Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Which Listed Oil Companies Should You Buy?

Oil companies all over the world has their stock prices at all-time low. 

At the time of writing this article, Exxon (XOM)’s share price of USD 34 equals March low this year, while Shell (RDS)’s share price of USD 24 is a mere 10 percent above the pandemic low. 

These prices were lowest in two-decades. 

Chevron (CVX) is the better performer. Still, the price of USD 71 is at decade-low, if we disregard March’s trough. 

China Oil giants are not spared from the price onslaught. Share prices of PetroChina (857) HKD 2.2 and Sinopec (386) HKD 3.0 both dived below March low, hitting record low in the last 15 years. 

CNOOC (883) HKD 7.3 is not too far above March’s trough and is at decade low. 

Question: Are the share prices cheap now? Should you buy now? 

Please read the disclaimer link here, before this article have any influence on any decisions you make. 


Most people will start to perform fundamental analysis going through all the metrics of the oil companies to derive predictive forward PE, PB, PCF, Cash, etc. 

In my humble opinion, I think it is not going to be very meaningful to go too much in depth into the predictive numerical analysis as nobody can predict the future oil price. 

Furthermore, Covid-19 crisis is almost an unprecedented one-off event in our history, and has negatively impacted the profits of almost all Oil related companies this year, irregardless of how good their past performances were. 

Lastly, nobody has a clue of what is going to happen, whether Covid’s future or OPEC’s decision? 

There are just too many unknowns! 

Will we find a vaccine, so that the world economy will be back to pre-covid situation in no time? Or will the world economy continue to shrink in a prolonged depressed manner? Or will renewable energy be developed fast enough so that we can be significantly less reliant on the consumption of Oil and Gas? Will OPEC come to an agreement or will they continue to increase the supply? 

Without any ability to sniff out the future, it is going to be futile to predict the future earnings of these companies! 


But I am buying! Why? 

The Oil companies mentioned earlier are all Oil Giants with huge market capitalisations. All either have ample cash, or at least have easy access to credit facilities. 

Hence, I don’t think that they will go bust because of this crisis. Or at least the chances are very minimal. 

As mentioned earlier, the prices are all at all time low and merely above March low. Personally, I do not believe a second wave will be as serious as the first. 

Therefore the chances of a “huge percentage” price dip is probably lower than the chance of recovery in my opinion. 

Read: Why Even a Covid-19 Second-Wave Will Not Crash the Stock Market by Much?

Oil and Gas is cyclical, and I do not believe these Oil Majors will just collapse and disappear in time to come! There will be times of difficulty and time of prosperity. 

Read: Is The Oil & Gas Industry Really Hopeless?

Hence, I am bullish rather than bearish in the long term. 

That being said, I am not saying that oil price or share prices of these companies have hit their absolute low and will not go lower! We simply don’t know. 


For perspective reason, below are their Trailing Twelve Months (TTM) figures as of 2Q2020. 

          TTM PE ratio (dividend)

  • XOM - 20 (10.4%)
  • RDS - negative (5.3%)
  • CVX - negative (7.1%)

  • Sinopec - 5.6 (11.4%)
  • PetroChina - 7.8 (6.5%)
  • CNOOC - 4.74 (8.8%) 

Looking at the TTM figures, Chinese Oil companies seems to have an edge over the Western ones! 

Also, I think that China will recover faster in this pandemic compared to the rest of the world. The internal consumption will help to propel recovery for China. 


I had chosen Sinopec not because it has the best metrics. In that aspect, CNOOC fares the best maybe! CNOOC has a comparatively better ROE, ROA and profit margins and better cash over debt position! 

Nonetheless, I am more skeptical about the business of Exploration and Production (E&P), where both PetroChina and CNOOC are more dominant in. 

It is generally assumed that E&P activities are more risky and volatile compared to refinery. E&P companies will require lots of debt and are in higher overall liability position in order to finance their capital-intensive operations. And in my opinion, the non-current assets are also subject to greater risks of sharp depreciation, should any Exploration efforts fail or met with a mishaps. 

On the contrary, Sinopec specialised more in refining, and is the largest refiner in China accounted for about 40% of China’s total refinery throughput. I felt that this could also favor the local consumption model of China more than the other two! 

In terms of TTM PE ratio and dividend, Sinopec also stands out! 

Lastly, Sinopec also has two Petrol Kiosks in Singapore already! 


Imagine one day, Sinopec have more and more Petrol Kiosks all over Asia countries competing with Shell and Esso? 

Sunday, 18 October 2020

How to INVEST NOW and CREATE a Portfolio?

Earlier, I had mentioned that NOW is the right time to invest. 

Is "NOW" The Right Time To Invest?

In this post, I will reveal “HOW” to invest now? 


To reiterate on what was already mentioned in previous post, you should first set aside your emergency funds and invest the amount of monies that you are not going to use. Then decide on how much you want to invest. 

The absolute value affects your investment allocation. For example, you only want to invest 10K, then it does not make sense to have a diverse investment portfolio. In this case, you can just choose a few stocks to invest. 


On the other hand, if you have 100K or more to invest, then you should create an Investment Portfolio that comprises of different asset classes. For instance, Cash, Bonds, Precious metals (Gold and Silver), Shares etc. To simplify, you can take below as reference. 

 My advice is to have 50% shares investment for a start. Then 25% cash-bonds, and 25% precious metals (gold and silver) and crypto (maybe!). 

Also read: If I have excess 100K now, how should I invest over the next one year?

Cash / Bonds

It is always advisable to keep some cash as opportunity funds to take advantage of “stock price crash” to buy cheap during an economic crisis. If you do not like the fact that Cash generates almost no return. Then you can buy bonds. Do note that bonds issuer can default, and corporate bond price can also decline before maturity.    

Precious metals

The precious metals act as a hedge and “normally” has inverse relationships to economic crisis.  Hence, if crisis causes share prices to tumble, you can sell the higher priced precious metals to take advantage of the cheaper shares. Or at least you will not see excessive “bloodshed” in your overall portfolio during crisis. 

No hard and fast rules in allocation

There are no hard and fast rules that you definitely must adhere to the above percentage distribution. Or whether you definitely should invest in Technology or REITs. Invest and allocate where you feel most comfortable, after reading the reports, and doing your evaluation! You know yourself best, don’t be over restricted by rules! 

  • Tech Bullish: More growth, also more decline? less dividends and more risk? 
  • REITs Bullish: Hungry for dividends! More stable but not immune to decline. Covid-19 has “bloodshed” many Reits. 
  • Others: Can be Energy or Defensive stocks like Staple, Healthcare, Telco etc. 

“Defensive” stocks use to be more immune during crisis, however times have change. Covid-19! 


If every month, you have excess cash, you should invest in a progressive manner and regularly. This can average/eliminates any excessive asset price fluctuations. 

It is better to invest for long term. 10, 20, 30 years or more? Ok, too long for you… at least 5 years or until the peak before the next crisis. 

Learning when to sell is so important, although that is a separate topic altogether! 


Peter Lynch said: 

"In the stock market, the most important organ is the stomach. It's not the brain. On the way to work, the amount of bad news you could hear is almost infinite now. So the question is: Can you take that? Do you really have faith that 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now common stocks are the place to be. If you believe in that, you should have some money in equity funds.

