Saturday, August 29, 2020

35th Birthday Edition: Inverting To The Middle Ground

I can't believe that I'm finally turning 35 years old today.

If you have been following and reading my blog, you would probably have known how significant this number is for me. After all, I started this blog more than ten years ago with a vision and mission statement (or whatever you want to call it) that the race and pursuit towards financial independence were on and I gave myself a ten years timeframe to achieve or at least get close to it by the time I turn 35.


The past birthday edition articles can be found below:

33rd Birthday Post: Officially 2 Years To Countdown

32nd Birthday Post: A Year of Milestones

30th Birthday Post: The Official Big 3 Is Here

29th Birthday Post: What's The Next Target

28th Birthday Post: Growing My Wealth

27th Birthday Post: The Year We Got Married

This blog has been my companion almost through my entire adult life experience which includes a few of the successes but also the hiccups along the way. When I looked back at the past 10 to 12 years, it has been rather fascinating to see milestones unlocked such as journaling my first portfolio updates, hitting my first $100k when I turned 27, handling expenses after marriage, the addition to our family members, buying our first property home, and then achieving the equity reach of $250k milestone, $500k milestone, $750k milestone and $1m milestone respectively before we decided to invest in a second property which we currently let out for rental income. I also documented the unfortunate episode of how my Dad got a stroke last year and we had to fork out a $200k bill for his hospitalization expenses.

If you are a new reader that chanced and came across this for the very first time, chances are good that you're looking to escape the corporate rat race, like I did years ago.

Since I started writing this blog, my main thesis for achieving financial independence as soon as possible has been on the premise that working for an employer generally sucks. The night burning and years of stresses that come with it have been building up and because of this, I've been putting my aggressive hat for the past ten years focusing on many financial aspects that would accelerate my net worth so that I could one day "escape" if I wanted to.

Maybe it's a common theme that you find comfort in realizing that there is someone else out there who felt the same as you do right now. Perhaps, at one point in your life, you really like working for your company. You were good at what you do and think you'd devote your entire life and soul to the company until you realize that some external circumstances like COVID crashed the dreams both you and the company once had.

Most of these dreams are built upon the assumption that everything is going to take care of itself, so most people think it is okay to be delaying their financial planning when the sky is clear, consuming an excessive amount of debts to purchase material goods and lifestyle to keep up with the rest of their social media friends.

Inverting To The Middle Ground

I was once the same person like them.

The 5 Pillars of Life - Wealth, Health, Work, Familyand Time (Autonomy) were the entire factors that I wanted to gauge my success.

Each of the 5 pillars started from a low score because I was just not satisfied with how things were then for me. I knew I had to make radical changes to everything I did, including my lifestyle, spending, growing my asset and capital, looking for an employer that can give me more autonomy in doing things, and things that would suit my style for the better.

Report Card

Health:

My health has been generally poor since I was a kid and I was often sick that my parents had to bring me to doctors for frequent cough, flu, or gastric issues.

I've also had multiple stress issues due to work in some part of my career which leads to a couple of sleepless nights. It was a horrible feeling and one that I am glad I am finally out of the ecosystem. Hence, because of this, I have ranked my health score as 3.

Pro Tip: There are always better employers around. It might not be immediately available but keep continue looking hard for it. Don't overstay in a toxic environment that leads to nowhere.

Getting older as the day passes is not a joke.

Since turning 32 a couple of years back, I've consciously alerted myself to get a sufficient amount of sleep and exercise. Since COVID started which altered the way we work, I have been scheduling fitness into my calendar. In the morning, I tried to slot in a 45-minute schedule to swim or run (alternate days) before I start my work. After a while, the body gets used to it that the ache started disappearing and it feels different from the body with adrenaline pumped up.

I have also been cautious and consciously adding superfoods to my diet, ordering the likes of blueberry, ginger, walnuts, tomatoes, celery, kale, spinach, green tea,  turmeric, and salmon or sardines on my order lists at the shopping cart.

