The Truth About Bitcoin

Yes, Bitcoin. Everybody heard of it. Everybody saw it on the news. Some got rich because of it, and some got poor because of it. Some hate it and swear to never touch it, while some preach it like a gospel. So what’s with all these buzz around Bitcoin? I will breakdown everything I know so far on this fascinating asset class and busting some truth for all the fear mongers and non-believers out there.

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Before I get started, do understand that I am biased in my viewpoint as I am bullish on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, and before you just scroll away and think I’m just another speculator, hear me out:

Try out the power of blockchain technology yourself. Once you try it, you can come back and discuss Bitcoin with me again, as I believe it will change your perspective about the history of money, how traditional finance is really in a paradigm shift and why the banking system that we use and live in are slowly being disrupted just like Internet did in the 1980s. (How does T+2 wire transfers still exist and banks charging clients for transfer/withdrawal fees???)

Also, if you understood the Gamestop saga and also the 2008 financial crisis, decentralisation is more crucial than ever and I cannot emphasise more of that. When giant institutions gets to manipulate the market (Robinhood) or screwed up big time (2008 Bond Markets Bubble), the governments bail them out but the retail investors with no power gets trampled upon and left with nothing. If you think that putting money in your bank is safe, read on and you will think otherwise.

Before we move on, let me ask you: Would you rather 4-5 individuals controlling the entire monetary system deciding when to start or stop the printing machine while the rest watch and obey or would you prefer millions of individuals maintaining trust and integrity of the platform and no single entity has absolute control? Yup, the latter is what decentralisation is all about.

Bitcoin is the Apex predator of the financial system

There is no doubt about it. Bitcoin is the fastest asset to reach 1 trillion market cap and it did it within 12 years. Yes. 12 YEARS.

Source: Visual Capitalist

What does that imply? This means Bitcoin is becoming more mainstream as the days go by and it has proven itself to be the foundation of a new financial system being created by the internet itself. With more mainstream adoption from the likes of public companies, institutional investors wanting a piece of the pie and the creation of Bitcoin ETFs, perhaps this time Bitcoin is here to stay.

Also, there is a thing to note about financial natural selection, where the most powerful asset class will command the most monetary energy flowing to it in the shortest amount of time. Currently, no other asset is able to accumulate 1 trillion worth of value as quickly as Bitcoin did, and I hope you see the point I am trying to make here.

The term ‘Apex predator” is actually coined by Bitcoin maximalist and investor Anthony Pompliano and here this what he said about Bitcoin:

Bitcoin is the apex predator of financial markets. You’ve got digital sound money that’s grown at a compound annual growth rate of 200% for a decade.

And if you’re sitting there and you manage a treasury, you’ve got cash on your balance sheet, you tell me where else you’re going to put it where you can get that type of growth. 200% compound annual growth rate for a decade, there’s nowhere else they can put it.

We’re printing an unprecedented amount of money, and so they’re looking for a safe haven, and Bitcoin is that apex predator that everyone is concluding is the answer.”

Why does this matter? Because what many do not understand and are not aware of, is the dangers of quantitative easing, or simply the unlimited printing of money in these unprecedented times by Central Banks worldwide.

Owning Bitcoin is not about getting rich, but how to not be poor in the long run.

Devaluation of Fiat

I don’t need to elaborate on the above, but I want the focus here to be on the US Dollar.

Ever since the inception of the US dollar (Gold Standard) all the way to the end of the Bretton Woods system and the inception of the “fiat currency” from 1970s onwards, the US dollar has been steadily depreciating and for very good reasons:

  1. Inflation
  2. Reduce trade deficits (benefits government)
  3. Lowers interest payments on government debt (benefits government)
  4. Boost exports (benefits government)

So in essence, the cash we are holding today, regardless of it being USD/SGD/British Pound or Yen or whatever fiat currency out there, they lose value over the long run due to a multitude of factors, and also the concept of Time Value of Money here. The dollar you are holding today will not be worth the dollar it is 10 years from now.

To put things into perspective, the British Pound Sterling (GBP), just like its name, is supposed to denote that 1 GBP was to match the price of 1 pound of Sterling Silver (Silver in short) when it first incepted, but today, to purchase the 1 pound of Sterling Silver you need to pay approximately 272 GBP .(at the point of writing)

Getting my point? While fiat is important for day to day use, it gets more and more risky to hold on to cash over the long run as you are GUARANTEED to lose your wealth over time as a result of fiat devaluation.

Bitcoin Myths Busters

Below are some of the few arguments that naysayers (who simply didn’t bother reading up or are plain ignorant) say about Bitcoin:

  1. Bitcoin is unlimited
  2. Bitcoin has no intrinsic value
  3. Bitcoin is too volatile as an investment
  4. Bitcoin is a scam and a giant Ponzi scheme
  5. Bitcoin will never replace cash

The other bearish arguments revolve around these 5 main arguments but lets get into it.

Myth: Bitcoin is Unlimited. (WRONG) Bitcoin has a total supply of 21 million. No more no less. It goes through halving events which means the miners rewards per block get divided by half every 4 years. What does this mean? By using some simple economic concepts, you will understand that the main value proposition of Bitcoin is scarcity.

The fact that is is limited and the fact that it gets more difficult to mine over time, solidified its position as a superior asset that offers individuals the choice to store their monetary energy into an something which retains value over time. So no, Bitcoin is not unlimited. In fact, the very cash you are holding in your wallet, tin can and bank account are the ones that are unlimited. You can read up more here.

Myth: Bitcoin has no intrinsic value. (WRONG) To say that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value is like saying Apples are better than Oranges simply because red is nicer looking than the colour orange. One simply cannot compare Bitcoin and an individual stock head to head as it is meaningless.

You cannot conduct any meaningful analysis using traditional fundamental analysis or valuation models such as Discounted Cash Flow because Bitcoin is not a company and it does not generate cash, neither does it generate shareholder value or anything of the sort.

Instead, Bitcoin’s intrinsic value primarily derives from Metcalfe’s Law and Stock-To-Flow Model. What these 2 basically are, are measuring the network effects of Bitcoin and evaluating how valuable Bitcoin is as a store of value respectively. I leave it up to you to do the rest of the due diligence.

Myth: Bitcoin is too volatile as an investment. (WRONG) Volatility does not equate to risk. This has been said again and again but this is something most people won’t get. Volatility itself is not risky, but the human reaction to volatility is what that is risky. Once again, that means whether owning Bitcoin is risky or not depends on your tolerance to irrational behaviours during times of volatility, and again I see volatility as a good thing because price swings are part and parcel of investing and it should not matter if you are in it for the long run, and it is with volatility that allows you to buy during the lows and ride the wave up.

Also, Bitcoin’s volatility has been decreasing over the years as more mainstream adoption and institutional participation takes place, while the growing market capitalisation also means volatility will generally go down over time the larger and more mature the asset class gets.

Myth: Bitcoin is a scam and a giant Ponzi scheme. (HOW SO?) This argument is really something I am puzzled about and a really outdated argument. In the past, incidents such as Bitconnect and Silk Road were high profile cases which tainted the cryptocurrency name as a place where only scammers and cheaters thrive and exchange currency with each other. Unless you have been living under a rock, the crypto space has matured way beyond what it was once thought out to be.

In fact, you can view every single Bitcoin transaction in real time here, which wallet it is going to, what address it is and more. There is nothing more transparent out there than these blockchains. But again, there are still scams and rug pulls out there in the crypto world and the same in the real world, so just be careful and stay alert.

Myth: Bitcoin will never replace cash. (Well it’s not aiming to) In my opinion, I think the word “Cryptocurrency” is really misleading and hopefully one day “Crypto Assets” can be adopted instead of the word “Currency” in it. Why? Because every crypto asset has different use cases and not every coin is aiming to be a currency, or in other words, a medium of exchange.

Bitcoin’s purpose is not to replace fiat but to be a store of value. It is more ‘Gold-like’ than it is ‘Cash-like’, so people usually confuse these two and start bringing the argument that Bitcoin is too volatile to be a currency, which can be true to an extent but again not what Bitcoin is aiming to be.

The crypto assets that are aiming to replace cash instead, are what we call Stablecoins such as USDT (Tether)/USDC (USD Coin) or DAI for example. These are USD-pegged digital coins that aim to be used as a medium of exchange in the crypto world, and also the real world now that Visa announced it here.

Do Your Own Due Diligence

Before I understood the purpose of Bitcoin, I was also skeptical about it just like the early Bitcoin adopters when they first read the Bitcoin Whitepaper.

