When is it time to invest?

We hear a lot of this all the time. Our parents, our friends, our colleagues and everyone. There isn’t any in my opinion. Some may beg to differ but there really isn’t any the way the see it. There is an actual science to this because it really depends on what kind of person you are. No one will manage your money better than yourself. There are three dimensions to this how I see it.

Life-Cycle – Depending on which part of the cycle one is in, you will change the way you invest and how you want to invest. Different stages in life provides you with different perspective and capability to do certain aspects of financial tweaks. Some get a head start while other don’t but that is not the end goal. It is your objective that is key – No one should just carbon copy a portfolio or process. This is customised and should be based on your own circumstances.

How much you have – This is really a sticky question because the real fact is that no one knows. I am of the mind that your own networth and liquidity is for your own to know and manage. Unless you own the millions that you can’t manage because time is what you need, this would apply to at least 90% of the folks out that. How much can you afford to save or take out that does not affect you paying off your bills on time depends on your financial situation. I remember when I first started out, the salary I have is for my own takings. The very first thing I did was to spend almost all of it. It isn’t smart but we all learn.

Paying yourself first is essential in building a bigger pool. The first $1k, $10k, $25k $50k, $100k will be exponentially easier with every milestone. However if you don’t start, then the milestone will not be met. Regular saving plans/investment does help in this process. Using the envelop technique is also recommended for guys who are really starting out.

Time – This is a large and essential part of everything else.

First, you need to find time and give time to learn and experience. No one grew up knowing everything, all of these lies with exposure and experience. Some gets it faster than the rest while others manages this slower. Like an exercise buddy, the journey is long but if you persist and encourage one another, it will ride for a long time. No excuses really – Is Netflix and the next PlayStation more important every other day? Educating and understanding finance takes time and effort. Even if you hate it, try it in a smaller scale model and gradually increase it over time. I can certainly say that over a time period, it will become second nature.

Second, You do not have a warchest overnight. You need to build it. No one knows when is the next drop, what is the next promising industry to go into. No one knows who is the next unicorn or donkey but through time, you will eventually find out about your own strength and sense of investing.

These three points in my opinion sets the basis of what is a good time to invest. TLDR:

a. Anytime is a good time to invest as long as you have a plan and you know what you are doing

b.Do not invest more than what you require to pay your bills.

c. Start early, start young, the later you start – the tougher it is. It is never too late but the results will be less than one would expect.

d. Learn as much as you can so that you are well-equipped. Today, there are too many tools around to learn and see.

I also do understand that by saying “When is a good time to invest?” It will attract criticism as to “timing of investment”

I would also want to address this issue of timing. It does no one any good if you time the market. No one has the crystal ball.

a. Start by splitting your warchest into different portions. Be disciplined and when market drops, buy some then don’t expect these to turn unto profits overnight.

b. Keep an eye on what you are investing especially if you are buying into a company. Investing into index funds leave you to a more passive investor. We shall not talk about Core and Tactical management of investing this round.

c. Regular investing also helps. Find mutual funds or portfolios who have in-lined principles to what you belief and stick by it.

d. Remember to always review. Things change and so do us as humans during different life cycle.

P.s.

As you can see, my beliefs is as such that all things work in an ecosystem (Before it gets disrupted). Smaller efforts gives greater confidence and these translate into positive energy, mindset and clear mind. Then, this brings you to another aspect. When this Eco-system is in place, many of the things we have discussed earlier will be a second nature and you would know how to react accordingly.

Personally I like to use some form of Robo, systematic investing such as Endowus. It also cancels out my liking of timing my Buy-in timing.

  • Most importantly, the cash related funds uses a big institution related fund manage such as Dimension Fund which is not readily accessible to retail investor.
  • They have shown that they return the rebates they receive from the fund houses instead of absorbing it to pay fees to Banks/Financial Institutions as recurring revenues
  • All funds invested are held on behalf by UOB Kay Hian and held in my own name so funds are safe I say.
  • My only grip is really about the buy time which I have no control over. By the time the markets drop, I’m not sure when my funds are invested but on the bright side, it means it is consistent and disciplined trading.
  • Relatively lower management fees which means more compounding interests for all. That is good news.
  • I also like that they only debit the management fees at the end of the quarter instead of taking money at the start. Tells a lot about how they want to be different. Say no to upfront fees.
  • The first Robo-advisor to be able to invest using CPFIS. I think they were also the first to be able to use SRS to do so as well. That makes one more level up as CPFIS only approves certain funds that you can invest in. This makes it flexible to invest using Cash, SRS and CPFIS.
  • If you use my referral code to sign up and invest minimum S$10k, we both get $20 each which can be used to offset the management fees to keep their lights running: https://endowus.com/invite?code=EDZ8M

