Monday, December 10, 2012

My financial education journey - Part I (Isabel)

Dear Mr. Tan

After my youngest son goes to army, I suddenly find I have some free time on hand.   All these years of working for the children, setting aside funds for the rainy days, building a home (not exactly in that order), it is a relief to be able to sit back and see how I can improve my financial position.

For years, my husband and I blindly bought into properties and stocks and every time there was nagging fear if it was a good buy.   We are good for falling in love with whatever we buy, good or bad.  So the market goes up and it comes down and we go with the flow.   So you can guess our financial situation.  We have enough to get by but not what you will term as affluent.

Last few months, I decided to start my financial education journey.

First, I bought a few books by Robert Kiyosaki/Kim (his wife)/Donald Trump.  The teaching is quite different from Warren Buffett.  Some of what Robert writes are obviously not suitable for Singapore especially pertaining the tax laws.   I am still puzzled how he can leverage so much and the banks are not calling for top up when the property prices drop.   Know of anyone who was so confident that he sold his house and use the money to buy into many properties just before the recent market crush?

Warren is usually buy and hold or until he thinks the business no longer suits him.  Robert is buy and sell and move on.   I believe both techniques can be applied to maximize the gain.  I do know of someone who do this.   

I went to a preview by a company that teaches value investing.  The cost for the course is >3K.   The course also teaches options (what Robert K and Warren B are good at).   This options trading is available for US stocks not Singapore.   The lecturer is energetic and fun.  But I think this is too much to pay.

I also attended the SGX course preview on “creating a secondary income stream – through long term shares investing & investing in real estate sector (property stokcs/RETIS).   It was a good course and the cost for 12x3 hrs is affordable.  With FA/TA course thrown in.  The course basically teaches fundamentals like time value of money/economic/financial statement/business/industry analysis and investment principles.  I signed up for my husband, my daughter and myself.   I believe opportunities are aplenty but we must be armed and shielded with knowledge in order to grasp these opportunities.   I hope I will be confident the next time opportunities come knocking at the door.

The SGX course on “making trading your source of income” preview is an eye opener.   This is really a short term investing for cash flow.   The lecturer delivered a good clarity in the concept.   However, I do not think this is the right tool for me.   This is too fast paced for my heart. 

I then went for a talk by Philip Capital “How to Profit CONSISTENTLY in Stock Market” where a CK Ee from Asia Charts delivered his speech.  Ee was fun and he got the whole room (must be more than 100+ attendees on a Saturday morning) laughing with glee.  He is very knowledgeable and obviously he walks the talk.  He is realistic and warned the audience that there will be bad and good days.  But important to learn from it all and keep a journal.   He teaches discipline and urges investors to have good understanding of market behavior (the interpretation of news), a good plan (to accurately analyse the market) and when to enter and exit.  He trades for cash flow and capital gain.  If I have a chance, I will like to join his course.

I went to a preview on swiftlet farming.  The trainer showed the swiftlet migration path, Malaysia, Indonesia etc.  The business idea is quite interesting.  Basically they work with locals and hopefully some research institutions and wholesaler.  The swiflet farm is in Sandakan, Sabah. The investors buy the wooden huts and the local will help to maintain and harvest the bird nests.  It will take a few years to have returns which is not guaranteed.   The consortium will buy the bird nests and pay the investors based on market price.   The consortium is hoping to link up with some research institution to give some credibility to the bird nest  harvested from Sabah due to the recent clam down by China due to contamination.   I find this venture a bit expansive and not certain.  The wooden huts are sold at a premium to the investors.   One is never sure if the birds will really nest in your huts.  As the areas are not really easily accessible, one has to depend on the consortium management to ensure no thefts.  At the end of the day, the price of the nest is a question mark.  The plus points are that the consortium delivers the huts and management the scheme and buy the nest from you.  Unless of course, you prefer to consume yourself, but will be hours of back breaking tasks to pick all the down feathers.

I went to two property courses preview.  One is “how to invest in property with little risks” by Azea Property Investment.   The trainer was fun and knowledgeable.  Basically the concept is similar to Robert Kiyosaki/Donald Trump - investing for cash flow.  Some of the properties showcased are impressive.  The lady boss Tan Yang Po is well known.  She is featured in 938 live.  From what I know listening to her via 938 live, she basically has the muscles (together with the students who turned investors) to negotiate for good deals.  I do believe the model works.  She gives much better value than some of the investments brought to Singapore – “3 properties in USA for 200K!” shouted the advertisement in the Straits Times some months ago.   The course is attractive from networking and the opportunity to buy into some of the below the water properties.  There are aplenty such properties in US and EU.  But the skill is to sniff out the good buy and rental generating properties.   I am impressed by two buys – one in London and the other in US near the university.   However, one has to consider that these are oversea properties.   My preference is still to be able to see my investments whenever I want to.

The other property course preview is none other than ERC – Andy Ong.  I went to one of Andy’s course in 2007.   I find him genuine and willing to teach and help.   He is astute in property investment.   Around 2007, he  bought into River Valley property to be used as class rooms.  Recent years, see him investing into commercial.  His portfolio is impressive to people who know his background.  I first heard of him when I took up financial planning course years ago.  At the time, one of the text books specified by FPAS is by him.   I like to reconnect with him and I believe there is much to learn from him.

