Portfolio and Risk Management

It’s a boring topic, but when money is involved, is it still boring? I hope not! Investing is more than just buying and selling, it’s the art of handling risk and emotions. Having read through many blogs and seen many portfolios, there’s one similarity among all of them. They all have Portfolio Management. If the rich are doing it, there must be a compelling reason why they are doing it right? Having a good portfolio management can help enhance returns and reduce risk. Not everyone wants to have a portfolio that moves together all in the same direction, and not everyone realise that they may be having it. A good portfolio should comprise of several forms of assets and preferably in different industries because that way your risk will not be concentrated in a single industry. Yes, you may have a chance of making it big when the sector goes into a boom, just like the technology stocks prior to the .com bust. It is one thing to be overweight on an industry, but it is foolish to allow yourself to take on a risk that you may not be able to afford. The last thing you want to do when investing is to be wiped out completely. In this article, I wish to share using a top-down approach and gradually zoom in on how one can have a good Portfolio Management and avoid undertaking too much risk.

Portfolio Management

Welsummer Hen

As mentioned, a good Portfolio would be one that can withstand years of market movements and still stand strong. The word ‘Diversification’ may come to your mind when Portfolio Management is mentioned. There tend to be a misconception about diversification, especially towards investors. To most investors, diversification simply means diversifying your money into different sectors of the market. This isn’t entirely wrong, and there are indeed benefits to diversifying into different sectors. However, may I present to you a broader view of what diversification means. Diversify into different asset classes. A truly good portfolio should be one that is invested into different asset classes – Stocks, Bonds, Commodities, Forex, Properties, etc.

Having a portfolio that is diversified into different asset classes will save you from having your hard-earned money from being wiped out in a black swan event. You can be sure that even if the stock market crashes, you still have other streams of income from your different asset classes like bonds or rental income from your residential properties (Note that REITs is still classified as stocks). Imagine if all your money were in just the stock market alone, perhaps even diversified into a few sectors. Your portfolio would have experienced a hard pounding and it served as a wake-up call for many who did not diversify across the different asset classes. That’s not to say that being diversified into different asset class will make you immune to any big worldwide crisis like this, but at least it mitigates the damage dealt.

Risk Management

Risk_Management

In theory, everything sounds perfect. However, not everyone of us can afford the luxury to be invested in all the 5 asset classes mentioned. It would be nice to try to be as diversified as possible, but even if it’s just stocks, there’s another way to manage your risk. A part of portfolio management is Position Sizing. Always consider how much risk you are willing to take in a trade, preferably in dollar amount rather than in %.

Step 1: Consider the maximum loss(in $ amount) you’re willing to accept.

Step 2: Set a stop-loss level

Step 3: Calculate the capital exposure per unit (Entry price – Stop loss price)

Step 4: Maximum position size = Step 1 / Step 3

 

This formula can be found in Robert C Miner’s High Probability Trading Strategies book. If you’re interested, do head down to NLB to borrow because that’s where I got the book from! Although not everyone has the luxury to take up the maximum position size for every trade, it will still serve as a good gauge as to how much the maximum should be. This prevents you from over trading beyond your risk tolerance level. There are many strategies available and this is one of the strategies that I have found to have served me useful because I know exactly how many shares should I limit myself to. Hopefully you would re-look at your investment strategies and identify if you are carrying too much unnecessary risk.

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How To Save Huge Money On Kid’s Clothing

Long before you give birth to your child, the desire to buy adorable child’s clothes kicks in. But, quickly growing children, changing of fashion trends, and huge deals may put a hole on your pocket. Giving your child fashionable clothes does not have to be expensive. Here are 5 Ways to Save Huge Bucks On Your Kid’s Clothing…

1. OUT WITH THE NEW

Since your toddler grows increasingly in the first few years then buying new clothes every year will surely break the bank. Try buying stylish clothes that are very cheap in thrift stores, garage sales, or online (e.g., Carousell or Gumtree).

There are a couple of neat thrift stores in Singapore namely: Praisehaven Thrift Store, New2U Thrift Shop, Oakham Market, and O-Mighty. Most of these thrift stores are donating its proceeds to charity. Visit Yelp.com.sg to read the reviews of these stores. The best part, of course, is that you’re contributing to a great cause while shopping.

2. HAND-ME-DOWNS

Hand-me-downs are totally free! Ask your family and friends (whose kids are older and bigger than yours) if you can have their children’s outgrown clothes. You will not only help your family or friends to de-clutter their space but you will also save more.

