Bear Market Survival Tips

Bear Market Survival Tips

I was hoping never to write this article because if you are here reading this, it could only means a few things.

  • We are in a bear market
  • You are in a long position with a possibility of being overleveraging
  • You don’t have a system that prepares you for this scenario

Whatever the reason you are here, I think it is quite certain that we are experience a market that is downward cha-cha.

Disclaimer: It is anybody’s guess where the market is going to be. This should not be taken as a buy/sell/hold recommendation. Please consider your own context or approach a financial advisor for advise.

Bear Market Survival Tips
Bear Market Survival Tips

Despite the fear, bear markets are nothing new. To put everyone on the same page, a bear market occurs when major stock indexes like the S&P 500 fall 20% or more from their most recent peak. They’ve occurred 12 times since 1946, which is on average once every 8 years. Most pullbacks above 20% have been associated with recessions. Hence, with the perfect long storm, politicians all over the world are most concerned about recessions.

On average, a bear market is around 9.5months. This would mean most of us will live to tell the tale assuming we are not shaken out of our position (mentally or by margin calls).

As I get more and more about how to invest in a bear market, I hope this article will be able to share with you some bear market survival tips to prepare yourself for the weeks to come.

Bear market survival tips

#1: Avoid making impulsive decisions

This makes the top of the list. Emotionally, people don’t like to be wrong (whether temporary or in the long run). Hence, when they see their portfolio in the red, many people have the temptation to “reset” their portfolio. This is detrimental to your wealth management journey and it is just a “quick fix” of escaping the mental strain.

Stay calm is the key in bear and highly volatile markets. If your time horizon is decades away, the best thing to do is to invest as if nothing has changed. Let me give you an example of a $1000 investment in the S&P 500 between 1/1/2009 and 12/31/2018 (the last market crash).

  • If you stayed invested the entire time, you’d have $2,775.
  • If you missed the 10 best-performing days during that period, your account value would be $1,722.
  • If you missed the 30 best-performing days in this 10-year period, you’d be left with $918.

I can’t emphasize how important it is to stay invested.

#2: Build your positions regularly over time

With dollar-cost-averaging (DCA), no thinking is really required. However, I recognized that it may not be easy. I saw friends who were excited about the recent bear market and have dollar cost average down the last few months.

However, they are all now NOT adding into new positions as the market is still going down. DCA is somewhat easy to say but not easy to execute consistently unless there is a system that is set up. Personally, I have averaged down on the China Market previously and it is still a bleeding position (Check out my latest SRS positions).

Time will tell. That being said, stay tune for my upcoming article: The pros and cons of dollar cost averaging.

#3: Change your strategy, diversify or play defensive

As a wealth manager, I realized risk management is something that I constantly address. If you’re still active in the markets and it is not working anymore, it might be time go passive with a lazy portfolio. If you find yourself taking too much risk, you might want to seek a more defensive portfolio.

Your current life stage might not allow you to take too much risk as compared to before. It is vital to re-assess your situation, your goals, your risk tolerance and discuss with a professional on your options.

#4: Go contrarian (Not recommended)

If you are a trader, you know better than to go against the trend. Consider taking a buy put options position to bet against a stock or ETF, this allows you to have a limited downside (as you are a buyer of the put option) and able to participate in the downward trending market.

WARNING: I have to emphasize that buying options is speculative. They may expire and be worthless if you do not have a game plan. If you are wondering what this is, do not do it. 

Final Thoughts

Stay strong. This may be the pivoting moment in your investment journey. There are so many resources you can turn to nowadays to prepare for a bear market. You can consider what Warren Buffett is doing amidst the noises.

Definitely reach out if you need help. I will be more than happy to have a conversation with you.

Otherwise, please watch out for my next article: The Pros and Cons of Dollar Cost Averaging. [Update: The article is out!]

 

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.

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.

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing
5 Principles To Self Directed Investing: Nope, that’s not my arm.

