Thursday, 30 July 2020

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!

Last month, I wrote about my wife’s company (ex now) asking her to take a 50% pay cut. In fact, my wife clarified it’s 60 percent pay cut with pressure to sign the new agreement immediately. And because her role is mainly to manage projects, the workload is the same, from backlog orders concluded earlier.

My advice: Outright resignation!

Refer to my previous article below on the rationale why I wanted her to resign immediately and not to sign the new employment letter, with reduced salary.




Within less than 2 months, she found a new job. It was really a miracle and we thank God for it.  

Three companies interviewed her, with all three signalling to offer her. Who will have wondered that  just 2 months ago, my wife was still feeling very dejected and worry about expenses. I even reprimanded her for wanting to continue to stay on the job which she worked for 12 years, and despite the drastic pay cut, she had a very unreasonable boss in the past few years. To add on to that, she had super heavy workload for the past decade, often returning home late and can be as late as 2-3 am. I comforted her that she can definitely find a new job. I told her to gather her confidence and have no worries to look for the best job! Confidence helps in job seeking. Desperation and fear only worsen everything! I also told her that I can still afford to feed her and the family, even if she lose her job!

NEW JOB

Her new company is a Global market leader in the industry. In the past years, it had reported more than USD 1 Billion of sustainable net income.

Her new role is in the digital and real estate segment. Perfect, in my opinion. Correlation in her previous jobs is probably 50 percent! The role also require a lot of creativity as it is a new digital product in this region.

The icing on the cake was that, instead of paycut which we were mentally prepared for, she has a 15% basic pay raise. This is excluding potential bonuses. Was told bonus is norm except this covid year. Also, the higher income was without the hassle of any sorts of negotiation.  My wife’s ex-company, rarely seen even 1 extra month of bonus for most times. Yes, 13th month is alien for her!

Not just that, her reporting line is in Australia, with a super friendly boss. Her office is new and super nice in Singapore with the company employing more than thousand in SG. Team bonding events are also common culture, seen in the company webpage.

Less than one week after employment confirmation, her new boss took initiative to inform her that the computer and essential have been arranged. Furthermore, an email was sent internally cc my wife’s private email, introducing her. Many new colleagues also replied to welcome her, including the company’s top boss.

That said, I am not inferring that it will definitely be a great company, or she having a great boss or the perfect job! Every company has their own plus and minus. However, it is a promising start. In any case, I myself, never have similar good starting experiences in all my jobs. Also, at least it is much better than taking 60 percent paycut with increased workload.

Anyway, below are my advices to my wife, and details on the applications and interviews, before she secure the job, in this very difficult economic environment.

HOW TO LEAVE A COMPANY

Resign on a good note – send a courteous farewell email
My first advice is for her to resign in a good note. I asked her to drop a courteous and well written email to all the current and ex-bosses as well as colleagues, informing about her departure. Be peaceful and maintain good relationships with all colleagues, including those you hated or have hated you! Haha.. I am just kidding as she do not really have enemies. You never know that one day, you may still go back to the old company, or meet your ex-colleagues in a new company. Even if it is not meant to be, it is still better to leave in a good note. 

Her MD persuaded her to stay. Many ex-colleagues called and emailed her, both locally and globally. She continue to work very hard until her last day, to the displeasure of her husband. Nonetheless, she was rewarded with many warming farewell meals.

Do not complain
My second advice is not to complain about the company. In the new job interviews, focus on the topic of 60 percent pay cut, and also telling interviewing companies, it was husband’s advice and insistence for her to leave. Do not nit-pick all the faults in your ex-company or ex-bosses in your new job interviews. Most companies should be understanding of her resignation because of the MICE industry she was in.

Get good testimonies
My third and most important advice, is for her to request from former bosses and some of the C-Level colleagues for good testimonies. I had previously wrote Testimonies or become references for many of former subordinates, and it really help them to find new jobs. Thank God, my wife received a few very well written testimonies by her ex-boss and C-level colleague, and I felt that this really help her to secure her new job. 

