How much is enough ?

Hello there folks !
Gosh it’s already almost the end of August 2016, time really does fly sometimes doesn’t it? Soon enough 2016 will be history and we would be staring down the beginning of yet another year.
Considering that I’m in a bit of a philosophical mood today (I’d tell you why later), let’s talk about an often overlooked aspect in our lives. We all go through life with various expectations, hopes, dreams, aspirations, fears and wants.

Life is often a hurried race, one task to another, being buried in commitments, and wanting it all. There is often no time to reflect, no time to pause, no time to take stock. We just ponder on with life.

The pale blue dot

Sometimes we all need to take a step back and reflect upon our lives. I insist. Now that you’re reading this blog of mine, take a pause. Think about how far we have got, from an infant, to a child, to a teenager, and now an adult. Think of all the challenges you have overcome. Think of all the pleasant memories in your life. Reflect upon the fears that you have had to face. Think about how you rose up to every one of those. Think of all the people in you life that matter. Remember the ones you have lost. For life is a one-way street, and when you really do want to, there is not going back. Just spend 2 minutes doing this if you could spare. And if at the end of it you feel the tingling sensation that you want to say something to someone or do something, act on it. For deep down it is something you really do want.

Considering that this is supposed to be a finance blog, let’s talk about how much is enough. How much money do you really want ? I mean think about it. What is your magic figure ? 1 million ? 2 million ? Well, instead of plucking figures, let me tell you how much is going to be enough for me. I’d have enough money when I have accomplished the following :

  • When my home mortgage & all debts are fully paid off
  • When I have enough savings to last me for 10 years of monthly expenses
  • When the expenses for my child’s education is set aside
  • When I do not have to worry about making payments for my insurance plans
  • When I have enough passive income equal to about 75 % of my current monthly salary from investments

Of course sometimes this arbitrary figure could change, after all our needs and expenses do change with time. However, having an end goal helps set the course to what you eventually want. Using this you could come up with a figure that would set you free eventually. Go ahead, try it 🙂

Now the reason behind the philosophical me, my brother recently shared this video with me. Here’s the link to it :

I’d like you to watch it. It takes 3 minutes tops.

Now let it sink in, the reality is that nothing in life is really worth the worry. We are but a tiny speck in the pale blue dot. And in the grand scheme of things, in the cosmos, we are but a very tiny pixel on a tiny blue dot. Now how’s that for a reality check ?

My first Rights Issue – Noble Group

Hello folks ! It’s been a while since I actually had the time to sit down and pen my thoughts, it’s just been a little hectic lately with work and traveling. However I shall attempt to pen down my thoughts as an when I could and hopefully at least manage to post twice a month.

Anyways as many of you probably already know, I had as mentioned in a previous post that I’d be participating in the recent Rights Issue by Noble Group about a month back in July 2016. I’d narrate a short version of what happened in that experience.

By definition, a rights issue basically means giving all existing shareholders the proportionate rights to subscribe for new shares, so they can choose to maintain their holding in the company.

A renounceable rights offering as Noble did means existing shareholders entitled for rights offering also have a chance to sell or buy the rights to buy additionals shares from other shareholders.


In the weeks leading to the rights issue I had also disposed of about 14,000 shares I held in cash holdings at a price of SGD 0.195 to raise a little cash to in order to minimize the cash out of hand I’d have to cough up to partake in the rights. I held about 80,000 shares of Noble Group in cash holdings prior to partaking in the rights issue. This I believe was a good call as the price of the stock did tank further subsequently to a low of about SGD 0.13 which certainly was an unnerving experience at least for me !

Anyways I did the rights subscription at an ATM which was really straightforward and took up my entire entitlement of 94,000 at the price of SGD 0.11. In addition I also subscribed to an additional 58,000 excess rights entitlement to further average down my cost. At the point of subscribing to the excess I had expected to obtain maybe about 30 % of the total excess rights. I also had about 10,000 shares of Noble held in SRS which I also did subscribed to in full and applied for another 20,000 in excess rights under my SRS account.

