Sunday, 4 December 2022

Are you stressed about your finances since the interest rate hikes started?

With interest rates still increasing although it might not be as aggressive, debts and loans repayments have increased at a rapid pace as the interest rates are being adjusted meaning repayments are higher than they were when interest rates were low. Couple that with layoffs and people being worried if they will be the next one to be axed, the stress on finances and job security can be heavy.

 Even for fresh graduates, the job openings are not as many and budgets are also comparatively smaller than 1 year ago especially so for tech companies as they will try to cut costs and increase the productivity with a smaller pool of staff. A recent article from Straits Times covered an OCBC survey and found that debt stress levels are up for Singaporeans as investment returns fall but Singaporeans are not saving enough for crises.

Survey results

The OCBC survey was done in August with 2,182 working adults between the ages of 21 and 65. It found that Singaporeans are strong savers but they were usually saving up for discretionary expenses like travelling. Investments returns are also falling as we enter a volatile market and earnings are falling for companies as inflation and interest rates are up.

Although the sample size is rather small but the age range is rather wide meaning so we can gather more insights from it. It was found that debt stress levels has increased as about a third of respondents (31 per cent) took on more unsecured debts such as credit card debts, education loans and renovation loans, up from 24% in 2021. There were some concerning findings as well.

  • As mortgage rates pushed to as high as 4.5%, 40% of respondents faced difficulties paying their housing loans now and more of them said that they would have to sell or downgrade their homes to repay their loans (8%, compared with 6% in 2021).
  • OCBC said those who had HDB flat and not private property were slightly more stressed over their home loan, with 42% facing difficulties versus 36% for private property owners.
  • Singaporeans are not saving enough for emergencies as 20% had not accumulated six months of their current salary.
  • The survey also found that more Singaporeans were allocating their savings to discretionary expenses such as travel as post-pandemic measures have opened up travelling.
  • More individuals have also incurred investment losses and plan to take on more risk to get higher returns. The older groups tended to speculate more in futures, currencies and structured investment products. younger respondents – Gen Zs and millennials in their 20s and 30s (about two in five of the respondents) – continued to turn to cryptocurrencies to build their retirement funds despite losing 40 per cent on average from such investments.

Overall thoughts

With the results from the survey, I would say that it is concerning regarding the emergency funds not being build up for some individuals and the other is that some individuals are taking on more risks on their investments in order to “make back the losses”. To be honest, I did lose quite a bit in the LUNA/UST crash that happened around May 2022, however since then, I have limited my risks and pivot towards “safer” (depending how you see it) counters.

For example, I am now just getting DCA-ing a small amount into ETH and BTC, more into ETH each month. I am not at the moment buying any other cryptocurrencies. I think after the recent crash, we can see how strong BTC and ETH has been holding up especially so after FTX news came up. ETH has been a huge component of my crypto portfolio but I am comfortable with my current exposure so I am not rushing to build it up as I want to still have stocks to be the main proportion. I am also now using Gemini to purchase and then immediately transferring them to my cold wallet.

Even for my stocks portfolio, I have reduced my buying into Tesla and am pivoting more into index ETFs. Tesla and all my index ETFs are about 50/50 but I am hoping to bring up my index ETFs proportion to higher than Tesla considering that Tesla price volatility is extreme these days due to Elon Musk and Twitter. Also, the overall outlook for 2023 is not looking good as people are expecting to tighten their belts as interest rate might remain high affecting many. So just really small amounts to buy Tesla and a larger amount into index ETFs. Mainly, I am moving off riskier assets and of course, trying to follow Warren Buffett’s rule to “Never lose money” so although I have lost some, trying hard not to lose more hahaha.

In terms of allocating expenses to travelling, I feel this is something that is good to do and have especially so when you are young and considering the “lost years” due to the pandemic, travelling is no longer taken for granted hence once the borders opened, I believe many have been saving to revenge travel and shop. As long as you are not overspending and stretching yourself, I think expenses for travelling is all right.

Interest rates are not really affecting me as I currently have no mortgage or debts although I have heard crazy stories where mortgages of about $2000 plus per month has risen to $4000 plus per month considering that the interest rate used to be around 2% and now is slightly above 4% depending on what type and where you get your loans from. It is crazy to have your mortgage almost double hence those who have got a property beyond what they could might struggle and so Kevin (turtleinvestor)’s advice on a home loan sounds so important in times like these.

Job security is very crucial to me at the moment as the tech industry is facing layoffs and I think 2023 will prove to be tough as there will be more depending on how earnings are. Cost cutting is definitely going to be happening more frequently as interests rates remain high. We shall see how everything goes. This suddenly became a really long article. Goodbye and happy December!

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Singapore asset management increases 16% year on year | How it affects us as Singaporeans

In the earlier article that I wrote, I mentioned about the greatest wealth transfer incoming where baby boomers are set to pass to their children more than $68 trillion in assets. It might sound funny to the ordinary folks like me as I don’t think there is a huge amount of inheritance for me but for the high net worth individuals (HNWI), this is a huge thing and lots of planning has to be done prior.

Singapore has definitely seen a wave of HNWI and we can see that from the properties being bought, family offices being set up as well as just news that talk about how Singapore is a hub for the HNW to come to.

From this article ,”According to the 2021 Singapore Asset Management survey published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), total assets managed by Singapore-based asset managers grew 16% y-o-y to reach $5.4 trillion, up from $4.6 trillion in 2021.” This is a substantial increase especially so in times like these as it shows that the HNW individuals find Singapore an attractive place to place their wealth here.

