Monday 26 December 2022

Trying out ChatGPT | The future of knowledge and learning is here?

I think I am pretty late to the game but just wanted to record on this cool AI technology. It’s been all over Twitter and the news on what ChatGPT is and how emails and articles can be crafted from it. Being an AI language model that can respond to you in a conversational manner providing data and information on your questions is interesting as it’s like having someone around to answer all your questions in a way that is meaningful.

It is crazy to have an AI with boundless knowledge to be able to interact with you asking a simple question. Apple has Siri which a virtual assistant where you can use it to find things, set up events or alarms and also ask lame questions when you are bored. ChatGPT besides being able to answer your questions, it can also help generate software code which I think is definitely very helpful although I don’t know anything about coding.

It’s definitely still in it’s early stages as seen from it’s answer but it quite crazy on the innovation that is being done here.

Answers generated from ChatGPT

Using a ChatGPT model can be an interesting and effective way to build a chatbot or conversational AI system. ChatGPT models are able to generate human-like text that is appropriate and natural-sounding in a chat or conversation context, which can make for a more engaging and realistic chatbot experience for users. ChatGPT models are also able to engage in conversation and respond to user input in a way that is similar to how a human would, which can make the chatbot feel more intelligent and lifelike.

However, it's important to keep in mind that ChatGPT models are not perfect and may not always generate text that is completely accurate or appropriate. It's important to carefully review and test the output of the ChatGPT model to ensure that it is suitable for the intended use case and audience. Additionally, ChatGPT models may require significant training and fine-tuning to perform well in a specific domain or application.

Getting ChatGPT to help draft an email

What’s good for a Christmas dinner?

Thoughts on using ChatGPT

it is nice using it as it is producing answer in a very conversational manner and it kinda flows like a human talking. It’s is also crazy having your answer in an logical essay form with all the real points given to you in a summarised manner. Unlike google where you might have to go through different websites and worse, ads might be the first few that shows up in your search. Imagine as a student or someone looking for a long form answer or points, ChatGPT definitely provides that. How you use it is also another thing. About more than 60% of this article is generated from ChatGPT making it so mind-blowing, I love how it also has a sense of humour at times. Belated Merry Christmas!

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Sunday 18 December 2022

Q4 End of Year Portfolio Review | 2022 destroyed……my portfolio haha

Thought I will write this article a little earlier to share it in December rather than wait till January 2023, anyway the value of the portfolio is likely to keep dropping. Very discouraging to be writing portfolio reviews for 2022 and going forward for 2023. 

I am glad I switched from monthly to quarterly updates because from the beginning of 2022, Q1 to Q4, my portfolio has been dropping in value even with the monthly DCA-ing that I am doing, so a monthly update would be tiring emotionally. It’s crazy thinking those with six or seven figures in the market but I have to say that much of my stocks portfolio is in Tesla and so explains why the dip in Q4 2022 has been exceptionally painful.

Q4 2022 has been interesting with some recovery but definitely not optimism that the market is bouncing back even though the FED’s Jay Powell has kinda hinted that they will slow/lower interest rate hikes as many explain that once the interest rate hikes stops, we will still be in an environment of high interest rate and that will prove to be quite detrimental to companies, economy and the stock market. I am accumulating with my DCA-ing into index ETFs and also diverting funds to produce cash flow for the future (Syfe REIT+) with the spare cash going into ETH. So let’s dive right in!

Stocks Portfolio

Tesla accounts for roughly half of my portfolio and the other half are mainly index ETFs like QQQ, VT, VWRA and VOO. Q4 has been rough for Tesla share price as Elon Musk officially took over Twitter, made sweeping changes and with high interest rate, people are expecting lower numbers for in total for 2022 due to supply chain issues and inflation as Tesla vehicles are pretty expensive. Twitter also has high debt and Elon Musk has been selling Tesla shares to fill that as well, sentiments just change.