Disclaimer: Money is not everything – They say (Who? I don’t know). Without Money, there are lot of things we cannot do. With proper money management, these will slowly go away and your mind’s will be clearer. With a clear mind, things unravel. An end is always where new things start. Be positive and do not be bound by just money.

This is also not a sponsored posts. I used it and I like what I am seeing.

Picture image was taken off Endowus website for reference only.

Crypto.com (MCO swap to CRO)

Crypto.com (MCO) has been around for almost 4 years now. I have not seen any utility crpyto company who has delivered what they want to deliver to consumers over the last 4 years. They are as similar if not the same as any other company with a physical product that works.

My first serious foray into crypto was the MCO card introduced by a friend of my. The great deal initially was a referral fee of USD 50 for both referrer and referee. Then comes the Spotify, Netflix and free airport access (via Lounge key – Not so much now but still it is okay) all these comes in at 100% cash-backed to the card via the utility token (Used to be MCO but now it is swapped into the CRO)

For many users, especially the pioneers or even global users who have been approved in their countries to issued MCO Visa cards (Debit card), it is certainly not what was listed in the white paper but hey, it is a pretty good move in my opinion and while the Wirecard Fiasco is still ongoing, I think it is a win-win for all Crypto.com users. Some users think otherwise but I find that this is an option once more to think bigger profits which a 10x margin might be possible. Of course crypto comes with risks. It is a big risk but it should also return big as well.

The community has been negative for such changes. I guess there is no right and wrong answer to it. I still choose to believe that is moving in the right direction for customers as well as sustainability. So in all that, I will still hold and wait on for more good news on their end. The CRO staked amount has also been adjusted lower which means more good news and more CRO released for usage.

There’s the alert and actionable items: Action is required before 2 Nov 2020 at 23:59 UTC, or you will lose the functionality currently associated with your MCO. We will not perform the MCO swap on your behalf and the swap will not happen automatically.

Crypto.com will use the following formula based on the volume weighted average price as expressed in United States dollars (“VWAP”)to determine the number of CRO allocated to you that reflects each swapped MCO:

1 MCO = (30-day VWAP of MCO / 30-day VWAP of CRO) x 1 CRO

(30 days between 4 Jul 2020 to 2 Aug 2020, both dates inclusive)

So it will be fixed at 1 MCO = 27.4639 CRO

Crypto.com will offer an Early Swap Bonus in CRO if the MCO swap is performed before 2 Sep 2020 23:59 UTC, based on the following formula and criteria: So Swap early for

1 MCO = 33.1726 CRO

The pros is now that the stake and interest has now increased as CRO terms are on better rates. Development of De-fi is on its way. More flexibility in terms of usage and managing the tokens. Benefits are better now for existing customers.

The cons would be the way they initially managed and wrote on the white paper, that lost some points as well as how MCO was originally the golden boy turned obsolete.

All Benefits remains the same and on the same tier. Not bad I supposed, just that the quantity of CRO is now much more than before. I don’t think that’s a big deal. The whole idea is adoption, more utility and more users. It spells 10x to me more. Just be patient.

This image is taken from Crypto.com website for reference use only.

NDP 2020 Promotion: 1 Year Free Membership for Gallery Insider

There is an ongoing promotion for National Day 2020 – That is a 1-Year complimentary membership for Gallery Insider. It is really good to see companies doing their part to make art and increase activities locally.

Reading directly from the website at https://www.nationalgallery.sg/support/join/membership, it says that Gallery Insider is an annual membership programme. Insiders get unlimited access to their dynamic line-up of exhibitions, as well as privileges and discounts for selected programmes, unique museum merchandise and the Gallery’s culinary offerings. Sounds not too bad to explore such options now that travelling is pretty much out of the way for an extended period of time. It’s not all doom and gloom. There are other things to do and appreciate our own Country.

