My gold journey with BullionStar

BullionStar announces their 3rd Year Anniversary celebration! Time really flies and it seems like yesterday when I forged a working relationship with BullionStar to promote understanding of gold bullion among Singapore readers. Since then, the company has grew from strength to strength and has became a leading bullion dealer in Singapore. It never fails to amaze that the company has managed to achieve this incredible feat within such a short period of time. In this regard, I am proud and honored to be part of their journey, even though I am not their staff.

Even though the gold and silver price premiums of BullionStar are not the lowest you can find in Singapore, what differentiates it from the rest of its competitors is its reputation and content authority on precious metal. The founder of the company, Torgny Persson has a strong conviction in gold as a form of wealth building and firmly believes that Singapore is the most ideal country to invest in gold bullion.

I have gained much insights on gold and silver from my conversations with Torgny and through the years, my perspective on wealth management has been broaden. Like many Singapore investors, I used to think that investing is all about buying and holding stocks. Now, I realized the importance of allocating some of my wealth in gold bullion. I look forward to many years of relationship with BullionStar.

BullionStar 3rd Year

Join us in celebrating BullionStar’s 3rd Year Anniversary

Tuesday the 25th of August 2015

Join us in celebrating BullionStar’s 3rd Year Anniversary!

Click here to register!

When:
7 pm – 9 pm, Wednesday 16 September, 2015

Program:
– Speech by Torgny Persson, CEO BullionStar:
Gold Trends & The New Gold Rush
– Speech by Luke Chua, COO BullionStar:
The Key to Understanding Gold & Silver Prices

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Why automated trading stop losses are not always ideal (especially now)

Below is a guest post from Cynthia Siantar who is the co-founder of Call Levels, a Singapore fintech that provides free real time financial monitoring and notification service.

I’m sure we all agree that last night and this morning was a total bloodbath in the markets. But one group of people got it worse than others and who are they?
Those that had their automated trading stop losses triggered prematurely (see below), crystalised their losses, only to see the markets rebounded sharply soon after (ouch!). Not to mention there will always be that group that slept through the turmoil and wake up massively poorer. Don’t laugh, they might be someone you know.
And this is the reason why institutional investors and traders still choose to leave Call Levels: Call me when the price reaches this level with salespeople despite having the ability to set their own stop losses. They want peace of mind. When the markets go into panic mode, and none of your technical indicators make sense anymore, they want to be aware when certain price points are HIT but they don’t necessary want to execute that trade.

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As my co-founder, Daniel not-so-fondly recalls that one night many years back, he had at least 20 salespeople calling to update him because almost all his Call Levels were triggered. He didn’t sleep much that night, but was at least made aware of the situation and was able to react appropriately, mitigating the losses.
Now friend A, a retail trader who didn’t have the luxury of salespeople covering him, but set trading stop losses got the biggest shock of his life when he woke up the next morning. Financial institutions are not going to extend premium services such as Call Levels to all their clients, because it is tedious
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My favorite personal finance blogger

It was a pleasant surprise to see my favorite personal finance blogger, HYOM back in action after more than a year. For the uninitiated, HYOM stands for Help Your Own Money. HYOM started his investment blog at the same time as me (in 2010) and I have always respected his work. In fact, I am one of his biggest fans and enjoy reading his articles. However, after he suffered from retrenchment in 2011, he begun to blog less often. Since then, the local investment blogging fraternity had taken a different dimension altogether. Sadly, the scene is now crowded with many bloggers who cannot match HYOM’s writing standard. Nonetheless, in his maiden article for 2015, HYOM touched on a very interesting subject that resonates deeply in my heart and that is, entrepreneurship in Singapore.

HYOM’s post was triggered by an article from a former high flying civil servant, Mr Devadas Krishnada who commented that Singaporeans are too risk averse and lamented that this is bad for Singapore’s future growth. Devadas’ frustration stemmed from a recent recruiting experience in which an applicant demanded more money in exchange for the risk in joining a SME like his. While I can relate to Devadas’ pain point of recruiting a local talent to support his company’s business expansion, I agree with HYOM’s that Devadas’ arguments are not well balanced.

