Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Xirr Performance & Other Reviews

As we entered the final phase of the end of the 2019 year, it's time to do a review of how the year went for us and what lessons can we learnt from this year.


From a career's perspective, things are looking rather decent with not much progress from the very last I changed job which means things are not taking a big scale as much as I had expected. Still, it was an interesting year because this is the year I've changed industry and met variety of people in the industry which I would have never met had I remained in my earlier role.

The good thing about the change is it also allows me to look at a different lense on a totally new perspective on start up, unicorn companies and VCs and this will come in a lot handy when analysing the Nasdaq companies for me in the future.


Health on a personal front was excellent this year.

I started eating healthier intake of food such as kale and strawberry for breakfast and less on sugar intake in particular.

I also had time to instil more discipline on exercise and had my children followed me as well.

Because of this, the number of times I fell sick during the year was much lesser compared to the past and this will be a good foundation to continue in the 2020 ahead.


This is one aspect which we deliberately made it a bit of struggle.

Cash flow was a lot tighter this year than the previous year as we had invested most of the cash for our hard cash down-payment for our new house and also made some payment for the hospital bills we incurred.

Because of this, there is very little cashflow that is available for stock investment and hence my focus will be on generating more capital again in the next few years to come through my job.

For some reason, this feels very much like when I had started my first job as a fresh grad some 10-12 years ago, except the difference now we have two homes on hand.

Stock Performance

Stock performance was a little lackluster this year especially in the 2H of the year after I sold off my Vicom and NetLink Trust stakes in Aug.

The first half of the year was exceptionally great as my biggest position Vicom gained 19.2% when I sold all of them at an average price of $7.15. Had I hold it until today, I would have been able to make more as Vicom is currently at $7.77 but it is incredibly difficult to predict.

Since then, the proceeds have gone to other investments that I made in DBS (short), Starhub (short), HK Land, all of which has not really took off in the 2H.

Because of this, the return this year has slightly dipped during the 2H of the year, though still outperform the larger market at 17.4%, as compared to 8.9% for the STI ETF. 

Against, the US market though, it has underperformed with all 3 major indexes gaining more than 20% in 2019.

The next few years is likely to be a rebuilding process for me again and I am certainly hoping that market dips along the way would look to enhance that process faster.

I am also likely to engage the global companies more, especially tech companies in the US, given my current competencies in these areas have widen than before so it will be interesting to have them more diversified into my portfolio wealth building.

Here's wishing every readers of this blog a Merry Xmas and a happy new year 2020 ahead!

Thanks for reading.

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Willcraft - Your Online Estate Planning Platform

Wills are not something that is often discussed enough within many of the family members because it usually involves talking about death, which is a taboo topic to bring up in the first place. As a result, many families choose to delay because it just doesn't seem too necessary to bring up at this point in time.

But as we learnt from many of the past cases, death can at times comes in an untimely manner and least expected hence it is important to look at them objectively rather than avoiding it totally like a plaque.

Since death is something that will come to us naturally some day or another, we should plan for it, the earlier the better, especially once we start having a family of our own.

Conversations With My Wife

Being a financial writer, I am naturally drawn to anything that is related to financial planning and this includes the likes of having sufficient insurance coverage for the family members as well as estate planning.

Ever since we started having children of our own, we've began planning for the longer term. At the very top of our agenda it includes the immediate needs for the costs of their education, sufficient hospitalization coverage for their health needs as well as a list of all our assets and estates so we know ahead of the plans what to do in the case of an emergency. This especially comes in handy given one of the important lessons I learnt particularly from my Dad's situation.

As a parent, if you do not have a will, the welfare of your child may be quite uncertain and confusing based on the distribution act. Based on the accordance of the Intestate Succession Act, the distribution of the assets will be based on 50% to one of the surviving spouse, and the other 50% to the children in equal portions.

If your children is under the age of 21, then it is advisable to appoint a guardian to act on the children's behalf until they turn 21 under the Guardianship of Infants Act. The assets will continue to be held in the trust.

Having a will directing on some of these instructions just makes things easier to follow both for the guardians and the child.

If you do not have a will, then the process before the distribution takes place, which is called the probate, will take generally between 6 to 9 months.

What to include in a Will?

Here are the lists of what to include in your will:

1.) A list of all your assets. 
2.) A list of all your liabilities.
3.) The beneficiaries (who to give the assets to) and guardians (if the beneficiaries are under the legal age) and how much each will receive.
4.) The executors (to carry out your will).
5.) A revocation clause to revoke any and all previous wills.
6.) A residuary clause that distributes any remainder of your estate according to your wishes.
7.) Funeral instructions.

