Monday, 26 December 2016

Time to contribute $$ to CPF for tax relief again

It's the time of the year again - time to contribute money to your CPF or your parents' CPF accounts if you are looking for some income tax rebate. Better do it soon too, because there are less than 5 working days to new year (and to qualify)!
Another way of getting the tax rebate is to do some good by donating back to society. :)

Here is the IRAS link to check out the top-up relief limits: CPF-Cash-Top-up-Relief

(For self is $7000 and for family members is $7000 too. So the maximum rebate amount is $14000.)

And not forgetting, there is also the elusive Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) which you could contribute to...
What is SRS?
More on SRS contributions

If you are lazy to analyse for yourself on whether you should put your money into the SA or SRS, here is a good article that can help to shed some light.

It might be a good alternative to annuity or perhaps even life insurance (if you are already quite aged and need to pay very high premiums).

Note that SRS member can withdraw up to $40,000 per year from his SRS account tax-free from age 62 onwards. Early withdrawal would result in penalty. (If you make a withdrawal before the retirement age of 62, 100% of the sum withdrawn will be subject to income tax. You will also face a 5% penalty for premature withdrawal. - source POSB website)

IMO, if you have no idea on how to invest your SRS money for better returns (than your cpf money) then there is no point in putting the money in the bank's SRS account. The only good thing you can reap out of it is the tax benefit, which would appeal more to the higher earners with spare cash to park somewhere.

For me, I prefer liquidity (and I am terrified of penalty!). So I chose to put the money in my parent's RA since the money can be activated as monthly payout anytime.

Happy New Year! (I think my next post would be in 2017.)

Friday, 16 December 2016

Past tense, Present tense, Future tense of stock market

Past tense = dividends, P/E
Present tense = current share price, NAV, news
Future tense = prospect / business analysis, projected earning, speculation

Some people like to make decision looking at the rearview mirror, some people like to make decision based on trend and gut feel, some people like to analyse and try to foresee things.

Which describes you?


My stocks portfolio adventure in 2016:

- Earned an ok dividend of 4.3% by year end
- My worst paper loss this year was -29% in January
- Rode through the boring market period and terrible paper loss by not capitulating and just taking dividends as panadol
- Did some diversification of portfolio as it was over-concentrated in certain equities
- Paper loss (current) is about double the amount of absolute $ of my dividends gained

Looking to do some rebalancing of my portfolio to welcome 2017.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Stay-at-home long weekend... to shop

Who says 宅女 don't go shopping? From the rise of ebay, blog shops to Alibaba, we could practically find anything we want online and have it delivered to our house - at times at a better price.

Qoo10 is having some cool deals of cart coupon offer here. $3 off $20 min purchase, $10 off $50 and $30 off $200.

I usually shop for clothings, PC and handphone accessories. Because of these great deals, I decided to get something more adventurous - a robot vacuum cleaner. For only $82 after the coupon discount! :)

My mom doesn't like to clean the floor, neither do I. So we can't wait to try out this cute machine. I shall write a review when I get hold of it next week.

Review 9/10/16:

Just slightly bigger than the size of my dinner plate, this little gadget is relatively quiet and simple to use. So far it has functioned quite well as a robot dust sucker, average 3 sessions before 1 charge. Good for people who are lazy to use the broom or lug a bulky vacuum cleaner around the house. 
The flip side is it tends to be 'trapped' if it goes under a table or to area less than a meter square so I have got to manually bring it out. There is no mopping function and has no path memory unlike some high-end robot vacuum cleaners. Bin is easy to clean out. Instruction manual is in both English and Chinese. :)


Maybank credit card is now having $10 rebate off first purchase on Shopback for new sign-ups till 31 December. I accidentally went to sign up on the regular page instead of on, and realised there's no way to delete that Shopback (email) account anymore. I shall just let that first account stay inactive till auto-termination. Ugh... gotta sign up using another email address.

Oh no, my online accounts for shopping are getting more than my fingers could count.

Are you a online shopaholic too?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Luck or Hard work to Catch 'Em All?

I can't believe I am now back to my old-school-days-craze of Pokemon catching. Those were the times when I was glued to the TV catching every weekly episode and watching my cousins play Nintendo gameboy roleplay version of catching Pokemon on pixelated screen. Almost 20 years later, people on the street of Singapore, from kids to uncles aunties, are glued to their handphone playing Pokemon Go - the evolved and more 'powderful' version.

