Is it possible to profit from passion

Is it possible to profit from passion?

Drawing, gardening, home-based baking. These are some of the emerging trends where passion meets profit. To most people, this could be a dream come true. A dream where you are paid for things you enjoy doing. You could even supplement your wealth management journey through your passion.

You might have received an invitation to a limited time entrepreneur webinar or click through a Facebook advertisement asking you to “BE YOUR OWN BOSS”. In any case, I believe that it is definitely possible to profit from your passion.

In my journey to talk to my readers on their experience profiting from passion, I noticed some key trends that emerged. I realised that most people fail because they did not ask themselves these 3 important questions early on. To help you save your time and effort, I have dedicated time to write this so that you will not fail in this journey on profiting from passion. I have also interviewed a few entrepreneurs who are willing to share their valuable experiences at the end of the article.

Is it possible to profit from passion

Is it possible to profit from passion

Identify Your Passion

For most people, this comes intuitively. For others, it may take time.

Personally, it took some time for me to “identify” my passion. Reading good financial articles (like this one.. haha) and sharing about financial knowledge has been a great pleasure for me. Initially, I do it very sub-consciously. I started off sharing about the best credit cards, simple wealth management tips and also the lessons I learnt from books. It was just something that I enjoyed doing. Though, I did not profit from any of them. I enjoyed the process.

This was “invisible” to me until one of my friends pointed it out to me. He asked me why not look for a career in the financial services space where you can make full use of your passion. It took me 4 years just to “identify” my passion. While it certainly took a long time, I enjoy every moment of my career now.

Coming back to the original topic, one of the most popular question that I hear from my readers is this: “How can I profit from my passion?”

After spending some time to discuss with them, I realised most of them cannot identify or admit truthfully that they have a certain passion. Most of the time, it is because the “passion” appears to be profitable. Their minds were thinking about profitability rather than passion. I think this is very normal. We do have real priorities like improving our standard of living, saving for retirement etc.

In the midst of finding our passion, we lost our way.

I believe the first step is to identify your passion. This will take time. I believe that passion are met to be a net positive in life. Even if it is not profitable or not yet profitable, it has to give you an intangible benefit like happiness.

For Vivian from Platter With Love, she “accidentally” discovered her passion. One faithful evening, she designed a platter (out of pure fun) and brought it home. She witnessed how her family was amazed and delighted at the beauty of the platter arrangement, the food, and also the taste. That was the start of her venturing into the platter business.

Step #1: What is your passion?

 

Does Time Permits?

You will need time. It is very frustrating if your passion now becomes a time burden to indulge in along with the other responsibilities you have in life. I asked a passionate hobbyist Plantssg his biggest challenge. This is what he mentioned.

“One of the biggest challenge is to make sure your assets don’t die. It must grow well and thrive”.

While he did not mention about the amount of time he spend in his garden, I personally believe he would have spend a lot of time there.

Before I scare any of you away, I would like to add another dimension to this. I believe that Time is about Consistency. It is okay not to make any money it your passion yet. It is okay to spend time on it. The most important is to consistently schedule it and commit to your passion. For now, forget about the profit and just doing it consistently will make you better and better. You will hit gold sooner or later.

Even for Liling from Ola.bakess, she had to schedule time outside of her full time job to plan for her business. Her weekends were spend baking while weekday nights were spent in business planning.

Step #2: Schedule your passion

 

Be Honest

Do you really need this passion to be profitable? Sometimes, your passion will turn to become a frustration. Just imagine while preparing your bread for your next customer, you receive a ridiculous bad review. This will definitely put a damper on your mood for the rest of your day.

Is it possible to profit from passion bad reviews

Is it possible to profit from passion ridiculous bad reviews

Honestly ask yourself if this passion needs to be profitable for it to bring happiness to the lives of yourself and others? I would rather you love the process. Not all passion has to be profitable although it can.

Step #3: Are you mentally prepared?

 

Final Thoughts

I believe that it is definitely possible to profit from passion. It is a journey of exploring, having fun consistently and if it makes you happy, profit from it! If you have a story when you tried to profit from passion, I would love to connect with you. Do email me or text me. I look forward to some of your stories.

