Author: Unintelligent Nerd

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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Q1 2017 Portfolio Update

Time flies. With a blink of an eye, the first quarter of 2017 has ended. How has my portfolio fared for the first three months of 2017? Decently, I guess? I think I should let the two charts do the talking. At one glance, Q1 2017 seems waaaaayyy horrible than Q1 2016. The huge bump in dividend in Q1 2016 was attributed to Saizen REIT. Portfolio-wise, I have been decreasing my reliance on REITs for income. I have initiated new non-REIT positions to reduce the proportion that REITs play in my portfolio. In fact, there is a slight departure...

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History of Cash Calls for REITs (Updated as at 19 March 2017)

Wow. Time flies. It has been 7 months since I posted a list detailing the history of cash calls for REITs. I have just done an update to the list: 1). Added in new cash calls that happened within this period 2). Rearranged the list by alphabetical order 3). Added in past private placements which I have missed out 4). Created a page/tab to contain the information *points above* (or click here if you are using your mobile and am unable to view the page/tab) From this point forward, any changes to the list will be reflected in that...

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Correction: POSB Invest-Saver’s monthly contribution amount can be readily tweaked!

Apparently the POSB staff made a boo boo. In my post on Optimizing my POSB Invest-Saver Plan, I shared that changes to the monthly investment amount only takes effect on the next next month. This information was provided to me by the POSB staff. However, a few days later……. The following screenshot from my iBanking account shows otherwise. This is good news. I can now “optimize” my indexing. There’s another point to be noted though. On the night itself (9 March 2017) when I made the change in contribution amount from $200/month to $100/month, the monthly contribution amount is...

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Changes to Travel Smart Rewards

I received an email notification from Travel Smart Rewards today. For existing Travel Smart users, do take note of the following: Travel Smart Rewards will be transformed soon! In 1 April 2017, a new Travel Smart Rewards will be launched on a refreshed portal with new features and games. As an existing user, you will be automatically transferred to the new system. All you need to do is to update your personal details, and we will reward you with additional perks. A personalised link to update your details will be sent to your existing email address next month. For...

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Optimizing my POSB Invest-Saver Plan

I started out my investing journey in March 2015. Back then, I was very much influenced by the works of commercial financial bloggers. “Buy STI ETF” they say. “You sure can’t go wrong with this. 8% returns per annum! Furthermore, you get instant diversification with 30 brand name counters which everyone knows!” Books I read seemed to lend credence to this sentiment. After further research and being marginally aware of the drawbacks of passive indexing, I started plonking down $200 each month into the POSB Invest-Saver Plan. Fast forward to now. The economy is not good and yet the...

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Allocating edu-chest resources

I have done some additional thinking after my two posts on the Skillsfuture Qualification Award and the Post-Secondary Education Account. These are resources for us to utilize, to upgrade ourselves in the face of even greater uncertainty in the job market. Besides the SkillsFuture credit, I have found other resources which could be used as well. As a whole, this pool of resources could be conceived of as an “edu-chest”, a war chest of sorts to deploy for education/professional development purposes. In this piece, I will delimit “education/professional development courses” to refer to courses which range in cost from...

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Coursera’s Paywall: What you could do about it

I was trying out a Coursera course yesterday before being rudely interrupted by the paywall. Prior to this incident, Coursera courses are free to complete (unless you wanted to pay for a certificate). I’ve spent quite a bit on Coursera courses when I was still a noob who couldn’t differentiate between the quality of the courses offered. Once I’ve done my fair share of courses on the platform, I became far more discriminating in whether I would want to top up money to get a certificate. This time round, the finance course I tried out had all materials available...

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SCB e$aver Bonus Interest (1 Feb to 31 Mar 2017)

For those unaware, there’s bonus interest to be gotten from SCB from 1 Feb to 31 Mar 2017. For more information, see here. Though it is for a short period only, I’ve made the transfer to net me slightly higher interest than the CIMB FastSaver’s 1%. I used to wonder why other financial bloggers would bother transferring funds from one saving account to another to net additional interest income. With internet banking, it has become pretty...

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