I would be lying if I said I did not regret taking profits on Tesla when I could but of course, this is all on hindsight. I also think that even if I were to turn time back, I would still hold on to my current positions not knowing that Tesla would drop so much, so yea, let’s see how it all pans out 5, 10, 20 years from now. For now, just adding index ETFs to the portfolio.

Crypto Portfolio

Crypto is not really on my mind right now, I am still contributing but mostly with the spare change that I have like at the end of each month after accounting for savings, investments into index ETFs and REITs as well as my expenses. So not really any huge contributions but crypto is tough especially after LUNA/UST crash as you can see from my chart, April 2022 drop to May 2022 and then FTX collapse and many other dominos effect. Anyway, the value of it has also significantly dropped from it’s all time highs but is still holding on pretty well considering everything that has happened. I am also consoled that I haven’t lost my whole crypto portfolio yet, it can happen anytime as I might forget my seed phrase or lose them and then goodbyeeeeee! For now, still safe.

Syfe REIT +

I am periodically buying into Syfe REIT+ as a build up for retirement and cashflow in my later years. I know that some have given feedback or concerns firstly is that when you are young, it is good to be investing in growth or US index ETFs and looking for ways to grow your money first instead of putting it into dividends/REITs as the stock price tend to be stagnant and with a small capital, the dividends don’t quite matter.

I do believe that when you are younger, you have a longer time frame and less commitments hence you can take more risks however, compounding even a small amount does build up over time and I believe diversification helps as well periodically contributing. I think no one knows what can be a good investment over time as the future is unknown although data and past results can give an indication but no one can absolutely guarantee. So it’s good to also spread it out.

Another thing is the rising interest rate that definitely isn’t beneficial to REITs. I think a good viewpoint for REITs is from Financial Horse where he uses examples and explains why the interest rates staying high is likely to happen until inflation falls back to 2% as per what the FED is suggesting at the moment and talks of interest rate cuts are still too early. He also clarifies that he might be wrong but his analysis is great on why tough times are ahead for REITs, there are definitely exceptions but yea, you get it.

To be honest, it’s going to be huge pain to get inflation to 2%. We are currently at 7.1% boy oh boy, 7.1% to 2%? Lots of unemployment and pain needs to happen to cut all that inflation. But I am still just periodically going in with it and we shall see how long I can last. The value of my Syfe REIT+ is included together with the stock portfolio.

Allocation of some cash/emergency funds

Put aside some cash as well, putting them into SSB. Easy to withdraw and it can earn some yield at the same time. Still putting aside cash every month as a cash buffer, not for any investments as I do DCA every month.

Concluding thoughts

Going through this market downturn, I have gained so much more from the few months compared to the few years of bull market previously. And it has also cemented some changes to my buying habits. I have to say that experiencing 2021 to 2022 was really a crazy but enriching period. Lost money, didn’t make it back and losing more but glad that it happened in my first few years of investing rather than 10 years later.

It’s tough especially when job security is one of the concerns. Our generation of fresh graduates faced the pandemic and now inflation plus the FED fighting inflation. I have to say I am considerably lucky to not graduate into the pandemic but it’s tough seeing a future where difficult times are expected and recovery is uncertain. Every generation faced their own issues of course, it sounds really childish considering the older generation faced survival issues. The war in Ukraine, climate change and geo-political issues are also things I am concerned about but I think it’s important to be grateful and live in the present. Ending the portfolio reviews for 2022 here! A special year and looking forward to 2023. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

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Sunday 11 December 2022

How to take opportunity in this crash | Tips to get started and survive through

I have been scrolling through YouTube and coming across multiple videos about how you can become rich through this recession from this to this to that and even this. It really is the basics that they talk about but it is so important to set yourself on track and create habits during this down market that can help you in the long run.

To firstly ensure that you have an emergency fund, keep expenses low and if possible increase cash-flow and INVEST! Some of them are quite click bait especially so when they have those fancy thumbnails but they all talk about how you can start building your wealth now and it is a great time to start as you get more bang for your buck with the lower prices meaning you can own more units/stock with the same amount as compared to 1 year back.