Whether Bitcoin is simply going to crash like the ICO boom and bust of 2017, one thing is certain:

Bitcoin survived the skepticism, rose in popularity through giant bull runs and survived massive crashes whilst maintaining network effect and managed to become the apex predator and the reserve currency of the crypto world. I can safely say, Bitcoin is here to stay as long as the Internet exists.

While crypto is mostly still a highly speculative asset class as a whole and yet to be deemed as a security by governments world wide (because they haven’t found a way to properly tax crypto yet), the early adopters who saw the value proposition will be rewarded tremendously, but again, nothing that offers attractive returns come without significant amount of risk attached to it. There is always a risk-reward tradeoff.

Therefore, in order to shield yourself from potential scams or unnecessary risks, I always reiterate the essence of what investing is all about as espoused by legendary investor Peter Lynch:

Know what you own, and why you own it.

Short and simple, if you can’t explain to a 3 year old why you bought Bitcoin (or any other asset) and have no idea what it does, then you shouldn’t own it. Always do your research, understand the risk and returns it offers and what intrinsic value it offers.

The most important part is to understand what gaps Bitcoin fill, and that is: solving the problem of money (fiat) devaluation, the imminent debt crisis and the inflationary nature of fiat currencies.

Eventually, when widespread adoption take place and Bitcoin continues to mature, Bitcoin’s volatility will slowly go down, and ultimately be the primary hedge against the devaluation of the fiat (cash) and the main store of value for humanity.

Don’t forget the risks!

But of course: There are also many risk when it comes to Bitcoin, and that includes platform risk (hacks), price fluctuations resulting in panic selling, Hot wallet hacks, Cold wallet private keys stolen and many more. Please do your own due diligence.

Disclaimer: 

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor. (Or contact me!)

For those who are already into Crypto

Want to learn how you can earn high yielding interest rates on your idle crypto assets in a secure, safe and easy manner? You can read up more on my post here and also my crypto exchange of choice Gemini here if you are looking to buy your first crypto!

Referral Links (Click and Sign Up)

Gemini Exchange: Deposits and buy US$100 or more crypto on Gemini and you will earn US$10 in BTC.

Coinhako Exchange: You can create an account by clicking the link and then enter promo code: COINGECKO when doing a buy/sell and enjoy 20% trading fees discount! 

Binance Exchange: Create a Binance.com account here and trade the widest range of crypto pairings!

Celsius Network: Earn US$40 in BTC for free with your first transfer of US$400 or more in any crypto asset and wait for 1 month!

Nexo: No referral events at the moment 😦 Just sign up and enjoy this great product!

For those that are interested to learn more about Bitcoin, I highly recommend you to start by watching these videos here:

What I Purchased During The Market Sell-Off

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The stock market has been irrational for quite some time now. One day we see a huge greedy rally and another day we see investors fearing inflation hikes or afraid of Fed’s policy tightening measures to short squeeze sagas like Gamestop and AMC. The stock market is truly a dynamic environment filled with long term investors and short term gamblers and speculators alike.

With so many factors at play and infinite number of permutation as to what can happen in the next month or next year in the stock market, just how should we allocate our portfolio to achieve the highest Sharpe ratio (risk-adjusted return)?

With so many asset classes to invest in: Stocks, crypto, bonds, commodities and more, how did I make up my mind with my current portfolio?

Personality, Time Horizon, Goal

It all boils down to what make each of us tick. Do you spook out if your net worth drops 1% in a day? Or are you still like a rock even if your portfolio plunges 50%? This has to do with our individual risk appetite and time horizon.

For myself, I am 22 years old this year, no liabilities in at least the next 3 years as I am still studying in NUS and thankfully, I do not have student debt.

Since my time horizon is more than 20 years and I have a high risk appetite, it make sense for my portfolio to reflect who I am and what I can handle: 100% equities + crypto for maximum returns (risk-adjusted of course)

The important thing about risk-adjusted returns is such that you take the most acceptable risk in regards to the returns potential.

If you take a high risk of 90% drawdown in return for 8% return, you should stop investing and think about your odds again.

In the next 5-10 years, I am aiming to double or triple my investments as soon as possible, allowing myself to get a head start financially without having to get into debts which will settle on later in life (mortgage, car etc.)

So with that cleared out of the table, what did I do during the recent market turmoil?

Stock Market Shopping Spree

During the market pullbacks and corrections in late Feb and March, I re-adjusted my portfolio, cut my losses on lower conviction stocks and recycled them into my higher conviction holdings (exactly what Cathie Wood did as well).

Before the sell off, I was lucky enough to take profit of $5000 capital gains from Syfe Equity100, bolstering my war chest further which I was lucky to execute and allowed me to “buy the dip“.

While I am no expert myself, I saw the opportunity and bought into these stocks/ETFs:

  1. Square Inc. (New Position)
  2. Alibaba (Average In)
  3. Taiwan Semiconductor (Average In)
  4. Wisdomtree Cloud Computing ETF (New Position)

With these additions, I solidified my DIY portfolio with strong tech stocks and blue chip names such as Alibaba and Taiwan Semiconductor.

Overall, my DIY portfolio consist of 7 positions (3 ETFs + 4 individual stocks) at the time of writing this post. When coupled with my Syfe Equity100 portfolio, I essentially have a total of 19 positions and here is how I am performing compared alongside other investors so far:

Side by side comparison vs other investors. As of 17 March 2021 (StocksCafe)

I would say, having Equity100 portfolio really does spread out my overall risk as the portfolio’s smart beta approach is an efficient way for me to diversify my holdings and at the same time reduce concentration risk from my DIY portfolio.

Crypto Shopping Spree

Aside from my stocks DIY portfolio, I also took advantage of the headwinds in the crypto market and bought more crypto!

When Bitcoin hit a high of $52,000 a few weeks ago and retracted to the $47,000 level, I saw it as an opportunity to load up more crypto. If you don’t know already, Bitcoin is the reserve currency in the crypto market and when bitcoin falls, all the other coins will follow suit. (and vice versa)

During the whale dumping period, I accumulated more:

  1. Bitcoin
  2. Ethereum
  3. Polka Dot
  4. Nexo Token
  5. Converted Cash to Dai (to earn 10.51% APY in Celsius Wallet)

At the point of writing, my crypto allocation is taking up approximately 25% of my entire portfolio, which is my target allocation for the asset class and it is sitting at a handsome unrealised profit in my Nexo account, quietly accruing compound interest daily up to 6% :).

Conclusion

Growth stocks took a huge slap on the face as their sky high valuation saw a correction of approximately 20%+ on average.

While some of their valuations are still sky high, some represent huge opportunities for accumulation and a few things I have learnt from this sell off are the following:

  1. Stocks will get cheaper, but act quick and load up some in case it recovers
  2. Be happy when the market is red, because it represents a potential buying opportunity
  3. High conviction is extremely important, if not, you won’t know why you are owning the stock and might lead to irrational decisions. (eg. Buy high sell low)
  4. Preparing a war chest and a “crash list” for shopping spree is also important, wealth shifts from the impatient to the patient during these events
  5. Hold, hold and hold. If the stock is good, why should you sell?

As always, I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

The Power of Low Fees

One huge advantage I have as an investor is paying very minute fees which can really eat into returns in the long run because I am using Firstrade to buy US Stocks which has absolutely $0 fees and extremely fast wire transfers for deposits and lightning fast trade executions. Aside from paying $0 commission fees, Syfe also has very low fees each month of 0.65%/12 

Ever since I switch to Firstrade and Syfe last year as my main investment vehicle, I saved up on a ton of fees and hence able to achieve way better returns than before. I saved up more than 5 times the fee paid in 2018, 2019 and 2020 this year due to the switch and I am really happy thus far. 

Of my entire investments in 2020, fees only take up 0.1% of my entire portfolio! (2018+2019+2020 combined across all brokers and Robo)

Syfe Promo Code

For people who are interested to invest into Syfe and wants to open an account, you can use the promo code below as a bonus! 

Promo Code: SRPTH8LK3

$10 bonus for the first deposit of $1000 (or more)!

$50 bonus for the first deposit of $10,000 (or more)!

$100 bonus for the first deposit to $20,000 (or more)!

Note: Bonus is applicable on the first deposit made only. The bonus will be automatically credited to your portfolio and invested along with your existing investments

Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2021 Promo Code

Oh yes, for those who want to improve your financial literacy and gain insights to some of the best investors of the world or learn more about personal finance, with speakers such as Cathie Wood, Jamus Lim and more, you can join the  Seedly Personal Finance Festival which is happening on 10 April 2021 at the price of 1 Nasi Lemak 🙂

Promo Code: YUNHENG40

If you are keen to buy the ticket (while stocks last), you can add in my code to enjoy 40% off your tickets. Simply key in the promo code shown below and checkout.

