Sunday 28 March 2021

How I manage my money with a lower than average salary

Hi Guys, so today I like to share a little about my salary and also how I save with a lower than average salary.

Most recently I found a new job with a different job scope though still within the same function and would like to do some reflection on my short career journey so far. I have been working for about 2 years since I first graduated from University. My starting salary was below average (as per Seedly's guide, university graduates median salary ranges from $2750 to $5200) with it being $2700 before CPF deduction. I was glad to be able to find a job a few months before my official graduation even though it was a contract role. Being from a general arts degree, I knew finding a job would not be easy so I was glad to be given an opportunity even though it was a short term job. After my short contract, I was performing relatively well and was offered an extension twice with a pay raise each time. There was no headcount for a permanent position and hence explains the 2 extensions. Although not much, I was thankful that there was an increment. Late last year, I did feel like I need a new environment to advance in my career and try something new while I am young. So I started my job search process last year and it took me quite long, after a few interviews to secure another job.

How I manage my money

Receiving a lower salary than my peers who either went into civil service or into technology roles, I felt the need to reduce my expenses in order to save more. I know comparing is really not the way to go but in SG, it is not easy to not compare yourself with others. I have learned to do things on my own pace and manage my financials as per what it is.

I knew all along that automation would be the way for me to build up my investment portfolio and also to increase my savings/emergency funds on the side. This would mean setting up standing instructions which can easily be set up to the account that receives your salary so let's say you receive your salary on the 7th of every month, you can set a set of standing instructions on the 10th of every month where $X goes to an account that is not easily accessible like Singlife or Standard Chartered as savings and then $X to your parents for allowances and then $X to another account for investing. This really helps reduce your mental capacity of having to physically manage the transferring of your money.

Standing instructions can easily be found in the transfer tab if you use DBS or POSB ibanking otherwise it should be somewhere in the website for internet banking

Read more: My 3 sources of income at 25 years old

Increasing my salary

Beside learning how to manage your salary, I think most people would also agree that you will need to increase your income as well. There are ways to increase your income and a few ways is through negotiating with your current boss on a pay raise but it will usually involve you listing out your responsibilities and letting your boss know that you might take on additional workload or you hope to justify the pay raise through a certain project. Another way would be to change your job where you will be able to ask for a higher pay but it will come with a change of environment and even job scope in some cases. Lastly, would be to work on side hustle(s).

Most people would recommend increasing your main income and make that the aim because you can definitely save more on a $6000 salary compared to a $3000 salary. This is also something that The Woke Salaryman advocates and even in this podcast they did, to find the supply of demand of the job market and position yourself with an advantage. But you have to also be rational and not pressure yourself too much, know that to increase your income takes time either because you need to take up additional learning or need the time to network and build up your work experience.

Side hustles are a huge thing in our generation, it seems like everyone has to have a side hustle. I don't think you need to have one if you are comfortable with your main income and it is sufficient. Otherwise, you can always just work on your hobbies and work on it being part of your side hustle.

I actually started writing as a record of my investment journey and my portfolio has grown though not as fast, I can still remember my first post about why I am starting to invest using POSB invest saver, those were good times as I was in school and had so much free time on hand. Thinking back, I should have worked and saved more then but no more looking at the past but to look ahead from now.

Read more: First Year-End Review of portfolio

Looking back, I am glad i started investing in 2017 and I guess the blog slowly managed to generate a small amount of revenue for me and seeing how YouTube videos can also generate revenue, how can I not hop on the bandwagon. But increasing my main income is also one of my priority now. My videos are definitely not high resolution, neither does it have great effects but I try to use a software to make it as engaging as it can. For now, I am slowly adjusting into my new job and will provide updates on my financial journey!

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Sunday 21 March 2021

Trend Investing | What it is and why more people are adopting this approach

After watching a Nate'O Brien youtube video where he talked about his 2021 investing directions and that he will be adopting more of a trend investing. So what exactly is trend investing? Trend investing is the process of putting your money in stocks, industries or markets expected to boom consistently in the future. You would then follow the trend up until it’s the right time to sell off and exit the market with major profits, sounds easy? Hard to implement but if it is a future trend, it should be moving upwards in the long term. So, how do we identify trends?