Morning Breakfast Routine - Oatmeal with eggs, spinach, kale, blueberry and a follow-up Turmeric or Ginger Drink
Morning Breakfast Routine - Oatmeal with eggs,  chia seeds, spinach, kale, blueberry, and a follow-up Turmeric or Ginger Drink

Verdict: Health rating moved up from a score of 4 to 7 out of 10.


Work:

Work is the part I dreaded to talk about it the most because this is the main presumption of all the things that are happening that leads to this whole pursuit towards achieving financial independence as soon as possible.

Work used to rank really low in my dashboard because of some really unfortunate experiences that I had in one or two of my previous employers. Perhaps it was an environment that didn't really sit well with me, which leads to an increased amount of stress built up over time. This, adding on to the morning hour rush commuting of 7-10 hours per week, formal office attire, two young children, a blog to maintain, and a mortgage to finance piled on the stress level for me.

Thankfully, the new way of working due to COVID has changed the most part of this and I must count myself really blessed and lucky to have secured a role right before the whole pandemic season began (speaking of market timing huh).

The new permanent working from home at my current company is a blessing in disguise as I get to escape the morning hour rush, work in my comfortable homey clothes, dictate my own schedule, getting more autonomy, and at the same being able to get some good amount of exercises and interaction with the kids. 

Standing Workplace at Home
Standing Workplace at Home

Verdict: Work rating moved up from a score of 3 to 7 out of 10.


Family:

Family time used to be restricted to mostly an hour at night and weekends.

I would come and rush home at about 7 to 8ish in the evening to have my wife and kids greeted me waiting for me by the door.

Since the permanent shift towards working from home, things have taken a 180 degrees turn.

For the past couple of months, it is my turn to be the one greeting them by the door in the afternoon at the time they came back from school.

In the evening, we also have time to hang out more and engage in some activities like playing tennis or riding the bicycle before having our dinner together. My kids are also jigsaw puzzles trained so recently we have been challenging each other to do higher each time.

During my off days, I get to sneak out with my wife when our kids are in school to the cafe below our place to chill, at times catching up on writing this blog before fetching the kids back from school.

Art Drawing We Did Together During The Circuit Breaker


Wealth:

The wealth financial planning side is doing fine over the years but we are currently rebuilding it on a restart mode after purchasing a second home last year. We pretty much blew out our entire capital used for equities when we used the funds for the property.

The stock market today due to COVID has given a tremendous opportunity for me to build-up once again, given that the STI as of writing is only at around 2500. My goal is to hit an equity minimum of $250k in market value at the end of the year and then possibly looking at $350k when the economy recovers by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, my strategy is to keep piling onto some of the very undervalued names such as Comfortdelgro, Lendlease Reit, CDL Hospitality Trust, Starhill Reit, Jardine C&C, and many others while waiting for the eventual recovery to come. I'll provide some of these insights more in my next portfolio updates for the month of Sep.

Currently sitting at about $200k worth of stocks at a yield of about 7-8%, it is only giving us about $15k/year in dividend income, on top of the rental income we received. This is still not sustainable on its own as we still have heavy commitments on our liabilities.

Equity Portfolio: Aug'20


The CPF portion is one that I rarely talked about because I'm simply letting it accumulate passively for a number of years now. 

I'm currently still relying on part of the OA portion for the home mortgages and occasional top-up to the Special and Medisave account every now and then but that's mainly because of the tax relief. Other than that, I just treat it as my "life insurance" policy to my wife in case anything happened to me.


12 Years of Working. 
10 Years of Top-Up Contributions & Transfer
1.5 Years to FRS Target


Verdict: Wealth rating moved up from a score of 2 to 8 out of 10.

Conclusion

Thank you for all the birthday well-wishes from families, friends, and readers out there.

The last 10 years have been transformational for me for all the steps and direction which I took, and hopefully, it's the right step too. 

I also wanted to thank all the readers for the encouragement and words, and for the journey that some of us took together.

The next 10 years is one which I think will be transformational but one which I really look forward to as well. I haven't thought of anything major to announce yet but I'd try to pen through as I move along the next phase of my next 10 years going into 45. By then, my kids would have been at college-age so it is quite fascinating yet scary to see how fast time flies.