Continue scrolling to read the interviews with fellow entrepreneurs. Wishing you the best in your passion =)

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Advisor since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.  

He will be happy to provide professional advice to you personally.

Contact: 94316449 (Whatsapp) chengkokoh@gmail.com (Email)
Telegram: Wealthdojo [Continuous Learning Channel]
Reviews: About Me

 

Special Interviews

Disclaimer: I’m a great supporter of these businesses. I do not collect any forms of remuneration by featuring them.

Vivien (Platter With Love)

  1. What made u decide to venture into selling platter with love ?
    The business is very much an extension of me as a person; my love for gastronomical fare, my love for quality time spent with family and friends, my love for variety and options, and my belief in contributing back to the community. I have worked as a school teacher before this. Despite years of teaching in schools; in primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges, I still feel inadequate. I was missing life lessons. Though I am still a teacher at heart, I had wished to be better myself as a person before heading back to the classroom (possibly in my retirement years). One evening, I designed a platter, out of pure fun and enjoyment, and brought it back to my maiden home. I witnessed how delighted my family was as they marveled at the beauty of the platter arrangement, like that of a piece of valuable art work. After digging in, the platter sparked many conversations, my family was curious as it was not a conventional fare. They enjoyed the liberty to try out different food combinations. Not only that, the platter provided something for the whole family, from my niece who was one to my grandmother who was 91 years old. Everyone huddled around the platter and delighted in the meal, it was a precious sight. That was when I resolved to turn it into a business.
  2. Before you started selling your products, how long have you been practicing making platter with love?
    Platters are a relatively new concept, especially in the Singapore market. The concept started in 2016, in Australia/New Zealand, when it was done as a grazing table at a wedding reception. The grazing table offers a variety of food options, primarily cheeses, charcuterie, fruits, and just about anything else you like. Unlike conventional buffet lines where you queue for your food, the concept allows for a freestyle selection, according to your preference. When Covid-19 hit last year, I read about many who have lost their jobs. The job market did not look promising. Instead of viewing that as a crisis, I started to do extensive research and reading up on my passion: gastronomy. I have always enjoyed experimenting and cooking. It was after months of experimentation and research, rounds of feedback from family and close friends, that we arrive at the menu we have today. At the same time, I underwent officially training as a private chef and went for food hygiene certification. I have run this business for over a year now.
  3. How much time a week do you put into running this business?
    I do not stipulate hours when it comes to running Platter With Love. As an entrepreneur, I learnt that we not only possess the ability to dream, but we need to be willing to put in the hours to set our dream into motion. Apart from customer service, fulfilling customers’ order, hours need to be put aside into creation of content for the website, maintaining customer relations, inventory checks/replenishment, licensing, etc. At the end of the day, the raving reviews from my customers are an acknowledge of my efforts. It gives my great satisfaction to know that I have done my best in ensuring happiness and bliss, (apart from a delectable food platter) are safety delivered to my customers. More importantly, the true reward comes in how this business is serving as a vehicle to donate meals to the needy in Singapore, and that makes everything is worthwhile.
Profit from passion Platter With Love

Profit from passion Platter With Love

 

Liling (Ola.Bakess)

  1. What made u decide to venture into selling Ola.Bakess?
    I just like to bake and eat macarons (Hahaha)! Macarons are very delicate almond cookies and require a lot of attention. The recipes are very challenging but I get a sense of excitement and happiness especially when it becomes perfect. It is my dream to make perfect macarons
  2. Before you started selling your products, how long have you been practicing making Macarons?
    It took me almost 1 year for my macarons to be at the level of my satisfaction. I took various courses such as macarons class to have a deeper understanding on the basic foundation. There were also a lot of try and error practice to be satisfied with the recipe.
  3. How much time a week did you put into running this business?
    This is difficult to quantify. I have a full time job. I usually do business planning during weekday evenings. My weekends are reserved for baking.
Profit From Passion Ola Bakess

