Herd investing

When it comes to stock investments, it is difficult to make money if you adopted a herd investing mentality. A few months ago, a friend of mine sent me a text to  recommend investing in one of the local stocks, Yongnam. In his texts, he kept praising how good the company was, citing the various exciting business prospects and developments.
I did not solicit for his views on any stock investments before, so I was quite surprised that he tried to induce me to invest in this counter. Furthermore, I am not the sort of person who is easily influenced by others when it comes to stock investment and normally I would do my own research before investing in any counters.
stock market

So I chided him for trying to induce me to invest in Yongnam. Of course he denied flatly and vehemently defended that he was just sharing good stuff. I gave him the benefit of my doubts since he is my good friend, nonetheless, I did not invest in Yongnam.

One of the most common mistakes made by new Singapore investors is the tendency to adopt a herd mentality. Tempted to make quick profits, many novice or inexperienced investors enter the stock market and rely solely on rumors and tips from friends or brokers. As they lack the knowledge to invest on their own, this group of young investors value opinions of friends, brokers or relatives when it comes to investing. I am quite concerned for this group of uneducated investors because many of them will confess their regrets after paying expensive “school fees”.

To a large extent, it is not entirely their fault. Our education system is not shaped to provide guidance on personal finance and investment to our students. Many young adults are suddenly thrust into working life

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Property market outlook for Singapore

The following article is a guest posting by iMoney (Intelligent Money), which was founded in Malaysia in April 2012 and started out with a team of three. It took 14 days to get from an idea to a fully functional website. The company’s vision was (and still is) to simplify financial matters for consumers, thus helping them make better decision.
Property prices in Singapore are among the highest globally. This market has always been a demand driven one. That is because Singapore is a commercial hub, connecting the whole of Asia with rest of the world. The country attracts business people, professionals and executives from across the world. As a result, demand for both office space and housing have persisted over time.  


Apartment prices are on the raise
Apartment prices of Singapore’s core central region including Orchard Road district increased by 49% and prices in the suburbs that are popular with middle-class people increased by 70% since the end of the global financial crisis in 2009. According to a Channel NewsAsia research, household debt was 77.2% of the gross domestic product at the end of March 2013. It was just 64.4% in 2007. But the property prices grew by 120% in the same period. It clearly indicates that properties are overvalued at the moment.  But Shares of blue-chip property firms dropped in first half of 2013 after the government had introduced new cooling measures for the market including a curb on home loans and imposition of high stamp duties for home buyers. This suggests that the property market will go through a correction soon. It is actually good for the potential long term investors. Buying a property in 2014 will give more return as the market is likely to have a corrected price.
Supply will overcast the demand
According to
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Year-end bonuses

It is that time of the year when employees look forward to collecting their year-end bonuses. Last week, the government declared the 13th month and 1.1 month annual variable bonuses for all civil servants.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has forecast Singapore’s economic growth to be about 3.5% – 4% for 2013. Growth is expected to be supported by externally-oriented sectors such as manufacturing and wholesale trade, in line with the slight pickup in the global economy, as well as domestically-oriented sectors like construction and business services which are expected to remain resilient.
With the world economy still in unstable mode, I believe most Singapore workers’ year end bonuses would be modest, in view of the moderated growth for Singapore economy.
This will be the 8th time I am collecting year-end bonuses. In my previous blog entry last year, I made a resolution last year to purchase an endowment plan for my baby daughter. This is to plan for her future tertiary education expenses. Hence, we bought an endowment plan in July.
For this year, I am setting aside some of the bonuses for next January’s Chinese New Year. I budgeted about $2500 to 3000 for the overall Chinese New Year expenses, which include red packets monies, new year clothing for my family and other miscellaneous expenses.
Apart from Chinese New Year, another costly event next year would be the income tax bill in April onward (I pay by installments). Even though I entitled for the child subsidy, I am afraid that this might not be able to cover all the bill-able taxes, so I am making provision of $1000 for that.
personal finance

Last year, I also mentioned about settling my car loan by 2014. After the loan policy set by MAS this year and the sky-high COE prices, my

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Investing insights

Some people said that investing is all about timing, some said it boils down to luck. To me, investing is half science and half art. Sometimes you can analysis as much as possible on a particular stock but when the market suddenly crashes, all your profits and capital will be gone. That’s the hard reality.
Therefore, successful investing also requires the right skill to make critical judgement call and look at things from the big picture. To be a winner, you must remain calm in the face of market swings, and be prepared to go against the crowd. That will not be easy, and not many people, including myself, can achieve that. But if you are able to do so, the rewards can be substantial.
The difficulty of assessing a company lies in the qualitative analysis. This is because it is not easy for investors to come up with the intrinsic value of the business, especially for those novice ones. I have seen many Singaporean finance bloggers making investments in local stocks based solely on NAV or P/E. Some of them also invested in Reits or ETFs, with investment criteria based solely on potential dividend yields. These are very narrow measures to gauge a company and may not reflect accurately the value of a stock.
Most Singaporeans don’t even bother about the fundamentals of the business before making investments in stocks. Many of them buy shares of company whenever there are media reports of new contracts secured and panic sell when stock prices fell. Many Singaporeans don’t even understand the concept of asset allocation and thought that investing is all about stock investments. Many also don’t appreciate the importance of diversifying their portfolio in gold and bonds.

