Financial Worries of a Millennial in Singapore

Just this morning, China slapped retaliatory tariffs on certain US goods. Although they were not as damaging as the ones imposed by the US, we all know it is a warning.

The worst case scenario here will be for the US to hit back with another silly and unnecessary tariff action. With this tension about a potential full scale trade war happening, markets are dragged and everyone is on edge.

With my current counters already running red and not having made a recovery from the recent correction, i am frustrated and apprehensive about what is to come. And with that i zoned out for a good half an hour thinking about my current and future financial worries, which i am sure is aligned with the most Millennials in our little red dot.

As my parents are unemployed, i am currently paying for my monthly phone bills and expenses with my NS allowance. Since enlistment, i have also been hung up on saving money as my university fees will amount to about $50,000, not to mention the daily expenses i expect to incur there.

Going down the line, my pecuniary troubles and worries include the impending GST and Tax hike. This means that Singapore will only be more expensive to live in, and I’m sure we will continue to top the charts of the ‘World’s Most Expensive City to Live In” ranking. Ha. Ha. Ha.

As i plan to apply for a BTO flat in my third year of university, i do also have to worry about the down-payment etc. Of course, one of my largest concern is with regards to being able to find an appropriate job upon graduating from university.

In the form of a checklist, these are my financial concerns, and i reckon that most Millennials in our country have more or less the same uneasy feeling. We are afraid and we are anxious about the future. That is why i hope to prepare myself by being more financially literate and independent.

  • Daily Expenses
  • Phone Bills
  • University Tuition Fees
  • BTO Flat
  • Volatile Stock Market
  • Job Securing upon Graduation

I have left out the typical wants and desires of us Millennials such as fundings for holiday trips, sedan car, etc.

Understandably, different individuals have different worries. But i believe that these are the main shared concerns for Millennials, especially those belonging to my age group.

What do you think?

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My First 100K

A good day to everyone!

As i tabulated my monthly expenses and assets yesterday, i arrived to the pleasant surprise of having achieved my first $100,000.

This amount comprises of my liquid cash and other assets. All in all, i have barely hit the $100,000 mark with just a few dollars to spare. One Macdonald’s meal will push me back down below the mark hahaha.

This achievement is only possible due to the unprecedented rise in the stock market for the past week, but still i am delighted with this milestone.

Nevertheless, I’ll not be complacent and will continue to strive even harder. Right now, this amount is a mountain to me and in it i see my blood, sweat, and tears. However, i too know in a few years or so, this amount will be quite menial.

I am also aware of the fact that my achievement can be easily wiped out with a change in market direction. It’s a risk i have to take, i am afraid but i will not waver.

At the age of 22, i realise that i am no longer too young to fool around and get caught up in my indolence. I have to step up and prepare well for what lies ahead in my future.

Currently, my assets are divided as such :

Stocks : 50%

Bonds: 25%

ETFs: 15%

Cash : 10%

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with me! I could really use some advice and opinion from your point of view.

P. S: I am unable to comment on any WordPress page except for mine, is anyone else experiencing the same issue?

A First For Me

The past week sure had everyone in a frenzy, and it seems to me that even though stocks have opened calmly yesterday and today, the cacophony of speculations are still more than capable of worsening things.

Yelp, it’s the first for me. Every single counter in my portfolio is in a sea of red, excluding CMT which however looks like it’s about to dive deeper.

I’m sitting on a paper loss of about 2.5K as i write this, can’t deny that i panicked and was flustered seeing such a drastic change in my portfolio.

What a harsh reminder to us that all equities can still put one in a tenuous position, especially for us neophyte investors who stepped in during the fervent bull market the past 2 years. (Me 😅😭😅)

I’m avoiding the urge to speculate and anticipate, as i can be quite impatient and quick to act. What i did over the weekend was to go through the fundamentals of my holdings once more, to reassure myself that i invested in them because of their solid quantitative and qualitative standings. I also reminded myself that i bought into these with the inwardly agreement that i would be happy holding on to them for 5-10 years. And as such, i did not end up selling any of my counters on impulse.