Asset Management and the role of an asset manager

Asset management is the practice of increasing an individuals wealth over time by helping to invest and trade assets that appreciate over time. It can involve different instruments and products depending on the individual’s risk appetite and main goals for the funds provided. Asset managers help in the providing their services and some might be affiliated to certain financial institutions or work independently.

Singapore has also been very welcoming to HNWI, for example, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Economic Development Board (EDB) have set up a Family Office Development Team to lead and coordinate initiatives that will enhance Singapore’s position as Asia’s premier base for family offices.

With more HNWI making Singapore their base, we should also be paying attention to wealth disparity

It might seem a good thing that more HNWI are making Singapore their base with funds coming in showing that people are confident in Singapore’s future and we are Southeast Asia regional hub as more companies look to set up their HQ here. However, wealth disparity or inequality comes up as more HNWI enters Singapore, we can see that the HNWI purchases property units here, also as more of these HNWI come in, they would also want to bring in their networks or family which can be a plus point as there might be investments or job opportunities opening in Singapore.

Overall, from Blackbox Research, they have found that amongst Singaporeans, 4 in 5 (81%) are worried about the widening income gap. Youths (90%) and young working adults (86%) are more likely to feel anxious about the unequal distribution of income and 7 in 10 Singaporeans (69%) feel that income inequality in Singapore has worsened over the past 5 years, with more than 1 in 4 (27%) believing the income gap has gotten “much worse”.

It really is difficult to manage this situation as we see the government wanting to attract overseas talent and companies are very willing to offer them high compensation. Of course, we need the companies and talents to come to Singapore to bring jobs and also learn from them on the skillsets however inevitably, things will get more expensive as they can afford to pay more and things that are based on demand and supply, will increase if they are very much willing to pay.

What I can do?

I would say opportunities to grow your career are there but definitely it depends on which industry you are in and how willing are you to pivot or learn new skills depending on your age. Having HNWI coming over to Singapore might bring opportunities to the country but at the same time, widen the wealth gap. We have to work on improving our skills and capitalising on our jobs to increase our income.

Certain roles tend to earn more as they are the profit centers and the job role demands much more than others. Communication is very important and I believe your network can be a huge advantage in your career. Of course, we all have our own goals whether it is to earn more or have work life balance. No one knows how the world will be like 10, 20, 30 years from now. The skills needed might be different so living in the present is also important rather than thinking too much to the future. The world of the HNWI is unreachable in my lifetime at least as of now that I am planning based on my income so I will just live a happy life and hope the wealth inequality doesn’t widen too much.

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Sunday, 27 November 2022

Greatest wealth transfer incoming | Why talking about it might help

Even though the markets and economy has been horrible with much more bad news coming, I recently came across this interesting article which was about how the greatest wealth transfer is about to be happening where baby boomers are set to pass to their children more than $68 trillion in assets. This is really interesting as inheritance will prove to be a huge thing as baby boomers pass on and the wealth is passed down to the young. 

The article talks about why the wealth transfer might not be as much as you think and why it is important to talk about it. Certain parts of my article might sound superficial but I do think it is good to be talking about finances and how you will be leaving your wealth to your children.

Summary of article

The baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 have accumulated substantial wealth either through property or some even through stocks and maybe even pure savings. Properties and other assets were relatively more affordable when the baby boomers were young as compared to now and with the assets being passed down, the wealth transfer will be substantial.

Preparing for the wealth transfer

Although you might be thinking that the wealth transfer is positive and definitely beneficial to the children, I am sure majority would rather their parents to live a healthy and long life than have a huge inheritance but their parents pass on early. This is true and people do live longer nowadays due to better healthcare and more conscious eating habits and lifestyle so baby boomers will still require a certain amount of wealth over a long period of time to sustain themselves. Baby Boomers hence will have to ensure that their wealth is sufficient and that it can sustain them through old age.

Discussion on wealth

A few articles recently talk about having a conversation with your parents about their views of money and how they are managing or will manage it in case of anything that happens. I believe the government is also trying to make sure that family members are able to make decisions if their loved ones are ill and are unable to do so hence waiving the LPA application fees and allowing it to be accessible to many although the decisions might not just be financially.

For the wealthy, it might be difficult saying out how much is left and usually most of it are done by the professionals, eg they engage investment trust or set up family offices to manage their wealth or have lawyers to make sure their will is in place.

It is a shock to some if they were to suddenly receive a large amount of inheritance especially so if there was no prior talk and a low financial literacy can result in the money being depleted. So getting to have a conversation to prepare the individuals can allow them to know what is coming although it can be a danger at times if you were to reveal how much you are worth and what they will be getting when you leave the world.

Charitable Intent

I am sure many have heard of the rich saying that they will not be passing down their wealth to their children and instead it will be donated. With a sizeable amount of wealth accumulated, some will choose to donate their wealth and this is equally a huge decision. The main point of the article is that parents should try to communicate on the sum although I would say it depends on the relationship and also how huge the amount is as every family has very different circumstances and most of us do not even know when we will leave the Earth.

Managing a large sum of money

I would say that I do not anticipate any large sum of money as we have been telling our mum to spend her money and we know she wasn’t able to save up much that she would have an inheritance for us. However, many baby boomers do have at least 1 property and this might be passed down depending on where you are located eg. Singapore HDBs are on a 99-years lease so it might have to be returned and will not be passed down as an asset whereas some freehold or overseas property would be for life as long as you have paid up for it.