Whether you like it or not, entrepreneurship is always risky and if you are not the type of person who can accept failures, then it is certainly not for you. This is especially so in our society which places so much focus in our academic and job achievements. You are deemed to be in the “successful” bracket if you graduated from a top university with prestigious scholarship or if you hold the position of Vice …

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Last Chance for Gold Investors

Dow Jones plunged 2 percent on 20 August and seemingly continued its slide on 21 August as uncertainty over the Fed’s timing on interest rate hike and global growth weighed on investors’ confidence in the financial markets. Weak data on China’s growth also dealt another mighty blow to investors and heightened fear on the world number two economy. Given the volatility in the stock market, it is no surprise that investors turn to gold.

Widely seen as a safe haven, investors drove gold price up 7% from a 5-year low in 5 August. This development is a reverse on the recent bearish sentiment on precious metal. According to World Gold Council, demand on gold dropped 12% on a 6 year low in 2Q 2015. The gold market also faced weakness from jewellery buyers in China and India. However, it should be noted that the 2nd half of the year would be more encouraging given the anticipated responses from investors in view of the recent price correction.

Investors seeking wealth protection should diversify their assets and allocate a certain portion of their wealth in gold and silver. The current window is a good opportunity for wealth builders to adopt buy gold on the cheap and preserve wealth. In Singapore, if you want to buy gold bar or coins, you can easily place your order online in BullionStar and withdraw the physical metal from their store. BullionStar offers two different options for buying and storing precious metals.

1) Bullion Products

Segregated allocated bullion products held under legal ownership. If you buy a 100 gram PAMP Suisse gold bar, you get one identifiable serial-numbered PAMP 100 gram gold bar stored separately from BullionStar’s own inventory.

Your bullion products are inspected, photographed and stored securely under your legal ownership. When we have received

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CPF Retirement Planning Roadshows

According to a HSBC survey conducted in 2013, more than 50% Singaporeans felt that they are not planning adequately for their retirement. The study also revealed that poor health and not having enough money to spend in their later stage of lives are among Singaporeans’ greatest fears. The results of the survey are not surprising, given our aging population and high cost of living. If you are not careful with your personal finances in your twenties or thirties, chances are, you might not have a positive retirement lifestyle.

To prepare for retirement, the first thing we must ask ourselves is how much is needed in order for you to feel comfortable in retirement. The amount of money is subjective and varies across individuals but the rule of thumb is that the retirement fund should include your dependents’ needs, traveling, medical and other unforeseen expenses.

Once you establish your desired retirement nest egg, develop the financial roadmap to achieve this goal. For example if you need $2 million to retire, work out the monthly or annual savings you need to set aside. Besides the cash components, acquire income generating assets and passive income investments to support your retirement fund.

A common mistake made by Singaporeans is that we often fail to future-proof our financial planning. In their pursuit of wealth, many Singaporeans overlook the importance of protecting their abilities to generate income when they are young and healthy. Thus, it is not surprising that many wealth builders ignore the significant impact that life insurance coverage has in their wealth building journeys. It should also be emphasized that having adequate insurance coverage is one thing, it is also important to purchase the right insurance. Selecting the wrong insurance policy can potentially affect your financial planning and derail your retirement goals.

Retirement
The second …

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Money no enough for digital marketing talents

Agencies and organisations in Singapore are not fulfilling the needs of marketing, digital and creative talent in terms of remuneration and professional development, a new study by specialist recruiter font talent has found.

font’s Market Pulse 2014/15, which surveyed 500 respondents across Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore, found numerous disconnects between what employers claim to be providing for employees, and what talent are actually receiving.

Money is the number one consideration for marketing talent in Singapore looking for new roles (81%), yet just 54% of professionals feel they have been fairly remunerated in the past year. Worryingly, just 35% of employers said they offer competitive base salaries above the market average, and only half offer incentives and bonus programmes. However, bonuses appear to be paid adequately, with 22% of talent receiving a bonus between both $3,000-$4,999 and $5,000-$6,999.

In Singapore, the top median annual salaries were found in Digital, Design and Production roles, followed by Creative and Creative Services, while the lowest was in Media (Media Planning, Digital Ad Sales, etc.)

When comparing in-house and agency wages, agencies came out on top with a median annual salary of $58,800, compared with $43,200 in-house. From a benefits perspective, in-house respondents reported more healthcare, company paid training and car park allowances, while agencies offered more flexible working hours, travel allowances, and phone allowances.

A large disconnect was also reported with flexible working hours. While 65% of employers surveyed said they offer flexible working hours as part of their overall benefits package, just 33% of candidates said they received them.

