Monday, June 30, 2008

Stock transactions and June portfolio summary June 08




Starhub: 35000 shares@ $2.92

Realised gains of $1100


Starhub: 3000 shares@ $2.67

HL Finance: 3000 shares@ $3.41


Starhub: 3000 shares @ $2.73

Realised gains of $165 (CPF)


In June 08, I have received $1,575 of dividends from Starhub. Together with the capital gains, I made a net profit (cash) of $2,675 in a month's time.

The reason I sold starhub is to free up more cash to pick up bargains at current valuations. In fact, I queued daily for 10 lots of SPH @ $4.20 daily but with no luck at all!

Also, I am worried that Starhub's profitability may be threatened due to number portability and increased advertising expenditure. Considering Starhub Q1's report, EPS is @ 4.5 cents, dividend payout is also 4.5 cents, a 100% dividend payout ratio. I am concern if Starhub can keep up with the dividend payout.

Nonetheless, I will keep Starhub under my radar screen and will start to buy again when Starhub drops below $2.65.

Currently, I feel that HL Finance, SPH and Suntec Reit are worth a second look as they are trading at attractive valuations. I will monitor them closely and buy at huge dips.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Staying single

I have been meaning to write an article on staying single for quite some time. Due to work commitments and procrastination, I did not get about penning my thoughts down.

After reading the article by Anthony Yeo, again I see the social stigma on singles resounding strongly, pushing many singles to the track of marriage. Singles even have to pay more income tax than married couples.

Yet marriage is not for everyone.

Consider the high standard of living, the rat race, office politics and other stressful aspects of life in Singapore, being married is more bane than boon. In fact, when I observe around, the only happily married couples are those married recently. For those who are married above 5 years, they face a higher stress level in work as they cannot afford to screw up due to family commitments. Hence, they can only be Mr. or Mrs. Yes people when it comes to work “arrows”.

I am not saying staying single will definitely guarantee more happiness than being married. Nor am I saying being married will be the sure way of losing freedom and happiness.

I do feel that many married couples get married for a variety of (perhaps wrong) reasons. For instance, natural progression of our romance, our combined income nearing $8000, hence “better” get married before we are not eligible for the grant, parents nagging, friends are getting married one by one (herd mentality), wanting to have kids at an earlier age, already have a kid!, property are at attractive valuations, found a nice HDB flat at a good location, can’t wait to get out of my family (perpetual conflicts), everyone knows we are together and we will “lose face” if we do not get married, we are together for many years already, I cannot find a better one anyway, I am getting old etc.

The list can go on and on.

Being a rational person (or at least I try to be), getting married is a life time investment. A wrong choice can literally upset your life and leave you 50% poorer. It takes careful planning and thorough evaluation before the big commitment. Yet the above reasons are often emotional and even impulsive. How can we expect marriage to be happy when romance dies off (almost certainly as time progresses) and hope for happily ever after? Are we leaving our happiness too much to fate and hope?

Having gone through a number of relationships with Singaporean girls, I do have my reservations on marriage. I have seen many heartlanders or “girl next door” expecting high standards from their partner. Car, stable income, potential high income, good family background, university degree, presentable looks and built, humourous, witty, gentlemanly, intelligent, caring, generous, good dress sense, enjoys talking on phone etc.

Although I shamelessly admit that I possess the above characteristics, I do feel stressful to keep up with the “natural selection” criteria of the Singaporean girl. I do not blame them for it though. Consider the typical small family size in our local context, all boys and girls are gems of the family and are brought up with good education and material comfort. I cannot expect them to “downgrade” after marrying me right?

Yet I do not see the point being entangled in romance, enter a journey of marriage and eventually tomb of divorce. The girls can continue to keep their high standards, I respect your selection criteria. However, I will definitely stay vigilant and not fall into the marriage trap. Staying single and living with parents grant me absolute autonomy of lifestyle: I have no curfews, I can invite my friends for mahjong, I can watch soccer till wee hours of the morning, I have my laundry and ironing done faithfully, I do not have to worry about utilities or breakdowns, I do not have to tolerate PMS, I do not have to visit in laws, I do not have to wash the plates and get scolded for making a mess, I have freedom.

The reasons may be simple and even selfish, but at least it is my choice, my free will. I do not allow myself to be subjected to peer pressure, herd mentality and societal expectations.

Hence for those singles reading my blog, you have not made the wrong choice!

For the married ones, I respect you, and wish you all the best for your marriage!!

Anthony Yeo: Marriage - an unsettling experience

Copied from Sunday Times, 29 June 2008

People believe that June is a good month for marriage. Somehow this is the month for weddings, and with the recent series of activities in conjunction with enhancing family life in Singapore, marriage is certainly in the air.

Weddings are usually much celebrated events often attended by enthusiastic guests, including single or unattached adults.

Along with the carnival spirit infused into the celebration are those well-meaning married guests who inevitably accost singles with the inevitable 'So, when is your turn?' query.

Single adults know all too well what this means and often respond with polite responses such as 'You'll know when it comes' or 'I guess it's not time yet'.

Somehow we tend to believe that marriage is for everyone and, all too often, unattached adults are singled out as targets for prospective coupling in marriage.

There is also a commonly held notion that to get married is to 'settle down', in contrast to being unmarried suggesting that the latter is to be saddled with an 'unsettled' state of life.

Somehow there is a prevailing idea that this 'unsettled' state is synonymous with being uncertain, fickle-minded, frustrated or incomplete.

With all the earnest drive to promote marriage in Singapore, singles tend to be unsettled by the idea that fulfilment and happiness in life is to be experienced primarily in 'marital bliss'.

This prevailing idea seems to defy my observation of the many couples who have sought help for marital conflict.

Each time I encounter married people afflicted with marital woes, I am reminded of how marriage tends to be an unsettling experience.

I have also been left with the unsettled feeling, wondering why so many had chosen to be married when they could have had a less stressful life if they had stayed single.

Of course, the other unsettling feeling is the painful journey I traverse with those who have the courage to go their separate ways.

As I ponder over this issue, I sometimes wish that marriage was not held in such high regard, with less focus on the romantic ideals of a peak experience that marriage seems to promise.

Those who contemplate marriage would do well to confront the reality that marriage can be an unsettling experience rather than one where couples live happily ever after.

The way I see it, marriage promises to be unsettling as couples need to be prepared for a lot of adjustment to living with someone quite unfamiliar to oneself, learning to adapt to each other's idiosyncrasies, growing together as partners in life and coping with all the demands that marriage and family life brings.

