How Do You Start Self Directed Investing

How Do You Start Self Directed Investing

How Do You Start Self Directed Investing

How Do You Start Self Directed Investing

Investing is a like taking a trip to a dream destination that you really want to go. You might feel it is nerve racking as this might be the first time you are going to take a long trip. You might also be unsure what to pack and bring. You might also feel anxious as you don’t know if you prepared enough for the trip.

If you have experience planning for a 10 days (or even longer) holiday, the skillset used there can be transferred over to investing. Here are 5 things to prepare before going on your trip.

Special note: Whether you are starting the journey or have already started, I wish everyone a safe journey.

#1: Determine Your Destination.

Many people stumble on this point right at the start. One of the most interesting conversation I ever had was with a friend in university. I remember him saying that he wants to get “many experiences” travelling. However, when I asked him where he wanted to go or what he wanted to experience, he couldn’t give me an answer. He simply stared at me said “anywhere lah”.

In the end, he didn’t go anywhere at all. He just couldn’t decide.

It is the same for investing, you might want to be a self directed investor because you want to make more money but you might not know how much you need to make. Although “the more the better” is relevant here, the lack of destination creates a tension in your mind because your brain don’t know what to do. In the end, most people don’t start.

Knowing your destination is simply require simple mathematics. I’m going to assume the following.

Assumption:

I want $5,000 monthly or $60,000 yearly for my retirement.

I wish to retire at age 55. Since male mortality is age 83 (female is 88), I would require 28 years of $60,000 or $1,680,000.

In this simple illustration, you would have already determined your destination. It is time to start packing.

#2: Buy A Map / Make Sure You Have Google Maps

If I were to ask you to drive from your house to Tuas Crescent 1, would you be able to do it? Unless you know Tuas very well, it would be very difficult and time consuming. This issue escalates for longer journeys. Imagine, asking someone to drive to Four Season Hotel in Thailand, Bangkok without a map.

For self directed investors, one of the most important thing is to have a map. This map is a strategic game plan that allows you to move from Point A to Point B. It is a map that would show you where are the possible danger spots and route to take.

via Gfycat: Looks easy?

In investing, we call this a game plan. There are several game plans out there. Each and every of them will eventually get you to your end goal. Some example of game plans are like ETF dollar cost investing, Robo-investing, Value investing, Growth investing, Value-Growth investing, Options investing, Momentum Growth Investing, Multi-Asset Value-Growth investing or trading. These game plans are created by people who have gone ahead of us and are itineraries that we can consider.

You might prefer certain itineraries to others. Some of more “adventurous”, some take the safer route. However, the lack of tour guides means that you have to take ownership of the trip.

You might find yourself stuck at this stage because you don’t know which is the best route to follow. My advice is to try out any path. This is because you will quickly understand which paths fits you the best ONLY IF you step on that path. You can also change your path along the way.

#3: Get Your Passport

A passport allows to travel across countries. For investing, the passport is your brokerage account. It allows to buy and sell. This is the most straight forward step for self directed investors.

You can consider between the brokerage account in the traditional banks or the new brokerage accounts like Moomoo or Tiger.

There may be promotions at different periods. If you have enjoyed reading this article, I would appreciate if you could register an account with my referral above. Appreciate it loads!

#4: Leave The House

I remember leaving my house for my student exchange in Sweden. There was a mixture of excitement, fear, uncertainty and I missed home suddenly. Of course, that trip turned out to be one of the best trips I ever did in my life.

Our house is our “comfort zone” and in the same way, investing into the stock market is usually outside our comfort zone especially if you have never invested before.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It is only when you put in real money into investing can your journey truly begin.

Leave The House Uppsala

Leave The House: One of my favorite photos of Uppsala, Sweden

#5: Keep Track of Your Progress

Nothing is more scary than being lost. One of my first solo trips was to Taiwan. My plane landed in Taipei and I was trying to get to Kaohsiung. In my very silly attempt to save money, I decided on taking the bus to Kaohsiung instead of taking the train.

It took me 8 hours from Taipei to Taichung by bus and I knew something is wrong. My phone battery was going to be flat and I was meeting a friend in 3 hours time. I transferred to the next train to Kaohsiung (in the end, I spent even more money) and landed at Zuoying Station. I happily told my friend that I will be waiting for them at MacDonald. My friend asked me which one? Who knew that there was Zuoying Station and Xin Zuoying Station. My phone battery took one last breath before shutting down.

Luckily~ my friends found me on their first try.

It is the same for investing. Sometimes we do get caught up in the moment and make irrational decisions. It is crucial to acknowledge when you are lost and change directions immediately. It would be easier especially if you have a group of mentors whom are familiar with the workings of the market.

Even if you are on the right direction, take note of your milestones and celebrate them when it comes.

Final Thoughts

Being a self directed investor gives you a lot of control but you have to learn how to control it. It will take both time and effort. Starting is very scary but once you start, I can assure that it will be a well lived life.

Are there any other tools you feel you need to get started? Let me know in the comment below.

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant 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.  

Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.

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

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.