If you are not prepared to invest yet, it is a good time to be building up your base, making sure you have your financial situation all settled eg, sufficient savings, insurance making sure you are covered and building up multiple sources of income if possible. I too, will repeat some of the basic and important things to take opportunity in this crash or to build upon.

Making sure you have an emergency funds or best, extra cash for buying the dips

It really sounds like a broken recorder and I am sure most people in Singapore have this prepared but of course, in tough times eg.layoffs, the emergency fund you have prepared lets you be at ease and be able to make rational decisions. It also gives you negotiation power on your job search as you can have time to find a better opportunity or be able to propose packages as you are not in desperate need for a new job.

Besides serving it’s purpose for covering the expenses while you are searching for a new job, the extra cash that you have build up outside of your emergency funds give you chances to accumulate more when shares are at a relatively cheaper price than usual. Although you might have already accumulated your emergency fund, you can choose to also put a portion of them in areas that have easy liquidity eg Singapore Savings Bonds or high interest saving accounts to make sure they are generating some yield. It doesn’t have to be some risky yield as your emergency funds should be your base and not be fluctuating in value. Even just leaving them in a bank account is all right as it should be easy to use whenever you require it.

Building up a war chest at the side can serve you well during the down times as it can provide you with more to invest when the market is down. After building up your emergency fund, you can still continue to put money aside for your war chest.

Consistently entering the market and not timing it

No one and I repeat NO ONE can always absolutely time the bottom and top. So no one can absolutely buy low and sell high every single time hence it is good to be disciplined and ensure that you are periodically entering whether it is high or low. There is also enhanced DCA where you invest more when the market is down and less when the market is high. Of course, you would then have to make sure you have sufficient cash-flow that will allow you to invest periodically. There are definitely studies showing that lump sum would perform better depending on when you invest compared to DCA-ing.

However, in the earlier stages of getting started in investing, most would not have a lump sum and so making that habit, setting aside the money makes it beneficial in the long run as compounding can start early. Timing the market is tiring and it might make you hesitant to invest as you might hold onto your money as you look for the lower lows to enter. So automating and periodically entering into index funds/ETFs are good. 

Be able to have cash-flow or be employed during this volatile time

Cash flow is important to keep the habit of investing and ensuring that you are able to in the long run. Whether it is through a primary source of income or many different sources of income, cash flow is king in tough times as you do not have to liquidate stocks to have cash and instead can rely on the cash-flow.

Staying invested, keep to your budget and plans unless things have changed

Time in the market beats timing the market. This has been said many times as we hear of how the stock market when looked over a short frame of time is very volatile but once you zoom it out, the longer you hold, it generally provides you with positive yield. Looking at the situation now, there are a number of individuals in cash and I definitely won’t doubt them as the market and economy looks to be going down in 2023 as we see layoffs, earning guidance and just many news saying of tough times in 2023. However, the truth is that we're not as calm and rational as we claim to be, if we do see a bottom, will we be brave enough to click the buy button?

Many investors fail to remain invested in stocks when a rebound occurs. In fact, they tend to jump back in only when most of the gains have already been achieved. This type of buy high, sell low behaviour tends to cripple investor returns. Keeping your stocks in your portfolio longer is more cost-effective than regular buying and selling because the longer you hold your investments, the fewer fees you have to pay. - Investopedia

Besides staying invested, you need to also budget and ensure you are following the plan you set eg. fixed amount of funds into index ETFs per month and putting aside an amount for daily necessities.

Keep yourself emotionally stable

Ensuring you are all right with the amount you have invested to be fluctuating is important and you have to make sure it is money that you do not need in the short term. Reading or watching too much news can also prove to be detrimental especially if you are easily affected as news wants to attract the views so some times the headlines might be exaggerated. Remember that you are investing for the long term and do not make any rash decisions.  

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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!