Profit From Passion Ola Bakess

Why Buy Term And Invest The Rest Is Bad Advice

Why Buy Term And Invest The Rest Is Bad Advice

Why Buy Term And Invest The Rest Is Bad Advice Ferrari Joke

Why Buy Term And Invest The Rest Is Bad Advice: Ferrari Joke

Most of you might have read this joke before. Personally, I think it is easy to give a “good advice” like “stop smoking, invest the money and you will get a Ferrari in 15 years”. Realistically, is that true? I discovered that most people do not take context or circumstances into account before giving  “good advice”. This “good advice” might serve as no practical value at all if it is not applicable to the person.

In the financial world, we have many “good advice” around. In this article, I hope to debunk one “good advice”: “Buy Term And Invest The Rest”.

Speaking about advice: I’m a financial planner and here are 3 pieces of money advice no one ever wants to hear.

 

What is ‘Buy Term And Invest The Rest”?

John (imaginary figure) wants to plan for his financial journey. He read a few articles online and discovered that there are many people recommending “Buy Term And Invest The Rest”.

Buy Term: He can consider buying a Term policies for his insurance needs. A Term policy’s regular premium are generally cheaper than Whole Life Policies or an Investment Linked Policies (ILP) that serves his insurance needs (broadly speaking).

Invest The Rest: Because his regular premiums are generally cheaper, he now has more budget to invest in the stock market. He wants to invest in low cost ETFs (exchange traded funds) to reduce any fees. With low charges, this will take care of his wealth accumulation needs.

This sounds great. Personally, I think this is a great advice and a possible strategy for John to consider in his investment journey.

 

Then Why Do I Think It is “Bad Advice”?

Why Buy Term And Invest The Rest Is Bad Advice

Why Buy Term And Invest The Rest Is Bad Advice

This very simplistic advice often do more harm than good. One example that I would like to draw reference is giving advice to someone to lose weight. The secret to losing weight is very “simple”. All you need to do is just “Eat Healthy Food, Eat Less, Exercise More”. Yet, adult obesity rates in the USA (2017) is a shocking 42.4%. If people already knows this secret, then why are there still so many people who are obese?

This is because everyone’s circumstances and context is different! Duh.

Do you know that price of healthier food is around 2X of unhealthy food? For a person who is living from paycheck from paycheck, how would he/she be able to afford this new diet?

Do you know 95% of diets fail? For a person who has been on a donut diet for most of his/her life, would it be easy to follow this diet?

The conversation today is not about diet. By using the example of weight lost, I hope to be emphasize that everyone is different. This same advice could work for someone with a certain set of mindset and circumstances (maybe he is rich, having a 6 hours work week and a can-do mindset). But not for everyone.

 

So Why Is Buy Term and Invest the Rest “bad advice”?

Frankly, this advice works. But it only works with a given set of circumstances and context. You can consider this advice if you resonate with the following.

Balanced/Adventurous Risk Profile

I have the privilege of speaking to many people in my career. I have came across some partners and clients who are risk adverse in nature. They do not enjoy fluctuations in their asset prices nor do they like to see losses in their assets. Their favorite asset classes are typically fixed deposits, endowment or bonds. A stock portfolio may not be very suitable for this person’s character. Imagine if you force this individual to buy the ARK K ETF, I willing to bet that he/she will not be able to sleep well at night.

Long Holding Period

In theory, we should all be like Warren Buffett who has an “infinite” holding period. Buy term, invest the rest works ONLY if the person invest the rest and continues to invest the rest. However, this is something we don’t see practically.

A simple question to ask yourself or your friends would be this: when was the last time you sold a stock?

The average holding period of US stocks is 5.5 months. The average holding period for SGX stocks is 10 months. ETFs are slightly better. The average holding period for ETF is 6 years. If statistics shows that an average someone is only willing to hold for that short a period, then wouldn’t you be “investing the rest” temporarily? Will this help you achieve your financial goals?