Im filled with trepidation, as i did put more than 80% of my assets into stock equities . So to those who are feeling the same way i am, with these thoughts running in circles inside that brain of yours: Should i buy into the diving counters? Should i sell now to reduce my losses? Should i act now? Should i wait a little more? Should i sit idly by and do nothing?

Calm down. It’s easier said than done but do try.

Lastly, although i did mention that i have trust in my choices, i am still a little worried about Singtel and Starhill Global. Both are counters in my portfolio and their outlook doesn’t seem to bright to me, with decreasing quality in their quantitative data. I will continue to strive and hope for the best.

Have you taken any market action the past week? Do share!

Portfolio Update (Jan 2018 Sell Transaction)

Good morning!

Back here for a short update on my portfolio and to talk briefly about my single sell transaction in January.

I apologise for not posting in awhile, really seems that i can’t catch a break. These past months have been really frantic and busy, and i feel like im already 30. 😅

I’m actually really amazed at the protracted bull market, the jump in prices for certain counters have really befuddled me. (Looking at you Reits and Banks) This, coupled with my depleted Warchest, has rendered me incapable of accumulating stocks for the past 2 months.

After holding on tightly for a good 1.5yeaea, i have finally sold my stake in OUE Hospitality Trust. Albeit being the counter with the smallest capital injected, it has given me the best returns so far, an astounding 28.5%.

Maybe you might ask why i am selling it now despite the forecasted increase in tourism arrivals and the bottoming out of hotel room supplies.

Well, firstly it is because the counter is at it’s 52 Week High. Though there is great potential for it to break upwards, i see a bigger near term potential for the price to fall first.

Secondly, the quantitative fundamentals of OUE H-Trust arent exactly favourable, i shall not elaborate on that but it is amazing how despite that the past 1.5 years have been nothing but a immense rally for this counter.

Lastly, i forsee myself requiring more capital for my next counter buy. And thus i have decided to capitalise and lock in my profits. If prices continue to rise, i shall have no regrets. But if they fall, i will give myself a pat on the back for a well timed sell action. 😂

How has your January been so far? Has it been an eventful one with lots of buying and selling?

Thank you for taking the time out to visit and read this quick post!

Portfolio of a 21 Year Old Boy Revealed 

Hello everyone! It’s been awhile hasn’t it?

The past few weeks have been reprehensively onerous for me, which is why i haven’t been writing as much. I’ve been so busy and tied down to my commitments, and am looking forward to a good break this Christmas.

Albeit without the time to write, I’ve still been a silent stalker and reader on many financial blogs. 😂 One thing i realised was that many younger investors like me tend to reveal much more of their portfolios, such as the entry price and invested value.

With that said, i’ve been thinking about doing the same for my readers and will therefore reveal and provide a deeper insight into my portfolio.

As of today, i am vested in 6 entities in the SGX.

1) Ascendas India Trust

Making up 19.87% of my total holdings, i’ve only recently bought into them on September 2017 for a total cost of $9.7K. Although the predictions for the economy of India was still fuzzy and negative looking back then, the fundamentals and quantitative analysis of the company was excellent and it gave me the courage to buy into them. Fingers crossed that the growth of this precocious stock will continue.

2) CapitaMall Trust

Undoubtedly one of the most prominent and reliable stocks in the Singapore market, ive had several buy and sell transactions with CMT. Currently, CMT makes up 19.41% of my portfolio with a total cost of $9.3K. Even though my warchest is helplessly depleted at the moment, I’m looking to collect more of this particular stock when the time is right.

3 ) OUE Hospitality Trust
One of my earliest investments, this stock makes up 9.08% of my portfolio. Because of it’s below par balance sheet, i was hesitant and only invested $3.8K. It’s funny how prices at times move in the opposite of their supposed direction isn’t it?

