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Thursday, 23 March 2017

What's the most difficut thing to Plan for our Retirement?

No, its not your rate of investment returns.

Nope, its not the rate of inflation that will eat into your rate of investment returns above.

Or for that matter, what withdrawal rate to use? (Friend, its not that birth control technique)

Ah... You almost got it if you say how to plan whether at 65 you'll be still healthy to do line-dancing, marathons, and overseas travelling; or will you have an Eldershield kind of lifestyle...

Are you ready?

Please tell me when you intend to see your maker?

If you got 2 more years to live, I suspect you'll discover you have enough right here, right now. Can quit and do the things you wanted to do all along but always no time...

That's the acid test to find out whether you love what you are doing right now.

Anita Mui sang till her last days. She no need to quit and do what she loves. She is already doing what she loves!

If you believed you will live till age 100 and beyond, have fun moving your goal posts!

At this rate, you'll never have enough!

There is no such thing as foolproof or "bao jiak" when it comes to the vagaries of life.

That's why people through the centuries have engaged in astrology, palm reading, and all sorts of voodoo...

Will I win the battle tomorrow?

Will I succeed to the throne?

When will I die?

I find it quite amusing. Some even use astrology to speculate in stocks!?

But then, seemingly savvy and literate investors also exhibit similar behaviours by believing in investing myths...

Prostrating before the god of compounding (mixing up compounding interests with compounding returns).

Blind belief that forgoing a cup of "atas" coffee a day will make you financially rich.

I would have thought its more about wisdom and luck. 

(Any hipster café owners reading this? I can bring more business to you by organising our kopi sessions with fellow journey companions at your joint. Just write to me at the bottom. Wink.)

And this fable I liked the best!

If you fail to plan; you plan to fail. (So those O&G companies on the verge of bankruptcies never planned?)

No need to look at your parents and wonder why they never did more "planning". Just look at your own lives. Did it turned out how you have planned?

I know. You feel like giving that pimply-faced young graduate who tells you the reason you're still working at age 65 is because you failed to plan in life...

Sounds familiar?

Yes, it's your fault!

Monday, 20 March 2017

How to ownself snake-oil ownself - Investment Goal Setting

Why do people like to set "SMART" goals on consequential activities they have little control or influence over?

For example, setting an investment goal of 8% return per year when you are a long only retail "investor". Hmm...

When they hit their goals, they say its their stock picking skills (STI went up 20%).

But when they failed to hit their goals, they say it bad luck, its a bear market you know? (STI went down 20%)

Eh... Like that how is it any different from Passive Indexing?

Smart Passive Indexers don't set goals on investment returns. What's the point of setting goals on passivity? The whole point of Passive Indexing is you get Market returns. Period.

How to spot a long only retail investor who knows his stuff? (Notice I removed the " "?)

They will never set absolute return goals like 8% a year. That is only possible if you are both a long and short investor (operating like a hedge fund). Wink.

They are wise and honest enough to admit they can only set a relative return goal.

You know, to outperform a benchmark by X%?

In a bear market, the best they can do is to have no losses (moving 100% into cash before the crash). Already outperform like siao liao against their chosen benchmark!

Pray tell how to achieve that 8% goal of yours in a bear market if you can only long?

Of course, if you are iron-teethed (stubborn), you can still set your "SMART" absolute return goals with a long only investment strategy.

You add in tiny print after your goal setting:

This goal is valid only for bull markets. Its void for flat and bear markets for which I have neither the control nor influence over; I accept no responsibility whatsoever in such markets.

Well done!

You now very de smart!

You ownself snake-oil ownself!

Clap, clap.


Friday, 17 March 2017

What exactly is Crash Got Sound?


To be precise, need to pronounce it in Hokkien, "Long dio wu xia".

Crash got sound.

What does it mean?

Instead of giving you a definition, let me give you 2 examples to illustrate.

1) CPF Life

Did you know before CPF Life was introduced in 2009, the then National Longevity Insurance Committee (NLIC) proposed to big daddy to give CPF members 12 options to choose from!

You heard me right. 12 freaking options!!! Want to cover backside also not like that...

Mercifully, big daddy watered it down to 4 options.

1st crash got sound moment: Too many; too confusing!

OK, OK. We now change to 2 plans. Happy now? 

And for those who don't like to think for yourself, no worries, I'll choose for you the Standard plan.

This one good, better, best! Provided you live up to 95 and beyond.

2nd crash got sound moment: How do I know what I want in 10 years' time?

Its already hard to forecast what's the weather for tomorrow, not to say 10 years ahead!

Sorli, sorli, my bad!

I wrong to assume everyone helicopter like me.

Done! You can now choose the CPF Life plans when you are 65 and just before the CPF Life payout starts.

Ya hor. Why I never thought of that in the first place?

Who's the idiot that proposed we need 10 years' advance notice?

3rd crash got sound moment: akan datang (coming soon) 

Red faced. Forgot Singaporeans study, work, travel overseas a lot nowadays. Even frog in the well also got internet access.

So you guys know about inflation adjusted annuities and TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities?

2) SGX

Smart goal to increase transaction volumes - delete the lunch hour and reduce spreads between bid and offer prices.


Get out of car.

Eh? Why transaction volumes no increase? 

"Anyone got any good ideas to solve this predicament?"


"What's that?"

"Undo button Sir,"


There! Hope you now have a better appreciation of this Hokkien words of wisdom phrase.

No, I not Hokkien; I Teochew.


Why I "angkat" (tripod) the Hokkiens?


They are legion in Singapore.

If every Hokkien buys me a cup of kopi, I can start my own non-hipster café!

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