Click here at https://www.nationalgallery.sg/support/join/membership to get your FREE 1 Year Gallery Insider membership, which is claimed to be worth up to $120 in value from unlimited and priority access to all exhibitions. Also, there is a bonus perk of up to 15% discounts on dining and shopping. Not too bad I guess.

This Free perk will end on 31 October 2020 and I am guessing while stocks last? Sign up asap! Don’t forget you need to be there physically to activate your membership before October end.

However do note that this is for Singaporeans and Singapore PRs. Time to explore Singapore. It is not a sponsored post but I find this a great initiative and also a good way to find out more about Singapore.

(Image from National gallery website)

For more referral links, click here: https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

New Referral Scheme from Singlife

This is really a great piece of marketing work from Singlife. Though late into the referral game, this is some good way to get and garner new acquisitions. Singaporeans are pretty starved for yields whether higher or lower risks. This insurtech firm is one that I have wrote about recently and it is a good product.

I’ll have one more strong and valid point to date with this referral scheme.

  • A token S$10 is given for each friend you invite to Singlife, no matter how many friends. Each friend gets S$10 too so if you find this useful, do use my link to sign up here: https://app.singlife.com/S49MSfXlF8
  • SDIC covered
  • Relatively high interest rate for the first $10k
  • Simple and fuss-free – registration and login all done online
  • You can also spend normally like what a debit card does, having a functioning physical card.
  • Transfers are all ifast which is really impressive and same day receipt
  • Customer service is pretty responsive and quick to reply (Live chat and email)
  • Some form of insurance is complimentary including retrenchment insurance (It’s not a lot but it is a nice gesture)
  • No-contract, no terms no fees when you withdraw.

You can read my previous post about Singlife: https://lifejourney.blog/2020/06/26/low-or-no-interest-where-to-park-your-funds/

Find out more here: https://singlife.com/

Image extracted from Singlife website for reference.

Click for more referral links here: https://lifejourney.blog/contact/

Get $5 when you sign up with Google Pay & make a transaction (Until 31 July 2020)

This is really a quick kill for a good deal. It is the usual way of spending bucks to get more users and it is also an easy one to get. All you need is just to sign up for google pay using this link here https://g.co/payinvite/t74cf8f

All the way through 31st July 2020, when you download Google Pay from this referral link, you will be able to receive a free $5 cash after performing an eligible transaction.

Referral Programme (until 31 July 2020)

a. You earn $5 once your friend makes his or her first payment using Google Pay. The transaction must be at least $10 to qualify. (or PayNow to your friend)

b. You can earn the reward once for each friend whom you have successfully referred, and the best part is there is no limit.

Once you have signed up using my link, you can then continue sharing your own referral link to as many friends as you’d like, which will then in return, earn you and your friend $5 cash each for each successful referral! 

How it works?

Send your invite link for everyone to download Google Pay.

For invitees who are on IOS devices, they must enter their mobile number on the Google Pay page that is prompted before installing the app. The login must be the same as Google Pay to qualify.

You can insert a referral code if you have downloaded the app however you must not make any transactions on Google Pay before.

You will then earn S$5 and your friend S$5 if they make their first payment of at least S$10 on Google Pay by 31 July 2020 23:59 Singapore time and payment is successfully process. Also, assuming that it is a first time user as well as a first transaction.

At the time of writing, you can do this by linking your PayNow account to OCBC account (Currently that is the only way to do so) and make a transfer from there. This is the easiest and fastest way to get the perks.

It’s quite easy and simple to do. Although it takes a bit of an effort but I think it is worthwhile while they still have marketing expense to spare. Have fun referring! Please do use my referral link if you think this is of value to you. Sharing is caring – Cheers!

A SIM only telco – GIGA

In the past, there used to be only 3 players in the telco market – Singtel, Starhub and M1. They sort of formed into a monopoly where 5.2 million people on the island will choose either of the 3 companies. All things change when Circles.life came into the picture and to be honest, it was such a game changer that almost instantaneously switched to them at the earliest time possible once my contract was up. Notably, Singtel has the best coverage in Singapore and underground but they were keen on only making profits for themselves.