I do acknowledge that there is a combination of factors that contribute to the short holding period. One example is cheap transactional cost. This seemingly good benefit actually destroyed wealth all around the world. In the past, transaction costs to trade was relatively higher that people are more willing to do it only when necessary. Because of the cheap transactional cost now, people are entering and exiting the market as if they are buying groceries in the market. Where did the long term investing go?

But my favourite is the “fear of market crash”. From 2008 until 2020, there have been thousands if not millions of articles/youtubers/gurus world wide calling for market crashes every single year. This keeps people from “investing the rest” into the stock market because they are afraid the market will crash every other month (read this again). Missing the five best days when you’re otherwise fully invested drops your overall return by 35%! Missing the best 10 days will more than halve your long-term returns. Research has again shown that not fully invested will have disastrous effects in the long run. Are you really investing in the long run?

Strong Emotional Stability (in the market)

Investing in the market is not easy. It does not matter if it is a passive strategy or an active one. Imagine if you open your brokerage account one day to see your robo-investing strategy lost 20% of your capital, will you feel afraid and fear that it will continue to drop?

I know there are some who will feel excited. However, I doubt this will apply to the general population.

Investment/Financial Planning Knowledge

When you buy term and invest the rest, there is a strong assumption that you know very specifically the kind of coverage you want and the structure for your insurance needs. At the same time, it also suggests that you know enough about stocks or ETFs to invest appropriately for the long run.

I do acknowledge that there are indeed talented individuals out there that really can do it. They don’t spend hours, they spend decades of their lives to master their financial planning.

Are you spending enough time to acquire these knowledge?

So What Is A Better Advice?

An advice is only good when an individual is able to act upon it in his unique circumstances and context. The best advice are often discovered through brainstorming, asking and answering good questions and also working with someone who is good at doing that.

Just like the best companies in the world hire the best minds in their strategy department, you should also “hire” the best minds to help you in your financial journey.

“Buy term and invest the rest” is a great strategy. However, it only works for a very specific group of individuals. You may or may not be suitable for this strategy. Remember, everyone is different.

 

Final Thoughts

I believe it is more important to focus on your priorities and your financial needs instead. It would be wise to rethink if these heavily blogged strategies (buy term and invest the rest) can serve you in your financial needs in your unique circumstances and context.

 

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Advisor since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.  

He will be happy to provide professional advice to you personally.

Contact: 94316449 (Whatsapp) chengkokoh@gmail.com (Email)
Telegram: Wealthdojo [Continuous Learning Channel]
Reviews: About Me

Participating Funds Singapore Moving Forward

Participating Funds Singapore Moving Forward

Insurance companies will be showing lowered illustrated rates after 1st July 2021. Although there is no real impact because the rates are illustrated after all, you might be wondering why is this happening? I think the most important question that you have will be this.

“Will this affect my returns in the years to come?”

Participating Funds Insurance Singapore 2020

Participating Funds Insurance Singapore 2020. Source: Business Times.

 

What is a Participating Fund?

To understand your returns better, you first need to understand what is a participating fund. You can take a look at LIA: Guide to Participating Fund. I will be summarizing some of the points in the guide.

Participating policies (such as endowment, life, retirement) are life insurance policies which provide both guaranteed and non-guaranteed benefits. The aim of a participating policy is to provide stable medium to long-term returns through the combination of guaranteed benefits and non-guaranteed bonuses. Participating funds can invest in a range of assets, including equities, in search of potentially higher returns.

This means that the participating fund need not be conservative. Equity positions in the 5 companies (as shown above) is around 30% of the entire fund. However, we need to note that insurer need to provide a guaranteed benefits.

 

The Search For Guaranteed Benefits

To back the guaranteed returns of participating policies, insurers typically invest around 70% with bonds (Side note: investing in bonds does not mean that having guaranteed returns). In the persistent low interest environment (plus the RBC2), it becomes an problem for insurers. I believe (this is my guess) that insurance companies might offer newer plans with lower guaranteed benefits in future.

Participating Funds Singapore Moving Forward

Participating Funds Singapore Moving Forward

 

Will It Affect My Overall Returns

That being said, I believe the overall returns for participating funds will improve. This is because insurers has already shown trends to shift more of the assets into equity (read my last article on the data).