HOW TO ATTRACT INTERVIEWS

Update Linkedin & Resume, get a nice recent professional photo
Immediately after her resignation, she use my Linkedin and Resume format as reference to update hers. This is so important!  After the update, and before application of jobs, I vetted them. I told her to put a more recent, and more professional photograph that is not dramatically different from how she look. But, she insisted her old one is ok! I do not think so though, but I respected her. Apparently in one interview, her interviewer said that she actually appear better in real life than the photo. See…. listen to your husband! Lastly, attach the good testimonies from ex-colleagues/bosses.

Apply via company website, and Linkedin
For her position which is relatively senior, I told her NOT to start with “jobstreet” or “jobsdb”, or “monster”!  Instead, focus on Linkedin, as well as reputable job recruitment companies. For e.g. Michael Page, Hays, Randstad etc. Given a choice, actually it is better to apply directly with the company and deal with the company HR direct. And also give more attention to recruiter or recruitment agency who are more professional. To me, good companies hire better HR personnel, or recruitment agencies, who are more polite and friendly and have better talent acquisition skills and etiquette.

Pray genuinely and do charity
We prayed for the right job, not according to materialistic means, but according to righteousness and God’s will. In other words, suitability and sustainability and most importantly, to be able to sow good seeds from our own good behaviour. Furthermore, despite her loss of job, I never withhold spending on charity. I believe that, the tougher the situation we are in, the more we must do good to the society. I am very confident she can find a new job quickly. This is because of her 12 year stay in her last job and with good testimonies from colleagues.  Moreover she have no choice but to leave her current job, which is in the MICE industry, and most interviewing companies will understand she is not a job-hopper!


In the next Part, I will continue to write on her job applications and interviews, and how we decide that the above-mentioned job is the best choice. Stay tuned.












Saturday, 25 July 2020

Tech Stocks at All-Time-High – (Part 2) Bust? or Can We Still Buy Now?

From Part 1, I asked myself seven questions (see below) with regards to the above-mentioned topic. Thus far, I answered 4 questions. In this post, I will provide viewpoints for the rest of the questions (in blue below).

1.  Is it advisable to invest at ATH prices?
2.  Will there be a second-wave crash or will Tech sector continue to find high?
3. What are the possible scenarios if you wait at the sideline waiting for crash?
4.  What are the possible scenarios if you invest now, and it crashes later?
5.  Will there be a repeat of Dot.com crisis?
6.  What Types of Tech Stocks?
7.  What is your individual situation?



QN 5: WILL THERE BE REPEAT OF DOT.COM CRISIS?

Dotcom Bubble started in year 2000 with stocks entering bear through to 2001. It is also known as the internet bubble seeing the rapid rise of US tech stock equity valuations sky rocketed fuelled by investments in internet-based companies during the bull market in the late 1990s. During the Dotcom bubble, Nasdaq index risen from under 1,000 to more than 5,000 between the years 1995 and 2000.

The euphoria came to an end with Nasdaq tumbling from a peak of 5,048 on March 10, 2000, to a low of  1,139 on Oct 4, 2002, a 76.8% fall. Many internet companies had gone bust. Even blue-chip tech stocks such as Cisco, Intel and Oracle lost more than 80% of their share value at their peak. It would take 15 years for the Nasdaq to regain its dotcom peak, taking place in April 23, 2015. Fifteen years is a long time, although Nasdaq climbed above 10,000 today, 20 years later.

Will there be a dot.com crisis today? Let’s do a simple comparison of Nasdaq rise versus Dow Jones rise in the two periods of Dot.com and the last five years.  

source: yahoo finance

Dot.com crash (1995 to Sep 2002)

·       Nasdaq rise from 1,000 to 5,000 (up 5x). Crash to 1,139 (down ~5x).
·       DJIA rise from 4,700 to 11,723 (up 2.5x). Crash to 7,701. (down 1.5x)   

Now (2015 to today)

·       Nasdaq rise 5000 to 10000 (up 2x).
·       DJIA rise from 18000 to 26500 (up 1.5x).

The rise of equity prices in Dot.com crisis of Nasdaq is 5x, compared to Dow of 2.5x. In the past 5 years, Nasdaq rose 2x, compared to Dow 1.5x. This means that Nasdaq’s rise in the past five years is only 33% more than the rise of Dow, while during Dot.com crisis, Nasdaq’s rise is 200% more than the rise of Dow. This suggest to me that the current Tech rally is not likely to solely due to the irrational euphoria.

