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

How Much Capital Do I Need to Start Trading?

For new traders looking to start out their journey, what is the minimum amount of capital you will need to start trading?

What is the optimal amount of capital you should use to ensure that you take your trading seriously?

And lastly, does it make sense to start out with demo trading?

Enjoy the video! 😀

Should I Start off with Trading or Investing?

This is one of the questions I get the most from new traders and investors, who cannot decide whether to start learning trading or investing.

Most people end up only focusing on either one their whole lifetime, without realising that combining both is essential to building long-term wealth, and achieving it faster.

But how exactly do you combine both these skills?

Enjoy the video! 😀

How to Build a $1M Dollar Portfolio by 30 (The Practical Stuff)

This is the dream of many millennials, to build a million-dollar portfolio as soon as possible, so that they can live off the passive income, and focus on pursuing their dreams, interests or hobbies, without having to worry about money any more.

When I was in my 20s, that was my dream as well, which was why I read hundreds of books ranging from investing, trading, psychology, motivation, philosophy, biographies, businesses, digital marketing, finance, accounting, etc. And that was when I realised that most of wealth creation boiled down to 3 simple core principles.

1) Multiple sources of Cashflow

The first thing you need to get started is a solid base capital, so at the start if you do not have much capital, almost all your time and resources should be focused on generating as much cashflow as possible to build up your ammunition.

If you have a well paying job, then you can start saving aggressively, but to speed up the process, most people will seek to generate multiple sources of income or cashflow. Some examples include working a side job, starting an online business, etc.

For me, I decided to use forex trading, because it did not require much capital to start, and also because I did not have much spare time, and could only afford to spend 15-30 minutes a day. Now, it provides me a steady monthly cashflow, which allowed me to move on to step 2.

2) Timing your portfolio purchases

Once you have sufficient capital and consistent cashflow, the next step is to start building your long-term portfolio. Start by having a rough idea oh what your ideal portfolio is, and what kind of risk/return profile you are looking for. Look out for assets that have a good chance of capital appreciation, as well as passive returns in the form of dividends or rental yield. Over time, I tend to favour having more “passive income” type of investments.

Do not be in a hurry to buy everything at once. Watch and study the market cycles, and aim to buy stuff only when they are cheap or “undervalued”. This can be done easily by looking at the charts of any product over the past 50-100 years of history. There is no need to spend hours reading financial reports or analyst reports. Remember, our goal is to get the most out of our limited time.

3) Re-invest the passive income

As your portfolio grows, and you continue to add to it via your monthly cashflow contributions, the real kicker is when the effect of compounding kicks in.

The best way to do this is to also re-invest the passive income which you get from the portfolio itself, creating a snowball effect which will literally grow your portfolio exponentially.

Once you have assembled your ideal portfolio, all you need to do is to check on it once every 3 months or so, and do some rebalancing. In the meantime, you can pretty much enjoy the fruits of your labour, and focus on living your life instead of having to worry about money.

For me, this means travelling around the world (50+ countries to date!), and sharing my knowledge to inspire and help others do the same.

Now, are you ready to start building your own portfolio?

3 Biggest Financial Regrets of Retirees – And How to Avoid Them!

Every person has regrets, and as one gets older, it is inevitable that one would start regretting certain things. And when it comes to finances, what exactly do our seniors quip about? What decisions did they make that they regret the most? And most importantly, what crucial advice would they give to those looking to retire comfortably in the future?


REGRET #1: NOT SAVING MONEY WHEN YOUNG

This is one of the most common regrets that is universal to all seniors across the world, with older folk lamenting that they should have saved when they were younger. In fact, saving $10,000 in your twenties adds up a lot more than saving in your 40’s or 50’s. Compounding works to your favour the earlier you start. Expenses also start to rack up as you age, therefore it is much harder to save when you are older.

1

Property, health spending, and raising a family take up most of your money, and saving money gets a lot harder when the children are begging for you to get the latest mobile device  for their birthdays.

Gambling and entertainment eats away at your nest egg, so stay clear of them! It’s never too late to start getting your money habits sorted out.

 

REGRET #2: NOT INVESTING TIME WELL

Back in the 1980’s, investing was a lot harder to learn without the internet. Now, it is an excuse to say that it is difficult to be financially educated. With kids these days being able to build a website from scratch (without supervision), I’m sure you will be able to find something to do that will bring you dividends in the long-run.