Self directed investing is an interesting journey. I struggle to write this article as the “interesting” journey was not a fun one at all. The old cliche “there are ups and downs” barely scratch the surface of investing with confidence.

As I get more and more requests to teach investment, I realised I keep repeating certain concepts for people who wants self directed investing. These concepts can be summarized into the 5 key principles. These 5 key principles separates investors from speculators.

This article will be more crucial to those who wants to focus on investing rather than speculating. If you thinking of speculating the market, this article may not be beneficial to you.

Disclaimer: The example shown below are not and should not be used as a buy/sell recommendation.

#1: First Principles

I learnt about First Principles from Elon Musk. This term was coined over 2000 years ago by Greek Philosopher Aristotle. Basically, first principle is a basic assumption that cannot be deducted any further.

One simple question that I ask people is what constitute a good company/instrument to invest in? I’m always met with weird stares and raised eyebrows because the answer is typically the flavour of the month. It used to be Cloud, then Electric Vehicles or ESG investing in the recent years. Metaverse is probably going to be a typical answer in the next few quarters.

While they are not wrong, it says nothing about the companies’ underlying business.

When you do self directed investing, you want to find companies’ whose underlying business have a certain advantage over others (otherwise coined as economic moat). This business have to exhibit certain growth potential in the years ahead. If you can’t find a business with an advantage over others, why invest in this business? If you don’t see a growth potential in this business, why risk your money in this business?

When you break investing into First Principles, it becomes easier to understand. However, it takes time to understand a business and it also take time for the company to grow. Ask yourself, are you spending enough time understanding a business and allowing it to grow?

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing First Principles
5 Principles To Self Directed Investing First Principles

#2: Learn The Language Of Money

I remember asking for directions to a famous bakery in France and it didn’t go well. A kind hearted gentlemen (at least I believed he was) asked if I wanted some pain. I will leave it to you to imagine how scared and confused I was. Anyway, pain means bread in French.

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing Language Of Money
5 Principles To Self Directed Investing Language Of Money

You see harmless jokes like these appearing at random times in our lives. We laugh about it because it don’t really impact us that much. However, it is very different when it comes to the language of money. It WILL hurt when we misinterpret this language.

The language of money in investing is basically accounting. Doing self directed investing without learning about accounting is basically suicide. While you don’t need to learn every single word in the dictionary to understand a language, you will need a certain basic level of grammar rules, vocabulary and sentence structure.

This also takes time to understand but it can be learnt quickly especially if you have a trainer or a teacher who can explain to you what the more important jargons are.

#3: The Wait is as important as the investment

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing The Wait
5 Principles To Self Directed Investing The Wait

In the era where everything can be obtained in a snap of a finger, the wait is especially difficult. Amazon’s Prime Now, our 4G internet connection, 24/7 island delivery has made things more convenient but has altered our expectation of waiting. We have to relearn how to wait.

“The stock didn’t move much.” (In 2 days)

An extreme example of a company that “didn’t really move much” is Microsoft. Microsoft is now the biggest company (by market capital) in the world right now. However, it went through decades of underperformance until it finally bore fruit for investors. Even if you have invested at the peak of the dotcom bubble until now, you would have average a CAGR of 9%.

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing The Wait MSFT
5 Principles To Self Directed Investing The Wait MSFT

Thankfully, not all companies are as extreme like this. That being said, we need to relearn how to wait.

#4: The Price To Pay

In business, everything has a certain value or worth to it. I plan to write an article on property prices in Singapore very soon as I note that there are more and more Million Dollar HDB flats in Singapore. Who determines the prices? The buyers? The sellers? The property agents?

The “smart” answer in this case is the market.

Even though the market determines the prices, it does not mean you need to accept those prices. You on the other hand have 3 decisions to make. To buy, to hold or to sell.

The market prices changes every single day which gives an opportunity to buy at a price that you want. Being a self directed investor, it is important to decide what is the price that you are willing to pay for the company. The danger comes when you are overpaying for the company.