What I have learnt for everyday life by being part of this craze (besides not to dash around dangerously):

1) Do your research

There are certain tricks and background information to everything. Why I ended up with Squirtle instead of Pikachu? Because I didn't do my research lor... =.=
Same for investing - if you didn't do your research properly and just go with the norm, chances are you would not be getting the good 'hidden' stuff.

2) Increasing your chance of luck also need technique

You don't expect sitting around your house to catch some rare Pokemon. You can only catch them by moving your ass out to places where they are touted to inhabitat. Just as the saying goes "Opportunity is for the prepared", so go to venue XXX, put up some lure and sit for X hours to greatly increase your chance.

Evolving the Pokemon also has tactic. Choose those with CP score towards the end of the scale. Better still if it is high in numerical, but the scale is more important. Because when it evolved, the CP will also be at the higher end.

So get the tactic right and plan your moves, that's very important in winning any game.

3) When all else fail, hard work prevails

What happens if you just can't get enough luck in catching a Gyarados, despite going all the way to Chinese Garden? Go and catch 101 Magikarp lah!
If you catch an average of 3-4 a day, you would get enough candies in a month's time for a magnificent evolution.

Not all shortcuts work out in life. So if you think investing is going to be a shortcut to all your financial woes, first you must make sure that it does not add to your woes. Also make sure you have a backup plan.

Quoting Uncle8888:  Wealth = Financial Asset + Human Asset

So when your investments did not work out, you know what to do huh?

Yeah, we can all be like Ash in our own ways and marking our own journeys. Happy catching!
(Why do I feel that as the seasons progress, the Pokemons just got uglier?) :P

Seen Pokemon 47 out of 147 (counting). Highest CP 482.
"So you wanna be a Master. Do you have the skill to be number 1?"

If there's pay-per-charge mobile phone charging stations (like vending machines) near Pokestops, I think it would earn pretty decently from this craze.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Savings account promotions

POSB is currently running a 'Get 1.55% p.a. interest for 6 months!' promotion. Check it out here.

How to get the deal?

  • Deposit fresh funds* into your POSB Fresh Funds Account by 4 August 2016.
  • Fresh funds deposit via cheque(s), cashier's order(s) and demand draft(s) must be done by 4 August 2016, 3.30pm.
  • During the POSB Fresh Funds Account opening process, you will be prompted to select an existing POSB/DBS Current or Savings Account to be used for signature reference. This same account will be used for the crediting of the Cash Gift Interest.
  • This account has no applicable fees or charges.
  • Capped at S$50,000, with no minimum amount required.
  • Maintain the fresh funds deposited in the account for 6 months until 4 February 2017.
What happens at the end of 6 months?
  • The Cash Gift Interest will be credited into your reference account by 15 March 2017. Your POSB Fresh Funds Account will thereafter be auto-closed and the funds will be credited into your reference account.

Standard Chartered Bank is running a similar promotion under its e$aver account, also offering 1.55% for <$50,000 and up to 1.7% for higher amount of deposits. However, the deal is only good till 30th Sep. Note that it is a bonus interest scheme which applies only to Fresh Funds brought in and calculated based on incremental balance in the account versus July's.

What is the bank's trending key word?

- FRESH FUND. Ah duh.

Now you know sometimes it pays to have at least 2 accounts with different banks, very literally.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Stocks app review - Call Levels

There are many Android apps which monitor stock prices and show stock charts but I could hardly find one that gives you Price Alert feature. Call levels (I came to know about it from a DBS Vickers ad) is a mobile app that would alert you when any stocks you chose hits a certain price. It has a simple and clean interface that shows you nothing else on screen but the price of the stocks that you are following. Upon reaching your keyed in price, it will automatically alert you via mobile notification. You could also choose to receive the alerts via email notification.

The call prices would be consolidated at the bottom, together with the time and date of when they are reached. You could delete them away then add new stock prices to monitor by touching the '+' icon. The only limitation is that it only allows you to key in a few stocks to monitor each time. However, you can get a higher limit when you refer this app to friends.

I only use it to monitor stocks from SGX but it could also be used to monitor US equities, forex and a few others.

Do you know of any other mobile app that alerts you when the stock you want to monitor hits a certain price? If so, please share it in the comment here.

I was trying to write this blog post on a mobile app called Speechnotes. It managed to capture my speech accurately 70% of the time. Maybe it does not take Singaporean accent very well haha.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

7-Minute Workout

Been sitting in front of computer for too long? Here are 12 sets of work out that you could do in a small space within 7 minutes.

Try it daily. :)

If you think that by doing multiple sit-ups you are gonna get rid of your belly fat, you are so WRONG!