Most people complain about not knowing what to invest in. That is a reasonable complaint, but…

The reason why most people can’t invest money, is that they don’t even invest time to learn how to invest.

timeTime is sacred; use it wisely, and use it on what matters.

If your financial vocabulary includes any of the following:

  • buying blue-chip stocks for the long-term
  • mutual fund investments
  • investment-linked insurance policies

…you are missing out on a large chunk of the pie. A good diversified portfolio includes much more than just stocks. In fact, holding just stocks can be very risky, as seen during the 2008 financial crisis where most blue-chip stocks plunged by 60-80%.

Multi-asset class, multi-instrument investing is the norm now. If you’re not involved, it’s time to get started.

Another common misconception is that learning how to trade or invest is very time-consuming, but that is actually not true. Like any skill, it might take a while to learn it at first, but after a few weeks, you will soon get the hang of it and it will only require a few minutes a day to manage your finances and investments.


REGRET #3: SPENDING TOO MUCH ON THE CHILDREN

Many parents will look back on their days as young parents and quip that they should have spent less. Some of the bad outcomes include spoilt children, children who expect a lot but don’t contribute, and many more.

Among the many unnecessary expenses, parents could do well to reduce spending in any of these areas:

  • Extra-curricular lessons, like ballet, music, swimming (especially if the child is not enjoying them!)
  • Tuition lessons (the school system in Singapore is honestly quite robust)
  • Expensive pre-school education (they won’t remember what happened anyway)
  • Expensive holidays (we don’t remember them 1 year from now)
  • Toys that are thrown away 3 months later (we prefer iPads, honestly)
  • Expensive food at fancy restaurants (food, is still food)
  • Overseas university education (a local degree can be equally profitable for your child)
  • Expensive child-care services (reasonably priced ones will do the same)
  • A domestic helper / maid (teaching the kids to take care of the house makes more sense)

1We sometimes put too much of a premium on university education. Pay what is fair and reasonable; don’t go about spending half a million on a university degree.

Many parents have money but very little time for the children. Ask any child and you would know that he/she would much prefer spending time with their parents than having expensive holidays in Paris, Dubai, or Tokyo.

On hindsight, you would always know better. But hey, take the advice of our seniors, and spend what really matters; our time.

For what use is all these cool stuff, cool experiences, premium lessons and holidays, if we don’t get what truly matters?

Here are 5 Reasons Why You May Never Get to Retire Despite working Harder

As the cost of living continues to increase year after year, you probably would have spent some time pondering about your financial security. You probably would have heard stories of or personally experienced a company downsizing, a pay cut, the loss of your job, mounting expenses, or just a sudden realization that the world isn’t such a stable place.

No matter when you discover this truth, it is critical that you come to terms with it. Only by knowing the truth can you deal with the reality of financial troubles ahead. Last year was marked by uncertainty, and it probably is just the tip of the iceberg of what can happen going forward.

1For most people, wages will never be enough to sustain their lifestyle at retirement.
Source: media.cagle.com

Talk to any taxi driver and he will probably complain to you about any of the following:

  • Rising healthcare costs
  • Rising petrol costs
  • Rising food costs
  • Rising housing costs
  • Instability in the economy

These money issues are real. However, before we go into the solutions, we have to understand where these problems come from.

 

1. Low Interest Rate Environment

A low interest rate environment means that you need to go beyond your bank deposits to preserve your wealth.

However, despite having more mobile phones than people in Singapore, we are painfully ignorant in financial matters. We are educated, but not wise; we are connected with each other, but disconnected with reality.

Truth be told, most people have no idea how to even match up to the bank interest rate, much less beat the bank interest rate. The average level of financial literacy in Singapore is still shockingly low. To be a decent investor, it would be necessary to at least understand basic financial instruments, financial asset classes, methods of speculation/investment, and simple risk management.

Financial literacy is the first step to fighting inflation. You don’t necessarily need to know exotic strategies like statistical arbitrage, premium collection on SPY options, futures pairs trading, spread betting, or betting on changes in the yield curve. But a basic understanding of market cycles and trading principles will make a large difference in one’s investment results.