A Happy Birthday to myself once again.

I'll start afresh Day 1 tomorrow from my 35th birthday.

P.S: Since I'm sharing the same birth date and month with unarguably the greatest investing guru of all time, Warren Buffet, I'd also like to wish him a happy blessed birthday and a fortune of health.

Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

3Fs - Come and Join The SG Active Trading Tournament 2020

The SG Active Trading Tournament 2020 is one of Singapore's most anticipated trading tournament and it is back this year.

This is a special trading tournament organized jointly by Investing Note and Societe Generale, together with SGX that focuses on the trading of Daily Leverage Certificates (DLCs). For new joiners who are not familiar with the product, it is essentially an exchange-traded financial product that magnifies the leverage exposure to key Asian benchmark and individual stocks such as Wilmar, DBS, Tencent.

You can read some of the tutorials here on some of the DLCs trading strategies.

While DLCs are considered leveraged products, they are listed on the cash market of SGX, and because of that, there is no risk of a margin call. This could suit the appetite of some investors who would like to magnify their positions without having the risk associated with margin calls.

The entire tournament period runs for about 1.5 months from the 10th of September to the 23rd of October 2020. The details of the schedule are further appended into:

  • Elimination Rounds: 10th September - 30th September 2020
  • Final Round: 12th October - 23rd October 2020

To register, click here.


How I Fared In The Last 2 Tournaments

I have participated in the last 2 tournaments conducted in 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, I managed to come in 2nd place in a heavily contested 136 participants competing for the main prize.

I was tossed on the last day by Thebearprowl, who leaped into the 1st position on the very last day of trading. We became good friends since until today.


2018 Trading Tournament

In 2019, I came in 246th position with an overall 5.8% return (Geez, everybody is so damn good).

If my memory served me correctly, there was a twist in the leaderboard tournament in the very last few days when Temasek announced that it will do partial offer to Keppel Corp which sends its price flying high the next day. Those that are holding DLC Keppel long position goes straight into the leaderboard position.

So there's a real good chance that you may come out on top based on any single position you take.

Furthermore, tech stocks have lately been on a tear run as well, so it might pay off to have them in your portfolio as well ;)

2019 Trading Tournament

I think the tournament is a good simulation for learning and understanding how the DLCs product works. It follows a real-live trading simulation that are based on each day's closing price, so you can see how you perform and the emotional aspect of handling it.

So do join the tournament by clicking here and I'll see you at the top with the prizes.

Thanks for reading.

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Policywoke - Resale Insurance Policies Broker

For this month's collaboration schedule, we managed to tie up a partnership collaboration with Policywoke which you can sign up here.

I've also had the privilege to review their offerings and manage to chat with one of their co-founders, Jimmy to understand better about the product offerings and services they have.

Who is Policywoke?

Policywoke is a resale insurance policy broker that is run by three co-founders who are frequent members of the Seedly community and have been commendable in their impeccable servicing of their clients.

Services

Policywoke is a one-stop service where they help clients who need financing to sell their existing insurance policies up to 10% above the surrender value.

The surrender value is the actual sum of money a policyholder will receive if they try to access the cash value of a policy. 

There are many reasons why a policyholder chose to surrender his or her existing policy.

Reasons can vary from the inability to service the premium, loss of a job, or sudden need of cashflow (especially during Covid-19 situation like today).

The surrender fees will typically eat up and reduce the surrender value if a policyholder chose to surrender within the first initial stages/ early years and gradually goes down over the years.

Policywoke buys over these policies typically at a reduced margin (lower profits to them) and higher surrender value as compared if you are surrendering to your insurer broker directly. As a policyholder, it only makes sense that you surrender your policy to the highest bidder in the market.

For each insurance policy that was sold to Policywoke, they will then re-sell them to prospective clients as high-interest savings plan with a shorter duration since individuals who are taking over the policy and remaining premium are considered as resale. This way, you get a higher IRR out of your capital investment than had you purchased it from the commencement of the policy.