After some time, all three incumbent were forced to break off from their current model into a SIM only plan. This has been really great for consumers in particular as more competition means more competitively prices plans and better customer service. Of course, the incumbent truly matched the competition and eventually I switch out to GIGA, a SIM only plan from Starhub.

The real benefits of going with GIGA means that for a basic plan,

a. S$18 for 20GB of data, 200 mins of outgoing calls, 200 SMS, free caller ID and free incoming calls and incoming SMS.

b. For unused data, you can carry over to the next month (Capped at 2x the base data – 20 GB x 2 = 40GB

c. No contract means, flexibility and freedom to cancel the contract anytime.

d. Signup is digital only – meaning you can only sign up online and use an app to access your account as well as setup your payments. They accept most major credit cards.

e. There isn’t any IDD so for for overseas usage, you would need to buy either gigaRoam (Asia Pacific) or gigaRoam (Rest of the world)

f. You would need to pay a small registration fee and arrange for the SIM card to be delivered to your preferred location. However, you can use a referral code to supplement the discount. You will get a one time $20 gigabucks off the 25GB plan or a one time $42 gigabucks off the 50GB plan if you use my code – “LhS9Ng”. The referral credit is only valid for any plans except the basic $10 GIGA plans.

The downside of using GIGA is that you can’t surf the internet while on a call (for e.g. checking for emails or stuffs while on a call however if you have your WiFi switched on, it works perfectly) but you can still receive OTP (One time Pin) while still on the call so that’s not too much of a worry.

Generally, I like the interface, colours and customer service support on GIGA. They even have a live chat function but you need to clear your cache regularly as it seems like it is stuck on my app most of the time. It is fuss-free and simply to use. I’ll say that they are trying hard to evolve and re-invent themselves. I don’t have too much faith with Singtel and GOMO so this is my next best choice.

GIGA just launched a 40GB data, 300 SMS, 300 outgoing calls at $20 for 12 months. It is still a no contract plan, just that it reverts back to $30 a month from the 13th month onward.

From time to time, they will launch limited time offers like the one above. You can visit their website to find out more: https://www.giga.com.sg/

Image from Giga website.

A low cost Brokerage option? Tiger Brokers

In the last few years, we have seen quite a number of independent brokerage firms popping out of nowhere. The idea that their platform charges an extremely low brokerage fee seems to make us think about their sustainability and how they are make money to survive the long game.

Well, for consumers and folks who are talking about low costs – such competition will only benefit retail consumers and I will definitely take them into consideration. Interesting enough, the backers of Tiger Brokers are a Chinese online security brokerage firm in Beijing founded in 2014. Their investors are Interactive Brokers Inc, Jim Rogers, ZhenFund and Xiaomi Inc. Tiger Brokerage is listed on Nasdaq under ticker: TIGR.

In Singapore, Tiger Brokers is under their subsidiary, Tiger Brokers (Singapore). The biggest sell for them is their 0.08% fee on the share value with no minimum fee for equities on SGX. They also do not charge a custodian fee.

The on boarding process is pretty simple and easy. You can also use SingPass to ease the sign up process. For funding purposes, SGD transfers takes only an hour or so during the weekdays. I transferred some funds to the platform at around 7.30 pm and funds were approved at around 8.15 pm. At the same time, I also tried out their withdrawal process. It takes about 24 hours to receive the funds in the bank account. It could be due to a first time withdrawal but I shall try it out to find out more. One important point is to deposit and withdraw funds in the same name as the one you use to register for the platform otherwise there will definitely be delays.

An impressive in-depth study on Tiger Broker can be found on Seedly article here: https://blog.seedly.sg/tiger-brokers-review/ and one of the key points about custodian was discussed in the article.

Mentioned on one of their paragraph: “Unlike the other brokerages operating in Singapore, Tiger Brokers does not have a custodian license and has to rely on a third-party broker or bank.” It means that they use a third party custodian bank and specifically two other banks (ANZ and CIMB). It also means that you do not need to worry about Tiger Broker going default since banks are holding your securities and funds.

I think that they are a good platform to invest some funds in but definitely not your core or bulk of your funds.

