2020 Expectations & 2019 Review

It’s amazing, really. Each time i revisit this site to update with a post, i arrive at a sudden realization that 3 to 5 months has passed since my previous post. It really is time i change my title to “The 24 year Old…”, man i’m old.

Before i delve into my financial strategy and expectations for 2020, i would like to reflect on my 2019 journey as well as to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, may the year of the rat (my year :D) be a blessed and peaceful year for all.

2019

Looking back at my past few years, my XIRR has somewhat grown (apart from 2018 where there was a cyclical downturn). As a reserved investor with a low level of risk appetite, i am satisfied with my average rate of return of about 8%.

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Nevertheless, i am a little disappointed that my portfolio dividend has dropped in 2019 as compared to 2018. This is not in line with my goal of a passive income portfolio. As a matter of fact, my current portfolio has totally diverged from my ideal portfolio. I have mostly sold off my REITS for capital gains and am sitting on many finance industry counters which i will share in this post as well.

In 2019 itself, i made 12 buy transactions and made 13 sell transactions. Some for a small profit and some for a better than expected capital gain. However, it is with great shame that i am still siting on a >$1K loss on the Singtel counter even after holding on to it for the past 3 years. As it stands, my only other loss driver is Raffles Medical.

Moreover, i have sold off my ABF SG BOND ETF and am waiting to sell of my NIKKO STI ETF as well. I will be pouring my proceeds from these etfs into Stashaway, as i want some exposure to the US market.

Last but not least, a few posts ago, i was lamenting about how i was not able to secure a scholarship. At that point in time i was feeling incredibly down and out, and with that said, i would like to share the great news that i have been accepted into a scholarship program with a company and am now bonded to them after graduation! I worked really really hard for this so when i received the acceptance news i was over the moon. God is great and i am so very thankful for the opportunity. The pressure is however more present than eve as i am required to maintain a GPA of more than 3.7/4.0 at all times given any semester.

2019 in a nutshell was full of ups and downs, but it was fruitful and i learnt many things. I ended 2019 sitting on 9 equity counters and 2 bond positions, as below. Come 2020, i expect to see a shift in my investing direction.

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2020

INVESTING:

It hasn’t even been a full month since the start of the new year but already things are uncertain and shaky. Wuhan Virus, Trump’s Impeachment, Trade Deals/Wars, Iran/US Dispute, and many others. While these are all big news that will impact global markets, i will strive to ignore the noise and focus on my long-term strategy. I feel that the current longest bull run will continue to tick upwards at least for the next 3 to 6 months.

This year, i will aim to offload low yielding shares such as Raffles Medical at a right price and accumulate high yielding REITs as well as average yielding blue chips such as the big banks. This is to increase my overall portfolio yield, which currently only sits at about 3.62%. However, i do see great long-term potential in the Raffles Medical counter and at its current price of $1.00, i feel that it is a good price to enter and i plan to accumulate right after writing this posts.

Some stocks with great prospects that i am looking to accumulate: Singtel, Raffles Medical, Wilmar, Riverstone Holdings.

With the current REITs pricing, i find it a little too pricey to enter most counters and i find the REITs market extremely overvalued. Apart from Ascott Reit (which i am monitoring because of the wuhan crisis) and Frasers H-Trust, i will not be entering any of the REITs given their current overpriced situation.

EXPENDITURE:

In 2019, i spent an estimated total of $10,600 on personal expenditure. This excludes utilities, and my average monthly expenses were about $500-$600. This year, i aim to bring this down to about $400 each month as i have been digging deep into my savings the past year.

That more or less wraps up what i have to share, and i wish everyone a BIG HUAT HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! Thank you for taking the time to read, and please do comment below should you have any queries or would like to discuss anything! 😀

In such turbulent and uncertain markets, what should i do?

“Wa shit la.” , “Walao what is this Donald Trump trying to do this time?!” , “Huh?! More tariffs? They crazy ah?!”, “Siao liao what do i do?”.

These were intuitive words and thoughts that i have found myself evoking often the past few months, and i’m certain i’m not the only one who has reacted this way. Ever since May this year, our markets have been performing badly.

With so many macro and global factors like Brexit, the Trade War, increasing natural disasters, the increased likelihood of Germany going into recession, and “market indicators” signalling a downturn/recession is near, it is no wonder everyone is apprehensive, taking a defensive stance, and waiting to act.

Even though i have been overwhelmingly busy with my university life as well as my summer activities in campus, i am constantly worrying about my portfolio. To catch you up quickly, within the past 3 months my portfolio went from +2.5% to – 4%, and i am currently sitting on about SGD $2,000 unrealised loss. While this may seem like a small amount to sum, it is very huge to me as i am after all just a university student.