It's a question of what's your tolerance for pain. There will still be declines. It might be tomorrow. It might be a year from now. Who knows when it's going to happen? The question is: Are you ready—do you have the stomach for this? 

Most people do really well because they just hang in there."


Rolf's Updates - My Priorities in Life - Health, Finance, Family, Friends & Hobbies – 2020 3Q

Rolf's Portfolio - 4 Sep 2020

Rolf’s Stock Portfolio – Why more than 50 percent is in Tech Stocks?

Rolf’s Portfolio, Stocks Mix and Investment Strategy


Below are posts written more than four years ago in 2016. 


Rolf’s investment philosophy (Part 1) - Building a character!

Rolf’s investment philosophy (Part 2) – Understand the business!

Rolf’s investment philosophy (Part 3) - Building a Portfolio!

Saturday, 17 October 2020

How to Transit into a New Industry? My Wife’s New Job in a New Industry after 2 Months!

It has been two months since my wife started her new job in a completely new industry. This is after almost two decades in the MICE or related industry. Her new role is in digital and real estate. For more on the background, you can refer to earlier articles below.  

My Wife's Company Ask Her to Take 50% Paycut – What is My Advice?

My Wife Found a Better Job in Less than 2 Months - With My Advices! (Part 1). Her ex-Company Asked Her to Take 50% Paycut!

My Wife Found a New Job – The Applications, Interviews, And The Decision! (Part 2)

So far, she is very happy and have little complains in her new job. Her direct/dotted-line bosses are all very “humane”, easy to talk to, reasonable in their demands, and work hard themselves to earn respect. Colleagues give similar feedback about the bosses, and this is good assurance. I consider her ex-boss as “mentally ill freak”, who has no capability but makes unreasonable demands. Therefore, in my view, this is the most significant improvement. 

Transition from a smaller to a larger MNC also means more exposures to trainings and more cross-country dealings. This often translate to tele-meetings before sunrise or after sunset. No matter what, it will never be as bad as her previous job where she may have to work up to 18-20 hours a day until 2-3am (no joke), during days of events.  

Despite the many odd hours call now, she is flexible to plan her own 8-hour work day, and can go offline early or start later, without anyone micro-managing her, as long as the job is done diligently. 

Products and industry are new, and hence a lot of reading is necessary outside office hours. This is something she has not done for years, so needs time to learn and adapt! The in-house training helps! It equipped her with product knowledge and familiarize her with company culture quickly, and also allows her to know more people within the organization quickly.

Colleagues, as like the previous job, are so far nice to her. And fortunately that up to now, there isn’t excessive workplace politics to bemoan about. Clients are from different industry, but not a concern. This is because her previous job requires a lot of interactions with clients in diverse industry from all nationalities globally. 

While all is good so far, she still has much to learn and still require time to settle down.  


Initially, my wife is worried to transit into a new industry. From my own experience, I told her not to worry. While my industrial background is Marine/Offshore Oil and Gas, there are many times, that I need to venture into other industries. The business and people management skills are not so much different. Most important of all, is to have the correct attitude! 

After starting her new job, my wife told me that the coordination aspect, whether internal (colleagues) or external (clients) is more or less the same. The planning and the scheduling, and the dealing with multiple parties and get things aligned before executing is also more or less the same. The only thing that has more challenge is the product knowledge, but it can be easily familiarised with more reading, more talking to relevant people and more work on job execution. 

Hence, despite the new industry, correlation from previous job is probably still say fifty per cent. 


People who have an open and positive mindset to receive and learn new things will definitely have a better edge than those who are negative, pessimistic, and always complain, worry, lament, speak ill of others etc.  

The “Attitude” must be; to learn, to take action, to fail, to gain experience, to improve the next time we take action again. And repeat this process until you become better and better. 

The right attitude definitely helps to transit into a new industry better and faster. 


What is the most unfamiliar in a new industry, is likely the market, product and customer knowledges! These knowledges are important to have, whether you are in frontline, operation or backend support employees. 

For instance, I have known HR, Finance or IT personnel who have totally no clue what the company is selling, what is the company turnover or how many employees the company have, and who their major clients are, even if this information can be readily found online or within the intranet. This is so wrong! 

Having good market, customer and product knowledge in the shortest possible time will help you to settle down faster and accelerate your career progress. Beside company training, reading up online outside office hours is a must! Yet, even this extra effort can only give you surface knowledge and not in-depth ones. 


Aside from self-reading and researching, the fastest way to learn new knowledge is by conversing with experienced people who have good knowledge in the same field. It can be your superior, subordinates, colleagues, customers, suppliers or business associates. 

To begin in a new industry and settle down fast, the effort to read extensively is very important! Then you need to ask relevant questions and listen, and learn from colleagues, clients or suppliers on the job. To know the market, the fastest way is to know your customers well, be close to them and serve them well.  

Good interpersonal and communication skills leading to the ability to establish good relationships and friendships across all stakeholders are key elements of success in a company! 


The country of origin of my wife’s previous company and her new company is the same. This helps in the transition! Both have international offices in the same countries she dealt with previously. Hence, there are a lot of similarity in terms of mindset, the pace of work and communication. 

No culture shock for her! 


Sometimes, transition from local SME to MNC or vice versa can be more difficult than the transition to a new industry. 

Most, (but not all) local SME employers are very cost conscious and wanted maximum output from an employee with minimum input to the benefits of the employee. And no matter if the market is good or bad, working hours is usually longer. That being said, you may have more chance to do cross-department duties and learn more. You are also more likely to have direct contact with the company head. Decision making is also generally faster and company can be more flexible towards their business partners. 

In most MNC, you will encounter matrix organization with direct and dotted line reporting. There can be constant organizational changes. Don’t be surprise that your subordinate can suddenly become your boss or vice versa! And to make a single decision, you have to discuss with many parties to be aligned and approval is slow. Apt in corporate politics and interpersonal relationship skills are part and parcel of promotion and survival. 

Europe Vs US 

Most of us know that there is a big difference between Asia to Europe/US companies’ cultures. But not many are aware of the big cultural differences between European and American firms. 

European firms are generally more traditional and conservative. They prefer to focus on their core-business and core-expertise, rather than randomly pursue businesses “where the money is”. Europeans also like to plan way ahead of time and hate last minute arrangements. They also prefer to hire those within the same industry and who have worked for companies in the same country of origin. Typically, you can easily find staffs being 20, 30, or even 40 years in the company. Europeans also tend to be more biased towards their own countrymen and for employees who has worked a long time with them. And yes, there is work-life balance! 

American culture is different. In general (I think), they are more dynamic and pace is faster, although they can be less organised at times and have more last-minute meetings. Workhours are longer and they are very results and figures driven! If you perform, you get rewarded accordingly. If you don’t, out you go. Hire and fire is commonplace. Age is no barrier for promotion or assuming big roles. Loyalty without performance offers no safety net! American firms also have lesser qualms hiring people outside the industry to stimulate creativity. 


My wife is definitely lucky to find a new job so fast during this unprecedented time. It is “double blessings” that she has transited well in her new job for the last two months.