It is important to learn to manage any sum of money that comes in as it is after all the fruits of labour or careful planning. With this asset transfer set to happen, many financial companies would be placing lots of emphasis on focusing on how to assist the high net worth individuals in preserving or even to grow their wealth. We can see many family offices coming into Singapore recently and there have been an influx. I will be sharing more on my next post on the number of HNWI (high net worth individuals making Singapore as their base).

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Sunday, 20 November 2022

Reflections on why I started blogging and can it be a side hustle?

I started this blog in 2017 and started writing more often in 2018. I came across many inspirational bloggers like Investment Moats, Turtle Investor, My 15 Hour Work Week and many other more before I started. It was nice to see how they wrote about their thoughts and opinions, more importantly, they recorded their investments or progress using the blog.

It was nice reading about their journey, learning from them on investing and personal finance. When reading their updates, it felt like I was growing in terms of knowledge and information. So then, I decided to start my blog since I was going to start investing mainly to record and have a place to look back in 5, 10 and even 20 years as I record not just my investments but thoughts and reflections.

First post and cringe at reading it

My first post was released on Tuesday, 5 September 2017 on STI ETF where I started buying NikkoAM STI ETF using POSB invest saver. It’s very cringe as I read the short post, it had a lot of emotions in it as I can feel the excitement of me starting and seeing the price fluctuations. I was 22 years old then but I sounded like a 14 year old in terms of excitement like I just bought a new toy haha.

If I recalled accurately, I got my adsense account at the beginning of 2018 and in 2018, I wrote a total of 70 articles. 2019, I wrote 68 articles, 2020 was 85 and 94 in 2021. It was exciting writing in 2021 as the market was on an uptrend and everyday we were hitting higher highs. 2022 on the other hand, has been tough and not much motivation to write, we are nearly at the end of the year and I have written about 50 articles and I think it is unlikely for me to beat the record number of 94 but I am all right with that.

The blog is a place for me to collect my thoughts or mark certain special occasions or achievements. So there will definitely be good and bad years. Hoping to have the motivation to continue writing on the blog for me to look back.

Can it be a side hustle?

I believe blogging can be a side hustle as well as a full-time gig as long as you have substantial traffic or can live on the income that can come in different forms (eg, affiliates, ads earnings and others). However, I would say currently for me, blogging is definitely not able to sustain my lifestyle and it would still be more of a hobby for me than a side hustle.

There are some prominent financial bloggers in Singapore and I would say that the blogging can earn you money but in terms of the earnings based on ads, it is not very substantial but it can create a platform for affiliate earnings or to accept advertisements to share your thought depending if you are all right with the product. Turtle Investor does share his side income which is a broad categoery, not just blogging and everything can build up to a substantial amount.

To be honest, I would say that majority of the financial bloggers in Singapore do not create a blog thinking it will make them rich but more of wanting to share or have a platform to record their thoughts and journey.

I am definitely not at a level of knowledge where I can create courses to share but I am learning through my journey of investing and being able to have a platform to share is great as I find myself researching and reading up before organising my thoughts and writing it into an article.

The internet allows you to create content easily

A recent blogger that I am reading on is Financial Samurai as his career and journey is so out of the norm. Together with his many other investments, blogging on Financial Samurai forms one of his active/passive income. Content creation is very easily accessible now as everyone as long as they can afford a smartphone, can download social media apps and start creating content. TikTok has got to be the fastest and easiest way now with short form video content that everyone can scroll and access.

I am sure you would know that I have a YouTube channel too which I basically repeat the content I write but I read it out and use stock videos and footages. However, it is pretty tedious to edit and create a video as it needs to be recorded and edited so ultimately I still prefer writing as I can pen my thoughts and edit it just by reading through.

I do earn a very minute amount from the ads I post on my blogs and it does serve as some form of motivation but much more is to see the progress and mistakes made along my journey. Happy and grateful to have an avenue for recording all these!

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Friday, 11 November 2022

FTX | My exposure and thoughts

*Many information regarding this event has not been verified and most of the information are known through twitter. SBF has not officially explained the whole situation although he mentioned that he screwed up and that Alamada will be winding up. So forgive me if information is wrong, do let me know and I will correct it accordingly.

 It’s been a crazy year for cryptocurrency, I don’t even know how Bitcoin is still 5 digits and ETH is 4 digits currently. I think there will be a lot more volatility as more dominos effect come as we see how big the effects of the downfall of FTX and Alameda is. It is really difficult to tell the whole story as there are many factors and versions but I am sure many have shared what really happened so for example Chain Debrief and Seedly.

What now?

SBF did explained on leaked messages that he is trying to raise some money however we don’t what is really going to happen now going forward. The dominos effect is huge as everyone wonders where all the money is at? FTX is huge being the 2nd/3rd largest exchange in the world for cryptocurrency. FTX going down means that customer deposits are gone and even investors money where Temasek is also in as well as Tom Brady. But the collapse of Alameda is also frightening as the exposure is not fully visible. So far, BlockFi seems affected and VC firm, Sequoia Capital is marking FTX investments as 0. Alameda is a quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm SBF founded and it has been speculated that FTX transferred customer’s deposits to Alameda for them to trade. There are really not much evidence coming out right now as no information have been mentioned by SBF although he had an apology twitter thread that he screwed up.

