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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

The Math of Averaging Down

Test your math. What's the difference between a -80% loss and a -90% loss? 50%. If the answer came to you immediately, you can stop reading. In years gone by, you probably would have made good profits by spotting arbitrage opportunities! But now, its a lot harder with high frequency trading and all... Show me, show me! For the rest of us mortals, let me illustrate: You bought a … [Read more...]

Its not about the tracking and measurement silly!

The reason why its important to track and measure performance is not the actual measurement in itself - its to provide actionable information for us to improve our game. Americans are the no.1 when it comes to statistics - just look at their sporting stats! But why is it then some have been tracking and measuring their investing/trading performance for years yet there's little or no … [Read more...]

Who will like this SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF?

Japan yield hunters Top of my mind, I think Mr and Mrs Watanabe will like this ETF! I mean Mrs Watanabe is famous for being conversant with forex trading as a side income. So foreign exchange risk is not an issue since they are not "bei kambings" (white little lambs). With negative interest rates back home, Japanese insurers and pension funds have been piling into Australian bonds as … [Read more...]

How to double your income in sales

In sales, this is how we motivate and inspire our underlings to sell more! First, we track ask them to track their sales performance. For eg, how many customers they approached per day, how many of them turned into sales that day. We will then get their closing ratio. A sales person may score 1:10 - meaning for every 10 customers he applied his snake oil sales pitch on; 1 turned into … [Read more...]

Can afford a place of our own after working for 5 years

Very few countries (or cities) in the world can young couples afford to buy a place of their own just after working for 5 years. Singapore is one such place. Of course I'm not talking about private properties. But if it's HDB BTO 3 room in mature estates and HDB BTO 4 room in new (euphemism for ulu) estates - they cost about the same around $400K? Its more a choice between better location … [Read more...]

How to verify “wah kali kong” advice

Proud declaration: I never practice cut-loss! Verify: You got any 10 baggers in your portfolio before? No? Walk away... Smug face: I measure and track my portfolio right down to 2 decimal places. Verify: Your portfolio in the red or black? Red? Walk away... Snake-oil: The future of trading is automated trading! Verify: How many copies of your software have you sold to … [Read more...]

From the frying pan to the fire – Unit Trust to ETF

For those of you who have actual investing experience with unit trusts, and I mean 5 to 10 or more years worth of personal track record, there are 2 main reasons why you lost money. See if you can identify with them. You were sold to... When listening to people who complained about their bad experiences with unit trusts, its like listening to how they were sold "bad" insurance … [Read more...]

“Bei kambing” passive index investors – Part 2 of 2 (Why STI ETF?)

Why STI ETF? Why indeed! There are thousands and thousands of low cost ETFs around the world. How did you end up with the STI ETF as your one and only ETF for Passive Indexing? I only know my own backyard If you are a Singaporean studying/working in the US, and you have decided to embrace Passive Indexing, which ETF would you buy? Same goes for if you are a Malaysian or … [Read more...]

“Bei kambing” passive index investors – Part 1 of 2

love to watch documentaries. For many years, I've always believed gravity is pulling us down to Earth - the Newtonian and main stream view that the common man in the street knows and accepts as "correct". What do you know? After watching documentaries on Einstein and his General Theory of Relativity, I've learnt that its in fact the curvature of space-time above us that's pushing us down to … [Read more...]

Position Sizing and Diversification

First, read this Bloomberg article: How Singapore's Not-Really-Rich Have Been Burned By Swiber Bonds I know, you not interested as you don't have $250K to buy into bonds in a single pop. Wait, there's a hidden message you are missing. That's risk management. What if the accredited investor has 10 million dollars in liquidity (do not count property assets)? Buying an unrated bond and … [Read more...]

Investment letters used as tools for fraud

Its not about being cynical. It has everything to do with financial literacy. Imagine how it would look if you go round helping your financially "illiterate" friends and family members; only to find yourself a victim of a fraud... Stock Trading Whiz Kid” to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle Stock Newsletter Fraud Charges Investment Newsletters Used as Tools for Fraud Yes, there's nothing … [Read more...]

Why we love Top 10 lists

When you walked into a bookshop, do you take a glance at the Top 10 best sellers list? How about music? Top 10 lists galore! One for each music genre... Top 10 travel destinations anyone? Do you know why marketers love Top 10 lists? On the same note, just imagine some clueless Singaporeans have to depend on some ang mohs - do a small rush rush sample; give a few stars - to tell us … [Read more...]

I poke myself

Wait. Don't be so eager. First, some foreplay to get us into the mood: mrbrown's Joseph Schooling Bandwagon List of Shamelessness Singapore National Olympic Council warns local corporations against jumping on Schooling's coattails I'm shameless If you look at my "Popular Top Ten Posts" at the right, can you spot the shameless post? Yup, its that Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang … [Read more...]

Income Statement versus Balance Sheet

Equities investors focus on the Income (Profit & Loss) statement - how much you make? Corporate bond investors focus on the Balance Sheet statement - can you pay me back? Some corporate bond investors and peer-to-peer lenders have found out the hard way the differences between making secured and unsecured loans... Have you seen the title deed to your property? The smart bank is "safe … [Read more...]