Without doubt, there is a general hype of the stock market in the last 5-10 years. However, I feel that it is definitely NOT due to Tech Bubble. Instead, global markets have been rallying since the GFC due to the easy monetary policy. 

As such, I do not think there will be a repeat of the Dot.com crisis, handing more hefty punishment to the Tech stocks, than the general market. On the contrary, I felt that if there is another major crash again, the entire global markets will suffer similar fate, with certain Tech equities, in fact, able to survive better, due to the healthy financial situation and future growth prospects.


QN 6: WHAT TYPE OF TECH STOCKS?

There are many types of Tech stocks, but I will like to generalize it into two country of origins, i.e. US and China. Note that the China stocks can be listed in the US or HK or have dual listings. 

Separately, below is a good news for Singapore as SGX has recently announced a signed MOU with Nasdaq for future dual listing here. 

Great News for SGX - SGX RegCo signed MOU with NASDAQ to Enhance Dual Listing



US – QQQ ETF
For US type of Tech stocks, you can refer to Invesco QQQ ETF holdings which are dominated by FAANG stocks. As of end of last week, Apple led the holdings with ~12%, Amazon and Microsoft with ~11%, Facebook with ~4%, both Google or Alphabet Class A + C ~ 8% (total), Tesla with 2.6%, Intel 2.4%, Nividia 2.3%, Netflix and Adobe with ~2% each, etc. Refer to here to discover more.  PE as of end June for QQQ ETF is approx. 31.

If you look at US tech giants, the most overblown is Tesla stock with a Market Cap of USD280B, PE of >737 (TTM), Price to Sales is 10.7 and profit margin is 1.43%. While the financial figures of Tesla is not promising now, many investors consider the growth potential, huge! Imagine one day the whole world will have more electric cars than fuel-powered cars. 

You decide if it is worth it to invest now?

My “disclaimer” recommendations are Apple and Google. Both companies have PE ~30 and more than USD100B in cash. Microsoft has a PE of 35, and with a cash of more than USD130B. Finally, Amazon, having a PE of 140 or more, but with incredible growth potential in my opinion. I will cover Amazon in a separate post. All have exceptional potentials in the cloud space, and as well as the country India with more than a billion of population. 

Hang Seng Tech Index
Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) has become increasingly attractive to Chinese companies that fear for their business prospects in the US in view of the tense China-US relations. Aside from Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com, NetEase etc, having dual listings in US and HK, Baidu also signal their intention to do so.

Then there is the recently announced Ant Financials’ dual listing in Shanghai and HK with a target valuation of more than USD200B. Ant Group is a subsidiary of Alibaba, and the company behind Chinese mobile payments business Alipay. There are also other promising Tech giant such as Meituan Dianping, Xiaomi, Lenovo, BYD etc.

Dr Wealth’s founder Alvin has also recently written a very comprehensive post on Hang Seng Tech Index too. Refer here.

To be honest, I am pretty bullish about the future of China Tech Stocks. Firstly, if you look at the Chinese Tech share prices be it in US or HK SE, they actually not really in the Bubble Zone. Baidu is at its 5 year low pricing with a PE (TTM) of 9.3. Baidu has cash of more than USD140B and a current ratio of close to 3. Alibaba and JD have listings in HKSE not too long ago. Their prices are still very close to IPO prices. For their US listings, both Alibaba and JD.com have forward PE of less than 30, and their US share prices’ increased, over the last 5 years are in a much tamed manner compared to other US Tech’s counters, despite growing yoy revenue.

China has a population of close to 1.4B compared to US’s 328M. However, China ‘s GDP per capita is a mere USD10K, as compared to American’s USD65K. Refer to data here from World Bank. Furthermore, China still have great urbanization potential, compared to the US. In my humble opinion, the growth prospects of many Chinese Tech giants equities is very lucrative over the longer term.


QN 7: WHAT IS YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION?

Investment is not just focusing stocks. We have to consider our own individual situation. For instance, if there is a stock crash, will my personal life, health, emotions or income be affected to the stage that I will be feeling so depress? Do I have sufficient cash or other safety nets to tide through the crisis?