There are some promotions for new signups which doesn’t seem too shabby:

  • Free level 2 data on US or HK stocks for 30 days after registration
  • Commission-free for 1 order of US&HK stocks in 30 days after opening an account
  • Get up to $100 worth of stock vouchers when you deposit funds or transfer shares
  1. Fund account with SGD 2,000-5,000 to get Stock Voucher worth SGD 30
  2. Fund account with SGD 5,000-10,000 to get Stock Voucher worth SGD 50
  3. Fund account with SGD 10,000-30,000 to get Stock Voucher worth SGD 70
  4. Fund account with more than SGD 30,000 to get Stock Voucher worth SGD 100
  • Get an additional $100 worth of stock vouchers when you refer friends
  1. Invite a total of 5 people to own SGD 10
  2. Invite a total of 9 people to own SGD 20
  3. Invite a total of 12 people to own SGD 30
  4. Invite a total of 15 people to own SGD 40
  5. Invite a total of 25 people to own SGD 100

If you find this as something interesting, please do use my referral code link here: https://www.tigersecurities.com/accounts?invite=S5LTM6

Here you can also find a funding guide from Tiger Brokers: https://youtu.be/AmgLNhDvA68

Low or no interest? Where to park your funds?

With the current environment due to the cause of covid-19, central banks around the world have reduced interest rates to an extremely low level. In finance, or what we call an emergency fund – has to always be liquid. It is well known to keep 3 – 6 months of funds for a rainy day. As for the amount to keep, it really depends on everyone’s personal situation. I would say, it depends on how much you spend and how willing one will be able to adjust to change their lifestyle. Given the current situation, it may be better to keep up to 9 or 12 months of emergency funds. Again, it depends very much on every individual’s finance situation.

Recently, we have seen the banks reducing the interest rates of deposit accounts or “high yield” saving accounts. It is only a matter of time when everyone else will reduce that interest amount. It is important to always keep funds liquid. You will never know what happens so it is important to stick to the rules – Keep your liquid funds liquid. A couple of months back, I found an interesting channel to keep some funds for a pretty high yield of 2.5% pa.

This is Singlife account. The interest of 2.5% p.a. is capped for the first $10,000 that you fund the account. the next $90,000 will be on 1.0% p.a. and anything more than $100,000 will be on 0% p.a. So this account will be suitable for anyone who wishes to keep a small sum of funds with Singlife and the hassle of having another account.

Indicated on their website is (*Note that the 2.5% crediting rate is not guaranteed. The Singlife Account is an insurance savings plan. It is neither a bank savings account nor fixed deposit. Each person is only entitled to one Singlife Account policy.) The company is known as an Insurance Technology company that is licensed by MAS.

From how it seems, this is a really good channel to keep funds in however just take note that the 2.5% p.a. is not guaranteed and can be changed anytime. I think that this is fair given how flexible the funds can be taken out at will. In a most recent post, the news state that Singlife has raised 100 million funds in new AUM

The pros outweighs the cons at this moment hence I think that this is worth the trouble:

a. There is presence of an insurance savings plan that is capital guaranteed with no hidden fees or charges.

b. Earn up up to 2.5% p.a. for the first $10,000 with minimum funding of $500 to start earning this interest amount.

c. There is insurance benefits – 105% of the account value and retrenchment benefits.

d. A Singlife debit card that is complimentary and works like a normal debit card.

e. No Lock-In. No contracts. Funds can be withdrawn anytime with no cost and minimum term.

f. Application is easy. Works only on an app and you can use SingPass to register easily.

g. Funds are covered by SDIC

Find out more here: https://singlife.com/

Foray into CryptoCurrency – The MCO Card (Crypto.com)

Invest in cryptocurrency! The first thing that comes to mind is that it is a scam or it is risky. It is not only after you take some time to find out more.

Getting someone to go into cryptocurrency can be challenging. When I first started, I was late to the game but the fees I paid were way much higher than what it is today. Today, I can see that the adoption crypto is slowing and steadily increasing and solutions are being provided to solve the problems in the real world. There are indeed real world situations that need solutions.

I have been with crypto.com (MCO) for almost 2 years now. Though I did not experience that huge dip in prices after it went as high as USD20+ but what I have seen from them is absolutely amazing.

MCO coins are what define crypto.com (They were used to be called Monaco) and the fact that they managed to obtain the domain name says something great about them.