Now the end result ? Well it was actually a pleasant surprise to me that I actually had obtained all of my excess rights applied under the cash holdings and about 30% of what I applied for under my SRS account.


In summary after the rights issue, my total Noble holdings currently stands at about 260,000 shares at an average price of less than half of what it was prior to the rights issue. Yes the rights exercise was a good opportunity to average down on the significant entry price I had. However averaging down on it’s own is not always a good idea as one is oblivious to how low the stock may go to in the future. This is something I have learnt the hard way  in prior experience and always intend to keep at the back of my mind.

Although post rights issue, I had increased my stake and as such my capital to this one holding, I do believe that the tide is finally about to turn for Noble. I list down below my reasonings :

  1. The rights issue in itself gave the company a significant USD 500 in much needed capital legroom.
  2. The impending sale of NAES in September should at least inject another SGD 1 billion into the company (this is a figure I have taken after the discounting the figure of USD 1.25 billion sale price flouted around at the beginning of the sale plan)
  3. The first half 2016 results ended 30 June 2016 available here shows compelling signs that the management is making compelling changes to reposition the group to profitability. They are also placing a lot of importance of liquidity.
  4. Numbers wise although the last quarter result showed a loss of approx USD 55 million, the company had still managed to eke out a USD 17 million profit before interest & taxes. The interest costs on financing going forward looks set to come down further with the group also choosing to redeem 3 debt holdings in the 1st half of 2016. (I.e. primarily the RMB 1 billion MTNs, RM 300 million sukuks and another THB 2.86 billion bond notes). As such I do believe that going forward that their interest costs should steadily come down and lead to overall profitability.
  5. I like the fact that the company is exiting certain metals & mining trading division in Europe & North America. Metals trading in itself although could be profitable uses up significant capital and I believe that the company is looking to redeploy that cash to the other segments of the business that it knows would generate better returns.

The major tasks of repositioning  a business is not going to be easy nor fast, as such I didn’t expect the group to turn in a net profit in the last quarter anyways, however the significantly smaller figure of losses for the 1st half at USD 14.4 million gives hope that the group could still turn in a full year profit in the later part of the year.

Although I remain hopeful that it could, I am also prepared to assume that this could take a longer time. In the meantime I am going to sit tight, and continue holding my position with a stop-loss position to at least protect the additional capital pumped in for the rights exercise. Ganbatteh !

Tackling the debt monster

Debt is often one of the biggest hurdles we face when it comes to financial matters. I’m going to chronicle how I hope to eventually slay this monster in my life at the moment.

My current debt monster consists of the following ugly creatures :

– Personal loan : $ 37,500 (Interest rate of 9% p.a.)

– Unsecured credit line : $ 28,500  (interest rate of 4.5 % p.a.)

Total : $ 66,000


Woah, shit that sure is a mountain of debt ain’t it? Now how I wish I had used that debt to do something a whole lot more productive than to fund my over eager stock investments journey.

Anyways right now I devote about 25% of my monthly income to try and reduce these debts as soon as practicable. I intend to channel whatever extra income I could spare in the next few months to get this down to a more manageable level by the end of the year. As I hate being in debt and every month when I do make the payments to pare down these debt, I track them meticulously and try my best to make additional payments whenever I could.  As the personal loan currently has a penalty for early prepayments until September this year, I’m only making the required monthly installment for now on that loan and channeling extra payments into the unsecured credit line.

However come September later this year, the personal loan will be the first on my ‘KILL’ list and I intend to fully pay it off by March 2017 next year. Now as I reflect back upon how in the world did I end up with such a debt, it still amazes me that I could find myself in this situation. I for one do track my spending monthly, yes I do use my credit cards but I pay them off fully every single month from day one. I am careful with my money. So why then did I take on such debts to merely buy stocks ? Oh well, all I could say is that this would be a lesson that I’d never forget – EVER !

Now what I’d like to highlight is this, do I now with this debt hanging over me look for new opportunities to invest ? Most people do find themselves in debt and often put off investing till later, however this may not the best solution as putting off investing means that you’re delaying all the years that investments could be working for you.

