I Suck At Investing
By Derek  •  May 18, 2020
That's the brutal honest assessment of myself. Having gone through the sub-prime crisis, I thought I am ready for the next big crisis where there will be many opportunities for me to unleash my warchest. However other than a few hundred shares of STI ETF and two bank stocks, I mostly 'froze'. After evaluating myself, I believe there are two major reasons stopping me from investing: 1. Lack of Knowledge I am not exactly a newbie but I am definitely not hardworking when it comes to investing. It is very evident when I look at my peers who spent hours every day reading and analyzing reports while I spend 30 mins speed reading financial blogs. People who know me well will know that I always ask for 'Kang Tao' only to hesitate at the final moment. When I finally pull the trigger, I end up with stocks like Hyflux and Eagle Hospitality Trust. Many times, I force myself to brush up on my investment knowledge but I find it mentally draining. Time is also something of a luxury now - I hardly have one hour of personal time to do my own stuff and weekends are spent on housework and family.  I am fortunate that some of my stock picks were pretty decent but maybe because I was lucky or due to 'panadols'. However, I firmly believe that success is always a result of hard work. Without working hard to learn about investing, I will unlikely be able to achieve much success. 2. Age It is not wrong when the general consensus is that one risk appetite decreases with age. When the sub-prime crisis hit, I was in my 20s. I have almost zero liabilities and I am fearless - so what if I am retrenched, age is on my side and I am sure to be able to find a job. Fast forward a decade later, I am 40 - a HDB Flat, a kid, a car, a helper and parents who are retired. My income and savings may have increased but my liabilities have risen even more. My warchest is ten times more compared to during the sub-prime crisis but I am also ten times more afraid of losing the money. I no longer answer to myself but to my family. What should I do? I can continue to remain status quo or I can take action. However, I am not going to hunt for my Intelligent Investor book and start reading. I do not have the time and most of all, I do not enjoy doing so. I am thankful that my group of Investing Immortals did not give up on me and I finally found a suitable calling in Robo-Advisors. In case you are wondering, this is not a sponsored post. I have explored several channels - OCBC Blue Chip Investment, Philips Share Builder Plan, iFAST regular savings plan etc. I spoke to my wife and we agreed on  investing in STI ETF using Philips Share Builder Plan. That was before Covid-19 hits and I went down to their office twice but fortunately or unfortunately, I did not manage to open the account because the paperwork was not complete. When Covid-19 hits, I started buying STI ETF each time it dropped by $1 but because of the reasons I mentioned above, I did not buy a lot and the brokerage fees was a killer. With limited knowledge and a low risk appetite, I really wanted a investment tool which allows regular monthly investment with a low fee. Hence, I started exploring the possibility of Unit Trusts with my Immortals chat group and a topic on Vanguard VS Dimensional Fund Advisors was brought up. It pipped my interest and I stumble upon this killer article by Kyith from Investment Moats. We have known each other for a while. I wonder how many still know - that is where I started my investment journey. I  plan to invest in Dimensional Funds and I will create two portfolios - "My Little One" and My Sweetheart & I". It may sound weird but I like giving portfolios a name. It gives me a strange form of satisfaction or perhaps it makes losing money a bit more bearable. You can read more portfolio names here. My Little One portfolio This portfolio will be used for my son's education. I plan to invest $300 a month and the time frame is 20 years. I narrowed down to MoneyOwl and Endowus because they are the only two with Dimensional Funds. Surprise Surprise, when I was discussing with my wife who knows very little about investment, she actually knows about Dimensional Funds because they happen to be her client. I decided on MoneyOwl because they have a simple to understand chart. I suggested the "Growth" asset allocation but she prefer "Balanced" - her reason is why go for an additional 3% risk with less than 1% returns (strictly speaking standard deviation refers to volatility but I used risk since she is very concerned about how much money we may lose). We settled on her choice and she reminded me not to delay any longer. Hence I opened an account with MoneyOwl immediately. Some issues that I have encountered:
  • I registered for the account at midnight and it shows Singpass authentication will take a while but nothing happen after 10 to 20 minutes. I tried again several times to no avail. I eventually let it run over the night and in the morning it is still showing as loading. I tried again in the morning and I managed to log in within a few minutes. Maybe Singpass or MoneyOwl is doing a maintenance but I would appreciate more clarity.
  • I performed a FAST Transfer from OCBC Bank to my MoneyOwl Cash Account on Saturday and Sunday but in MoneyOwl, it is still showing as zero. I would prefer the amount to be reflected in real time.
  • There is no GIRO or automated deduction. I have to set a automated fund transfer from my Online Banking platform.
  • Clicking on the MoneyOwl icon brings me to the default home page rather than my own account dashboard.
  • There is no mobile app.
My Sweetheart & I Portfolio This is my retirement portfolio that I share with my wife. My time frame is also 20 years and I initially plan to invest $400 every month. However after experiencing the quirks in MoneyOwl, I am tempted to try Endowus. Although it is using DFA as well, the funds and bonds are different. I am curious to know the results of MoneyOwl VS Endowus using the same amount over 20 years. The challenge is to find the asset allocation that is similar to MoneyOwl "balanced" and Endowus require a upfront amount of $10,000. I am thinking of using a combination of Cash and CPF. My Lazy Man Portfolio Even with Robo-Advisors, I still find it 'sexy' to own individual stocks. More importantly, I enjoy engaging with investors. However, I need increase my knowledge and to find a way to make learning enjoyable. Christoper is a personal friend and I know he has been conducting a several investment workshops - thirteen batches of students thus far. Again this is not a sponsored post and I am not recommending his course. It just so happen that the course resonates with me:
  • He came from the IT background and will be sharing his codes in his classes.
  • He has a community where he continue to engage with his students.
  • He does not mince his words and he is not going to gloss over his mistakes or glorify his earnings.
  • The class will create a portfolio and invest in it together. With a collective effort, the time spent on maintaining the portfolio will be greatly reduced.
I would have signed up if not for the conflict in timing. Weekends are out for me and I hope he will have a class during weekdays. I also hope to be able to use the SkillsFuture Credit - Dr.Wealth hope you are reading this. I intend for this to be a short post but it ended up otherwise. I guess this is due to the accumulated weeks of 'investment tension'. I hope to implement the above portfolios ASAP so that I can focus my effort to my human capital in my job and blog to generate additional income.
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By Derek
Derek is an investor who follows Peter Lynch style of investing. He prefers to use simple and straight forward information for stock analysis. He started with the intention to bring together all bloggers and professionals who are interested or already in the area of Finance and Investing, and to create a community where everyone is free to write and to share their articles, experience and opinions.

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