A series of video tutorials to help you get started! (In collaboration with TradeHero & SGX)

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Start Investing in 2017


Brexit, Trump, Italy, asset bubbles all over the world… you name it, there’s probably some financial market jitters that keeps most people out of the world of investments.

On the flipside, the financial world often quips about some investment that has made xx% over a certain period of time, trying to entice visitors with a glimpse of the profits possible for anyone. In the world of investing, it is easy to find spectacular returns on hindsight, and salesmen go through great lengths to market what has already happened.

As traders, we live in a constant state of uncertainty. Every trade we make has the possibility of going wrong, and this is taken into account when a decision is made. It is the knowledge of this that gives power to a trader; if he can understand the math behind his investment decision, he can have a positive expectation and a positive traders’ equation.

There are three main reasons why trading is even more attractive these days. Indeed, with advanced technology, there has never been a better time to step into the world of finance, and grab a golden egg while you still can.


fdThe best you can get on a fixed deposit is 0.35% a year in Singapore, as at December 2016.
Source: moneysmart.sg

While inflation is a constant enemy for our savings accounts, most people do not know what to do to combat inflation. The most common quick-fix is to work harder and earn more money. While that does feed us and our families for some time, the need to build a war chest for emergencies becomes more and more real.


How much can you make from trading? Institutional traders bring in a success rate anywhere from 30%-70%. Why is this so?

The greatest insight into the markets that can make you profitable is this: 90% of the time, the odds are 50-50, while 10% of the time, the odds swing 60-40 (slightly in your favor).

That’s right. While most of the time, markets are 50-50, it is those brief moments when the market gives some opportunity, and prices quickly move to take advantage of this opportunity. That means that if you were to buy or sell randomly, you already have a 50% chance of success!

Another insight to know is that a high success rate (hit-rate) brings a lower profit target, while a low success rate brings a higher profit target.

What do I mean by this? Institutions trade using a combination of low-probability and high-probability trades.

Example: 40% (low) success rate, win = +2%, lose = -1%.”


In this case, if you were to make 100 of such low-probability trades, you would make +80% on winning trades and -60% on losing trades, bringing a 20% return on capital.

Example 2: 75% (high) success rate, win = +0.5%, lose = -1%


In this case, if you made 100 high-probability trades, you made 37.5% on winning trades and -25% on losing trades, bringing +12.5% return on capital.

It is impossible for the market to give high-probability trades with a high profit potential. This would be quickly detected by institutional traders, who have mathematicians, PhD staff, and computer science experts who can quickly make adjustments and profit from it. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, these people would do all they can to bring profits for their firm.


That is why if anyone quips that they have a 80-90% success rate, they are probably having many small wins but a few gigantic losses. If you don’t believe me, try trading forex and planting random trades with low profit potential and high loss potential. The numbers indeed prove to be true!

That is also why it is important to understand the traders’ equation. With a reasonable success rate and an appropriate win-loss ratio (or risk-reward ratio, RRR), you would be profitable over the long-run.

I have had days where I ran 7-8 trading losses in a row, but because I trusted in the probabilities, the next 3-4 trades ended up profitable, as long as I stuck to my trade setups and didn’t let the emotions get the better of me.


If you have $500 to invest: trade forex.

In the Forex market, you are entitled to ‘get a feel of the game’ by risking a few dollars per trade. By trading the smallest lot size (0.01 lots), you can learn to make a few dollars here, lose a few dollars there, and rack up trading experience and learn to trade ‘live’ without incurring hefty losses.

By learning to make many decisions and experiencing all the different conditions of the market, you would become seasoned enough to trade a bigger size, and fine-tune your own trading strategy.

Many traders discover they have certain characteristics about themselves that hinder success. In trading a ‘live’ account with a small sum of money, they are putting in some skin in the game, and getting used to the ups and downs of their account.

The best part about forex is that there are no commission charges. The broker makes money from the bid-ask spread, which is the difference between the buy/sell price, and most brokers charge reasonable spreads, allowing you to trade with almost negligible transaction cost.

If you have $3000 to invest: explore stock CFDs.