Lost some funds but managed to transfer out majority

From the LUNA crash, 3AC and Hodlnaut experience, I had transferred about 80% of my BTC and ETH to my cold wallet as trust is becoming tough in crypto. For my exposure to FTX, I lost an amount of Solana staked on FTX and about $50 USD. When twitter first speculated or had some tweets about CZ wanting to sell FTT, on 7 November 2022, I quickly transferred my remaining ETH and BTC out of FTX into my cold wallet. No way was I gonna risk it, although I did not think that FTX would collapse or be unable to adhere the 1:1 withdrawals, after all, SBF/FTX baited out many companies that suffered from the LUNA and 3AC implications and all along we have been reading on how he had billions of dollars. So definitely, FTX would not collapse so easily right? Well, it only just took a day for all to crumble as customers start withdrawing out and they were unable to match the withdrawals.

It is definitely painful when you hear of people who had substantial amount in FTX and are now unable to withdraw. It’s like they survive the majority of 2022 just to be crushed by FTX which is no foreign name to those in crypto. FTX was thought to be “too big to fail” in a way before this happened. Was it greed that caused this? I mean he was already loaded and there are just so many things that needs to be explained, lots of why. I did watch the Bankless podcast that SBF did with Erik Voorhee before this whole thing happened, it was a fierce discussion regarding regulation and I had to side more with Erik Voorhee especially so when we saw the tweets SBF made after the podcast. But things escalated and well, here we are.

Getting out of crypto?

2022 has been a mind-blowing year for cryptocurrency and the world. I really feel like I aged many years in terms of experiencing the ups and downs of cryptocurrency just in 2022. I did consider taking a break from crypto after the LUNA crash but to be honest, it’s tough when you see the builders and innovations. Especially when we saw the Ethereum merge that happened in August.

It took a long time for the merge and it finally happened. Amazing effort by everyone involved. Even now, it dampens your mood when someone who was supposed to be an advocate or had achieve substantial power and wealth from cryptocurrency suddenly does something weird and sabotages other retail investors. You would question on whether is it worth staying on.

I would say scrolling though twitter and catching up on crypto news has become a daily routine and quitting this will make my life less interesting? But for now, I prefer the boring investments, VOO, QQQ, BTC and ETH. That’s all and I won’t be chasing after any crazy gains. Switching onto Gemini to execute my buys. Hope everyone is doing well and let’s get over this, Christmas is coming right up!

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Sit tight as we prepare for a period of hiring freezes and layoffs

With Elon Musk buying over twitter and announcing sweeping changes including layoffs affecting about 50% of it’s employees to reduce cost and turn profitable, the nightmare has just began for the tech industry as Stripe and many other tech companies are either preparing for hiring freezes going into 2023 or planning layoffs including Big Tech.

It’s crazy how the interest rate hikes and earnings results have brought such a huge blow to the tech industry, from the huge waves of record earnings in 2020 and 2021 to the incredible hiring packages offered to tech hires, it’s crazy how things are changing for the worse just within the span of less than 1 year.

Although I recently wrote an article on my pay raise, my manager just also brought up that there will be some reviews going on and is also unsure if anyone will be affected by it. I guess we can only wait and see how it goes. Companies are trying to cut costs and be able to survive through this period, letting go of employees is really painful especially so for employees as they face the uncertainty ahead of having a smaller available job pool and companies that have implemented hiring freezes or certain budgets for job positions due to the economy situation. Couple that with bills and mortgage including inflation, it is so much stress for an individual if they were to be laid off.

Read more: Getting a pay raise | Sharing my pay raise experience

Don’t overload yourself with a crazy mortgage

There are definitely some things to prepare which is having an emergency fund, reducing your expenses and even updating your resume to be prepared for job search if needed. I saw this tweet from Turtle Investor on that you should not over commit in terms of your property. This is definitely in terms of long term cash flow purposes to also help with retirement. Of course, some might say property that is bought at a good location or have various benefits means you will be able to sell it higher than your buying price but it really depends. We have seen many million dollars HDB sales and crazy renovation being done, I understand that working from home has raised everyone’s expectations of how their home should be as we spend much more time at home however over committing yourself doesn’t just affect you if you are laid off due to the larger mortgage but it drains your retirement amount especially so if you are using your CPF to pay your mortgage. The tweet and article link really explains why keeping your housing loan low helps your retirement planning.

Keeping/having a job is crucial and having cash flow in tough times helps

Of course, being able to keep or hold a job during the current tough times is not entirely up to us as we definitely would want to be employed but try to make sure that your role is crucial to the company or take on some projects that would need you so that you are considered "worthy" and you have a higher chance of staying on. Otherwise looking out for opportunities is also good.

It’s sound awful, having to scramble, talk and show your worth during tough times as the individuals who are thought to be doing or holding lesser job responsibilities will be let go or even at times, random. But that is life and I think being a business owner in current times is also very tough.

I was still studying during the 2008/2009 financial crisis so I wasn’t yet in the workforce but the many stories of people getting laid off as well as having trouble applying for their next job were painful to read. Many families went through financial difficulties and tough times when the sole breadwinner lost their job which means having to survive on leaner expenses and they had to downsize.

My family was lucky as my mum was still employed during that period so things were not as grim as what was shown and I only realised how lucky we were when I grew up and saw how bad some families were at that time as parents lost their jobs and some were unable to get back a similar paying job to pay bills and mortgage so they lost their homes. Being employed during this period would be a huge blessing and benefit as you would have cash flow to pay the bills and not stress about how you need to quickly find a job to sustain the commitments. Many would have an emergency fund in Singapore but we would of course tend to worry once we are laid off.