Trend Investing

Trend investing would be to capitalise on the long term trends so for one, we know that tech stocks would definitely be very much relevant although it also depends on how they adapt themselves to the environment. So in the long term, we might also see more cloud based or data driven companies being more prominent as companies seek to store their data in cloud and also to have data points for interpretation.

Climate change is also something that in the future, a lot of emphasis will be placed on it. So companies like Tesla where electric vehicles, solar energy and batteries are the main driving forces and also semiconductors like Nivida as chips are needed to power on more WFH arrangements and faster 5G networks.

Looking out for emerging patterns

From a CNBC article, you should focus on trends not fabs. For example, jobs like data administrators or telephone operators will be easily automated in the future as robots and AI will be designed to allow work to be done with lesser to no errors and at a faster rate. With my job being also largely administrative, I do also feel the threat of being automated. So if things are being automated means that technology will play a huge part in future trends.

Beside focusing on trends, the article also mentioned to look for emerging patterns for example, more people are reading news online and physical newspaper is no longer as readily available. In this case, we know that people wants news fast in the case where it is concise and impactful hence companies that are able to pivot to the new normal will survive if not, they will disappear.

Semiconductors and Tech

Semiconductors have been something that my friend brings up very often. He finds huge value in semiconductor companies as there is a rise in people working from home and more people are using the internet as entertainment in their spare time due to the pandemic hence chips are in shortage currently. Many digital consumer products in everyday life such as mobile phones / smartphones, digital cameras, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and LED bulbs also use semiconductors. I haven't really explore into the world of semiconductors but understand that there really is a need for it currently.

Another area that will be staying will definitely be technology companies. As the world becomes more intertwined through internet, applications and softwares will have to step up to be bridging points and to assist. Although some have mentioned that technology stocks have been overvalued as everyone puts money into it, I still do see it's growth over the next few years.

Following trends can be a good way to ride on the upwards growth however, you do also need to be up to date and follow through on whether the trends are long or short term. The pandemic has brought about a huge shift in trends and certain industries are experiencing exponential growth. Riding on that trend can prove beneficial but research will have to be done. The world looks so different as technology looks to disrupt record labels and also arts as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) allow creators to sell their art on their own through an NFT. Seedly came out with an article with a nice article on NFTs. If you do follow the YouTube space, you will know that NFT really is the next up and coming investments.

What other trends are there now besides technology? Are you interesting in trend investing? Do share your thoughts below!

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 References: 4e17e653c6794773bfa6c1efbea42ff6#71d22489c6fe4056897a906658d33e69

Friday 19 March 2021

I almost fell for a cryptocurrency scam

On 13 March 2021, a Saturday evening as I was having my dinner and scrolling through twitter, I saw Elon Musk's tweet and below that was a thread with his account and a message that there was a cryptocurrency giveaway that Elon Musk was doing. The tweet seemed real as it was tweeted by an account that looked like Elon Musk and even had the blue tick. I clicked in and was directed into below page.

I was sceptical at first but seeing that Elon Musk was bullish on Bitcoin and also since he does funny things some times, I thought this was real and I almost really did a transfer. What saved me from it was really hilarious, I DIDN'T HAVE 0.1 BTC HAHAHAHAH. If you saw my previous article, I only have 0.03 BTC. 

Read more: Market Crash or Correction? | What I have bought

Yea, I didn't have sufficient amount and so I didn't transfer it. I didn't think that it was a scam and thought that I missed out on it until I saw this article on Wednesday, 17 March 2021

What I learned about this incident and reading the article

I always thought scams would only happen if you are not savvy with your technology devices. I have never thought I would fall prey to a scam, cryptocurrency scams are on the rise as more people start getting into it, if I had did the transfer, no one will be able to reverse it. As a blockchain transfer, you will be able to know the bitcoin went into which wallet but since there is no governing authority, you are not able to get assistance.

In the article, the person transferred 10 bitcoins and most likely, he will never get it back, losing such a huge amount where he bought them in 2017, cashed out his capital and held on. They were able to track the wallet but not much can be done.

Huge learning point for me as now I am really more cautious and to be honest, if something really sounds too good, then I think it isn't true. Greed is also a factor for why I was almost scammed. I thought I would be able to receive free bitcoins. Hope this sharing has been informative for you as it was a huge lesson for me.