To me, I also feel that the finally change of luck now is perhaps also due to her ability to endure, preserve and overcome “bad luck” in her previous jobs for close to two decades. Back then, while she encountered more unfair bosses, unfair demands, unfair workhours, and unfair remunerations, she has little complains, and always just do her jobs. 

It is me who always complain about her jobs and gave ultimatum for her to resign and find new opportunity. 

Afterall, life is not all unfair. 

Your so called “bad luck now” maybe is because you have been lucky for a long time already, and you probably fail to notice or just take it for granted. And your so called “good luck” now is perhaps you have already suffered and work hard without complaints for a long time, and the “wind of change” has finally come! 


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Can “Raffles Medical” Reclaims Past Glory by Betting on China?

Raffles Medical Group (RMG) use to be the darling stock in SGX with an exceptional strong balance sheet, growing earnings yoy, plus attractive dividends. 


(Note: all price in SGD unless otherwise mentioned)

From end 2008, the share price has rose from a low of 0.6, to a peak of ~5.0 in the 2015-2016 period. In early 2016, the company announced a 3-1 share split. From 2016 onwards, RMG’s share price has been declining from 1.55 to 1.0 by the end of 2019, and a further 20 percent tumble this year. All in all, the share price has almost halved since 4 to 5 years ago. And, if you would have bought the stock eight years ago, you be seeing zero growth in share price, aside from the dividends collected. 


RMG has been able to grow its revenue yoy despite the share decline. Revenue rose 27 percent from 410 million in 2015 steadily to 522 million in 2019. Profit After Tax (PAT) is also pretty consistent from 2015 to 2018 averaging 69-70 million. 

What has caused the decline in share price? 

The company 2019 profit suffered a decline to 60 million (17 percent fall from previous year), and 1H2020 results compounded more pain due to the Covid pandemic, giving rise to a sharp decline of 41.6% earnings from 27.9 million in 1H2019 to 16.3 million this year.

Still, the fall in earnings does not justify the colossal decline of the share price. 

So, what is the reason? 

In my opinion, it is the over-aggressive expansion, weakening the balance sheet and the gestation period of several years ahead for the expansion investments to turn into earnings. 


Since 2014, RMG had undergone very aggressive expansion. In fact, over-aggressive in my opinion within a short space of time! 2014 saw S$310m spent on the extension of hospital in Singapore adding 220k sqft. The bigger facility is opened in early 2018. 

Next, the construction of a 5-storey commercial building in Holland Village having 65k sqft of gross floor area with medical, banking (DBS), retail, food and beverage services. This is another S$65m spent, officially opened end 2016. 

In 2015, it announced expansion into Shanghai with new 400 beds hospital at Pudong area. It is due to be opened by end of this year barring any unforeseen circumstances ahead. 

Then in 2017, the announcement on the development of its second international tertiary hospital in China, Chongqing costing approximately 800million yuan. The Chongqing facility opened in Jan 2019 as a 150 bedders, scalable to 700 bedders. 

RMG’s Management maintained EBITDA loss guidance for both China hospitals of S$8-10m in the first year and S$4-5m in the second year before breaking even in the third year of operation. But with Covid, breakeven will likely be longer than the anticipated 3 years. 

Due to the expansion, RMG is in net debt position with a net gearing of 1.8%. 

However, the good news is, Shanghai facility is almost completed meaning it is unlikely to require huge fresh cash injection for its construction. 

Currently, RMG is holding 152.6 million of cash with a debt of 168 million. 


Taking RMG’s Market cap as 1.47 billion, then 2019 earnings will provide a P/E ratio of 25. 

Let’s take a look at 2020.

First half year drastic fall in earnings to 16.3 million is very much due to the impact of Covid, especially China/HK region. RMG highlighted that if we excludes the results of China Healthcare Division (Raffles Hospital Chongqing, Raffles China Clinics and Raffles Medical Hongkong) which had been severely impacted by Covid in 1H2020, the Group’s PAT would have been 31.2 million as compared to 32.3 million in 1H 2019, a diminution of 3.7% (1.1 million).

The second half result is expected to improve. 

Assume 2020 earnings of 44 million as predicted by one of the analyst reports, then this will translate to forward P/E ratio of 33.4. 

It ain’t exactly cheap!


It is not all bad. The Covid situation in China is expected to improve compare to 2020, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Hence 2021 earnings are expected to improve. 

Furthermore, the group is on track for the opening of Raffles Hospital Shanghai this year with equipment ready and staffs recruited. 

In a recent interview, Dr Loo, the executive chairman and co-founder of the group said: 

“Well, we had the honour of being designated as a hospital for foreigners. But there aren’t many foreigners in Chongqing - about 5,000 but people do come to us. We are beginning to have traction with the locals with who surely must be the main group of patients we’re looking for. 

And this year we got the Yibao. Yibao is a local insurance to supplement the costs. Since then, we have been getting more traction. 

People are coming to our hospital to deliver babies, get fractures treated. Already we are better, much better known now in Chongqing and surrounding areas than a year ago.

We are here to serve Chinese patients, and expatriates are just ‘by the way’. How many expatriates in China? Two million? How many top 20 per cent people in China? About 280 million. That’s 40 times more than Singaporeans,” 

Loo also said that he believed the Chongqing and Shanghai ventures could break even in three years, and in 10 years the revenue from China could be the same, or even bigger, than the company’s earnings in Singapore.

But Loo is also being prudent. “It is a serious undertaking. I’ve seen lots of hospitals starting well and then going no where. Even if you give people free stays, they don’t necessarily want to come,” he said.


The group is betting heavily on the success of its China Hospitals. If Dr Loo is correct, then RMG earnings will grow two folds in ten years bring a double bagger share price in two years. 

Notwithstanding the growth in China, there are also risks. 

Firstly, in the next 3-4 years, earnings will still very much depends on the main Singapore business. And borders really need to open to supplement the local patients with foreign ones, since more than 30% of RMG’s Hospital revenue is derived from foreigners. 

Singapore has always planned ahead for aging and growing population, leading to over-supply of hospitals here, in the past decade. According to MOH website, there are 19 acute hospitals, 9 community hospitals, 20 public polyclinics and 2,304 private clinics in 2019. With a population size of less than 6 million, the local healthcare competition is intense and tough. 

Lastly, China is not an easy country for foreigners to set up business there, especially more in the healthcare industry. This complexity, together with competition from local Chinese Hospitals may prolonged the gestation period of RMG’s breakeven there? 

Nonetheless, Dr Loo also said that he has waited 34 years to reach where he is today: 

“I have studied China’s system for 34 years. I walked through 100 hospitals in China and made friends with hospital presidents, physicians, consultancies all over the country … we are not typical foreigners.”


Unfortunately, I bought into the shares during RMG’s heydays and have a few rounds of averaging in the past few years. Today, I am reeling from the pain of the share decline. Without saying, I am hoping for the success in China to pull the share price of RMG up. 

Read my previous articles: 

Why is Raffles Medical Great? – Facts & Figures

Why is Raffles Medical Great? – A tale of personal experience!

Meanwhile, do you believe in RMG’s narrated success story in China? 

Will you consider to add the shares of RMG into your investment portfolio? 

Please read disclaimer as follows and please click disclaimer tab "here".  