It is also prudent to be aware that romance, if it is ever experienced, is not everlasting and may in fact fade months after the honeymoon is over.

Conflicts are inevitable and there will be many issues to be negotiated, such as relationships with the in-laws, work-home relationships and friendships with those outside of marriage.

The more I work with couples with marital conflict, the more I am concerned that marriage should not be entered into lightly. It is also fallacious to believe that life will be incomplete and unfulfilling if a person is not married.

There is more to life than marriage and no one should be made to feel deprived of what life offers if the choice is to be single.

Friday, June 27, 2008

No time to blog!

For readers who have faithfully followed my blog, I apologise for my tardiness in blogging. The simple reason is that I am back to work and everyday is a mad rush. I get back home daily, feeling extremely tired. As I slouch on the sofa and feel thirsty, I cannot even summon enough energy to bring myself a cup of tea.

That is how draining my work is, an integration of construction worker and war strategist.

I think you get the idea.

In fact, I do have quite a bit to update on my investments. This month has been quite a good month for me as I sold off some of my holdings for a profit, collected dividends and also bought Hong Leong Finance.

I will be updating on Monday (hopefully) on my portfolio and gains for June.

Thank you for following my blog closely. I get about 100 over viewers daily, quite an amazing feat for a 2 month old blog!

Thanks dudes and babes!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It can't drop further

I was chatting with a colleague over at MSN when he happily told me that he had bought China New Town at $0.16 today. Apparently, he was extremely bullish on this stock.

His reason? It had dropped over 80% since it's IPO and he believes it is high time for it to rebound. Most importantly, he happily told me: "I don't think it can drop further."

Well, I can't bear to tell him that almost any stock at a given price can drop another 99% before it reaches $0.005.

Why is China New Town (CNT) sinking like nobody's business? I believe it has go to do with it's fundamentals.

Or rather, the lack of it.

CNT FY 07 reported a turnover of RMB$363m. Not a bad figure, except that profits after expenditure is a loss of RMB$290m.

No dividend was declared (obviously).

Basically it's selling point is still the sexy story it sold during its IPO. I caution my readers to be careful about buying such speculative stocks.

Again, you will have a better chance putting your money on Croatia (against Turkey).

In fact, I am worried that my colleague actually makes money from CNT. It will foster his belief that stocks that have sinked more than 80% is a good deal. I hope he did not have to pay much to understand investment basics!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stretch your dollars series: Get $58 for applying HSBC platinum card

While surfing today, I came across HSBC promotion. Apparently by answering 6 simple questions correctly, one will get $18 credited into his/her new credit card. If you apply for HSBC’s platinum card, you will also get $40 cash rebate, on top of the $18.

The questions are easier than you think!

I think this is much better than getting so silly spa vouchers or bag as signing up gifts.

Cash is the most welcome, anytime!

$58 is just a few clicks away!

Link below:

Monday, June 16, 2008

BT: Buyback activities surge as stock prices plunge

Excerpts from BT online
June 7, 2008

THE steep fall in the market this month which saw the Straits Times Index plunge by nearly 7 per cent to 2,979.56 points on Friday has resulted in a surge in the buyback activity and increase in the sales by institutional shareholders. The sharp fall in share prices also prompted directors of several firms to buy shares for the first time since listing.

On the buybacks side, a total of 17 listed firms have recorded 102 repurchases worth $25.4 million so far this month. The number of companies has already exceeded the 15 firms that bought back shares last month and there are still two weeks remaining in June.

The number of trades and value, on the other hand, are not far off from the previous month's 130 repurchases and $38.2 million.

Among the firms that recorded rare buybacks and initial director purchases this month are SC Global Developments and StarHub Ltd.

Fund managers, on the other hand, bumped up their sales from the previous week with huge disposals in AusGroup Limited, Zhonghui Holdings, and Yellow Pages (Singapore) Limited. To show how bearish the institutional shareholder sentiment was last week, several fund managers sold heavily at below their initial filing prices.

There was a rare insider buy and more buybacks in information, communications and entertainment services provider StarHub Ltd this month.

CEO Steven Terrell Clontz recorded the first trade by a director of the company since the stock was listed in October 2004 with 150,000 shares purchased on June 13 at $2.68 each. The trade increased his direct holdings to 6.8 million shares or 0.4 per cent.

The company, on the other hand, bought back 800,000 shares from June 4 to 6 at $2.84 each. The group previously acquired 600,000 shares from May 20 to 21 at $2.84 each and 5.4 million shares from August to December 2007 at $2.78 to $3.00 each.

The rare insider buy and repurchases since May were made on the back of the drop in the share price since the second half of April from $3.14.

StarHub Ltd announced its first quarter results on May 7 with net profit up by 14.5 per cent to $80.1 million for the three months to March 31, 2008. The stock closed at $2.70 on Friday.
Sgbluechip says: Share buy back mandate allows the companies to stabilize its share prices during negative market conditions (like now), weed out speculators and inject confidence in shareholders.

Personally I feel if you see insiders buying up their own shares in huge amounts, it is a good sign. After all, there are many reasons for human to sell his shares, but only one reason to buy shares.

To make more money!

Vietnamese brides for sale!

I find the above video rather sad. Young, pretty Vietnamese girls are shipped to Singapore to become brides of single, fat, old men.

The price? SGD $10,000.

The Vietnamese brides to be have to go through screening for diseases and virginity tests.

I find it rather humiliating from the girl’s perspective to go through the virginity test.
After all, did the men they are marrying go through the same tests?

Is the cost of a ticket from third world to first, one’s body, pride and soul?

Readers are welcome to leave comments after watching the above video.

On a lighter note, one of the girls in the video is really quite chio!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bonds or equities?

“For no fee at all I am prepared to offer to any wealthy person an investment program which will last a lifetime and will not only preserve the estate but greatly increase it. Like other great ideas, this one is simple:

When there is a stock-market boom, and everyone is scrambling for common stocks, take all your common stocks and sell them. Take the proceeds and buy conservative bonds. No doubt that the stocks you sold will go higher. Pay no attention to this - just wait for the depression, which will come sooner or later. When the depression - or panic - becomes a national catastrophe, sell out the bonds (perhaps at a loss) and buy back the stocks. No doubt the stocks will go still lower. Again pay no attention. Wait for the next boom. Continue to repeat this process as long as you live, and you have the pleasure of dying rich.
A glance at financial history will show that there never was a generation for whom this advice would not have worked splendidly. But it distresses me to report that I have never enjoyed the social acquaintance of anyone who managed to do it… The chief difficulties, of course, are psychological. It requires buying bonds when bonds are generally unpopular; and buying stocks when stocks are universally detested.”