4) ST Engineering

Having only bought into ST Engineering last month, their downward plunge has caught both my portfolio and i by surprise (Looking at you too Singtel). Making up the biggest portion of my portfolio at 26.6% $14K, it’s a shame that it’s in the deep red sea. Nonetheless, qualitative, quantitative, and fundamentals wise, ST Engineering is remarkable and i do hope this will show soon enough in their prices. I also bought into this to balance out my then REIT skewed portfolio. Lastly, i plucked up the courage to buy twice into this stock as other than being heavily backed by Temasek Holdings, it has shown resilience during times of economic difficulty.

5) Singtel

Amounting to 13.2% of my portfolio, and costing $6.9K. I must admit i was overconfident when i bought into Singtel at $3.89. At that time, I believed that the risk and threat of the upcoming 4th telco and the steadily decreasing subscribers were all but priced in already. Regardless, i am still positive about Singtel as it has a more than salubrious balance sheet, is always looking for opportunities to partner and launch new initiatives, is the biggest of the 3 telcos, and is not solely based in Singapore. I would be perfectly fine holding on to my current Singtel shares for a long time.

6) Starhill Global Reit

The final holding in my portfolio, this stock takes up 11.8% and costed $6K. Albeit only having 2 properties in Singapore, and currently facing slight occupancy issues. I bought into this stock not only because of its sizeable interest rate, but because i saw potential for strong growth. Lets hope this one plays out well too!

Conclusion

I kick started my investment journey on 7th June 2016, when i was 20 years old. I wanted to start earlier but indolence got the better of me.

Hitherto, I’ve realised $3,200 in profits and have received $1,800 in dividends. My overall XIRR stands at 20.31%. I hope that i can continue to grow my portfolio in a ‘slow and steady’ manner. ⬆️⬆️⬆️

Thank you for taking the time to read, should you have any questions or insights to share, feel free to comment below and ill definitely respond accordingly!

The Art of Saving while Travelling

It’s been a tumultuous and hectic month, with little time for me to relax, but im back now with a new post and that’s what matters!

Travelling, an essential annual activity for most households in Singapore. Being a small country, there isn’t a domestic travelling option for us Singaporeans. There is only so much we can do in Singapore, and what better way to spend our bonuses/savings than going away to explore and wind down?

Singapore has seen a year on year increase in outbound tourism since 2005.

In 2016, outbound departures stood at 9,474,205, a tremendous increase from 2005 where the numbers were merely 5,159,403. As a highly developed first-world state, it is no surprise that Singaporeans are becoming more affluent and have higher disposable income.

Which brings me to the main topic, how does one save while travelling? It is an ironic statement, as travelling usually amounts to a big chunk of expenditure, more so if we travel and pay for our family members.

As mentioned previously, i view myself as a frugal individual, but i certainly do not restrict myself from purchasing experiences and memories. With my university matriculation coming around immediately after i ORD from NS, i will probably not have the time to travel next year. Thus, i figured that my only time to travel in the near future would have to be this year, and with that i used up all of my leaves for next month where i travel to

KRABI & BORACAY.

My expenses have never been higher before than in 2017, and that is why being able to save while travelling is an imperative to me. 

1) Flight Tickets 

Any prerequisite to travelling definitely involves the booking of one’s flight tickets and accommodation (unless you are able to sojourn at a friend/relative place at your destination). Here is where the saving begins! Being able to get a reasonably priced ticket is essential, and how do i do this?

From my experience, utilising fare comparison websites alone isn’t enough as they do not always provide the best prices and they do not show the hidden costs such as taxes etc. Also, always browse in incognito mode as airline sites keep track of your visit history and cookies, they use it to forecast your purchasing needs and mark up the prices of the dates you have been looking at. 

Depending on your preference (Budger Carrier vs Full Service Carrier), open several tabs, alongside the flight comparison page Skyscanner. 