I for one do believe that you should still invest in spite being in debt. The question to ask yourself is whether or not you should. I understand that this could be a personal choice too. There is no denying that there are benefits from getting your money into the market as soon as possible, but there is no guarantee that your portfolio will perform like it needs to. Case in point-Me!! My year-on-year return is currently approximately -45 % (Yep you read that right, it is MINUS). In other words, how adept you are in investing could make all the difference in whether you should be investing whilst in debt or focus on paying down your debts.

I think that the biggest benefit of investing while in debt is psychological (as much of finance is). Paying down long-term debts can be tedious and disheartening if you are not the type of person who puts your head down and perseveres right to the finish line. For many people who are servicing debt, it seems like they are struggling to get to the point of their normal financial life – that of saving, investing, etc. – can begin.


As I channel most my my cash holdings into my debt repayments, which leaves me with insufficient ammo to invest with using cash for the time being, I had a few months ago just recently used my CPF-IS (Central Provident Fund-Investment Scheme) account to make a recent stock purchase which I really felt was undervalued. And not surprisingly this is the only holding in my portfolio that is now currently up by about 20 %. Maybe it’s the fact that I have learned some valuable lessons from my previous mistakes, or maybe it’s the fact that being in debt and yet wanting to make an investment makes you want to be double sure that you are making the right investment choice, I don’t know.

However I now ensure that there is a great margin of safety before I dip my toes into any new holdings,  whilst I’m still in the midst of slaying the debt monster, and that hopefully makes me a better investor for what it’s worth.

In parting, debt has a tendency to become like a heavy shadow, always lurking in the background. By having even a modest portfolio to distract you from the grind, you can keep your enthusiasm about your finances from ebbing. I do think that knowing that the sun will come up and being able to see the dawn are very different experiences. For me , continuing to build upon my portfolio and investigating new opportunities Mr. Market may offer, whilst still being in debt provides a much needed ray of light and a breath of fresh air.

Can you stomach watching your portfolio dwindle to half it’s value ?

Greetings to everyone ! Now I literally would not want to wish this upon anyone, but what would you do if your entire portfolio literally halved it’s value in a matter of months ?

Can you live with it ? Do you have what it takes to move on from that episode ? What would your expectations be ? Would you question your investing methods or rationale ?

I mean come on, no one invests money to lose money right ? So why bother ? Might as well leave it in the hands of the so called unit trust or fund advisors, heck even better in a pathetic interest yielding savings accounts in banks today.


To be honest as I find myself close to that situation, I have questioned many a things. As my current portfolio is now a mere 65% of the money I had put in, it’s an almost bitter as hell reality pill to swallow. Shit, I was even in denial for a couple of months about it choosing to ignore it. Remember the saying, out of sight, out of mind ?

But eventually I had come to the realization that I have made some major blunders along the way. Coming off the top of my mind the following is what contributed to it :

Being young, (dumb) and obviously feeling invincible, I took to jumping headfirst into stocks investing. I did not practice prudence and was merely shooting from the hips when it came to picking some stocks. For example, Nam Cheong, when I first bought into it, it was simply off an analyst report singing high praises for it. At that time Nam Cheong was the darling of the oil & gas shipbuilding industry and even with the impending crash of oil prices, nobody believed that the sinking of oil prices would impact shallow water ship builders and operators and, that’s what Nam Cheong believed too. So off I went blindly believing what I perceived to be right and chewed a chunk of it within 2 weeks. Now this holding alone is down about 75 % of it’s original value.

Patience in investing. Now we all know that timing the market is downright impossible. But I literally plonked in SGD 100,000 into stocks in matter of a few months. Yes you read that right ! Now for a newbie investor to be throwing that kind of money is almost certainly not going to end well. But well back then I truly did think that maybe I’d be the next George Soros or Carl Icahn or something. It was basically pure recklessness. Oh and did I not mention that these money was basically all of my savings I had somehow stashed away painfully for years, and includes all of my emergency fund. Yep, I literally risked it all.