~Fred Schwed Jr

Sgbluechip says: Currently the bond markets are experiencing high interest and subscription due to poor equity returns. However, it is precisely that one should long equities and short bonds to be able to profit from the next cycle. Anybody can be rich but not EVERYBODY will be rich. Going with the herd will not yield you anything more than mediocre gains. Investing in equities during a bear market takes courage. But do not forget, after every bear market will be an even longer phase of a bull market. Bonds will lose value then. Look further than what is on the table now to profit from the next cycle.

It is harder to meet a bear market than a bull market as traditionally, bull market phases last longer than bear market phases. Hence, count yourself lucky to meet a bear market (like now) as it allows you to buy great businesses at wonderful prices!

PS: Sgbluechip on 3 days leave from work!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quick review on The prehistoric investor

I have finished reading the book after much procrastination and idle! To be fair, the ideas in the book are not extraordinary. However, it serves as a good reinforcement to my investment guiding principles.

Basically, the recurring theme is to highlight human’s fallacy in the stock markets as we are always too emotional for our own good.

The book explains in great detail how our survival instinct is actually detrimental for us to profit in the stock market and influencing us to make the worst decisions at the worst possible time.

The prehistoric investor is an excellent bedtime read as it is not too heavy going yet informative. However, I do believe that only those who have some experience trading in the stock markets will be able to relate the common mistakes highlighted in the book.

One thing I want to highlight is that the author’s portfolio is mainly small cap companies. Many of these companies mentioned in the book (written in 2004) have actually performed poorly. Example: OSIM and Sunray, which was quoted umpteen times for their great growth potential (then). We know that they are trading at historical lows now.

There are many excellent quotes in the book which I would be posting on my blog randomly for education purposes.

Mr. Market dances before us without a care in the world. And why not? He has no responsibilities at all. As an economic gigolo, he has only one objective: to be "attractive." Meanwhile, Mr. Value, a remarkably stolid and consistent fellow, never shows -- and seldom stimulates -- any emotion. He lives in the cold, real world where there is nary a thought about perceptions or feelings. He works all day and night inventing, making and distributing goods and services. His job is to grind it out on the shop floor, at the warehouse, and in the store, day after day, doing the real work of the economy. His role may not be emotionally exciting, but it is important. Mr. Value always prevails in the long run. Eventually, Mr. Market’s antics -- like sand castles on the beach -- come to naught.

~Charles Ellis

Friday, June 13, 2008

Steer clear of IPOs for now

I advise my readers not to ballot for IPOs at current market sentiments. It is actually difficult to invest on IPOs by looking at their prospectus. Many have painted beautiful pictures to attract potential investors.
If we were to analyse the IPOs launched last year, some have sinked more than 50%. Example: Z-Obee, China New Town, China Oil Field (down about 40%). Even REITS of "defensive" nature were not spared, like Saizen, down 30%.
The probability of making money from trading IPOs is less than 40%.
If you want to "bet" on IPOs, perhaps Singapore pools will offer better odds!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stretch your dollars series: Borrowing to invest

I received a mailer advertisement with my UOB cashplus statement. Initially I thought it was the usual 0% interest fund transfer with a 5% processing fee.

Nope, this time the processing fee is only 1.5% with 6 months 0% interest rate.

The minimum amount to borrow is $10,000. The website is here:

(According to my mailer, the promotion ends 15 July, not June 30 stated on the website.)

A quick calculation shows that the annualized interest rate is roughly 3.4%, 2% higher than SIBOR.

This is certainly enticing to me!

The interest accrued is actually $150 upfront. If you have read my stretch your dollar series
here, I have planned to use $1000 to pay my starhub bills in advance, together with my usual definite expenses. In this way, I can get a 10% rebate of $100. Now, even if I just leave $9000 in the fundsupermart cash fund for 6 months, at a conservative yield of 1% PA, I can get back $45 after 6 months. Which means the cost of borrowing is only $5 for 6 months!

Of course I still have to pay back a minimum sum of 3% (roughly $300) per month for 6 months before the 18% PA interest rate is reverted. Hence the borrowing cost is at most $10 for 6 months.

What’s the plan now?

I am actually planning to use the $10,000 this manner:

1) $1,000 for advance payments to obtain cashback of 10%
2) Invest $9,000 into Singpost before XD. In this way, by December 2008, the total dividends I have collected will be 5 cents per share, yielding roughly $450.

My total gain will be $550. After interest deduction of $150, my yield will be $400. By December I will be able to repay the remaining amount of $8200 (estimated) as my year end bonus is usually above $10,000.

In a way, I see it as advancing my year end bonus to invest into Singpost business now.

However, my current credit limit is only $8000, based on my payslip 2 years ago. Hence I need to send them a written mail and latest payslip to “upsize” my credit limit.

I hope they can increase my credit limit to $10,000 in time or else I will not take up the fund transfer promotion at any higher rates.

If I get lucky, I can win an Audi R8 too! Though I will definitely put up for sale to buy more Singapore Blue Chips!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If you have read my investment philosophy, I describe myself as a farmer who diligently plough my fields and look after my fruit orchards, while waiting patiently for my harvest.

Currently, the climate has turned for the worse; some of my fruit trees and crops appear weak. Some of my neighbours have started selling off their fields and going after the latest commodities rush. Others have started mining for gold, coal or switched planting palm trees, by burning off their planted crops prematurely to free up existing land.

A few cash rich businessmen have been looking for me the past few days. They are offering a ridiculously low price for the trees in my fruit orchard.

“Look! The climate has turned for the worse and it is highly likely you will lose everything if you hang on to your stupid trees! You better cut loss and keep the money for the rainy days!” One of the businessmen suggested shrewdly.

“My trees are fundamentally strong and have been through the worst climate. Yet they often offer me juicy fruits upon harvest. Some of them are actually more than 40 years old! Yet they are still growing strong and giving me good returns. ” I replied nonchalantly, not even bothering to bargain for a higher price for my trees.

“The whole world is selling off their fields and plantation! Look at your neighbours! They are now making so much more by investing in commodities! Are you saying the whole world is wrong except you?” Another businessman argued.

“Herd mentality.” I muttered. Just like the sheep I rear, they like to go near the wolves den together, without knowledge of danger. That’s the real risk, I thought quietly.