The exercises that really get your abs muscles working mostly involve leg movements. Don't believe? Try this out and let me know if your abs muscles ache the next day. You would know which muscles you worked on when they ache. Lol.


Tips: Make sure your lower back is flat against the mat and you suck your tummy in. The video mentioned it at the Toe Tap part. To check that, try to slip your hands under your lower back and make sure they can't be slipped through.

You can buy cheap dumb bells from Daiso. They are bottle dumb bells that you can fill with water to use.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Oppo A37 - a switch from Samsung experience

I have been using Samsung Galaxy series since the start of smartphone age, with signing of 2-year contracts. However, I don't make much calls or sms so I have decided to get a no-contract sim when my contract ended. M1 is offering some pretty good SIMs only deals. To get the phones at a even cheaper price, sign a 12 month contract and I can get call, sms, data bundled under $25. Bye Singtel...
Attractive as they are, the new Samsung S7 / S7 edge come with exorbitant prices, especially without a contract. I was looking at functionality and pocket-friendliness, not so much on high-tech fanciness and trend. I thought of getting a Xiaomi note 4 as the reviews were pretty good. But... it's SOLD OUT. =.= (My post is back-dated by 1 month so it could be in stock now.) What caught my attention next was Oppo (hokkien saying 'no fish, prawn also can') with a price well within my budget and of course a sales person to answer my queries. From afar it looked strikingly like an iphone 6, hmm... their tactic for fighting giants and catching eye balls?

I was thinking between Oppo R9 and Oppo A37 but eventually decided on A37, the 'budget' model, just to try out the Oppo experience without making too big a hole in my pocket. It runs on ColorOS android 5.1.1 and the candybar phone is light and sleek for not-so-big palms. The package also comes with a screen-protector (on phone) and a transparent phone casing.
Ease of navigation on screen is similar to Samsung and it supports all my frequently used apps / widgets just as well. Some differences are:

1) It's installed apps all go to the home screen instead of an app drawer. They can be organised into folders by dragging the icons onto each other. But I still think that clutters my screen.

2) To bring up settings, I need to find the '3 dots' in the app screen instead of using the lower left touch button. It's lower left touch button is for bring up and clearing running apps (I will touch on that more later.) The touch buttons won't light up when touched.

3) There is no notification LED. A little annoying when I charge my phone cos I like to see the light turn green when fully charged, also it's easier to get my mom to switch off the charging for me should I be sleeping. To get around that, I downloaded Ecocharger which would sound an alert ringtone when the phone is charged.

4) The dial screen is white instead of black. No big deal but I seemed to be too used to black dial screens.

5) Easy to use Theme store app. Maybe I am not that up to date with Samsung's apps and have never got down to changing its theme. It's quite fun and easy to change themes on Oppo.

6) No choice of resolution on it's 8mp back camera. (I like to set lower resolution when just taking pictures to show people on whatsapp chats.) But I must give credit to its picture quality and some cool camera functions like create GIF, beautify...

7) I am not too pleased with the original photo gallery which does not sort by Albums. So I downloaded an app to help me sort out my numerous pictures.

8) Can take lengthy screenshot by pressing vol up and power button together.
There are 2 tech 'glitch' which greatly reduced my user-experience but fortunately I managed to rectify after some online forum searching:

1) One-handed operation function that shrinks the screen
This is supposed to be a cool feature if the phone has big screen and you have small hand. However, it irks me very much by shrinking the screen when I didn't intend it to and that is quite often. To turn it off, go to Settings --> Gesture and motion feature, tap it then scroll to single hand operation and switch it off.

2) Apps cannot be whitelisted to run in background

I like to rely on apps that have notification features, such as reminder alerts to do certain tasks, Ecocharger, Colornote etc. However, once I closed the apps, the notifications from them would get turned off too so I am unable to get any reminder alerts and McDonald alarm. :( So I was irritated for a few days until I figured out how to 'pin' apps to keep running.

First you must ensure Notification has been enabled for them, you could do so by going to the App Management screen or go Settings --> Notifications.

Make sure those apps are currently running. Then tap the lower left button (square) to bring up the running apps. If you take a look carefully, you can spot a mini white lock icon at the top left corner of some apps. That is the 'pin'.

If the apps do not have the lock icon, it means that when you clear running apps they would get shut down totally (no notifications anymore). How to get the apps pinned? Instead of tapping on the app which would open it up again, touch and pull it downwards. When you released it you should be able to see the lock icon appear or disappear.

You could do that for as many apps as you want but I do not recommend doing so for more than 3 apps. Simply because it would eat into the RAM which slows down your phone's response speed when you are using other apps.