You may view a list of all their endowment and high-interest savings plan lists here.


For instance, if you are interested in buying over the resale policy #211, your capital outflow will be $41,890. You will then continue to service and pay an annual premium of $12,074.20 for the next three years starting 12 Dec 2020, then hold the policy for the next five years, after which your projected maturity on 12th Dec 2028 will be $105,771.

In summary, your total capital outlay would be [$41,800 + ($12,074 x 3)] = $78,022 for the first three years and your projected maturity after eight years would be $105,771, translating into an IRR of 4.0%.

Do note that like most endowment policies, the participating endowment policies on the projected return listed above consist of the non-guaranteed and the guaranteed portion. So, it will still pretty much depend on the performance of the funds.

This figure is updated as of 16 Aug 2020 so some of the figures might vary accordingly. Their consultants will be able to provide you with a clearer view of the latest figure when you approach them.

Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with Policywoke and contains affiliate referral links that go to maintain the sustainability of this blog at no additional cost to you. This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be construed as financial advice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Aug 2020 - Portfolio & Transaction Updates

No.

 Counters

No. of Shares

Market Price (SGD)

Total Value (SGD) based on market price

Allocation %

Category

1.

Wilmar

  17,000

S$4.80

     81,600.00

22.0%

Momentum

2.

Comfortdelgro

  40,000

S$1.41

     56,400.00

15.0%

Recovery

3.

Lendlease Reit

  55,000

S$0.63

     34,650.00

10.0%

Dividend

4.

CDLHT

  20,000

S$0.97

     19,400.00

5.0%

Recovery

5.

Jardine C&C

    1,000

S$19.0

     19,000.00

5.0%

Recovery

6.

Micro-Mechanics

  11,300

S$1.95

     22,000.00

6.0%

Dividend

7.

Tencent (HK)

       400

HK$519

     37,000.00

11.0%

Compounders

8.

JD (HK)

       500

HK$240

     21,580.00

6.0%

Compounders

9.

Alibaba (HK)

       500

HK$240

     21,580.00

6.0%

Compounders

10.

Carnival (USA)

       700

US$16

     15,680.00

3.0%

Recovery

11.

Bank of China (HK)

  20,000

HK2.60

       9,270.00

2.0%

Dividend

12.

GA Pack (HK)

    9,000

HK3.00

       4,675.00

1.0%

Dividend

13.

Ho Bee Land

       300

S$2.12

          636.00

1.0%

Leftover

14.

Warchest

  

-

     30,000.00

9.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less:

CFD@3.2%

 

 

(155,000.00)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

   218,470.00

100%

100%


A blink of an eye and we are suddenly in the month of August.

The past few weeks have been very hectic for me in terms of work and other personal life but there's the rainbow after a poor month in Jun and Jul.

With a lot of businesses coming back up after reopening, work volume has increased quite substantially. The good news for us is we managed to secure a new substantial investor and our businesses have quickly picked up to pre-COVID levels so from the month of August our salaries will be restored back (after a 30% cut in the last 2 months). This will greatly help my own finances with more cash in hand that I can pump in more into investment.

On personal assignment, I have also completed 3 assigned sponsored articles in the past month which took up quite a bit of time. There's usually the time committed to meeting, research, write, edit, and review but all in all it was a very decent paid assignment that helps our finances during my period of a pay cut.

We have also been busy with the primary one registration for our child which we registered during the assigned registered phase. We are also letting the kids train out with the bicycles on the playground more frequently these days which also allow me time to breathe in the evening after office hours.



Portfolio Updates

Okay, so back to portfolio updates.

This has been a very good month for the portfolio and there's plenty to good news to cheer from.

In fact, I managed to scale up my positions quite significantly into more recovery and dividend plays this month as we get closer to more vaccine news and development. Already, we've heard about how Russia managed to approve its first COVID vaccine in their own country.

As some of you might know from the previous update last month, I managed to divest both one of my largest positions in Lendlease and CDLHT at an average price of 73 cents and $1.10 respectively. I was blessed with the timing as these two positions continued to drop over the next couple of weeks on second wave news which resulted in both of the counters correcting by about 20%. I managed to buy them again at an average price of 62.5 cents and 98 cents after both have announced their results.