Budget Carrier: AirAsia, FlyScoot, JetStar, etc. 

Full Service Carrier: Singapore Airline, Emirates Airways, Qatar Airways, Asiana Air, ANA, Japan Airways, etc. 

Use every single one of them to look at the prices of the dates you are looking to travel.  Make sure you go all the way to the last page before you make payment so that you are able to see your total cost inclusive of taxes and fees. 

With this, one is able to have the whole gamut of ticket prices from different airlines at your fingertips. Personally, this method has helped me to source for cheaper tickets than my friends for most of my trips and i hope it works for you too! 

2) Accommodation 

With the advent of technology and proliferation of alternatives to hotels. Getting cheaper accommodation has never been easier, i like to maintain a certain level of comfort in my travels, and thus i will not be writing about hostels, capsule hotels, etc. 

In most countries, AirBNB is available and is usually a cheaper alternative than booking hotels. However, im sure there are many of you that will still prefer booking a hotel. Likewise with Hotels, open several tabs and move yourself to the Agoda and & Expedia page. Shortlist the hotels based on your needs, wants and previous reviews. 

Once that is done, access the shortlisted hotel’s webpages one by one, occasionally , you will see that agoda and expedia do not usually offer the best rates as well.  When i went to Hongkong and Taiwan, this method helped me to save a good amount of money. 

3) Budgeting

The last and most simple factor of travelling, budgeting! Set aside a certain amount of cash that you will allow yourself to spend, keep track of your daily expenses in your destination and ensure that you do not overspend your daily/overall budget. 

For most trips that do not exceed a week, i set for myself a budget of $400-$600.

I hope this post has provided you with more information on how one can save during their holiday stint. Don’t forget to relax in the arduous journey towards emancipating yourself from the rat race! 

How much should an average 21 year old Singaporean have?

Evidently, this is a question that i am sure most people have asked themselves before. Regardless if you are 21, 35, or 55, you will probably have wondered at some point what the net worth of people at your age are.

Of course, it is a sensitive question to ask , but at 21 most of us aren’t financially mature and we are frankly quite open to disclosing our net worth with friends. To me, this is a good thing as i am able to benchmark myself to people that belong to the same age group.

My question excludes those that were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and those that are the obverse. For example, a friend from a wealthy family currently has a net worth of about $150,000 SGD at the age of 21. This is because his parents have betrothed to him a huge sum of money for his discretionary use.

My question includes those that have their net worth from working part-time, saving up their allowances, starting their own businesses, and so on.

Hitherto, the answers i received varys greatly. A rare few are living from allowance to allowance with less than a few hundred in their bank, some have a admirable net worth around the $20,000 range, and most are currently at the $5,000 range.

Take my friend Alphonsus for example, currently serving the nation as well, he has been saving a healthy 60% of his 1.1K National Service allowance. Prior to this, he has been working part time, had internships, acquired scholarships, and has his own mini online business. He is known for being frugal and future-oriented. He has a rewarding net worth of about $40,000 ++.

Another friend, Joshua, saves about 20% of his $600 National Service allowance. And prior to this, has also worked part time and had internships. He is known for his spenderding on luxurious goods , nightlife, and travelling. His net worth amounts to roughly $6,000 ++.

Although both of them are of the same age and are in a similar phase in life, we can see how their lifestyles and opportunities have put a huge gap between their net worth.

After getting individual answers, i tend to ask myself the following.

If i am lacking behind,

“What can i do to catch up? What are they doing right and how can i learn from them? “

Or if i am currently ahead,

“How can i extend the gap? What can i do more?”

As competitive as this may sound, it ultimately is a good serving of motivation to me.

Most of us have a goal in mind, and i am undoubtedly sure that these goals have relations to being financially free. Let us all strive hard to achieve our goals, but let us also not forget to keep our feet grounded.

Here’s to ditching the rat face in the future !