Now if you think all of the above was bad, you have not heard the next part. I took on debt to take further positions in the market. If plonking all of my cash was not enough, I took on unsecured credit lines to finance more purchases. Yep, out of the frying pan into the fire. By now you may be questioning why did I ever do that? You know what, honestly looking back, I myself can’t quite fathom the decision making process I had subjected myself too. I do take pride in being a rationale and sensible person most of the time. In fact if anything I tend to be analytical and over critical of most things. But something about the pure ecstasy of being new in the game of stocks and believing blindly that everything will go exactly the way you think it would can be severely blinding.

Now when it came to the crunch, I have many a times thought of selling all of my holdings, taking the money and accepting the losses. The emotion associated with risk/pain aversion can be particularly strong. It is just a way to keep us from doing stupid things I guess. However it is important to be able to see through the cloud of emotions and make a sensible decision.


Anyways, I’ve learnt multiple lessons already in this journey so far. The only positives I have on my side for the moment is that whatever money I had risked is money that as painful as it would be if it all went up in smoke, is money that would not affect my livelihood. Yes it is almost all of my savings, but I’d save it back up, and as I am not looking to divest any holdings anytime soon, I still have time on my side. As I have also mentioned previously, I am still long for oil and commodities in the next 3 to 5 years, as such I’d just have to be patient and wait it out and should opportunities present itself, try to average down on certain holdings where and when I could.

However this whole episode has taught me invaluable lessons regarding  my emotions, prudence and patience when it comes to investing. Things that would be almost impossible for me to learn otherwise, well obviously if I could have learnt these lessons without risking hundreds of thousands of dollars, that would have been peachy, but oh well.

Now the point of me writing this is, most investors will only look at the potential upside of a stock, rarely does anyone even imagine thinking what if the stock I bought today, ended up halving in value tomorrow ? What would you do ? Would you buy more ? Would you dump it all and run ? If you reckon you’d buy more of the stock that just halved after you bought it yesterday, you are probably on the right track. Market movement and volatility should not be the deciding factor of purchasing or holding a stock. Business fundamentals should always take priority. As Warren Buffett once said “If a business does well, the stock eventually follows”.





May 2016 Dividend hits SGD 1k – Niceee !


Hey there guys, so the good news as the title implies was that I finally managed to hit the coveted SGD 1,000 mark dividends collected in a single month. It certainly was a nice touch to have that. Now if only I could achieve that EVERY SINGLE month ! 🙂

Oh well, we all got to start somewhere now, don’t we ?

My dividends and fees received were as follows :

Keppel Corporation : SGD 770

Sembcorp Industries : SGD 480


Share borrowing & Lending Fees : SGD 36

Which gives me a grand total of SGD 1322. Obviously this was a one of thing as both of Keppel and Sembcorp just happened to payout their dividends in May. I also did receive dividends from DBS, however as I had opted for the script option instead of the cash payout, I have omitted that from the above.

Nevertheless I do strive to see if at all I could achieve these kind of payouts in a sustainable manner in the future. Now that would certainly be something !

So what did I do with this additional source of income ? Well I pumped it into my SRS (Supplemental Retirement Account). I’ve got this thing going where I’m just dumping whatever dividend and or income received via stock investments into my SRS account, and see how far it goes before year end for me to see what kind of amount I’d have received in total. Obviously it is nowhere close to the annual limit of SGD 15,300 odd for now, but well it is a start.

I find that the SRS is a really handy tool and it kind of kills two birds with one stone. Everyone loves a way to save a little money on taxes if we could, and since my investment timeline is at least in the next 20 to 30 years, I’m more than happy to continue pumping money into my SRS account for now as well as buy and hold stocks in it.

Of course buying and holding stocks via SRS has a marginal charge to it, I believe it is SGD 2 for 1,000 shares for purchases, and there is also a SGD 2 per counter per quarter charged for maintenance. However, I honestly do reckon that these are negligible at most and the benefits of having an SRS account far outweighs the charges imposed.

So have you got an SRS account yet ?

Till later !


Noble oh Noble – Black sheep or a hidden jewel ?

Greetings to you guys ! As most of you probably have already heard, Noble Group had just last week announced their rights issue of 1-to-1 priced at SGD0.11 per share. Of course this was before the news of the Company CEO Yusuf Alireza stepping down, the sale of Noble Americas and the stepping down of long-time chairman and Company founder Elman.