3. USE CLOTHES FOR MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Get your child leggings that she could wear during the cold weather then keep wearing them as capris the next summer. Same thing goes for dresses, you can use them as a dress or a shirt once its outgrown.

4. BORROW OR SEW YOUR OWN

For occasions that require special outfits such as Halloween, weddings or other formal parties that you only wear once a year, you can just borrow costumes to save loads of space and money. If you are good in sewing, use your creativity to sew your own “princess or prince” costume for Halloween.

5. KEEP IT SIMPLE 

Avoid buying a matching set because it is more costly and it limits your options. Instead, buy solid colored pants and simple patterned skirts that you can mix and match with funky shirts. You will save more buy these items during clearance sales.

Image Credits: mahalie stackpole via Flickr

Image Credits: mahalie stackpole via Flickr

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The Greatest Investment Of Your Lifetime

When considering the topic of ‘Investment’, we almost always think about Equities, Bonds or Forex first. We hear questions like “What stock is good?” or “How should I begin investing?” The growing interest in investment here in Singapore is definitely growing and we can begin to see a new generation of investors who are more daring and knowledgeable than their parents. We all have heard of stories about how other people’s parents or even our parents had their hands burnt in the past due to buying stocks or mutual funds. This has left a bad impression on many of the kids of my generation and have grown to become interested, but afraid of the risk of losing their hard-earned money as well.

Every once in awhile, we hear people talking about how this stock is going to skyrocket or that stock is going the be the next big thing. Are these truly the investments worth chasing after, or is there an even bigger and more important investment that you can and might not have begun investing in? There are many proven cases even today that those who invest in this boasts of superior returns and is still experiencing compounded growth. I hope you’re interested in what this investment is, because you should. This investment has no barriers to entry, does not cost beyond what you can afford(possibly free) and can make you incredibly rich (both in monetary and non-monetary terms). However, this investment requires a lot of time, effort, and determination.

This investment is you.

Investment in yourself is the best and the most important investment everyone should make. Cliché as it might sound, it’s one investment that many people have overlooked. The younger you begin, the more time you have to compound this investment. The rewards can come in many form, depending on what you seek from this investment – Money, Happiness, Relationships, etc. You name it, you can have it!

You may not know where to begin, as it usually is the case. So here’s a simple step-by-step guide to get you started on your investment.

Step 1: Do a self-assessment of what you love doing or want to achieve 5-10 years down the road. This would create a purpose and a direction to work towards to in your life.

Step 2: Do an inventory check of what you have and what you are missing in your pursuit towards achieving an even higher returns on your investment. Knowing what you have (Tangible and intangible) and what you don’t have allows you to work more efficiently and purposefully since you can leverage on what you have and gather what you don’t have in your free time.

Step 3: Start off with baby steps. The idea is to keep things manageable instead of taking a leap of faith. Create habits that lasts rather than simply to achieve something at the spur of the moment and allow the flame to die off after minor achievements. This could range from borrowing a book from the library once a month to taking up classes on a regular basis.

Step 4: Along the way, find a higher purpose. Sometimes we are simply not focused enough to have the fuel to keep chasing after that one dream. While it is good to be focused, it can get tiresome at times to keep at it. When you continually find a higher purpose, you will find it more enjoyable to continue the journey! This could range from teaching others what you have learnt to having the current purpose fit into an even bigger purpose! The key to it is to make slight deviations instead of totally pursuing something new. It would have been wasted effort.

I hope this article has helped you to realise that the biggest investment of your lifetime is waiting for you to invest in it. Stop looking elsewhere because it begins with you. If you have time on your side, even better! Allow time to compound the knowledge and skills that you have gathered.

Some practical tips:
If you are an investor in the stock market, you would have experienced times when you are already fully invested in the market and there seem to be nothing else you can do except to wait. It’s easy to convince yourself that it is time to take a back seat and relax. However, I urge that you keep looking out for the next investment opportunity and sharpen your skills and knowledge by reading! Books are a great source of knowledge and inspiration for trade ideas. Just don’t stop investing in yourself and you’ll see the compounded fruits of labour in years to come. Make it a point that when others have yet to begin, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of them by the time they begin!

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6 Easy Ways to Earn A Side Income Online

In Singapore, where costs are ever running high, you may find that your current wage is direly insufficient to help you save up for that big-ticket new car or house that you have been hankering after. As such, it is unsurprising that many Singaporeans are seeking to take up side gigs outside of their day job, where they are able to earn a quick buck or two in their leisure time.

