Saturday, 24 August 2019

An Inflection Point in your Investment Journey?

At the start of our investment journey, we tend to get really enthusiastic. This motivation is useful in helping us learn basic concepts quickly. This is the point in which 80% of the knowledge can be learnt in 20% of the time – A common 80/20 rule.

As we repeat the same investment approach over and over again, our learning starts to “stall”. It is human to want to shift our attention to other investment approaches in order to get back the “ growth excitement”.

What many failed to realise is that after the “stall”, there will be an inflection point that will drive our learning curve back up again. This would also enable us to gain deep proficiency. 

This was well summarised by the “Bipolar Learning Graph” from Timothy Ferris in “The 4-Hour Chef(This is an affiliate link. See disclosure below.). It was interesting how Tim explains the use of Warren Buffett's margin of safety concept to design "bullet-proof recipes" as well as his methodologies to learning anything.

I firmly believed in staying FOCUS before and during the "stall" in order to break out and gain deep proficiency in our investment skills. 

Focus has been crucial throughout my life. During secondary school, I was initially ranked last among my cohort for chess. Even though I set the record for losing the most number of consecutive matches, I persevered to improve my skills. This enabled me to become the best player within 2 years. I went on to repeat the same formula in other aspects of my life.

Our family finance journey is right before the inflection point now. In my earlier post, we shared our goal of achieving family finance freedom. Besides our family finance habits, we are sticking closely to our investment approaches that have helped to achieve fairly reasonable gains while building up new skills sets. Boring yes, but focus we must :) 


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1.       Link to Amazon for The 4-Hour Chef
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4.      Can investment help us to keep our emotions in check? Yes it can!

Disclosure: The link for "The 4-Hour Chef " is an affiliate link. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Friday, 16 August 2019

Our 7 Simple Family Finance Habits

This is a continuation from my last postMy family follows 7 simple habits to improve our family finances. Most can be easily achieved and have helped us over the years.

Habit 1: Always check our receipts
My wife has a habit to check our receipts after paying at supermarket and restaurants. Several times, we discovered errors and promptly asked for a review in the payment. We should never pay extra for something that we should not. Do remember to check your receipts on the spot rather than doing it back home!

Habit 2: Only buy what we need
It is easy to be distracted by “special discounts” or “Buy 3 get 1 free” when you don’t really need the item or the bulk. Interestingly, there are times when “special discounts” are indeed special as they are pricier than the price from another store. Buying in bulk at times can be more expensive than buying individually from another store. No matter what, it is best to only buy what we need rather than choke up your house with more clutter.

Habit 3: Compare prices
A simple price comparison between nearby similar stores could save us some money. We had the habit of checking prices from both Watsons and Guardian, or between departmental stores before buying what we need. The price difference for similar items can be much more than we think.

Habit 4: Use discounts and cashbacks
Store discounts, Credit card miles/cashback, GrabPay discounts, Shopback cashback? Nowadays, there are many discounts and cashbacks which we can easily leverage on. Simply pay with credit card to gain miles/cashbacks or automatically gain cash back when you use a registered credit card at Shopback’s merchants. Why resist bringing in some cash back into your pocket!

Habit 5: Pay our bills promptly
Not paying our bills promptly will result in additional interest payment which will really burn our pocket bigger every month. We always aim to pay up our bills in advance at times before the statement comes in.

Habit 6: Bring own water bottle instead of order drinks
We developed the habit of bringing our own water bottle along. Drinking plain water keeps us well-hydrated and helps us to reduce the excessive sugar intake from soft drinks. Each drink cost around S$1.50-2 (US$1.10-1.50) and we could easily save around S$90 (US$66) a month per pax.

Habit 7: Stay healthy
Falling sick costs money and time. Better to stay healthy by eating right, sleeping well, exercise regularly. We make sure our breakfast is simple and nutritious – oats, wholemeal bread, 8hrs of sleep, regular jogging, etc.

Having good financial habits enabled our family to build up more cash over time. We can use the cash in many meaningful ways including spending time with family on a good holiday! What are some of your interesting family finance habits? Feel free to share!


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Friday, 9 August 2019

Happy 54th Birthday Singapore!!


To live in Singapore is the greatest blessing for my family. There are many things for us to be appreciative of. We have a green and safe country as well as the ingredients for basic family needs such as clean water, 3 daily meals, a roof over our head, medical, etc.

We had the opportunity to stay in overseas over extended periods. The experiences are humbling and opened our eyes to the differences between cultures. Singapore remains the only country in our heart. 

Admittedly, there are areas to strive for improvements e.g. many bemoan the high cost of living and intense work conditions, elderlies working in unpleasant jobs despite their age, etc. We got to remind ourselves not to take our present success for granted. Stay humble, be willing to learn and strive to improve.

On this day, Family-Finance-Savvy wishes our country Happy Birthday. Sharing this year’s national day theme song:

Source: YouTube


Saturday, 3 August 2019

Market Watch 2019 – SG Banks

In our previous post, we shared our plans to diversify our investment portfolio. Since then, my wife and I sold half of our OCBC shares at $11.50 and CPFIS’s STI ETF at around $3.41 to build up investment war-chest as well as protect overall profits in our CPF portfolio.

We kept a constant look out for trigger news e.g SG banks’ Q3 financial results this week, to gather information to help us assess the general impact from the trade war climate. Key points from CEOs of the three banks

DBS CEO - Source: Business Times

OCBC CEO - Source: Business Times

UOB CEO - Source: Business Times

To us, it is important to understand how the banks position themselves. We are keen on their strategy to support new business models and shifts in supply chain e.g. market positioning, shift in loan strategy, etc. Overall, we remained positive on the prospects in the Greater China and ASEAN market. To this end, my view is that OCBC and UOB are better positioned.

OCBC have strong exposure in Greater China, Malaysia and Indonesia. There were reports on their plans to increase stakes in Bank of Ningbo. If this materialises, OCBC’s deeper presence in Greater China could open up more opportunities to the wider Chinese market and position them well for China’s One Belt One Road initiative.

UOB have a good presence in Thailand and broad network in Malaysia, Indonesia and China. After setting up their digital bank in Thailand, there were reports of UOB considering to launch digital bank in Vietnam or Indonesia too. Both countries possess abundant opportunities. They are likely to come from the shift in supply chain from China to Vietnam, as well as from Indonesia's plans to shift their Capital which would require significant amount of infrastructure loans and investments. 

Trump’s tariff hike on Chinese imports had came in rather abruptly and have caused a stir to the stock market.

This looks like a buying opportunity... and our war-chest stands ready to fire.


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