“You are going to regret this! Don’t ever come crying to me if your crops and trees can’t survive the climate! The businessmen stormed off.

Quietly I went back to my chest and look at my savings.

I think it is a good time to take over a portion of my neighbours’ plantations.

It’s the Great Cavemen Sale again!

EURO Fever

I am in a state of daze everyday due to the late nights EURO! I am actually not a soccer fan, but rather an uncle gambler! As most of my friends are football fanatics, our supper meet ups usually revolve around the latest bets. Hence inevitably, I am “embroiled” into the soccer (gambling) season!

My current “investment yield” in EURO 2008 is as follows:

Matches/ Gains or (loss)

Switzerland VS Czech Republic/ ($10)

Lost $10 at opening match to show my support for host country.

Austria VS Croatia/ $60

Won $60 when I placed a $100 bet against Croatia.

Germany VS Poland/ $38

Won $38 for supporting Germany!

France VS Romania/ ($50)

Lost $50 for believing in the French.

Spain VS Russia/ $ 32

Won $32 by placing a $50 bet to support Spain.

Subtotal: $70

Capital: 310

Gain for the week: 70/310 = 22.5%

I advocate my readers not to bet on soccer as the (SINGAPORE POOLS) odds are simply against the gambler! Though when possibilities (of winning) are in perspective, probabilities (of losing) get thrown out of sight!

It is likely I will not carry on betting on the EURO as the results are much tougher to predict relative to World Cup. I realized that the standard of the EURO teams that are playing are similar to World cup Semi finalist contenders. Score margins are pretty thin and the probabilities of draw matches become higher as the teams progress.

Although the amount I place for the bets are small, I am often too concern of the match outcome to sleep properly. I do wake up in the middle of the night (unplanned) to check the results and have difficulty sleeping thereafter.

In fact, I am down with a mild fever due to poor sleep. Hence, the capital outlay is not only monetary but also my health. Thus, I will now choose to keep my profits and eradicate my silly gambling habit to restore my mind and body.

I shall say NO to gambling for now!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Technical analysis is not for me

Perhaps it is due to my low intelligence level, I find technical analysis a profound science (and art) to comprehend. Having read various books on fundamental and technical analysis, I am skeptical about any form of technical analysis.

The way I look at it is this: If graphs and charts can supposedly predict the stock market's movement accurately, why are we not warned of the countless market crashes?

Look at today's PhilipCapital technical analysis:

"The current rally we are seeing rose from a bottom that took 3 months to form and it is thus unlikely that it will end in 3 months – generally the time taken for the market to rally is longer than the time taken for it to consolidate. However, the current rally has lasted for 3 months straight and we are currently due for a technical correction.

The intermediate trend is still up, but the short term is currently trending down – a healthy correction. "

I do not understand the meaning of "intermediate trend is still up, but the short term is currently trending down".

This sentence will always hold true. If market recovers tomorrow, it shows the IMMEDIATE trend is still up. If market continues to fall tomorrow, it shows that the SHORT TERM trend is currently trending down.

WOW! That's as good as saying the market will either go up or down tomorrow.

I am confused as I can interpret it in another way:

Assuming similar movements form a trend.

For the past one and a half week, STI has been trending down daily, which is the "immediate trend" (not up). Hence, the short term trend is currently trending down.

So which part of the sentence is false and/or true? Unless "trend" in the same sentence denotes different meanings, I seriously find it difficult to understand the technical analysis!

That's why I say, technical analysis is not for me.

Who's the sucker?

As I was having lunch at a fast food restaurant today, I listened with amusement a conversation between a foreign bank insurance agent and her prospective client.

(I really do not mean to eavesdrop, but they were sitting just beside me and talking about my favourite subject.)

Let me give them fictional names of Jenny and Jeremy for illustration purposes.

Apparently the Jenny and Jeremy barely knew each other but Jenny was trying to convince him to take up an investment link policy (ILP) with low coverage, high premium and non-guaranteed return.

Another sucker, I thought, as Jenny started her sales pitch.

I was wrong.

Jeremy is actually a very savvy investor. Although he tried to conceal his knowledge on insurance and investments, the “blur” questions he posed was definitely not easy to answer!

Comments inside the ( ) denote my opinions.

Jeremy: How come ILP? The coverage is so little and yet the premium is so high. Why must we combine investment and insurance and not do it separately?
Jenny: Erm, like this saves time. (The commission is higher)
Jeremy: If I die, my investment might be liquidated at a bad time also right? (Aware of Murphy’s law)

Jeremy: Can I buy term and invest separately?
Jenny: For what? (Like this I have very little commission and cannot hit my June target!!)

Jeremy: How much is the management fees?
Jenny: 1.5% P.A
Jeremy: That’s very high!
Jenny: Quite ok what! No redemption charge leh! (It’s charged on you anyway)

Jeremy: The stock markets are quite attractive now. I want to invest. STI is still falling before I left home.
Jenny: Oh is it? (I don’t invest in stocks and unit trusts actually)

Jeremy: Can you tell me why I should invest in UTs through your bank and not just buy single stock equities?
Jenny: Because… (I am pretty and I am spending time to talk to you) it’s safer.
Jeremy: I know! Diversification right?
Jenny: Something like that.

I can go on and on, but although Jeremy appeared stupid and blur, in actual fact he is aware of “buy term invest the rest” concept, pitfalls of ILP, has been actively monitoring the stock markets and quite familiar with investment and insurance.

It is Jenny who with poor financial knowledge and only concern about sales target has been taken a ride for.

I smiled as I left for two reasons. One, Singaporeans are getting financially more savvy; two, people like Jenny who focuses only on products and sales targets will have to find another job, sooner or later.

Monday blues?

(Click to view comic strip)
Financial freedom is the way to get out of the rat race! Stay on the course with me!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Be a blue chip

As my readers know, I enjoy buying into blue chip companies as they are (relatively) safe. We should aspire to be a blue chip in our workplace as well.

In your company, you should be

1) Well known for the right reasons.

2) Mature and steady (stable) professional.

3) Indispensable as you provide services and expertise that is of necessity even during economic downturns.

4) Earning consistently high income and getting at least 5% increment (growth) annually.

5) Paying out dividends in the form of treats, gifts to your colleagues as work success is usually a team effort.

Outside your company, you should be giving out

1) Tax deductible cash dividends to charity as the kind will be rewarded.
2) Non tax-exempt cash dividends to your family as they are the ones whom you are working for.