This blog and its contents contain the opinions and views of the author. It is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. The author cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained herein the blog and its contents. You should independently research and verify, any information that you find on this website. The contents of this website is not a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks of any of the companies or investments herein discussed. It is very important to do your own research and analysis before making any investment based on your own personal circumstances. Consult a professional if needed. 

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Rolf's Updates - My Priorities in Life - Health, Finance, Family, Friends & Hobbies – 2020 3Q

Click here for what does H2F3 (Health, Hobbies, Family, Finance and Friends) means. 

Refer here for my last H2F3 update in 2020Q2.

The Covid situation has become quite boring and dreadful over time. It is almost half a year of working from home now. In October, we are back in office in two shifts and I think it is great meeting up with colleagues again. While I have many video calls with colleagues and clients overseas in my work, the “feeling” is nowhere compared to the physical setting foot to other countries, the face-to-face meetings, and the after-work meals together.  That said, kids have no problem adapting to the new normal, unlike adults. My kids are always happy, despite the hassle of wearing masks in schools. 


Thank God. All my family members are healthy and safe during this time. My health has not been tip top with a few occasional sickness, but it is still decent with no major illness. 

My workout rate dropped compared to last quarter. I exercise on alternate days for my “older” body to recover rather than six day weekly workout in the last quarter. While abs and core muscles become stronger due to workout, fats began to accumulate due to the lack of discipline in food, eating away chips and supper while watching Netflix. Will need to do better. My weight is maintained at 78 Kg.

Spiritually, “doors” continue to open for friends to come my house to share His greatness together. An ex-colleague got converted in the process. 


We definitely had more family outings after circuit breaker! The kids are always filled with laughter during family outings. My wife and me also went for more date nights in cosy restaurants. 

Vue restaurant at OUE Bayfront. Fantastic view. 

Prive restaurant at Keppel Bay. Good food and good view. 

A lot of time is also spent on my kids on table tennis be it, professional or self-coaching. I believe that Table Tennis is a game that truly engage our brain, bringing out creativity and focus, speed and reflexes! It also has comparatively lesser injury and it is a game for life even during old age. I met so many friends in this sports! Occasionally, my kids and friends’ kids will also have friendly spar, while the adults have their chit chat. 


My company’s short term future is secured with fresh funds injection. But retrenchment is imminent with ongoing restructuring. The culprit is neither Covid-19, nor the downturn in businesses in the past years. Instead, it is due to poor project management of several big projects incurring losses in the magnitude of hundreds of millions. 

Fortunately for me (or unfortunate maybe), my job is guaranteed, and most likely my fellow Singaporeans’ colleagues as well. In fact, I received a commendation letter from our CEO with small incentive attach to it. I was flattered, in times of crisis like this. 

But a new boss and changes in job role is unavoidable.  It will be my tenth direct report in the last five years, excluding the dotted line report! The work environment is unhealthy, rife with office politics and uncertainty. Anyway, I just have to continue to survive…. Survival is something I did well during the last oil crisis, when the my entire office’s colleagues got laid off except me, the lone survivor back then.  

My wife started her new job for two months now. With my advices, she resigned from her last job just before sixty percent mandatory pay cut took effect. The new employment turn out to be extremely well, with higher salary, more exciting job scope, better boss, better colleagues and lesser workhours.  


My Wife's Company Ask Her to Take 50% Paycut – What is My Advice?

My Wife Found a Better Job in Less than 2 Months - With My Advices! (Part 1). Her ex-Company Asked Her to Take 50% Paycut!

In the past few months, I continued to increase the purchase of shares in my overall portfolio regularly. 

Currently, my overall portfolio as follows. 

  • Shares – 54%
  • Cash + Bond – 22%
  • Precious metals – 24%

My shares portfolio as follows. 

Expenses - Read: Rolf’s Household Expenses to Household Income


Unlike in the last quarter, I hosted many house family dinners with friends over the weekends. I also went over to my friend’s place, or just simply meet many friends over coffee or meals. It is really nostalgic to catch up with my secondary, university friends as well as ex-colleagues.  During working days, I also arranged many lunch or coffee meetings with business associates to make working from home less boring. While work is not as happy (as explained earlier), meeting with people makes me happy! 


Working out keeps me feeling young and refreshed. I love it! It can be weights training, HIIT or swimming. I have not been playing table tennis with friends as much as I wanted. Nevertheless, I still have my family table tennis session weekly. 

I had been watching too many Korean Netflix series. Mostly Thrillers or comedies. It helps me to relax and keep me intrigued, without me thinking too much about any unhappy things. Some to name lately, Whisper, Defendant, Stranger, Money Flower, Mr. Sunshine, Good Manager, Dr Prisoner, Remember etc. My all-time favourite Korean TV series are “Signal”, “Voice”, “Tunnel”, “You are all surrounded”, “Vagabond”. 

Writing/Blogging is also something I love doing and it improves my mental state of mind. Writing crystallize my thoughts and help me to think through problems better. It also improves my communication in work or when I talk to friends. In fact, there are so many benefits of writing. One relevant and distinct benefit, as research show, is that it helps in dealing with anxiety and depression better, especially during this Covid pandemic. 


Health – Decent, not fantastic. No increase in weight but fats accumulating through supper. Need to cut it down.   

Family – Great and very close relationship! 

Financial – Investment Portfolio is doing well. Careers are at least guaranteed in the short run. Wife’s new career looks promising. Mine requires more breakthrough in a very difficult environment! 

Friends – Very good. Hosted many good and old friends’ families at my home during weekend. Regular meetup with my personal friends outside on weekdays. 

Hobbies – Regular workout and writing. Netflix series also help me to relax!   

Friday, 9 October 2020

Invest in Companies That Are Sustainable!

Fossil fuels takes millions of years to form, and human race has been using them for just over two hundred years. Experts have estimate that if we keep burning fossil fuels at current rate, depletion may take place by 2060. 

The oil and gas is still one of the largest industry today in terms of revenue generated. Oil is the most in demand and hence fastest depleting, and it is NOT sustainable to keep consuming oil. 

We need clean and renewable energy to be sustainable.  Some of the sources of renewable energy are Wind, Solar, Hydro, Biomass, Geothermal, Ocean waves and currents. 

According to statista website (click here), China has the highest investment in clean energy globally, spending USD83.4 billion into clean energy R&D. The US is second investing USD 55.5 billion followed by Japan at USD 16.5 billion. These three countries account for approximately 71 per cent of the total clean energy investments. 

source: statista 

According to a global research, Ørsted  is voted the most sustainable company in the world in 2019. The Danish giant is owned majority by the Danish government. It is formerly known as Danish Oil and Gas Natural Gas (DONG), and has shifted in the past decade from using fossil fuels to renewables and now urges all countries and companies to reduce carbon emissions.

The company has reduced carbon emissions caused by energy generation and operations by 83% since 2006 and aims to be completely carbon neutral by 2025. Its wind farms supply power to more than 13 million people and the company says it plans to provide energy to 50 million people by 2030.

Ørsted is listed in Denmark. Another Danish company is Vestas Wind Systems (VWS), manufacturer and seller of wind turbines that was founded in 1945. 

Other renewable energy companies includes: 


Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd (SEHK: 968) - manufacturing and sale of solar glass.

