Sunday, September 17, 2023

5-year dividend growth over 10%? Really?

I saw this piece of news in the Business Times that lists out companies with 5-year dividend growth of over 10%.

I wonder how accurate is this because I previously did an analysis on the Dividend Aristocrats in Singapore, which I found to be very few.

First Resources

 According to the newspaper article, the gross 5-year historical dividend growth for SBS Transit was 16.4%. However, my own analysis showed the dividends actually dropped from $0.086 in 2018 to $0.0264 in 2022, which translates to a drop of -69%!

SBS Transit

According to the newspaper article, the gross 5-year historical dividend growth for SBS Transit was 7.5%. However, my own analysis showed the dividends actually dropped from $0.129 in 2018 to $0.109 in 2022, which translates to a drop of -15%!

Raffles Medical

According to the newspaper article, the gross 5-year historical dividend growth for Raffles Medical Group was 11.1%. My own analysis showed that dividends increased from 0.025 to 0.038 from 2018 to 2022, which translates to an increase of 52%. This stock is actually pretty solid. 

Don't take everything you read at face value. Do your own due diligence. Caveat emptor. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Art of Thinking Clearly and How It Applies to Investing

the art of thinking clearly applied to investing

I read this book by Rolf Dobelli and there are many examples applied to investing. I compiled them below. Most of the below I have read it before here and there, but I guess this book compiles them all together. 

Survivorship bias:

Take the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index. It consists of out-and-out survivors. Failed and small businesses do not enter the stock market, and yet these represent the majority of business ventures. A stock index is not indicative of a country's economy. 

Clustering illusion:

Consider the financial markets, which churn out floods of data every second. Grinning ear to ear, a friend told me that he had discovered a pattern in the sea of data: 'If you multiply the percentage change of the Dow Jones by the percentage change of the oil price, you get the move of the gold price in two days' time.' ... His theory worked well for a few weeks, until he began to speculate with ever-larger sums and eventually squandered his savings. He had sensed a pattern where none existed. 

Sunk cost fallacy:

Investors frequently fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy. Often they base their trading decisions on acquisition prices. 'I lost so much money with this stock, I can't sell it now,' they say. This is irrational. The acquisition price should play no role.  What counts is the stock's future performance (and the future performance of alternative investments). Ironically, the more money a share loses, the more investors tend to stick by it. 

Overconfidence effect:

Overconfidence also applies to forecasts, such as stock market performance over a year or your firm's profits over three years. We systematically overestimate our knowledge and our ability to predict - on a massive scale. The overconfidence effect does not deal with whether single estimates are correct or not. Rather, it measures the difference between what people actually know and how much they think they know. What's surprising is this: experts suffer even more from overconfidence than laypeople do. If asked to forecast oil prices in five years' time, an economics professor will be as wide off the mark as a zookeeper will. However, the professor will offer his forecast with certitude.  

Regression to Mean:

Extreme performances are interspersed with less extreme ones. The most successful stock picks from the past three years are hardly going to be the most successful stocks in the coming three years.

Loss Aversion:

Loss aversion is also found on the stock market, where investors tend to simply ignore losses on paper. After all, an unrealized loss isn't as painful as a realized one. So they sit on the stock, even if the chance of recovery is small and the probability of further decline is large.  

Action Bias:

The action bias is accentuated when a situation is new or unclear. When starting out, many investors act like the young, gung-ho police officers outside the nightclub: they can't yet judge the stock market so they compensate with a sort of hyperactivity. Of course this is a waste of time. As Charlie Munger sums up his approach to investing: 'We've got ... discipline in avoiding just doing any damn thing just because you can't stand inactivity.' 

I particularly like this last one:

On how to have better thinking:

The pope asked Michelangelo: ' Tell me the secret of your genius. How have you created the statue of David, the masterpiece of all masterpieces?' Michelangelo's answer: 'It's simple. I removed everything that is not David.'

Thinking more clearly and acting more shrewdly means adopting Michelangelo's method: don't focus on David. Instead, focus on everything that is not David and chisel it away. In our case: eliminate all errors and better thinking will follow.


Friday, September 8, 2023

Dividends for Aug 2023 [Financial Independence]

Here are my dividends for Aug 2023:

Dividends for Aug 2023

So I collected $4,309.81 in dividends for Aug 2023.
In case you are wondering, some stocks are repeated because I have 2 brokerage accounts.