That being said, perhaps you cannot expect to earn thousands from such additional sources of income – after all, you are hardly committing to them full time. However, the benefit of such side gigs is that they do not interfere with your usual day job, and instead allows you to capitalise on your free time as well as your unique hobbies, to reap some additional side income from which you can better achieve your newest 2015 financial resolutions!

If you are an avid Internet-surfer who is out to find ways to take up a side gig of your own, here are 6 easy ways for you to earn a side income online. These 6 methods of earning additional income online are so easy that almost anyone will be capable of taking them up – no matter if you are 14, or 40! All you need is some free time to spare, a computer, and the ability to read and write English, and you are good to go!

 1. Write music reviews online

(Image credit: http://www.sirdalski.me)

Are you a music enthusiast? If so, you might want to consider leveraging on your passion to write some music reviews on Slicethepie in your spare time.

On Slicethepie, you are paid for every music review that you write. Slicethepie is an online music community, where new bands upload their newest singles or demos, and reviewers can provide these bands with constructive criticism based on the soundtrack’s beats, melodies, vocals or production.

Although Slicethepie may not pay out a significant amount (reviewers start off with a base rate of 2 cents per song – a little paltry, but detailed reviews tend to get awarded more), it is a good way for music lovers to spend their time constructively to help out fellow musicians and earn some spare cash in the process. Plus, you get to listen in on exclusive tracks that have yet been released into the mainstream – what’s not to love?

(Image credit: http://onlinefanatic.com)

2. Get rid of unwanted belongings on Carousell

If you find that your household is becoming rather cluttered with things that you no longer need, or items that have not quite come into use despite having been purchased five years ago – well, it is certainly time to let go of these preloved goods to better owners who will give them their due use instead of hoarding them in over-packed storerooms. And how should you go about finding these very ‘new owners’? The answer is simple – Carousell.

Carousell is becoming quite the household hit in Singapore, despite its recent inception in 2012. In fact, it is so popular that it seems to have garnered a permanent stay-hold on the App Store’s Top Charts. Through Carousell, buyers and sellers are brought together in an online marketplace.

If you have the time to spare, why not lay out all your unwanted items, snap a few pictures of them, and upload them onto Carousell, where potential buyers are abound? Surely, with the sheer extent of its reach – given that almost everyone has a Carousell account these days, it would be easy for you to find buyers who are willing to take over ownership of your preloved goods.

Certainly, clearing off your unwanted belongings through Carousell will allow you to earn some quick cash, and clear out your rooms for the new year!

3. Leverage on social media

Are you an Instagram addict? Or perhaps you might think of yourself as an up-and-coming blogger? Do you have relentless witty quips to share on Twitter? Or do you have a remarkable presence on Youtube?

Well, if you have a deep love for social media, and for sharing your adventures and exploits with the rest of the world, consider making use of your social media accounts to earn a quick buck. Companies are constantly looking for new faces and personalities to promote their products, and publicise their brand name. If you find that you have a sizeable number of followers on these social media platforms, you may be able to approach companies and successfully gain sponsors and paid advertisements, with which you can easily earn up to a hundred bucks or more per assignment.

Singapore has certainly made a fine art of social media influencing – just look at our top bloggers who are able to land even car sponsorship deals effortlessly! Anything and everything can be promoted on social media these days; why not hop on the bandwagon while it’s hot?

4. Carry out online surveys

Another way of spinning some quick cash would be to fill out surveys online in your spare time. Corporations are constantly looking out for consumer feedback, and searching for new ways to identify the newest consumer trends. As such, giving your opinion in the form of paid online surveys can be deeply valuable to such firms, and you will receive due payment in the form of cash or shopping vouchers – a worthy transaction indeed!

Some of such paid online survey sites would include Opinisurveys, Toluna, and Mysurvey. But these are certainly not the only available survey sites. There are numerous online survey sites out there on the net, and all you need is to draw up a quick Google search, and you’ll be well on your way!

That being said, several paid online survey ads found on the Internet may turn out to be scams, so it is duly necessary to be discerning of any survey sites that promise rewards that seem too good to be true. Also, check up on the credibility of any new online surveying sites on the Internet.

If you’ve done your sufficient homework, then certainly carrying out online surveys is a remarkably easy and lucrative way of earning some extra moolah in your free time.

5. Publish an e-book

(Image credit: http://literatureset.com)

Do you have a flair for the written word? Do you have an undying passion for writing? Do you dream of getting published? If so, consider writing and publishing your own e-book! Given the rise in popularity of the e-book reader, e-books are gaining an ever larger audience, and surely you will be able to find a suitable audience for your very own book.

To publish an e-book, you can consider self-publication, or publication by legitimate publishing firms.