That's all for my 2-cents worth of Oppo review and guide. I would be sticking with my Oppo for the next 12 months at least, perhaps I would discover new things as I get accustomed to it. I have added a new post with tips on mass deleting photos on Oppo here

Please feel free to share if you have other hot tips!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

My thoughts on rights issuance

Rights issue = an issue of shares offered at a special price by a company to its existing shareholders in proportion to their holding of old shares.

When I think of rights, I think of share dilution. More shares at cheap price for existing shareholders, some would scurry to sell off once they get hold of the rights share before the full dilution takes effect.

Not all rights are right to get. However, if you decided not to get then you might be better off selling away the shares instead of holding them (before full dilution takes place as mentioned). A few questions you can ask yourself before taking the leap of faith are - why is the company issuing rights? This in turn gives answer to what it would do with the money gathered. Most of the time it is for paying off debts. Fair enough. But what's next? How are they going to turn their business around? What data did you get your convictions from? How are you able to minimise your risk?

(From a bad past experience, when a company can't turn its business around fast enough, it's share price would plummet faster than one could finish swearing and starts to react. Plummeting could continue even after price dilution effect has taken place.)

To get or not to get? To jump or not to jump?


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

SME's resources

It is very interesting to find out about government's support on our local grown SMEs. So I have been 'sua ku' all along! Heard about them but really didn't bother to find out more till now.
Here are some of the resources:

IDA Singapore -

SME Portal -

Enhanced ISprint Program -

Programmes by NLB -

Have been too busy in my new job to blog about stocks. Market has been quite quiet lately so I am staying dormant too.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Trendline drawing is fun!

Decided to do some trendline drawing practice out of boredom. Just a few stocks I was watching.
Pictures paint a thousand words? (Hack care about macd, stoch, rsi and what not... just kidding)

Can't seem to break out of its downtrend channel. Secondary uptrend occurred since my previous update but uptrend broken once ex-dividend. :(

Going sideway soon?
After being ditched by STI, will this salted fish break out to life again?

On a happy steep climb. For now.

* Disclaimer: These are NOT investment advice. Your own discretions apply in the chart usage.

Charting workflow in a nutshell

- Zoom out to 5 years or maximum, zoom in to 2 years, zoom in to 6 months or even more recent depending on your trade time horizon. See the macro and micro trends.

- Find trend, draw lines. Lines should be touching closing price of candles.
(no trend don't enter. sideway stocks don't enter. downtrend can consider shorting.)

- Determine the entry price based on an established trend, indicators or a break-out.

- Weigh the downside versus upside potential (risk to reward ratio).

- Determine the stop-loss price somewhere below the support. (eg. Stanchart can set stop-loss, put minimum selling price much lower cos if price breaks below it that would deactivate the stop loss.)

- Position sizing, calculate what is a fair amt of shares to buy (eg. not more than
x% of investment capital).

- If price follows trend channel, let your profit runs. If it fails, get out.

- Set trailing stop losses (based on new suport levels) to reap profit before trend-reversal happens.

- Sell if bad news about the company broke out or major support level broken.

6 rights, 2 wrongs... can still be costly

Is that a right overall? 


"It's not whether you're right or wrong that's important, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong." - George Soros

Back to school - SGX academy

Yoz! Am back from Taiwan. Since now I am so free and officially a slacker, I thought I would sign up for course or two at SGX academy. Good to be student again once in a while.

My advise for this is don't attend FOC preview courses, because most of the time you will be listening to just-some-ideas and much self-selling (to make you attend the actual course). For better learning experience and not waste time, go for the paid courses that suit your level.

The recent course I went for is on technical trend trading for beginners (3 hours). Prior to this I have had some knowledge on technical analysis but going for live talk on it was far more entertaining and enriching than book-reading I feel. Reasons being:

- Case studies on Singapore stocks
- Some experience sharing by speaker
- Gist of the books summarized in slides format
- No distractions of wanting to do other things or skip chapters

The basic trading principles and best practices coincide neatly with what I have learnt over the years from reading blogs and books. Those information I have gathered earlier through reading are like jigsaw puzzles - I got to slowly sort them out and piece them together forming various pictures over a long period. Some of blog posts I came across was too 'cheem' for me when I was an investment novice and I simply got tuned out as I couldn't make sense of them. The course on the other hand, would paint an organized picture right away for the learners without a need to piece any puzzle. Key points I took years to realize suddenly stared at me in bold.