Is CPF covered under your will?

The answer is no.

You must make a CPF nomination if you want your CPF savings to be distributed according to your wishes upon your passing.

Otherwise, your CPF savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee's Office and distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act.

Why Willcraft?

Willcraft is an online drafting platform that allows you to make a quick, convenient and hassle-free will down only in a few minutes.

Unlike some law firms which charge based on number of hours or clauses, Willcraft's pricing packages come in 3 tiered, depending on the comprehensiveness and complexity of your will needs.

The most essential package is the one with $49 package, which includes 1-to-1 executor to beneficiary.

If you have a bigger families, for example with children, then it is advisable to you take the basic package which costs slightly higher at $99. This includes 1-to-2 executor to beneficiaries and it includes a couple more detailed situations such as how to specifically handle your funeral instructions and procedures.

The Premium package is for more complex situations where you have more than 1 executor and up to unlimited beneficiaries to cater your will situation to.

Once you have submitted your will instructions online, you will have the option as to whether you'd like to engage a lawyer to witness your will instructions that you have effected in the contents.

Willcraft has two lawyer firm partners that they are working closely together with that you can choose or you can simply choose to do away with the witness if you are comfortable with what it offers.

In Singapore, you do not strictly require a lawyer to write a will. However, it is best to engage a wills lawyer if your requirements are complex so they may be able to explain certain aspects of your will content to make it clearer.

I felt that it is a lot more convenient to draft a will online than engaging an external lawyer as my case was more direct and straightforward and I had clear instructions on what to input in the arrangements.

In my case, all I need is a 20 minutes attention on my laptop where I drafted the information of my beneficiaries, executors and witnesses and then it was done and dusted. This beats having to engaging a lawyer where they might charge more for the number of hours that you engage them.

At the end of the draft, you will be brought to a page where you will have to pay for the services that you engage and then your will is submitted.

Overall, I enjoyed the simplicity and direction of what willcraft has to offer and the platform is simple to navigate and use.

If you find yourself wanting to do this end of your financial planning, you can try engaging Willcraft to see how it works for you. The best part is you are able to navigate and try the service until the last part before they bill you, so you can try to see if this works out to your taste.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Willcraft and you should seek all legal advice from a professional before making a decision.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

8D7N Shanghai Trip - Costs & Itineraries

We spent about a week for this year end trip to Shanghai which we spent on en route leading to Christmas day.

It was a nice spot between not overly long distance trip and also where the budget allows so we have chosen Shanghai as our ideal destination for this year.

We had so much fun exploring the city in a pretty unfashionable way that it feels a lot like an adventure. The goal here is to explore like the local so we went to places which a lot of locals went to.

We walked a lot using our Google maps through the vpn channel which I thought was pretty reliable.

Since this is a personal finance blog, I'd do a recap of how much we spent on each category in general so we know how much to cater and budget the next time we travel.

This is a trip for 5 pax, which includes two young children and we also brought our maid to tag along with us for the trip.

Flight Ticket = SGD 340 (with 200,000 miles) 

Flight tickets are usually the main costs of the bulk here so we wanted to make sure we spent as least as possible on this category so we could have a bigger budget for the other categories.

We've been a milers for a number of years now and we wanted to take opportunity to redeem the miles since it was a peak season during Christmas which means price tickets are rocket sky high during these periods.

We managed to use our krisflyer miles for a return SQ economy saver ticket which we have accumulated and it costs us a total of 200,000 miles (40,000 miles x 5 pax).

The tax and other clearance took up another SGD 340 (SGD 76 x 3 adults + SGD 52 x 2 children).

Accommodation = SGD 62.33

Accommodation is another category we wanted to spend as little as possible as we'd be out exploring for much of the day.

Still, we wanted to find a place which is comfortable to sleep, near the public transport and plenty of amenities around.

After searching for a while, I was also able to secure a value stay deal for 7 nights stay which came up to $62.33 in total for all of us, after including the discount deals.

If we were to book a hotel, we would have to book for 2 rooms which can add up quite a bit.

The Airbnb we booked had an excellent reviews and a very nice host which we constantly kept in contact via we chat.

The place was located within the vicinity of mrt Station (Xiuyuan Road), which is very near the airport and Disneyland. This is almost similar to the Tampines equivalent of Singapore.

If this is your first time, do try out my link Here and you'll get instant credits immediately for your booking. You can also PM me in case you are interested to book a similar listing for your future trips.