What a tumultuous year it has been for Noble. I mean seriously ? How much shitty luck could ONE company possibly have ? Or is there really more to Noble than just shitty luck ? I mean think about it, the sequence of events thus far :

  • Iceberg Research (a rumored 3 man setup of Noble’s ex-employees) coming out the sensational report that Noble was essentially cooking up their books and not reflecting their true values back in February 2015. Noble Group of course denied this vehemently and hired accredited accounting firms to prove otherwise. Ok at this point is when I decided to enter into holding Noble as I really did believe that the rundown on the stock price was over rated.
  • The slide in the global commodity market precipitated by the slowdown in China’s economy. Being the world’s biggest commodity consumer, a slowdown naturally had an effect on the global commodity market and in turn affected Noble’s Group’s revenues.
  • The sale of Noble’s agriculture business trading to China’s Cofco.
  • The departure of CEO Yusuf Alireza
  • The announced sale of Noble Energy Americas
  • The announced departure of founder Richard Elman within 12 months


Now I know there are plenty of traders who have shorted the stock and made thousands of it, hell even I made a couple of hundreds trading Noble’s stock sometime in 2015 based on the sideways trading pattern I had identified at that time. However I have not dabbled in trading in this stock since then, choosing to believe that the long term potential of the stock would be realized. Well we now know that was a tad bit premature.

Hell I even doubled down on my position barely a week before the slew of news of the executive departures and the rights sale was announced. Kanina ! Seriously talk about timing, I made the decision as I had set a target to re-enter Noble mostly to average down my pricey position of about SGD 0.89 from last year. So when it did hit SGD 0.30 about a week or so ago I had trained my gun sight on it and went ahead. Little did I know about the rest of the crappy news to follow.


I’d admit that at the moment Noble Group (down 50 % from my initial entry price)  & Nam Cheong (down 75 % from my initial entry price) are my highest risk holdings and are also the worst beaten down in recent times.

Now what have I done about them and what do I plan to do about them ? I’d talk about my Noble holdings in this post. In light of what has happened, I had re-analyzed my holdings and obviously there are 2 choices :

  1. Cut losses and run like hell before the price slides even further as projected ex rights price is supposed to be circa SGD 0.22. In the interim expect prices to trend slightly further down with all the crappy news from the current SGD 0.26.
  2. Hunker down and fully take up the rights issue and hence forking up even more ammo for this holdings in order to average down even further. With the rights issue I could get a better bang for buck coupled with the recent double-down I had mentioned I did just 2 weeks ago.

I have been considering both options carefully, keeping in mind that loving a stock and keeping your fingers crossed and hoping for the best may not be the best option.

With option 1, I’d have to book a significant capital loss and I’d be walking away having learned a painful lesson. That in itself although is shitty is not the end of the world.

With option 2, I’d have to fork up a sum of money and take up all the rights I am entitled to and maybe more. It would be a great opportunity to average down even further on my initial entry cost. Of course no one knows what the future for Noble would be. However here are the positive facts :

  • The cash call will significantly reduce the conglomerate’s debt load to approximately 45% from the current over 55%.
  • I have said this before and I believe it still holds true – the world will always need commodities. If not China (which has seen a little slowdown recently), then it is India and Africa which are all steaming ahead in growth and should in the next 2 to 3 years grow wealthier and be bigger consumers.
  • World commodity prices will eventually start inkling up as it’s a matter of time before confidence resumes. Call me an optimist but it is never really all doom and gloom. Sure the macroeconomics ain’t great with Aunty Yellen thinking about interest rate rise, the impending Brexit referendum and China having a hiccups with regards to her growth. But as the saying goes this too will pass.
  • If interest rates do eventually rise, Noble’s idea of paring down debt and increasing capital does make perfect sense as it would be in a better position in the future.
  • Noble’s bond prices have surged up to almost 0.80 cents on the dollar after the rights issue was announced. This is an indication of confidence and in fact the price reflects a company with investment grade bonds.
  • Other commodity traders such as Glencore have also been hit by the drop in world commodity prices having dropped almost 25 %. Of course Noble takes the cake with the price down almost 70 %
  • I believe that when others are being fearful it is time to be greedy.