On your own, you should set short, mid and long term plans so as to ensure you have planned adequately for your future. Be a person who is always equipped with proper planning and life will never go too wrong for you.

Be a blue chip, buy the blue chips, grow with the blue chips and you will always be prosperous.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Preference shares: are they to be preferred?

Extracted from BT online
June 7, 2008
PREFERENCE shares have been hitting the headlines lately. First there was DBS Bank's $1.5 billion issue which drew much flak for shutting out retail investors. OCBC Bank, on the other hand, decided to offer its $1 billion preference shares to both institutional and retail investors.

Both DBS's and OCBC's preference shares are attracting a lot of demand because of their high dividend yields. In DBS Bank's case, the issue pays 5.75 per cent in the first 10 years, before becoming floating-rate notes paying 3.415 percentage points above the three-month Singapore dollar swap rate. OCBC pays a fixed dividend of 5.1 per cent.

Two readers have written to me, hoping that this column could help explain some of the technicalities of preference shares. And coincidentally, both of them brought up City Developments' preference shares. So we'll look at preference shares this week.
First, some basic knowledge. Preference or preferred shares, as the name suggests, have priority over common or ordinary shares when it comes to dividends and entitlement to the proceeds of sale or liquidation. In exchange for this privileged position, preferred shareholders usually give up their right to participate fully in the success of the company. In other words, if the company stumbles onto a new technology that will earn it a lot of money in the years to come, common shareholders are likely to see their share price rise significantly in anticipation of the bigger share in the profits that they are entitled to.

Preference shareholders, on the other hand, will only be entitled to the fixed dividends. Instead, the price of the preference shares will react to the general movement of the interest rate in the market. If the market interest rate goes up, the price of the preference shares will fall, and vice versa.

Redeemable by holders?

Dividend payments for the preference shares can be cumulative or non-cumulative. For cumulative preference shares, if, say, the company does not have the cash to pay out the dividends this year, it will have to pay out this year's dividends, as well as next year's, the following year. Dividend arrears must be paid before any dividend can be paid to common shareholders.

Preferred shares are almost always callable by the issuer, which means the company can decide to buy back the preference shares from the investors after a certain date. In DBS Bank's case, it can redeem the preference shares after June 2018.

Some preference shares, however, are redeemable by the preferred shareholders, often over a period of years with a guaranteed future value for the shares. In analysing companies with such preference shares, one should treat the preference shares as debt. They should be included as debt in solvency ratios, and the dividend payments should be treated as interest. Also, such redeemable preferred shares should be excluded from shareholders' equity.

There is one point which investors have to note, though. Companies cannot be forced to pay the dividends or redeem the preferred shares. Unlike creditors, preferred shareholders do not have the power to force the company into bankruptcy for non-compliance with the terms of the agreement.

Another form of preferred shares can be converted into common shares. CityDev's preference shares are one such instrument.

Now, let's look at CityDev's preference shares more closely.

CityDev's preference shares - issued in 2004 - are non-cumulative and do not have fixed dividend payout. Its board of directors will decide on the rate every year, but the payout will not exceed 3.9 per cent (net) per year over its issue price of $1. The board is under no obligation to make any dividend payment.

The preference shares, however, are convertible to CityDev's ordinary shares any time after the second anniversary of their issue. But only the company can decide if and when they want to do the conversion. The holders have no say in the matter.

One thousand preference shares can be converted to 136 ordinary CityDev shares. In other words, it would take 7.35 preference shares to convert to one CityDev share.

In the event that CityDev exercises its right of conversion, it will pay the holders of preference shares a one-off additional preference cash dividend of 64 cents per share.

As of yesterday, the preference shares were selling for $1.79 and CityDev's shares were last traded at $11.18. The two readers pointed out to me that the preference shares are trading at a huge discount to the ordinary shares.

Let's work through the numbers. It takes 7.35 preference shares to get one ordinary share. And when they are converted, each preference share will receive 64 cents.

So one preference share is entitled to 1/7.35 ordinary shares. Based on the last transacted price of CityDev yesterday, one preference share can be exchanged for 1/7.35 of CityDev's ordinary share of $11.18. That works out to $1.52.

But when there is a conversion, the preference shareholders will receive cash of 64 cents per preference share. So theoretically, based on yesterday's price, the preference shares should be trading at $1.52+$0.64, which is $2.16.

Given that the preference shares are selling at $1.79, there appears to be a 'discount'.
But wait. Only CityDev can decide if and when it wants to convert the shares. And it can decide never to do so because the preference shares are a perpetual instrument.

If this is the case, then investors are holding on to something that pays no more than 3.9 cents a year. That's a yield of zero to a maximum of 2.2 per cent (over $1.79). The exit for investors, if CityDev does not convert the shares, will be to sell the shares in the market. The problem with this is, the instrument is very illiquid. No trade was done yesterday. There was a wide spread in the bid and offer prices. A buyer was willing to buy at $1.46 and a seller was willing to sell at $1.79.

Hence the 'discount' is to take into account the numerous negative attributes of the instrument.
In comparison, there is certainty in the dividend payout of the DBS Bank's and OCBC Bank's preference shares, and the yields are attractive, given the current interest rate environment. This explains the relative attractiveness of the banks' preference shares vis-a-vis CityDev's.
A 5 to 6 per cent yield is undeniably attractive. But this sort of yields may not be that difficult to find among the stocks trading on the Singapore Exchange given the current depressed stock prices. If some of the these companies keep up the same amount of dividends they paid in the last financial year, yields of up to 10 per cent can be pocketed.

Good dividends

I've compiled some of the stocks which paid out relatively generous dividends last year. (see table)

Vehicle inspection and testing service provider Vicom last year paid out 18.25 cents of dividends. Compared with a traded price of $1.87, the yield worked out to be 9.8 per cent. Of course, included in last year's dividend was a special payout of 12.5 cents. But, there was one special dividend too in 2006. That year, the total payout amounted to 14.65 cents.

Singapore Petroleum Company paid out a dividend of 60 cents last year. That's a yield of 9.26 per cent based on a traded price of $6.48.

Cerebos Pacific, Singapore Food Industries, Singapore Airlines, ComfortDelGro and Singapore Press Holdings, if they keep up their last year's payout, will all be yielding above 6 per cent.
The question, of course, is whether companies paying good dividends can maintain their dividend policy. For a few of the companies mentioned, they enjoy a strong franchise and are generating cash by the oodles. And for one or two, the business prospects actually look good going forward. So there are still attractive investments out there that do not carry too much risks.