Transportation = SGD 160

We took the mrt and walk a lot for the most part of our trip here.

The mrt fare was pretty cheap here at about 5Yuan/pax.

We took the taxi on several occasions during our trip when the kids were done walking and KO-ed but it didn't add up massively over at the end.

Overall, we spent at approximately less than SGD 160 for all our modes of transportation.

Food & Beverages = SGD 750

This is one segment which we had a low tolerance on and decide to go for all out spending on this category.

For breakfast, we mostly had bread and some fruits like strawberry and tomato which we bought at a shop near our home.

For lunch, we mostly settle for some random noodle stalls when we go out. The only time lunch was over the budget was when we had to go to places like Disneyland which they charge crazy premium on their food and beverages.

For dinner, we mostly had dinner at restaurants near our home which charged in general at about less than 200Yuan.

We also had to stop for numerous counts of coffee and hot chocolate everyday without fail.

Activities & Entertainment = SGD 470

We had these main itineraries scheduled during our trip:

Disneyland Shanghai

We had a lot of expectations for this latest Disney Park and it didn't disappoint.

There were a lot of new themes which we didn't previously encountered during our trip to HK Disneyland, some of them like Marvels, Tron and Star Wars which we saw and like.

We also went strategically during a weekday so the crowd was still within expectation (most rides were within 20 minutes). We even had the chance to meet Captain America, Thor, Dr Strange and Mickey and had the chance to chat up with them!

We bought the tickets at Klook for SGD 171 during the 12.12 sale which we were further entitled to the 12% discounts. Kids below the requirement heights are free so my younger son goes in for free.

Shanghai Wild Animal Park

Ticket costs us at Y110 for each pax and again the youngest one gets in for free.

The park was extremely huge and it was a very nice stroll at the park with one exhibition rather a distance from one another.

Plenty of the enclosures were also in close distance where we were able to feed food to the animals like the lion, tiger and elephants.

This is probably the best wild Park I've ever been out of all the zoo and wild parks visited in the past.

Peppa Pig World Play

This is a theme park for the younger children out of a franchise from the popular UK Peppa Pig theme.

This indoor playground was located at LCM mall which is rather on the North side so we went up to explore and it was a good adventure.

The playground and mall itself was huge and they have some entertaining shops to roam around.

Tickets for all of us add up to about Yuan 530, which is about SGD 100.

Mini Mars

This was another popular indoor playground for the kids which is one of the largest in the city.

It is also located at Jing An Sports Center, which is a 10 min walk from the West Nanjing Road and is 2 storey high with multi-facet themes.

We incurred about Y530 or SGD100 for tickets for all of us.

Gifts & Others = SGD 170

On the other categories, we bought a pokemon theme bed sheet for our new home and also a few toys for the kids for their Xmas presents.


Our total spending in terms of cash outflow was around SGD 1,952.33 for this trip, which is just below the $2k mark we expected.

This was pretty much due to the relatively cheap accommodation deal we've got as well as using the miles for our trip which we didn't have to incur a high spending on this category.

It was a good trip for everyone at the end and one which we really enjoyed for a year end wind down before the new year starts.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Dec 19 - Portfolio & Networth Update

No.  Counters No. of Shares Market Price (SGD) Total Value (SGD) based on market price Allocation %
1. Straco        100,000        0.675         67,500.00
2. Ho Bee Land                300         2.38              714.00
3. Warchest            34,000.00
Total       102,214.00

To think that we have finally reached the end of the year is such incredible moment, given how fast time flies in a moment that we've never think of.

This month, I've only managed to add Straco into the portfolio which I blogged earlier last week here. I have not decided if I will hold this company for mid to longer term since this will very much depends on their longer term development but I am optimistic that the current valuation of the company is attractive enough for a justified entry.

In addition, we will also be looking forward to the Time Capsule as well as the Chao Yuan Ge redevelopment in FY2020 so we are likely to be looking at a stronger Operating Cashflow amidst lower Free Cash Flow due to higher Capex for next year.

The company has been aggressive enough for share buybacks in the past recent days/weeks in the range of 67 to 67.5 cents.

From a personal portfolio view, current cash level is at around 33%, which I am keeping it dry for any further compelling opportunities.

I am taking it quite comfortably, chilling a little bit whilst there are no real bargains in the market.

I am also casting a wider view at the market and industry outside my circle of competence, some of these analysis I will put out in my blog when the articles are ready. Some of these companies are tech and Saas companies which I have never glanced at them in the past but do so much more often these days due to the nature of my work.