Here are my monthly dividends over the last 5 years:

Monthly dividends over last 5 years

This is the largest monthly dividend I collected thus far!

Here are the dividends I collected every year until the current day:

Yearly dividends

Additionally, I share the interest I received from the various banks this month (referring to Aug):

Bank interest

So I collected $359.60 in interest payments this month. 


Friday, September 1, 2023

Wrapping up my Third Month of FIRE

The third month of FIRE came and went like the wind. 

Below are what I ate, what I did for fun, the amount of exercise I managed to do, and a record of my expenses. 


Heng Long Teochew Porridge
Heng Long Teochew Porridge

Beef noodle
Beef Noodle at Zion Hawker Center

Some workshop at a hotel I attended

Some workshop at a hotel I attended


I didn't specifically go anywhere for fun, but my weekdays were spent going to workshops and conferences, keeping myself up to date in my technical field. 


On the fitness side, I definitely walked more than in my previous desk-bound job. 


I busted some of my expenses this month. Hardly surprising I guess, since you got to spend to have fun...

Eating Out Target: $650
Eating Out Actual: $547.12

Household Target: $600
Household Actual: $437.10

Travel Target: $100
Travel Actual: $44.20

Entertainment Target: $50
Entertainment Actual: $0

Personal Target: $100
Personal Actual: $165 (Bought a business shirt for a ceremony I have to attend, subscribed to chatGPT,...)

I only managed to find time to do a few food deliveries this month. All in, I only managed to earn $15.20 this month.

Onwards to the fourth month of FIRE!!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Creating a Bond Ladder

Creating a Bond Ladder to generate Passive Income

I am creating a bond ladder.

The aim is to create a perpetual (as long as possible) revenue stream every month. 

Here's how it is going to work. 

I plan to buy 6 months time deposits or 6 months T-Bills, one at a time, once every month. 

At the end of 6 months, the first time-deposit/bond will mature, and I collect the interest. At the same time, I put the capital back into another 6 months time deposit/TBill. 

Conceptually it looks like this:

Bond ladder, time deposits, TBills

And it continues as long as the interest rates are above 3.5%.

I have already set up the first 3 tranches.

The first 2 tranches were set up using StashAway Simple Guaranteed, at the interest rate of 3.5% p.a.

Stashaway Simple Guaranteed, Time Deposits

The third tranche was set up using 6-month TBill, at the interest rate of 3.73% p.a.

So why did I use Stashaway Simple Guaranteed when TBills offer higher interest rates? No particular reason, but when I saw 3.5% in Stashway Simple Guaranteed, I thought it was good and I put money in - the process was easy and straightforward. Later I thought since TBills offer slightly higher interest rates, I should switch to TBills instead. 

So from now on, I will be able to earn $175-$184 every month, as long as interest rates stay above 3.5% p.a.

If you have spare cash, set up your own Bond Ladder today!

Any flaws with this method? Comment below. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Ultimate Guide to Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE)

Financial Independence, Retire Early

In an era where the traditional retirement age seems to be pushing later and later, a movement is gaining momentum, advocating for financial independence and early retirement. It's called FIRE, and if you've been curious about what it entails, this comprehensive guide is here to light the way.

What is Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE)?

In Singapore, the traditional retirement age stands at 62. However, there's a rising trend among millennials who wish to retire as early as their 40s or even before 35. Historically, people saved patiently to achieve financial independence in their later years. Nowadays, a significant number are rushing towards early retirement, driven by the aspiration to live life on their own terms. This trend has given rise to the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement.

FIRE advocates aim to save a staggering 70% or more of their full-time income. The ultimate goal is to save 25 times one's annual expenses and limit annual withdrawals to 4% for living costs. Practicing FIRE demands rigorous planning, stringent frugality, and wise investing. While some extreme adherents cut out all luxuries, including dining out, more moderate followers simply want to amass enough savings to maintain their current lifestyle without the regular 9 to 6 job.

The growing traction of FIRE is attributed to two main factors. First, financial insecurity is rising in Singapore due to inflation and stagnant growth, leading many, especially the younger generation, to prioritize financial stability over milestones like marriage or home ownership. Second, job disillusionment is rampant among millennials. Studies indicate low workplace engagement both in the US and Singapore, with millennials particularly feeling disconnected.