This will pass but we just don’t know when

A lot of things are definitely not within our control, I wrote that you should try to keep your job by showing that what you are doing is essential to the company/that you are an asset. Even so, you might still get the boot and most likely it is of no fault of yours especially when the company is cutting costs and it just so happens that your position was one of it.

If it ever happens to me, I would feel affected but I would try not to be too affected for an extended period of time as more opportunities are definitely out there. To end it off, I believe that this tough period will pass although we do not know when the end is, what we can do is to live life and do our best so that when it all ends, we can look back and think about how amazing we were to have survive through this. All the best to everyone!

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Sunday, 30 October 2022

Getting a pay raise | Sharing my pay raise experience

I haven’t had a proper pay raise process (eg performance review etc) before as I was always a contract staff since I started work in 2018. It was only last year Dec when I was officially converted into a permanent staff after entering a new job for about 9 months. This job has been amazing so far although I feel like I low-balled myself when I started as I had to reveal my previous salary and did not ask for a huge increment to match whatever I feel is the market rate. In hindsight, lots of regret but I believe in time to come, I can still ask for pay raises although it might be tough.

First job as a contract employee and getting my second job

Previously, being a contract staff, renewals of the new contract period doesn’t guarantee a pay raise and it definitely was a little difficult to negotiate as it was an entry-level role and budget was already set aside for it. Of course, being my first job which I worked at for about 3 years meant that I had really low increments over the 3 years and it was to be honest tough, having to worry if I will be extended every time my contract ends.

After about 3 years, which was great as I learned so much and people at my previous company was amazing. I made some of the best connections there as I entered as a fresh graduate and connected with so many different people there. I decided to leave as I wanted somewhere that could pay me more and we know that nowadays loyalty doesn’t guarantee it. Armed with my knowledge and skills, I went through numerous interviews and it was difficult handling rejections especially when it got frequent.

Read more: Millennials want to leave their job by age 50 | You will have to save at least 50% of your income

However I managed to find a similar position in a tech company (not the huge tech company with great snacks and pantries that I can post TikToks of) although still a contract role, the manager did assure me that they were expanding and if I performed well, converting to a perm role would be no issue. I took it as I just felt that it was a chance considering that I did fail many interviews before that. I didn’t really negotiate for a good pay as I felt ‘paiseh’ then which I regret right now.

To make me feel better, when I switched, I had about a 14% increment and then another 14% when I was converted which was within the same year. I do feel that I am still slightly underpaid compared to my fellow colleagues as my starting pay was pretty low and increments were very small in amount during my first 3 years.

Read more: How to save money on a low income (my first salary was $2700) | Saving is the foundation to managing your finances

Just most recently, I had a 11% increment, I would say this is a unique amount of increment as there is more workload coming my way and so my manager did also say compared to the normal increment, this is a one-time higher increment provided. I am happy with the amount as more is always better but grateful for the increment. Greed is there and I will always feel that I can or should get more when comparing but just happy to get an increment and still hold a job at this time.

Trouble with getting an out of the usual increment

My manager did mention that normally a lower increment is given so this was an acknowledgement of my work so far and of course, more work to come. I am very appreciative of this double digit percentage increment but having an out of usual increment does make me wonder if I am underpaid compared to my peers.

It’s crazy how the mind works as I just keep wanting more. No matter what I am grateful to have an increment and in spite how the market and world is, I am still having a job which is of utmost importance at the moment. There is a lot to learn in terms of furthering your career or how communications with your superior should go. There is a lot of learning up ahead for me and definitely hoping to be able to put myself out there to learn and connect with others.

Read more: Your Career Is Just One-Eighth of Your Life | Why I need to explore and find hobbies outside of work

We shall see how things go and I do find the need to be learning and doing more as I don’t see myself at the current role in my 30s and 40s. Hoping to be able to go into a managerial role or some thing more communicative where the skills will not be taken over by a robot or be automated in the future. In the meantime, investing as much as I can and saving while enjoying life in Singapore where I have taken so many things for granted. Year end is here soon so how are your increments and bonuses looking?

You can also find me on

► Where I Buy my Cryptocurrencies:
►FTX: https://ftx.com/#a=41877278
►FTX app: Use my referral code and get a free coin when you trade $10 worth. https://link.blockfolio.com/9dzp/u4qfrox2 
►Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/evwynu4g57 or code: evwynu4g57 to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD :)
► Where I buy my stocks
FSMone Referral: P0364886
Tiger Brokers (Free stock and commission free trades, check out more here
Interactive Brokers (Open an account today and start earning up to $1000 of IBKR Stock for free!*Terms and Conditions apply)
► Google Pay: v89ph61
►Syfe Trade Referral Code: https://www.syfe.com/invite/trade/SRPSL8MGX
►Syfe Wealth Referral Link: https://www.syfe.com/invite/wealth/SRPSL8MGXE

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Millennials want to leave their job by age 50 | You will have to save at least 50% of your income

I saw this article published in Straits Times mentioning that many millennials wants to retire in their 50s or as you always hear, to FIRE in their 50s, not get fired. In the article, a certified financial advisor evaluated the goals of the millennials and said it is tough as they will need to save around 50% to 60% of their salary which is rather difficult in times of rising costs.

 The article highlights that millennials will need to tighten their belts in order to reach their financial goals, giving up vacations or restaurants visits as saving 50% to 60% of their salary is a big feat. These are the aspirations and expectations to be able to retire by 50 but in reality, a retirement consultant and financial well-being leader points out that it is impossible for most millennials as they found that 36% save less than 5% of their salary and 26% have taken a loan against their state pension fund.