Now what I don’t like as much is this :

The CEO stepping down and to be replaced with two co-CEOs, and followed almost a few days later the founder Richard Elman going away in 12 months. Now honestly I know that Elman is not involved in the day to day running of the firm, but to have Yusuf stepping down after all that seems a little premature. I believe that he did do what he had to to he best of his abilities during this troubled times for Noble. I mean how many CEOs do you know who ploughed in his own money buying the stocks during troubled times ? I believe that he bought the  majority of the chunks when the stock price was circa SGD 0.60. Sure lah, he has cash to spare, but still it’s a sign of confidence.

I also am not a big proponent of a company being run by co-CEOs. It believe it muddles the accountability and decisiveness that someone has to eventually be responsible for. Honestly I think that Yusuf should probably have been upped to Chairman and a suitable replacement found – provided of course he wanted the job. But well what is done is done.

The change in management could also give the 2 new co-CEO’s leeway to give Noble a fresh start and the impending sale of the Noble Americas and the rights issue could be all the ammo they need to get things rolling.

Thus, after much contemplation, I have decided to stick with Noble holdings and intend to fully subscribe to my entitled rights issue. Also subject to any extra funding I intend to subscribe to any excess rights to lower my holding costs even further and stick with it for the next 2 to 3 years. I also do believe that the current sell down is excessive and with time when the shortists have all but bones to chew on, Noble will be viewed in much brighter light.

Whoever said investing was a piece of cake ? 😀 Lol…




Lending to invest ? Suicidal or a ballsy move ?

Good day readers ! Hope your week is off to a pleasant start thus far. I had previously mentioned that I took on some debts to increase my stock holdings in late 2014.

Right Decision, Wrong Decision Road Sign

Debt is almost always seen as taboo, more so if taken deliberately to buy consumer items or even a holidays etc. But how about taking on debt for an investment opportunity? Well it’s much like a double edged sword actually. If you get the timing right, the debt would have worked for you and given you exposure that you would not have been able to get otherwise. Get it wrong and well that same debt is now working against you, not only would you have been dealing with an investment that didn’t go your way, you’re also saddled with paying off the capital and interest of a loan.

I took advantage of a few credit lines in order to take advantage of market weakness in the beginning of the oil crisis in end 2013 and early 2014. At that time oil was hovering at about USD 65 to USD 70 a barrel. And I had decided to enter into positions such as Keppel Corp, Sembcorp Industries and hell yes even Noble Group (based on commodity market weakening and the whole saga of  the short selling at that time). Suffice to say that they were all premature entry points. I was excited as hell and had an aura of invisibility or so I thought at that point. Most positions I had entered ended up declining at least another 30 % to 40 % to what I thought were bargains at that point in time.

And to make matters worse I used debt to enter into those positions as week by week they were going downhill and I thought hmm well maybe I should double down to average down the cost of purchase previously.

My biggest holding to date is in Noble Group which I had entered into ploughing about $ 45,000 initially into them. That position is now currently down about 50 % in market value. I have previously blogged about my Noble investing decision here : Noble oh Noble – Black sheep or a hidden jewel ?


So what is the take away from all of this ? Well investing is a journey, debt could either be the rocket fuel to make a giant leap in that journey (if used correctly and in a timely manner) or it could make that journey seem like a walk through an infinite pool of quick sand (slow, and harrowing).

Although I am now aware of mistakes made and am taking various measures to ensure that this journey through the pit of clearing the debt is done as soon as practicably possible, it has undoubtedly been a setback in my journey to financial independence. My only saving grace is that I have realized the mistakes I have made, and have time on my side. However I cannot empathize enough the saying that goes ‘only invest money that you can afford to lose’ and how important it is to fully comprehend the meaning of that.