To be a good investor, we must not only focus on the fundamentals

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When to Use a Credit Card and Not Cash

Many people still pay for goods and services with cash and this is perfectly fine. Cash transactions are quick especially when you’re only buying a few items at the grocery store or convenience store. Using cash also lets buyers and merchants avoid fees associated with using a credit card. However, credit card issuersoffer their customers many benefits that could make it wiser to swipe your card the next time you pay for something.

Rewards, Rewards, and More Rewards

Rewards and bonuses are one of the main features of credit cards. Retailers that offer their own credit cards have a lot of promos for their customers as a way to gain loyal customers. Retailers such as gas stations and specialty stores promise their customers rebates and special discounts when customers use the store’s special credit cards. Some petrol stations in Malaysia for example, give 8% rebate on gas purchases with store-branded credit cards. It’s best to study your expenses and see whether your favourite store offers their own credit card. You could be saving a lot by using their credit card or at least earn more reward points. This is especially true for frequent flyers who want to earn more air miles by swiping their credit cards.

Extended Warranties

Planning to buy a shiny new smartphone or digital camera? You might want to pay for that with your credit card because many electronic retailers provide 0% interest on credit card purchases. Aside from that, customers who pay for their electronics or appliances can enjoy extended warranties for their purchase. For example, Mastercard and Discover promises to double the warranty provided by the original manufacturer for eligible items bought with their cards for up to a year. American Express has a similar promise to their cardholders.

Purchase Protection

If that shiny
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BullionStar: China’s physical gold demand continues to be strong

This article is extracted from BullionStar, a Singapore online bullion company where you can buy gold and silver at competitive prices.

Numbers for China’s gold imports from Hong Kong for the month of September is out. Net gold imports from Hong Kong were 109.4 metric tons. This was slighly lower than the import figures in August.

Nevertheless, these are very strong numbers showing China’s high demand for physical gold. It marks the fifth consecutive month that gold import numbers are in excess of 100 metric tons. In the first 9 months of 2013, China has imported an estimated 832 metric tons of gold. The Chinese are already the No. 1 gold mining nation today and they are enroute to become the No. 1 buyer of gold this year.

Such strong gold import numbers continue to support the view that China is accumulating her gold reserves. This is in line with China’s intention to prepare for the on-going efforts to internationalise the renminbi and reduce potential currency exchange risks of using the US dollar.

In today’s fiat currency dominated world, it is easy to lose sight of the true value of gold when it is relegated to being a commodity traded with other commodities (such as corn, cattle or copper) on the futures market. China’s immense gold appetite and increased gold purchases by central banks show the true value of gold as the form of money that anchors confidence when currency risks abound.

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Gold or Equities?

Recent market swings for penny stocks would make investors pause and rethink their approach on equities. Quite a number of investors lost their savings investing in risky penny counters. Some retirees even lost a huge chunk of their retirement funds. So the question for most investors is gold or equities?

Whilst I certainly won’t dispute the pros on investing in equities, I do believe in having a portfolio consisting of several investment instruments. And I believe that every investors should hold bullion in their investment portfolio. This is because gold prices often move in opposite direction to equities and currencies. So allocating gold in your portfolio can help to serve as a form of hedge against inflation and enhance your portfolio’s performance.

Gold and Silver Bullion

Investors should hold a long-term view on gold investments and not expect quick returns. They should consider it as a form of diversification to lower risk for their investment portfolio. Very often, I read articles from many writers in The Finance.sg sharing their investment experiences. Many of them pumped in hundred of thousands of dollars on shares, REITs and ETF. Their investment performances were impressive indeed but if the stock market plunged suddenly, large portions of their investment values would be wiped off overnight.

How many of these investors can stomach such market swings? That I don’t know but all I know is that every portfolio must be balanced and focusing too much on stocks in your asset allocation is not healthy at all.

It is important to differentiate between paper gold and physical gold. The former refers to ETFs, shares in mining companies or options and futures. These financial instruments are more suitable for speculators who wish to have faster returns. There are of course risks involved for paper gold. Physical gold refers

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Most Singaporeans don’t know how to invest in stocks

For many Singaporean investors, the content of this article will come across as highly offensive. But recent happening in local stock market warrants a reality check for many Singaporeans. The hard truth is, most Singaporeans don’t know how to invest in stocks. In fact, many Singaporeans don’t even know exactly what is investment all about. Last Friday, I read an article from The Straits Times that an investor has lost $120,000 of his retirement funds trading in the Blumont shares. He was still in a shell shock state because the value of his shares is now worth only $5,850. He lamented that “I’m one of many saddened and disheartened investors who will have to live with this painful memory for a long time,”

Even though Singaporeans in general are highly educated, many still lack of “FQ”, commonly known as Financial Quotient. So what this means is that they can be very good in their careers or businesses and earn high incomes, but generally poor in personal financial management. Many are busy with various commitments, so they did not bother to spend time doing homework before investing away their hard-earned money in stocks. Many don’t even know the basic principles of financial planning and asset allocation. In the case of the investor who lost more than $110,000 in Blumont stocks, he should know better than to use his retirement funds for share trading.

stock market

Ask any male Singaporeans on cars and computers and very likely, they could easily rattle off the performance specifications, backgrounds and problems. But when it comes to stock investments, these people prefer to base their investment decisions on their brokers’ recommendations and media reports. Many don’t read the companies’ annual reports or do research on investment techniques.

In the case of Blumont, many investors don’t even realize that

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