Monday, April 23, 2012

FraserCenterPoint (FCT) 2Q12 Results - 23 April 2012

- Frasers Centrepoint Trust ("FCT"), is pleased to announce distribution per unit ("DPU") of 2.50 cents for the period 1 January to 31 March 2012 ("2Q12"). The 2Q12 DPU is a new all-time high for FCT and is 20.8% higher than the 2.07 cents distributed in the same period a year ago.
 of 5.49 times for 2Q12. FCT’s average cost of borrowings for 2Q12 improved to 3.04% from 3.06% in the previous quarter.

- Gross revenue was up 27.4% year-on-year to $36.7 million and net property income jumped 30.4% to $26.2 million. Income available for distribution for the quarter was $21.3 million, of which $20.6 million will be paid to unitholders on 30 May 2012. $0.7 million has been retained, adding to the $1.6 million retained in the previous quarter.

- FCT’s financial position remains strong with gearing level at 30.9% as at 31 March 2012 and interest cover

- Main contributions coming in from AEI (Asset Enhancement Initiative) of Causeway Point and positive contributions full quarter of Bedok Point which drive higher DPU for the quarter.

- With AEI from Causeway Point expected to fully complete by December 2012, expect DPU to keep rising towards the next few quarters.

- Share price remains strong and look to progressively rise towards the year end.

- Vested with 10 lots :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quitting your job in a dignified manner

In a few weeks time, I will be leaving my current company and moving on to a new role in a new set of environment. It has been a decision made not hastily or easily as such decision will probably change the face of my career for life. Sometime when it seems that when grass is greener on the other side, it may be difficult to maintain the same cordial and warm relationship with your current employer, specially during last few days when you are finishing up unfinished tasks or preparing your replacement to fit in your position. The focus here is on the manner you will leave your employer.

When you are counting your days at your current employer, spare a thought for the people you are leaving behind, the company you are quitting from, which provided your pay check for last few months or years. Imagine the day when you joined them and started embarking on a journey together. The enthusiasm and zeal you showed during first few days those were for real, those were to excel in your new job. For whatever reasons you are quitting make it memorable for the people you are leaving behind.

To me, parting is always painful; Whenever I had my bad days in the office, I would have people around me who would be willing to chip in to help. Those moments of joy, however few it might have, when we celebrated on my team success always stays on my heart. It is sometimes painful to say good-bye and move on.

Before I made my decision to resign, I make sure that these quitting rules are adhered, it’s another essential aspect of being a valuable employee.

1. Always calculate the net benefit

It is not just related to increase in compensation. I always do a research on the new company before I say ‘yes’ to them. It has to be a good environment and by interviewing with your potential supervisor, you have the feel of the type of person he is. Afterall, a good boss to work with makes everything smoother and easier.

2. Always give myself another chance in the company

I always try to see myself in the next 5 years in the company. When it seems that the potential upside is limited, I would try to see if this issue can be addressed. Unfortunately, not all of these things are within my control.

3. I made a dignified exit

I would never said anything bad about my employer, manager or co-workers. Even the rudest of them was greeted with warm smile and acknowledgement. Gossiping about the boss is perhaps the most loved office hallway talk, but never assume that someone is not spying for him or her, because most likely some one is. Did you ever think why suddenly your manager turned a blind eye on you?

Your current manager might become one of your rescuers one day, when getting jobs become tough each and every past manager becomes your potential recruiter or when you need their help to commend you in your references note.

4. I continued the same rigorous manner during last few days

No matter how hard you try, it’s pretty tough to continue working with same rigor during last few days. But I did work up to my level best, whether it was during knowledge transfer or finishing up with project work. I stayed for the same hours as I did before and made sure my replacement is more than ready.

If first impression is the best impression, it’s the last impression which people remember for years.

I do take with me the learning from past jobs, the knowledge and skills you acquire are your assets and they will surely impress people at new job.

No matter how satisfied you are with your job, it doesn’t hurt to look for better options, a change of atmosphere is good for your senses, your mind, your skills and your pocket.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Becoming Wealthy Is Really That Simple, But It’s Not Easy

A prevailing belief held by many people is that there is some great secret to becoming wealthy. If you could just discover that secret, or find the “trick” to it, you could become wealthy. Few people realize, though, that the simple “basics” are all you need to build wealth. That said, the reason so many people fail is that simple does not mean easy.