If an error occurs, simply switch the incognito/private browsing mode and the problem should be solved 🙂

Do act fast while stock last! Good luck!

Disclaimer: 

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor. (Or contact me!)

The Market Sell Off and Strategies to Adopt

The past 3 weeks was disastrous and the stock market started dropping from Feb 16 high, due to several reasons. The rising treasury yield, better economic growth sentiments and rising interest rate expectations meant that there are better asset class out there to hedge against inflation, hence growth and tech stocks in particular, took the biggest hit.

The S&P 500 index saw a fall of around -3.19% while the NASDAQ-100 index saw a fall of -8.51%.

My portfolio was not spared at all, as I saw a drop of approximately -13% in my equities portfolio, essentially wiping out nearly all of my 2021 gains (excluding crypto).

My DIY portfolio is mostly tech and growth stocks right now, so I expected my portfolio to decline way steeper than the broad market indexes because that is just what my portfolio’s characteristics is. In a bear run, my portfolio will face the most pain but in a bull run, my portfolio will run faster and it will go high up than a broad based index as well.

I was lucky to take profit from my Equity100 before the correction and recycled some capital into my DIY portfolio which I am buying/selling using Firstrade.

Despite the stock market correction, I did not sell any of my stocks, in fact, I bought in even more and I have added positions in NVDA, ARKW, and more BABA.

However, there are still a few lessons here that I learnt and what can be done to mitigate against such drawdowns in our portfolios.

Always have a warchest ready

It is only during such market downturns when the discount and buying season is here. One of my mistake this time round is only having 10% warchest ready and hence, I only had 1 bullet to buy into the market and no more to average down as the market continues to fall.

Having this additional amount set aside to buy into stocks when prices are depressed is extremely important because that’s when money gets transferred from the impatient to the patient.

Diversify!

Yes my portfolio is already diversified. I have tech and growth stocks, Syfe Equity100 to cover across different sectors and styles with 1500+ stocks exposure, as well as crypto holdings which is uncorrelated to the stock market and ever growing, but going forward, I may start to diversify into value counter plays such as Berkshire Hathaway once again if prices were to hit my intrinsic value.

My DIY portfolio is heavily tilted growth stocks which will be hit the hardest during bear runs and with rising interest rates, tech stocks will get beaten down even further, so it is better to be prepared for future concerns of your own portfolio to better mitigate against the impending risks.

Focus on fundamentals, not hype

It is easy to get swayed by greed and the urge to buy into stocks that just keep going up up and more up.

Prominent examples include Gamestop (GME), AMC, Nio Inc, Palantir, Tesla, Lemonade and many more but these stocks are pretty hyped up and the market exuberance is real here. Ever heard of Tulipmania? Yep, these stocks are pretty much Tulipmania of the 21st century.

As Warren Buffett said, it is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price. And this is because fundamentals matter in the long run.

Be a comprehensive analyst

While strictly using fundamental analysis and critically analysing financial statements may not be an effective strategy on its own, we also need to be able to identify future trends beyond the balance sheet of companies and also how the management is growing the company moving forward.

Value investing is not merely looking at financial ratios such as ROE/ROA/Operating Margin or Debt-Equity Ratio, it is more than just analysing the fundamentals of a company.

A growth company measured using traditional methods will be deemed a sh*tty investment and likewise a dying company might have excellent fundamentals but their revenue growth is negative.

Once you understand that while fundamental analysis can give us clues about how well a company is performing, those are all in the past, the earnings and cashflows and revenues are all earned by the company already. Look forward and think about what will lead the company to further growth, with cost of capital of around 7%-8%, is the company you are invested in able to surpass their cost of capital and generate shareholder value in the future?

Conclusion

To all readers and friends who equally felt the impact of the recent market downturns, do not fret or panic. If you still have spare cash lying around, now may be the time to deploy some into the stock market but do so prudently and look out for opportunities. Whether the market is going up or going down, there will always be opportunities in the market.

Don’t sell out of your investments out of fear and understand that market declines are perfectly normal and it is part and parcel of the stock market.

Market will always go up and go down sometimes but if you are invested in great companies and diversified, your portfolio will trend upwards eventually in the long run. Stay patient and trust the process.

If you are an investor, buy and hold good companies and if you are a trader, be disciplined in your stop-loss and target price.

Moving forward, I am looking to increase my crypto allocation even further to 40% of my portfolio and I really urge readers to really understand the Bitcoin thesis and why it is such a compelling investment for the long run.

Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2021

Oh yes, for those who want to improve your financial literacy and gain insights to some of the best investors of the world or learn more about personal finance, with speakers such as Cathie Wood, Jamus Lim and more, you can join you can join the Seedly Personal Finance Festival which is happening on 10 April 2021 at the price of 1 Nasi Lemak 🙂

Promo Code: YUNHENG40

If you are keen to buy the ticket (while stocks last), you can add in my code to enjoy 40% off your tickets. Simply key in the promo code shown below and checkout.

If an error occurs, simply switch the incognito/private browsing mode and the problem should be solved 🙂

As always, I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

Join My Tele Channel Here

Disclaimer: 

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor. (Or contact me!)

Why You Should Diversify Into Crypto and My Strategy Ahead

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I am not going to lie, but I have been putting more time and energy researching deeply into the cryptocurrency space and why I feel everyone should too. Crypto has been the buzzword of 2021 so far with Bitcoin and Ethereum breaking all-time-highs almost on a daily basis.

Adapted from Ark’s Big Idea 2021

Bitcoin is not the only thing there is when it comes to crypto, you have your alt coins such as Ethereum, Cardano, Polkadot, Binance Coin and also your Stablecoins such as USDT (Tether), USDC (USD Coin), Dai (Decentralised Stablecoin). In short, stablecoins are usually pegged to a currency (such as USD) and aims to be “stable” and act as cash but in crypto form.

Every crypto asset has their own value propositions and own fundamentals as to why people would want to invest or trade in them. The Bitcoin thesis is probably one of the most popular, due to its popularity and insane run up since the 2017 price reset.

For those interested to invest into crypto, I highly recommend you checking out my exchange of choice and my review of it here: Gemini

Gemini Referral Code

Click on this referral link here and receive US$10 in Bitcoin after you top up at least US$100 on Gemini!

Is crypto really a speculation bubble waiting to be popped? Personally, I beg to differ. Here’s why:

Crypto Savings Account and Yield Farming

Do you know you can earn interest on your idle crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and more? You can also earn crazy high yields on your Stablecoins with potential up to 100% interest rate per annum! How much interest is your bank giving you?

Personally, I am still researching more into yield farming but due to the complex nature of the DeFi space, I have yet to dabble in yield farming so I am sticking to crypto savings account for now.

The ones I am personally using are Nexo Wallet (for my Bitcoin and Ethereum) and Celsius Network (for my stablecoin, Dai)

Nexo Wallet

Once I purchased the crypto, I will transfer the assets over to Nexo and Celsius respectively to earn interest on my assets and the best thing about it is that it compounds, even when I am doing nothing. I will not dive into details on how the 2 platforms work but essentially, how they generate such high interest rates is the same as how a bank works: They lend your assets out to institutions and charge them a higher fee for lending the crypto asset, and in return give you interest as reward for putting your assets on their platform. (essentially how a traditional bank works)

Celsius Interest Rates (Aug 2020)

Why am I confident in the 2 platforms? Even though they are not MAS regulated, Nexo is a regulated entity in the EU while Celsius is also a highly established player in the field. Both feature high levels of security with Nexo having around the same security sophistication of Gemini and bank grade security for our crypto assets. Hopefully 1 day I will elaborate further on them.

To sum up though, I am earning 5.5% APY on my Bitcoin and Ethereum through Nexo (by holding <10% in NEXO Tokens) and 12.5% APY on my Dai stablecoin through Celsius.

If you are interested to deposit into the savings accounts, I have a referral code for Celsius below.

Celsius Referral Code: 199285483c

Earn $30 USD in Bitcoins when you join Celsius Network and make a first transfer of $200 USD or more using the referral code at the time of signup!

(Bitcoin reward will be unlocked 30 days after the initial transfer)

Risk Reward Ratio is Huge

Crypto’s upside is really unlimited when you think about it. At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s return year to date is 90.23% while Ethereum’s return year to date is 170.69%, that’s insane. That is some crazy returns in the matter of less than 2 months.