I have also added Micro-Mechanics at an average price of $1.85 after a couple of very strong showings performance from the other semi-con companies such as UMS, Frecken, and AEM. I'll classify this as a dividend play for now in the portfolio as it provides both the dividend and the growth factor needs that are evident going into 2021 with 5G infrastructure in play.

On Recovery plays, I have further added to my position for Comfortdelgro to make it 40,000 shares after the share price dropped close to its previous low at $1.33. With that, my average price now stands at $1.54 which I think is decent enough to wait for a recovery. 

I have also added a small stake in Carnival cruise at an average price of USD14.50 for potential recovery plays. My thesis would be that I think recovery plays present a good risk-reward at the moment given that the markets have mostly factored in the continuing rise in cases and there's a very good chance we might hear something on the vaccine development (phase 3 trials results), even if these are only 50% effective.

On Compounders' play, I have also added the three Chinese giants for longer-term compounding plays. The timing of these entries was not exactly good as there has been much turbulence since the purchase. The biggest one was the news that Trump has banned Wechat and Tiktok from operating in the US, which sends spirals down to the Chinese tech stocks across. I guess I'll just have to wait for it longer for their next upcoming results which I am anticipating.

If you are keen to buy some of these companies and have not opened a trading account yet, you might want to consider signing up with Tiger Brokers. I have used it myself to buy HK and US stocks which now offers a lot of good deals on the reduced commission fees.

2020 Networth Updates

The portfolio has rebounded strongly this month from the previous month of $201,556 to $218,470 this month due to the number of factors.

The biggest factor comes from the upsurge momentum of my largest position in Wilmar, which announces very good Q2 results as well as a successful approval from the committee regarding its YKA IPO which brings it closer to going public.

The second biggest factor comes from the successful divestment of Silverlake after it managed to a run-up in the past few weeks. It appears that momentum is still very high on the radar right now so I figured I might have sold it a bit too early, but oh well.

The portfolio continued to inch a step closer to the target of $250k I have at the end of the year.

With income starting to go back to full force from this month, my gameplan is to allocate it to use as much as I possibly can as in my opinion, both the HK and STI are still at an attractive level to invest.


Cheers and stay safe everyone.

Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Allocating My Stock Positions Based On These 4 Categories

I've been thinking hard in the past recent weeks of allocating my portfolio positions based on the different categories of equities.

This is not exactly a diversification strategy, as the intention is not to spread the portfolio too widely which results in a small amount of each position.

The intention is to be more clear-headed when selecting and each position still has a thesis or quantifiable factor that allows for a better determinant.

Ideally, every position has to be a conviction play, so this means allocating minimally 5% of the portfolio and mentally I have to accept that I can allow more than 30% to sit in the portfolio. Without that conviction, it is a little bit like throwing darts. I can be 100% or 200% up in a position for glove makers or healthcare but if it takes only 1% of my overall portfolio, it's hardly moving the needle in the portfolio.

The ultimate objective is still to grow the net worth in the portfolio, so I am using this benchmark to determine what good looks like for myself. The market benchmark for S&P or STI or any other indices is secondary in nature, as they are used more for fund managers who are consistently trying to outperform a passive indices performance.


Alright, let's go through these different categories (which I will also insert an extra column in my next portfolio updates from next month).

1.) Recovery Play

The mentioned recovery play here is referring to companies that are heavily hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

These include players such as hotels, aviation, airlines, and transportations that are heavily decimated because of the lockdown. Most of these companies have been hit between 40% to 70% because of the crisis which resulted in valuations heavily beaten down.

The goal is to knick pick some of these companies that remained sound fundamentally, possess a strong balance sheet to weather the storm, and remained relevant (not become obsolete) after Covid-19. To avoid a counter-risk of failing, these investments should have a projected return of 50% / annum or more when the Covid-19 situation is attenuated.