If there is a repeat of March 2020 crash, consider the below situation:

1)   I have sufficient “bullets” and “guts” to average down, and I am happy to be able to buy great stocks at a cheaper price.  
2)   I prefer to stay at the sideline with the paper losses without feeling stress, as I am focused on the long-term, and are confident on the future growth potential of the stocks I owned, despite the crisis.  
3)   I will go hysterical and I cannot sleep, seeing the “sea of red” in my stock portfolio. And if I lost my job during the crisis, I will not have enough cash to tide through the situation. I will feel very stress.

Therefore, you have to know your own situation and more importantly, you have to know yourself well, if the worst situation is to take place.


ROLF’S FINAL THOUGHTS

To be honest, it is impossible to predict if there will be a near term crash due to second wave, or if there will be a repeat of Dot.com crisis. Or if there will be a finding of covid cure in the very near future. All we can do now, is to consider all possibilities and to be prepared for the worst. If you prefer to invest now, then please have the right mindset to be mentally prepared for all events possible in future.

Personally, I like to be prepared for both the good and bad situations in life! I am usually more conservative in my investments, as I refrain myself from making big risky bets, or putting all baskets in one egg. That is the reason why I am not a big winner at most times. That being said, I also have lesser paper losses or even positive figures, in times of crisis, as I try to create a portfolio that is protecting both the downside and appreciating the upside over time (hopefully).   

This is the reason why I always have precious metal as hedge. If stocks are to crash, precious metals  are likely to rise. Then I can realize the profits of precious metals to take advantage of low stock prices. But what if both precious metals and equities suddenly defy logic and goes in the same direction of crash? Then you should always keep cash! What if you do not have precious metals, and do not have cash? Then you should have a “strong stomach” and be totally oblivious to the unrealized paper losses, if a crisis is to take place. 

What if you do not have all the above? Then don’t invest! Simple as that! :-) 

  





Friday, 24 July 2020

Singaporeans’ Gross Monthly Income 2009 to 2019 – Check Out Which Percentile You Belong To!

MOM released data this month for Gross monthly salary excluding employer CPF contribution recorded from 2009 to June 2019.

This is out of a population of 2.18 Million workforce (15 years and above excluding NSF), and with data recorded in June 2019. Summary below with charts created by myself with the input of MOM data. 

2019
  • The median monthly income excluding Employer CPF contribution is SGD3,787
  • There are 141 thousand people who are at the bottom 6.5% earning less than SGD1,000 per month
  • There are 112 thousand people who belongs to the top 5.2%, earning more than SGD15,000 per month.
  • More than half of the Singaporeans are earning less than SGD4,000 per month.



  • The median monthly income including Employer CPF contribution is SGD4,563

2009 TO 2019 – LAST TEN YEARS




ROLF'S THOUGHTS


Our country’s median income including Employer's CPF contribution has increased quite significantly over the past ten years rising 56% from SGD2,927 in 2009 to SGD4,563 in 2019. Consider Singapore inflation is below 2% p.a. averaging in the last 10 years,  that is a good sign.

Excluding Employer's CPF contribution,

In the lower income bracket of below SGD2,500 income, there is also a drop of 19% from 2009 to 2019 i.e. from 925K people out of 1823K (51%) in 2009 to --> 704K people out of 2184K in 2019 (32%).

The not so good news is that they are still more than 30 per cent of the employed residents in the lower income bracket. This is quite a lot considering we are a first world country.

There are also 140K of people still earning less than SGD1,000 a month. Not sure how you can survive with this meagre gross income (before CPF deduction), if that is your only income and you have no savings.

Frankly, if you earn anything below SGD2,500 a month in Singapore (before employee CPF deduction), and without any other forms of income or assistance from parents, it is going to be very tough if you need to raise a family. Apparently, there are more than 20% of the working population in this group, which I reckon it is a relatively high figure.

Even at SGD3,000 with family, it will not be easy. I am surprise that there are actually 40% in this group that earns below SGD3,000 per month. 

To be honest, I am quite surprised that more than half of the population is earning less than SGD4,000. This means that it will be very difficult if you have only one sole income earner in a household. 

In another data released by Singstat, our household median income is between SGD9,000 to 9,500 (Total Wage), which means that most of the family with median income NEED to have two breadwinners. This will also mean extra expenses on FDW and childcare, and no one person can go out of job within the household. Refer also to my earlier article, how expensive it is to raise a child in Singapore.