From a rental perspective, I've managed to secure a tenant at a pretty decent yield for the next 6 months so we're likely to delay our plans to move into our new place until the 2H of 2020. Again, we are likely to build this move up slowly until we really have to move in before the primary one commencement.

I'm heading for a holiday break in the week leading to Christmas so I'm likely to wrap things up sometime next week to see how my 2019 goes.

Thanks for reading.

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Recent Action - Straco Corp

I've been very busy and packed in the past recent weeks running on many fronts so I thought I'll just take this chance to quickly write an update on the recent position I took with Straco which I bought at 67.5 cents.

If you'd like to understand the past performance of this company you can refer to this great article from LJY which highlights a lot more details (Link Here)

Straco Corp has reported a rather poor Q3 earlier in November and adding further to the news that the Singapore Flyers broke down once again, the share price has plummeted over the past couple of weeks.

In my opinion, the Singapore Flyer breakdown is more an opportunity for investors than concern in the short term because we know it's likely to operate back in a couple of weeks time (hopefully!) after they have done all the scheduling check. In the long term however, it remains to be seen how many occurrence of breakdown it will continue to happen. Breakdown means suspending operations, which will then put a dent over their topline numbers as the lower number of visitors means it will be a double whammy on the extension podium which will affect the footfall visitors for the restaurants and other attractions nearby.

The Q3 numbers is traditionally the strongest number for Straco and it shows a bigger concern on the overall picture.

The most notable decline is in the number of visitors to the two aquariums (SOA and UWX) which dropped to 1.845m visitors for the quarter, which was a drop of over 8.2% year on year. Q3 is traditionally the peak season for China holidays which means this drop is a strong indication that the China growth is slowing down.

In fact, this slowdown has been felt in the past two quarters where in Q2 visitors number has dropped to 1.085m (from 1.225m the previous Q2 YoY) and Q1 visitors number has dropped to 0.986m (from 1.065m the previous Q1 YoY).

For a company like Straco which positions themselves as a growth company, the decline in the visitors number means a decline in the topline which in turn will hurt the overall bottomline.

From a cashflow point of view, the company is still generating a strong cashflow of between $45m to $60m a year, out of which $30m will go to dividends payout (at 3.5 cents) and another $12m will go to repayment of the debts ($3m repayment every quarter). The company would then retain somewhere between $3m to $10m for their retained earnings.

The balance sheet has also looked stronger as the company continues to hoard more cash and a lower debt with the repayment of the debts every quarter. The latest standing is a net cash of $180m ($209m less 29m), which translates to about 21 cents/share.

If the company continues to pare down the debts at $3m per quarter, it will take them around 10 quarters to be completely debt free.

Asset Lease Concession

The asset lease concession is always something to watch out for in the longer term, though in the short term the declining visitors footfall is a much bigger concern.

The flyer, for example, is a 30 years asset on lease concession that commences on July 2005. The initial cost to build the flyer is $240m and Straco bought it in 2014 for $140m with 17 years lease left (90% stake). Today, they are generating a revenue of about $40m and an operating profit of about $10m a year (without breakdown of course!). 

The asset is capitalized throughout the useful life of the asset (35 years and 7 months) based on about $8m a year. Adding this back and deducting capex assuming at $1.5m (based on AR) every year, the company would generate a cashflow of about $16.5m a year from this asset. If we multiple back the $16.5m throughout the 17 years, this would sum up to about $280m. This would translate to about 8.2% IRR ($280m - $140m) / 17 years.

This though, only takes up 1/3 of the overall assets they own (~$40m/$120m revenue) The other 2/3 makes up of mainly SOA and UWX, both of which are flagship assets of the company. 

For SOA, the agreement for the incumbent land use right is a period of 40 years concession from 1997 to 2037. That means we essentially have about 18 years left as of today. 

For UWX, the agreement for the incumbent is also a period of 40 years concession from 1994 to 2034, translating to about 15 years left. The company generates a sales of about $82m with a handsome gross profit margin of about 70% at $58m operating profit. 


I reckon the company will continue to pay out 3.5 cents dividends in this coming FY despite the fall in both topline and bottomline just because I think they have too much cash to hoard and they have not found the right opportunity to acquire just yet, though it is something they've mentioned in the AR that it is something they've continuously looked at throughout the year.

The company has also started making buybacks in the past recent weeks/months so we're likely seeing some support in terms of the buybacks.

For a short term play, the re-commencement of the Flyer will bring good news which is likely to drive the share price in the short term, though the long term there are still some questionable numbers in play yet.

Thanks for reading.

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