For FIRE, the goal isn't necessarily to never work again but to have the freedom and flexibility to choose how you spend your time, without being tied down by financial constraints.

In short, FIRE is about having options. 

What is your 'FIRE' number?

The FIRE number is essentially the amount of money you need to have saved and invested to live off the returns without ever touching the principal amount. Determining your FIRE number is a crucial step in the journey. This number varies based on your personal living expenses, desired lifestyle, and the rate of return on your investments.

To calculate your FIRE number, consider the annual expenses you expect to have in retirement. Using the 4% rule (a common guideline in the FIRE community), multiply your yearly expenses by 25. For example, if you expect to need $40,000 a year to live comfortably, your FIRE number would be $1 million. 

Note that this $40,000 is mean to be increased along with the inflation rate. As an example, if the inflation rate is 2%, in the second year you will withdraw 1.02*40000 = 40,800.

The number 25 is simply calculated by taking 1 divided by 4%. If your withdrawal rate is dropped to 3%, then you need to save up to 1/3% = 33 times your annual expenses. 

Types of FIRE

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to FIRE. Over time, enthusiasts have identified different flavors of FIRE to suit varied lifestyles and goals:

Lean FIRE: This is for individuals who prioritize retiring as soon as possible and are willing to live a minimalist lifestyle to achieve it. They aim for a lower savings amount and are frugal both before and after retirement.

Fat FIRE: On the opposite end, Fat FIRE enthusiasts aim for a more luxurious lifestyle in retirement. They save and invest more, targeting a higher FIRE number to support more lavish expenses.

Barista FIRE: This is a middle-ground approach where individuals achieve financial independence but choose to work part-time jobs (like a barista) to cover some expenses and maintain social connections.

Coast FIRE: In this approach, individuals save enough early on, then simply let their investments grow without adding more funds, coasting into retirement without the pressure of aggressive saving.

I believe I practice Lean FIRE, though I will say it is a mild form.

Pros of FIRE

FIRE offers millennials an escape from jobs they never truly enjoyed. With sufficient savings, FIRE followers can chase their passions, opt for less stressful jobs, or leave a once-dreamt job that turned constraining. It encourages people to rethink their careers, emphasizing the pursuit of a true "calling" over mere monetary exchange.

In short, the pros of FIRE are:

Flexibility: Achieving FIRE allows you to decide how you spend your time, whether that's traveling, pursuing hobbies, or even starting a passion project.

Less Financial Stress: With a substantial nest egg, financial worries often diminish, leading to better mental well-being.

Opportunity to Re-invent: With the need for a 9-5 removed, you can explore new careers, learn, and grow in different directions.

Cons of FIRE

However, FIRE isn't flawless. Some practitioners, despite achieving financial independence, remain anxious about money. Others feel trapped in high-paying jobs that hinder their financial aims. An overarching sentiment is that over-frugality can sap life's pleasures. While financial prudence is commendable, moments like splurging on memorable vacations or treating oneself occasionally can enrich life in immeasurable ways.

In short, the cons of FIRE are:

Sacrifices: To save aggressively, you might need to forgo certain luxuries or experiences in the present.

Market Dependency: Your financial health becomes closely tied to market performance. Downturns can be stressful, especially if they impact your FIRE number.

Social Implications: Early retirement can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation or disconnect from peers who are still in the traditional workforce.

Is FIRE for you? Personally, I found pursuing FIRE to be worthwhile and enriching. There is nothing wrong with living frugally. 

You may want to check out more articles below:

Investing for retirement

How to FIRE movement goes beyond extreme sacrifice

By wanting to retire early, millenials are subverting conventional ideas of work and finances

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Level-Up my Investment Kung-Fu with Guru Ng Kok Song


Singapore is holding its Presidential Elections on 1 Sep 2023, and a few presidential candidates have popped up. 

The contenders are Mr. Ng Kok Song (former Chief Investment Officer of GIC), Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam (former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore), Mr. George Goh (Entrepreneur, CEO Harvey Norman Ossia), and Mr. Tan Kin Lian (former NTUC Income CEO).  

Who will win the race is still unclear. However, out of the 4, I will think Mr. Ng Kok Song, former GIC Chief Investment Officer, is the most interesting one, offering a breath of fresh air. 