In the higher income bracket of above SGD8,000 income (85 percentile in 2019), there is an 9% increase of people in the last decade. i.e. from 156K people out of 1823K (8.6%) in 2009 to --> 385K people out of 2184K in 2019 (17.6%). However, this amount is only same to median household income of above ~SGD8,000 (excl. employer portion of CPF) / SGD9,000 (incl. employer portion of CPF). This means that if you are the 85 percentile higher income earner, there is possibility that you just need one income earner in a household with kids. 

But..... 

Considering the property prices in Singapore is one of the highest in the world, with exorbitant car prices, the so-called high income earners in Singapore will still find life not a stroll in the park, and definitely unable to live a luxurious life. 


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Great News for SGX - SGX RegCo signed MOU with NASDAQ to Enhance Dual Listing

SGX RegCo and Nasdaq announce regulatory cooperation to help companies access capital in both jurisdictions



https://www.sgx.com/media-centre/20200721-sgx-regco-and-nasdaq-announce-regulatory-cooperation-help-companies-access


Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) and Nasdaq have extended their partnership by entering an agreement to cooperate on regulatory matters, building on an existing collaboration to help companies access capital markets funding in both jurisdictions.
The latest cooperation agreement will facilitate the regulatory exchange of information on issuers which are dual listed on both exchanges, including a streamlined framework for issuers seeking a secondary listing on SGX. This streamlined framework allows secondary listing documents required for the SGX listing to be based on information contained in the US listing and subsequent filing documents to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and/or Nasdaq, together with additional disclosure in compliance with Singapore prospectus disclosure requirements.
“Protecting investors’ interests is important to both SGX and Nasdaq. This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which SGX RegCo is entering into with Nasdaq will enhance the oversight of dual listed issuers and streamline the relevant processes between both exchanges. Investors with interests in companies that have a profile in both markets will benefit from this regulatory cooperation,” said Tan Boon Gin, CEO of SGX RegCo.
“This MOU builds upon Nasdaq’s partnership with SGX to improve the regulatory cooperation between our exchanges,” said Nelson Griggs, President, Nasdaq Stock Exchange. “This agreement is reflective of our commitment to streamlining access to capital for issuers and protecting investors.”
The regulatory cooperation will further enable the monitoring and assessment of issuers, and the enforcement of regulatory actions, including referrals of cases to the authorities of the respective jurisdictions.

Silver Explodes Past USD22 Per Oz, and Gold Surges!

Last month I wrote the article Will Silver Explodes in Price?when silver is at USD17.3 per oz. Today silver price at the time of my writing is USD22.05 per oz.  

Silver price increase 21% in the last 30 days, while gold increase 4.1% in the past month.

I also explained in the earlier posts why, it is important to have percentage of precious metals in your overall portfolio. Refer to my posts below. 

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






RELATED POSTS:

Understand the divergence of Physical versus Paper precious metals? Where and how gold and silver is traded, and what determines its price.


Why Deflation, QE, Helicopter Money, then Inflation, Hyperinflation then Depression?


Sunday, 19 July 2020

Tech Stocks at All-Time-High – (Part 1) Bust Soon? or Can We Still Buy Now?

Tech Stocks is at All-Time-High (ATH) now! The Invesco QQQ ETF that tracks the Nasdaq 100 index is at a peak of close to 260. The last pullback was in March with a drastic collapse of 27%. Prior to that, was in December 2018 with a tumble of 21%.

Dilemma?

If you buy into Tech stocks now, you risk buying at ATH prices prior to a possible repeat of March plunge. On the other hand, if you wait at the sideline, there is also an equal chance that you can “miss the boat” if Tech sector stock defy gravity.

So, what should we do? Wait or enter now?

Source: yahoo finance

Disclaimer: Please refer to disclaimer here. This post is by no means giving advices to invest / not invest in Tech Stocks now. The purpose is to give readers different perspectives looking at things.


QUESTIONS

When it comes to making major decision, I always like to ask myself questions first. Next, I will do research and analysis to find the possible answers. At the same time, I will also consider what is the worst-case scenario so that I will not be overwhelmed by the pain that comes with the catastrophic events.

