Sunday, 19 February 2017

How Real is the Trump-driven Stock Market Bull’s Run lately?

I had been away from the stock market for several months now and then I realized that there had been a bull run lately. Dow crossing 20k and STI crossing 3k.

Wow... Great according to what Trump tweeted and many reckon he is going to transform the US economy for the better.

You really think so?

I remember in several months ago when Trump was the candidate, he mentioned we are in a day huge bubble that will burst anytime, and even worse if Fed is going to increase interest rate!

Now he is the president and when Dow crossed 20k, he tweeted great! And all credit to him. Suddenly all the problems had been resolved just like that!

Hmmmm....

Do we really think how things can change within such a short time.

It is pretty obvious to me that things are pretty much the same if not worse, now as compare to few months ago. Words can change within this short time, but fundamentals don't!

The economy is not as vibrant as the stock market think.

It really pays to be prudent.

Patience and self-control is the key for me. For many months now, I had do nothing in the stock market after cashing out!

I am so happy that I have crafted the patience which I will never going to have in the past, always wanting to dabble here and there to the buy/sell buttons of the stock counters.

Sometimes stock increase, you are so pleased about your own talent. Sometimes stock price drop immediately after your buy button, we call it itchy fingers or bad luck!

I am convicted that we are heading into a dangerous zone now. The more the market celebrates, the more so we should worry!

Maybe ask the question if the majority is always correct or wrong?

Trump is protecting US economy by making it more enclosed. Short term you protect jobs, but long term prices in US going to be more expensive and make them less competitive to the rest of the world. Then he still need to fulfill his promise to build the wall and the many infrastructures in US.

It is funny that everyone is cheering that economy in US is improving and interest rate is going to be raised by Yellen, without seeing more in depth the complete picture.

Over time, price of goods and services in US will increase due to protectionism against the China and the rest of the world. Then US will also spend more in all the roads constructions! Next, interest rates is going to be raised, meaning mortgage and loans are going to be more expensive.

So everything will be more expensive!

Then shall we asked where will be the money coming from?

Yes, you guess right - print more!

For me, I shall do nothing now.

Keeping my cash in the bank earning meagre interest and hoarding precious metals when prices is right will let me sleep better at night! And I am also happy that my career for now is less affected and starting to see more certainty!

Meanwhile I suppose patience and self-control is critical now for me which I am happy to be able to enjoy these two fruits lately. Then wisdom and knowledge will tell me when the time is ripe and where to deploy the hoarded cash and metals.

The journey has just truly begun I suppose!

To end this article, may all the readers and participants of the stock market be blessed with the wisdom and the prudence in dealing with the market so that you can be prosperous and have good success!





Friday, 17 February 2017

My Rewards from Learning Investment

Last June, I wrote about “my greatest reward of learning investment” in one of my article titled “The Fallacy of "How to be Rich" from Investing in Shares (Part 2)”.

I mentioned back then, that my stock investment did not increase my material wealth significantly since I started in 2010. Even if it did, it was a humble one, unlike the extravagant rewards you often hear on the advertised courses.  This is considering the fact that I did spend a considerably huge amount of time and effort into mastering the art of stock investment. Furthermore I do have an advantage, being exposed in “real life” to many of the businesses I invested and also having the so-called “insider” news. Despite the effort and the edge, the rewards were nothing to shout about. I admit I am not the guru, but then, how many of the mainstream are really guru?

Never mind the not so lucrative material benefits, the intangible benefits are invaluable.  Back then, I gain knowledge over various types of businesses. I have a better overall picture of the World and S’pore economies from digging into the history of the world. I also learnt that the mainstream is usually wrong. My temperament improved and patience develops. Most important of all, I learn to be a better person from reading and learning from the biographies of many famous or infamous people.

Due to a series of revelations in my life lately, it also triggers my fervor to share more thoughts in this article as follows.