My crypto gains thus far amounts to 140+% gain since my first investment into the asset class back in late 2020. I am still dollar cost averaging every month into the asset class as well. As of now, I am still holding on to just Bitcoin and Ethereum, but a few alt coins are showing extremely compelling value propositions and I just can’t ignore it anymore.

My crypto returns has already far surpassed my equities (stocks) and I will be focusing on this asset class in the near future. I am thinking of taking profit from my Equity100 portfolio and redeploying the profits into crypto too.

Ark’s Research on Bitcoin

Shown above, it is clear that by diversifying into crypto or Bitcoin in particular, you essentially reduce your risk but increase your returns potential due to how Bitcoin has basically zero correlations to the stock market.

The more uncorrelated the asset classes the better, that is what diversification is supposed to be.

The thesis for Bitcoin has never been stronger. As more traditional investments dabble into Bitcoin, we will see even greater adoption and soon acceptance of Bitcoin as a legitimate asset class. Only time will tell.

Bitcoin has been on a rising trend over the years and the diagram above gives a visual representation of what might happen to Bitcoin’s price going forward. Don’t just blindly trust it though, as due diligence is still needed and every person’s risk tolerance is different.

Strategy Going Forward

At the point of writing, crypto takes up roughly 13% of my entire portfolio (consisting DIY Portfolio, Syfe Equity100 and Crypto holdings).

I will be recycling a portion of my funds from Equity100 and redeploying it back into crypto. The reason being is simple: My Equity100 saw a huge run up in overall returns. I am overweight on equities currently and I hope to rebalance the allocation towards 25% crypto and 75% into equities.

Going forward I may be diversifying into other alt coins, and on my watchlist are the following:

  1. Cardano (ADA)
  2. Polka Dot (DOT)
  3. Binance Coin (BNB)

These 3 picks are all part of the top 10 cryptos by market cap so you can sort of call them the “blue chips” of the crypto world. While these alt coins may not overtake Bitcoin, their value proposition is incredibly compelling especially the case of Polka Dot. I leave it up to you to do up your own due diligence and to further understand the asset class before dabbling in it.

Also, I urge all readers with less than 1 year of investment experience to stay away from crypto first, because the volatility of the asset class is insane and may not be suitable for beginners. A daily upswing or downswing of 30%-60% is possible, thus, I urge readers to take note of the risk involved with such an asset class as well even though the upside and returns may seem unlimited.

As of now, I will be deploying into crypto on a monthly, dollar cost basis and buy into them slowly but surely. While my cash lie around not invested, I will covert them into Dai to earn interest in Celsius first. When I want to deploy them, I will transfer them back to Nexo and exchange Dai for Bitcoin or whichever coin I wish to invest into.

Also, for those not informed, Bitcoin has hit the US$56,000+ while Ethereum officially broke the US$2000 mark! I do expect to see a pullback soon but the dip will probably be bought back just as quickly. I will focus on accumulating them slowly over time and won’t be planning to sell them any time soon.

As always, I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

Have a great weekend and good luck investing! Stay safe and healthy always!

Disclaimer: 

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor. (Or contact me!)

How To Invest Your First $20,000 (2021)

Note: The new semester has begun, I won’t be able to post regularly as I need to prioritise my studies first. But I will still try and post at least 1 article per week! Cheers and happy reading!

Join My Tele Channel Here

Where to Start?

Finally realised that working your ass off month in month out is too tiring and you want to retire earlier? Just how should you make your first investment? There are so many products out there, so many strategies, so which one should you choose?

Again, to answer these few questions, you need to ask yourself first:

  1. What is my risk appetite? (Depends on your age and time horizon)
  2. What is my time horizon? (Depends on your goal)
  3. What is my goal? (Retirement? Second Property? Wedding?)

Once you are done asking these 3 important questions, you can then proceed.

The key to investing your first $20,000 is really what you want to achieve out of this amount. Is it to pay off your first downpayment? Set aside funds for wedding? Or for long term retirement (financial freedom)?

Now that you answered those questions, I’ll share with you what I will personally do with the first $20,000 investment.

Disclaimer: 

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor.

Infinite Permutations

In the investment world, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can invest in. It is this dynamism that makes the financial markets a vibrant and thriving ecosystem.

So what is the end goal here? In investing, our goal is to invest consistently with a proven strategy that grows your wealth in the long run. Doing so allows your hard earned money to work even harder for you.(Even when you’re asleep)

Investment Returns are derived from 2 sources. They are:

  1. Capital Gains (by selling the stock after it goes up in value)
  2. Dividends (by holding the stock)

People invest either for Income(Dividends) or for Growth (Capital Gains) or Both. One needs to understand the difference before getting into investing as different stocks/sector/market have their own unique characteristics.

Characteristics of different markets

For instance, the Singapore Market is mainly for Dividend investing due to the excellent Bank and REIT stocks having attractive yields of 5% or more with solid fundamentals. However, Singapore stocks have limited growth potential due to our limited size and lack of liquidity. As for capital gains(while possible), it is generally not as attractive if you compare to the US Market.

The US Market on the other hand, is mainly for Growth investing due to the size of their consumer market and the large number of institutional participation. With many big conglomerates and technology companies with international branding, the US market is filled with growth opportunities and one can easily earn more than 100% capital gains if you remain vested in the US markets. (in the long run)

Once you understand the difference, we can now move on and talk about the different options available based on different individual preferences.

1. Conservative/Short Time Horizon Individuals

If you are someone who is generally risk-averse, and can forgo higher returns for the sake of safety and liquidity for short term needs such as wedding budget, this portfolio is something that can be considered:

  1. Singlife 2% – $10,000
  2. Syfe Cash+ (1.75%) -$10,000

Singlife 2% is basically the best option you can get right now to park short term money that can be withdrawn in and out easily at a pretty competitive 2% p.a, which is just sufficient to cover inflation of 1.9%~2.2% p.a

Syfe Cash+ invests your money into Money Market Funds which have almost no risk but also comes with very low returns as a result. The performance depends on how the underlying Money Market Funds are doing and they project around 1.75% p.a without any withdrawal fees, management fees and no minimum starting amount. This is perfect for individuals who want liquidity and already maxed out Singlife’s limit of 10k to earn the 2%.

These 2 products ensures that your capital won’t fluctuate compared to if you were to put money into equities, which are stocks and they will fluctuate in the short run.

Best for:

  1. Short Run Needs (<1 year – 3 years)
  2. Downpayment for BTO/Car
  3. Wedding Fund
  4. Honeymoon Fund
  5. Liquid high yield war chest/ emergency fund

2. General Investing With Average(Market) Returns Potential

For those starting out but unsure if you are able to take higher risk, you can begin with this instead. This helps you understand the importance of asset allocation while you learn the ropes but can at least get you average stock market returns.

I will be introducing the concept of Core and Satellite for portfolio construction.

Core and Satellite Portfolio

When we talk about Core portfolio, think of it like a set meal which consist of your main dish that will fill up your stomach. The CORE portion of a portfolio is supposed to form the foundations of your overall portfolio that you will stick to for the long run without making too much adjustments to it.

As for Satellite portfolio, think of it like add-ons/extra servings which are supposed to delight you further and solve a specific craving (eg. desserts to cure sweet tooth).

Satellite portion is not essential but important to help you attain higher return which you core portion is unable to attain. An example of such can be sector targeting or specific industry targeting.

Alright, with this out of the way, here is the suggested portfolio:

Core:

  1. Syfe Equity100 -$10,000
  2. DIY ETF (Via Firstrade Broker): Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (Ticker:VTI) -$5000

Satellite:

  1. Syfe REIT+ -$5000

The rationale for this is very simple. Equity100 consist of 12 different ETFs which exposes you to over 1500 different stocks around the world, and it auto rebalances each quarter to ensure that the portfolio remains efficient and optimised which I feel most financial bloggers or investors out there failed to appreciate.

VTI ETF is a wide exposure to the entire US stock market so you are going to get back whatever returns the US market will offer all by owning this 1 ETF. VTI is essentially one of the most popular core ETF used for all types of portfolio construction.

Syfe REIT+ is a diversification away from equities and to expose yourself to high quality Singapore real estate from different sectors. Although only a $5000 allocation, over the long term, if you opt for dividend reinvestment, compound interest should be significant even if you don’t contribute to it.

Overall, you should be well exposed to almost the entire stock market across major economies and will be getting market returns and sometimes even higher (or might be lower) returns than the stock market.