I would say the MCO coin is more of a hybrid crypto. You can get a real metal card depending on how much of the coins you buy. A real debit card that pays you instant cashback on anything you can pay with the card.

You can always opt for a “free card” and that gives you a 1% cashback on all transaction and it gets better.

Buying and staking 50 MCO coins will get you the Ruby card – 2% cashback

In summary:

Blue card – 1% cashback (N.A)

Red card – 2% cashback (50 MCO)

Blue/Green card – 3% cashback (500 MCO)

Icy White card – 4% cashback (5,000 MC0)

Black card – 5% cashback (50,000 MCO)

What I really like about this is not just the cash back. However you have to be comfortable to lock in at least 500 MCO for an initial 6 months.

Pros:

1. I always want to buy cryptocurrency more fuss-free and easier. This platform makes it really easy

2. Funding from SGD does not incur any fees if you use xfers and follow their instructions dilligently

3. 100% cashback in MCO coin for subscription to Spotify and Netflix (literally free)

4. Unlimited access to loungekey (Airport lounge)

5. You can trade other crypto available on the app and their exchange

6. Certain coins have “earn” capabilities, meaning you get interest by staking it on the earn platform on the app.

Cons:

1. The price of MCO is around 7 SGD at time of writing. Thats double of what I initially got into but you never know when it will go higher or lower

2. You need to put in an initial investment to get all these benefits

3. You need to fund your debit card with cash first before using it.

Things may get complex from here if I add on more information. If you wish to know more, drop me a note and I can share more with you.

Meanwhile, if you use my link/referral code, you will get USD50 and I will get USD 50 worth of MCO.

All you need is to make a transaction and stake your MCO to get the debit card of your choice. Thats some cool amount of cash to start off with.

https://platinum.crypto.com/r/im3py887ty to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $50 USD 🙂

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) – reits version

The Singapore equity market is really slow to say and there are only a handful of reits ETFs that were launched previously (that was like 3 to 4 years ago). Quite a number of people were rather yield starved back then and with that bullish USD interest rate hike (Before Covid-19) it was almost a guarantee that this will happen. I blame the media for setting off such rumours, the central bank will never act on just pure speculation but rather more than data and in today’s world, even more data that they can ever get. A big economy like the USA is something that most people watches although that has slowly diminished after successful propaganda by the emergence of our Chinese neighbours. Don’t get me wrong, it is kind of good that they are getting their act together, it is just that there’s much more skepticism more than ever since anything and everything can be fake. Profits over anything else some people say so I say stay alert.

Well, back to the point here. I was trying to look for yield related stuffs that could add on to the portfolio and when I did a quick filter away from reits, there isn’t much that is available on the SGX that is sizeable (i.e. blue chip enough) and so to diversify that reits risk thingy, I went into the details and tried to see if I could mimick the fund portfolio. As it turns out, it might be too much of a challenge.

Diversity lies in the location: Singapore, Hongkong, China, Australia with the scope to add on more countries according to the fund manager. (Exposes some FX risks along with fees, fund management, platform fees)

Diversity in the types of holdings: Office, retails, industrial, others and more diversified real estates (Exposes to certain sectors that are cyclical in nature)

Lower fees as compared to a fund, as it is structured as an ETF (Exchange Traded Funds), it’s annual management fees are also lesser than usual. (Cheaper but more passively managed)

Yield: approximately 4-5% p.a. nett for all the trouble, perhaps even using different brokers and also different FX rates. Believe it or not, institutions get a better Forex rate just because they have the size to do so and sometimes, the fees on the allocation can be rather cheaper than a retail. It’s pretty much how you value it. Some people prefer total control, counting the pennies (every cents counts) while some delegate with a little bit of fees paid that is reasonable to them.

NIKKO AM – Straits Trading Asia Ex Japan ETF (Check that out here: Nikko AM reits ETF) and Philips SGX APAC dividend Leaders reit ETF (Check that one here: Poems reits ETF)

Pretty much in similar context just that with Philips, the majority holdings will be Australian reits (about 60%) while Nikko AM will be the majority with Singapore reits (about 60%)

Always do your due diligence, after all everyone has different risk levels. There are always other options. ETFs are just one of the many tools.