1.     Is it advisable to invest at ATH prices?
2.     Will there be a second-wave crash or will Tech sector continue to find high?
3.     What are the possible scenarios if you wait at the sideline waiting for crash?
4.     What are the possible scenarios if you invest now, and it crashes later?
5.     Will there be a repeat of Dot.com crisis?
6.     What Types of Tech Stocks?
7.     What is your individual situation?

In the 1st Part of this post, I will answer the first four questions. In Part 2, I will address the balance questions with a conclusion.


QN 1: INVEST AT ALL TIME HIGH PRICE?

Below is a table depicting Amazon, Apple and Google’s ATH stock prices within a period of time or within a particular year in the last fifteen years. For e.g. the ATH price of Amazon starting from 2005 to the year ending 2010 is USD183 per share. And the ATH share price of Apple in the whole year of 2018 is USD232 per share.



Referring to above table, for almost every period or year in the last 15 years, the 3 Tech giants had ATH price, that continues to rise in the following period or year, except on two occasions, where Amazon declined from 2018 to 2019 and Apple declined from period 2010-2015 to 2016. Even so, the decline of the ATH prices of the two exceptional cases are very minimal.

In a nutshell, even if you are extremely unlucky each time to have purchase either one of the 3 stocks at ATH price in the fifteen years, without averaging down, you will still enjoy tremendously good capital gain today.

Please however note that, I am not saying that there will NOT be a Tech Bubble Crash and that Tech Stocks will definitely continue to rise and rise forever. I am also not giving you crazy advice to always invest at ATH stock prices. What I am implying is that the usage of ATH stock price as a yardstick to ascertain that a company’s stock price is bound to collapse or pullback later, is definitely incorrect. Likewise, if a stock is at All-Time-Low (ATL), it does not mean it is always good to buy into the stock.

You have to look at the business fundamentals and future prospects. Finally, you have to decide for yourself what you see in that particular stock, if there is a great potential of future growth, or will the growth be limited.


QN 2: WILL THERE BE A SECOND CRASH? 

Stop kidding yourself with all the answers. Nobody knows what will happen ahead of us? This crisis is different from all the previous crises. That being said, what is important is to always be prepared for both the good and bad situations.

To hedge in both good and bad events has always been my Motto in life. If there is a second crash, make sure first, you can survive in your own personal or family livelihood. Then, make sure you still have sufficient “bullets” to pick up good stocks at low prices.


QN 3: WAIT FOR TECH STOCKS TO CRASH?

You cannot time the market!
This tactic is great if the market really crashes again, and if you have all the guts and possess the perfect timing to invest in a rapidly falling market. It is not as easy! The truth is you can’t really time the lowest of the market. Even if there is a second crash, there is a high chance that you will chicken out again and continue to wait for a further plunge that may never happen.

How to tell if a Tech Stock is cheap or expensive?
It is very difficult to value a Tech Stock using normal valuation metric. Let us take Amazon as an example, with current stock price of USD2,961 per share, and below is the stock chart.

Source: yahoo finance

Amazon’s PE ratio is currently at whooping 141x. Refer to macrotrends here. Yet, there are more analysts predicting a further increase of price to 3,500 due to the fact that Amazon’s sales has been growing yoy of more than 25% (PEG ~5x), and there are still room to grow going into the future.

Base on quarterly PE figures in the last decade, there are more than half the time, when Amazon PE ratio is more than 150x, and yet the stock price continues to rise. In 2012 Sep, PE is 3633x and in 2013 Sep, PE is 1116.

Hence, at what price do you consider it a reasonably cheap price to enter? 2,500 or 2,000 or 1,500? Using PE, PEG? How to gauge? Many times, the market does not really value tech stocks logically using PE or PEG! Just look at Tesla stock. After-all, many are just using gut feeling to say that the price is high, just because it is at ATH peak.

Another good example is that in 2017 when Amazon crosses the USD1,000 mark at ATH, you probably think that the prices is already way too expensive, and waiting for a pullback or a crisis? You can continue to wait, but the price is not going to fall back to USD1,000. In fact, within three years, the price had tripled.