Knowing the truth about life

I still did not grow very rich materially from investment. Even if I did, it is no longer so important as these are just temporal in life. You cannot take the wealth of this earth when you depart from the world.

Over the years, I had personally known many people who were very successful in their careers. It includes those who are very wealthy. However if we sometimes dig deeper into their lives, many are struggling with health and relationship issues that money cannot settles.

Some testimonies
It came to a shock to me that recently a wealthy friend and client of mine had passed away. He was only in his early sixties. He was always cautious about nutrition of food, exercised regularly.  He had his own business, which is also pretty stable that he did not need to work extremely long hours. Nonetheless, he was still ambitious wanting to grow his business and wealth for his next generation. Life can end so abruptly.

In another testimony, another friend of mine in his late thirties, who has a credible job and happy family collapsed one year ago. The next moment he was bedridden with brain stroke. Today, he is still on wheelchair, with an uncertain future.  

Then I also knew that there are those who indulged all their life in growing material wealth, whether in career or business or in investments, but their relationships with loved ones or people around them are never something to be proud of.

A prison called “self”
The many human issues that we faced today are often a consequence of our “ignorance” despite the worldly wisdom. For instance, I suspect that most of us ever know that we are trapped in a prison called “self”. The contemporary society taught that in order to be successful (at least sub-consciously), we ought to have “self-will; high self-esteem, self-reliance; self-sufficient” etc, which eventually led to self-centeredness and over skepticism in people relationships!

Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not be responsible for ourselves, but asked ourselves, where is the emphasis on the intangibles. For example, the need of a righteous life which invariably relates to more love, care and concern, patience, kindness, generosity, loyalty, humbleness, self-control and ultimately resulting in peace and joy in life.


The true prosperity and good success
I am grateful to learn that one of the greatest benefits as a result of my humbled investing journey is the ability to know what is truly prosperous and good success in life. It is to be righteous and loving with good health, good relationships “vertically and horizontally” and no lacking in material life. Being no lacking in life is not solely because you are made very rich with material wealth. Instead, it entails the fact that you learnt to lead a simple and frugal life, so that you can live an enriching life even without the need of many material things.

Seeing the root of the problem

Investment widens my perspectives. I see a bigger overall picture of the world, both economically and politically. In addition, the in-depth study of history helps in the factual aspects of life.

Read:

Because of learning investments, it strengthens my ability to identify the root cause of a problematic situation more easily than before. Finding the root cause of problems in life is so critical before we apply the “right medicine” to solve the problems. For example, a bad tree that bears bad fruits, you can chop off as many bad branches you want, but it will not solve the problem. Ultimately it is the main branch that is bad. Hence, finding the root cause of every problem is so important.

I also use to have a quite a childish thinking. I reckon that if one is rich and successful, he or she will be genuinely wiser in life and will be able to see the root of a problem easily.

It is not true.

In fact, many so-called rich and successful ones in the eyes of this world are often veiled to the truth of life, which eventually end up so “poor”. They are unable to discern between the righteous and sinful. They are unable to see the root of the problems in this life.

I will list two most common barriers in preventing us from seeing and seeking the truth in life:

-       The material allures of this world
-       Self-centeredness, which I mentioned earlier which is also pride and ego.

It is with the knowledge of the big picture, and the love of finding the root cause, that it helps to shape my character to one that is always loving to find out the truth in life and not just one that is only seeking to hearing what I love to hear. In other words, the flattery words that boost pride and ego, should be renounced from your heart!

Why is the majority always wrong?

Another thing I learnt is the fact that the mainstream is normally almost always incorrect over the long term. It is almost always the case as history always says so. Perhaps it can be due to the fact that mainstream always look at the short term and benefit, without the ingredients of wisdom, knowledge, ability to discern, patience, faithfulness, endurance and self-control.