Stock CFDs have low commissions and can be bought in small quantities – a few thousand dollars can allow you to have a portfolio of 5-10 stock positions.

For people with less time and more money, stock CFDs can be a great way to learn to deal with commissions, spreads, fee structures, and the whims and fancies of the stock market.

The stock market is only open during working hours, unlike the forex market. Someone who is interested to take longer-term positions may be open to trading stock CFDs, risking small amounts of money, and yet racking up trading experience.

Some people quip that the forex market is more difficult to trade than the stock market. I beg to differ, because it is your circle of competence that determines your success, not the actual characteristics of the market.

If I were to ask you to drive a Formula 1 race car, you probably would kill yourself within the next few hours or so. However, if you were progressively taught how to drive the race car, it doesn’t become dangerous, and because of the progressive nature of your learning, the high speeds don’t come as a shock to you.

f1Driving this car is dangerous, only if you are not trained.
Source: wallscorner.com

Many people get shocked at the speed by which forex markets move during the Non-Farm Payroll Announcements and FOMC Interest Rate Announcements; prices can move 10-50 times faster than normal during those crazy periods! However, with practice, these sessions can become a profitable time for traders with experience and proper risk management.

If you have $10,000 to invest: trade everything.

People with more money have the luxury of trading a combination of stocks, forex, commodity, bonds, and index trades. These can be accessed through any decent forex broker, and you’ll be surprised to find that most forex brokers let you trade forex, oil, gold, the Dow Jones Index, the S&P, the bond markets, wheat, corn, natural gas, and more. These of course come with higher margin requirements, but exploring all the asset classes makes you a seasoned, well-rounded investor that can take any market condition.

Sideways in the forex market? Maybe there is a trending opportunity in the oil market. There’s always something to trade if you have the experience and know where to look.

However, in my opinion, the greatest investment is Golden Egg 3.


John Murphy: Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets. One of the great trading classics that builds a strong foundation.

John Murphy’s book on technical analysis reveals the fundamental nature of financial markets. Prices move in patterns and cycles, and understanding history helps you to cope with what is to come.

In my trading journey, I’ve read more than 200 books, and found only about 11 of them that are useful in my trading career. These books were either borrowed from the library, or bought only for $30-$50 a book, which is a very good price (since stock commissions can be $15-$25 already!).

Buying a few good trading books can completely change your destiny.

If you are starting out, why not invest in 3-5 good trading books, before getting your hands wet in the financial markets? These books would build a strong foundation, and you would start off with a better understanding of why things happen.

bookSome of the more famous online bookstores.
Source: Company websites

Amazon.com and bookdepository.com provide great options and they ship almost anywhere in the world. Personally, I found that bookdepository has the more exotic books, but it is a little pricey (yet still worth it since you can’t find the books easily!)

Second-hand books: Carousell if you live in Singapore! If you’re lucky you can find good books at a discounted price. Even though the books may be a little dusty and yellowed, it’s the content that you want to really absorb. You can always find what you want if you search hard enough!


If you are still thinking about it, here’s why you should pick up investing education:

  • Historical chart data is free (we used to need to pay in the 1990s and 2000s)
  • Free resources are available
  • Books are cheap and easy to find
  • Starting cost is as low as $500
  • Cost of failure is low
  • Experience can be racked up with very little capital
  • There is a market for every type of investor

And most of all, it can bring higher returns in the long-run than placing your capital in the bank account. Sure, you might risk losing a couple of dollars at the start, but the cost of ignorance is a lot higher when compounded over the next 5, 10, or 20 years!

Wishing you all the best in your trading journey, and I do hope this article serves as a pump to start you on your quest for investment expertise!





Personal Checklist: The Top 5 Habits of Singaporean Self-Made Millionaires

Just last week, I came across this interesting article, talking about some of the prominent millionaires in Singapore, and how they created their wealth.

vulcan-postSource: Vulcan Post

As I read it through, I couldn’t help but think about what they did to make, keep, and grow their wealth. Sure, some of them inherited their wealth, but it takes a different kind of education in order to preserve and grow the inherited wealth.