Another insights survey done in 2022 by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America showed that a huge proportion of millennials are confident in their ability to plan for retirement with 31% of individuals aged 30 to 39 suggesting they have an above-average level of confidence in their ability to plan for retirement. Young millennials, those 25 to 29, are the most assured: 40 per cent said they had an above-average level of confidence in their ability to plan. But the experts say that their savings rate don’t match up😟

Will I be able to retire by 50?

I don’t plan to retiring early but I am aiming to be financially free by a certain age. I am within the age range of 25 to 30 and have to admit that I am so far confident in my ability to plan for retirement. Retiring at 50 years old is definitely not easy I would say, in that it is just about 20 plus years away for me and definitely commitments would build up during this 20 plus years.

However I would say that I feel confident because currently I do not have much commitments and am saving/investing a portion of my salary although not 50%. If I were to have a mortgage or more commitments in future coupled with the lower stability of having a job as I grow older, I would be less confident about my retirement and whether I can take it easy when I am older.

Thinking about the future can bring anxiety as it is uncertain and there are so many possibilities. I do have a goal in mind but I know it will take time and effort, definitely requires luck as well.

Mindset shift for Millennials and Gen Z

For our parents, early retirement was never seen to be an option as work helped provided for their family and they would like to work for as long as possible, even for some, financially free was not even thought of as they were living pay-check to pay-check to provide for their kids and to pay the bills. They worked tirelessly mostly till their 60s or until they are no longer able to.

Millennials and Gen Z are not looking at that, most of us are lucky enough to have sufficient allowances from our parents when we were studying and after working, we are earning salaries that allow us to save and invest which is a huge privilege in today’s world. Even more so if your parents managed to save or build up a retirement nest that means you do not need to be their retirement plan.

But even so, with high costs of living and great uncertainty for the future, it is tough to have kids and at the same time get a property and be able to FIRE at 50 unless your income is higher than average and you manage your finances well. Millennials and Gen Z are placing more emphasis on their mental well-being with many forgoing children or even getting attached so we don’t really know how the future will be but it is good to have goals and aim to achieve them.

You can also find me on

► Where I Buy my Cryptocurrencies:
►FTX: https://ftx.com/#a=41877278
►FTX app: Use my referral code and get a free coin when you trade $10 worth. https://link.blockfolio.com/9dzp/u4qfrox2 
►Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/evwynu4g57 or code: evwynu4g57 to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD :)
► Where I buy my stocks
FSMone Referral: P0364886
Tiger Brokers (Free stock and commission free trades, check out more here
Interactive Brokers (Open an account today and start earning up to $1000 of IBKR Stock for free!*Terms and Conditions apply)
► Google Pay: v89ph61
►Syfe Trade Referral Code: https://www.syfe.com/invite/trade/SRPSL8MGX
►Syfe Wealth Referral Link: https://www.syfe.com/invite/wealth/SRPSL8MGXE

Sunday, 23 October 2022

FIRE-ing with a purpose | How extreme are you in trying to attain it?

FIRE has been a huge topic recently and I am sure you have seen an article about FIRE as it was reported on the main media outlets in Singapore with many reaction follow ups from financial bloggers.

 Many articles have brought up that more are trying to attain FIRE whether to have more options in life or to chase after their dreams. So then why the title of today’s article? I came across a video from Techlead sharing why he thinks FIRE doesn’t work and his problem with FIRE. Also I caught up with other videos on why they have stopped chasing FIRE and sharing the flipside of chasing after FIRE.

Read more: Q3 2022 Portfolio Updates | 💎 🙌 🐻

What is FIRE and is it what we want and how well do we want to live.

FIRE as we all know means Financial Independence Retire Early. There were many things Techlead mentioned in his video on why he thinks FIRE doesn't really work as it is just sold to you as a product. Investments like stocks, crypto and properties are sold to us and we buy them because we know or based on past results that they will eventually be worth more than it’s current value. We tend to trim down our usage of money to be closer to obtaining FIRE and channel the remaining money to investing.

Most of us can already lean fire just by surviving on beans and staying with your parents. It is not whether we can survive but how much we want and how good we want our lives to be. To him, our lives are more than just the amount of money in our bank accounts, of course, if you know Techlead, he is most famous for his title (as a millionaire) series so we know he is rich however he is divorced and his wife actually does not allow him to see his son if you have seen his recent vlogs so he is pretty unhappy in that sense although he is rich as a millionaire.

Read more: How to save money on a low income (my first salary was $2700) | Saving is the foundation to managing your finances

He also mentioned that experiences are accessible everywhere, renting or booking a hotel or restaurants without having to achieve FIRE before enjoying life and that there is no need to own expensive stuff. If lazing at the beach is your purpose in FIRE-ing then you can also achieve that by going to South East Asia and rest along the many beaches there. All in all, in my opinion, he is trying to emhasize the “why” are you trying to achieve FIRE? If it is the lure of passive income and lots of disposable cash to invest then he feels that there is a limit as once you reach a certain amount, you start to shift your money around property and stocks hoping to optimise them which he then asks how much are you actually really spending to be happy?

I would say the part of the video I really agree with is the part where he mentioned that individuals who worked super hard, skimp and went through tough times in their youth to attain FIRE and then ending up having anxiety and in old age found out that they have missed out a lot in their golden years is sad and not what you expect especially when you become rich or attain FIRE status.

