Sunday, 3 September 2017

Random talks and thoughts II

When I have gotten tired of being a shepherd (dog), what do I do?

I go back to being a sheep! meh...

Perhaps I will get more satisfaction by giving my wool then running a round barking at naughty sheep. Most importantly, what's put on my plate seemed more attractive. *cough cough*

Seriously don't mind being a sheep as long as my shepherd is good.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Random talks and thoughts

Person A: If (paint a beautiful picture), then you can (do what I want)?

Miss Logical: If it is something that is NOT happening now and may not happen in future, how can I do (what you want)?

IF is based on the assumption that something may happen. Excuse me, but I am talking about the situation NOW.


Person A: When (paint an ideal scenario), then you can (do what I want)?

Miss Obstinate: Err... how is that different from just now the 'if...' that you said?
Ok nevermind, so WHEN that happens then you tell me to go and do ok?


Person A: I will give you A, B, C, D... (dangle candy).

Miss Tell-me-now: *roll eyes* Yeah that only happens now when I want to say goodbye.
Thank you but no thanks.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

When patience is essence

Don't over-analyze news but they are good to know.
Price movements and trends are not for show.

Every blues chip has its prime.
Albeit all at different time.

Waiting and waiting is no fun.
We shall see when will the bull cease its run.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Why I don't play in overseas stock markets

Despite home biasness and possibly missed opportunities by only investing in SGX stocks, the big deterrent for me to dabble in overseas stock markets are the additional costs of trading and holding the foreign exchange's stocks. See

Trading commission + nominee service fees (custody fee, admin charge etc) + FX fee + withholding tax on dividends

And of course... I am just too lazy to monitor other markets. If I want foreign market exposure, buy shares of companies with stakes overseas lo.

Can anyone convince me otherwise about buying stocks from overseas exchanges?

Friday, 26 May 2017

I work best when my boss is not around

  • I can work at my 'own time, own pace' at researching, planning and implementing new projects, rather than having to keep fine-tuning things that are already in place.
  • I get motivated by stories and visions. Less so by money and in-between kind of power. Anyway since I am not doing sales, technically speaking, I have less 'rights' to ask for higher pay / monetary rewards.
  • Boss likes to micro-manage and correct things down to the details, so there are often draft after drafts.
  • Boss likes to change his mind frequently.
  • When I am stressed with too many little things (multi-tasking over stretched), my work efficiency drops as I will then 'forget things'.

People don't quit because of the job.
People quit because of the boss. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

OCBC repurchases share from market

"Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (SGX:039) commences share repurchases on May 9, 2017, under the program mandated by the shareholders in the Annual General Meeting held on April 28, 2017. As per the mandate, the company will repurchase up to 209,124,917 shares, representing 5% of the issued ordinary share capital. " 

That may be one of the reasons why its share price was heading up in the past weeks. Its price was downhill when I bought, finally it is making a turn. In one of my previous posts I was lamenting that I should not have reinvested my dividends as shares. Lol.

DBS has shown a fantastically whooping >20% increase in share price from last year.

 Is it time to eat the cake? Hmm...

All I know is that we can never get our timing 100% right, if we are 70-80% right that is already very good hit. Even when I time my entry to DBS I also didn't manage to 'buy at the lowest'.

Buy LOW, sell HIGH. The logic is very simple. Yet somehow we seem to have guts and gut feels that defy the brain's logic.

Some MA and MACD for you?

DBS disallows the transfer of money to Vickers on Sunday. Yikes, irritating.
Nevermind, let's move on to get some inspirations on a Sunday. TGIS :)

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

It's harvest time again

Here comes the time of the year for harvesting dividends. Yay!
I wonder if that is why people 'sell in May and go away' other than the summer holiday...

Just a refresher on what is ex-dividend date:

Where can you find the ex-dividend date on SG stocks?
Find the stock and click on the Dividend tab.

I shouldn't have sold some of my Keppel shares so early on the rebound and now I missed those dividends. Even though Keppel's dividend has been going south, it's better than nothing since my holdings are still in the red.  THAT is the problem of buying on the decline. Haiz.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Thought processes & problem solving

I finally discovered how to utilise pivot tables for data analysis. It looks cheem to me when I first looked it up (I only know pie charts and line graphs for the sake of presentations), until I discovered the 'woah' moment with trial-and-error and things suddenly fall into place like magic. 
Not without some data chewing that was quite frustrating initially as I have 800+ lines of data with assorted information such as timing, category etc.