I have watched a number of his interviews and am impressed by his clarity of thought and his eloquence. He is able to explain complicated things in simple terms. I learned a lot by listening to him speak. 

Truly, he is the closest we have to a Warren Buffett in Singapore. 

Below are some of his sharings which I feel are good learnings.

How to become a good investor

1. Take a long-term investment horizon e.g. GIC takes a 20-year rolling average, for individuals he recommends a 40-year horizon

2. Know what is your risk capacity - don't invest with money you cannot afford to lose. Must be prepared with a mark-to-market loss ie. need holding power.

3. Have realistic expectations of rate of return - e.g. SP500 returns a nominal rate of return of 7-8%. If inflation is 2%, then real returns are 5-6%. Don't expect 12% returns. Note that 5-6% returns are nothing to scoff at - 5-6% returns compound over time to deliver big returns. 

4. Minimize transaction costs - don't erode your compounding power with 1-2% transaction costs. Don't jump in and out of the market. Invest steadily in low-cost index funds. 

What does GIC Invest In 

Stocks - both developed and emerging markets
Private equity
Real estate

Why are our national reserves important

1. For use in times of war to liberate/rebuild the country

2. Financial crises such as recession, covid to save jobs

3. Backing behind the strength of the Singapore dollar - important because it helps us bring down the cost of living especially in times of inflation - this is related to financial defense

Views on SP500

The American stock market is now 70% of the global market cap, but the American economy is only over 20% of the global economy. This is a sign that it is at an inflated level, pushed up by tech stocks and recently by AI and ML stocks. 

So need to avoid overconcentration on SP500. Suggest to buy MSCI World Index to achieve diversification.

Views on Market

Investing is to anticipate changes in what is already discounted in the market. 

There are 4 key variables in investing you need to watch out for:

1. Economic growth or growth in EPS

2. Inflation - a rise in inflation is bad for stocks or bonds

3. Risk premium - are people more risk on or risk off

4. Interest rate - high the level of interest rates are bad for stocks

Take for example China - there is a lot of pessimism in China now due to Ageing population, and the US challenges in the tech sector. But sometimes people can get over pessimistic. Inflation is low in China. Risk premium in China - people are scared. Americans are reluctant to invest in China because of career risk. For China, it could get worse or it could get better. Across the world, interest rates are more or less set by the US market. In the bond market, people are expecting interest rates to fall. This is because the 10-year interest rate is at 4.5%, but the short-term interest rate is higher at around 5% - this is the inverted yield curve. 

The Formula for Keeping Healthy

SHIELD acronym:
S - sleep
H - how to handle stress: Meditate
I - interaction/relationship/friends
E - exercise
L - learn
D - diet. Low carb/low sugar, plenty of fruits and vegetables

You can watch the entire Youtube video here:

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Has There Ever Been a Property Crash in Singapore?

I was having lunch with my colleagues a while back and we were talking about property in Singapore. One of my colleagues claimed there was no crash in Singapore property prices before. 

How wrong he was!

Refer to the chart below, there were at least 3 property declines in relatively recent times.

1998 Asian Financial Crisis

Drop of 46%

Decline lasted around 3 years

2008 The Great Recession

Drop of 27%

Decline lasted around 1 year

2013 Cooling Measures

This is the introduction of TDSR, imposing ABSD on Singaporeans purchasing their 2nd property etc. 

Drop of 10%

Decline lasted around 5 years

Property Price Singapore

Meanwhile, private home prices fell by 0.4% in Q2 2023, following a 3.3% gain in Q1 2023. This is the first fall in the last 3 years. 

URA also said price momentum is easing across all market segments. 

This fall in prices comes after several rounds of property cooling measures since Dec 2021, including an increase of additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) in Apr 2023 (from 30% to a whopping 60% foreigners, from 17% to 20% for Singaporeans buying second property). 

Meanwhile, SIBOR rates have reached highs since Dec 2022. No doubt the high-interest rates will put off some folks wanting to purchase property using loans. 

3 Month SIBOR Interest Rates

It may take a few more months before the full effects of the cooling measures can be observed. 

No doubt property prices will decline again. Until then, prepare ammo. 