Invest progressively
My sentiment is that we should continue to buy shares, but in a progressively manner. The reason is because no one knows what will happen to the stock market tomorrow. Hence, we should not time the stock market exactly when it will hit bottom before deploying all in? Also, if you do not own any shares now, what if “Mr. Market” decide to go against logic and NOT retesting bottom, but continue to rally?  Then your zero ownerships of shares will have no capital gains. While buying shares is important, what is more important is to learn how to find good shares at reasonable pricing fortified with sound long term future. I will leave the type of Tech stocks to choose in a later post.



QN 4: INVEST NOW AND WHAT IF CRASH LATER?

Consider you choose enter into Amazon at USD3,000 per share NOW, and months later there is a huge second wave of corona crisis? If you look at the first wave of covid hit, the stock of Amazon took a beating from more than 2170 to below 1700 (fall 22%), but it rose to beyond 3000 thereafter.

In fact, a second wave may actually further benefit Tech stocks such as Amazon as more people continue to WFH and uses E-commerce more. Lastly, nobody knows if there will be a second crash?

Even if there is a pullback in pricing, if you keep sufficient warchest of cash, and have guts, you can buy at the corrected pricing.


ROLF’S THOUGHTS

While I am a firm believer of certain Tech Stock’s future, I hope you are not using my post as an impetus to invest blindly without using your own thinking and discretion, or without considering your own individual financial situation.

Please wait for my second post to find answers for the rest of the questions.

Friday, 17 July 2020

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

Since the covid crisis, I had invested more than SGD300-400K into stocks. The amount ploughed into stocks are from my cash in bank as well as profits realised from gold and silver, bitcoin, stocks. In particular Keppel DC REIT returned more than 2 folds and I re-invested into the same stock to make it a “freehold stock” now. But that is only a very small part of my stock holdings, which I intend to progressively make it bigger.  

MY PORTFOLIO – MAJORITY IN TECH STOCKS

Today, more than 50% of my stock holdings is in Tech stocks that originate from the US (NASDAQ) and China (HKSE).  My biggest holding is Amazon, followed by Alibaba (HKSE). I also hold stocks  listed in US such as Apple, Alphabet, Netflix, Cisco, and China Baidu, Pinduoduo and stocks listed in HK such as Alibaba, Tencents, JD.com and Meituan DianPing. In fact, there are other stocks which I do not consider as Tech stocks in my portfolio, such as Tripadvisor in US, both Keppel DC Reit and Netlink in SGX are all also closely related to the Digital world of the future.



WHY I MISSED THE BOAT IN TECH STOCKS

Environment in Singapore Financial World
From the start of my investment journey dated a decade back, I have never doubted that the future will be a world of tech and digital. Nonetheless while I was aware of the future potential of tech world, the environment of the financial world or blogosphere in Singapore never really give me a strong enough conviction that I must invest in tech stocks.  Everyone here was only talking about Warren Buffett style of investment “Buy and Hold” or “FA of stocks” or “TA of charts”. And most Singaporeans are mainly interested in stocks or topics such as REITs, Keppel, Sembcorp, SIA, SGX, STI ETF etc, even up to today after the covid crisis.

It is natural that you start investing in your field and stocks in your own country
I regretted the missed opportunity! However, I reckon I was not entirely to blame for the short-sightedness. This is because, it is only natural that you begin investing within your own country’s stock exchange. Also, I was working in the Marine and Oil and Gas, hence it is also instinctive that I invested in stocks I know best. When I started investing, I also spent a great deal of time reading and learning about Fundamental Analysis and to a certain extent, Technical analysis as I attended courses and started blogging thereafter.

It is a learning process
Throughout my investment journey, I read many books, articles and videos by “investment great” such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio, Peter Lynch, George Soros, Jim Rogers, Nassim Taleb etc. Yet, none stressed the importance of Tech Stocks.

I became a financial blogger in early 2014, and be it in the local blogosphere or local investment websites or local investor authored books, nobody made a great deal about Tech stocks until today. Next, I ventured into ASX, because of Motley Fool Australia recommending stocks in AU. Fortunately, I divested all my AU stocks few years back. Otherwise, not only I will lose greatly in the stock value, but also incur exchange  rate losses as AUD has depreciated significantly against SGD over the years.

Finally until recently, I dwelled into the studies of Gold and Silver, before learning more about Cryptocurrency and also invested in it.