O&G is a different sector altogether which may depict a longer move towards equilibrium and structural implementation towards natural and clean energy. Not an expert in this sector, I'll avoid this sector for now.

To summarize for "Recovery" Play:

i.) Main Thesis: Recovery from Covid-19
ii.) Expected Return: 50% xirr per annum
iii.) Sectors in Favor: Transportation, Hotels, Retails
iv.) Sectors to Avoid: Airlines, Office, Traditional Media
 
2.) Dividend Play

Dividend play has been the main focus in my portfolio for the longest time, so it is also one that my readers are most probably more familiar with.

In the article I wrote back in 2016 on selecting dividend stocks, my focus is not just on the dividend itself ("X") but also on the potential growth itself ("Y") which can come from either organic growth of the business (hence higher dividend) or subdued valuation like what we are seeing now.

Subdued valuation remained a favorite of mine because it offers not just higher forward yield (looking beyond the pandemic period) but also higher potential capital gain. In other words, it has a subset of recovery thesis inside the dividend play, making it very attractive to yield-hungry investors.

Similar to a recovery play, it is important to ensure that the sectors and companies remain relevant after a paradigm shift in events like Covid-19.

To summarize for "Dividend" Play:

i.) Main Thesis: Cash Flow through dividends
ii.) Expected Return: 10% xirr per annum, broken down into minimally 6%+4% or 7%+3%
iii.) Sectors in Favor: Retails, Industrial, Infrastructure
iv.) Sectors to Avoid: Telcos, Offices

3.) Momentum Play

This thesis is pretty self-explanatory.

The companies for momentum play are usually in the heat of the moment, either due to cyclical recovery (e.g: soft commodities) or demand ramp-up (e.g glovemakers).

Because there is such a strong demand (or lack of supply) in the products, the increase in production leads to higher earnings and profit margins which then leads to analyst re-rating on the valuation of the company and then leads to an even further push on the share price of the company. 

Most of the time, these companies are trading at the higher range of their mean valuation and breaking new high its time, attracting momentum technical play from the arrival of traders and speculators.

The only caveat here is that we still need to find real solid rock companies, otherwise it might result in a pump and dump which can catch any investors or traders off-guard.

To summarize for "Momentum" Play:

i.) Main Thesis: Momentum Macro Play / Catalyst present
ii.) Expected Return: 20% xirr per annum (minimally)
iii.) Sectors in Favor: Soft Commodities, Hard Commodities, Glovemakers, Healthcare
iv.) Sectors to Avoid: Structural Permanent Obsolete Industries, Value Traps

4.) Compounders Play

The thesis for Compounders Play is that the company should be able to grow at double-digit growth year on year due to a massive gain in market share globally through their scalability.

These are typically companies with an unconventional business model that are able to disrupt the traditional mode of doing business.

For instance, instead of doing traditional paper advertisements, many companies are moving to online advertising space. The same goes for e-commerce online shopping, cloud computing, and gateway payments.

Covid-19 has pushed technology adoption even faster and the government worldwide has been encouraging businesses to adopt an alternative model such as takeaway and table-ordering for F&B and online shopping for retail.

One of the things I've been anticipating is to see how digital banking can potentially disrupt the way traditional banks have been doing. While banking is a critical essence to run the whole ecosystem in the economy, banks are not. Already, we've seen how the past two years MVNOs came in and disrupted the margins for traditional telcos, which encourages competition and good for consumers.

To summarize for "Compounders" Play:

i.) Main Thesis: Compounders of Tomorrow / Disruptor
ii.) Expected Return: 15-20% xirr per annum 
iii.) Sectors in Favor: Technology, Cloud, Semi-Conductor, Payment Gateway
iv.) Sectors to Avoid: Telcos, Banks

Final Thoughts

I'll keep these rough ideas in mind when selecting industries and companies to buy and will be classifying my next portfolio updates into these 4 different categories.

The allocation of these categories are not conclusive in nature and might change depending on the objective I have.

Still, I just wanted to get this thought off my brain for something I've been thinking in a while so I am glad I have managed to put that in writing.

Thanks for reading.

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