However, this would mean that we need to be understand returns on a participating policy may also be volatile in future.

 

Final Thoughts

I do not think that having a lower guaranteed benefit is necessarily bad. This is because when the participating policy has a lower guaranteed benefit, it means it only needs a lower proportion of assets goes into bonds. This will free up some capital to invest in other assets such as equity. This investment mix might provide greater potential/returns for long term investment.

As mentioned above, we need to be understand returns on a participating policy may also be volatile in future. You should be instead focus on your financial needs and whether these plans (participating or not) can serve you in your financial planning.

 

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Advisor since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.  

He will be happy to provide professional advice to you personally.

Contact: 94316449 (Whatsapp) chengkokoh@gmail.com (Email)
Telegram: Wealthdojo [Continuous Learning Channel]
Reviews: About Me

Technical Mambo Jambo: RBC2

This section is only for those that are interested in the technical stuff.

Insurer are required to adopt RBC2 from March 2020. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expects the guaranteed cash flows from assets invested by the Par Fund to match the guaranteed insurance liabilities, i.e. the guaranteed benefits of the par policies. Insurers are required to hold higher capital requirements if that is not the case.

As we are in a persistent low interest environment, it would mean that the insurer have to hold even more bond positions to match the guaranteed benefits. Thus, reducing their ability to invest in the equity market. Thus, potentially reducing overall returns.

As a result, we might see new participating policies with lower guaranteed benefits. As explained above, it may be a good thing and a blessing in disguise.

Here is a 1 hour video to explain the mambo jumbo.

Should You Be Concerned About Dropping Illustrated Rates

Should You Be Concerned About Dropping Illustrated Rates

Should You Be Concerned About Dropping Illustrated Rates

The Life Insurance Association (LIA) on 2nd June 2021 has adjusted the illustrated rates of participating policies (per annum) downwards from higher range 4.75% to 4.25% and lower range 3.25% to 3%. This is to provide consumers a more realistic range of projected investment returns. Should you be concerned about the dropping illustrated rates?

Wait.. But first..

Please do not run to your financial advisors to buy your participating plans now. The changes are made on the ILLUSTRATED/PROJECTED returns and NOT the actual returns of your potential policy. Even if you buy a participating plan before 1st July, it does not mean that you “locked in the old rates”.

The insurance company will only give the actual returns in the years ahead. The illustrated/projected returns serves as a GUIDE on what a realistic return may look like in the future.

So Why Are The Illustrated Rates Dropping?

This is to provide a more realistic range of your policy returns. The insurer participating funds are a combination of bonds, equity and also other assets. I have put a screenshot of Prudential’s, Great Eastern’s and AIA’s Par Funds composition here. You would see that the biggest composition is fixed income and bonds.

AIA (2019) – 69.2%

GE (2019) – 66%

Prudential (2020) – 64.4%

AIA Par Fund 2019 Asset Allocation

AIA Par Fund 2019 Asset Allocation

GE Par Fund 2019 Asset Allocation

GE Par Fund 2019 Asset Allocation

Prudential Par Fund 2020 Asset Allocation

Prudential Par Fund 2020 Asset Allocation

Against the backdrop of the persistent low interest environment, we will expect that bond and fixed income asset classes to be affected negatively which is why the LIA has revise the illustrated rates downwards.

Bond Rates Dropping

Bond Rates Dropping

So What Are Insurers Doing?

It is my guess that the insurers have started to have a higher equity exposure in this persistent low interest environment. My suspicion has been confirmed after digging into the various companies Par Funds Asset Allocation.

Singapore Insurance Companies Par Funds Allocation Trends

Singapore Insurance Companies Par Funds Allocation Trends

For those that are interested, these are the source of information. (NTUC 2018, NTUC 2019, NTUC 2020)|(AIA 2017, AIA 2018, AIA 2019)|(GE 2017, GE2018, GE2019)|(PRU 2017, PRU 2018, PRU 2019, PRU 2020)|. You can see that for some companies, they started to have a higher equity position in their participating fund.

