in half

Look! Just cut your tennis balls in half and you can save more space! Wah lah! Don't laugh. Just look at some of the shitty financial "advice" out there: 1)  The more you spend the more you "save" kind... Enough said. 2)  Collect air miles and fly or upgrade for free! Hello, unless your Ah Kong (corporate company) pays for the air tickets, or you charge your business expenses on … [Read more...]

Can we stop using XIRR to mean annualised return?

First, the last thing I would claim would be to an England grammar vigilante. Second, I would never dare challenge anyone on math or business finance calculations. Not when the max I can count using all my fingers and toes looking down is 21. But XIRR? Really? If you have never studied business finance subjects - you've an Arts or Science background - its excusable you use XIRR as a … [Read more...]

Alternative to CPF Top-ups

Psst. Try this. If CPF is paying 2.5% interests, while banks are paying less than 1% for savings accounts, why don't you pay up your housing loans using cash? This way, you don't touch your CPF and you can enjoy the magic of compounding with higher interest rates? Also, by not touching CPF for housing, you won't be "asset rich; cash poor" when you reach age 55 or 65. How? Isn't this … [Read more...]

Understanding the “Spirit” of CPF

I think the pendulum has swung a little to the opposite direction this time... CPF money can't see and touch There was a time when people would "shun" CPF. When got chance, quickly use our CPF to buy shares, properties, useless ILPs, integrated policies, and what not. If don't use now, wait we'll never see our CPF money ever! It seems we were in a race to deplete our CPF as fast as … [Read more...]

A Flat Pancake Trading Year

Oh well! I guess the streak has to end some day, isn't it? 2013 - Doubled my trading account (Rampage!) 2014 - Tripled it! (Godlike!) 2015 - Up 88% (Double happiness!) 2016 - Up 13%... (Shy, Shy, Shy - Yes, its from K-Pop Twice's Cheer Up MV) Tale of 2 halves 2016 started fantastic. Got played out as the trend reversed? Then came mid-year where I thought surely this must be … [Read more...]

The Real Benefit of Blogging

What you expect? Money from blogging? Me? Want to know what I think? One good investment or one good trade for 2016 should be many times the dollar value what one could get from blogging. Now that's getting our priorities straight! (Something for wannebe bloggers out there) Wink. There are quite a lot of interesting characters that make this watering-hole a fun place to mingle … [Read more...]

What are Bucket Shops

I noticed a bad habit by some readers of financial blogs - too reliant and dependent on their favourite "shepherd"... For example, got question on CPF matters, instead of checking the CPF website or contacting CPF directly, prefer to be spoon-fed... If you get a summary from a summary from another summary, what do you think? Want to bet there's some "oil and vinegar" (油加醋) added to the … [Read more...]

Who died and made you Indian Chief?

For those of us in my generation, its a common phrase we use during our National Service. In our little financial bloggers community, its definitely a breeding ground for lots of self-styled Indian Chiefs. Wink. Let's turn the tables and focus on us for a change. If you are a polytechnic graduate, doing well in your career with frequent promotions despite not having a … [Read more...]

The confused “Value Investor’s” transition from Value, to GARP, to Growth Investing…

This post is stand alone. For those who have the time to read a century of comments to get the context and perspective, you may want to read this old post: Here's a question to Value Investors. When to buy When do Value Investors buy? They buy when they can find a stock that is selling below its "fair value". There are quite a few metrics to use, but fair to say … [Read more...]

Where are the Retail Growth Investors?

In my previous post, I wrote in the comments section that most retail investors began their journey as a Trader, then as a Value Investor, moving on to Dividend Investing, and finally capitulating towards Low Cost Passive Indexing when all things fail... What about Growth Investing? Ah! That was deliberate. Why? Because most retail traders and investors behave like Growth Investors … [Read more...]

Bernard Baruch – 10 Rules of Investing 

If you ask retail and professional traders alike, most will agree one of our all time favourite trading bible will be: Reminisces of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre. It's a thinly disguised biography of Jesse Livermore. A lot of trading's popular adages came from that book. If you have not already read it, I would highly recommend it. It's not your typical trading book. I promise you … [Read more...]

Headless Chicken

In the world of trading, I've learnt from painful experience its better to take a quick and small realised loss than to suffer a conviction sapping and margin eroding unrealised loss. Once I have cut loss; I feel relieved. Money can lose; but presence of mind cannot. Same goes for the investment side of my portfolio. Not taking profit can mess with our minds too. Take for example … [Read more...]

That 2% Trading Rule

It's quite easy for us trading veterans to sniff out whether a blogger is writing from personal experience or just copy paste (more polite word for plagiarism) from some other official sources. To a "bei kambing" or "white paper", since you know nothing, you'll just swallow hook, line, and sinker wholesale. That's until you have chalked up more experience points and now looking back, you'll … [Read more...]

Peer to Peer lending at 240% interest per annum?

Can. But now illegal. Still can. Just don't get caught! Remember what they said during our National Service time? Can do anything we want, just don't... Court dismisses moneylender’s bid to bankrupt debtor charged 240% annual interest rate The highest interest a fellow blogger got from his peer-to-peer lending "investments" is 18% interest per annum. Already a sizable "discount" … [Read more...]