Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy new year 2015

All the best folks for the new year 2015. Many finance bloggers have listed their resolutions and "systems" for the new year and I wish you all the best in your endeavours!

Huat ah!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Build your own utopia!

I don't know about you but I have been pondering about life pretty a lot these days. I think life is all about creating your own utopia.

If you feel that life is about creating multiple streams of income. Thats your utopia. If its about getting married to your loved one and having lots of children, thats your utopia. If its about rising the corporate ladder, thats your utopia.

We humans seem to always need a certain target to attain or achieve and when we have achieved that, sometimes we just need another target to hit and to attain.

Maybe i am just thinking too much. Anyway, merry xmas to all of you and wishing you all happy holidays and may your utopia come true!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Yay! I am getting my 3rd salary soon!

Another week and I would have taken 3 months salary from Melbourne. I have learnt quite a couple of things in the course of these 3 months here.

  • I have learnt how to use a macbook. Shortcuts are different with the command button. It can be a bit irritating (it still is, trust me). I guess I would need to take some time to get more familiar with it.
  • Brunch can be quite boring when I eat it alone. Thus, I have cut some brunches during weekends. I am also too peeved with eating eggs all the time during the weekends. I guess I am also watching my diet. It can be also expensive to eat brunch. It costs about 20AUD per brunch. If I add coffee to that, it would set me back by about 25AUD. Wow, its quite a lot!
  • My mother came to visit this week and it was a joy to eat with her and share my Melbourne experience with her. I hope she enjoyed herself very much. At least this makes me feel that my move to Melbourne is worth it so that She can enjoy free accommodation (well, I pay rent ...) from me.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

And here i am. Melbourne!

It has been a while since my last update. Time flies and I am back to work for a week already. This time, I am making this post from Melbourne Australia.

It was pretty challenging for me to set up accomodation for myself in less than a week. Its kind of funny that I am renting from others in australia and getting rent from my tenant in Singapore. I owe it to my girlfriend in finding my current rental property. Its pretty close to my office and I can save on time and money in terms of transport. It just takes me 5 minutes and 2 traffic lights to get to work.

Shops in australia close pretty early, so there isnt much for me to do after work except to eat dinner, shop at the supermarket and then head home for tv (thank goodness for tv). I am still trying to sort out my home wifi so that I will not have to rely on prepaid too much.

I am still working on improving my passive income flows and am still placing orders (but so far no luck). At the moment, I think I will focus on trying to reprice my existing mortgage loan before looking into the australian market. Its pretty good being a landlord here but I am also quite sure that there are lots of fees involved whilst trying go get a new tenant. If you do not know, prospective tenants will have to fill up a comprehensive rental application to the property agency before they will be considered. This is really good for the landlord as this minimizes risk in delayed payments.

Getting permanent residency
I do want to still try for this but I am not sure if I can handle the cold weather. I was told that the current weather is really cooling but I still feel the chills even though I am wrapped up in 3 layers of clothing. My girlfriend also does not seem keen to migrate to australia as she prefers being closer to Malaysia so that she can visit her parents at a more affordable price. On the other hand, I do not really want to waste my good IELTS score and the exam does not come cheap.

In the meantime, I shall not think too much and enjoy my time here. I am very grateful for the company sponsorship and I am sure that I will enjoy this experience very much. I hope my mother will come experience Melbourne soon and that my girlfriend will come soon too. (In case she is reading this, but I highly doubt it.)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Starting overseas work in less than 1 month!

Time flies. I have recently received my 457 visa approval and will be starting work on 1 Sept 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. I am keen to experience work and life in a new country. I am contented and excited to be offered this opportunity to do so.

a) Condo is rented out on a corporate lease

I am really fortunate to be able to find a new tenant for my existing condo in today's property climate. The company will mainly be paying for my mortgage and I hope that it will be this way for some time to come. The new rental rate is a lower than my previous rate but I think that its pretty decent considering that I still have some cash left after paying off the bank mortgage.

b) Started local work for 3 weeks

While waiting for my visa approval, I have started a short local contract role which is due before my reservist. It puts me back into the mood of working after being out of work for quite a while. In addition, I have to coordinate with folks in Shanghai and that at least makes the job more interesting. I have also polished up on my vba skills and have improved my financial position. The money will also come useful for me when I make the move to Australia.

c) Dividend rich month

August is also a dividend rich month for me. I think I am definitely not alone in this. For those who  have bought into reits and trusts over the years would also have their dividends pouring into their bank accounts in august and september. I am glad that my dividends can help with my financial needs during my time of joblessness.