Balls of steel ? Managing your emotions with the slide in stocks

Bonjour readers ! Well as the greeting implies. I’m in Paris at the moment. Unfortunately it’s been pouring here the past 2 days so what better way to spend it than to sit my ass down and write another long overdue post. 🙂

Now as you might have realized the last Portfolio Update for May 2016 was not a pretty picture. My current portfolio is down almost 40 % from the money I had pumped into the market from the end of 2013/beginning 2014. So the question that comes to mine is how do you deal with it ? How do you sit and watch as your entire life’s savings go almost half in value in a matter of months ? More importantly what can you do about it or can you at all ?


I’d be the first to admit as this is my first investing foray, when the oil price started sliding further and further in 2014, hence affecting my holdings which as you can see are heavy on oil & gas and the commodities market, I found myself checking my holdings almost 10 times a day, hovering around the ‘SELL’ button to cut my losses and get out. On one side the side of your thinking that wants to ‘avert losses’ is screaming GET OUT NOW!’ On another the more sensible part says ‘HOLD HOLD HOLD’. It was not easy for sure, I mean off the top of my mind I can think of multiple ways I could use that 40 % unrealized losses to better my life.

Hence here is the most important takeaway I have to share straight from the horses mouth :

  • Always know why you are investing in a particular stock. For example Sembcorp Industries. I had bought into this from as high as SGD 4.65 to as low as SGD 2.94. I would have loved to get more of it when it sank even lower however the I was already scratching the bottom of the piggy bank by then. 🙁 My rationale for it was simple, yes Sembcorp Industries is exposed to the weakening oil industry however as you might have known I am still positive on OIL in the next 3 to 5 years, and coupled that with the fact that Sembcorp has also multiple other avenues of income such as power generation, water and waste disposal of which are growing in revenue and are things that modern cities can’t live without, my decision was simple. It was dig in and bite the bullet for the short term. My only wish was instead of being trigger happy earlier on, I could have waited and picked up a lot more as the price sank. But oh well, as the saying goes, nobody could ever really time a market perfectly.
  • Take small bites before taking bigger chunks. Entry price points for stocks can make a whole lot of difference. Taking the analogy of Sembcorp Industries for example, my average price point could be a lot lower if I had simply taken smaller bites with the slide of oil and taken progressively bigger bites, instead of chewing off a whole mouthful right at the beginning. Amateur mistake, but oh well something I definitely learned for life.
  • Be patient. I cannot overemphasize this enough. Being able to rationalize why you bought a stock and having the ability to be patient whilst it goes down half its value or more is not for the faint-hearted. Your have to trust your instinct and believing that what you did is right in spite of Mr. Market’s upheavals and swings. Of course this is much easier said than done. I have myself questioned many times should I continue to hold or even throw more money into something that seems to just continue it’s slide down further and further. Nevertheless being patient and the ability to ride the swings in the market is something we all could learn with time.
  • There is no timing the market. As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20, or in other words, a lot of things in life only becomes clear after it has happened. I for one can testify to this. I used to always say ‘DARN, if only I had waited to but it now I’d have got it at another 20 % discount’. Over time though I realize that getting in and buying and holding is better than watching on the sidelines. However always remember that it always is better to take smaller bites and bigger chunks later than the other way around.

That’s it for now folks, By the way feel free to comment on my blog. I’d love to hear more from my readers and see if any of my rantings do even make sense to any of you and if it has helped you in anyway.

Cheerios !




Portfolio Update May 2016

Hello from London everyone ! It’s a been a great day at London thus far, minus the typical gloomy, wet weather which came as a pleasant surprise. This would also be my first time composing an article overseas for my blog, simply because I tend to have more time overseas than at home.

OK so here is the table of my current portfolio as of May 24 2016 :

HoldingsQuantityAverage purchase pricePurchase price adjusted for dividendsUnrealized profit / loss
DBS1,000SGD 13.46SGD 13.160+ SGD 2,050
Keppel Corporation3,500SGD 8.10SGD 7.40- SGD 7,350
Sembcorp Industries8,000SGD 4.125SGD 3.953- SGD 9,464
Nam Cheong50,000SGD 0.345SGD 0.33- SGD 12,350
AMEX100USD 77.09USD 76.01- USD 1,242
Noble104,000SGD 0.585SGD 0.585- SGD 28,600

I know it’s not a pretty picture. It’s been a hell of a ride since I started accumulating the above holding from end 2013. As you can see I am heavy on the oil & gas industries, however I also do have some strong points as to why I had entered into my positions in that manner. I strongly do believe that the recovery in crude oil is a matter of time as the world is still very heavily reliant on crude and I expect this to last for at least another 10 years.