Simple Actions that Lead to Wealth

The “secret” to wealth isn’t much of a secret at all. Indeed, a variety of simple concepts and equally simple actions can be applied in order to help you achieve prosperity:

•Spend less than you earn. The #1 rule of personal finance is striking in its simplicity. This is speaking in obvious. If you want to amass riches, you can’t spend all of your money or more than what you earn. You must live within your means, taking care that you never live up to your income.

•Reduce your debt. Pay down your debt, and you free up resources that can be used to improve your net worth. If you are leveraging on your loan, repay your loans diligently and tactfully. Reduce the amount of interest you pay to others, and instead use that money to your advantage.

•Grow your income. If you want more money, you need to earn more money. Look for ways to grow your income, including both maximizing the lifetime earnings of your career as well as non-career ways to make more money like part-time jobs, and other passive income sources. Staying overtime in the office that doesnt pays you extra money will not bring in extra money for you!!

•Save for the future. Your rainy day and emergency fund can protect you against financial setbacks or any emergency that you cannot foresee now. Be prepared and stay calm.

•Invest in yourself. Wealth also depends on your own human capital. Invest in yourself by gaining an education, and/or developing a skill. It doesnt necessarily need to be a degree; all you need may be a marketable skill, or a knowledge base that helps you better earn and manage money.

•Play good defense. Be sure to avoid the worst money mistakes anyone could make. They can derail your financial gains and even completely ruin all of the hard work you put in to grow your net worth.

When reading the above actions, it’s easy to dismiss them. “If it were so easy, everyone would be wealthy.” And that’s the rub. The steps that lead to wealth are simple concepts that anyone can grasp. Actually putting them into action over the span of a lifetime is far from easy.

Wealth Isn’t Easy: Discipline, Patience, and Persistence

Building wealth isn’t easy because it also requires the specific traits of discipline, patience, and persistence. That’s the hard part – and where the work is done.

Discipline requires that you show a measure of self-control as you spend. Rather than buying everything you want, you need to prioritize your spending, and purchase only what is most important to you. Discipline is also required when paying down debt and saving money. Instead of using your resources for all fun things all the time, you need to exercise self-denial and discipline to get rid of your debt and build your savings.

Even earning money requires discipline. Growing your income means that sometimes you have to get up early and do extra work for extra income. Occasionally, you have to complete tasks you find unpleasant. Even knowledge and skills are acquired only after you exercise the discipline to study and to practice.

Patience is a rare trait in today’s world. We are bombarded with messages of instant gratification and entitlement. You deserve that expensive car now. You can put your vacation on a credit card – with zero interest. A 60-inch television can come home with you immediately if you qualify for in-store financing. The inability to wait to save up the money for the things we want leads to debt and financial insecurity.

Another difficulty is that few have the patience to wait for results. Your business ventures won’t yield results overnight. A good emergency fund takes months, or even years, to build. Dollar-cost averaging in your investment portfolio requires the patience of decades.

Persistence consists mainly of the ability to keep with your wealth-building efforts. It’s easy to give up when you don’t see instant results, or when you see your neighbors enjoying their over-leveraged lifestyles. However, in the long run, those neighbors are likely to have very little wealth, since most of the stuff they enjoy now have been bought with debt. It’s hard to see that when everyone around you is having fun while you follow a more practical course.

Bottom Line

Take action now. There will be many "noises" and "temptation" along the path in your life and it is really up to you to decide who or which path to follow. Follow the simple concepts of building wealth with discipline, patience, persistence, and you will eventually achieve financial freedom. Yes, the concepts behind wealth are really that simple, but it takes hard work to put them into practice.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Times Series - "10 Year Savings Plan Pays Off"

Here is an article by the Sunday Times which I found to be interesting.

The owner of Foord Asset Management, Mr Dave Foord, believes in investing for the long term so compound interest can work its magic.

'Everybody can gain financial independence within 25 to 35 years,' he said.

'It's possible to save and make money. The hardest part is the first 10 years to get enough capital.'

With that capital, it will take an increasingly shorter time to double your money thereafter, said Mr Foord.

The problem for most people is discipline, added the Zimbabwe- born British citizen. 'As you earn, you tend to spend more. So, the most important thing to control is your lifestyle.'

Mr Foord, 59, is now living off the dividends from his investments and living the life of his dreams.

Home over the past 12 years has mostly been a boat, which he sailed around the Mediterranean Sea. He sold that 42-foot sailing catamaran last year for $400,000 and has just bought a 62-foot sailing catamaran in New Zealand for $2million.

He will sail it around the Asia-Pacific for the next five years.