Similarly, just 34% of talent said their company had crafted a career development plan for them, despite 70% saying this is the second-most important factor they consider when looking for a new role.

“While cash is still a main motivator for …

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Gold demand falls in Q2 2015 as reduced consumer appetite in Asia outweighs increased buying in some western markets

Below is an update on gold trend from World Gold Council. Notwithstanding the recent gold’s price drop and declining demand, gold investors should take a contrarian approach and seize this opportunity to buy gold. In Singapore, you can purchase gold and silver bullion from BullionStar, one of the leading bullion dealers.

The World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends report for Q2 2015 shows total demand was 915 tonnes (t), a fall of 12% compared to the same period last year, due mainly to a decline in demand from consumers in India and China. However, demand in Europe and the US grew, driven by a mixture of increasingly confident jewellery buyers and strong demand for bars and coins. Looking ahead, there are encouraging signs moving into what are traditionally the busiest quarters for gold buying in India and China.

Gold and Silver Bullion
Gold and Silver Bullion

Alistair Hewitt, Head of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council, said:

“It’s been a challenging market for gold this quarter, particularly in Asia, on the back of falls in India and China. The reverse is true for western jewellery markets, as increased economic confidence led to continued growth in consumer demand. It is  fair to say that investment demand for the quarter remained muted given the continuing recovery in the US economy and booming stock markets in India and China during the quarter.

Jewellery market prospects look healthier for the remainder of the year with the upcoming wedding and festival season in India. In addition, falls in the gold price have historically triggered buying in price sensitive markets and we are already seeing early indications of this across Asia and the Middle East. Conversely, sharp falls in Chinese stock markets have shaken the largely consumer investment base and we are seeing early indications of interest in …

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The Ins and Outs of Mortgages in Singapore

There is much to consider when the time comes to take out a housing loan in Singapore. Though it may seem intimidating and confusing at first, understanding the terms that you are dealing with will help, you get a head start on making your decision. Tools like the mortgage calculators offered by Property Guru can help you plan out payments and what fits best into your budget, but it’s best to start by learning about some aspects of mortgages in Singapore that may be unfamiliar. You’ll want to learn a little bit about how the SIBOR affects interest, the different types of rates that are offered on home loans, and how this factors into why refinancing is common in Singapore. Here’s a bit of an introduction to these concepts to start you on the way to your home loan.

Mortgages in Singapore

Getting a Grip on the SIBOR
To put it simply, the SIBOR, which stands for Singapore Interbank Offered Rate, is the reference by which banks in Singapore determine interest rates on loans. Experts indicate that the SIBOR is predicted to rise to 2 percent by the end of 2016. You’re probably wondering what this means to you. Basically, the SIBOR will help you determine the initial interest you will be paying on your bank’s home loan, and can in turn help you decide on whether or not a fixed rate home loan or a floating rate home loan is the best choice for you. Though the SIBOR is predicted to rise, it can also fluctuate up and down, and will be added periodically (usually monthly or every three months) to the interest rate your bank already has set in place. Therefore, the SIBOR can cause your total interest rate to either rise or fall over the length of your loan.

Fixed-Rate

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My Career Low

This year marks the 10th year anniversary of my working life. It seems not so long ago that I stepped out of the university, fresh and ready to take on the world. I was driven, curious and hungry for success back then. Yet now, I feel like a spent force, jaded and weary of my journey. So many things have happened to me for the past 10 years, both good and bad, and they have inevitably shaped my character and thoughts.

I like my current job because of the opportunity to make significant impact in the industry I am working in. Yet, I came to realize that there is another side of the job equation that cannot be decoupled, and that is human relationships. Having the soft skills to deal with day-to-day issues are important in career success and unfortunately, this is not taught in school. Through the years, I came to realize that successful people are those with strong Emotional Quotient (EQ) and they tend to get ahead than those who are smarter or technically stronger. And this is the area which I fare the worst – the ability to manage my emotions.

career

For the past few years, I have lost my temper in office on a number of occasions and my bosses had noticed my outbursts. On hindsight, I should have kept my cool and swallow my pride. But in moments of madness, I let my emotions got the better of me, much to my regrets later.  Perhaps its due to the work stresses. Perhaps its due to the pressing project deadlines. But no matter what, I recognize that this is a worrisome problem that needs to be addressed. Otherwise, it can cost my career.