Amidst a revision of the main TA principles, I also managed to catch some other useful pointers like on risk management, where to set stop-loss and position sizing. A little more advanced thinkers or hybrid lovers would start to think of strategies to marry TA and FA nicely thereafter. No, no such course yet.

Some people would say why go for talks or courses, isn't it better to learn by experience? My answer to that is yes and no. Use the knowledge and understanding to experience - yes definitely.

Last but not least, one very important thing I learnt lately about investment is to PLAN. As the saying goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Same goes for investment. Entry, exit, time horizon, trade size...

Then it goes on to the battle with the mind. Because the hardest part is always the ACTION or plan execution. Now we need some ninja discipline here.


"The fastest way to go broke in the stock market is to prove that you are right and the market is wrong."

No matter whether we are using TA or FA, ultimately we are utilizing past data to help us extrapolate the future so as to estimate the potential returns of an investment. But who can truly predict the future? That is why risk management and minimization of bias are important.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Book reviews: The Next Apple & Bull's Eye Investing

The Next Apple

This is a new-age book which I discovered in the library on investing. To sum it up, the strategy that the authors advocated is mostly applicable at the start of a bull run or in good economy times (stable stock market) because it's main tactic is to pick the stock when it keeps climbing and goes pass its 52-week high with at least 50% break-out from a technical base. More of a technical read than fundamental, it's teaching us how to ride on momentum stocks.

However, I find the authors contradicting themselves by saying you should buy stocks that fulfilled the momentum criteria when not many people of the public know about those stocks yet (well, the only reason I could think of which caused the momentum would then be institutional investors who are driving the stock prices up and not so much of retail investors).

Some take-home points about risk management (one of my favourite topics to read):
  • Pick stocks that have potential to appreciate substantially (think Earnings growth).
  • Make sure our inevitable mistakes are not going to hurt our returns too much.
  • Stay with our winning stocks long enough to make a difference in our returns.
  • Be careful of down crash, use stop-loss (as per usual) - I am thinking of trailing stop-loss though that's not covered.
  • Make sure our position sizing doesn't hurt our performance, sleep and confidence.
  • To be active in the market when it is worth being active. To do nothing when there's nothing to do.

"Before every stock reaches 200% return in a year, it is up only 50% at some point in that year."

Next up...

Bull's eye investing

I find this a refreshing read from the boring old FA stuff.

Many times it mentioned that we are in a secular bear market since 2000 (what now?) and talked about how we could tackle it. It also flagged out something we often overlooked in our course of investing - that at different times, different 'trending' stocks push the market up (means at different time points in the stock market centuries, different hot industries drove the economy). Then there's some draggy parts about mutual funds which I skipped.

Interesting bits on investor's psychology here... 6 mistakes of investors:

Rules for value investing:
  • Cut your losers and let your winners ride.
  • For every stock you buy, set target prices for selling to collect your profit in stages. Set targets.
  • Be patient. Trust your research (read more at the Graham's number part).
  • Don't try to time the stock.
  • Do not fall in love with your stock.
  • Diversify. (And I refer back to the topic on position sizing.)
"Numbers don't lie, but you can lie with numbers."


Here's an example of a secular bear market chart which I plucked off google, in case you don't know what that means. It's pretty much a period of consolidation, simply put.


This marks the end of my very brief book summaries. If you have read them, do share with me what other 'gems' you found inside.

Time to pack for my Taiwan trip tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

What you need to trade SIP / CFD

Besides money that is. The most important one is...


SG brokerages may require clients to take tests before they are allowed to trade SIPs (specified investment products) or CFD (contract for difference) if they are not working finance-related field, do not have prior finance certifications or have no trading history of such instruments for at least 6 times in the preceding 3 years. It's basically the same idea as having to pass the driving theory tests before we could get into the driver's seat and start engine.
Maybe the next thing you know they would start making risk management course compulsory. Shhh.

\You could take the courses and tests at:

SGX e-learning (takes about 2-3 hours to complete)

and (each course consists of about 60 slides with a 15-question quiz at the end of each set)

They would then send you a soft copy certificate. For POEMS account opening, you need to indicate your scores on the application form under the respective SIPs.

Model answers?

Sorry you are not gonna find cheat sheet here. Go and study!

Personally, I would not advise anyone to dabble in SIPs if you are not sure of what you could do with them and what they could do to you.

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” - Warren Buffett

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Use Skillsfuture Credit to up your financial literacy

In view of the Skillsfuture Credit kicking into effect from this year, SG citizens age 25 and above are given $500 to kickstart learning. Since it's free lunch given by 'ah gong' (sg government), why not? BUT before you excitedly start signing for courses around, you might want to first find out what courses are eligible for the $500 subsidy. Check out the list here

What courses can help you improve on financial literacy or understand investing better?
Check them out here:

SIM modular courses:

You could also check out SGX Academy for more investment courses (may need to verify against the course list on Skillsfuture for eligibility). Some of them are FOC.