Why is there no bonds?

For Singaporeans, our CPF monies in our OA/SA/MA are bond proxies as they are a form of guranteed capital with high yield, and hence, I am not factoring bonds into the portfolio construction.

With bonds portion taken care of by our government, the rest should be deployed to achieve higher returns but at the same time with such wide diversification of this portfolio, you will be certain to attain close to market returns in the long run with this portfolio.

Best For:

  1. Long Term Goals
  2. Beginner Investors
  3. Cost Conscious Investors
  4. Retirement Fund Accumulation

3. Aggressive/Higher Risk Appetite with a focus on higher returns potential

As a young investor with a long time horizon ahead, I fall under this category. If you are like me, able to take on higher risks and take on higher market volatility and short term price fluctuations in hopes of higher risk-adjusted return in the long run (eg 10% or more), this is a portfolio I will personally adopt if I were to start investing again with $20,000:

Core:

  1. Syfe Equity100 -$5000
  2. Bitcoin -$2500
  3. Ethereum -$2500

*Crypto bought via Gemini Exchange, sent over to Nexo for 5% APY

Satellite:

  1. DIY Stock Picking $10,000

This portfolio in particular, is more advanced as you first need to understand what Bitcoin and Ethereum is all about and second, you need to understand individual stocks and get a grasp of fundamental analysis and technical analysis, and third, you need to have experience in times of volatility and even experiencing market corrections.

The reason is because this portfolio is more active, and may not be for the faint of heart.

Without good control of your emotions, you can easily lose your money in the stock market if you are unsure of what you are doing. For that, I will not recommend this portfolio for everyone and I feel that 99% of investors should adopt portfolio number 2 instead.

My current portfolio is a reflection of this an I managed to achieve +79.8% annualised returns for 2020, which is definitely a stock market outperformance.

Best For:

  1. Experienced investors (at least 1 year in the market)
  2. High Risk Appetite Individuals with understanding of more advanced concepts
  3. Willing to be more active in investing approach for higher returns potential
  4. Disciplined and Long Term Thinking Individuals

Conclusion

This pretty much sums up what I will do if I were to invest my first $20,000 again. In investing, it is important to understand that just like how every individual is unique and different, so does investing style and portfolio allocation. If you are a risk-averse individual, stick to a lower-risk portfolio, if you are able to take on more risk with a long term view, go for a more aggressive portfolio. At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong when it comes to investing, as long as you stick to your convictions and stay invested, you are bound to reap the fruits of your labour if you give it enough time to compound. 

Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget Rule No. 1

Warren Buffett

Thank you for reading. I hope this allow you to see the possible things that you can do with $20,000 and it is totally up to you to allocate. As long as it is a sensible strategy, it will help you to hit your goals faster! 

TL;DR Syfe Promo Code

For people who are interested to invest into Syfe after reading how it can help achieve your goals and wants to open an account, you can use the promo code below as a bonus! 🙂

Promo Code: SRPTH8LK3

$10 bonus for the first deposit of $500 (or more)!

$50 bonus for the first deposit of $10,000 (or more)!

$100 bonus for the first deposit to $20,000 (or more)!

Note: Bonus is applicable on the first deposit made only. The bonus will be automatically credited to your portfolio and invested along with your existing investments

Also, if you are interested to sign up StocksCafe, a one stop platform for you to track all your portfolios in one place, click the link here to sign up. You will enjoy an extra month of paid features!(3 months in total) Also, basic features are completely free for all users 🙂

Index Funds Are Glorified and Overrated -What You Should Look Out For

90% of active fund managers lose to the stock market in the long run, passive investing is the way to go, you get back market returns and you beat the fund managers in the long run!” Yada yada yada.

I hear this all the time and the majority of index fund advocates are either boomers, lazy investors, religious believers of Jack Bogle or beginner investors who do not know how to stock pick properly.

Here’s what Jack Bogle, the creator of the index fund have to say about his own creation:

“If everybody indexed, the only word you could use is chaos, catastrophe, and the markets would fail.”

In recent years, investors have been ditching active managers in favor of ETFs and other index funds, which typically offer a way to get market exposure at lower fees. While I do not disagree that most investors simply need 1 or 2 ETFs and call it a day, it is still important to know what you own and why you own it.

Massive Inflows into Passive Index Funds since 2015

Regardless of one’s opinion about the merits of passive investing, the characteristics show that they are essentially “momentum” strategies, systematically buying when money flows in, and selling when money flows out.

While it is true that majority of beginners and “know-nothing” investors are better off buying an Index ETF like S&P 500 Index ETF, simply pumping money aimlessly may not be a way out as well because that would be trend following and we all know how it will end up eventually.

ETFs, as we all know, consist of a basket of stocks and are subjected to the ETF’s own mechanical constraints (i.e Market-Cap Weighted/Sector Focusing etc.), so essentially, these ETFs are basically a big fishing net scooping up everything it catches: the good ones, the mediocre ones and the poor performing ones all under the same net.

By holding an index ETF such as a US Small-Cap Index ETF, you are buying into small US companies which are great, mediocre and poor all together just like I mentioned above. The reason why some small cap stocks are even surviving is because these index funds are providing liquidity and volume through these ETFs, which in turn help sustain “unpopular” and simply “bad” companies because everything is bundled up together under the same basket.

Going back to what Jack Bogle said; so how exactly will indexing result in chaos and the market to fail?

The reason is simple: The stock market is a dynamic environment filled with short term speculators, traders, hedge funds, active funds, long term investors and derivatives traders and many more which all help ensure that the stock market remains dynamic and vibrant for different strategies and objectives.

As index funds continue to balloon, price growth will no longer be a result of fundamentals but simply because of more inflows into the fund which forces ETF managers to continue pumping into the basket of stocks at higher valuations.

Since these funds are passively managed, there is no way to kick out the mediocre and poor performing stocks because they are all constituents of their respective indexes.

Too Much Of One Thing Is Not Good

Part of the effect from this trend moving beyond a healthy mix of active and passive management is that it effectively takes half of the buying power out of the market.  A good active manager may research an attractive company with terrific fundamentals, but the passive half of the market does not care about fundamentals and just buys across the board based on company size.  (subjected to whatever the ETF constraints are).

On the flip side, when investors go bearish and decide to sell, they tend to move as a group, sometimes in a huge, uncontrollable fashion.  When the herd stampedes out of the passive investments, the active half the market may not be interested in buying the entire index of stocks, and prefers to cherry pick the ones perceived to have good fundamental characteristics, which causes a huge disparity in stock prices since they are not supported by fundamentals but simply driven by momentum.

According to the late Bogle, if passive index fund investing dominated 75% of more of the entire stock market, the market could become a dangerous place as trading would dry up if only indexers comprised the stock market, and there will be no active investors setting prices on individual stocks, which can result in a total collapse of the market where the market mechanism can no longer function. (this is highly unlikely but still a possibility).

So, What To Do Now?

Fret not. Like all skills and knowledge, it is best to learn, unlearn and learn it again, because the second time you learn a new knowledge after debunking the original thesis, will help you to develop critical thinking and to understand both views to get a balanced viewpoint.

I am not saying you should not invest into index ETFs, but rather, understand why index ETF is not the way out for investing in the long run if you don’t understand its purpose because simply listening to hearsay or being a trend-follower will not bring you any real benefit.

If trend following in the stock market worked, then there should be millionaires everywhere, or even better, everyone would be as rich as Warren Buffett. But that is not the case.

Invest in your own knowledge

The thing is, most people simply wants the easy way out. They want to skip the research, skip the learning process, skip everything because they simply don’t have one drop of interest in the stock market. Does it sound like you?

If your answer is no, then great! Keep learning and understand that investing is a slow learning process, even Warren Buffett is constantly learning new things everyday even though he is the world’s most successful and prominent investor. Likewise, I am also learning new things everyday and the point is to keep learning and moving forward.

If your answer is yes, then there is only one advice for you: There are no free lunch in the world.

Yes short term trading may work in the short run of a few months to a year. But it won’t work long term. Right now, every Tom, Dick or Harry are up 300% on their portfolio of $1000, $2000 or even $100,000 if they actually bought something in 2020.

In this crazy bull run, everyone will look like a guru because of absurd returns, but then again, when the reverse happens, where do these “gurus” go?

Everyone calls themselves a long term investor until the market crashes and the sh*t hits the fan

Majority of investors will fall under this category. Again, there are no free lunch in the world. If you go 100% into NIO or TSLA and are looking at +800% returns, that is not investing, that is pure luck, which is equivalent to gambling.