5 Principles To Self Directed Investing The Price To Pay
5 Principles To Self Directed Investing The Price To Pay

#5: Seek Other Experts

We specialise in certain topics at a very young age of 16 to 21. We go to polytechnic and/or university and are required to take a certain discipline that we will be sticking to for at least 3 years. We then proceed to the workforce and work on that role for a good period of time.

For me, it was finance and economics. While I’m celebrating my decade in the financial institution I’m representing next year, I’m always reminded (especially during COVID-19) that I have little or no knowledge about pharmaceutical companies.

To understand these pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Moderna, I would have to ask experts in those fields if I ever would want to invest in them.

For self directed investors, it is crucial to reach out to other experts (or a community) especially if you want to find out more about those companies. These experts will probably know one or two things more than you do and that would make or break your investment decision.

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. Are you prepared?

Are there any other principles you feel should be included? 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.

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.

We are forced to be investors whether we like it or not

We are “forced” to be investors whether we like it or not

We are forced to be investors whether we like it or not Low Interest Rate
We are forced to be investors whether we like it or not: Low Interest Rate Singapore 25 Years

This one chart explains it all. It was just a “few years” back when my parents told me that it is important to save money in the bank. Saving money in the bank does have many tangible benefits. Firstly, it creates a pool of emergency funds for a peace of mind. Secondly, it gives you a lump of money to prepare for any opportunities. Thirdly, if you don’t do anything, the banks will give you up to 7% interest per annum (Dec 1980). That sounds good to me!

Fast forward to 2021, the bank is giving on average around 0.05% and it seems to be getting lower. The low interest rate environment has changed many areas of finance. Firstly, it has already affected the insurance companies’ participating plans. Secondly and more importantly, it has lead to the erosion of money.

This means that the money you have now, will be worth less in future. For every $10,000 you have in your bank, the real value of your $10,000 will be halved ~$5,454.84 in 30 years if you continue to keep money in bank. (assuming 2% inflation rate)

You can say that we are in a generation that is “forced” to invest or suffer the erosion of money value with time.

We are forced to be investors whether we like it or not Value Erosion

What It Means For You?

Whether you are in your 20s who might be working for the next 40 years (damn) or in your 50s who might be retiring for the next 30 years, we are all exposed to the same erosion. As a retiree, it is important to understand that your savings value will go down in quantity and value. As a working adult, it is important to understand that your hard earned money is worth less down the road.

There is only one obvious thing to do. Either you keep pace with inflation (endowment plans/selected bond funds/etc does a decent job for this) or you have beat inflation. If you want to beat inflation, you will most possibly be expose to other asset classes which might have higher volatility and risk. It is crucial to know your risk profile here before you proceed.  You might be not suitable for certain asset classes and it is important to talk to professional to assess this.

The Chase For Higher Yield

There are only 2 ways to do this. Either you do it yourself or let others do it for you.

Do it yourself: This is an active role. It involves many things such as knowing what asset classes to buy, what assets in the asset classes to choose from, the pros and cons associated into each assets, the co-relationship between each assets, the duration of investment, the investment thesis and when to exit. This list is not exhaustive.

There is a very strong emphasis here on the level of financial knowledge which might take years to acquire. (All this time, still spending most of your waking hour working on the job). It is a longer process but definitely rewardable.

Do it for you: This is a semi passive role. There is still a personal responsibility to know what you are investing in. Otherwise, you are completely at mercy of the provider. In Do It For You, usually a portfolio is readily available. There will be an explanation on the investment thesis and if you subscribe to the investment thesis, you can consider taking up the Do It For You.

Annual reviews or semi-annual reviews are important here to see how the investment is doing. Generally, it is a passive role after that.

 

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to do it yourself or do it for you, the reality is that you have to do something. If you don’t, the retirement journey just might be a little hard.

We are forced to be investors whether we like it or not
We are forced to be investors whether we like it or not

Till then, take care!

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.