Pay attention to long-term debt cycle
One example is said from Ray Dalio. He mentioned that majority of the investors are so concerned about the business cycles that they are not paying attention to the long-term debt cycle, which is nearing the end. This is because of the long period of near-zero interest rate environment that if any financial catastrophe events are to happen, the lawmakers will be without the ability to lower the interest rate, to boost the economy. Then how are we going to deal with the situation effectively? Print more again?

Read:

Do not conform to the world

Hence, I learn not to conform to the world and to the majority. On the contrary, I learn to always go deeper into the root to find out the truth from the very beginning of time. This really helps me to anticipate what is going to happen and also help in shaping my action now in preparation for the future.

With this wisdom of non-conformity to this world and the majority, I was rescued from massive stock losses. With more prudency, I also delivered myself out from the fear or mental stresses that many of my friends are facing now because of the depressed economic situations affecting their jobs.

Shaping the character

Then comes the most important benefit - To be a better person.

Sometimes one thing happened because it paves the way for another more important thing to happen. For those who read the bible, will know that John the Baptist paves the way for Jesus.

Similarly to me, the intense learning of investment in the last four years is the key to unlocking the greater truth in my life to and to be a better and righteous person.

And the only way to have the life that bear multiple-folds of fruits, is to have our character constantly shaped by an invisible mighty force spiritually.

It is not just the talk of the mouth, nor the “membership tag” or a “outwardly uniform” you wear nor the place you goes to once a week, but the personal experience of the almighty supernatural goodness that has a profound impact in your life, that it totally transformed our mind and the way we live.

It is the continuously shaping of the character that has to be from within and manifest outwardly to be a blessing not just for oneself but also for others.

You may find it hard to understand. However, I will like to that say that it is the kind of experience that is based on supernatural abilities to perform healing, miracles and the restoration of relationships for others. The experience is not just for family, and myself but also for anyone who are in need of help.

Thankful

I am thankful about my life now. I had a great family and many good friends. I still have a good job despite the dire economic conditions in the O&G industry. I am thankful that I am revealed to the truth of this world and this life, and also revealed to the ultimate purpose of humans in this world. And most important of all, I learnt also that it is the righteous human character from the heart that counts, in which, good works will then follow and fruits in our life will blossom.


Friday, 6 January 2017

Good Bye 2016, Hello 2017!

This is the first week of 2017. Happy New Year everyone! 

2016 ended remarkably well for me and my family as far as intangible non-material aspects of life is concern. My family is healthier both physically and spiritually. Relationships in my house improved tremendously too. Above all, we were blessed with a godsend baby boy due in few months time. Financially, while income and investment returns fall, overall financial status and net cash inflow (income minus expenses) for the year are very healthy. 

The year also ended well with a close to three weeks break from work for me and my wife clearing year end leave. This resulted in a family stay-cation at Sentosa and several gatherings with friends and siblings knitting closer relationships.  

2016 at a Glance

Before we start recapping year 2016 notable events for the World and Singapore, I wanted to clarify I am not a pessimist. As far as I could, I tried my best to uncover more positive events but sadly there are few. I am not going to list down too many events, but in general 2016 is really not a fantastic year for the World and Singapore.

World News

•    Donald Trump victory

•    Brexit and second ever female UK PM

•    Oil price stayed below $50/b and below $30/b at one stage

•    Increasing scandals and controversies of world top leaders – Trump, Clinton, Presidents of S.Korea, Brazil, C.Lagarde, 1MDB and the lists goes long…

•    Terrorists attacks intensified globally - US, Brussels, Turkey, Berlin, Parkistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, attacks etc.