My biggest holding to date has been in Noble Group, I had just recently doubled my holdings in that as I had entered into that position a little early last year at the beginning of the whole Iceberg Research saga, which many of you have probably heard about. However as my points for entering that position are still valid, I had doubled down on my position to average down my earlier much higher entry price. I do believe that companies like Noble and Glencore are the glue that keeps the world commodity market moving and as such will always be in business.

What’s your financial game plan ?

Financial gameplanDo you have a financial game plan ? This may seem trivial, but I certainly do believe that having a game plan when it comes to personal finance is essential. It could be many things, reducing debt, investing for retirement, children’s education, saving for a rainy day etc. These goals could also evolve over time to anticipate various needs that come up.

Below is my current strategy in their order of importance currently :

Reducing my unsecured debt load

This is currently ranked as my number one priority. I have approximately $ 58,000 worth of unsecured debt on my personal credit lines – i.e. on a personal loan, unsecured credit line and credit card.

You may think WOAH ! That’s a shitload of debt, and frankly yes it is. However contrary to what you may think I did not take on those debts for consumption items – i.e. holidays, or electrical gadgets. I took on those debts for investing. Now you’re thinking, SERIOUSLY, why in the world did he do that? LOL. Yes. However  it had provided numerous important lessons I had learnt from the experience of it all. Though needless to say it came at an expensive as hell tuition fee. I’d blog about that later on.

Setting up an emergency fund

What’s the fuss about an emergency fund ? Well it is basically a liquid, easy to  access fund that provides cash when you need it most for an out of pocket expense that you had neither planned for or anticipated. Basically when life throws you a curve ball, this is your go to BANK.

Most people set this up along the lines of multiples of monthly salary or multiples of monthly expenses. Both are equally acceptable with multiples of monthly salary being the more conservative. I.e. if your monthly drawn salary is $2000 and you decide on your emergency fund being 3 times of that, your target emergency fund is $6000.

I had opted for the choice of multiples of monthly expense and set a target of 3 times of that initially, and I’m currently in the progress of building that up accordingly. I anticipate to achieve that in the next 6 months based upon income to be derived.

Retirement savings

Most Singaporeans rely on CPF (Central Provident Fund) to provide for their retirement needs and Malaysia has it’s equivalent of its EPF (Employee Provident Fund) to provide for the same need.

Although CPF does a pretty tidy job of addressing most needs such as housing, retirement and healthcare needs for most people, it may not necessarily be enough based upon what you anticipate your retirement needs and income to be like.

I have an SRS (Supplemental Retirement Scheme) account which I do try my best to contribute to as and when I can to add that into the mix of retirement savings to draw upon. I had managed to successfully top up my SRS account to its yearly limits in 2014 and about half the yearly limits last year. This year I’m targeting to achieve the full yearly limit of $ 15,300. I am primarily using all of my dividend income for this and towards year end hope to close the gap with some savings.

Paring down my mortgage

This too has a degree of importance as I anticipate my current residence to be rented out from end of 2017 and a move over to my new place which would be completed at around the same time. Paring down the current outstanding mortgage to about 75% of it’s original value would thus in my opinion free up more cash flow to service my new mortgage and continue paying for the old one.

Tax planning

This may often be overlooked by most people but paying some attention to your tax state can go along way towards improving one’s cash flow and saving you thousands of dollars in the long term. I have used CPF top-ups, SRS as well as charitable donations for my tax planning purposes.

In conclusion having a game plan allows you to plan accordingly and channel your income into achieving your financial goals in small baby steps. It always helps knowing what you’re doing with your money and how you are addressing your needs each time your bank account goes ‘ka-ching’ on your salary day.