Nevertheless, i am glad that i did not panic sell last month when many others did, i managed to hold on to my more volatile counters like CDL until they reached a breakeven price before i sold them off. Recent buys of mine include Capitaland Retail China trust, which i sold off within 10 days for a small gain, Keppel Corp, which i unfortunately purchased at a price much more than the current market value, and Raffles Medical, which is a similar case to Keppel. In my opinion, we will not be seeing a recession as soon as we think, i trust my gut.. *gulps*.

My portfolio this year is vastly different from that of last year, my yield has sharply decreased as i am now holding on to only 1 REIT as compared to last year where i had about 4 to 5. Only now have i realized that i have shifted off from my track and goal of being a passive dividend investor.

Thus, my plan moving forward is to offload my current holdings as much as possible and reinvest them such that my portfolio is back to my desired weightage of 70% REITs. As i am positive that our market will see an upward trend soon, i will be holding on to my trailing counters and will sell them off upon reaching breakeven point. I am also contemplating stopping my monthly investments into the Nikko AM STI ETF as the returns have been so dismal and atrocious…

For an overview of my current portfolio as well as what i intend to purchase when the price is right,

My current holdings are:

  1. DBS
  2. UOB
  3. Singtel
  4. Keppel Corp
  5. Raffles Medical
  6. ManulifeReit USD

Clearly, these are blue chip and supposedly defensive stocks, however you may be surprised at what bad investments they turned out to be so far for me hahaha… looking at you Singtel, Keppel, Raffles Medical. Jokes aside, these 3 have great potential and upside in the long-run, and if i do not see a right price to offload them , i intend to keep them for the long-term

What is on my watchlist?

  1. Cache Logistics Trust
  2. CDL Hospitality Trust
  3. IREIT Global
  4. Sasseur Reit
  5. ST Engineering

Evidently, i do not intend to avoid the market uncertainty but instead have plans to face it head on and act when the price is right. Even if, touch wood, lets say we do face a bad downturn, i am certain i’ll be able to hold on to my counters for a good 3 to 5 years, as i am currently a 23 year old university students with no debts nor family to support yet.

As for personal finance, i am currently financing my daily expenses with my tuition revenue, which is about a mere $200 a month. This is in addition to the dividends coming from my 3.7% annual yield of my portfolio.

What about you guys? I would really like to hear what your action plan for investing is like moving forward in these times of uncertainty and turbulence.

Helpless days where we feel like failures.

May,  a month of disappointment and devastation. Nothing seems to be going right in most aspects of my life, i offer my sincere advance apologies for what will seem like a rant to most of you.

Since university started, i’ve dedicated time and effort to pursue excellence in both my studies and my CCAs , all in hopes of receiving a scholarship to fund my education. And although i’ve achieved a full GPA for 2 semesters, i apparently do not impress during interviews with organizations. I’ll never know the reason why but i know that i only have myself to blame. True enough it could be that my personality and values do not align with the organization/s that i have applied for, but the weight of rejection is hard to swallow after all the time, effort, and dedication i have committed. Be it CCAs, Communtiy Service, or Grades, i have striven for excellence and am glad to say that i believe i have excelled in all these aspects. Nonetheless this only makes rejection harder and only exacerbates the insecurity in me. The question of “am i really not good enough?” constantly eats at me and my motivation and drive is slipping away by the day.

To make things worse, i’ve always thought of my investment journey as a redeeming factor of myself. But lately i’ve realised that i have been making plenty of wrong decisions when it comes to buying and selling, this has led to a big negative in my portfolio (Of course this is partly due to the trade war saga, which i feel that the sell off is once again unfounded, I did read an article where an economist discussed the impacts of the tariffs and concluded that the actual impact on economies will not be as massive as many claim it to be. The degree of how true this is is one that i will not vouch for, but one thing i am sure of is that it will have a negative impact.)

As i’m writing this i feel the dissatisfaction and disappointment with myself welling up, and i think deep down it is ultimately my pride and my ego that has taken the biggest hit. It is the hopes and expectations that really damages oneself.

Thank you for reading, i am sure better days will come. To those who are facing difficult times and feeling the same about yourself, stay strong and we’ll all bounce back stronger.

Trade War & Stocks

Wow, just like that 5 months have passed. My last post was back in December and to be honest i haven’t realized until i checked back today.

I’ve been so busy with university, and have just finished my freshman year. Needless to say it was crazy and hectic, nothing compared to the mundane lifestyle of national service nor the cheery carefree years of polytechnic.

That doesn’t mean i haven’t been active in my investing activities, these past few months have offered me many shocks and setbacks (thank you Donald Trump!) I’ve made several buy and sells and am currently holding on to 7 counters – CDL, Manulife Reit, Singtel, Starhill Global, UOB, Keppel Corp, and Raffles Medical. I’ve only just bought the last 2 a few days ago.