Investing is never about luck because there is a strategy behind how you can invest and manage your downside risk.

And because the laws of nature will always be fair and equal, if you can get an absurd +800% in a span of a few days/weeks/months, then the reverse can happen as well when the momentum is against you.

Hence, the best protection against a “trend-following” mindset is to build up your own knowledge, discipline and understanding of the different stock market instruments, so you essential shield yourself from ignorance and being part of the herd.

ETFs on its own is a great tool to increase your wealth. But if you abuse it (by not understanding the purpose), then it will work against you.

Do your own due diligence!

Just like how you would go online and research whether you should buy AirPods 2 or the newer AirPods Pro, comparing the pros and cons, doing your research seeing where sells it the cheapest or any vouchers, you should do the same for any form of investments.

Don’t rush to buy into an ETF or stock or crypto based on hearsay and not understanding why you bought it, because in the end you are the ignorant and “trend-follower” who wanted a shortcut and because of the lack of control over greed, you FOMO-ed and became part of the herd. And you’re left asking “Did I get in at a good price? I am having second thoughts..”

This is the classic case of Buy High Sell Low, and that’s what you get for being part of the herd!

And when you are part of the herd, you either go up with the herd or go down with the herd, and your returns will speak about what kind of investor you are. So ask yourself: Do you actually know what and why you own certain investments? (be it a stock/ETF/Unit Trust/Robo/Crypto)

The best way to start is to read books, watch educational YouTube videos during your free time. Instead of watching K-drama or Netflix 24/7, spend some time to understand what exactly is an ETF, what is compound interest and the basics of diversification for example.

You need a strong foundation

Get your basics right before moving on to do other things. Like I said in my previous article, if you have never attempted algebra in your entire life and you jump straight into an algebra exam, how well do you think you will fare?

The same applies for the stock market and the world of investing (any asset class).

Alternatives if you have no interest learning yourself

If you are really not interested, you can likewise consult a competent advisor who is well versed with investing and dabbles into the stock market themselves. This is really important because the longer and more experienced they are in the markets, the more reliable the person is able to offer you sound advice.

I am available for consultations and if you are interested to learn how you can build a powerful portfolio for the long term or general advice about personal finance or wealth management, you can reach out to me here!

You can also check out my post here where I share portfolios which lazy investors can look into.

I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

Join My Tele Channel Here

Do you agree that index funds are overrated? Yes, No and why? I would love to hear what you think so leave your comments down below!

Happy investing and keep sowing your beans!

Future Trends: Which Companies to Invest in 2021 and Beyond

2020 was an amazing year for the stock market, period.

Stock market has long detached from the real economy

With QE infinity (unlimited money printing) pushing the market higher, providing lifeline and liquidity for the stock market, it is no wonder we see the market going higher and higher despite what is happening in reality.

The stock market is always forward looking, and every news you’ve seen, every good news or bad news (Jack Ma/Alibaba/Capitol/US riots) will be priced in by the market. Mr Market will never be able to decide which direction to go, because it has bipolar disorder swinging between extreme greed and extreme fear, so no one can ever predict it.

However, in the long run, sentiments won’t be what drive markets but rather the fundamentals. This is a fact because the stock market has been on an uptrend since its inception, because businesses grow and so will their stock.

Stocks are ownerships of companies and I hope everyone view them as being a shareholder of a company instead of treating it like a lottery ticket, thinking short term about which stock will go up another 500%, 1000% or 5000%, which is simply not sustainable and unrealistic.

While you may be lucky for 1 or 2 years, stocks always revert back to its mean towards their intrinsic value.

Okay, enough of investing mindsets, so how will the future be like? What do we look out for?

From now till 2023, it will be a period of easy money (Bullish Sentiments)

In the near future, till at least 2023, I believe that it will be a consistent uptrend where we see a bull run because of the macro economy backdrop of low interest rates and the Fed continuing to prop up the markets with QE infinity.

What does that mean? Basically, money will be easy because nobody will be incentivised to save and would rather borrow and pile into assets such as equities and cryptocurrencies at least in the near future.

Growth stocks will continue to break all time highs, see some short term pullbacks as the stock market takes a short break before continuing climbing higher. (In essence, valuations are out of the tables and we are relying on the market momentums.)

My own predictions for future trends in 2021 onwards are:

  1. SaaS (Digitisation)
  2. Clean Energy
  3. Mainstream Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Adoption

For each of the trends, I will list down a few recommendations for you to further research on.

Saas (Software-As-A-Service)

SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.

They are companies that hosts an application and makes it available to customers over the internet. Remote working as a result of the pandemic has sped up the adoption of such a business model across every sector and industry.

SaaS companies wants to improve the productivity of companies and to automate business models and streamline the entire organisation. So what are some stocks/ETFs you can look out for to better position your portfolio towards SaaS companies?

  1. Salesforce
  2. Fastly
  3. Twilio
  4. Crowdstrike
  5. Zoom
  6. WCLD (Cloud Computing ETF)

I am not going to go in depth into each stock/ETF because that would be way too long. Personally, these stocks are positioned for the future and their network effects are particularly extensive.

Most of the companies here are B2Bs so you may not have heard of them before. But Zoom, Twilio and Fastly for example, are all enhancing parts of the products we use daily: Zoom Video (School/Meetings/Webinars), Fastly (Spotify music relies on their infrastructure), Twilio (Netflix, Airbnb relies on their software).

As for Crowdstrike and Salesforce, they are B2Bs with the former focusing on protecting company software from hackers through the incorporation of artificial intelligence and the latter improving customer relationship management

All these companies have one thing in common: They have a recurring, subscription based model which can generate free cash flow year in year out, and their software becomes better and more efficient over time as they collect more data and improve their artificial intelligence or software capabilities.

If you are not interested to research in depth, you can expose to these companies through WCLD (Cloud Computing ETF).

Clean Energy

With Biden’s victory, while climate change continues to worsen around the world, there is faster and wider adoption of clean and renewable energy for the potential of cost reductions, benefits and the rise of electric vehicles (EV).

Biden’s policies are skewed towards providing more subsidies for the clean energy sector. If you look at stock market action on 6 January, it is clear that investors expect Biden and Congress to do a lot for companies producing clean energy, or developing technology and services to enable other companies to do so.

Here are some stocks which are personally on my watchlist to expose into the clean energy sector:

  1. ICLN (Global Clean Energy ETF)
  2. TAN (Solar ETF)
  3. LIT (Lithium Battery ETF)
  4. Tesla
  5. BYD

Tesla needs no introduction. Elon Musk is now the world’s richest man and he did not get there by luck. He saw the future before everyone did so he’s duly rewarded for taking the leap of faith while no one was looking. Tesla, is not just a car company, because they have advanced software with superior data collection, artificial intelligence, industry leading battery technology and a solar panels producer.

This is the same for Chinese company BYD, which is the EV pick of Warren Buffett. BYD likewise is not just a car company, but involved in multiple different product lines way before competitors like Nio, XPeng or Li Auto entered the EV space in China.

LIT is a play on leading lithium battery technologies or battery producers, which are the backbone of electric vehicles if you think logically and it is to further diversify the portfolio (this ETF has both Tesla and BYD inside.)

ICLN and TAN are diversified ETF which focuses on the clean energy space which saw incredible gains in 2020. While ARK stole the spotlight, there were many more ETFs which performed just as impressive as ARK.

Mainstream Blockchain and Crypto Adoption

While the topic of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies continue to be the hot topic of 2021, it is without a doubt cryptocurrency has earned a spot in the institutional space and slowly being seen as a viable asset class that has a store of value and a form of inflation hedge.

While people can argue that Bitcoin is a scam, that it will crash, that it is used by criminals, there are also people that advocate that Bitcoin is a store of value, that it can help improve banking efficiency and prevent centralisation of power.

While both sides have some valid arguments, blockchain, as a matter of fact, is the way forward especially for financial transactions.

While majority of Initial Coin Offering(ICO) projects end up becoming nothing, there are alt coins that have proved their worth and continues to be adopted slowly but surely.

As blockchain continues burgeoning across industries and sectors, eventually it will become a part of our daily lives just like how we broke away from the Gold standard back in 1971 after the end of the Bretton Woods system, eventually fiat currencies prevailed all the way till today.

No matter what happens to the future of money, whether fiat currencies continue to be the medium of exchange or cryptocurrencies, one thing is certain: Blockchain is disrupting the traditional banking system, and with widespread digitisation, it definitely improve the efficiency of the blockchain as more users go online and stop queuing at physical banks for simple transaction needs.