Its going to be a busy month for me wrapping up my contract role, attend reservist and prepare myself to settle down in Australia. My next post will most probably be made from Australia. See you then!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Value Investing Mastery Course (VIMC) With BigFatPurse

I received an invitation email from Alvin late last month to attend this course. I was quite surprised that he emailed me as I do not even know him at all. I did visit his website before but I didn't post much comments on his website. I am honored to have received his invitation.

I attended this course today and was pretty surprised at the turnout. There were a total of 42 students who were keen to learn about what the course had to offer. Questions were asked during the course and the facilitators were keen to share with the class their knowledge and experience in the theories behind CNAV1, CNAV2 and POF.

VIMC's strategy is to buy stocks at a conservative margin of safety using the values obtained from its CNAV1, CNAV2 and POF analysis. Based on these numbers (which they will show you how to calculate them in the course), one can then make a calculated decision to buy / sell / ignore / monitor the current stock that you are looking at. The best part is that they have made it very simple for you to calculate those values. They even have a excel spreadsheet for you which just requires you to enter a few numbers from the financial reports and you can quickly know if this stock is worth looking at.

The best part about the course is actually the investment game played at the end of the course (yes there is a game! We learn best through games!). It helps you to understand the concepts better and to apply them in the investment game and the class participated very enthusiastically. (Probably because everyone contributed $10 to this game and the top 3 groups with the highest portfolio wins a portion of the pooled money!)

Overall, if you are a budding investor and are looking to find out more about share investing, this is a great course to attend to find out more. You must of course be willing to invest the time and effort as it is a whole day course.

For more information about this course, you can visit

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

8 months without work!

Time flies. It has been a total of 8 months since I have had a job. I really miss those times when I have salary crediting to my account at the end of the month. However, I certainly do not miss the long working hours or the shift work that I have had to do last time.

With the current bull market, I am glad that my networth has somewhat kept constant even with the high taxes that I have to bear this year. I hope that this continues (not the high taxes part) and that my net worth will keep climbing when I start work in August (fingers crossed).

a) Coursera
During my free time, I have been taking coursera courses, but I have since stopped after the 3rd course. I have somewhat concluded that I am not really the studying type so I have put this on hold for now.

b) Insurance
I have recently bought term and am currently waiting for the approval. If it goes through, I would the proceed cancel my ILPs and to be more proactive in investing the rest.

c) Dividend investing
I have been trying to tweak my portfolio to get a good yield. I am currently at 6.9%. I am hoping to push it up to 8% by the end of the year. I am currently convincing myself that I would need to set aside more funds for this. I am holding on to more cash rather than buying income generating assets. This is probably because of the property leverage strategy that I am currently on.

d) Rental
My tenant has moved out and surprisingly, when I took over the place from him, its even better than when I rented it out. I am hoping to find a new tenant soon. Otherwise my plan on using leverage to grow my money would fail. I want to rent it out before I head out to Australia for my work. When I have a tenant in place, I think I would feel more comfortable putting more money into my dividend investing strategy.

e) Reading
I have been reading quite a lot lately. When I am in the orchard area, I will head down to Kinokuniya to catch up on magazines and books. After lunch/tea with friends, I would also go to the library or the book shops to see what books are available and to try to complete some chapters whilst waiting for my gf to finish work. There are just so many books to read and so little time. However, I can get quite tired of standing and reading at the same time as I am quite stingy to purchase books.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Comments after attending a free talk about financial independence

I attended a free talk by Chris ( today and have some thoughts that I would like to share on this blog. The talk was pretty well done with a great response. These are some of the takeaways that I have obtained from this.

a) Personality test
In order to know myself better, I have taken this test online and I have found myself to be ISTJ (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging). This is pretty true. I am quite the introvert and find comfort in smaller groups rather than bigger ones. It turns out that this is the Carl Jung test rather than the MBTI, but the questions asked in the link below do tell me more about myself.

You can find the link here:

b) Comparing leverage with a dividend yield strategy
There was some talk about this and personally, I have experience with having leverage as I do own a property which I am renting out. One of the things about leverage is that its a double edged sword. Once you have a mortgage, your interest rates are more or less determined by the bank and the economy. In addition to that, there is also the thing about getting the right tenant and ensuring that he or she will take care of your place while renting it from you. Its also a bigger purchase in nature, compared to that of buying equities.

In the case of a dividend yield strategy, one can buy 100 leveraged properties at a smaller price in the stock market. I feel that this strategy gives a better peace of mind. I do not need to worry about getting tenants for my properties, I just need to monitor the company news to ensure that all is in order.

c) Cutting expenses and improving income
The strategy to gaining financial independence is really to cut expenses and improve your income flows. If you can have a great salary and live like a undergraduate/student, you are really on your way to financial independence. Coupled with a great investment strategy, the dream to retire by 40 makes it a lot more realistic and not just building castles in the air.

