Secret formula to win the property game

For the past two months, I was really busy with my day-job as I was tasked to be one of the course instructors for my organization. Being an instructor was really challenging because of the need to be the subject matter expert. Mastery of classroom techniques is definitely important because you have to speak confidently and at the same time, capture the participants’ attentions. And of course, there was the need to develop the course materials, which was really a chore. But to our surprise, the course turned out really well and there were a lot of engagements between the participants and the instructors. In the end, my team really enjoyed the process because we helped each other to answer the queries.Knowing what you don’t know
During that busy period, I read the e-bookNo B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth through Properties” for the second time during the MRT rides to work. Property Soul gave it to me and I had written a book review for her in my previous article.The reason why I re-read the book was because I believe that to be a successful wealth builder in property investments, you must acquire the right knowledge. Simply put, if you know what you don’t know, you can always avoid the potential pitfalls by seeking help and guidance from others. But if you don’t know what you don’t know, then you are likely to lose money in the property game. So even though I am not looking at buying a second property for investment purposes right now, I am positioning myself to win the game going forward in the long term.

Secret formula revealed
From Property Soul’s book, I gain new insights on how to make money

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Property Investment Insights

A few months ago, Mediacorp Channel 8 broadcasted a programme about a Singapore lady who got the shock of her life when the CPF Board froze her CPF account which she is using to service her outstanding HDB loan.Apparently she is 54 years old this year and she mistakenly thought that her CPF monies was frozen because it would be transferred to the Retirement Account (RA). But actually what happened was that she had reached her CPF Withdrawal Limit and thus, she was not allowed to use further CPF savings to pay the remaining home loan in cash. Her plight is not surprising to me because I believe many Singaporeans are not aware of how this CPF rule works and how it would affect them when they reached their fifties.

According to Moneysense, if you applied for HDB Concessionary Loan to repay the loan for your properties in Singapore, there will be a cap to the amount of CPF savings you can use. This limit is called the CPF Valuation Limit and the amount is the lower of the purchase price or valuation at the time of purchase. For example: if you bought the property for $300,000 and its valuation is $330,000, the Valuation Limit will be $300,000. Now, things a little bit complicated if your housing loan is still outstanding when your total CPF used has reached the Valuation Limit and,

  • you are below 55 years old, you may continue to use your CPF Ordinary Account savings up to the applicable Housing Withdrawal Limit to repay the housing loan after setting aside half of the prevailing Minimum Sum. Savings in the CPF Special Account (including the amount used for investments) and CPF Ordinary Account can be used to meet half of the prevailing Minimum Sum.
  •  you are 55 years
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My financial journey

$250.That was the total amount of savings in my bank accounts when I just started working in 2005. On looking back, it was really a “touch and go” financial situation for me. I had depleted all my life savings because I had stopped receiving allowances from my parents when I was studying for a full time degree at NUS.

I did not want to burden my parents because my late father’s business was not doing well and my mom was a full time housewife. Our household income wasn’t that ideal back then partially also due to my father’s stroke condition.

So I had to supplement my savings with part-time jobs like giving tuition during the school holidays.So if you ask me what is it like to be poor, I can fully empathize. After all, I have went through this dark journey before and I am thankful that I had emerged from that challenging period to become a stronger person.

financial journey

For those who are born rich, social mobility may be a strange word to them, however I do not blame them because they do not know what is it like to worry for money. For the rich and wealthy, Singapore is like a playground where they can indulge in expensive toys like fast cars, yachts and lavish landed properties. But for people who are born into low income families like myself, the need to improve the quality of life and move upward in the society is not an option.

In Singapore, those who are poor, ill and disabled are mostly left to fend on their own and their family members are expected to step in and help out. People who belong to this social group are practically on survival modes because the government make it so tough to qualify for the

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Guest Posting: 5 Forex trading metrics you’re probably not tracking but should be


Guest post by CMC Markets Singapore
Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned veteran in the forex arena, there are several common metrics that we all know we should be tracking. Such as support and resistance levels, pay-off ratios or lows and of course, profits and losses. There are many more but let’s look at 5 lesser tracked but equally critical metrics that could change the game for you:

1) Hold duration

Do you hold your long positions for a few days or are you comfortable with intraday trades? How long you hold a trade can reveal your appetite for risk. Short-term traders will exit at the first sign of a dip while traders who keep their position for more than a day jump in with a fairly good idea of what to expect from a pair. Then, there are position traders who may hold on to a currency for months or even years.