Singapore Property Cooling Measures

Singapore Private Home Prices Fall Q2 2023

Singapore SIBOR Rate Chart

Home Buyers Undaunted by Cooling Measures

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

What do you seek in life? Is FIRE enough?

I came across this news about our local celebrity Felicia Chin:

In the article, she shared that she left to study because she "couldn't find meaning in her work".

She explained that she felt like a fraud as an actress and had nothing more to contribute. That's when she left for studies and find a bit of herself.

I can empathize with her. We all seek to move higher, and not remain stagnant on the spot. 

"May you find what you seek"

This brings to mind another video that came to my feed from George Yeo.

In the video, he explained that he visited the Grand Ayatollah of Iran. In his parting words, he said to Mr. Yeo: "May you find what you seek". Mr. Yeo has these words in his mind from then on. The question then is: so what do you seek?

Mr. Yeo then went on to talk about parents with Down syndrome kids, where he was surprised by a remark made by one of his staff that Down syndrome kids can be very 'loving'. He then went on to say that we should help them because "if we enhance others, we enhance ourselves at the same time". 

He ended with these words:

We seek meaning. We seek fulfillment. It is an inward journey. But that inward journey in the end has to be expressed in our relationship with other people. With our parents, with our siblings, with relatives, our teachers, our friends, with strangers, with those with whom we are divided politically, religiously, or ideologically. 

I resonate with these words.

So what do we seek? We seek meaning.  

You can find the video here:

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Dividends for Jul 2023 [Financial Independence]

Here are my dividends for Jul 2023:

Dividends for Jul 2023

So I collected $1,179.34 in dividends for Jun 2023.
In case you are wondering, some stocks are repeated because I have 2 brokerage accounts.

Here are my monthly dividends over the last 5 years:

Monthly dividends

There's a boost to my dividends this month due to dividends from BCIP STI ETF.

Here are the dividends I collected every year until the current day:

Yearly dividends

Additionally, I share also the interest I received from the various banks this month:

Bonus interest

So I collected $345.32 in interest payments this month. Still tuning this. 


Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Wrapping up my Second Month of FIRE: No Time to be Bored

Have you heard of people getting bored after they retired, with nothing to do?  

Perhaps I had scheduled too much stuff. In fact, I feel I don't have enough time to finish the things I want to do!

Here are some of the stuff I ate, and places I went to:


Supreme Pork Chop Rice
This is famous, right?

Supreme Pork Chop Rice - This is ok only...
Not too bad...

Chin Mee Chin - Iconic
Chin Mee Chin - iconic.

Heng Long Teochew Porridge - this is good
Heng Long Teochew Porridge - this is good!


Springleaf Nature Park
Springleaf Nature Park - always wanted to go.

I also did a day of volunteer work for Racial Harmony Day at my kid's primary school. Hopefully, I can do one day of volunteer work a month.


On the fitness side, I definitely walked more than in my previous desk-bound job. 


I busted some of my expenses this month. Hardly surprising I guess, since you got to spend to have fun...

Eating Out Target: $650
Eating Out Actual: $547.12

Household Target: $600
Household Actual: $791.80 (Signed up for a parenting course - I think its a necessary expense)

Travel Target: $100
Travel Actual: $61.80

Entertainment Target: $50
Entertainment Actual: $23

Personal Target: $100
Personal Actual: $200.47 (Bought new shoes and vitamins to keep me healthy...)

Separately, I started doing food delivery again. I achieve a few objectives by doing food delivery:
  • Exercise
  • Earn kopi money
  • Collect steps on my national steps tracker, which I can eventually use to redeem Sheng Shiong vouchers
  • Collect steps on my AIA Vitality app, which I can eventually use to redeem Cold Storage vouchers
  • I tend to get some groceries along the way back 
On to my third month of FIRE!

Do you have any questions about my FIRE journey or about my 'retirement'? Please ask below. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Hunting for Dividend Aristocrats in the Singapore Market

Hunting for Dividend Aristocrats in the Singapore Market

If you trade the US market, you may have heard of the term 'S&P500 Dividend Aristocrats'.

Dividend aristocrats are a group of companies that have consistently increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. They are a subset of dividend-paying stocks, which are companies that pay out a portion of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends.

To qualify as a dividend aristocrat, a company must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a member of the S&P 500 index.
  • Have increased its dividend for at least 25 consecutive years.
  • Have a market capitalization of at least $3 billion.
  • Have an average daily trading volume of at least $5 million.