The writer is a CFA charterholder. She can be reached at

Sgbluechip says: Starhub is also a defensive dividend stock. At current price of $2.87, dividend yield is 6.27%. Management have indicated that it will be distributing a minimum of $0.18 per share dividend for FY 08.

I do agree that valuations of dividend stocks are depressed due to poor market sentiments. However, transportation theme stocks will still face downward pressure due to uptrending crude oil prices.

The poor rich

Extracted from ST online
June 4, 2008
Would you prefer to live in a world where you earn $60,000 a year while those around you average $40,000, or one in which you earn $100,000 but everyone else gets $200,000?

Robert H. Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University, says that most people find the first option more attractive. When it comes to salaries, we care more about relative size than absolute size. What matters most is earning more than our neighbours.

The same holds true for all sorts of things. The actual size of our apartment matters less than its size compared to everyone else's. And most of us will settle for a modest car - provided our neighbour is driving something worse.

Prof Frank labels things like salaries, houses and cars as positional goods, whose defining characteristic is that the amount of satisfaction we get from them is strongly influenced by comparison with what others have.

The American essayist H. L. Mencken hit the nail squarely on the head when he defined wealth as 'any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one's wife's sister's husband'.

It is a sobering thought. We assume that getting a pay rise, or moving into a new apartment, or trading-up to a better car will bring us increased levels of happiness and satisfaction. In fact, many of us simply raise the bar on what counts as adequate.

We work longer hours, earn more, spend more and consume more. Meanwhile, everyone else does the same. So, by comparison, we are no better off, and therefore no happier.

After German reunification in 1990, living standards in East Germany increased dramatically. Despite this, happiness levels actually fell. The East Germans were better off, but began to compare themselves unfavourably with the more affluent West Germans.

But not all goods are positional. Try answering this question: Would you prefer to live in a world where you have two weeks' vacation while those around you average one week, or a world in which you have four week's vacation but everyone else gets six weeks? Most people prefer the second option. With vacation time, the absolute amount is more important than the relative amount.

The same holds true for things like health and marriage. The satisfaction we derive from them is not strongly influenced by a comparison with those around us. Our enjoyment of good health is not spoiled by the knowledge that our colleagues are also fit and well. We do not enjoy our marriages any less because our neighbours are happily married.

Prof Frank labels things like vacation time, health and marriage non-positional goods.

The problem we face, as individuals and as a society, is that the balance of our lives can all-too-easily become shifted too much towards the acquisition of positional goods rather than non-positional ones. Our tendency to compare ourselves to others on things like salary, house and a car, can make us spend too much time and energy in pursuit of them.

Research suggests that most Americans would be healthier and happier if they worked fewer hours. But the relentless desire to keep up with the Joneses prevents them from doing so.

All too often, we base decisions on a flawed theory of happiness that puts undue emphasis on positional goods. We sacrifice leisure time and family time to stay in the rat race.

British economist Richard Layard and the author of Happiness: Lessons From A New Science, puts it succinctly. 'Most people are not rivalrous about their leisure. But they are rivalrous about income, and that rivalry is self-defeating. There is thus a tendency to sacrifice too much leisure in order to increase income.'

I used to teach in a primary school. I had a colleague, a middle-aged woman who often complained that the demands of teaching full-time and looking after a family left her feeling stressed out and exhausted. She often talked about going part-time. Since her husband earned a good salary, she could have afforded to do so.

Then, a part-time job came up at the school where we worked. To my surprise, she didn't apply for it - she had decided to build an extension to her house and needed to work full-time in order to pay for it.

It seemed to me that she had traded quality of life for double-glazing. It is a trap we can all very easily fall into.

Gary Hayden is a freelance writer who specialises in education, science, philosophy, health, well-being, travel and short fiction.
Sgbluechip says: Gary's article is simple, direct yet philosophical. Indeed, while we are on our journey to financial freedom, remember the goal behind it is to be happy ultimately. It would be pointless to gain everything in the world only losing happiness in the process.

We all hate the rat race, the unreasonable boss, the backstabbing colleagues, the overwhelming workload, the miserly pay and the uncontrollable inflation. Financial freedom can put an end to all the above. But remember not to lose yourself when you have reached the end and forget who you are in the beginning.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stretch your dollar series: 5% rebate on your income tax

Maybank is currently having a promotion. By depositing $3000 and above into the SaveUp account and arrange for GIRO payments on your income tax, you are entitled up to 5% income tax rebate. The condition is to maintain at least $3000 in your account or 24 times your monthly GIRO payment, whichever is higher.


Income tax payable $1200

Monthly payments: $100

To be eligible for $5 (5%) rebate monthly, you need to maintain $3000+$100(income tax installment) in your SaveUp account.

Unless your income tax payable is $1501 or more, you do not need to maintain more than $3000+income tax installment.

I have to remind readers that a 5% rebate on your income tax is NOT equal to 5% return.

With reference to the above example, by depositing $4200 in the SaveUp account, you will eventually get a $60 rebate one year later. This works out to be roughly 1.4% return. The return will be higher if you maintain the minimum deposit of $3100 monthly. However, the return will not exceed 2%. (60/3000 X 100%)

Take note that you will also be entitled a 0.5% interest on your deposit in the SaveUp account.

Is it worth it?

I believe the 5% rebate is a steal for those who already have an existing GIRO arrangement. You just need to bring your income assessment slip to Maybank and they will help you with the rest.

If you are like me who usually pay your income tax using Diners credit card, it might not worth the trouble, time, paperwork and opportunity cost to get a 1.4% return. I read it as a fixed deposit package instead. I prefer to invest idle cash!

Also, the rebate is a promotion, hence if it ceases next year, I will need to take time off to terminate the account and make new arrangements.

To each his own!

The link is here:

12 random companies’ dividend payout months

Quarterly payout




Semi annual payout

Singtel: January..................August*

SPH: May..........................December*

UOB: May*.........................September

Keppel: May*......................August

Comfort: May*....................September

SIA: August*.......................November

SMRT: August*....................November

Annual payout

Allgreen: May*

Capitaland: May*

* Final dividend for financial year (usually a bigger dividend payout)

Stretch your dollar series: Standard Chartered Bank 10% cashback

I just received a mailer from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) stating that I will be eligible for a 10% cashback (of up to $100) for all retail purchases charged to my credit card (CC).

I was elated as I have 2 credit card accounts with SCB and that means I can get up to $200 rebates by spending $1000 on each card.