One of the things that annoys me the most is when unhelpful co-workers

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CapitaLand to boost digital efforts with technology stalwarts as members of its newly formed Technology Council

Below is a press release from Capitaland, one of the companies that I respect the most because of its foray in China over the years. The Singapore listed giant recent move into the use of technology to boost its real estate business would definitely help to give the company competitive edge in China. It is interesting to note whether such trend would take place in Singapore.

CapitaLand Limited has formed a new Technology Council consisting of high-calibre digital visionaries to boost its digital efforts to drive its real estate business. The council members are notable venture capitalists Foo Jixun, Managing Partner of GGV Capital and David Su, Managing Partner of Matrix Partners China, both of whom have strong tech focus and a keen eye for the next tech game-changers; as well as Gabriel Lim, CEO of the Media Development Authority of Singapore, the agency key to Singapore’s Smart Nation vision in mapping innovative infocomm media solutions. Together, the council provides strategic critique of CapitaLand’s operations and insights to the digital universe.

Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, said: “CapitaLand’s technology drive is part of the Group’s efforts to sharpen our customer-centric focus to develop real estate of the future – integrated and interconnected smart communities through smart buildings as well as seamless online and offline customer experiences. We are privileged to have stellar tech visionaries join us in the CapitaLand Technology Council. With the wealth of experience and fresh perspectives of the council members, CapitaLand will gain much insight on using digital technology to decode the art of human needs and wants, so that we can create smart buildings for smart customers.”

Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO, CapitaLand Limited

“The council will also identify tech trends, challenges and opportunities to sharpen CapitaLand’s smart focus. This includes offering advice and guidance on how …

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The sky is falling for Singapore shares investors

Many Singapore investors would be happy to see the back of July as it capped an awful month for the stock market. A total of $37.4 billion was wiped out and the combined value declined sharply by 3.9 per cent. I also saw an article in a local finance blog where one reader wrote how depressed he was to see his hard earned money evaporated away because of the market correction.

To put things into perspective, I have always advocated readers to only invest in monies that you can really afford to lose. If you have only $30,000 hard cash, you don’t invest all of it in shares. That’s pretty stupid and risky. The worse case is concentrating all your investments on a couple of shares when you are just learning how to invest. Obviously, such an approach is akin to asking for trouble. A market rout would have wiped out all your monies.

The mayhem in the China stock market is not surprising, given that it had surged to record highs for so many years. A correction is inevitable and would of course inflict mighty pains on many investors. Such is the growing pains of an emerging market. On this note, investors worldwide should be cautious of this development because the fallout from the China market, coupled with the Greece debt crisis and the potential adjustment in interest rates, can affect investors’ confidence drastically and induce unstoppable financial crisis. Given the current situation, it would take a very brave investor to enter the market and buy shares which had dropped in value.

One depressed stock is Noble’s shares, which closed at 47.5 cents today. Like a fallen angel, Noble’s share price collapsed and its market capitalization has shrunk  to about $3 billion from $7.6 billion. Veteran investor, Michael …

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BullionStar explained the merits of fractional gold coins

Below is an article from BullionStar, a bullion dealer based in Singapore which exempted investment grade precious metals from the goods and services tax (GST). Just like BullionStar, one of the the goals of SG Wealth Builder is to educate Singaporeans on the merits of owning gold and silver bullion as a means of wealth preservation. 

Often, customers come into our shops and ask for the gold coin with the lowest premium. In this case, our answer is always the Royal Canadian Mint 1 oz Gold Maple Leaf. The Gold Maple Leaf offers not just the best value for money, but you also buy into a brand that is globally recognized for high manufacturing quality.

Why then, do we offer fractional coins in the form of fractional gold maples, kangaroos, pandas and lunar series and why do people purchase them even though the premiums are higher? Today’s editorial will discuss the different reasons people who buy gold buy fractionals.

Liquidity

Fractional coins offers the advantage of liquidity. Should one need a sum of money, one can sell a ¼ oz coin for example instead of selling an entire ounce. Now this is especially useful when the price where one bought the coin at is higher than current prices when you are deciding whether or not to sell.

singapore_gold_bullionstar_front_100g_2Allow savers to start

Though fractionals have higher premiums they also cost lesser in absolute terms than their 1 oz counterparts. They allow people who do not have the discipline to save money in precious metals to put aside whatever small amounts they have into gold so that they can build up their stacks. It might seem like a 1/10 oz is nothing but over time, all these add up and one would be glad that they put aside the money!

Variety

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