If you opt to self-publish, do bear in mind that you will have to cover all the costs of publication, and you might even potentially make a loss if your e-book fails to sell well. However, a major perk is that each sale of your e-book goes fully to you, and you have total ownership of your e-book.

On the other hand, if you seek to be published, it may prove an extended period of rejection until your manuscript lands into the hands of the right publisher who sees the potential in your work. However, it will eventually prove fruitful when your book is published, as such publishing firms often carry a more reputable brand name in the market which will help you to attain more sales for your book, and you will then be able to reap royalties from the sale of your e-book.

While the competition may be tough in the e-book industry, if you happen to land a hit, this may prove to be your fortune maker indeed!

6. Sell your handicrafts

(Image credit: www.flickr.com)

In an age of industrialisation, where clothing and accessories are mostly mass produced or manufactured in factories, there has certainly been a surge in demand for hand crafted items in recent years. Goods that are produced in mass are often perceived to be common and mundane, and it is little wonder that several would rather shell out more money for unique hand crafted products. If you have a ‘crafty’ side (forgive the pun), why not put your skills to good use and create some handmade baubles for sale?

Etsy is an international online marketplace which curates an eclectic mix of independent stores which specialise in the crafting of handmade items, as well as the sourcing of vintage. As such, if you would like to peddle your home made wares online, Etsy is certainly the perfect place to host your online store as shoppers on Etsy are out to specifically find exclusive and uncommon handmade crafts and you will certainly be able to land a customer or two!

Not to mention, given that Etsy is popular internationally, you will be able to reach a wider range of customers than simply homely Singapore.

However, it is worthy to note that Etsy charges a fee of $0.20 USD for each listing. If you are unwilling to pay such fees, perhaps you can turn to Carousell or Instagram – both of which are entirely free platforms, to promote and sell your goods instead.

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Best Credit Card For Petrol

Best Petrol Credit Card

When your car ran out of petrol, have you had problems deciding which petrol kiosks to go to enjoy the most savings? With four petroleum companies in Singapore – Exxon-Mobil, Caltex, Shell and Singapore Petroleum Company, you may at times scratch your head and wonder which petrol companies offer the cheapest petrol.

Owning and driving a car in Singapore is expensive, and it pays to find out how to save on your fuel expenses.

Using the right credit card to make your fuel purchase is important, as you could easily shave off up to one fifth of your petrol costs. The savings is huge! Imagine spending $2,000 on a petrol in a year – you could have saved up to $400 in a year!

There are many credit cards for petrol in the market and while some offer instant site and card discount, there are also cards that offer rebates and rewards to sweeten up the deal.

So which is the best card? Let’s find out! (Scroll to the bottom to see summary)

Esso

DBS Black VISA/AMEX Card & DBS Esso Card

DBS Black VISA/AMEX

 

If you own the DBS Black Visa or AMEX card, you can enjoy 18% discount off your fuel if you top up your petrol between 7pm – 7am. (4% cash rebates will end on 31 December 2014)

With the Smile rewards, you can redeem $30 worth of fuel for 750 litres of petrol pumped.That works out to be a 2.5% cut to your fuel expenses after taking into account of the 35% bonus Smile points.

And that’s not all – don’t forget you also earn DBS Points for your fuel top-up, at the rate of 1 Points = S$5 spent. That’s 0.31% on top of all the discounts and rebates!

Total effective discount = 20.81% (Until 31 December 2014)

DBS Esso Platinum Card

DBS Esso

Besides their Black Card, DBS also carries the Esso Platinum Card in their product suite, which offers up to 19.81% off your petrol. The only difference is you don’t enjoy the 4% promotional card rebates that the Black card offers. It makes up with a 7% card discount which is higher than the 4% of the Black Card. This will be the card to go for if you don’t want to stick to 7pm-7am rule and if DBS don’t extend the promotional 4% rebate for their Black Card.

Total effective discount = 19.81%

OCBC 365

 OCBC 365 Card 

OCBC 365 is next on the list for Esso’s pump. You can enjoy savings of up to 20.80% effective discount which matches up with the DBS Black Card. Unfortunately, good thing don’t last and the cash rebates of 4.3% will end on 31 December 2014 and you will need a minimum charge of $600 with a $80 cap in rebates for a month.

Total effective discount = 20.80% (Until 31 December 2014)

OCBC Plus!

OCBC Plus Visa CardOCBC Plus VISA Card 1

Good news is you can get a higher discount using a OCBC/NTUC PLUS! Card! That’s because you get Link points when you use the PLUS! card and a $300 spend will get you an additional dollar off your groceries at NTUC FairPrice. That is equivalent to an additional discount of 0.33%.