When it comes to problem solving, many times we tend to fall into the trap of focusing on 'What I can do?' instead of "What is the ideal solution to this?". If there is more than one possible solutions, choose the best one. The best pick should be the ideal solution to the problem, although that may not necessarily be the most achievable. 

With that in mind, we proceed to brainstorm on 'HOW to achieve it'. During which we can list down all the possible methods and pathways.

When problem solving starts with "What can I do?" before everything else, we set a limit on the possibilities based on our current ability. It is like looking through a peep hole instead of opening a door to the solution. When an action is taken it may lead to taking a roundabout path, winding around with no end point in sight or circling on the same spot. At times, it will make us want to 'escape the problem' because 'I just can't do anything about it'.

So instead of 1, 2, 3 in the above flowchart, it became 1, 3, stuck.

We need to keep our focus on the solution / outcome and be as specific as possible.

The complete cycle of problem solving in a clear picture:

Back to my problem. I have to first see what are the data I have on hand and which part of it to analysis so that I can draw a conclusion for my boss on this question xxx. 
In order to analyse it, how should I organise the data. Then I ask what is the most efficient method to display the results and give the answer.

The formula - no need formula. Just pivot table.

Actually that is not the end to the problem, it's only the end to my data analysis problem. 

Back to the problem solving cycle. 😫

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Insights from interviewing candidates

Being the sai kang Ops Manager, my new add-on duty currently is to hire for a HR generalist position for the company I am working at (before I get a new add-on duty of HR manager too). Here are some interesting takeaways from the interviews I have conducted.

1) Those who don't know how to give 'model answers' for the standard questions asked, I know they have little or no experience in interviewing and recruiting people, as well as being interviewed.

"What do you know about our company xxx?" *stumped* 
"Thank you, exit is over there."

2) "What makes you leave your current position?"

Ah, I have to watch out for complainers. Those who talk a lot of 'bad' stuff about their current work. You know? I know.
Most standard answer - "I want a change of environment / industry." (The nicer way of saying I don't like my current workplace.)
Ok... so what kind of environment are you looking for? What makes you want to join our industry? Many of them don't have a clear answer.

3) "What makes you state your expected pay as such, which is... $xxx more than your last drawn?"

One epic answer was -
"From what I observed in the candidates that applied (this person works in a recruitment agency), typically they will put down a 20% pay increment for expected." (WL, this I really don't know wor. Shhh... am I being short-changed? Cos I always put less than 10% rise in my expected! =.=)
My reply in my heart was -
You are most welcomed to price yourself out of the market.

4) I have not seen a single applicant who graduates from either NTU, NUS or SMU specializing in HR. Rare breeds?

5) The candidates can write in perfect England when they send in their resume and cover letters, BUT somehow the writing standard dropped drastically when tasked to write a simple paragraph of answer.

Sometimes I just switched off in the midst of the interviews...

Somehow, I think I am not quite a seasoned interviewer as I have been asking mostly standard questions. Any 'old ginger' around who can share some tips on effective recruitment and interviewing?

I am so guilty of not blogging any financial stuff these days, no time for more financial learning. Haiz.


Sunday, 5 March 2017






Count your own blessings. 你的幸福不一定和他还是我一样。

知足常乐 - 那就是幸福。:)

Monday, 20 February 2017

Unattractive Lunar New Year bank promo

Till end Feb...
The only low-hanging fruit promo that I could find is the DBS $28 Hong Bao giveaway for opening a new deposit account or SAYE account online. T&C applies. So I have gotten myself a Multiplier Account.

POSB is offering 1.45% for 4 months if you open a higher interest account with fresh fund deposit. Last year was 8 months.

Standard Chartered is offering a miserly 1.15% for 11 months FD tenor with minimum deposit of 25k. (If I didn't recall wrongly, new year period was 1.25%.)

CIMB is offering 1.25% for a 12 months FD tenor with minimum deposit of 20k.

Maybank's FD rates have also dropped markedly versus last year.

Where would be a safe haven for parking spare cash at a better yield this year? Bonds?

19/4 - Yay, gotten the $28 hongbao from DBS! :D

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sequel to CAGR, XIRR simplified

A sequel to my previous post.

Can I make use of XIRR's value to help in my investment portfolio goal setting?