It is definitely not chance that these people have achieved phenomenal success. There were, in fact, common patterns of behaviour that keep them successful.

The difference lies in just 5 actions they take consistently:


The average person lives from paycheck to paycheck, while the average wealthy person receives cash from various sources, so that even if one source were to be temporarily cut off, they can still enjoy the same standard of living they currently have. Here are just some of the commonly known income streams that they have:

Earned Income: working for money

Interest Earned: earning money by lending it

Dividend Income: earning money by share ownership

Profit: Selling something you make or own

Capital Gains: Selling something higher than what you bought it for

Rental Incomes: Money gotten from owning real estate

Royalty Incomes: Money from selling intellectual property or franchise systems


Having multiple streams of income is like having many waterfalls flowing into the same ocean. The more streams you have, the more reliable the flow.

Which do you currently have? The average person struggles to survive because he only has one stream. Personally, I like trading and portfolio management. The great thing about portfolio management is that you can enjoy interest earned, dividend income, and capital gains.




Let’s be honest with ourselves; how many hours a day do you do things that do not contribute to your financial success? Most people would rather procrastinate or spend time on enjoyment rather than on what really matters.

I found this really interesting image of how most people spend their time in a year:

4Source: The Visual Communication Guy

It’s amazing; out of 365 days a year, 183.7 days are spent on media! If we were honest with ourselves, perhaps what we need is to rethink the way we live. Perhaps if we all take some time away from Media and reallocate it to self-improvement, learning, investing, and growing as a person, we could be living a very different life indeed.

How would your life look if you re-arranged your priorities?

Robert Kiyosaki once made a quip about what he noticed of rich and poor dads; he said that poor dad would sit on the couch and watch TV every night, while rich dad would review his investments and upgrade his skills every night. Poor dad would spend the weekends wasting time, while rich dad would build a business during the weekends.


Many of you would know that I read more than 200 books before I embarked on my trading journey. Even now, I make it a point to read at least 3 books a week, because I feel that it is important to never stop learning and upgrading oneself. Here are some key pointers:

  • Don’t waste time. Find out what you need to do, and do it.
  • Re-prioritize. Find out which areas of your life you can do away with, and cut them out quickly.
  • Learn. Just because you have graduated doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Successful people get where they are because they have an attitude of lifelong-learning.


Mentors are looking for people who are humble, hungry, and hard-pressed for success. No matter where you are in your career or life, it helps to have successful people to reach out to and learn from. They’ll be able to quickly point you in the right direction if you are going off-track.

When I started my trading career at a professional fund, I had wonderful, experienced mentors to guide me in the right direction. I quickly picked up on what worked and what did not. I learnt their habits, their lifestyle, and the difficulties that they went through to get where they were.

Where can you look for mentors if you have no one at the moment? This is what many people ask me from time to time.

  • Build connections: Networks are not built overnight. As you expand your social circle to include successful people, you will start to find people who could potentially guide you to where you want to go.
  • Be inquisitive: People will only want to mentor someone who has the attitude for success. While at the beginning you might lack aptitude, the right mentality and motivation would attract the right people to you.
  • Keep learning: As you learn more, you discover you will have the vocabulary to connect with people. With greater proficiency, you would be able to speak at the same level as industry practitioners, asking smart questions, being able to understand jargon, and make an impression.


Goals without dreams are dead; they become mere tasks rather than the exciting outcome that you hope for. It helps to have an idea of what you want; most people want to be wealthy but don’t know what it would look like.

What does a wealthy life look like for you? For YOU personally?

For some, it could mean having to work only 2-3 days a week. Financial goals differ from person to person, and it’s not just the monetary goal, but also the lifestyle goal. For me, I knew I wanted to have the luxury of making passive income even when I am travelling. This may not be everyone’s goal.

“How much money do you want to make exactly, and what would that lifestyle look like exactly?”

Many people want to lose weight. Losing weight isn’t a definite enough goal; Losing 12 kg by the end of 6 months is a definite goal. Many people fail to achieve their goals because they don’t even define their goals!