2. CPF Alone May Not Be Sufficient

In years of economic boom, Singapore tends to experience inflation of 4-5%. The CPF ordinary account grows at 2.5%, which means your money’s losing value when the economy grows. Counting on CPF alone may help you get by, but would it really sustain the lifestyle you desire? Even if the inflation rate falls to 1-2% a year, very few Singaporeans can say they are able to retire comfortably.

It is more prudent to have something besides CPF to fall back on.

Some solutions include:

  • being willing to downgrade your apartment
  • holding structured deposits (can yield 4% or more)
  • holding high-dividend stocks

However, these strategies will probably only help in wealth preservation, not wealth creation.

For wealth creation, you need far more investment sophistication and dedication.

Doing a refresher for the setups before we embark on live trading! ??? #tradingarcade #realtraders

A post shared by Spencer Li ?? Synapse Trading (@iamrecneps) on

 

3. Zero Inflation Could Be the Norm

A world of zero inflation is good for the average consumer (he thinks he won’t be paying more for his food/car/house/petrol), but it’s bad for wages.

Truth be told, when inflation suffers, it is normally a terrible situation for the economy to be in. Remember the productivity drive a few years ago? The government aimed for 2% productivity growth every year, because inflation was terribly low and the country had to do something about it.

sgInflation has fallen and fallen, and has even turned negative in 2015 and part of 2016.
Source: tradingeconomics.com

Stagnating or falling wages can become the norm. With wages in peril, it is even more essential to generate additional streams of income, or risk falling into financial destitution.

Examples of shrinking professions include:

  • F&B services
  • Marketing professionals (yes! because the supply has caught up with demand in recent times)
  • Insurance Agents
  • Property Agents
  • Logistics professionals (yes! because the supply has caught up with demand due to the euphoric onslaught of e-commerce firms)

If you have children, the best thing you can do is to advise them regarding these trends. Don’t be so concerned about their math scores, science scores, or whatever score; look to give them training in these skills, and to explore their interests in these areas.

 

4. Persistently High Property Prices

This is good news for existing property owners, but bad news for new property buyers. Singapore will continue attracting rich foreign buyers because that’s our value proposition as a nation. This problem keeps worsening as long as our property is affordable to wealthy investors from overseas. The government is likely to step in if property prices start falling.

The issue with high property prices is that most people end up taking 20 to 30-year loans and live with debt for most of their adult life. This keeps the economy stagnant and unable to experience growth like we’ve seen in the 1980s and 1990. A debt-ridden adult is much less likely to splurge. With an entire generation of people living with huge mortgage loans, we won’t see fantastic growth in a very long time.

Opening speaker for SMART Expo SG 2017! Thanks to everyone who came down to support! ? #suntec #property #guestspeaker

A post shared by Spencer Li ?? Synapse Trading (@iamrecneps) on

 

5. Rising Medical Costs and Falling Government Support

Take note: it’s not the government’s fault; blame it on falling birth rates. With a smaller workforce, tax revenues will fall and Singapore will be less able to provide for its elderly.

Singapore will age, and more and more sick people will depend on a smaller proportion of working adults in this country. It’s inevitable that the government cannot support the large number of elderly who will reside in our hospitals and hospices. It’s the same ‘graying’ problem that Japan is facing.

Falling government support, along with higher demand for doctors and strained infrastructure will cause medical bills to rise. Sure, it’ll be great for healthcare stocks, but healthcare spending on the elderly is not expansionary. Basic health economics would differentiate between healthcare spending that improves economic well-being (vaccinations on children, basic sanitation etc.), and healthcare spending that does not improve economic well-being. We’ll be seeing a lot of spending that does little to boost the economy.

 

So, “What Should I Do?”

The fact that you’re reading this shows that you are concerned for your financial future. Keep learning, reading, and exploring ways to combat this reality. After all, people perish for the lack of knowledge, not the lack of determination. Acquiring the right investment skills, financial management practices, and general knowledge will help protect you and your family from financial destitution.

My greatest hope is that you, the reader, would be motivated to start educating yourself financially, and to get your hands dirty in the investment world.

Cheers, and see you all soon! 😀

 

RESEARCH SOURCES & REFERENCES

www.blog.linkedin.com/2016/10/20/top-skills-2016-week-of-learning-linkedin
www.cnbc.com/2016/10/20/the-top-10-skills-that-will-get-you-hired.html