Think come, think go... cannot leh. :(


Because XIRR % is like a report card grade which shows how my portfolio has performed over a fixed period of time, say last year. However, it is not practical to set a goal based on the % or confer a meaning to it as the current market value of my portfolio is controlled by Mr Market (although you may argue investment timing matters *cough cough*). So on sunny days, XIRR is good and on rainy days, XIRR is bad.

Notwithstanding the fact that data punching is going to be tedious for the value to be accurate. Diligence... hmm...

Before I put XIRR completely out of picture...

XIRR calculation might be meaningful IF you want to compare some 'investment products' like structured deposit, RSP, Investment-linked insurance or unit trust to see how well their returns fair against stock, ETF or simply inflation within a fixed time period. (I should do that for my POSB Home Balance Fund!)

Another use for it - if you have been actively injecting cash into Investment A and did not inject / inject cash at different intervals for Investment B, you could use their XIRR figures to give you an objective idea of how your Investment A's annualized return compares with Investment B's.

You could also use XIRR to compare your overall portfolio performance last year versus this year. So you can chart a Y-O-Y XIRR hehe!

In my conclusion, the XIRR figure is not very useful on its own but is good to use as a comparison data. Do let me know if you have a different opinion. :)


Saturday, 28 January 2017

CAGR, XIRR simplified

Inspired by SMOL's post, I decided to do some reading and a short post on these "cheem cheem" terms that previously I do not use.

CAGR stands for Compound Annual Growth Rate. It is useful in measuring (in %) how much an investment has increased in value over a fixed period of time.

Watch the illustration in this video here - 

So if your investment grew from $1000 to $1500 over a period of 3 years, the CAGR is 14.5%. Which means the amount increased by 14.5% on its compounded value each year, as follow
Year 1: $1000+14.5%
Year 2: Year 1 compounded $$ + 14.5%
Year 3: Year 2 compounded $$ + 14.5% = $1500

This is provided no fresh fund is injected into the investment (the investment compounds itself) over the three years. So if investment A returns 14.5% and investment B returns 10%, obviously investment A is doing better and probably worth investing more money in going forward.

The problem is... we do not compound the returns back in all our investments. We may choose to take out the dividends and spend them on other things instead of reinvesting in that same portfolio. Therefore the dividends will not contribute to part of the CAGR and using this formula is not accurate or useful. Just a simple comparison of annual return rate is good enough for determining which investment is a better deal.


XIRR is just an excel function. It calculates the Internal Rate of Return for a supplied series of cash flows (i.e. a set of values, which includes an initial investment value and a series of net income values). Unlike the Excel IRR function, the series of cashflows for the XIRR calculation do not necessarily have to be periodic. [Reference:]

What is 'Internal Rate of Return'?

Internal rate of return (IRR) is a metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability of potential investments. Internal rate of return is a discount rate that makes the net present value (NPV) of all cash flows from a particular project equal to zero. [Reference:]

Don't understand what the above means at first glance?

Me neither. But wait...

We need to first understand what a formula or tool does, in order to use it correctly.
If don't understand, then mai serng (don't calculate) lor!

But my spirit of never-give-up prompted me to do some experimentation on excel. And wallah! I found out that XIRR is a function that can calculate the CAGR mentioned :D

Amount($) Date
Initial -1000 01-01-15
Final 1500 31-12-17
XIRR 14.47%

And it can factor in cashflow. E.g. contribution (negative) and withdrawal (positive) amounts from EXTERNAL source throughout the investment period in calculating the annualized return rate.

It can also factor in TIME...

Initial -1000 01-01-15 Initial -1000 01-01-15
Injected -100 01-01-16 Injected -100 01-09-17
Final 1500 31-12-17 Final 1500 31-12-17
XIRR 11.23% XIRR 11.77%

Because time holds value*, $100 injected at a later timing gives you a higher return rate at the end date than $100 injected at an earlier timing even though your final values of investment at 31 Dec 2017 are the same.

*Your $100 not invested can be used to do something else before you invest it here to give you X returns.

The more money you inject throughout the investment period which gives you the same $1500 return, the lower the annualized return rate. Say if at any point in time you injected $500, and your return at Year X is $1500. What would be your XIRR value?

Answer: 0%


Cos you didn't yield anything from the original capital amount throughout the investment period.

Hope this post managed to shed some lights for those who thinks that CAGR and XIRR are too cheem for you. May we all yield high CAGR and Huat ah in the Rooster Year! =)

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