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Sunday 14 March 2021

Work Your Money, Not your Life by Roger Ma and Jennifer Ma | Book Review & Learning Points

Hi Guys, welcome back to a brand new series that I am starting where I review books that I have read mostly on personal finance and money related. Besides learning to invest by reading up, I think it is also interesting to know the perspective of how other view money and how they make money work for them. Perception varies between individual and the way we view money can determine how we use it as well.

Today's episode will be on this book titled: Work Your Money, Not your Life. It is written by Roger Ma together with Jennifer Ma, I will be summarising the book, why you should give it a read and what have I learned from reading it. Hope you guys enjoy this new series and let me know of any feedbacks in the comment section below!

You are worth more than you think

You are not your job and also the salary you get is not your value, you need to know that you are is not just your job. It is so funny that just after school, once you start your first job, you are told to start saving for retirement. I think the main gist of the opening chapter is for you to take control of your life starting with your finances so that you can do the things you want.

What I like about this book is that it doesn't just cover the numbers/financials of your life, there is a few chapters dedicated to helping you find your career or whether your current job is worthwhile. This is really something I feel most people need, a few guiding questions can help you see clearly on what type of job suits you. For the author, he was in investment banking and although he managed to earn a huge sum of money, he felt empty but did not want to leave as it might be seen as him giving up. It was not until there was a massive layoff before he redefine what a good job means to him. In the book, he talks about the many perceptions that people have about working:

  • "Its all about money and prestige"
  • "The goal of working is to climb the corporate ladder"
  • "Everyone has one true calling"
  • "Do what you love"
  • "Work-life balance is the answer"

One of the best chapters in the book is where he talks about some qns about your job and how you can gauge your job satisfaction.

  • Are you getting value? Eg do you like doing what you do on a daily basis?
  • Are you adding value? Eg Are you making an impact?
  • Are you increasing your value in the market? Does your current role increase or decrease your future job options?
  • Does your role align with your values?
  • Do you feel valued?

Of course, it is difficult to find a job that will fulfil all questions above. There are things that certain people are willing to forgo at certain stages of your life for example, in your 20s and you are single, you might be able to sacrifice a little on the benefits to learn more and find out the direction of the career you like.

Following up on that is finding a "good job" where various factors are considered like interest VS Strength, preferences VS priorities, financial needs, geographical needs and then piecing them together to get the "good job". Moves onto a chapter where it teaches/advises on how you can tweak your current job eg to think of solutions, not problems, think win-win and how you can present it to your boss. It follows with some real life examples to supplement the points.

After figuring out your current job situation or the type of career you should be going for, it moves on to evaluate your financial report card where debts, net worth, account balances and burn rate are covered to get a overview. Then comes the investing chapter where it shows how you can put your money to good use by investing it. Eg what you need to know about investing and how you should construct your portfolio using different factors like time frame, flexibility of time frame, risk tolerance and need for returns.

Learning Points

This is one book that I enjoyed reading as simple terms were used and it was easy to digest. With it being pretty comprehensive, covering from job to money to insurance and investing, it is a great book to start with if you are trying to understand the career path that you are embarking on. I am trying to develop the habit of reading and hope to also share more on the books that I have read. Hope you guys enjoy this, do remember to subscribe and like my videos!

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Wednesday 10 March 2021

Another year nearer to 30 and maybe to my first $100,000?

Just a really short catch-up/update, it is my birthday today! YAY, *confetti* Another year older and this means nearer to being 30 years old. Recently, I came across this questions on Seedly posted about 2 weeks ago where this user asked, "How do people actually attain $100K by age 30?" 

I am sure many people can provide suggestions to this and depending on what age you are at currently, your savings rate/investments return will differ accordingly. For me, being nearer to 30 (I turn 26 years old today) means that I want to be more financially secure, to having a larger amount both in my emergency funds and investment portfolio. 

Read more: How am I going to achieve $100,000 by age 30.

It definitely requires a lot of discipline and consistent behaviours to be able to slowly build up your investments and funds. For me, by the time I am 30, the $100,000 that I hope to achieve excludes CPF and only time can tell if I will be able to achieve that. 

 Read more: Goals for the Future

Other than that, the past week has been exciting, as Tesla accounts for about 30% of my portfolio, added pre-split and then slowly average up at $400, $600 and $800. With Tesla dropping to about $563, my gains were reduced quite significantly and just last night, it went back and closed at $673.