SRS Last Chance Save 1 year with $1

SRS Last Chance: Save 1 year with $1

SRS Last Chance Save 1 year with $1

SRS Last Chance Save 1 year with $1

SRS is a voluntary scheme to help individuals save for retirement in additional to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) saving.

The SRS offers tax benefits and you can find a quick summary of SRS here. This information is crucial to you especially if you are above 40. I will be conducting a SRS webinar in the next few weeks. Join my Telegram Group where I share 1 financial tip a day where I will be posting more details.

Why is this a last chance?

SRS allows you to make penalty free withdrawals from your SRS on or after the statutory retirement age (currently at 62) that was prevailing at the time of your first SRS contribution. 

In the National Day Rally in 2019, it is already made know that the statutory retirement age will increase to 63 (in 2022) and 65 (by 2030).

This means that if you don’t make your first SRS contribution before 2022, your penalty free withdrawal year will increase by 1 year to age 63. This is your last chance in doing so.

SRS Last Chance Retirement Age Increase National Day Rally 2019

SRS Last Chance Retirement Age Increase National Day Rally 2019

How much do I need to contribute?

All it takes is $1. You didn’t hear me wrong. You don’t need to invest in anything yet. The account opening only require $1 (and around 1 minute). The purpose of it is to “lock in” your statutory retirement age to be 62. You can find out more in one of my most read article last year called the $1 SRS strategy.

You can then consider to invest it or think about investing using your SRS in future.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I think it is a no-brainer to open the account. The “opportunity cost” is just $1. That being said, the choice is still yours at the end of the day.

For those of you who have opened your accounts. What are you investing in currently?

Let me know in the comments below.

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant 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.  

Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.

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

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.

The Great Debate Credit Card Or Debit Cards

The Great Debate: Credit Card Or Debit Card

The Great Debate Credit Card Or Debit Cards

The Great Debate Credit Card Or Debit Cards

I have never owned a credit card. Despite credit card companies having great promotions, I felt that it was simply a gimmick to go down the slippery slope. I personally saw how close friends (educated poor) raked up over tens of thousands of debts because of these shiny cards. My Telegram channel where I share one financial tip a day also know I shut this off totally.

Until 2021, this year I applied for my first credit card while doing research on how to save on big ticket purchases.

So what changed? I want to share a new perspective of what I learnt this year and hope this can somehow change your news on these cards in our wallets.

What is a Credit or Debit Card?

Both credit and debit cards have made it easier and more convenient to do purchases whether it is online of in stores. There is one key difference.

Credit Cards: It allows you to borrow money from the card issuer up to a certain limit to purchase an item or withdraw cash.

Debit Cards: It allows you to draw money that you have deposited in the bank.

Basically, credit card uses other people’s money and a debit card uses your money.

I want to draw on 3 points for you to consider before you make a decision for yourself.

#1: Responsibility

Do you have spending issues? Trust me, I met people who have and they were the ones who encouraged me to write The Ultimate 4 Quadrants Shopping Guide. They have been using it like a bible since then. I do think it is important to know and accept what kind person we are. It is only with this knowledge and acceptance that can allow us to create a solution for you.

Often, I see people who denies or dismiss their true self makes their debts even worse.

For people who have spending issues, get a Debit Card.

#2: Benefits

If you are well disciplined with your finances, you may explore what benefits Credit Cards have. Some offers cashbacks while others offers miles. Some might give you a luggage or even upfront cash when you sign up! This is quite straight-forward.

It is a hands down win for Credit Card here. The only thing you have to make sure is to pay it all up before your interest comes in.

#3: Security

I truly appreciate this a few years ago when I received an SMS from OCBC saying that $3000 has been deducted from my debit card. This message was received when I was in office attending a training and I don’t have any transaction of that size. I logged into to my OCBC account to verify and indeed the amount was deducted. To tell you the truth, I felt nausea when I received the sms.

I have long lost that SMS but I have found something similar from Stomp.

The Great Debate Credit Card Or Debit Cards Security

The Great Debate Credit Card Or Debit Cards Security

I immediately dialed for OCBC. For what felt like decades (for those of you who have called the bank before, you would know how long it took), a customer service representative replied. I appreciated the representative was clear and calm. He advised some paperwork, asked me to dispose of my current debit card and arranged a new one to arrive in a few working days.

However, he was hesitant when I asked when I will receive the $3000 back. He mentioned the bank will do the appropriate investigation and will take a few weeks before the amount will be back in my bank again.

Eventually, I did get my $3000 back in my account. It took slightly lesser than 2 weeks. However, I felt worried all the time.

Credit cards on the other hand, serves as a border between your personal money and the transaction. In an event of an identify theft or stolen card, it will be less stressful as it is technically not your money. I never truly appreciated the value of Credit cards until this happened.

Final Thoughts

I have 1 credit card which I used mainly for my transactions. I reap some benefits by getting cashbacks from my transaction and yes, I do make sure I pay on time.

Which will you choose? Credit cards or debit cards? Let me know in the comments below.

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant 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.  

Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.

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

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.