GCL-Poly(SEHK: 3800) - world’s largest producer of solar wafers used to make solar panels. 

Goldwind (SEHK: 2208) – manufacturer of wind turbine. Likewise, Sinovel (SSE: 601558) 


Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP) - one of the world's largest listed renewable energy companies. It operates a global, multi-technology platform, which includes hydroelectric, wind, and solar energy generation facilities, as well as energy storage assets.

Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure (NASDAQ:AY) - Atlantica is a sustainable infrastructure company that owns and manages renewable energy, efficient natural gas, transmission and transportation infrastructures and water assets

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) - is one of the leaders in developing thin-film solar panels. These larger modules produce electricity at a lower cost per watt than traditional silicon-based panels. They also perform better in hot and humid conditions as well as shed snow and debris quicker. Those characteristics make them ideal for utility-scale applications.

NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) – one of the largest utility companies that generates solar energy in the world. 

Then there are also General Electric, Siemens, Taiwan Semiconductor etc. 

Question: Will you invest in these companies? 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Why Did CRCT Share Price Increase By More Than 5 Percent In The Last One Week

CapitaLand Retail China Trust (CRCT) – Stock Code: AU8U


Shares of CRCT fell to ten year low of SGD1.10 last week, if we disregard Covid-19 March slump of SGD0.92. The price had plunged more than 50 percent since YTD peak in January 2020. This is in spite of China’s fast economic recovery from the pandemic. No doubt  shoppers’ traffic and tenant sales are not yet to pre-Covid levels, BUT they are expected to improve in 2H2020. 

Therefore, I had been accumulating CRCT shares in the last two months, as I feel that CRCT is greatly undervalue. Earlier in August, I had also cited several reasons why CRCT is attractive. 

Read: CapitaLand Retail China Trust (CRCT) – Why it is a Dividend and Growth Gem & Why It Is Greatly Undervalued Compared to the Rest of SGX REITs and Trusts?

Some of the reasons of my "buy" stem from good financial metric compared to other SGX REITs; positive growth outlook of China focusing on local consumption; and why the leasehold status of CRCT is of little concern. 

Over the last few days, CRCT shares have been steadily increasing and closed at SGD1.17 today. This is likely attributed to the recent announcement of “expanded strategy”. 

Quoted from CRCT’s announcement: 

“CRCT is a Singapore-based REIT established with the objective of investing on a long-term basis in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate and real estate-related assets in China, Hong Kong and Macau that are used primarily for retail, office and industrial purposes (including business parks, logistics facilities, data centres and integrated developments).”

With the expanded investment strategy, CRCT will be better positioned for growth as it will be the dedicated Singapore-listed REIT for CapitaLand Group’s non-lodging China business, with acquisition pipeline access to CapitaLand China’s assets.

CRCT will also be able to gain exposure to an expanded universe of third party assets of various asset classes that CRCT would independently source and identify. This will allow CRCT to seize new opportunities in the growing China real estate market and enhance the Manager’s ability to provide long-term and sustainable returns to Unitholders.” 

3 Key benefits as stated in the announcement summarised as follows: 

  • Expand Investment Opportunities: To explore other asset class beyond retail sector.
  • Sector, Revenue Stream, Asset and Tenant Diversification: To have a sector diversified portfolio to reduce risk of sector concentration
  • Enhance Ability to Deliver Stable and Sustainable Distributions to Unitholders: Different asset classes have varying cycles of rental growth, occupancy rates, and other market specific risks. A diverse portfolio will provide CRCT with a more balanced and stable rental revenue for sustainable distributions. 

CRCT has a 5.6 percent dividend yield at current price based on 2020 DPU. 

Will the stock continue to rise or fall? 

PS: I own stocks of CRCT at the time of writing. 

Please read disclaimer as follows and please click disclaimer tab "here".  

This blog and its contents contain the opinions and views of the author. It is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. The author cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained herein the blog and its contents. You should independently research and verify, any information that you find on this website. The contents of this website is not a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks of any of the companies or investments herein discussed. It is very important to do your own research and analysis before making any investment based on your own personal circumstances. Consult a professional if needed. 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Is The Oil & Gas Industry Really Hopeless?

This blog was started in March 2014 with the thinking that perhaps I am the only “dirty offshore oil” financial blogger here, who is in the business. Back then, oil price was high and businesses were phenomenally good. Many offshore oil-related SG listed entities were thriving, and many readers were eager to invest into them. 

Read my first O&G post: Oil and Gas / Offshore & Marine Stocks in Singapore 


Today, there is a dramatic twist in sentiment. This is triggered by the tumble in oil price after mid 2014, followed by the collapse of many local companies. 

Ezra, Swiber, and Ezion were once local darlings with over billion dollars market cap. The former two went into administration while the latter is struggling to keep afloat. Many others such as Swissco, Otto Marine, Jaya, KS Energy Kris Energy, Marco Polo, Pacific Radiance, ASL Marine, Falcon Energy, Vallianz, Viking Offshore, Nam Cheong etc, all had similar disastrous fate. These homegrown companies were/are heavily ladened with debts and had either collapsed or been financially distressed since the oil crisis. 

Anyway, the above-mentioned companies can be easily forgotten, but not the losses of Keppel O&M (KOM) and Sembcorp Marine (SCM). Both are popular investment counters in SG and have comparatively more shareholders, who are crying foul today! 

While we are complaining, many seem to forget the heydays when KOM and SCM were earning so much money from 2004 to 2014. Ok... we are investors... Duh!!! If we consider average yearly earnings for the last 15 years, both companies still make a lot of money!  Back then, no one will dispute that O&G or O&M is a lousy business. Everyone is trying to get into the industry, including local authorities setting up new marine and offshore courses in University advocating fresh graduates to join. Remember that there is even a Media Corp TV Series featuring Rig/Ship building business in Keppel. 


Just less than a decade later, we labelled the industry as hopeless. Hmm... we tend to go where the wind is blowing. It is sad! This mindset will never be able to get us into the forefront of thing, and we will always be tailing rather than leading. 

All veterans in the industry knew that the Oil and Gas / Offshore and Marine sector is cyclical. Below is an inflation adjusted oil price chart. 



1970s saw OPEC embargo and also advent of oil exploration technologies leading to more oil being discovered.  Hence, the big spike in oil price. The over hyped oil price led to greed and oil glut. Collapse in the mid 1980 became inevitable.  

Oil then peaked again during 1990 Gulf war for the fear of oil supply crunch, before declining in the next decade hitting all time low in late 90s. 

Within a few years, oil price more than doubled before being impeded by Sep 11, 2001 crisis. Thereafter, oil steadily rose and hit all time high above USD150 per barrel in 2008. Everyone in the industry is partying. Then the unprecedented Global Financial Crisis (GFC) came and oil collapse. 

The rebound is quick since GFC is financial in nature, and it was forgotten quickly. The complacent and FOMO mindsets set in again. Oil rose quickly above USD100 until mid 2014, before the over speculation and supply of oil sent so many companies packing their empty suitcases.  

Hence it is clear that in general, O&G business is cyclical and will never be able to satisfy the insatiable desire of investors who only always want growing returns every year.  


While there were constant laments about this hopeless industry due to losses KOM and SCM incurred, there are many companies still doing well locally. 

