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bloomberg survey millenials retire

While at the gym yesterday, I was browsing the news (when my gym trainer was taking a break), and I came across this interesting report by Bloomberg.

“A study, released on Tuesday by workforce solutions company Manpower Group and conducted by surveyor Reputation Leaders, found that 12 percent of millennials around the world expect never to retire. In Japan, a whopping 37 percent said they think they’ll work until they reach the grave, compared to 18 percent in China, 12 percent in the United States and the United Kingdom, and just 3 percent in Spain. The study polled 19,000 working millennials across 25 countries.”

bloomberg survey millenials retire

According to this survey, Singapore ranks 4th in world! 🙁 Definitely not a good sign.

My guess is that this is due to a combination of inflation, spending habits, and cost of living.

Another reason why saving, investing, and financial literacy is so important in this time and age.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-25/these-are-the-countries-where-millennials-will-work-themselves-to-death

warren buffett

This article will show you the seven dividend-investing secrets that Buffett uses to grow his wealth consistently. Their findings are based on his spoken and written statements, as well as his holdings.

warren buffett


1. Look for Businesses with Long Corporate Histories

Companies with long histories offer investors fewer surprises. These businesses know exactly what they do, and they do it well. Very few businesses continue to be successful for decades. As technology progresses, industries change. Consumer tastes change as well. For a business to thrive for such long periods of time it must either continuously reinvent itself, or exist in an industry that changes slowly.

The advantage of investing in businesses with long corporate histories is that they are more likely to continue generating cash flows going forward. The slower an industry changes, and the longer a business has been around, the more likely that business has a strong competitive advantage that will survive far into the future. Investing in businesses with long histories is a conservative approach to investing. Warren Buffett looks for much more than just a few years of success before he is confident a business truly has staying power and a lasting competitive advantage.


2. Look for Businesses with Strong Competitive Advantages

Buffett looks for businesses with strong, durable competitive advantages. To do well in stocks, you must think like a business owner. As a business owner, you would want your business to be able to beat the competition. More importantly, you’d want something that prevented the competition from ever being able to match you. That’s what a strong and durable competitive advantage offers.

Finding businesses with a competitive advantage that lasts for decades is a much more difficult task. There are few businesses that can reliably sustain a competitive advantage year-after-year. The few businesses that can enjoy above-industry-average returns on capital which can be reinvested to spur growth or returned to shareholders.


3. Look for Undervalued Businesses

To find value in the stock market, one often has to look at the most “beat down” and “unloved” stocks. The most glamorous high-flying growth stocks are not where to look to find value.

There are several ways to find value in high-quality dividend stocks. Stocks with low price-to-earnings ratios are a good place to look for value. Businesses that have suffered from negative one-time events that do not threaten the continuity of the business is another great place to look.


4. Keep a Focused Portfolio

The higher your conviction in any one stock, the larger your portion of your portfolio you should allocate to this stock. If you are very confident that a stock is undervalued, the business has a strong competitive advantage, growth is likely to persist for the long run, and management is shareholder friendly, you should naturally invest more than you would in only a mediocre opportunity.

The advantage of keeping a portfolio of 12-to-20 positions is simple: You can invest in your best ideas, which have a higher probability of stellar performance while still getting much of the benefits of diversification. Owning a portfolio with hundreds of stocks in it virtually guarantees mediocre results.


5. Invest for the Long Run

Investing in businesses for long periods of time has several advantages. First, it allows truly exceptional businesses to compound your wealth without having to do anything else.

Holding stocks for long periods has another advantage. Rarely buying and selling stocks greatly reduces portfolio turnover. Low portfolio turnover means lower frictional costs like brokerage transaction costs, slippage, etc. The lower you keep your investment related costs, the more money you have to actually invest. Holding for long periods of time allows your money to compound in your best ideas, is tax efficient, and reduces investment related costs; a win-win-win situation for individual investors.


6. Look for Shareholder Friendly Management

From the perspective of a shareholder, an excellent management team is one that creates real value for shareholders. The best managers will repurchase shares when stock prices fall and abstain when prices rise. If the business does not have great investment opportunities to reinvest corporate profits, the management will pay out excess cash flows as dividends to shareholders.