You can find the link to the presentation slides here:

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Book Review: A Gift to My Children by Jim Rogers

I was wandering around Kinokuniya after having lunch with my friend at Orchard today and stumbled across the book shown below. I picked up the book and read the whole book there and then. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but I had aching legs after that (old age). See below for some pointers that I have picked up from this book.

a) Jim Rogers retired at the age of 37
Its pretty impressive for someone to retire before the age of 40. He retired in the age of 37! My target is actually to retire by 39, he did it 2 years earlier! 

b) Buy low and sell high
When it comes to investment, this mantra is always repeated and emphasized again and again. It is a simple concept but it is pretty hard to do. You basically have to go against the flow to do this successfully.

c) Form your own opinions
To be able to be a successful contrarian, one must be able to form his own opinions in the area of investments. To do this, one must perform his own research and look into every single detail to ensure that nothing is missed out.

d) Travel 
Travel extensively to see the world and understand how different cultures work. Find things out for yourself and experience it. This was how he decided to invest in China after being there and couldn't help noticing the high savings rates which the Chinese people have. Do not be afraid to come out of your comfort zone.

e) History
Know your history! Frankly I hate history because it reminds me of the times in school where I had to memorize facts and figures from the textbook. But he does have a point. History does help one to know the future better.

Overall, its a pretty good read and its not a very thick book like the intelligent investor. I like the way he wrote this book like leaving some of his life lessons to his 2 daughters. It makes it very personable and left a very good impression on me. If I have children of my own in the future, I would definitely make sure to buy this book for them as a birthday present and encourage them to read it! It has valuable life lessons in it and who better to learn from than someone who retired at the tender age of 37!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Expense Tracking

In my opinion, one of the most fundamental things to do in the area of finance is MYOB (Minding your own business). In order to do this, one would definitely have to do expense tracking. This is needed so that one can know how much is spent every month and how much is saved every month.

I have been doing this religiously every day and it helps a lot when I know where my money goes. Armed with this knowledge, I can then act to reduce or increase the amount spent/earned based on the categories that I have defined. You can do this tracking for free by using google documents, openoffice or downloading a free app into your hand-phone. I prefer doing this via google documents, so that I can access it as long as I have an internet connection.

Some of the columns that I have been using are as follows: (You can customize this to your own liking)

  • Year
  • Month
  • Day
  • Type (Example: Meals, Transport, Income)
  • Category (Example: Lunch, MRT Top Up, Salary)
  • Description (Example: Chicken Rice)
  • Amount

How do you do your expense tracking?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Tune your wealth file today!

I was reading up on this book in the bookshop today by T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth. His theory is pretty simple. Change your attitudes and mindsets about wealth and wealth will manifest in your life. Some key points from his book are shown below.
  1. Rich people believe "I create my life." Poor people believe "Life happens to me."
  2. Rich people play the money game to win. Poor people play the money game to not lose.
  3. Rich people are committed to being rich. Poor people want to be rich.
  4. Rich people think big. Poor people think small.
  5. Rich people focus on opportunities. Poor people focus on obstacles.
  6. Rich people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people.
  7. Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.
  8. Rich people are willing to promote themselves and their value. Poor people think negatively about selling and promotion.
  9. Rich people are bigger than their problems. Poor people are smaller than their problems.
  10. Rich people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.
  11. Rich people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time.
  12. Rich people think "both". Poor people think "either/or".
  13. Rich people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.
  14. Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.
  15. Rich people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money.
  16. Rich people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.
  17. Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.” 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Habits of the wealthiest people

Keen to find out more? Check out the link below!

They seem like very good habits to have!

They Have a Routine:

  • Maintain a to-do list
  • Wake up 3 hours before work
  • Listen to audio books during commute
  • Network 5 hours or more each month
  • Read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons
  • Love to read

They are Healthy:

  • Exercise aerobically 4 days a week
  • Eat less than 300 junk food calories per day

Raising Their Children:

  • Teach good daily success habits to their children
  • Make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month
  • Make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month

Television Habits:

  • Watch 1 hour or less of TV everyday

They Set Goals:

  • Write down their goals
  • Focused on accomplishing some single goal
  • Believe in lifelong educational self-improvement
  • Believe good habits create opportunity luck
  • Believe bad habits create detrimental luck

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

OUE Hospitality Trust - DPU 1.68 cents from 1 Jan to 31 Mar 2014

OUE Hospitality Trust delivered a distribution rate of 1.68 cents for the period of 1 Jan to 31 Mar 2014. This exceeded expectations by 4.3% based on the forecast of 1.61 cents. Based on this rate and on the current share price is $0.88, this works out to a yield of about 7.63%, which seems to be fairly decent.