It’s also important to visualize yourself doing what you hope to be doing. Having a lot of money is pointless if all you are going to do is sit aroud with the cash; it is accomplishing the goals you have, those bucket lists, that make life worthwhile.

So what is it for you?

Grab a piece of paper and start getting your hands dirty. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, experienced or inadequate; what matters is a willing heart and dilligent hands, and of course, a big enough dream that will knock you off your sofa and get you started.

  • Be specific about your goals. General goals generally don’t work. Specific goals help you to move toward exactly what you want.
  • Keep track of your progress. You never know if you are on the right path if you don’t take stock regularly. Even better, get a mentor to help you evaluate where you are.
  • Focus on the dream with its details. Keep reminding yourself of where you eventually want to be. Otherwise, you’ll just lose steam and burn out, bum around, and end up not getting where you were heading toward.


If you’ve got your foot into the investing arena, you would be familiar with financial losses. It is at this point where your mettle is truly tested; is this what you want? Are you willing to sit through heartache and tough lessons to get where you want? Is the life you left behind really worth going back to? Do you still believe in the dream you have?

When that business fails, would you stand up again and start all over? When you family doubts you and the pressure to provide hits you, will you continue to stand by your dream? People want the glory without the trials and training. Just take a look at the infographic below that I found:

33Source: Anna Vital (Founders & Founders)

I also came across this interesting quote, which I thought was very useful in clarifying what we really value. Millionaires invest their money and make investing a priority, while poor people spend their money first and make spending a priority.

5Source: Gecko and Fly

Always, always seek to make investing your primary objective. Invest your time, invest your money, invest in your team if you are running a business. Invest, invest and invest.

Is investing your primary objective, or is spending your primary objective? Would you be willing to delay gratification, in order to enjoy a lot more in the future, far more than you can ever imagine?

  • Do not quit. Ensure that you have made a commitment. Tell your friends, and engage people to keep you on this path.
  • Invest your money, your time, and in your team. Investing is what multiplies your returns in the long-run. Keep at it!
  • Prioritize learning, rather than earning. It pays to be more proficient at what you want to do. When you are starting out, make learning a priority, and the profits will come eventually.

Don’t give up on your dreams!


Feel free to share this with people you know who are working hard toward their dreams, and striving to build their first pot of Gold. And with these 5 actionable steps, you’ll be one step closer to your first million! 😀

Bonus: Download free ebook: The 7 Best-Kept Secrets of Professional Traders



Simple Video Tutorial: How to Set Up & Use the MT4 Trading Platform

This is a simple demonstration on how you can use the MT4 platform to:

  • Add and view charts
  • Add trendlines, support/resistance, indicators
  • Customise charts layout and colours
  • Toggle between different timeframes and charts
  • Place trades using various methods, including the EP, TP, SL

In this video, I did a sample trade on my live account to show how easy it is to place trades, and this can actually be done very easily via my mobile phone as well.

If you are keen to see more real-life examples, I will be logging in to my live trading accounts to show my open positions, and also take some new trades if there are any good opportunities.
Register to meet Spencer live: http://synapsetrading.com/trading-foundation-workshop/

See you there! 😀

Free Video Tutorials | Making Your First Trade – 5(c) How to Place Orders

In collaboration with TradeHero & SGX (Singapore Exchange), we have developed a series of video tutorials that will make learning fun & easy for all beginners!

I have been tasked as the mastermind behind the content, drawing from my knowledge of the 200+ books I have read and 10,000+ hours of professional market experience as mentioned in the video.

For more free lessons, you can check out http://synapsetrading.com/free-lessons. Enjoy! :D

Free Video Tutorials | Making Your First Trade – 5(b) The 2% Money Management Rule

In collaboration with TradeHero & SGX (Singapore Exchange), we have developed a series of video tutorials that will make learning fun & easy for all beginners!

I have been tasked as the mastermind behind the content, drawing from my knowledge of the 200+ books I have read and 10,000+ hours of professional market experience as mentioned in the video.

For more free lessons, you can check out http://synapsetrading.com/free-lessons. Enjoy! :D