Total effective discount = 21.13%

Citibank Dividend Card & Other Citibank Cards

 Citibank Dividend Card

Citibank Dividend Card matches up with the PLUS! card of 21.13% for Esso station. As long as you meet a min spend of $50 in a transaction, you will qualify for the cash rebates. You will also earn Citi Dollars for your transaction and 1,500 Citi Dollars can be used to exchange a $5 Shell voucher.

Total effective discount = 21.13%

Caltex

UOB Lady Card

UOB Lady Card

With the UOB Lady Card, get up to 20.75% off from your fuel! It offers a relatively higher card discount to make up for a lesser rebates as compared to the first few cards. Caltex also has it’s own loyalty programme – the Thanks! Rewards. 40 Thanks! points is equivalent to a dollar off and if you add this together with the rewards from UOB (UNI$600=$10 SPC voucher), it sums up to an effective discount of 20.75%!

Total effective discount = 20.75%

UOB One Card

UOB One Card

Another product from UOB is the UOB One Card which has higher discount than the UOB Lady Card. With an effective discount of 21.54%, it is the best card from UOB for motorists. That’s because besides the usual Smart$ rebate of 1.68%, you are also entitled to the UOB One Rebate of 2.80%. That’s massive even though you don’t qualify for the UNI$ programme.

Total effective discount = 21.54%

All other cards from UOB may get up to 19.07% off from their fuel purchase.

HSBC Premier MasterCard/VISA Infinite/VISA Platinum

HSBC Premier

HSBC Premier MasterCard, VISA Infinite and VISA Platinum offers a whopping 23.45% discount to your fuel – and that makes it the best credit card for petrol in 2014. (Ends on 31 December 2014 – This post may come a bit late, but we will keep it updated!) However, it comes with a few conditions to be eligible for the full discount. First, to get $4 off your petrol you will need to spend $80 on gross petrol. (Ends 31 Dec 14) That is equivalent to a 5% cut which is easily achievable should you need to top up a full tank on a RON 98. Next, to get the cash rebates of 5%, you are required to charge $800 a month for all 3 months in a quarter. Otherwise you are only eligible for 3% rebate.

Total effective discount = 23.45%  (Ends on 31 December 2014)

All other HSBC cards can get up to 15.06%.

Shell

HSBC Premier MasterCard

HSBC Premier

If you want to refuel at a Shell station, then coincidentally, the HSBC Premier MasterCard tops the list again with a total effective discount of 21.81%. This time round it offers a higher cash rebates of 6% with a min spend of $800 a month for 3 months in a quarter. Unlike in Caltex, you don’t get the $4 off petrol for a $80 pump, but there is a Shell Escape Rewards where you can exchange 600 Escape points for $20 worth of voucher and you get additional 1 point for every $5 charged to your card. For its own card rewards, you can exchange for a $10 voucher for every 2250 points.

Total effective discount = 21.81%

HSBC VISA Infinite and VISA Platinum gets 5% cash rebates so total saving = 20.91% and all other HSBC cards get 16.61%.

OCBC 365 & Citibank Dividend Card

You can also use OCBC 365 Card to enjoy 16.54% or Citibank Dividend Card for 18.43% discount.

SPC

American Express Platinum Credit Card

American Express Platinum Card

 

If there is only SPC in your vicinity and you happen to own an American Express Platinum Card, you can enjoy the highest discount of 21.64% in SPC as compared to other cards. That’s because of a very generous 7% cashback on the financial charge amount and a 5% site discount. You can also get a $20 SPC voucher once you have accumulated 3,900 reward points from AMEX. (2 Reward Points = S$1.60 spent)

Total effective discount = 21.64%

POSB Everyday Card

POSB Everyday Card

Who say you need to be a high-income earner to enjoy exclusive discounts? With the POSB Everyday Card, you can get up to 20.10% discount for your SPC fuel.

Total effective discount = 20.10%

UOB Cards

All UOB cards get up to 20.33% off as there is a $3 petrol discount for every $60 gross spend.

Total effective discount = 20.33%

 

To summarise everything in a table:

Petrol Company Best Credit Card Total Effective Discount
Esso OCBC Plus! VISA & Citibank Dividend Card 21.13%
Caltex HSBC Premier MasterCard/VISA Infinite/VISA Platinum 23.45%
Shell HSBC Premier MasterCard 21.81%
SPC American Express Platinum Credit Card 21.64%

 

To see the complete list and calculations:

http://www.moneydigest.sg/best-petrol-credit-card/

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