In order to confirm the offer, I made a call to their platinum hotline. Luckily, I checked and it was then I realized that only my VISA Platinum was eligible for the GSS promotion. The promotion has started and will end on 20th July. The cashback will be credited to my CC account by end August.

This is still good news! Last year when I applied for the Master card, I was given the 10% rebate a month later promptly. I merely spent on necessities such as petrol, coupons and Starhub bills.

For Starhub bills, I went down to Starhub centre and paid the bills 10 months in advance. I remembered paying $300 for my phone bill, $400 for my cable TV, together with some arrears. (I usually pay Starhub after getting repeated reminders. I cannot do that for Singtel though, as it levies at $0.50 reminder fine!)

This is as good as earning a 10% interest by depositing $1000 into my Starhub account! On top of that, I get to earn CC and Starhub points!

Alternatively, I can splurge on a new desktop at a 10% discount. However, I hope I can resist the temptation of IT fair!

Check your postal box now!

Take note that only customers who have received the mailers are eligible for this promotion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Risky business

One of my readers commented (on good will) that I have taken multiple layered risks by investing all my cash into Singapore blue chips. A sudden calamity will wipe out all I have.

I thank him for his feedback!

My reply was to assure him not to not believe too much in textbook theories! They claim that you will take multiple layers of risk by buying stocks in your country or the company you are working in.

This is actually useful advice if I am a Vietnamese working and buying Vietnam stocks.

Try telling Warren Buffett that?

If he were to follow the textbook theories of risk management religiously, he will not buy companies like Coca Cola, Gillette, Procter and Gamble and Wrigleys!

He also cannot buy shares of Berkshire Hathaway, since he is the CEO!

The sub prime crisis, Iraq war, 911 are all considered "calamities" at the point when it happened.

But he is still the richest man on planet Earth.

My belief if to buy companies which you believe and have studied in. The geographical location is secondary for a value investor. Although a good investment climate is favourable for stocks growth and must be taken into consideration.

The real risk is investing without proper study of the underlying business. Also, I prefer to learn from the best!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Corporate: Potential Vietnam meltdown

Excerpts of CIMB report

Worries on Vietnam mounting. Investors have been concerned about the level of Vietnam exposure among major Singapore stocks recently. While Vietnam was among the favoured developing markets in 2006-07, there are now worries that the economy could be overheated, especially after the release of the latest inflation figures (+25% yoy). Although the Vietnamese dong (VND) has only depreciated slightly (-0.8%) in spot markets, its 12-month forward rates suddenly weakened in the past week. If the warnings signs from the latest inflation statistics and currency markets are right, the Vietnamese economy could be due for a major de-rating.

Property stocks have the biggest exposure. The biggest exposure to Vietnam comes from the property sector. Ascott Residence Trust, Keppel Land and Fraser & Neave all have 15-20% of their assets or revenue tied to Vietnam. These will be stocks most at risk.

Ascott REIT. ART is the only S-REIT with significant exposure to Vietnam. It has three properties there, contributing 20% of its revenue and 14% of its portfolio value. While direct exposure is significant, foreign-exchange risk from a depreciating VND is not as worrying. Although loans taken up for the acquisition of ART’s Vietnamese properties are all in US$ and lease receipts are only 70% in the VND and 30% in US$, we understand that VND leases are priced in US$ and merely billed in VND, at prevailing monthly exchange rates. This ensures some matching of cash flows with asset values. On the other hand, property-related expenses are all paid in VND and locked in for one year. Management is confident that any increases in these expenses, which are renewed annually, can be built into lease renewals of the serviced apartments.

CapitaLand. Minimal impact. We estimate CapitaLand’s RNAV exposure to Vietnam at 2-3%, with all its projects being high-end residential projects. Residential units for sale amount to only about 1,000 (or 2.6m sf GFA). Projects in Ho Chi Minh City include The Vista (219 units, 50% sold), a District 7 condo project (443 units, not launched), a District 9 condo project (79 units, not launched) and a District 9 villa project (302 units, not launched).

Sgbluechip says: I think this report shade light on Ascott 5.4% drop today. Allgreen is also exposed to the Vietnam market, though I am not sure the extend. It has fallen more than 5% since last month. The dipped in prices may signal buying opportunities for the dare devils. The dividend rate for Ascott is currently more than 7%.

I am also giving Ascott a miss though, as I have low risk appetite in investing properties.

OCBC preference shares

I'm giving this a miss as the dividends of 5.1% doesn't even cover the current cost of inflation. I can safely beat that by investing in Singpost, SPH or starhub. Besides, OCBC they can be redeemed at the option of OCBC Bank, but not the preference shareholders, five years from the date of issue.

Considering the SIBOR is at about 1%, any rise in interest rates in the next few years (which is very likely) will bring downward pressure on preference shares trading price.

Hence, I will not consider applying for it.

For those interested, you can apply it via ATM or your trading account.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Corporate: New targets/support for selected STI stocks


Infomation for traders only

Unlike the time when the STI first crossed the 3200 level on April 23, with financials, properties and SingTel behind the move, this time oil and commodity plays have been leading the pack as the index knocks the door of 3200 again.

But many of these stocks led by Wilmar, Olam, SCI and SembMarine, have exceeded our target prices while SingTel is trying to resume its lead which hopefully will pave the way for the banks, SGX and properties to recover to their highs in late April.

There maybe a stronger case to buy DBS, UOB, OCBC, SGX, CityDev and Capitaland besides SingTel which are still significantly below their April 23 levels.

DBS ($19.58) stood at $19.52-$20 on April 23 and slightly exceeded our TP of $20.60-70, reaching $20.80 on May 7, falling to as low as $19.08 last week. It should recover back to $20.

UOB ($20.20) was at $20.70-$21.04 on April 23, meeting our $21.50-22 TP when it climbed to $21.70 on May 7. It dropped to $19.26 last week (ignoring the $18.94 closing low the previous Friday which could be a trading error). It should recover to $20.50-70.

OCBC ($8.67) was $8.59-$8.70 then, exceeding our $9 TP to $9.09 on May 6. Its fall has been muted, touching a low of only $8.53 which suggests its innate strength to test $9 again.

SGX ($8.09) is the worst performer this round, not recovering much from its low of $7.92 last week. It had moved between $8.30-60 on April 23 and exceeded our $9 in a matter of a few days, climbing as high as $9.62 on May 7. The rally was too sharp, causing it to slump back to below $8 and could only rise to $8.20 last Friday.

Traders should seize any weakness back to $7.90-$8 during this current consolidation as SGX should recover to $8.50-70.