To him, reaching FIRE means laying flat after that and playing games while some wants to chase after their dreams after reaching FIRE but you can actually chase after it right now. What you should do is to enjoy the journey and FIRE is a by-product of success or planning. Similarly, the other videos also highlight the part of slogging and putting extra hours in while you are young and regretting it when you are older on why you did not spend more time with your family but actually you were trying to earn more to do that, the irony.

Read more: Your Career Is Just One-Eighth of Your Life | Why I need to explore and find hobbies outside of work

Beside chasing after attaining FIRE, it is important to stop and spend time with your loved ones. This might involve spending money for experiences to do together or having a break from the hectic lives that everyone is leading. Chasing after your dreams while trying to attain FI is also possible. 

Having that financial security is better than not having it

In a competitive society and expensive environment, the idea of FIRE is attractive and I believe most would want to pursue it or at least be FI, financially independent as the constant pressure of having to think of retirement and financial commitments can be draining. Knowing that you have a cushion feels better and as quoted by Norman Vincent Peale, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”

In tough times or emergency, you would thank yourself for saving or building up a financial security net for yourself or the ones close to you. How extreme you would go to shorten the process or relax the process depends on the individual.

Aiming for FIRE but finding purpose in your life and process

Just like what I mentioned about aiming for FIRE, we can still enjoy the process and find purpose in our life. To be honest, the millennials and Gen Zs pay much more attention to our mental health as compared to the older generations. Work life balance matters but of course to a certain extent, finances are also crucial in today’s world especially so when costs for everything are going up worldwide.

It is a balance and the process of setting a goal, trying to achieve it, how you implement it and whether you finally attain it or not is important as you can find out more about yourself and learn more about what you actually want. All in all, I think it is good to have a goal like FIRE to aim towards but you definitely need to know when to relax eg taking a short trip with friends or families or spending within your means for special occasions. You don’t want to miss out on the precious moments of your life while trying to achieve FIRE which in itself is to also be able to spend more time with your loved ones.

You can also find me on

► Where I Buy my Cryptocurrencies:
►FTX: https://ftx.com/#a=41877278
►FTX app: Use my referral code and get a free coin when you trade $10 worth. https://link.blockfolio.com/9dzp/u4qfrox2 
►Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/evwynu4g57 or code: evwynu4g57 to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD :)
► Where I buy my stocks
FSMone Referral: P0364886
Tiger Brokers (Free stock and commission free trades, check out more here
Interactive Brokers (Open an account today and start earning up to $1000 of IBKR Stock for free!*Terms and Conditions apply)
► Google Pay: v89ph61
►Syfe Trade Referral Code: https://www.syfe.com/invite/trade/SRPSL8MGX
►Syfe Wealth Referral Link: https://www.syfe.com/invite/wealth/SRPSL8MGXE

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Why do people lose money buying stocks?

A lot of people must feel horrible looking at their portfolio during this period including myself. Every month there has been lots of tensions among the countries and no one really knows when the situation will improve. With investing, the macro-environment and various news can affect our portfolio which can range from different products.

Some people who invests advocates long term investing and knowing that market works in cycles and eventually goes up, you are most likely predicted to be in profit over the long run of at least 10-20 years although it also depends on what you have invested in. However there are definitely many who lose money in the market. I am going to sharing why and how you can avoid them.

Not looking at investing as long term

One of the reason is not looking at investing as a long term thing. If you bought maybe a few months ago in 2022 or earlier in 2021, your portfolio might not be looking green with profits and I guess everyone’s portfolio has been hit as asset prices have been dropping.

Some might have got into investing in 2020 or 2021 hearing the short term gains that many were sharing as it was an uptrend market and whatever you bought would turn green the next day. However, to be in the market for the short term means that you have to be agile, have substantial capital for trading to cover the cost and effort for monitoring but does it mean that you will definitely profit by trading?

It is not easy to predict the market in the short term and I am sure it is tedious to be monitoring consistently. If you are interested in investing, you would know that companies will need time to grow or if they give dividends, would also need time to compound to allow a substantial growth.

When we start investing, we don’t usually go in with a lump sum as we would test the water with a smaller amount and also because we are looking to grow and build it up over time so then this would require discipline to be consistently adding or allowing that amount to snowball in the long run. Know that the market will be choppy in the short term but rewarding in the long term although past results does not mean future results.

Read more: How to save money on a low income (my first salary was $2700) | Saving is the foundation to managing your finances

Hearing from people and buying due to hype

I think this happens more often in a bull market. And I have seen this and experienced it myself. During a bull market, almost everything and anything would be going up so many people would speculate and try to find out what can give them the best returns. But not every stock would be able to do that over the long term and once the hype is over, the stock would drop and everyone will panic sell it.

Sometimes, even after you have done your research, the results might not be reflected on the stock performance. Of course, if you have done your research and is convicted then position sizing is also important depending on various factors (eg. risk and portfolio allocation). During the good times in 2020 and 2021, everyone around me was asking and talking about buying stocks and crypto, many of my friends were putting money in and they were telling me how much profits they had.

It is important to have your own plan and not buy whatever people are mentioning unless it is something that you have researched and want to initiate a position in. If you were to buy everything that was suggested to you, your portfolio will look super messy and the main thing is that you wouldn’t even follow up on all the counters over time. Consider an index ETF if you are not interested in researching individual companies.

Read more: Inflation seems to stay and countries wants closer & more stable supply sources | Leaders are important and foresight is crucial

Letting your emotions get the better of you

If you see a stock price drop every single day as it is right now, some people tend to panic and sell especially when they see others selling however the current situation is that the whole market is reacting to news and almost everything is down. As long as the business has no major changes that is detrimental to it’s growth or business direction or the drop is due to macro environment then there is no need to sell but instead to slowly add on.