BW Group (BW Offshore), Modec and Yinson are few examples. These three companies have Offshore HQ in Singapore employing thousands here, controlled by foreigners and grown by foreign leaderships in SG. The oil crisis has not stop them from sustaining, innovating or growing the business, let alone exiting the business!

Yinson in particular was in 2014 still a relatively small Malaysian-owned Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) company, much smaller in size compared to many SG O&M listed companies. The difference is, Yinson has the vision and capability to venture into oil production (FPSO) in 2014 and had since grown into a much-acclaimed player in the international Oil and Gas market today. 


In the international arena, there are more good companies still sustaining well in the industry, and planning for long term growth. They are normally privately owned with a long history. 

The leaders are in the industry for a long time and have good knowledge of the business, the product and the cyclical nature of the market. They have vision, invest, R&D and plan for long term, and are concern about the environment. They are not aggressive with debts when times are good, and not beaten when times are bad, and continue to sustain for decades or even century in the marine and offshore industry. 

Allseas is one O&M Dutch-Swiss company I know, that has spent over 25 years to conceptualize, design and build a >USD2 Billion vessel named “Pioneering Spirit” (Refer here) creating technology disruption within the industry. The company did not crumble in the midst of the crisis, and is always in the forefront of the industry looking for innovation and breakthrough, as well as profitable. 

It has become apparent that many public listco nowadays prefer to appoint CEO that comes from “finance and investment” background. Typically, many of these companies tend to focus only on short term “dollars and cents”, and fail and invest and innovate in the longer term. 



I hate to say this, but it is a fact that, 

“The general mindset of Singapore business environment is such that during good times, we tend to take for granted and become complacent; and during bad times, people lament and complain, instead of learn, improve, innovate and sustain. Most solely care about their own benefits (making money for themselves in the shortest possible time), disregarding the sustainability of the business that will otherwise provide for long term employment and for the overall well- being of the industry.”

Once upon a time, shipping use to be very lucrative and Singapore’s core business, but today it is considered dead and hopeless in Singapore. Just look at NOL, and PIL. 

Likewise in the Electronics industry thriving in the 90s, where Singapore is in the forefront of things. We use to have Seagate, Tech Semicon, ST Mirco, Panasonics, Philip, ST Micro etc all doing well and earning good money in Singapore. Then Singapore started our own Chartered Semi-conductor that is the biggest disaster and keep losing money for years before selling to Middle East owner into what is Global Foundries today. Flop!!! 

Then, we are in eager mode of economic growth and cost in Singapore escalates making manufacturing not feasible anymore. In the 2000s, electronics “so-called” became the  “sunset industry”, and we abandoned them. How about Taiwanese and Korean Semi-conductor companies? Are they still thriving TODAY in the hopeless sunset industry? 

Marine O&G were the sunset industry in the 80s and 90s, and look at what happened from 2000 to 2014? Now they are classified as sunset industry and we are trying hard to exit the business. 

Aerospace industry has experienced many good years since inception in Singapore. Today, because of Covid, it may be deemed as a “hopeless” industry too! Similarly, Telco companies (Singtel, Starhub and M1) that use to generate so much profits are becoming “hopeless” because they are being displaced by the innovative tech companies such as Netflix, Amazon (Prime), Google (youtube), Facebook (whatsapp) etc. 

In a matter of time, maybe REITs and Banking will become hopeless industry too! Then, what industry is left in Singapore that are not hopeless? 


So, ask ourself this question. Is the industry hopeless or is it because the company is short-sighted lacking vision, and fail to innovate?   

Norway is a country deriving a lot of revenue from O&G, and has had an economy sliding due to low oil price. That said, the Norwegians are never worry. They told me, 

"why should we worry about low oil pirce? We should be worry about lack of creativity and innovation! We are sustainable, and have so many unexplored oil that can still last for generations and generations. We are not in a hurry to drill all the oil that will reap the profits only for this generation.” 

No growth during a short period of time, does not always equate to lousy! Norway has many happy people with incredible social benefits. They care a great deal about the well-being of employees, creativity and the environment. 


Having been in this so-called “hopeless” industry myself for close to two decades, I have never regretted. I am still grateful today despite the downturn. To date, the first half of my career is exceptionally good. The second half is NOT as good, but at least it has sustained my livelihood decently and I am still in the business today. 

Read: Rolf's Salary and Income Report Analysis – 2004 to c2020

In this industry, I have learnt a great deal in all aspects of business (finance, sales, engineering, production, services etc). In addition, meeting so many wonderful people all around the world, to me, is perhaps more valuable than having a better paying job in a better sector without these experiences. 

Going through and successfully overcome the 2003 SARs, 2009 GFC, 2015 Oil crisis and hopefully this crisis as well, makes me a tougher and a better person. Crisis is the best time to learn! 


Crisis? We should be happy because it is the best time to learn!

Oil & Gas Crisis – Time to Take On More Work Even with No Pay Raise!

Perhaps one day I will exit the industry. However, it is not because the sector is experiencing a downturn. The primary or secondary reasons must be because I am no learning that much anymore or the harsh reality of the sector within Singapore pushing me out inevitably. 

Is the oil and gas industry really hopeless with no more future? I am not so sure! 

BUT one thing I am sure that will make a company hopeless is the failure to innovate and improve!

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Dos & Don'ts during Oil Crisis!

While looking through my blog articles, I found one relevant article written in Feb 2016 in the midst of the oil crisis, where many colleagues and friends in the industry are being axed. 

Dos & Don'ts during Oil Crisis!

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Rolf’s Thoughts: How Is Keppel Going to Monetize S$17.5 billions and Revamp It’s O&M Business?

Keppel share price has been badly battered down lately. The share price need a boost and it came from a news from Keppel’s CEO last night, that billions of dollars of assets could potentially be monetized over coming years. 

Source: CNA excerpts: “SINGAPORE: Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corp said on Tuesday (Sep 29) it had identified assets worth S$17.5 billion that could potentially be monetised, including through sales, and started a review of its loss making offshore and marine (O&M) business. 

The plans unveiled on Tuesday are part of Keppel's 10-year strategy that it had flagged earlier this year to refocus its portfolio to energy and environment, urban development, connectivity and asset management. Keppel said it was exploring options including strategic mergers and disposals for its offshore and marine business, which builds oil rigs and has been battered by falling energy prices.”

My thoughts below…

Disclaimer: Please note that the below post comprises solely of my own opinions and does not represent in anyway concrete information or comments from the company or from the press. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained herein, and it shall be intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. Please refer to the disclaimer tab of this website for more information. 


Keppel also states that they are exploring both organic and inorganic options for the strategic review of their O&M business (KOM). Organic options include reviewing the strategy and business model of Keppel O&M, assessing its current capacity and global network of yards and restructuring to seek opportunities as a developer of renewable energy assets; while inorganic options would range from strategic mergers to disposal.

INORGANIC : Strategic Mergers or Disposal

The fastest way to monetise is of course inorganic. i.e. mergers and/or disposals. Obvious option will be to merge with SCM. However why did Keppel also need to consider option of disposal O&M business? 

The simple reason is because it is not as easy to consolidate two major players within a particular segment, just like what “layman investor” think as a snap of finger “Ok.. let’s merge and unlock value for investors and business will prosper”. It is not as straight forward and there are many pros and cons or barriers to KOM-SCM merger. 

