Author: Singapore Man of Leisure

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 mix? How do people get scammed? Yup, they don’t do the verification themselves. Assuming others will do it for them, and/or have their best interest… Think about it. Would you help...

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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 university degree, guess what? You often get well meaning advice to “upgrade” and study for a degree from classmates whose career are not going anywhere, but they are always on the paper chase thinking that...

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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 these “fair value” metrics can be “calculated” from published quarterly or annual statements. Teaching or learning these metrics is easy. There are formulas, excel file templates to fill-in,...

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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 – no matter what they call themselves. Verification 1: When you made a trade to buy (long), and/or you invest in something, were you expecting the price to go up higher? Verification 2: When equities prices were low in 2009 and end 2011, did you do most of your buying then? Or...

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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 that! However, there’s a fly in the ointment. Jesse Livermore blew his brains out… A fitting reminder to all traders out there, I guess. This post is not about Jesse Livermore....

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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 – M1, a stock I’m not vested in. If you had bought in at $1.50 during 2009, you would be a most happy retail investor during March 2015 – M1 hit $3.94! That happiness was short lived...

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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 just laugh it off. It’s part of the journey. Never risk more than 2% of your trading capital per trade Let’s take the above risk management rule as example. Can’t go wrong with parroting...

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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” from the 25% that credit card companies charge for unsecured “loans” from individuals… But if we compare against high yielding junk bonds, 18% is a lot better than the 6.5% yield Swiber bond holders got. Well, so much for accredited...

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Bet you never saw it coming! (Wrong but make money)

Neither did I! Let’s not talk theory about Trump’s win yesterday. There’s enough pontifications and red-faces out there. We know who got it right; who got It wrong… Boy, was I wrong!!! Like the majority of the market, I had a small skin in the game that’s positioned for a Clinton victory – long USD/SGD. Nearly spilled my coffee when I saw Trump leading Hillary early in the morning. Markets went bonkers and it was Brexit deja vu all over again. USD dived; equities markets in Asia bled big time. S&P futures went limit down 5%, and gold went...

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My Braless Literature Teacher

This is the last post as part of the trilogy of posts looking back on my school days. For a change, its not about me. Its about the young and vivacious Literature teacher that taught us in Sec 1 at an all boys school (it was co-ed for Pre-U classes). She did her degree in UK and from the way she dressed and talks, you can tell she is “different”. She got that bohemian air about her… And when she taught in class, she was not teaching us robotically so we could pass Literature exams… No, she was clearly...

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I’m not making Tools; I’m making Art

You know what? I missed out Technical Studies completely from my previous post!? Did I study so many subjects during Sec 1 and 2? Now that’s what I call a broad education! Subconsciously, it probably showed how much I hated Technical Studies…. I’m a klutz when it comes to DIY. So how did I ended with a DIY company!? Yes, I’m the kind of “dainty” Singaporean male who will pay for someone to assemble the furniture… LOL! My Gan Eng Seng School (Anson Road) did not have a workshop. So we had our Technical lessons at Bukit Merah Secondary...

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I never failed in Art classes

I’m not sure about school nowadays, but during my Secondary 1 and 2 (1980-1981), we had to take 10 subjects. Looking back, it was the best of times since I had to learn everything – English, Chinese, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Literature, and Art. I think that’s a great approach if one is starting out on their nascent investing/trading journeys. Start broad and specialise when we know our interests and aptitude. Lawyers and doctors follow a similar path. But that’s not how most retail investors/traders approach investing/trading… I think most students (and KPI centric educators) are glad they don’t have...

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Perspective matters! You are your own shepherd

I was having my breakfast at the hawker centre this morning when I overheard an interesting banter between a quite youthful dressing “ah ma” with her granddaughter and another man in his late 60s at the next table. The senior man is single and was lamenting on his singlehood; while the ah ma was telling him she regretted marrying and its much better to be single… It was kinda fun until I noticed the poor granddaughter sitting all quiet and staring at her food with a forlorn face… Do not underestimate young children. They understand a lot more than...

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That’s it! Send in the reserves now!

As some readers may have deduced, I’m a fan of military history. When you read the historical accounts of famous battles, you’ll find military commanders withholding their reserves and committing them only at right moment of the battle. The reason you don’t commit your forces all at once (show hand) is so you can deal with the fluidity of the battle and react if there’s a breakout or counter-attack from the enemy. Unless of course you are a military genius who can predict your opponent’s moves – always one step in advance. Now look at your portfolio. Have your...

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