Category Archives for Investment

Explain the power of compounding to your kid using magic

Explaining personal finance to kids can be very challenging, especially when it comes to the logic around compounding.

Here’s a simple way to explain the power of compounding with your kids. Here’s how the conversation would be like between me and my imaginary son, Tom.

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3 things I learnt about myself from Seedly’s recent event

Seedly is probably the only company that is able to organize a finance event in Singapore that managed to get people in their 20-30s to show up for a 6-hour long event, and make them pay $30 to attend.

On a lovely Saturday morning, I joined the bunch of lovely folks from Seedly at their exclusive meetup, Coffee Meets Investing. It’s a one-day meetup that discusses about a variety of topics around personal finance and investments.

Decide how much insurance coverage is sufficient for you

The recommendations made by Kenneth from Seedly on insurance planning was very similar to my low-cost insurance planning strategy. Making insurance decisions based on your income, spendings and liabilities made a lot of sense to me.

Kenneth also shared how I should choose insurance products and have meaningful decisions with my insurance agent. It’s a very sensible way in making insurance choices. The product(s) has to provide sufficient coverage, cost the lowest among its competitors and purchased for the right reasons.

I still make wrong investment decisions, even on hindsight

You know how people say hindsight is always 20/20?

Wrong!

Tai Zi from AutoWealth conducted a quiz where all the questions on investment decisions revolve around both recent and historical events. You’d think that with full information about market performances, everyone should get almost full marks right?

That wasn’t the case. Not even close!

Looking at the scoreboard, many participants were getting many of the questions wrong just like me.

The truth about making investment decisions by anticipating the results from political and economic events are really hard. Even economists don’t always get it right.

The exercise made me feel better about my investment decision to invest through AutoWealth since the start of 2018. By keeping investment simple and automated, I do not have to make any investment decisions (pretty sure I’d get it wrong anyway) at all. 🙂

Stock picking techniques did not excite me at all

Seedly invited a few folks to talk about investments, specifically on Dividend Investing by Chua I-Min and Factor-based Investing by Alvin Chow.

I think the topics are very interesting to the audience, but not to me.

Let’s talk about investing for dividends or income. I didn’t think it’s applicable at my current life stage because I’m still gainfully employed, working my way to financial independence. I don’t depend on my investments for income (yet) so I would much rather invest for capital appreciation instead.

When I’m ready to retire, I will then reduce my asset allocation to focus more on investing for income.

I’ve listened to Alvin Chow talk about Factor-based Investing before and I’ve read articles from quite a number of finance bloggers about the topic. It was just too complicated for me and I prefer to spend time NOT analyzing annual reports from companies.

Seedly helped me understand what I like and dislike about finance

I’m really thankful that Seedly took the time and effort to organize such a comprehensive event that covers the various topics around personal finance and investing without the hard-sell that usually comes with such events.

Over time, I can tell that I don’t like to spend a lot of time on identify individual stocks for investment. Instead, I’d very much prefer to keep them as simple as possible, and automate the entire wealth accumulation process.

Personal finance on the other hand, is something I’m more passionate about and I’ll try to write more about my thoughts on this topic more often in this blog.

Did you attend Seedly’s Coffee Meets Investing meetup? What are your thoughts about the event?

Making final payment for my Cambodia property investment – The Bridge

In December last year, I received a letter from Oxley WorldBridge, the property developer for The Bridge. In the letter, it was mentioned that my Cambodia property is completing ahead of time and they attached a payment notice for final payment.

That means it’s time for me to pay up the remaining 50% of the property purchase price before the end of January. As I did not take any bank loan for this purchase, everything is paid with cash.

It’s been such a long time in the making because if you’ve been following my blog, I made the purchase in 2014 and since then, I’ve been diligently saving a significant portion of my monthly salary to pay for this property.

Here’s a photo from Oxley WorldBridge’s website showing the status of construction of The Bridge in November 2017.

Minor financial adjustment needed, but all good

To be frank, I was expecting The Bridge to complete in June 2018 so I planned to set aside a portion of my monthly saving to have the final payment sum ready by June. For the property to complete ahead of schedule meant I had to make some adjustments to come up with the cash needed.

Firstly, I sold off my STI ETF and ABF Bond ETF portfolio that was accumulated monthly through my POSB Invest-Saver regular savings plan. Fortunately, the market was performing well and I netted around 3.3% gain after selling it.

Lastly, I liquidated my remaining bullion gold coins to top up the remainder of the final payment. The sale price did not yield me much gain as the gold rush was long over and I’ve made my profits a long time ago. In fact, I did not even record these gold coins in my portfolio as they were that insignificant.

What worked in my favour was the fact that the currency exchange rate between US Dollars and Singapore Dollars was down to $1.32 from a high of $1.37 in October 2017. Lucky me!

Mixed feelings about the property completion

While I didn’t like the fact that I had to liquidate my POSB Invest-Saver regular savings plan to finance the purchase, I’m grateful to be able to lock in the profits and pay off the property purchase at the start of 2018. I see this as an opportunity to revamp my investment portfolio. I have some ideas in mind to reduce my portfolio’s dependence on Singapore’s economy and instead, focus on global economies. But that’s another blog post for another time.

I wasn’t totally sure about where Cambodia property investments are headed when I made the deposit for a SOHO unit in The Bridge in 2014 and to be frank, I’m not 100% sure that I made the right call in this purchase today. We’ll probably find out in another 5-10 years time.

I’ve receive a few comments and emails about this investment and my advice remains the same. Go in with both eyes open, read everything twice, and only invest with money you can afford to lose.

My plans for my SOHO unit at The Bridge

As of now, I’m committed to paying off the full purchase price of the property (in fact, I’ve already done that before this article was posted) and I’m definitely in it for the long run. Let’s see how the property investment performs in 5-10 years time.

A few ideas that comes to mind right now are:

  1. If the rental works out for the next 3 years and the conditions of the extension in rental proposed by the property developer 3 years later are good, I’m contented to remain as a little landlord.
  2. If I find a buyer who can offer a hefty profit on top of my purchase price, I might consider selling off the property.
  3. Having travelled to Phnom Penh before, I am 50-50 on the living conditions. If the Cambodia economy blossoms and living conditions improve, I might also consider using the property as home base for retirement and rent out my HDB flat for passive retirement income.

The possibilities are endless and anything can happen. I’m going to keep my options open and see where life takes me.

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