For this, here are some things you can look at:

  1. Square
  2. Paypal
  3. Bitcoin
  4. Ethereum

Square and Paypal are the clear leaders when it comes to the fintech space. They both made massive purchases in Bitcoin in 2020 so that they can distribute it to their customers as a medium of transaction.

They are riding on the rise of digitisation as more people perform transactions, banking and more through their apps. Since they rely on network effect, the more people that use their platform, the better it gets.

As for Bitcoin and Ethereum, to keep it brief, cryptocurrency have finally hit 1 trillion in combined market cap, making them a viable asset class for institution participation.

Bitcoin’s market cap is still a fraction that of gold, and with the continued money printing of fiat currency, it is no wonder Bitcoin is going higher and higher, breaking the $40k USD mark as more investors buy it as a store of value to protect their future purchasing power.

This is just a simplified explanation of Bitcoin and as for Ethereum, it’s value comes from the Ethereum chain, which is the backbone of many alt coins such as Chainlink, USDT, USDC and more which are ERC-20 tokens.

Without going into the complicated jargons, Ether’s value derives from the network effect that comes from all the infrastructure (smart contracts) which the chain provides.

As Ethereum slowly moves from Proof-Of-Work towards Proof-Of-Stake, I believe Ethereum’s growth has only just begun and there will be further room for Ether’s utility and value to rise.

Conclusion

In this period of low interest rates and easy money, will you be capitalising on the momentum and sentiments and ride on the wave? Or will you continue to be fearful? I leave that up to you.

For the beginners and new investors, your best bet is to dollar cost average and just consistently invest into the market.

Time in the market TRULY is better than timing the market. The market will always be hitting all time highs and it will crash from time to time.

It is futile to try and predict the market and in every market crash, the market will ALWAYS recover in the end and climb higher beyond its previous peak.

Sign Up Firstrade Broker

For the best platform to start, you can start with Firstrade platform, which offers $0 commissions fee trading, free Morningstar Premium reports and lightning fast trade executions for all US Stocks. It has 40+ years of brokerage experience in the US and also extremely secure with FINRA and SIPC backing (MAS-level regulators).

I have been using Firstrade for a long time and tried many different brokers such as Tiger Brokers, FSMone, TD Ameritrade, Saxo, DBS Vickers and OCBC Securities, and I find Firstrade to be way ahead of any of the brokers I’ve used.

If you are already using other brokers, give it a try, don’t have to deposit anything and just see if you would like the platform.

If you want to find out more, you can read up about it here, including how to sign up, how to deposit and more!

And that’s it! Here are some trends which I am looking out for and personally, I am invested in Salesforce, Fastly, WCLD (Cloud Computing) ETF, Tesla (Through Firstrade),Bitcoin and Ethereum. (Buy through Gemini, stored in Nexo for interest)

For those interested in Cryptocurrency

For those interested to find out how you can get started on Bitcoin or Ethereum, you can check out my article here. (and get $10 USD bitcoin when you sign up and deposit 100 USD!)

I am personally using Gemini Exchange for its high level of security and Nexo Wallet to earn interest on my crypto holdings. Stay tuned as I will soon talk about the alternative asset class and Nexo as well.

Join My Tele Channel Here For Updates And More!

I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

Disclaimer: 

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor. (Or contact me!)

The Best Portfolios For Lazy Investors (2021)

So you want to start investing? After spending countless hours or even just 5 minutes trying to read up on the stock market and the confusing world of investing, where do you start?

Before you begin, it is important to understand why we invest and what are some of the benefits of investing. I have a few friends who asked me: “If investing is so profitable and compound interest is so amazing, why isn’t everyone investing?

And the reason to this is simple: Most people want to get rich quick, so they take shortcuts, over leverage and over estimate their own potential. If you have never done algebra in your life, and you attempt an algebra exam, how well would you fare?

Get Rich Quick, Get Poor Even Faster

And that is what happens to most people who tries their luck in the stock market, trying to trade when they have no prior knowledge to investing. But like most humans (including myself), we overestimate our own abilities and think that we will always be above average.

Without a sound investing mindset, these “shortcut” and “get-rich-quick” mindset individuals get burnt just as quickly as they pour their savings aimlessly, without a clear plan and goal on what they are trying to achieve.

They based everything upon price, without understanding fundamental and technical analysis, so what happens if the price goes down 50%? Do they hold? Do they buy? Do they sell?

And the point is this: Most people are speculators and not actual investors. Speculators think short term and are extremely impatient, wanting to become rich quickly and always succumbing to instant gratification, chasing after the newest product year after year, looking rich on the surface but in reality, poor in mindset and in bank balance, year after year.

Like Warren Buffett says: “Just because you can trade, does not mean you should trade.” This statement is true since the inception of the stock market and it is still true today. Not everyone has the expertise and discipline to be a good trader so rather than trying to outsmart the market, be an investor and adopt a long term mindset, stop timing the market and stop trying to predict what the market will do tomorrow, next week or next month.

In fact, true investing is boring and it is a slow but steady process. Compound interest, won’t really kick off in the initial 10 years and will only compound exponentially in the long run if you have a significant capital. That is why it is important to adopt a long-term horizon when it comes to investing and to understand the difference between short-term cash needs and long-term investment needs.

So You’re Lazy To Understand Investing, What’s Next?

I understand that the majority of people out there don’t even have 1% interest in the stock market, which is completely normal. But you still know the need to invest because simply saving is not a solution especially now that interest rates are at an all time low.

For the lazy investor, you basically have 3 simple options:

  1. DIY Dollar Cost Averaging(DCA) into ETFs
  2. Mutual Fund/Unit Trust (Buy-And-Forget)
  3. Roboadvisors

Even among these 3 options, there are varying degrees of control over the investments and level of passive-ness. If we look at the 3 options from a spectrum, the level of passive-ness would be the following:

Most PassiveModerately PassiveLeast Passive
Mutual Funds/Unit TrustRoboadvisorsDIY DCA ETFs
Passive Investing Spectrum

As you can see here, depending on how much control you want to have over your investment portfolio, there are different approaches that you can go about it. There are pros and cons to each method and I will list them down in the table below:

DIY DCA Index ETFRoboadvisorsMutual Funds/Unit Trust
Moderate-High RiskModerate-High RiskRisk Depends on Fund Chosen
Monitor Daily/Monthly/YearlyNo Need to monitor, just check in every year or any time you deem necessaryLet other people monitor (Buy and Forget)
Match Market ReturnsMatch Market Returns/Beat Market PotentiallyCan beat market if chosen properly
Difficult to rebalanceAuto Rebalancing (For most robos)Auto Rebalancing
Fund Switch =Sell entire ETF and switch ETFPortfolio FlexibilityFree Fund Switching in most instances
Liquid (Your own buy sell when market opens)Moderately Liquid (Takes a few day for withdrawal/deposits)Not as liquid (Depends on Fund, and processing time varies)
Returns Potential: 5%-10% p.aReturns Potential:
5%-14% p.a
Returns Potential:
5%-20% p.a
Fees: Commissions Fee ($10-$25 SGD/trade) + ETF expense ratioFees: Robo Management Fee (0.2%-1% p.a) + ETF expense ratioFees: Fund Management Fees (1%-2.5% p.a)

Sustainability

Choose a method which you will be able to sustain for a long period of time and if you truly want a passive way to invest, Roboadvisors and Mutual Funds are the most passive method you can ever get.

If you simply want to DIY DCA ETF yourself, do note that with the lack of investing experience and emotions, you may not commit to your plan long term because of market volatilities and the constant urge to try and “time the market”, or worse, you end up not investing at all.

Lazy Man’s Portfolio Guide

For examples sake, I will use a hypothetical $10,000 cash amount to gauge the allocation.

For the lazy investor, I propose the following:

Option 1 (Ultra Low Maintenance Passive Portfolio)

100% Mutual Funds/Unit Trust

Example:

Templeton Global Tech Fund (50%) $5000

Fidelity Greater China Fund (50%) $5000

10 years annualised return: ~14.58%

Annual Fees: ~1.5%

Investing Frequency: Annually/Semi-Annually/Monthly

This is just based on 2 mutual funds which I have access to and by simply contributing to the funds, treat it like a long term savings plan and after 10 years or more you can reap the rewards.

One good thing is any moment there is a shift in style/sector or macro environment, you can switch the fund or allocation to adjust further at no further charge. This option can be a powerful “Core” portion for an investor and set a base for investing for the long run. It is completely hands off approach and purely relying on the fund manager’s active management and expertise while you sit back, relax and continue doing the things you love.