My SRS Portfolio Sept 2021

My SRS Portfolio and Thoughts [Sept 2021]

My SRS Portfolio Sept 2021

My SRS Portfolio Sept 2021

We are done to the last quarter for the year. Have you accomplished your goals? Hope that things have been going well for you. In any case, this article is a simple reporting for my SRS updates.

Disclaimers: This is not and should not be taken as a buy/sell recommendation.

If you would like to see my past quarter thoughts, you can refer to March2021 and June2021.

It is also close to the end of the year, you might be considering SRS investment. Please refer my most read SRS article, 5 Things You Need To Know About SRS to learn more.

My Thoughts And Consideration

My SRS Portfolio Sept 2021 Data

My SRS Portfolio Sept 2021 Data

The elephant in the room is the exposure into Chinese Technology Stocks (SGX:HST). It has obviously pulled down the entire portfolio as 50% of my portfolio is invested into it. Unfortunately, this SRS portfolio is still small and there is a concentration risk that I acknowledged.

Policymakers in China announced regulatory reforms that has impacted sectors like construction (think Evergrande), private education (think TAL Education Group) and Technology companies that are handling data (think Didi).

In the case of my SRS impact, it was due to the technology sector. As you can see in the Top ETF holding for SGX:HST, it haven’t been doing well year to date.

SGX HST ETF Top 25 Holdings

SGX HST ETF Top 25 Holdings

I remain positive in this exposure as this ETF is invested into quality Chinese companies that can deliver sustainable growth in the next 3 to 5 years. With high internet penetration in China, I believe the performance of the companies will follow suit.

SGX: BTOU is a recovery play in the portfolio. The recovery will depend on COVID19 recovery attempts in US. I’m optimistic that the recovery towards working in office will come in 3 to 5 years time.

Lastly, I’m still considering if I should inject new capital into the SRS portfolio.

Final Thoughts

Disclaimer: this is not and should not be taken as a buy/sell recommendation. Like what Charlie Munger famously said: the big money is not in the buying or selling.. but in the waiting.

We have be having a 3 parts webinar for last quarter of the year. Feel free to reach out to me for more information.

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant 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.  

Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.

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

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.

 

 

Purge Your Money Burdens

Purge Your Money Burdens

As I’m writing this, I am clearing out some old books from my cupboard. I looked at some of them and wondered how it managed to be on my shelves for so long. Some of the books have long served their purposes and probably could do with a new owner.

As I look at the tidier shelves, I struck me that my “financial journey cupboard” was cluttered years back. It was only months later that I realised that some of those things should have been removed.

Purge Your Money Burdens

Purge Your Money Burdens (Photo: Source)

Our worries and burden comes from things that are cluttered. Think about the last time you had a tough day a work, it might be because of “things are not moving”, “stuff piling up” or “too many things to do at one time” You have a clutter problem. Just like finances, things might have piled up before you could have realise it.

If you are feeling stuck in your financial journey, this article might help you purge the money burdens.

First: List Out Everything

This is the heavy lifting that most financial services consultants will do to help you declutter. Here is a list of things that you have to find before we can purge your burdens

  1. List out all your incomes sources (last 3 months)
  2. Print out your credit card statements (last 3 months)
  3. List out all your insurance coverage
  4. Your latest loan amount
  5. Your latest assets amount

In a nutshell, you can see that you are listing our your assets, liabilities, income and expenditure. This is allow you to have a clearer picture of your networth and also cashflow.

Second: Purge

You might have discovered that you might have some income or expenditure that you should purge. Let me help you list out some of the most purgeable items.

  1. Subscription that are recurring are usually forgotten. They might be your Netflix account, your Spotify account or Seeking Alpha assess. Purge out those that you have not used for the last 3 months but are still paying for it. If you have not use it for the last 3 months, you probably won’t be using it for the next 3.
  2. Purge out income sources that are not efficient. You might be doing a little of everything (mystery shopping, survey, Network Marketing, Fiverr, Grab). Potentially, you might have became too tired by spreading yourself too thin. Focus on one and let it grow.
  3. Is there an extra insurance coverage that you have bought years ago? Is there a loan that you can paydown or refinance? Re-analyze your assets and liabilities and purge those that should be gone.

Third: Recreate

Your financial journey is not only about clearing. It is also about recreating. It is only with a clearer lens that you will be able to organise and add for the future.

  1. Is your insurance serving you well at your current life stage? If not, what can you do about it?
  2. What kind of assets can I focus on based on my risk appetite? Should you top up your SRS? Should you contribute more to your CPF?
  3. How can I enhance my income? Is it adding about new skillset?

Move forward. If you are stuck again, don’t be afraid to do another purging exercise until you are satisfied.

 

Final Thoughts

To those that might be thinking the more the better (especially when it comes to income sources). This exercise helped me a lot during a time I was overstretching. I discovered I had 12 income sources and I was spreading myself extremely thin. I couldn’t focus on all 12 and eventually didn’t do well in all 12. It was really painful experience. I had then purge 9 of them and focusing on 3 right now.

Hope that you will have a better financial journey than I do. Till then, stay safe!

Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant 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.  

Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.

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

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.