Read my earlier articles : 

Will Keppel Offshore & Marine and Sembcorp Marine Merge? 

To Merge Sembcorp Marine and Keppel O&M is NOT up to Temasek and Shareholders alone? Anti-competition Authorities may REJECT!

While most of us are just thinking about merger with SCM, but there are always other options. For instance KOM can be taken private and solely owned by Temasek, or together with some other strategic funds or companies. Or perhaps merge with other Temasek-owned O&G company such as Pavilion Energy that is focused on LNG and having synergy with Keppel’s O&M business. Anyway KOM’s major order backlog today are in gas related solutions. 

Otherwise, there are also possibility of selling KOM businesses in parts if not wholly, such as disposal of Rig business, Floatel business, FPSO business, Marine business, Renewable business, Proprietary Designs, Repairs business, Defunct KrisEnergy? etc. 

Keppel can also consider to dispose some rigs they owned via “sale and leaseback “deals. This means Keppel selling the rigs to a “fund/company” and then lease it back  long term on day/month/year rate at a percentage of interest higher than the selling price. However this is only possible if they manage to find a long term charter for the rigs, or making partnerships with Oil Companies and/or Rig Contractors. Current environment of low oil is tough to find long term charter for Rigs, but within the next few years if situation improves, there can be higher possibility. 

The same “sale and leaseback” can also apply to O&M yards they owned, although Keppel mentioned the unlock of 17.5B does not include the O&M yards that are considered as fixed assets. 

ORGANIC : Developer of Renewable Assets

Renewables mainly means Wind, Solar or Hydro. And from the top of my head, I guess it is mainly Wind and Solar businesses. 

If we look at Keppel’s latest 1H2020 presentation (refer here), net order book for O&M is S$3.5B, and bulk of it comes from Gas solutions comprising of 2.1B, while renewable backlog is a mere 0.6B. Hence pure organic growth by wining orders is not going to be easy.  

Therefore, when Keppel said to be a developer of renewable assets, I think they probably mean options of taking ownerships wholly or partly via strategic partnerships of Offshore Wind Farms or Solar Farms and developing it into a viable income generating assets, rather than wining EPC contracts for Renewables. 

 Source: Keppel’s 1H2020 Financial Results 30 July 2020

For example in Offshore Wind, you have Danish MNC giant Orsted being the world’s largest developer of wind energy accounting for close to 30% of the global installed capacity in wind energy, investing into Wind Energy in Taiwan now. At the moment, Offshore Wind especially in Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and North Sea region are hot spots of potential projects in near future, as governments and authorities are hungered for more clean energy. 

For Solar, you can look at businesses such as India’s Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) that Keppel may try to emulate. The company operates Kamuthi Solar Power Project, one of the largest solar photovoltaic plants in the world. AGEL also won the world largest solar project amounted to USD6B by Solar Energy Corporation of India to build a 8000 MW photovoltaic power plant. Another company in the Solar business space is GCL New Energy HQ in China but listed in HK. 

That said, developer of Renewable Assets is long term business and requires a lots of upfront investments and developers will also face complexity in dealing with governments of countries where the Assets are. 


Aside from O&M, Keppel other range of business are from telecommunications to property development with assets to be monetised over the next few years. These assets include the group’s landbank which is held at historical cost, development projects, investment properties, assets being developed and stabilised for monetisation through Keppel-managed or third party platforms, various funds and investments etc. 

One disposal candidate is likely to be M1 that Keppel and SPH co-owned, and was taken private in 2019 valued at S$1.9 billion back then. 


If you look at KEPPEL 2030 VISION (slides here), it is clear that the company want to be asset light and they have clear focus of recurring income. 

The current O&M businesses revolves around Rig and shipbuilding contracts that are normally one-time businesses and are very competitive. Guess this is definitely not part of their 2030 vision. I think Keppel will be looking to gradually scale down or divest this part of the businesses, which they already did after the oil crisis. 

The new Energy business model that Keppel is targeting is likely to be one that can provides recurring income stream, stemming from ownerships of Energy / Renewable assets that produces oil and gas or generate energy (i.e. GW). 

In the process, KOM will also have the business units (BU) or expertise to support the developments of these assets. They will probably keep other asset lighter O&M businesses with higher margins, such as repairs and conversions, or selling of offshore equipment, if they are not going to divest the entire O&M businesses. 

The inter-BU cross selling is also part of the 2030 vision with common support and share services that have very little overlapping, optimising the business. 

Keppel’s vision is very much investment driven. This is not surprising at all, considering their current CEO comes with a GIC and investment background.  

I am a shareholder of Keppel at the time of writing. If you ask me if Keppel will be successful going forward and bring more shareholder value, my answer is likely to be yes! If you then ask me, is Keppel share price cheap now? My answer is yes again. 

So will I buy more? Then you need to ask yourself if there are other cheaper and more attractive shares? 



Rolf’s Thoughts: Keppel (the son), Hoping for Temasek (the father) 's Partial Offer?

Will Keppel Corp and DBS support the defunct KrisEnergy’s fund raising?

Keppel Corp – How Much Do You Know About Her O&M Businesses?

Rolf 's Insight : Sembcorp Marine Rights Issues to raise SGD2.1B in a demerger deal with Sembcorp Industries

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Is "NOW" The Right Time To Invest?

My foreign colleague out of nowhere asked me last week if “NOW” is the right time to invest?

Many seasoned investors will tell you there is no right time to invest. You should just “start” investing young, and the longer you are invested in the market, the better the investment. THIS IS TRUE!  

Nonetheless, it is not fair to totally discount when to invest? For instance, is it better to invest before Covid End 2019 or now? The answer is straight forward.  

Then there is another school of thought, that I am waiting for the stocks to fall further before buying? This is plain silly. You cannot predict the bottom! 

Rewind a decade or more, let’s say end 2007 just before GFC, you invested in Dow at 14K and Nasdaq at 2.8K. Back then, you will probably go berserk after your investments!  This is because Dow and Nasdaq will continue to fall until they bottom at 7K and 1.4 respectively. 

However, if you have the stomach to withstand the crazy GFC crash and not sell your stock until today, Or better still, you kept accumulating regularly throughout 2008 and 2009, your investments will be multiple baggers today! Dow is 27K and Nasdaq is close to 11K as we speak. 


Consider if your income is still stable and you are pretty sure that it will be unwavering for the foreseeable future, AND you have excess cash after keeping “rainy day e-expenses”, then you DEFINITELY SHOULD INVEST NOW.

Whether it is the best time to invest, I don’t know, but it is definitely a good and right time to invest.  

You may hear many of your investing friends said…. “aiyah” I wish I can throw all my life time of savings into stocks Mid-March when Dow went below 20K, Nasdaq below 7K. 

If you do that, that is plain stupid! 

And you are gambling your entire fortune, without knowing what is going to happen, back then. Of course now, it is easy to say things like “I could have”, because things already happened now and you know stocks have since charted upwards since April. What if stocks continue to fall more than 50% after April? 

From end March or early April this year, it is better to do nothing and wait for the dust to settle, or at least accumulates investment gradually and regularly. That is what I have been doing. 