Keeping a journal of your holding duration will help you to understand your risk profile. This information can then be used to frame a suitable trading strategy that sits well with your risk level, earning goals and trading style.
2) Hold duration part 2 – Hold durations of wins vs. losses

Once you have information about your trading style, it is time to take the analysis one step further. Now, you need to analyse your trades in terms winners vs. losers.

For instance, if you find that the average duration in which you held onto a winning trade was longer than a losing trade, this would be a good indication that you are holding on longer than you should, and you should exercise more discipline when it comes to losing trades. However, if you are sticking with your strategy
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What is Return on Invested Capital?

This article was written by Willie Keng and was first published in Value Invest Asia on 17 July 2014.

In a previous article, Stanley explained the Return on Equity (ROE). While the ROE focuses on the equity component of a company’s capital investments, the Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) measures return earned on investments funded by equity and debt.
It shows how much profit a company generates for every dollar of investments it makes in the business. ROIC is expressed as a percentage and shown in the formula below:

Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) = After-tax Operating Income / (Book Value of Invested Capital)
where Invested Capital = Fixed Assets + Current Assets – Current Liabilities – Cash

We can calculate the ROIC using an example from Banyan Tree Holdings’ (SGX: B58) financial statement:

Annual Report (SGD ’000)Fiscal Year 2012
Property, Plant and Equipment729,558
Current Assets349,304
Current Liabilities231,875
Cash120,824
Invested Capital726,163
Fiscal Year 2013
Operating Income51,641
Tax Rate42%*
After-Tax Operating Income29,951
Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)4.1%

*The high tax rate was due to the different geographic segments the company operates in

Based on the calculations above, we note that Banyan Tree generated an ROIC of 4.1% for FY2013. Do note that either an average of the past 2 years or the prior year’s book value of invested capital should be used.

Analyzing a firm’s ROIC is complementary to the ROE because it gives investors an idea whether a company has efficiently utilized both equity and debt financing. A company that generates excess returns over its cost of capital is earning is expected to trade at a premium over a firm which does not earn similar excess returns. An investor can measure how the company has fared over the past

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The REIT Association of Singapore

As a financial blogger, I received a lot of media invitations from various financial institutes, banks and companies. Most of the times, I declined the invitations because of work commitments. Recently, I was invited to attend the official launch of REIT Association of Singapore (REITAS) on 17 November 2014. I would like to attend this event to find out more about the role of this association but as usual, I am unable to attend because of work schedule conflicts.

It seems to me that the association consists of big players from Keppel, Mapletree, Capitaland, Frasers and ARA Asset Management and their key thrusts are to engage Monetary Authority of Singapore on regulatory issues and to promote the understanding of REITs.

Stock market

This is a good development because as the industry matures, the association can help to look into areas that can be improved, especially on the structure of REITs. For example, in my previous article on REITs, I don’t understand why is there a need for external manager for REITs. Such requirement only incur more costs which would be eventually passed down to investors.

Most retail investors claim they know about the REIT they invested in but I suspected they are none the wiser than me on the business model. I hope the newly-formed association can conduct courses and seminars to promote the understanding of REIT and the risks involved investing in them. This would help to address a lot of myths on REIT and enhance investor’s knowledge.

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Magically yours,

SG Wealth Builder

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SPH in panic mode and invested $30 million in CoSine Holdings Pte Ltd

In October 2014, when SPH announced a decline of 6.8% in advertising revenues from newspaper and magazine, it was a sign of things to come. After all, the media giant derived the bulk of its income from advertisements and with the proliferation of cheaper and more effective online marketing platforms, they are beginning to feel the heat. In fact, social media and online blogs like SG Wealth Builder are giving SPH a run for their money. This is because with online blogs and websites, clients can market their products and services to the international market. In today’s context, the motivation for companies to advertise in Singapore newspapers and magazines is becoming less appealing due to the limited market reach.

Indeed, SPH might have seen this coming many years ago when it invested $18 million in ShareInvestor Holding Pte Ltd. Given the high internet penetration rate in Singapore, it made sense for SPH to make its foray into the digital media and establish revenue from its online media arm. Other notable online investments by SPH included Sgcarmart (bought for $60 million in 2013) and Hardwarezone ($7.1 million in 2006). Apart from these mega acquisitions, SPH had been relatively slow in acquiring new online start-ups. The reason for the inertia could be because of the risk in e-commerce and digital start ups. That is probably why SPH only invested in tried and tested online business models with established track records. But then again, if these companies are already successful, why would they want to be sold off cheaply? To invest in these companies, SPH has to make large amount of investments which could take many years to break even.

Therefore SPH has no choice but to continue its online acquisition project. SPH latest acquisition is Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX)’s parent company,

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