Image result for book with dollar

Happy learning!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Balance Sheet & Cashflow - summarized definition

I have decided to free this content up from being a Page into a Post so I could put my page space to better use, akan datang. Nevertheless this is very important stuff to make sense of the annual reports that the companies you invest in would send yearly.

Making sense of a company's Balance sheet - it should all balance up

In a Balance sheet there's two parts of equivalent values:

1) Total Assets $ =
2) Total liabilities and Equity

This is because Equity = Total assets - Total liabilities, so both values would be the same.

Equity is also known as net asset or net worth of a company. It comprises of two parts - Retained earnings and Treasury stocks


An important ratio that you can derive from here is this:

Current asset / Liabilities

If it's more than 1.5, the company is generally doing okay (not neck-high in debt).

Statement of Cash flow - show me the money

Cash flow is important because it tells you how much cash a company generates. If a company makes profit but did not generate any spare cash in the process, it might spell financial trouble ahead.

Cash flow statement has three parts:

1) Operating activiities

2) Investing activities

3) Financing activities

Free Cash Flow = Cash from Operations - Capital Expenditures


A book I borrowed. Can't recall the book's title.


Just bear in mind that sometimes things are not as simple as they look because there is such a thing call 'financial engineering' where some figures could be created to make things look good and yet legit. For example, manipulation of ROE through aggressive stock buybacks despite in high debt, no re-evaluation of company's fixed asset etc.

Also look out for any third-party related transactions and look out for exceptionally big figure of good wills. These would require more in-depth reading for a good understanding.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Which character best describes you in investing?

Which character best describes you in investing? (Just for laugh)
  1. The 'asset-rich' but not very smart crocoduck
  2. The resourceful white sheep? "Fluffy and trying to be carnivorous."
  3. Or... the matrix frog "Watch my agility - huat huat huat huat!"

 In the investing world, everybody is trying to out-smart and win each other. When great fools sell to greater fools, great fools buy from greater fools...

See the part 1 video here 4Ds market rules in a crash

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Retail - expectations vs reality

To deliver excellent Customer Service in FMCG retail is hard. It is even harder than doing so in burger chains. You don't believe it? Go and try working in one instead of being a customer who just observe.

At the burger chains, the Counter Staff multi-tasking duty revolves around two things - cashiering and passing the correct prepared food to customers. If you go to the big shopping malls these days, you might have noticed that most of the fast-food chains are evolving their services. Mcdonald's and KFC starts to have separate cashiering and serving counters plus automated self-order kiosks, instead of the old school way of multi-tasking. I haven't been to Burger King frequent enough but I do know that the one at Kallang Wave Mall has the same layout with a digital Q number screen long before I see MCD's. It is also a form of optimising their 'production line' to speed up sales (many POS versus 1 service counter).

On the other hand, staff working at small retailers practically have to do EVERYTHING - what I call ultimate multi-tasking (in hokkien they say 'bao ga liao'). From cashiering, to merchandising, ordering, admin stuff, housekeeping, answering phone calls, and last but not least, serving the shoppers (I don't call all as customers as some are just browsing or have no buying intention). Again, this is a disadvantage compared to burger chains since ALL who are being served at the fast-food counters are customers not shoppers. Pretty much nothing more are to be expected besides getting the food which was ordered in a timely manner - then find the straw and stirer yourselves please. You don't see burger flippers doubling up as cashiers or cleaners, do you?

By the way, golden arches has one of the world best business system.

Then let us take a look at the big non-FMCG retailers. For them, I believe the 80/20 (Pareto's) rule applies where 20% of customers who walked in contribute to 80% of their sales. This is because they are selling specialty or luxury products which not everybody can afford or need. Footfall generally is lower and market is more niche. When they charge premium price, of course they would need to dish out premium service. (Why do you think they hire so many sales persons standing around in suits?)

Now back to the big FMCG retailers. Imagine instead of looking into improvising merchandising, promotions or automating / streamlining processes to make work easier and more efficient for its workers, the almighty management puts its main focus on cutting manpower cost and telling store staff to improve on their customer service (by their own motivation). Then they wonder why sales went down although cost-savings went up. Management expectations versus reality check?

As each of the retailer are retailing different products, we can't expect them to all function like the burger chains. Each may have its unique and advantageous business model.