•    Many earthquakes – Ecuador, Japan, Taiwan, PNG, New Zealand etc

•    Zika virus

•    Hanjin bankruptcy

•    Fed did not hike rate in 2016. BOJ, ECB & PBOC continued loose monetary policies

•    Portugal won Euro 2016 and Liverpool FC relatively good run under Jurgen Klopp 


Singapore

•    Singapore’s first year without LKY

•    SR Nathan died

•    Singapore first Olympic gold from Joseph Schooling in Rio

•    TPP deal likely to be called off

•    Finance minister Heng Swee Keat collapsed during cabinet meeting and PM Lee trembles during NDP speech

•    Beleaguered O&G sector - Swiber and Swissco’s JM

•    California fitness closed in Singapore

•    Pokemon Saga

•    STI relatively unchanged ending at 2880.76 in 2016 compared to 2882.73 in 2015 year end closing. 


Rolf Suey's H2F3

Using H2F3 and comparing to what I targeted in 2015 (refer here),

Health 
Very good health in 2016 compared to 2015. Medications are no longer necessary for my gastric and chronic-sinus sicknesses, which tormented me for years. My BMI was maintained in very healthy range of 24. Quitted smoking completely including those during social events. Wife encountered a glitch in health during pregnancy but it was completely healed without medications or operations. Kids are all healthy too! 

Hobbies 
Existing hobby in 2016 such as Gym, Jogging, Swimming, Reading and Blogging still stay the same. Discover a newfound purpose or hobby if you will like to call it. This is definitely more important in life. Hence I will backslide on Blogging going forward.

Relationships – Family and Friends 
Last year I ended the similar post yearning to build strong and quality relationships with people around me in 2016. 

I must say I was blessed to be on target. 

I experienced hugely improved relationships with families, friends and colleagues. There are more gentleness and meekness in my life compared to the past especially towards the end of the year. I learn also to respect opinions more than before. The result – more peace and joy, expressed through love.

Career 
Last year I mentioned my career objective for 2016 is just to keep my current job and to continue to have sustainable income.

I did it!

Nonetheless, it was a painful year, as I witness not only departure of many friends in the industry, but also almost all colleagues in my division in Singapore. I am the last man standing in my division. For how long, I do not know!

Finance 
TOTAL INCOME from decrease 12% in 2016 yoy. This is due to lesser bonus in salary as well as lesser income stream from writing free-lance O&G articles, and no baby bonus which was received in 2015. 

TOTAL EXPENSES grew however by 7% because of sale of car and fully paid car purchase, house renovations and income tax paid which was waived in 2015 because of newborn tax rebate. However because car is fully paid almost until 3Q2017 and there will be rebate of OMV, the savings will be realized in 2017. This means that 2016 expenses could have been lower. 

NET CASH FLOW decreases significantly by 33% due to lower income and higher expenses. 

MY STOCK PORTFOLIO fell, because of my
exposure primarily in Swissco which had enter into JM. Incurred realized losses after dividends of 2-3% of entire portfolio. Including unrealized losses, TOTAL losses of portfolio accounted for 6% of entire portfolio! 

I had been reducing my exposure in stocks gradually throughout 2015 & 2016 and now my stock portfolio is only a mere 7-8% of my entire portfolio. Out of it, a large portion is invested as stocks in my SRS account. 

In view of the unstable environment, I feel more comfortable to hold 50-55% cash, 8-10% bonds, 33% precious metals in my overall portfolio. 

Dividend income dropped >50% due to the hoarding of cash and precious metals. 

NET ASSET VALUE rises 11% due to income consistently exceed expenses and also because debts are pared down as I continue to pay down my mortgage loan without taking any other loan. 


Peek into 2017

My objective in 2017 as follows.

Good health, both spiritually and physically. Definitely strive to have continuously improved relationships with people around me with more love, peace and joy.

Lead a frugal lifestyle striving to have no lacking in life and no debt (except for housing).

Look forward to our newborn!

Be a better person who can be blessings to others.

Continue to build up the wisdom and knowledge in life. And to be at the right place at the right time and to do the right things at the right time also. To learn about the past so as to see into the future and always be orderly and plan ahead. 

That said, I will not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


I wish everyone the Best of Health, Relationships & Wealth in 2017