His firm, which is based in Cape Town, South Africa, has an office in Guernsey, off the coast of France, and will have an office in Singapore by the end of the year. 'I see Singapore as the Switzerland of Asia and I think growth in Asia will be higher than in the rest of the world.'

His partner of 12 years is Ria Voutsas and he has three children, in their 30s, from a previous marriage.

Q: Are you a spender or saver?

I have always been a saver. I don't have toys or fancy cars and I have the mindset of not spending beyond my means.

I started to save diligently from the age of 27, with the aim of investing the money for a higher return.

And for about seven years, my family would mostly stay at home and eat out only on special occasions. We also did not travel as it was too expensive. Meanwhile, my friends were living it up.

Within a few years, I accepted frugality as normal. After 10 years, it became much easier, as I could still save while my standard of living was catching up with my contemporaries. Then, after 15 years, my standard of living was above my contemporaries' and I was still able to save because I had no debt and was earning compound interest on my investments.

Q: How much do you charge to your credit cards every month?

I do not like credit cards. I have debit cards and a company card though I seldom use them. I like to carry cash.

Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?

I started my financial planning when I was 27, when I was earning US$1,000 a month as an investment analyst with a life assurance company in South Africa.

That was when I devised this 10-year savings plan, as I believed savings would create capital and capital would free me from working and give me independence.

I calculated that with compound interest, I could end up with US$100,000 in 10 years.

The idea was to save at least 10 per cent of my monthly salary, and then invest the money in the stock market. Then, one day, the income from my savings would be the same as my earnings.

I was inspired by this book The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clason, which says that if you cut back now, you can enjoy later.

It's the initial phase that is difficult. But you need to be disciplined. It's just 10 years at most.

I started saving US$100 a month. As my salary increased, I saved more. In five years, I had $25,000. I was lucky as I caught the bull market and was able to reap higher-than-usual returns from my investments in shares.

Q: What advice would you give to investors?

Saving 10 per cent per annum and earning 10 per cent on your savings, the rule of 72 (a way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of interest) shows that you can double your investment in 7.2 years.

The second time round, it takes half that time to double your money. The next doubling can be achieved in an even shorter time. Eventually, you have enough capital to earn the equivalent of your salary without working.

If you earn a lower return on your savings, you'll have to work a bit longer, but that is okay because the big goal of financial independence will come within a few years.

When you are saving, your biggest enemy is inflation, your second biggest is yourself, and your third is the banks and financial institutions, which want to charge fees and take away your money.

You can invest in funds but not those that charge too much. You can also choose those where the portfolio managers have been beating the benchmark consistently.

Don't go to the banks and pay them upfront fees. Choose low-cost funds instead. If you have the time and inclination, select individual stocks. It's not easy. About 10 to 15 is all you need and they should not be in the same industries.

Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

I am an only child and I grew up in Zimbabwe. My father was a bank clerk and my mother was a secretary. They were both the only child in their families.

My father left Britain in 1948, as people there were starving after the war, and headed for South Africa.

On board the ship, he met a farmer returning to Zimbabwe and they became friends. When my father could not get a job in Cape Town, he went to Zimbabwe, where his new friend said he could find work. He did, and worked there for 35 years in the same bank. I went to school there before going to university in South Africa.

My father was pretty frugal and told me not to borrow from banks.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

At university, I joined a portfolio competition, where I selected shares over a three-month period, and I won.

I thought it was interesting and then I found it to be a challenge I relished because it was about dealing with the future and with uncertainty. That has always been stimulating to me.

Q: What property do you own?

I own just one residential property, in Cape Town, which I bought in 1999 at a market low with cash. I bought it from a developer in trouble at a crazy low price.

Other people who bought it at the same time as me sold as soon as the money doubled. But I didn't. I spent money fixing it and it is now worth 20 times more. It shows you must have the patience to hold.

Q: What's the most extravagant thing you have bought?

Twelve years ago, I bought a bottle of red wine for $1,200 at a restaurant. It was an impulse purchase but I have no regrets. I shared it with a friend who loves red wine.

Q: What's your retirement plan?

I retired 12 years ago. I enjoy managing money and I now do it from wherever I am. I spend 10 hours a day managing my money. It's my hobby. I am a director at Foord Asset Management but I don't have a salary. My time is my own. I can choose to do no hours or 10 hours.

Q: Home is now...

The house in Cape Town, a boat in Asia-Pacific, and Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore, depending on the time of the year.

Q: I drive...

A 12-year-old white Audi A8 in Cape Town.