Reflecting on my birthday this year, even though there are restrictions on social gatherings, I would say that this year has more people gathering to celebrate my birthday and this could be due to the job change that I did recently (more on this on another day). I have come to treasure relationships much more recently although I am someone who doesn't reply frequently and always leaves the person who is texting me hanging because I tend to get immersed in other things. 

This year, I have connected with long-time friends from secondary school, got closer to my poly mates and also made close friends in my current workplace. I am glad for all these. In my investing journey, my current portfolio (stocks + crypto) is about $44,000 SGD. Hope to be able to hit $50,000 SGD by year end. Happy midweek to all! Look out for my new video this weekend!

Sunday 7 March 2021

Market Crash or Correction? | What I have bought

Hi Guys, welcome back to another episode of SingaporeanTalksMoney. This week has been crazy as we see stock prices fall 20% and even 30%. With me having a large proportion of my portfolio in Tesla, I am seeing a significant drop as Tesla closed at about $597 on Friday.

Many are trying to justify this correction or drop as money moving towards bonds as interest rate for bonds start increasing and as bonds are known to be a safer vehicle for your money, if interest rate increases, people will move a portion of their money there.

Another reason is the inflation rate where it has increased after dropping for a period of time. As inflation rate increases, value stocks perform better in high inflation periods and growth stocks perform better during low inflation.

For me, seeing all the gains I have had this year from the US stocks being wiped out, I am in a way affected and rather concerned. But I have previously all along been in the red with -$3000 to my portfolio when I was just holding SG stocks. So being there, I do know that portfolio fluctuations are even more so when having US stocks. With that being said, if we scroll out the charts and compare from beginning of 2020 to now, we still see an upward trend for VOO and Tesla. But in the short term, for Tesla to drop from $800 plus to $500 plus, it really is a scare.


1 year chart


5 days chart

But in the meantime, I have bought some shares and added them to my portfolio though not much in absolute dollar amount. These are some positions that I have initiated or will initiate.

  • Tesla
  • Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (NYSE:VT)
  • Palantir
  • ARKF - Fintech Innovation ETF

For Tesla, I have been buying in the past week but I bought at around $600 plus so imagine my horror when prices dropped to $500 plus on Friday night. For Palantir, it is a company that is very much interesting as it started out serving the US government particularly the immigration division by providing big data. After it IPO, it has very much expanded to commercial clients and even more recently, they have teamed up with Amazon to provide AWS cutomers its new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System.

I hope to do another video on Palantir as it is a new addition into my portfolio. Do look out for it. Vanguard Total World Stock ETF is under my RSP with FSMone and it will be triggered or buying in on Monday, 8th March 2021. Similarly, after I scrolled through the ETF list for FSMone recently, under it's tactical plays, ARK's ETFs are available for regular savings plan meaning for an amount to buy in monthly which will be automated. This is definitely interesting as I have been looking at ARK's ETFs for a while now. With ARKK (ARK Innovation ETF), its most popular ETF available as well, I have been looking through it's holdings, with almost 10% with Tesla, I dont want to have too much of it hence I am going with ARKF - Fintech Innovation ETF partly because I see Fintech as an up and coming disruptive industry.

Payments, money management and even blockchain technology for your money is an industry that everyone is looking at. Seeing the holdings of ARKF - Fintech Innovation ETF, I went through it and with Square being the greatest holding, I am interested and like it. I have been looking at Square for awhile now since Chicken Genius first mentioned it.

Although I have no position in Square, I like the route the company is taking as a payment system company as it creates an ecosystem for money to stay within, with the cash app which can buy cryptocurrencies as well. Square has also initiated positions in Bitcoin last year and this year.

What makes Square special is also its co-founder, Jack Dorsey, who is also CEO of twitter. He is definitely a key person in Square's growth. He is also selling his first ever tweet as a NFT (non-fungible tokens) which is crazy as offers were received on Friday (March 5) went as high as US$88,888.88 (S$119,324) within minutes.

Expense ratio is definitely high for ARKF at 0.75% as it is an actively managed fund. Some companies in it are really leaders in their countries for payments/fintech for example Tencent and Alibaba. Like to also have a quick update on my portfolio after the massive crash yesterday.



Hope you guys enjoy today's video, do hit the like button and also subscribe to my channel! 

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