Then the latest course I went to is by Sam Goh “ A - Z of Investing - Gold & Silver”.  The reason I went is that Robert K has been talking a lot on gold and silver.  With the delink of currency from gold, and the QE infinite, who will not be worried? USD is on the slippery slope to don’t know where and every government is printing money.   There is only one way for commodity to go – up.   I cannot buy and take delivery on oil/coffee/tea/nuts etc.  The only commodity is then gold/silver.  At 25 and be financially free is impressive.  There must be something I can learn from Sam.   The talk content is what I expected.   I learnt something new.  I can actually buy and silver and gold from UOB and I do not have to take delivery but just use the passbook.   I joined his  club membership. 



Xianlong said...

Is clear that Isabel is a starting investor fumbling about trying to find an investment vehicle that suits her.

Is not necessary to spend huge sums of $$ for those courses & seminars. All she need to do is read the top 10 books in the category. She can start by finding them via AMZN reviews.

I reckon she already spend at least $10k on those seminars. If she just buy the STI index fund at depth of recession with 5% dividend, she'll be getting $500/year passive income.

CreateWealth8888 said...


No need to spend $X,XXX or $XX,XXX to learn 3M's - Method, Mind and Money Management. Most of these paid courses are trying to teach Method and little on Mind and Money Management.

After many years in the local stock market, SGX, I have learned that Method is the least important of the 3M's. Why paid so much for it if you are only investing for long-term and not trading for a living.

Trading for a living is a tough job for people who already has a day job.

Everyone can easily start reading investment and finance books in NLB. Plenty of them are available,

One can also visit non-commercial finance and investment blogs and ask them questions. Many of them are please to share their own personal experiences and they don't charge you anything.

RayNg said...

Don't be trade of everything and Master of none. Know your financial goal and choose the right investing intrument for that purpose.

michael13 said...

Interesting sharing by Isabel.

Warren Buffett:"Stocks are simple. All you do is buy shares in a great business for less than the business is intrinsically worth."

Peter Lynch:"What is the secret of your success in stock trading? It's about managing your risk."

Hard lesson:"If I am wrong, cutting loss fast and small is the first lesson which any successful stock-trader learns to appreciate."

yujuan said...

If these seminar speakers are so good, why do they still wan to make a living out of rookie investors, they should be a millionaire, if not a billionaire many times over.
However, there are preliminary free seminar talks, which give you some basics in investing to bait you to pay for the main talks.
You could pick up some basic, free tips, and then ignore their sales pitch by walking away.

Kin Lian Tan said...

Isabel asked me to point out that she did not spend any money to attend the expensive courses. She only attended the free previews.

michael13 said...

There is a popular saying/joke about attending those expensive investment courses:

"The good ones teach and the best ones do."

Jeremy Ow said...

Actually there are a few really good courses taught by trusted experts who had walked their talk. I personally know of one good stock investment course worth attending as based on my own investment experience, I observed that they teach very good fundamental investment principles that I can concur with. I have also read a few books written by some investment experts from this same investment company. The investment principles in the books are real solid genuine investment principles that have worked out in the case studies of some listed Singapore stocks pointed out in the books. So, track record speak for these investment experts. Hence, I call them investment experts who have walked their talk and I believe they will continue to walk their talk and function progressively well in future.

I have also attended some property preview seminars. There are a few good property investment courses worth their course fee as I believe it is worthwhile to learn the fundamental of the trade to be a good property investor through such courses.

Another perk with attending investment courses is that if the experts running the investment courses are truly worth their salt, they would already attract a large pool of serious investors who have come on-board with them. By joining a pool of investors, one can open his horizon to network with many other serious and like-minded investors, to learn from one another in a large group. I believe investing is not a solo game but a team sport (even as one still needs to exercise independent investment thought). One needs to constantly learn from other investors and the constant exchanges of investment experiences between investors will help to hone and sharpen every investor's investing mindset over time.

Furthermore, joining a network of investors also opens up opportunities to co-invest on projects requiring larger investment capital otherwise inaccessible by normal retail investors. Better terms could be negotiated for an investment project when investing together in a large group of investors. For example, investors belonging to a property investment club can negotiate with developers for slightly cheaper than market rate when doing bulk purchases of properties together.

Thus, joining the right investment courses and network of investors certainly has its advantages as compared to doing investments alone as a normal retail investor. However, one needs to open his eyes wide to sieve out the good from the bad investment courses and their network to join.

Anonymous said...

The other property course preview is none other than ERC – Andy Ong. I went to one of Andy’s course in 2007. I find him genuine and willing to teach and help. He is astute in property investment. Around 2007, he bought into River Valley property to be used as class rooms. Recent years, see him investing into commercial. His portfolio is impressive to people who know his background. I first heard of him when I took up financial planning course years ago. At the time, one of the text books specified by FPAS is by him. I like to reconnect with him and I believe there is much to learn from him.

That's why you can't be a leader, Kin Lian...

Imagine the other key to the reserves is with you...

You want to learn from him? LOL~


Please go ahead.

You ever heard of this:
Birds of the same feathers flock together.

You really know how to choose company... LOL~

It's your choice. LOL~

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