Nevertheless, the recent bombshell news by Trump has once again sent everything in a frenzy. I’m currently down 3% of my total portfolio with the deepest reds coming from Singtel and CDL. I plan to hold on to these two for as many years as i can.

I have almost exhausted my war chest with the recent Keppel Corp and Raffles Medical buys, if Friday’s implementation of new tariffs sends the market into a bloodbath, i will not be able to buy in and will have to once again resist myself from panic selling.

That being said, I’m confident of these 7 counters for long-term survival and prosperity, and therefore will be blinding myself from the hell to come over the next few months too. Sometimes it really is best not to get too caught up with news, analyst reports, and word-of-mouth jibber jabbers.

Cheers!

Takeaways of a 22 Year Old Investor (2018)

Season’s greetings and happy holidays to everyone! It has been awhile since i last posted, and today i am here to wrap up this frenzied year with a few important takeaways that I’ve learned.

What a horrid and traumatic second half of 2018 it has been. When the bull market raged on in the early half of this year, i had plenty of doubts and my intuition was screaming at me to sell for a small profit. However, greed and complacency restrained my hands.

With that said, that essentially caused me to currently be sitting on a – 6% portfolio loss.

Current Holdings:

11

For me, 2018 was a huge portfolio transformation. I sold and added many different counters, and these 7 (excluding Singapore Savings Bonds) are what i am left with. Singtel and City Developments Limited were impulse buys, are my current biggest losers, and are also my biggest regrets hahaha, you’ll understand why in my next few paragraphs.

Takeaway #1 – Research before Action 

Common sense yes? But easier said then done. When i first started out investing, i was scrupulous and fastidious in my research, be it qualitative or quantitative. Naturally, as time went on, i got lazier in my homework and occasionally i’ll find myself making purchase actions on a counter i had not even done much research on, just because i told myself  “Oh Blue Chip safe la, can invest. Now price not bad.”  or “Property has always been a solid investment, let’s just invest now.”. You see, even though my S.O.P and rule has always been research first no matter what, i still managed to break this golden rule and this has costed me. When i bought into Singtel, i did not bother to do research, else i would have found out that TPG’s entry was impending, consumer business was dropping, and that Telcos were about to enter into dangerous waters. Similarly, had i done prior research before buying into CDL, i would have realized that the property market was slowing down and speculations about new measures were ubiquitous.

For 2019, i will unmistakably be sticking to my S.O.P and Golden Rule, so as not to embarrass and bring myself unnecessary losses yet again.

Takeaway #2 – Diversification

Only in recent months have i realised the ultimate importance of diversification. When the markets dived badly in recent months, my reits suffered terribly. Thankfully, i had a little cushioning in the form of ST Engineering and Raffles Medical, different industries. Just imagine if i had invested purely for dividends and thrown all my money into Reits and Trusts, i cannot imagine the damage.

For 2019, i will aim to further diversify myself. I agree that i am still too skewered towards REITs at the moment, and i’ll change that if the opportunity arises. My sights are locked on DBS , UOB, and Venture. I’ll continue keeping a close watch on the market and these counters.

Takeaway #3 – Averaging Down

I used to think that averaging down was an idea not worth entertaining. To me, there were only two steps. Buy at a certain price, and sell when the time is right. Nonetheless, when i bought CDL, the property cooling measures kicked in the week after, and CDL skydived.  I panicked at first, and was devastated with my poor choice of action. After some cogitation, i entertained the idea of averaging down and bought CDL once again, albeit at a smaller quantity. Although the price now is still below the two instances where i bought CDL, there was a period where it went above and i witnessed first hand how averaging down can reduce your losses / increase your profits.

For 2019, i will not shy away from the idea of averaging down. If the time and price is right, i will definitely buy again into the same counter to average down my price or increase my possible profits.

Thoughts about 2019

With heavy losses in my portfolio, increased expenditure due to university, and a gloomy outlook for 2019, I march into the new year with a plenitude of pecuniary concerns.

The critical importance of saving money has been imbued and drilled into me from a very young age, and i am eternally grateful to my parents for that. Financial literacy is imperative in our current economy, especially in Singapore. With no breadwinner in my family, i am relieved that i possess a small cushion of emergency funds should i ever need it, and i owe this all my years of savings and making wise financial choices.

I do not expect a smooth sailing 2019, and as a matter of fact i do expect dark clouds for the early half of 2019. Nevertheless, i am optimistic about the economy and markets for the latter half of next year, and will continue striving and endeavoring.

As my previous student has already finished her PSLE, i currently do not have any tutees and will therefore have to look for another prospective student to fund my daily expenditure in university.

Conclusion

I wish everyone here a hopeful and blessed 2019, we are all in this together. If you’re ever feeling down and out, just remember that you are not alone and what goes down, must come up 🙂

P.S: Does anyone have a good savings account with better interest rates to recommend? I’m currently a 22 year old university student with no monthly income.