Property heavyweights Capland and CityDev should also recover at least near its April 23 levels when the oil and commodity plays take a break. City ($11.54) stood at $12.24-$12.52 then, but fell sort of our $13 TP, touching $12.80 the next day onwards.

After a few rally attempts failed, it fell to a slow as $10.92 last week before recovering to $11.60 last Friday and this morning. City should recover again to $11.80-$12.

Capland ($6.50) has lost a bit from its Apr 23 level of $6.88-95 when we placed a TP of $7 and $7.40. It rallied to $7.18 on Apr 28, and after a subsequent rebound to a lower high of $7.15, it began its fall to as low as $6.20 last week, recovering to $6.57 this morning. It should be able to recover to $6.70-90.

Among offshore/conglo plays, previous laggard SCI ($4.95) stands out, rallying from Apr 23 level of $4.48-63 to as high as $4.93 a month later, above our $4.70-80 TP, climbing further to $5.01 this morning. Resistance should set in at $5.10 and then $5.35. Taking profits should be considered.

Sembmarine ($4.70) was trading at only $4.04-18 on Apr 23, breaking our $4.30 TP only after about a month later but has been shooting up in the last fortnight, reaching a high of $4.72 this morning.

Having reached its highest level since last November when it moved widely between $4.40 and record $5.70 high, it is interesting to see whether it can test the peak soon. The next resistance after overcoming $4.70 is $5.10-25.

KepCorp ($12.24) was at its highs of $11.82-$12.12 on Apr 23 but has yet to test our $13 TP, reaching a high of $12.34 last Friday. It appears to have a bit more steam to go to $12.50-70 with support at $12.10.

SingTel ($3.73) was $3.83-87 on April 23 and failed to rally to our $4 TP, reaching a high of only $3.94 on May 2 before falling to as low as $3.58 last Monday.

However we put out a trading idea on May 23 at $3.61 touting support at $3.56-62 and TP of $3.76-86. It touched $3.81 last Friday and should rally again back to $3.80-90 after some consolidation around $3.65-70.

Sgbluechip says: I will not chase the market after rig builders as they have risen to 85% peak levels when STI was 3800. They just need one piece of negative news before carnage and bloodbath sets in. Analysts have been upgrading rig builders to BUY when they were just recently downgraded. It seems that BUY calls are often made when a particular sector starts picking up (again). Fundamentals do not change overnight. Hence, do not trust analysts reports blindly.

I believe banks still offer positive trading opportunities.

I will stay away from property counters until Capitaland (SEA market leader) reaches $5. I will also be happy to buy City Dev at $8. Property firms pay very little dividends, hence I need to set aside a larger margin of safety when investing in such businesses.

The prehistoric investor (Chapter 1)

As I mentioned earlier, I left my house earlier to beat the ERP and during my new found free time, I am currently reading a borrowed book (from my brother) known as The prehistoric investor written by Curtis J. Montgomery.

I have only finished Chapter 1 (yes, in between the little breaks I have) but I really really like his writing style and his examples (stocks and business) are mostly within Singapore context.

It is obvious he is a staunch follower of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett, which my investment style is inclined to. In fact, one point he highlighted in chapter one is that:

“There do not appear to be any technical analysts among Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world while Buffett and dozens others with a fundamental investment style have became billionaires.”

I believe the above sentence is really encouraging to all subscribers of fundamental analysis like Kleer and Musicwhiz!

One think I like about this book (or at least chapter 1) is that it basically summarizes all the books I have read about fundamental analysis and financial behavioural science! Every sentence seems to me that I have read somewhere (but forgotten) and catches my breath and attention!

(You got to read Your money and your brain: how the new science of neuroeconomics can help make you rich by Jason Zweig if you enjoy understanding how our mind works when it comes to investing.)

One paragraph of chapter 1 was particularly relevant to me! I rigorously highlighted the whole paragraph! Basically it meant that companies that do not pay out dividends retain the full decision to control how money is spent on future investments. However, if dividends are paid out, shareholders (YOU) will now play a part in managing the company’s earnings. YOU can save and spend; reinvest into the same company, other better companies or even competitors. In a way, YOU take part in the decision making process of managing earnings!

True yah?!

The point that struck me is: You must reallocate your earnings (dividends) responsibly!

Hence, do not get too happy when you get your dividends and blow them on the latest gadget! (I know IT fair is coming!) Spare some for reinvestments/diversification/hedging or you will be doing a disservice to yourself and your company! Do not waste your company’s money! You have a share in it too!

For those who are interested in getting the book, you can get it FREE here:

My brother got 2 books free by answering 2 quizzes online. I will not be getting it as he has lent it to me and allowed me to highlight, draw, underline and kiss the book. He is currently finishing “The philosophical investor” , also free from web by Curtis J. Montgomery.

All yours now!

On course: 8 benefits!

I’m on 2 weeks course which is wonderful!

Firstly, I do not have to see my boss’s face and attend silly meetings with silly people.

Secondly, I get to eat different food after eating the same puke in my workplace area for years.

Thirdly, I get to see different people and hopefully meet my future wife there.

Fourthly, I can knock off at 4.30pm after negotiating with the trainer to just give us 1 hour lunch break instead of 1.5 hours.

Actually I requested to leave at 4 by giving up the 2 coffee breaks (morning and afternoon), but was turned down as food have already been intended (SAF style).

Fifth, I get to learn something new in a new environment with new people.

Sixth, I do not have my laptop with me which means I do not have to monitor the stock market and it is in line with my principle of passive portfolio management. It is hard to resist the temptation to monitor the stock markets actually! No more temptation to trade too!

Seventh, I can find time in between lunch and coffee breaks to read an investment book (more about it later) I borrowed. Good utilization of time!

Eighth, I get to wear casual which saves me time from ironing shirts and pants.

As the course was conducted near Tiong Bahru, I have to leave home earlier to beat the costly ERP on PIE and CTE. The money saved on road tolls bought me a healthy breakfast, papers and tea with some spare change. I prefer not to trade 30 minutes sleep by paying $5 for ERP. The money can be put to better use!

Now I realized that it is actually quite costly to work in town area. The MOS burger lunch already cost me $7. My parking expense was fortunately $3 (park and ride) only. The traffic conditions was quite bad on the way home hence more fuel was wasted in between the jam.

Well, the additional expense incurred is well covered by the 8 benefits! You can’t win everything in life! I choose to look on the bright side!

Perhaps my next job is to be a trainer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008