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?

Interview: If You Had $250,000, How Would You Allocate it?

Recently, during an interview, I was asked this question, to suggest a possible portfolio allocation for people (Singaporeans) in their early 30s, with $250k of investible cash to start with. Here is my answer in full:

If you only have $250k to start with, I would suggest a diversified approach of various asset classses to maximise returns.:

  • 25% allocated to cash (war chest)
  • 10% to cryptocurrencies
  • 20% to trading account
  • 20% to commodities
  • 20% to businesses, startups, angel investments
  • 5% to stocks, REITs, ETFs

Currently, the bulk of the holdings is in cash, since the market is pretty “risk-on” at the moment with much political and economic uncertainty about trade wars and real wars. Hence, I only included minimal stock holdings, as the stock markets (S&P 500)are at 8-9 year highs, so I will wait to buy in at a lower price should the opportunity arise.

One important factor is the 20% allocation to trading account, as this generate monthly cashflow from stocks/forex trading to continue growing the total portfolio size aggressively, which can then be allocated to other asset classes within the portfolio.

10% to cryptocurrencies is considered a “wild bet” which could be a zero or hero; lastly 20% to businesses is for people who have some prior experience to invest directly in businesses, or start their own. Personally, my portfolio includes several businesses, including a cafe and pub.

I have allocated 20% to commodities, as commodities are likely at their cycle low. The GSCI (Goldman Sachs Commodity Index) is one of the main benchmark for commodity prices, and the (GSCI/S&P 500) is used to measure the prices of commodities relative to stock prices. Currently, this measure is at a 50-year low, which suggests cheap commodities as a potential investment.

I have excluded real estate from this sample portfolio, as I do not include “own stay” property as an investment asset, and $250k is too small for any major property investment. For my own portfolio, i have invested in several properties as I feel that the Singapore property market will continue to rise for the next 5-10 years.

I have also excluded fixed income, as for Singaporeans, the CPF (SA account at 4%) is pretty much similar to a “risk-free” high-yield bond, hence it serves well as the fixed income component of the portfolio. For my own portfolio, i have hit the minimum sum, which will provide a good safety net for retirement.

I hope this has provided you a good template to start building your portfolio, but do keep in mind that ideally you should be looking to rebalance your portfolio every 1-3 months.

Why I am Planning to Liquidate my Full Portfolio of Singapore Stocks

Announcement: I will be taking a long break to focus on my trading and coaching of existing students (as well as several new exciting projects), but before that I will be conducting one last session of the “Trading Foundation workshop” on 18 May 2017 and the last run this quarter of the “Trading Mastery Program” on 27 & 28 May 2017.

It has been a while since my last update on the Singapore markets (as well as my SG portfolio holdings), largely because the market doesn’t move much, so I only check on them once in a while.

Interestingly, I noticed that the STI has had an impressive run, coming off a low of 25xx to break past the 3000 level in the past few months. However, is this move sustainable?

Taking a closer look at this weekly chart which shows the historical prices over the last 20 years or so, one thing which stands out is that the market has been in a 7 YEAR sideways stagnation.

If we look back at the whole history of the index, this is somewhat unprecedented.

Which could explain why popularity in this market (as well as trading volumes) has been waning. In short, it does seem like a dying market.

Not to mention that during this same time period, the US stock markets have been steadily creeping up.

If we look at the most recent red shaded circle, that is where the current price is, and it seems to be running into massive headwinds. This means that the potential upside could be quite limited.

If we observe the large sideways range that prices have been moving in, the price is now at the top of the range. And we know that the best strategy in a range is to “buy low, sell high”, which means that the odds do not favour much more upside, unless there is some new strong positive price catalyst.

However, a cursory glance at recent news headlines seems to be painting a rather gloomy picture, with muted growth forecasts and ominous employment statistics. This tell me that downside catalysts are more likely that upside ones. In other words, there is more chance of a negative shock rather than a positive shock for prices.

In light of all these factors, I am planning to cash out most or all of my profits, and wait for more favourable odds to redeploy my capital. As a trader and investor, timing is always key.

Good luck, and trade wisely! 😀

P.S. I will be taking a long break to focus on my trading and coaching of existing students (as well as several new exciting projects), but before that I will be conducting one last session of the “Trading Foundation workshop” on 18 May 2017 and the last run this quarter of the “Trading Mastery Program” on 27 & 28 May 2017.

Top 5 Investment Ideas for 2016 – Are You Ready?

happy new year
First off, we would like to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we hope your 2015 has been an awesome and bountiful year!

For the upcoming year, there will be many interesting opportunities, and the key is to build up a strong portfolio that will continue to perform well for years to come. Without further ado, let’s get down to the top 5 investment ideas for 2016:

1. Build up your War Chest

Cash Is King
The strategy for 2016 is to play defensive rather than be aggressive, as most asset classes will be under-performing, hence the saying “Cash is King” actually does make some sense in such a climate.

With the recently increasing interest rates, loans and interest payments will continue to get more expensive, so it makes sense to try and pay off your outstanding loans and debts.

The next step is to accumulate your war chest, by selectively investing in the right products, while at the same time holding sufficient cash on hand to capture new opportunities as they surface throughout the year.

In other words, do not be too eager to dump all your cash into investments all at once.


2. Be cautious of fixed income products

interest rates
No that the trend of interest rates have changed, and are coming up from an all-time low, this might spell the end of the 30-year bull market for bonds. Hence, I will only be allocating a very small portion of my portfolio to this.