Unfounded Sell-off?

Volatility and Uncertainty, these two words are perfect definitions of what the market has been.

Its been a busy 3 months transiting and settling down into university. Expenses have skyrocketed and income is now zero.

In my 4 years of investing, this has been the deepest red sea I’ve found myself swimming in. Honestly, i am trembling and am feeling trepidation. There have been many varying macro factors around the world, and there is a plenitude of negative consumer sentiments going around.

I too have been tempted to follow the herd in the recent sell-off, but once again resisted. Fundamentally speaking, my holdings should be largely unaffected. However, the unfounded and consecutive sell off has triggered a consecutive loss.

Personally, i am at quite a lost as this is a first. With about 80% of my assets in equities and stocks, my financial situation is largely dependent on the markets. However, i am confident of holding on to my current counters for 5 to 10 years if i have to.

As I’ve not updated my holdings on the other page in awhile, these are my current counters. Singtel and CDL are the current biggest losers, nevertheless the rest are also in the red.

  • Ascendas Reit
  • Ascendas India Trust
  • City Development Limited
  • Singtel
  • ST Engineering
  • Starhill Global Reit
  • Manulife US Reit

What do you think of my portfolio? Also, what are your thoughts on the current market?

Concerns of a 22 Years Old Average Joe in Transition (ORD, University, and Stocks?)

In less than 2 months, I’ll be phasing through another major transition in life. From a soldier into a fresh undergraduate.

It has only just hit me just how much of a big change this is.

-No longer will i have additional time to pursue my side business and my language learning.

-No longer will i be unburdened by academic projects and the pursuit of excellent grades.

– No longer will i be able to enjoy free lunch meals.

– No longer will i be receiving any allowances from my military service.

Once again, I’ll be thrown back into the blood stained and beleaguered field of intellectual competition. I can’t say that i have not been waiting for this, and i can’t say that i do not look forward to university. But it’s just that having been in this state of semi-relaxation a.k.a potatoness for nearly 2 years, it’ll be a difficult change in all aspects. Mindset, financials, time management.

Currently, after book out i am not bounded by any deadlines, projects, tests, exams and i am free to arrange my schedule however i see fit. Be it seeing to my side business, continuing my language self study, hanging out with friends, reviewing my stock portfolio, continuing my online course module, i don’t feel stressed out and am not in a rush. I also don’t need to spend money on food if I choose not to as camp provides sustenance. This will all change once i ORD.

It’s also unfortunate to say that looking at the date now, the Scholarships i have applied for have most likely rejected my applications. I might not be having any financial support from the universities.

Just this morning i realised that in the past 2 months of lazing about in the topic of the stock market, my portfolio has turned even redder. In short, my position in Singtel and Starhill Global Reit has bit me hard and it hurts, the bleeding doesn’t seem to stop and both are seeing 52 week lows.

Singtel

Although it is excruciatingly painful to look at the double digit percentage lost, Singtel is indisputably still one of the most liquid stocks in Singapore. I won’t delve into numeric data but it is the leading telco stock in Singapore that has it’s stake in several countries, unlike it’s counterparts. Furthermore, it has a robust and forward looking management that is always innovating.

Just recently Singtel’s CEO announced a promise of unchanged dividend for the next 2 years, and in 2018 Singtel declared a total dividend of 20.50 cents, its highest payout ratio since 2011.

Im inclined to say that a blue chip counter can be relied on but Noble Group is holding me back on this one. Nevertheless, i have faith that Singtel is still a leading stock counter that is set for a rebound, it might take 2-3 years, or even 5. But this dividend giving stock is one that is always innovating and i am placing my trust in it for the long term. Let’s hope that works out.

Yeap. So that’s Singtel in my opinion. These morning thoughts then led me to more concerns, it hit me really hard that i NOW have to worry about my University Tuition Fees and my Daily Expenses. Without my monthly NS allowance, and with significantly lesser projected time to work on my side business. I’ve calculated that I’ll be facing a mounting increase in expenditure that will tear deep into my savings. What’s worse is that a month back i spent another significant portion on the purchase of Raffles Medical. About 80% of my assets are currently in investments, any change in the market will significantly affect me and that is what scares me the most. But still, i know that this is the risk i accepted when i started investing.

Nevertheless, I’ll have to plan ahead and act now. I’ll have to do something about the impending marginal increase in expenditure, the contributions to my university tuition fees and the balancing of my stock portfolio. Ultimately I’ll need to cope with the change in schedule and lifestyle.

I can’t phrase this situation well enough, and i think this post has turned out to be more of a rant. But still i hope it gives you a little insight of the pecuniary concerns of a 22 year old who is transitioning into university.