Among the various retail companies that are listed out there, which would you invest in?
Why would you say so?

(I shall not bother with small non-FMCG retailers as I have not spotted any with substantial profitability.)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Time or Money? II

Some time back last year, I briefly penned a post Time or Money? at a point when I was gloomiest about work.

Today incidentally, I caught something interesting in the book 4-hour Workweek:

"People don’t want to be millionaires—they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy. Ski chalets, butlers, and exotic travel often enter the picture. Perhaps rubbing cocoa butter on your belly in a hammock while you listen to waves rhythmically lapping against the deck of your thatchedroof bungalow? Sounds nice. 

$1,000,000 in the bank isn’t the fantasy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows. The question is then, How can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having $1,000,000?"

This set me thinking.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Revisit: Knowing when to sell your shares

[First published on 3/9/14]

Below is an article by Motley's Fool. It was a burning question in me when I first learnt about investment.

"Buy because of the price but don't sell for the price. Sell because it's value has depreciated or there's a better value investment elsewhere to park your money."

In essence, it's time to part with your shares if either of these happen...
  1. P/E ratio goes sky high
  2. P/B ratio goes sky high
  3. Eroding fundamentals of the company
  4. Poor outlook of business sector eg. competitive edge has worn off, declining industry

I have to add one more - 5. when market sentiment is turning bad, share prices can't break through long term resistance and start to break through support.

Why? So that we can do fruit picking in times like this.

The game of patience in stock market is not how long you hold onto your stocks, it is waiting for the right time to sow and harvest. So that realized gains are more than realized losses.

For my dory memory... now I have this. :)
Replaced my running man wallpaper. Courtesy of Createwealth8888

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

How much do I need to retire

I used the DBS retirement calculator here.

And discovered I need at least $1 million to retire if I want to retire 20 years from now. Assuming I spend only 60% of my current income on retirement.  (I suspect the system didn't take into account any prospective pay rise or maybe it just assume a flat inflation rate of an unknown x% for all the current figures. My shortfall predicted at $xxx,xxx with a beautiful chart representation.)

So what now?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Share price woes of Keppel Corp

"Keppel Corporation announced earnings results for the year 2015. For the year, the company reported net profit fell 19.1% to SGD 1.52 billion, with its fourth-quarter results hit by a SGD 230 million provision for the default risks tied to a USD 4.9 billion rig construction contract with the financially stricken Sete Brasil. -SGX 2/3/16"

Biggest dip for share price in the year: $9.54 to $4.64 (a whooping -51% that sent the price below its NAV)

Current share price: $6.19 (-35% from Yr 2015 high)

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Book review: Rich Dad's guide to investing

I borrowed this book from the library last week by chance. It is the third book of the famous Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. If you expected it to be your usual FA TA book then you would be sorely disappointed. I find it more of a pep talk book - to help in adjusting the reader's mindset to think rich.

The first couple of chapters in the book reminded me of SMOL's favourite line "come have a kopi and char shao bao...". Then it goes on saying one should get to know oneself and what type investor one wants to be.

Friday, 4 March 2016

4D market rules in a crash (scroll to the end for entertainment)

My mom likes to call playing the stock market gambling. I rebutted that it is NOT gambling, because you know the cards dealt to you and there is the element of control which is absent most of the time in gambling. This 4D is not your toto 4D. These 4Ds are well within your control.
  1. Don't catch a falling knife.

  2. Don't capitulate (too late) when there's a sell-down frenzy.

  3. Don't try to average down, especially with margin.
    Cos this is like number 1+2 combo which equates money suicide. But is short-selling with CFD a good idea?

  4. Do diversify.
    Do not put all excess cash into 1 stocks, do not make up your portfolio with only stocks, do not buy stocks from only one market or sector. If you don't know which to pick, ETF is a good choice.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

My loser stocks

Keppel corp - down 34.3% (caught a falling knife)
Bakertech - down 56.6% (an old stock bought and forgotten as a result of laziness)
OCBC - down 11.9%
Sempcorp - down 10.3%

My investing report card this sem is marred in red by the "oily bear".

Moral of my story: Besides not catching a falling knife. Need to get more tools and sharpen them at the same time. With more tools, one would be able to utilise the right tools at the right time whether to hedge or to profit from the bull// bear market. (What is 'right' and how to utilise? Homework - go and figure them out.)

Update 21/3/16

Rebalanced my portfolio + price rebound + cut some losses to minimise further risk exposure. Finally double digit (%) paper loss now became single digit.

In a bull market, priority is to maximise profit. In a bear market, priority is to minimise losses.

