Author: Unintelligent Nerd

Curious observation of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle sales across Bullion Dealers

On-and-off, I will monitor the respective websites of BullionStar and GoldSilver Central for any second-hand antique bullions offloaded by other customers. As a pet rock collector, the appearance of multiple Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles at BullionStar’s site a couple of months back piqued my interest.       After spending a few weeks contemplating whether to plough my funds in to add the esteemed coin to my personal collection, said coin went out of stock. Oh well, I thought. I have missed the boat. Anyway, the coin is not something that I must have; it’s something that is nice to...

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Claiming your SkillsFuture Credit

As requested by Sy in my previous post, here are the steps I took to claim my SkillsFuture Credit. Depending on who your course provider is and how they handle claims (either you pay first and they reimburse you later or the government pays the training provider directly), your experience in claiming the SkillsFuture Credit may vary. In my case, the prevailing arrangement is that the government pays the training provider directly. For my course, there is both a tuition fee component as well as an “other fees” component. It is explicitly stated by my training provider that the...

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Small issue with SkillsFuture Credit Claim

I have just received my course fee payment letter today. In 2 weeks’ time, I’ll be done with my 1-year academic programme. Following which, I have already applied and secured a place for yet another 1-year academic programme which I need to make payment for. This time round, I intend to use the SkillsFuture Credit to make payment, since it makes more sense to use it earlier compared to the PSEA account or other free resources (see here). Previously, I avoided using the SkillsFuture Credit for payment as I had to pay out of my own pocket first before...

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Is your family on the same page?

My mum knows what I am going to do in a market crash. I am going to empty my bank accounts in all their entirety and dump it into the stock market. This is not news to her. I have shared with her plenty of times my plan of action. However, I think it didn’t register in her head until recently when she clarified what do I mean when I say I am going to empty my bank accounts. Is it a figure of speech or is it a literal statement? When she realized it was the latter, she...

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Q2 2017 Portfolio Update

It’s midway through July and here I am typing out my Q2 2017 Portfolio Update. I have the necessary data but I was too lazy to slice and dice the data and organize it into a coherent post. Guess I’ll be doing it today. I’m using Kyith’s Stock Portfolio Tracker and dividends received are presented in a yearly format. In my last quarter update, I had to manually slice and dice the data in order to present the same information in a quarterly format. I spent yesterday night writing a R script to automate that process. Now quarterly updates...

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Using DeadMalls.com to assess the state of US retail REITs

Retail REITs are an interesting bunch. Besides analyzing the REIT’s financial statements, unitholders and potential unitholders could also consider heading down to the properties to observe first-hand how the REIT is faring. Is the mall thriving? How is the traffic like? How is the ambiance? For the Singaporean investor interested in some of the retail S-REITs, getting answers to such questions is fairly straightforward: Vested in CapitaLand Mall Trust? You could visit Plaza Singapura (and many others). What about Frasers Centrepoint Trust? Head down to Causeway Point (and many others). Starhill Global? Go to Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann...

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Consumer Staples: Yummy, but could be yummier

On-and-off, I have been monitoring the US consumer staples sector. This sector has been going nowhere but up, denying me opportunities to create meaningful positions in this sector. Well, it looks like things are finally changing. Let’s just stop to smell the flowers. Amaranthine beauties don’t bloom everyday, ya know? (Pun intended). It is good to keep myself occupied with both work and school work. That way, my itchy fingers wouldn’t meddle with stuff that’s not meant to be touched. So, what’s with the consumer staples sector? Popular explanations include the fear of Amazon extending its tendrils into the...

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Of sweet potatoes and tapiocas: what the young has not experienced

My grandmother lived through the Japanese Occupation. During that time, life was difficult and food was scarce. What is taken for granted today, such as meat products, were a luxury in those times of trials. To subsist, my grandmother relied on the lowly sweet potatoes and tapiocas. It is not much, but it could keep the hunger pangs away for another couple of hours. Come lunch or dinner, she is greeted with the same source of nourishment. From a third-person perspective, these situations evoked a reflective response in me. First, there is a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for...

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Considering the possibility of retrenchment: its potential impact and my response

Well, well, what do ya know? Reporting season is upon us and my superiors have to report to top management as to whether our research KPIs have been met. From the topic title, you could probably guess that my team failed to hit their KPIs. Data collection has been abysmally slow and, without data and research findings, research funding may get cut. When one of my bosses, let’s call her Dr Janice (not her real name), implied the above, my fellow colleagues were in shock. Me? I was strangely calm. It was not until Dr Janice left the office...

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Kadenze: the "Coursera" for creative professionals

While searching for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) the other day, I got a pleasant surprise when I came across Kadenze. According to its website, Kadenze is a MOOC provider that is geared towards Technology and the Arts. What’s more interesting (to me at least) is that Kadenze offers a module on Deep Learning. Apart from Udacity’s offering on Deep Learning, I know not of any other MOOC providers who offer courses delving into said subject. There are other courses on machine learning and data mining as well, just that it is contextualized to the arts field. Soooooooo, what...

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Recognizing and seizing opportunities

Not too long ago, I came to learn of yet another individual from my field starting a statistics tutoring business. I have toyed with the idea before. After all, quite a huge proportion of people from my field of social science are absolutely terrified of statistics. Some of them have even shared with me that their choice of major was predicated on the fact that the fields of arts, social sciences, and humanities lacked mathematics (and concomitantly, its sister subject, statistics). Well, their hopes were dashed since statistics is a course requirement. :P Come assignment/thesis-submission and statistics exam time,...

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Yahoo Finance API discontinued

Not too long after I wrote my R script to automate the computation of Spearman’s correlation of stock counters (see here), the script failed to work. A real bummer indeed. To cut to the chase, the underlying import function from Quantmod was down. As expected, the Quantmod package developer received a flurry of questions from disgruntled users who were also unable to import the historical stock data from Yahoo Finance into R for data processing. Well, it wasn’t the developer’s fault. Apparently, Yahoo Finance stealthily decided to discontinue the data importing functionality for no rhyme or reason. For those...

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Correlations among the Fraser family members using R

So I’ve been fiddling around with R over the weekends. R is both the name of a programming language and an open-source software which is used for statistical computing. I’m using R in the workplace and it comes equipped with a full suite of packages for various kinds of data manipulation/analysis/etc. Not too long ago, I wondered whether could R be used for investing-related purposes. True enough, there was a package known as quantmod which would be a treasure trove for traders. After some fiddling around, what I liked about quantmod is its ease in importing data from various financial sources...

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A colleague’s financial woes

Recently, a colleague of mine has been experiencing an increased amount of financial stress in his life. He is going to get married soon, have to pay the down payment for his flat, and commence paying the monthly installments like all budding home owners. Besides the looming mountain of debt, he also has to service a whole life policy a “friend” sold him. Having read up a little on insurance after purchasing the whole life policy, he realized he got a sucker’s deal. He is hesitant to terminate the policy as he would not get back the full value...

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The newest con artist on the block

I’m still feeling pretty angry over an episode that happened earlier today. I was out with my mum for a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood and she was approached by an individual who possessed certain characteristics that evoked pity. At first, said individual offered some “products” to her, citing that it is for “charity.” According to the individual, these products are “free”; the recipient is given the freedom to decide whether they would want to give a token amount to said individual. Despite my mum’s reluctance, said individual forced the products on my mum’s hands. My mum tried to...

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