But one must note that they only have 2 centrally located properties in their portfolio and they are situated next to one another. If the hotel occupancy rates fall, it is natural for the adjoining Mandarin Gallery to fall as well. However, having said that, I do like their numbers this quarter and one can see that they trying hard to improve their property portfolio by doing AEI on hotel rooms to improve their profits.

The following are the summarized points of the press release.

  • Ongoing AEI to renovate 430 guest rooms to be completed in phases in 2014 and 2015.
  • Out of these 430 rooms, 64 rooms have completed renovation.
  • Gross revenue for 1Q2014 was 1.4% higher than the forecast for the same period
  • RevPar at $248 was lower than forecast of $257 due to Indonesia elections
  • NPI was $25.6 mil, 2.7% higher than the forecast.
  • Created more options for financing through the establishment of a US$1 billion Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) programme

OUE H Reit's portfolio is the 1,077-room Mandarin Orchard Singapore and the adjoining Mandarin Gallery, which has a portfolio value of S$1.76 billion as at 31 December 2013. You can view their press release here.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

OCBC 360 Account

With inflation eating our deposits in the bank, we should always find ways to grow our money which exceeds that of the inflation rate. One of the banks has introduced the OCBC 360 account which will help grow your money by 3.05% if you fulfill their following criterias:

a) Credit your salary every month (1%)
b) Pay 3 unique bills using the OCBC bank tool (1%) [You can GIRO your taxes and they count!]
c) Spend $400 within a month using the OCBC credit card (1%)

The 0.05 percent is for account balances up to 200k. It must be noted that this account should only apply to that of your emergency funds and not to their entire nest egg as this percentage is only for the first 50k in the account. I have opened my account and am looking to see if I have missed out on any fine prints of this particular product.

Link to find out more:

Property versus Stock

Since I have time on my hands, I tend to frequent the libraries and the bookstores quite a bit. I have often seen investments books which advocate property buying or stock buying.

Some of them say that property is the way to go, while others say that stock is the way to be rich. I am sometimes rather confused as to whether I should focus on property or stocks. Let me attempt to dissect which is more suitable for you as an investor.

  • Able to get loans from banks
  • Many rich people are in it
  • Able to renovate to improve value
  • Easy to complete a transaction
  • Small capital required 
  • Big capital required
  • 3 months to complete transaction
  • Need to find tenant (if you are renting out)
  • Not able to get a loan from banks
  • Prices change quickly
  • Unable to renovate to improve value

With the advantages and disadvantages mentioned above, which will you choose or should we be greedy and choose both?


Portfolio Update - Apr 2014

I did not receive any dividends this month. It is a dry month for me. I have divested Capitalmallsasia to help boost my portfolio yield to that of 5.94%. I want to kick off Rickmers and Lifebrandz which are bringing my current portfolio's yield down.

I am also currently looking into trying to polish up my portfolio by trying to reduce a high number of 19 stocks to that from 3-5 stocks. From now on, I will only purchase stocks which meet the following numbers criteria (more relevant for REITS):
  • Dividend yield of at least 6.5%
  • NAV below current price
  • For REITS, gearing should be less than 40%
  • Consistent growth in DPU (Distribution per unit) compared to previous quarters
  • Consistent growth in NPI (Net property income)
  • Occupancy rate of > 98%
On the property front, my rental from property is coming in on time and I am currently looking for a new tenant. I hope to get a new tenant soon to help with the mortgage payment! My interest rate is going to hit a high of 1.88% this June and this is exact same month where my current tenancy agreements ends!

I have opened a new OCBC 360 account to take advantage of the high interest rates. I can only enjoy a maximum of 2.05% as I am not currently working right now. I will focus on getting the 2.05% every month. This is definitely better than the 1.88% by SCB bonus-saver or the 0.8% by CIMB.

Currently, I am waiting for my IELTS exam results which is supposed to be released on 7 May 2014 after 3pm. I hope to be able to do well and get my role in Australia. :)


Monday, 28 April 2014

Inaugural Post!

As they say, the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. I have to start somewhere if I want to write a blog and the time is now! I have always wanted to start a blog, but I have always put it off till today. I hope that this blog will be helpful to those to read it and that I will try my utmost to keep on writing on it.

Purpose of blog
The aim of this blog is to learn from one another as to how to build passive income streams which include property, shares and other financial instruments. I don't really see myself as being financially independent yet, but I like to see myself reaching there as soon as possible. Do note that there will also be some random posts about food/places/experiences that I have and would like to share with everyone who bothers to read my blog. Do note that this stocks/property are not a recommendation to buy/sell them. Do conduct your due diligence research. =)