Sempcorb on the turn-around?

"That’s one of the crazy things: in the real world, things generally fluctuate between “pretty good” and “not so hot.”  But in the world of investing, perception often swings from “flawless” to “hopeless.”  The pendulum careens from one extreme to the other, spending almost no time at “the happy medium” and rather little in the range of reasonableness. First there’s denial, and then there’s capitulation. "


Monday, 8 February 2016

Happy Monkey Year 2016!

If you are bored this new year (like me), let me introduce to you an addictive monkey game available on Window 10 and iOS called Bloons TD Battles.

This is a great game to teach you and your kids on resource management. It is fun and quick to play with no test on patience (oh I hate those games that drag on and on).

Basically you start off the game with some cash to buy monkey towers (you will earn more cash as the game progresses). The objective is to clear as many levels as possible by popping balloons of all sorts - with each increasing level, the balloon types get harder to pop. In 'assault' play, you could match against somebody and deploy sabotages in the fury balloon popping battles. The monkey towers which you chose at the start of the game and how you place / deploy them are crucial in winning the game.

In case players get bored with 1 map, the game allows to play a variety of route maps with different backdrops which differ in route pattern and length. This in turn would result in different tower combo use and deployment methods for winning the game.

There's an enclopedia about the game here:

Bloons also teaches us the importance of the following...

  • First mover advantage
  • Warchest deployment
  • Diversification

Round 34 is the max I have gotten to before I get snubbed by the crazy M.O.A.B's attacks. If you could go beyond this level, please let me know what's your strategy.

Happy monkey-ing!

And Huat ah! :)

Monday, 18 January 2016

My investment "Inside-Out"

Anxiety, fear, greed, over-confidence.... we are often overwhelmed by many emotions when navigating through our investment decisions. Thus, I have made it a habit to document and reflect upon those emotions together with investment mistakes that I've made. I know otherwise I would have the tendency to keep repeating my old mistakes.

So I have created an Inside-Out table in an excel sheet format. (Yes, the boring excel sheet is a wonderful tool for all sorts of investment recordings.) The table has got three columns which runs down chronologically. One column is the date, one is the emotions or 'how I was feeling at that point' and the third is a description of the mistakes made. 'How I am feeling' column is filled according to my emotion that triggered the mistake at that point when I made the decision.

I find this chart very useful in helping me to identify and keep track of which emotions hindered my investment decisions. This is an example of my "Inside-Out" table:

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Keppel Corp - signs of oversold?

I seldom put up speculative posts, but can't resist one here. Maybe signs of oversold have been long overdue but now is SUPER oversold.

All time high this year: $9.54
All time low this year: $4.82

RSI is at extreme low of 30.67.

Volumes are higher than usual last week plus consecutive price falls are indicative of big sell-down. Are investors capitulating or what? (And I also wonder if brokerages have enough shares to lend those short traders.)

DateOpenHighLowCloseVolumeAdj Close*
Jan 15, 20164.954.984.824.8410,188,0004.84
Jan 14, 20164.975.004.864.8617,776,1004.86
Jan 13, 20165.,299,3005.19
Jan 12, 20165.505.535.155.1518,285,7005.15
Jan 11, 20165.705.715.505.5411,156,5005.54
Jan 8, 20165.685.915.625.8013,107,6005.80
Jan 7, 20166.156.155.815.8219,195,8005.82
Jan 6, 20166.426.436.216.239,350,4006.23

Bollinger band is no where near narrowing, guess the price would fall further but should be seeing consolidation soon if volume dwindles in the coming weeks. 1 year low touched: $3.56

No near term signs of reversal (but I think might be near).

The Sete Brasil threat is still on the brink. The outcome would impact its share price and determine the coming support level.

A side note for DBS: No buy
1 year RSI 34.41
5 years low: $11.52
Bargain pick point below $12?

A side note for OCBC: No buy
1 year RSI 36.63
Retesting 5 years low at $7.66
Wait and see if will support or break below.

I seldom work with TA, so anyone with differing views / indicators usage please enlighten.

Just wondering is there any point in buying STI ETF if one want to bottom-fish the worst performing big blue chips in the STI ETF (since the strength of STI recovery is dependent on these unwell big fishes).

My take now is to nibble slowly alas get indigestion.

Mini update from external source:

Analysts came up with an article today 19/01/16 saying that the Keppel share price has fallen to the point where O&M sectored has been valued to below zero -

Disclaimer: The information here is for reference purpose and does not serve as investment advice. Please exercise your own discretion in using them.
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