Analyzing the moves a company’s managers make is a good way to understand their motivations. As a general rule, businesses with long dividend histories and share repurchases are shareholder friendly and make good investments. Finding the truly exceptional manager — like the next Buffett — is very difficult. But looking at the moves management has made is the first step.


7. Keep Things Simple

Even though Buffett is an investing genius, he always looks for simplicity. When you think of complicated businesses and investment plans like Enron or Long Term Capital Management, the results can be devastating to your portfolio. It is far better to invest in easy-to-understand high-quality businesses within your “circle of competence.”

Your circle of competence is the area of the market you know best. If you are a doctor and regularly deal with a variety of health-care companies, you may be well-equipped to identify and invest in the highest quality health-care businesses. Most people are familiar with a variety of consumer goods products. Analyzing businesses with products that you are familiar with greatly reduces your risk of making a foolhardy investment. Don’t invest because everyone else is doing it — invest because you understand why a company has been successful, and will likely be successful for decades.


Forbes has named Singapore as the third richest country in the world. This wealth is measured using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Simplistically, it adds up everyone’s income for the year – to obtain GDP – before dividing it by the country’s population.

So how much should the “average” Singaporean be making based on this calculation?

At first glance, the golden number is $5,943. But is really the average wage?

As mentioned, GDP per capita is a simple method to define how rich a country is by understanding how much everyone in the population earns per annum.

However, using the entire population is not a good gauge, as children, students and retirees are not working, and hence should be excluded from the calculation.

Using labour force instead of total population will be more accurate since we are basing our calculation only on those who are working.

So what is the real “average” earner in Singapore?

The golden number is $9,207!

So what are your numbers telling me?

If you are like us, then this number may appear exceedingly high to you, perhaps even unattainable. Do not worry, you’re not alone.

The median salary in Singapore is SGD3,770. That means the majority of us are not earning the average, unless we have other source of income. This is normal, as income are usually skewed towards the higher income earners and thus medium hardly ever equates to mean.

What you should make out of this number is that there is potential to increase your wages in Singapore. Unlike poorer countries, where your future growth in earnings would be easily capped by the low potential in the country, we do not lack this in Singapore. There is money to be made, somewhere and somehow, in Singapore.

The above write-up is an extract/abridged version of this original article:

Mr Personal Views

Looking at the income distribution, we can see that the there is a growing gap between the “normal” Singaporeans, and the high-income earners. But what is not included is many of the “side jobs” which provide normal Singaporeans a 2nd source of income, such as online businesses and trading income, which may not be reflected in GDP or income surveys.

One thing is certain though: Unless you are drawing a 5-figure salary from your job, it is going to be hard to live comfortably in Singapore without a 2nd source of income. And it is never too late to start. Good luck! 😀


Yesterday, at the SGX Investment Carnival, I was invited to share with new investors and traders my trading journey of how I achieved financial freedom at 27 starting with just $3,000 at 20, so I focused on the top 3 practical tips which I felt had the most major impact on my success.

3 practical tips for early financial freedom

3 Practical Tips for Early Financial Freedom


 1. Time the Big Market Cycles

You might have heard that it is not possible to time the market. But is that really true?

Because all the millionaires and billionaires know the importance of buying and selling their assets at the right time to multiply their wealth.

3 simple steps that all millionaires and billionaires use to accumulate their wealth

3 simple steps that all millionaires and billionaires use to accumulate their wealth


“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful” – Warren Buffett

So the question is, what is at the cycle low (cheap) now?

Let’s first look at the 10-year stock market cycles… 1997, 2007, … What’s next?

Will there be a huge stock market crash in the next 2-3 years? No one can predict that. But I certainly know that now is NOT the low point in the stock market cycle, and it would be foolish to accumulate stocks now.

My money is on commodities like oil, gold and silver.


2. Have your War Chest Prepared

If the market crashes tomorrow, do you have the capital to take advantage of the opportunity?

If your answer is no, then what is the fastest way to build up more capital?

What is the fastest way to build your capital?

What is the fastest way to build your capital?


The common wisdom is to work hard and save, and while it is a safe option, it will take you about 5-10 years before you have sufficient funds to do any real investing, and by that time you would have missed any good opportunities during those years.

Another option is to start a business, but the failure rate is extremely high, with >80% of businesses going bust within the first year of operations.