If you want to take profits or cut your losses then that is definitely ok. The thing is not to panic sell and having to enter again at a higher level. This can also happen in the opposite side where you are recklessly buying as the market goes up. Keeping your emotions out of investing is good and hence automating and DCA will work for most including me.

Have a plan and stick to it though be flexible

Keep to the plan and know why you started investing in the beginning. The lure of suddenly striking it rich in a short time sounds amazing but investing is long term, slow and steady wins the race.

Plans can change but do try to stick to it and adjust accordingly when you have build up the foundations or have went through it for some time. Some times, changes are needed along the way and you can decide accordingly.

I have been allocating my pay-check in terms of savings, investing, expenditures and make sure that the amount goes to the relevant accounts to ensure they serve their purpose. In the beginning, I tend to tweak the amount as I monitor my spending habits but once you have a comfortable amount, fix it and continue with the allocations. For most of us working a 9-5 job, our income is fixed and so automating it should not be a huge problem.

Even "experts" lose money

No one knows where the stock market is really headed and even the experts can only make a prediction based on data or what usually happens due to a certain event however it is not 100% right all the time.

Learning from your mistakes along the way will help and that is why many advocate to start investing early so that your runway is long and you can afford making mistakes when your initial capital is not that huge. We might be in unprecedented times but hopefully the world can recover and we will be on track to reaching new ATHs again. But that will take time and in the meantime, accumulating and building up your skills as well as assets will prove to be valuable.

You can also find me on

► Where I Buy my Cryptocurrencies:
►FTX: https://ftx.com/#a=41877278
►FTX app: Use my referral code and get a free coin when you trade $10 worth. https://link.blockfolio.com/9dzp/u4qfrox2 
►Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/evwynu4g57 or code: evwynu4g57 to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD :)
► Where I buy my stocks
FSMone Referral: P0364886
Tiger Brokers (Free stock and commission free trades, check out more here
Interactive Brokers (Open an account today and start earning up to $1000 of IBKR Stock for free!*Terms and Conditions apply)
► Google Pay: v89ph61
►Syfe Trade Referral Code: https://www.syfe.com/invite/trade/SRPSL8MGX
►Syfe Wealth Referral Link: https://www.syfe.com/invite/wealth/SRPSL8MGXE

Thursday, 13 October 2022

Do you give allowances to your parents | Why I give & is it really necessary?

After starting work, most of us would want to bring our parents out for a good meal and for some, maybe start giving them a monthly allowance. Of course, this differs as every family and individual is different, let’s talk about why Asian or maybe Singaporeans feel a need to give allowances to their parents.

Singapore VS around the world, proportion of children living with parents

In Singapore, I would say a good proportion of children do stay with their parents unless they have a significant other to apply for a BTO or have enough finances to buy a private property before age 35 to move out.

To get public housing as a single in Singapore, you have to be 35 years old and above unless there are some special conditions but for private property, there is no age criteria. For most individuals who are single in their 20s and 30s, the best solution to save more is to stay with their parents, Singapore is also a relatively small country where we work at most at Jurong where we stay at Pasir Ris which can still be covered by public transport unlike USA or China where people from the different cities can go to Beijing, Shanghai in China and New York or San Francisco for the USA. That will mean they have no choice but to rent a place to stay. However, we are seeing a rise in children staying with their parents especially after the pandemic that worsen a lot of people’s financial situation.

Why I give a monthly allowance

My mum has always told us that we are part of her retirement plan besides her savings and CPF payouts which she isn’t eligible yet cos she is younger than 65 years old. So we know that once we start working, we do have a contribute a portion to her. She isn’t demanding about the amount and she explains that she just wants us to know that we give an amount to her like showing appreciation and at the same time supplement her savings as well.

I don’t mind giving my mum an allowance because she doesn’t dictate the amount but leaves it up to us and whatever we are comfortable with, it’s okay especially when we first started.

I believe we are also giving allowances as we currently live “rent-free” with my mum and she cooks for us as well as doing our laundry which I have to say I am grateful for. Not all is rosy, she does nag and we understand as we all do things differently.

Is it necessary?

I think it really depends, some give allowance in a different way. Your parents might not need an allowance from you but spending time with them, having meals with them or just talking and checking in with them even after you have started working is as important or even more important than giving an allowance.

Saying that, some parents rely on their children as their retirement plan and I believe there are definitely situations where you might need to fork out money for them. The Woke Salaryman released an article on this before which is pretty comprehensive.

Each family is different as is with each individual, I would say only you know best what can help your parents. Giving an allowance can be our way of saying thanks but if you are not able to for example low pay or tight finances, you can give it in another way.

You can also find me on

► Where I Buy my Cryptocurrencies:
►FTX: https://ftx.com/#a=41877278
►FTX app: Use my referral code and get a free coin when you trade $10 worth. https://link.blockfolio.com/9dzp/u4qfrox2 
►Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/evwynu4g57 or code: evwynu4g57 to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD :)
► Where I buy my stocks
FSMone Referral: P0364886
Tiger Brokers (Free stock and commission free trades, check out more here
Interactive Brokers (Open an account today and start earning up to $1000 of IBKR Stock for free!*Terms and Conditions apply)
► Google Pay: v89ph61
►Syfe Trade Referral Code: https://www.syfe.com/invite/trade/SRPSL8MGX
►Syfe Wealth Referral Link: https://www.syfe.com/invite/wealth/SRPSL8MGXE