Still, there is no major trigger for the investment in Tech Stocks.  

WHY NOW, MY SUDDEN INTEREST IN TECH STOCKS

Last year, a business associate became my good friend. He is in the business of IoT and emphasized to me the explosive future of tech and digital business. I was convinced by him. Then my gal is entering into university this year, and while looking through the subjects in different local universities, I finally decided that SMU School of Info Systems is the best for her. Praise God that she was admitted into it.


Even with all these factors, it does not drive me to buy into Tech listed Stocks up to the covid crisis, except that I own Keppel DC REIT and it is doing very well.

However, this Covid pandemic crisis changes everything. It is an eye-opener. My perspective changed completely. This crisis fortifies the resilience of Tech Stocks in a world that is so different now, and in the future.

Warren Buffett is someone who use to loathe Tech Stocks. Today, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BH) portfolio largest holdings is Apple, valued at USD96.9B of BH’s USD223B total portfolio. This is 43.5%, let alone a further USD1.6B investments in Amazon. WB’s tech stocks’ portfolio is closed to 45%. Refer here for BH portfolio.

ROLF’S FINAL THOUGHTS

Singapore lacking creativity, focus and foresight in Tech
For ten years, nothing serious in this country arouse my interest in Tech Stocks. It also speaks a lot about Singapore as a country lacking foresight into the future. Look at how fast China has grown, when it comes to digital and technology. There are just so many successful and giant tech companies in China. Many smaller tech companies are springing up each day too. My Shanghai friend recently told me about Sky Eye in China where the people in Shanghai are all almost trackable by facial recognition. In Shanghai, almost no taxi can accept cash even several years ago, with all digital payments. I agree it there is no privacy in digital world, but do we have a choice? Do we want to oppose the future, and stay primitive?

How silly I am
It also reminds me of how silly I am NOT to invest in Tech stocks in the very beginning. Afterall, Google, Microsoft and Facebook appears in our everyday life. I also lost count on the number of Apple iPhones I owned. While already subscribed to Netflix since May 2018, yet, I stupidly waited until this month to buy into the stock!

Are there still room to grow?
Yes, the stock prices of Facebook Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google “Alphabet” (FAANG), Tesla etc are already very high and rise quite a lot! Ask yourself, do you reckon they will stop growing? Do you reckon that if there is a second wave, will it depress the Tech Stocks or will they grow even higher?  Even if there is a correction of tech stocks, it present a very good opportunity to buy into it.
I actually believe one day, Amazon will grow so big, that eventually it will build and own complete “Smart Cities” around the world, powered by AI, robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, in a green environment with everything connected to cloud internet. Furthermore, do you reckon that you will stop using Apple Apps or stop using Google twenty to thirty years from now?

How about Alibaba Taobao, Lazada etc, Tencent Wechat, China Google aliked Baidu, E-commerce JD.com, Meituan, Pinduoduo, which all are part of everyday life of Chinese people. Ask yourself if you think that the Tech sector in China is already saturated, or there are still room to grow?

Do remember that China has more than a billion population, and a large part of them are still living in rural and in poverty? China nominal GDP per capita in 2019 is still a mere USD10K.

The Amazon Perspective
Amazon was listed in 1997 with less than USD2 a share. Today the stock is worth USD3,000 a share. Imagine you had invested 1,000 shares back then at USD2 a share, costing you USD2,000. Today after 22 years, your USD2,000 had become USD3 Million dollars.

Better Late than Never – I am still learning….
Regrettably, I admitted that I was so late NOW entering into Tech Stocks. In spite of the lateness, just like my Blog slogan “Better Late Than Never”. I am still a firm believer in the tech stocks changing the world of the future.

That being said, I will also continue to invest in REITs and dividend stocks and have a well mix of other stocks in other industries. I am still holding on to a large part of Cash, Bonds and Precious Metals portfolio which can be converted to cash and take advantage of the low stock price if there is a near-term crisis that drives Tech Stocks price down to attractive level.  

In 2017, Warren Buffett’s partner in BH, Charlie Munger said it was a "very good sign" that Buffett jumped into Apple. "It shows either one of two things: Either you've gone crazy, or you're learning," Munger said. "I prefer the learning explanation."

Yes, me too… I am still learning every day in my life….