Yes, you did not catch the bottom but that is a more sensible thing to do. 

Read what I wrote in April : What Should I Do in Stock Market Now?

Now that the worst has already take place for more than six months, I doubt we will re-test the Mar low. I said I doubt, but I cannot be certain as I do not have a crystal ball to see the future. 

One thing for sure is at least the dust is more settled now than in Mar/Apr. And I am making sense from the general mindset of people, that, once a crisis take place unexpectedly, human nature is we will be more risk adverse and will tend to prepare better for the worst later. This means we are unlikely to be caugth by Covid second wave or the impact of the US general election, as investors have already taken that into account when they invest now. Also, the same type of crisis rarely takes place twice in a very short period of time. 

Read what I wrote in August : Why Even a Covid-19 Second-Wave Will Not Crash the Stock Market by Much?

Therefore, I reckon that it is a good time to invest NOW! 

The other questions are: 

“How to invest”? and 

“Where and What Stocks to Invest”? 

I will address these questions in my subsequent post(s). Stay tuned…. 

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Rolf’s Household Expenses to Household Income

This is first time since I started blogging to publish data related to my household expenses. Below are data reflecting the percentage of My Household Expenses to My Take-Home Household Income. The data is compiled from year 2014 to c2020 (forecast), and below pie chart depicts the average data over the last seven years. 2020 data is accurate up to August and the rest of the quarter is estimated on a relatively conservative basis. 

Gross Take-home household income – Me and wife are the two earners in a larger than usual household. The values here shown our Salaries excluding CPF contributions, AND ANY other incomes, such as property rental, professional writing, blogging income etc. 

All the rest of the expenses are taken as a percentage of the Gross Take-home household income. 

Taxes and Deductibles – This includes personal income taxes, property rental taxes, as well as related rental property expenses (e.g. repairs, furniture, agent commissions, etc). The 3% tax is mainly contributed by my income tax and our rental property tax, as my wife’s income tax is negligible due to a lot of reliefs. The value could have been higher, if not for forty thousands of baby’s birth tax relief received during this period.  

Personal Expenses – This include food and entertainment expenses spent personally or with friends, as well as outlay on personal apparels, hobbies, gadgets etc. It also includes personal insurances, medical and dental expenses etc. In general, our personal expenses are considered low, at a combined of 9% (i.e. 3% for Rolf and 6% for wife). This is because we mostly eat home-cooked food, except for weekend spent with family that are included under Household expenses. We rarely spend on ourselves, except for special occasions such as birthdays or anniversary, but both wife and me do catch up with friends regularly for a drink or meal outside. Also, my hobbies are cheap, such as gym, table tennis, swimming, reading, writing etc. 

Car Expenses – This expenses are all related to our one car at any one time clocking high double digit percentage expenses. It excludes wife’s, children’s transport expenses etc.  My car expenses are rather high during the period of 2014 to 2015, when I owned rather expensive first hand car. From 2016 to 2019, expenditure is for full payments of cars, repair costs and 10 year COE renewal. The full payment in 2019, also mean that 2020 car expenditure is a mere less than 1% and expected to continue stay low in the coming years.  

Property Expenses – This includes Cash portion of monthly mortgages paid, but excludes any lumpsum payments of property loan, or regular mortgage payments via CPF. Property tax for “own stay”, fire insurances, condo miscellaneous fees etc are taken into account as well.  12% average for mortgage plus associated expenses are definitely considered low, considering we have more than one property. Note that I am very conservative in my property leverage, and my loan period is kept within a decade. 

Household Expenses – Undoubtedly this is the largest expenses each year. It is inevitable due to our large household members under one roof. The largest portion is household food and groceries, our helper’s expenses and extra pocket money to my parent/parents-in-laws. Due to my large relatives and friends base, a significant portion of this expenses also comprises of spending for special occasions such as CNY, wedding, baby showers, birthdays, wakes etc. This year household expenses could have been lesser and not 22%, if not for a sum of 20K accrued for partial renovation of my house, that was put on hold due to Covid. I intend to continue in the coming months or perhaps next year. 

Children Expenses – This is another big part of our spending accounting for 11% of our take home income. The baby bonus and CDA top ups do give some reliefs especially on the very high education fees in Kindergarten. I expect this expense to increase as our kids become older due to more expensive enrichment, tuition and sports classes and more pocket money.   

Vacation – 2% is very low in my opinion, in comparison to many of my friends who almost travel as a family every year to expensive places such as Japan, Europe etc. The expenses incurred are mostly vacation with my wife in Taiwan, Bali and Malaysia and some of the business trips she tag along with me to the Western Hemisphere. 

I am not stingy to spend on family travel, and the lower expenses is due to kids still of young age in the past, the cheaper staycation expenses. My busy work-travel schedules also meant lesser time for vacation. That said, we do have family travel to KL Genting, staycation in Singapore that are equally enjoyable, and in 2019, we went for a big family vacation in Australia and I really spent a fortune of more than 20K. Bearing in mind that when we travel as a family, we normally need to book 2 or 3 rooms or suite and not just a small family of four that definitely has much lower expenses. This year’s vacation expenses will be greatly reduced due to Covid-19, but I have already catered a small sum for year whole family staycation. 

Charity – This includes regular and lumpsum disbursement to charitable organisations or to families (not relatives) we know who are poor and in need of support, as well as pocket money for my niece in overseas university. From 2014 to 2016, I did spend on charity but the amount is negligible in percentage and was omitted. From 2017 onwards, we began to spend more for charity, with outlay of 2-4 percentage per annum. 

In reality, the amount is definitely higher, as I have considered money that was shove into the pockets of my relatives, as household expenses. We also held several charitable house gatherings of 20 or more in the past, that we provided free food, and this was also included under household expenses. 

Savings – Average Savings stand at 25%. I think it is a decently good figure. This year I forecast Savings to be highest at close to 40 per cent of our take-home household income! Without any shadow of doubt, it is due to Covid lockdown. All expenses have dropped in 2020, except for spend on kids, because my youngest started school this year. Property expenses also halved due to “mortgage payment freeze” for six months, this year. Savings could also be higher depending on whether I decide to spend on my house renovation this year. 


My wife and me worked hard to have a comfortable household income for our family. According to 2019 Singstat data (here), our gross household income for the past seven years are consistently in the top ten percentile and in the landed property range. 

Nonetheless, I was, and will never be complacent. I always remind my wife and myself that no jobs and salary are guaranteed, no matter how diligent we are. Just look at the Covid situation. Even the “iron gold rice bowl” of the Pilots are in doubt nowadays. 

As a result, I rarely overspent or even spent for myself, except for spending on my wife, family and kids, and for people who are generally good hearted, and/or in need. These are huge portions of our expenses, and including property expenses, account for half of our household income. 

Apparently I consider spending on kids as investments, as they will bear fruit in the future. Not just money, we also commit a lot of time with our children. 

My savings will often turn into investments, and ultimately with the money saved or earned, I intend to buy a freehold landed-house for my big household and finish paying within the next ten to fifteen years. 

In terms of charity, I will definitely love to do more, but our huge household and kids’ expenses can be a drag at times. On average, our Charity expenses is comparable to Vacation. This give an equal emphasis on Charity and helping others to just pampering ourselves.