As reported on Today, AIA Singapore will “refresh and streamline” its product suite. Great Eastern is unable to share more details, but likely to have an impact on premiums for new policies. Prudential Singapore declined to comment.

Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo

This is not new. The last change in the illustrated rate was in 2013 due to low interest environment. These changes should not influence you to get a participating policy or not because the changes are only in the illustration.

You should be instead focus on your financial needs and whether these plans (participating or not) can serve you in your financial planning.

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Advisor since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.  

He will be happy to provide professional advice to you personally.

Contact: 94316449 (Whatsapp) chengkokoh@gmail.com (Email)
Telegram: Wealthdojo [Continuous Learning Channel]
Reviews: About Me

3 pieces of money advice no one ever wants to hear

I’m a financial planner and these are 3 pieces of money advice no one ever wants to hear

I remember my mom telling me to eat more vegetables when I was younger. At that time, I absolutely hated broccoli and only ate it because I can only play with my playstation after that. Years later, I can only assume eating broccoli was a great decision because I don’t really fall sick as often as my peers. I did not appreciate my mom’s nagging advice (I mean who did at that time) until years later.

Turns out that nagging found its’ way into adulthood. As a financial planner, I’m constantly giving money advice that no one wants to hear. But those who listened and applied the concepts tend to have better cashflow, protection and investment portfolio.

You might not like it, but it is for your own good.

3 pieces of money advice no one ever wants to hear

3 pieces of money advice no one ever wants to hear

 

#1: You Got To Save To Have Money To Invest

“I want to invest but investing more than $100/month is too much because…”

To set the context, these are people with good monthly income of around $3000 to $6000. I find it scary to have so many conversations with people who have issues setting aside money every single month BUT wants to invest. It is like wanting to bake a chocolate cake with no chocolate. Often, not having a Level #2: Abundant Surplus Creator set up is one of the main cause of failure.

Saving more than you need will buy you opportunity and freedom in the future. The usual guideline is to set aside at least 25% of your take home salary. This 25% will buy you opportunity and also freedom that you desire.

 

#2: Have A Backup Plan

“You will fail in life 33% of the time. Do you have a backup plan?”

Cancer hits 1 out of 3 people in Singapore. Each and every of us have a 33% chance of our income source robbed away when we are unable to work when we are ill. If you are lucky and detected it early, the effects may be temporary. However, if it is a major critical illness, the effects will be longer term in nature.

With COVID-19 still looming over our heads, I think it is clear that the next war we will be fighting is a Health War. No one likes to imagine the worst cause situation but if something really happens, you will be glad that you have a backup plan Level 4: Aegis Of War aka insurance especially medical and critical illness coverage.

Other forms of backup includes having adequate emergency funds.

 

#3: Don’t Time The Market. Invest For The Long Term

“I want to wait until the market crash (like in March 2020) and invest.”

You will be waiting for a long time. Before March 2020, it was Sept 2008. Before Sept 2008, it was April 2000. From 2000 to 2021, S&P500 is up roughly 189% with a CAGR of around 6%. It is certainly very easy to look back in 2008 or 2020 to say that it is the best time to invest BECAUSE it has already happened.

It is virtually impossible to predict the market. Investing may be all sunshine in 2020. However, it is not as fun and sexy as you think it is. The recent pull back has shattered some confidence in the market and you might be wondering what to do next.

Build a strategic investment plan and stick to it. We want to invest in companies that is of value and growing and hold it until it rewards us. You can take a look at some of the largest companies now that is rewarding investors. Companies such as Apple and Facebook are rewarding investors with price appreciation and also dividends over the last 10 years whether it is market crash or not.

 

Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo

Eat your veggies. Trust me, it is good for you.

 

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Advisor since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.  

He will be happy to provide professional advice to you personally.

Contact: 94316449 (Whatsapp) chengkokoh@gmail.com (Email)
Telegram: Wealthdojo [Continuous Learning Channel]
Reviews: About Me