My suggestion (which is also what I did for myself), is to allocate a small percentage of your capital to start a small trading portfolio, which can allow you to generate high returns while keeping risk low. And by simply spending 15 minutes a day to manage your trades, you can accelerate the rate of your investment capital accumulation explosively.


3. Learn the Right Skills Early

There are many good resources available for new traders and investors to start learning:

Good luck on your trading journey, and remember the key is to take the first step and get started, because the earlier you start, the more powerful the compounding effect is going to work in your favour! 😀

A casual photo with Magnus Bocker, CEO of SGX, and his staff

A casual photo with Magnus Bocker, CEO of SGX, and his staff


For many who want to invest in the Singapore property market but do not have much capital, REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) provide a cheap way for investors to add this asset class to their portfolio.

But what should we be looking out for when we invest in REITs?

What to look out for?

Firstly, you want to look for low gearing, which is a measure of a company’s financial leverage and shows the extent to which its operations are funded by lenders versus shareholders. Next, you want to do a quite calculation to make sure it has a high NAV (net asset value), which is measure of what its actual assets are worth. However, there numbers could sometimes be misleading.

One of my favourite approaches is to simply look for a high distribution yield, since that would be the most direct measure of your potential returns. Based on the formula, the best time to buy would be when prices are depressed and yields are high, assuming the payout does not change. This means that we also need to check the consistency of payout.

My strategy is to have a shopping list on hand, and have a preset yield in mind, for example >8%, and simply wait for prices to drop and the yield to increase and hit your target yield. Since the market moves in cycles, all it takes is an understanding of Portfolio Strategies and a lot of patience.

5 Major Types of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) in Singapore

5 Major Types of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) in Singapore


To help you plan your shopping list, here are the 5 major types of REITs:


1. Retail REITs

Retail REITs own shopping centres and malls. These are the safest type of REITs, and it is relatively easy to figure out how they are faring – simply take a trip to check out the shopping malls!

Also, since shopping malls are rather huge and require a lot of land, the supply is indirectly controlled by the government.

These REITs are highly correlated to population growth and tourist numbers.

Some examples include: CapitaMall, Suntec, LippoMalls Indon, CapitaRetail China, FCT, SPH, Croesus (japan), fortune (HK), Perennial (China), Starhill Global.


2. Office REITs

In land-scarce Singapore, the number of spaces are also limited and controlled by the government supply. This causes it to be cyclical, with the occasional over-supply.

Offices are commodity-like nature, meaning they do not have unique features that distinguish them from one another. This means that companies can easily switch offices if rents start to increase too much.

These REITs are generally correlated to the economy, and can be volatile at times. Hence, I will have a higher “target yield” when looking to buy these REITs.

Some examples include: CapitaComm, K-REIT, FCoT, Forterra (China), MGCT, MCT, Soilbuild


3. Hospitality REITs

Hospitality REITs include hotels and service residences, and these are very dependent on tourism and the general economy. This can also be a useful vehicle if you want to invest in the tourism market.

These REITs are also cyclical, a higher “target yield” is recommended as well.

Some examples include: CDL Hospitality, Ascott Hospitality, Far East Hospitality, OUE Hospitality, Saizen (Japan)


4. Industrial REITs

Industrial REITs are more complex as there are a wide variety, such as light industrial, factory space, warehouse distribution centres, business parks, etc.

As their leases are typically short-term between 30-60 years, there is limited capital appreciation of its assets, which means the bulk of returns has to come from yields. On the plus side, this also means it will not require high Capex or “asset value maintenance” fees.

Since it also fluctuates with the economy but rents cannot increase much, this also means a higher “target yield” is expected for this kind of REIT.

Some examples include: Ascendas, MLT, MIT, Cache, Cambridge, AIMS AMP, Sabana REIT


5. Health Care REITs

Health care REITs are the most stable among all the REITs, and although it does not usually have much capital appreciation, it makes up for it by providing high yields.

Since the rent it collects is rather stable, (hospitals typically will have very long leases), its growth lies in the potential to acquire new properties, rather than an increase in rental income.

In a way, it is like a long-term bond with inflation protection.

Some examples include: First REIT, ParkwayREIT, Religare Health Trust (India)


I hope that this has given you a good idea on what to look out for in REITs, and how to start building your shopping list by having a mix of different types of REITs to provide both capital appreciation and passive income.

Stay tuned for our next post! 😀