Dividend aristocrats are generally considered to be safe, long-term investments. They have a history of increasing their dividends, even during difficult economic times. This makes them a good option for investors who are looking for income from their investments.

I wonder if there were any companies listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange that managed to increase their dividends for the last 10 years.

I couldn't find any that increased its dividends for the last 10 years, but I did find some companies that did not decrease their dividends (ie. they maintained the same dividend as the previous year).

Here they are:


HKLand has maintained its dividends at $0.22 for the last 5 years. It has not reduced its dividends, but there is no increase either!

The growth in EPS, however, is not good. There were negative EPS in 2021 and 2020.

Hong Kong Land dividends

On average, over the last 10 years, the EPS growth is -115.9%, and the dividend growth is +2.67%.


Micromechanics also managed not to decrease its dividends in the last 10 years. 

The growth in EPS looks quite decent too. 2019 was the only year where EPS decreased from the previous year. 

Micromechanics dividends

On average, over the last 10 years, the EPS growth is +19.0%, and the dividend growth is +18.2%.

Raffles Medical Group

RMG had a bump in dividends in 2022. It also managed not to decrease its dividends in the last 10 years.

The growth in EPS looks decent, with a decrease in EPS only for 2018 and 2019.

Raffles Medical Group dividends

On average, over the last 10 years, the EPS growth is +10.1%, and the dividend growth is +10.0%.


SGX also managed not to decrease its dividends in the last 10 years.

The growth in EPS is smaller than Micromechanics and RMG though, but hard to compare since they are different industries. There was a decrease in EPS for 2014 and 2021.

Singapore Exchange - dividends

On average, over the last 10 years, the EPS growth is +4.7%, and the dividend growth is +1.7%.

Hope this helps you in your trading journey. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

More millennials and Gen Zs in Singapore are into investing, but their time horizon is terrible

 I saw this article in the Straits Times the other day.

This paragraph caught my eye:

Mr Lawrence Tan, ... observed another difference between the young investors and their older cohorts here. He said youth view long-term investing as staying invested for three years. For them, "five years is very long".

This is unlike their older peers, who are willing to stay invested for at least about 10 years, Mr Tan said. 

I am a millennial, but I definitely fall into the invest for 10 years cohort. 

If no effort is required of you, and you just have to leave the money as it is in the market, and it will continue to rise, isn't that good?

Young people have a lot of time on their side, and it is exactly this cohort that should have a long-term investment horizon. After all, a 65-year-old retiree can no longer afford to invest for 30 years right?

It is the young people that have the capability to make money through sheer 'holding power'.

As the saying goes, time in the market beats timing the market.



Monday, July 24, 2023

Hunting for the Best Deposit Interest Rates in Town

Since my circumstances have changed a bit and I am no longer drawing a salary, the bank providing the best deposit interest rates has changed for me as well. 

I will rank the banks providing the best deposit interest rates for someone in my situation:

  • No salary
  • Cash of around 100-200k 
  • The cash must be easily withdrawable (ie. liquid)
  • I am not going to purchase any insurance product from any bank
Here are the rankings from highest interest rate to lowest:

GXS - 3.48% up to 75k

  • No frills attached
  • Just have to save it in a 'pocket', money is able to be withdrawn anytime.

MariBank - 2.5% up to 75k

  • No frills attached
  • Just that from application to open of account, need 3 working days. 

Trust - 2% up to 75k
  • To get 2%, you need to make at least 5 spends on your Trust card. Else it is only 1.5%. 
  • Actually, you are able to get up to 2.5% from Trust, but you have to become NTUC Union member.
  • The fees for NTUC Union member is 117 per year. 
  • I have actually applied for this NTUC Union membership, just so I can get up to 2.5% on Trust.
  • But now that MariBank also has 2.5% interest rates, I can save myself the trouble of having to spend 5 times monthly, and avoid the 117 membership fee.  
  • Trust referral code if you need it: ZAAV495B

SC BonusSaver - 1.63%

  • Card spend above $500 gets 1.3% + Make 3 bill payments get another 0.33%

FastSaver - 1.5%

  • No frills attached!
OCBC360 - 1.2%
  • 1.2% is for the 'Save' portion where you have to increase the average daily balance by $500 monthly
  • I don't qualify for the other portions of 'Salary', 'Spend', 'Insure', 'Invest', 'Grow'
  • I cancelled their OCBC360 card long ago, after they started to charge me annual fee

For comparison, I put Wealthfront below, which I opened when I was working in the US:

Wealthfront - 4.55%

  • No frills attached!