The only exception to this is if you are planning to purchase a fixed income product (such as a bond) with the intention of holding it to maturity, and you are contented with the fixed yield that this product is giving you. In other words, you are not expecting any capital appreciation gains.

3. Invest in the Right Currencies

usdsgd 261215
With the US being the first to raise interest rates, we can expect the USD to strengthen against most other currencies, such as the Euro, Pound, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, and the Asian currencies (including the SGD).

This is especially likely since countries like the EU, UK, Australia, New Zealand are still planning to cut rates or have some similar operations that will continue to weaken their respective currencies.

Major funds are also likely to divert their funds into investments denominated in the USD, causing an outflow of funds from the Asian markets, which will negatively impact both the currencies and stock markets of these countries.

Hence, in the medium/long-term, I would prefer to be long the USD, or have net long exposure to it.

4. Focus on the Global Stock Market

Earlier this month, I did a post to forecast the movements on the Singapore stock market (Straits Times Index), and it did not look pretty.

Now compare that to this chart of the S&P 500 representing the US Stock market. This definitely looks more bullish, doesn’t it?

S&p 500 261215

For lazy investors like me, you can gain exposure to the US stock market simply by purchasing a low-cost ETF such as the SPY, and it will give you exposure to the USD as well.

For those who are willing to go one step further, you can check out the SPDR sector ETFs to pick out the stronger sectors, such as technology and healthcare. I will be looking into this during my next monthly portfolio update.

5. Commodities could be the dark horse

gsg 261215 commodities
Commodities have taken quite a beating for the past few years, especially oil, due to a combination of political and macro-economic factors. In addition, a bullish USD is not good for commodities as well. That is why many analysts have been very bearish on commodities, including Gold, Silver, Copper, etc.

All asset classes move in cycles, and I believe that commodities will not stay down forever. In fact, this might be a good time to accumulate them on the cheap. My general strategy for this is to gradually accumulate more of these using diversified ETFs (such as GSG) as they fall lower, which is also part of my portfolio rebalancing strategy, and I am prepared to wait 3-5 years for them to appreciate in value when the cycle changes.

Of course, it would be a bonus if they start to turn up earlier within 2016.

<<< Special Bonus for the New Year! >>>

We hope that you have enjoyed this article, and are psyched up to start tackling the market in 2016. As an extra bonus, we have included some ways in which you can generate additional sources of passive income to build up your war chest and grow your portfolio faster.

1. Free seminar on how to get started

National Achievers Congress NAC 2015
We will be having a free seminar to share how you can generate additional cashflow by using a small amount of capital to trade stocks/forex for 15 minutes a day in your free time. This will help you grow your portfolio faster, especially for those who do not have much starting capital to invest for the long-term.

Check availability:

2. Daily Trade alerts

daily trade alerts 181215

Since the launch of our daily trade alerts for stocks, forex and indices in June this year (about 5+ months), we have had 36 winning trades, 9 losing trades, and 10 trades that broke even, while trading just 15 minutes a day. Considering that each winning trade can potentially make 2-5x of each losing trade, this is an extremely bountiful year for us, and those who followed our trades.

We will continue to strive for excellence, and improve on this in 2016. We look forward to you joining us in our profitable and stress-free trading journey by applying this 15 Minute System.

See results:

3. New Fund trading opportunity!

Fund Trading Opportunity 2
As a final bonus, we will be having a brand new fund trading opportunity which we will kickstart in 2016, where there are zero joining fees, funds will be provided, and there will be a lucrative profit sharing scheme. This is perfect for those who do not have much capital or are just starting out, and you can generate an additional stream of income while not risking your own capital.

Seats are very limited, and we expect all slots on the trading floor to be filled pretty quickly, so for those who are keen, drop by for out next seminar to find out more, and reserve your slot if you are keen to join us. Check availability:

Next year is going to be the year which our passive income is going to explode massively, not just for me, but for all my students and those who are hungry for success. Wishing you all the best in your financial success for 2016!

P.S. If you found this article useful, please share it with a friend who is interested in getting started in investing! 😀

The Past 6 Years Summarized in One Chart – Are We Headed for Deflation?

market overview 221115 synapse trading

Since the post-2007 crash recovery starting in 2009, how have the markets fared?

Stocks, represented by the S&P 500, have steadily climbed, gaining an impressive 130% over the 6+ years.

Commodities, represented by oil, silver and gold, did not fare so well.

Oil peaked in the first half of 2011, consolidated for about 3 years, then made new lows in 2014.

Silver and Gold peaked in late 2011, then steadily declined all the way till today, giving up almost all its gains since 2009.

As the Fed gets ready to raise the interest rates, this is likely to give a boost to the US dollar, which will further suppress commodity prices. For oil, this is especially bad, since there is already an oversupply forecasted for 2016.

A higher interest rate will also bring down bond prices, ending the 30-year bull trend, and in months to come, act as a drag on stock prices. This means that the stock market is a ticking time bomb.

If all these happens, we will have a scenario with:

  • Bullish US dollar
  • Bearish oil, gold, silver, commodities
  • Bearish bond prices
  • Bearish stock prices
  • Bearish economy?

That would be a pretty gloomy deflation scenario. 🙁

What is my current portfolio strategy?

Stay tuned for my monthly portfolio update (November 2015) and current portfolio strategy at the end of this month!
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