It's a no-brainer to me. GXS and Maribank are the ones to go with. 

Suppose I have 175k. 

By putting them in Trust and SC BonusSaver, I only get (1.63%*100k) + (2%*75k) = $3130 per year or $260.8 monthly.

By putting them in GXS, MariBank, and Trust, I will get (3.48%*75k) + (2.5%*75k) + (2%*25k) = $4985 per year or $415.42 monthly.

This is an increase of $154.58 per month 😀!

Friday, July 21, 2023

$200k in Annual Dividends!?

I was recommended to this youtube link the other day:

The channel talks about AK, a legend in the investment scene in Singapore. His blog is here

It seems he has generated 200k in dividends in 2022. I must have clicked on his blog before, though the 200k dividend didn't catch my eye then. 

200k is an insane amount. 

Assuming 5% dividend yield, his portfolio will be 4 million!

In the video, he claims he has 3 more years to withdraw his CPF, which means he is 52 this year (2023).

In his blog, he claims he makes 104k in dividends in year 2011 - which will be when he is 40 years old. Wow! 

I particularly like his 3P's philosophy:

- Prudent: be prudent with your money. It is hard to make money, don't throw it away (on risky investments).

- Patient: It takes time to make money.

- Pragmatic: Don't be too optimistic, don't be too pessimistic. Don't use leverage. 

I actually am quite curious about this guy. What was his occupation? He mentioned at one time, he worked 3 jobs. Did he have a high-paying job at one time? This guy is definitely rational and smart. Is he an extreme saver eating instant noodles for lunch every day (which I do not recommend)?

No matter, his story is inspiring for sure. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Portfolio Returns for Jun 2023

I have been sharing the returns of my portfolio in the last few months:

I felt it will be good to track the returns on a regular basis since the returns will fluctuate from time to time depending on the stock market. 

This year has been pretty good, most of my portfolio recovered. The biggest rise has been in the USA and crypto portfolios. 

Meanwhile, around this time of the year, Temasek publishes its returns.

Its one-year total shareholder return (TSR) fell to minus 5.07 per cent from plus 5.81 per cent a year earlier, as high interest rates eroded the value of global direct investments, particularly those in technology, healthcare and payments, it said.

Still, Temasek’s overall portfolio performance sustained its recovery from the lows 

during Covid-19. 

Its three-year TSR came in at 8 per cent, while the TSR since inception in 1974 

remained robust at 14 per cent.

Ten-year returns stood at 6 per cent versus 7 per cent in financial year 2022, 

while 20-year returns were at 9 per cent against 8 per cent in the previous year.

Performance of Temasek Portfolio

Temasek recorded -5% for this year! 

Here's a recap of the major market events (positive events in greennegative events in red, mixed events in yellow):

  • Ukraine war: the war is still ongoing, though there is trouble on the Russian front due to the rebellion by Wagner chief Prigozhin. On the other hand, the Ukraine counter-offensive is not going as smoothly according to some reports.
  • CPI report: For the June CPI report, the year-over-year percent change cools to 3% (down from 9% in 2022 Jun). Since inflation is coming down, there is less anticipation of a rate hike, hence the markets went up. Reits also went up during this period. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

What Adrian Tan Taught Us about Work and Life

Came across this news recently:

I do not know him personally, but I do follow his posts on LinkedIn and gained insights from them. 

His signature signoff "If I were King of Singapore..." provided a light-hearted moment in my day. 

Anyway, while reading this piece of news I was recommended to continue with the below:

The last 2 sentences of the article caught my eye:

Mr Tan is sanguine, and has no personal bucket list of things to do.

“The life that I am living now is exactly the life that I want, and my only aim is to keep it going,” he said.

I believe for most people, when they receive cancer news, they will want to spend time with family, tick off a bucket list, etc.

But not him! He wants to continue working!

He has found the perfect sweet spot and he is blessed.  

Is the life you are living now exactly the life you want?