If you are interested in the funds above, do reach out to me to find out how you can get started.

Pros:

  1. Buy and Forget
  2. Consistent investing = Compounding can take place
  3. Potential to outperform the market so fees may be justified
  4. Free rebalancing and fund switching

Cons:

  1. Not as liquid as DIY or Roboadvisors
  2. Recurring Fees of 1.5% or more even if there’s a market downturn
  3. Might underperform the market at times

Best For:

  1. 99% of investors who have little to no interest in the stock market
  2. Wants the human touch of a human advisor to advise on portfolio construction
  3. Investors who want market beating funds and willing to pay slightly more fees

Option 2 (Hybrid Passive Investing Portfolio)

50% Mutual Funds 50% Roboadvisor

Example:

Mutual Funds/Unit Funds

Templeton Global Tech Fund $2500

Fidelity Greater China Fund $2500

Roboadvisors

Syfe Equity100 $5000

10 years annualised return: ~10%16%

Annual Fees: ~1%

Investing Frequency: Monthly/Semi-Annually/Annual

This option is suitable for investor that do not want to fully depend on a mutual fund and want to diversify into ETFs efficiently through a Roboadvisor.

For this portfolio, I chose Syfe’s Equity100 portfolio because I am seeking the highest risk adjusted returns for the long run. Equity100 has diversification across 12 ETFs and exposure to 1500 different stocks globally. Couple this with the 2 strategic mutual funds, it will position a laid back investor with upwards returns in the 2 digits.

Cost wise, it will be lower than Option 1 but return wise half of the portfolio will depend on how well the broad market performs and the underlying ETFs of Syfe Equity100.

Pros:

  1. Buy and Forget but flexible contribution via Robo portion
  2. Consistent investing = Compounding can take place
  3. Potential to outperform the market so fees may be justified
  4. Lower fees than Option 1
  5. Free rebalancing and fund switching

Cons:

  1. Not as liquid as DIY
  2. Recurring Fees of ~1% or more even if there’s a market downturn
  3. Might underperform the market at times
  4. Some may end up timing the market when contributing to Roboadvisors

Best For:

  1. Cost Conscious Investors who want to pay lower fees than Option 1 but still want potential market outperformance
  2. 99% of investors who have little to no interest in the stock market
  3. Wants the human touch of a human advisor to advise on portfolio construction
  4. Laid back but still able to outperform the market

Option 3 (Cost Efficient Lazy Portfolio)

60% DIY 40% Roboadvisors

Example:

DIY DCA ETF

Boglehead 3 ETF Simple Portfolio:

  1. Vanguard Total World Stock Market ETF (VT) $2000
  2. Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) $2000
  3. Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) $2000

Roboadvisors

Syfe Equity100 $4000

10 years annualised return: ~8%-12%

Annual Fees: Commission fees (depends on Broker) + Robo fees (0.65% p.a)

Investing Frequency: Monthly/Semi-Annually/Annual

This option is for the cost conscious and those who want to try out investing themselves but still want to be as passive as possible. The caveat for this approach is that you will have the tendency to time the market and prevent yourself from investing consistently. You may be worried about the ETF being overvalued or that a crash is coming and once again end up not investing again.

This portfolio should theoretically incur the least amount of fees out of the 3 options if you choose the right broker to do so. For DIY into US ETFs, I highly recommend Firstrade broker which I use myself due to its zero fees and reliability.

If you decide to use other brokers, do note you need to account into the commission fees paid every time you try to DCA into an ETF, and the fees will really add up in the long run.

This portfolio should be able to bring back market returns consistently which can deliver stable and consistent returns in the long run. Although it won’t outperform the market, if you are happy with the stock market returns, this portfolio may be for you, provided you are disciplined and can execute the DCA consistently.

Pros:

  1. Consistent investing = Compounding can take place
  2. Cost Efficient and low cost
  3. Lower fees than Option 1 and 2 (if you use a good broker)

Cons:

  1. Some may end up timing the market which ruins the strategy
  2. Difficult to maintain if investor lacks discipline and experience
  3. Won’t outperform the market

Best For:

  1. Cost Conscious Investors who emphasises paying little to no fees
  2. Investors who want certain degree of control over their investments
  3. Investors who have some interest in the market and disciplined and long term mindset

Conclusion

And that’s it! Here are 3 different options which a lazy investor can adopt and invest consistently year in year out and let that sweet compounding bring your nest eggs to greater heights.

The reason I incorporated Roboadvisors into the portfolios is because in today’s day and age, financial institutions have made investing so much more accessible and lowered the barriers for even small investors to get a share of the pie at a low cost such as through a Roboadvisor.

It is really something overlooked by most people and I strongly believe it is a much better way to invest compared to DIY passive ETF approach, because there are way too many ETFs out there and most beginners won’t be able to tell which ETFs are better or even what purpose they serve. Just by paying a small fee of 0.5%-0.8%, you can effectively invest like the rich and get back returns which most beginners will never dream of getting themselves.

So instead of trying to figure out how to construct a proper ETF portfolio yourself and waste time researching, why not just leave it to the experts to do it?

This is why I use Syfe’s Equity100 as well, so that aside from my DIY active investing approach, a part of my portfolio is managed by Syfe and a team of investors who aims to optimise the portfolio as much as possible. I post monthly updates of the portfolio and the latest post on it is here.

So you’re interested in Syfe?

Syfe Promo Code

For people who are interested to invest into Syfe and wants to open an account, you can use the promo code below as a bonus 🙂

Promo Code: SRPTH8LK3

$10 bonus for the first deposit of $500 (or more)!

$50 bonus for the first deposit of $10,000 (or more)!

$100 bonus for the first deposit to $20,000 (or more)!

Note: Bonus is applicable on the first deposit made only. The bonus will be automatically credited to your portfolio and invested along with your existing investments

I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

Join My Tele Channel Here

Let me know which option sounds the most intriguing and if you were to start investing today/again, which option would you choose? Leave your comments below and let’s have a discussion!

2020 Performance Review And Reflections

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What a year it has been. In February 2020, I finally achieved ORD, completing 1 year 10 months of National Service, went Japan while Covid-19 news spread quickly across the globe, bought the dip when market crashed in March/April, went through circuit breaker reading tons of books/articles and videos about personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship and self-help related content.

It was a year of ups and downs, and I think it is a relatable experience for each and every Singaporean out there. Businesses went bankrupt, and our way of life completely changed. Covid-19 sped up the age of innovation and technology, making many traditional businesses obsolete and to adopt digitisation in order to thrive in the “New World.” Bitcoin hit all time highs, while its finally the end of USA’s joke-fest Trump with the conclusion to 2020’s US presidential elections.

March was the first time in my short investing journey to face such a huge crash and I am glad to experience it early so that I will be even more prepared in the future.

Shift in Strategy

My investing philosophy and strategy pretty much shifted as a result of the market crash and the current market environment. Before 2020, my investing strategy was dividend growth investing + value investing, where I buy dividend stocks that are growing their dividend payouts year over year and to find undervalued businesses that are “unloved” by the market. As the year progresses, I switched my approach towards active stock picking and focusing more on growth investing and finding stocks of the future with all the future trends in place.

My portfolio consisted of mainly Singapore stocks in 2018/2019 and returns were at best mediocre. 2020 was an absolute crushing year for active investors and a disappointing counterpart for passive investors. Crisis is opportunity, this phrase is always heard but difficult to put in practice. When market crashes, that is when wealth changes hands where smart money takes away from the dumb money.

From July, I also started investing through Syfe’s Equity100 portfolio as the stock market rallied while naysayers continue to criticise out of fear that it’s a bull trap and market is still bearish. Well, if they didn’t doubt the market in July, they should be sitting at around +50% gains if they actually bought anything back then. It was also in July when this blog was born. So thank you all for the past 5 months of support!

Lesson learnt: Never time the market, always stay invested because you never know what will happen. Adopt a long time horizon and let compound interest do its thing.

Net Worth Grew 68% From 2019

Compared to 2019, I was way more aggressive in deploying my cash into the stock market to take advantage of the market crash after learning about value investing. As a result, my portfolio consisting of individual stocks, ETFs ,Robo Advisor (Syfe), Cryptocurrencies (BTC/ETH/BNB), CPF and savings grew a whopping 68% in 2020 (compared to 2019).

This was a combination of passive income from stock dividends, stock photo sales and affiliate marketing and side hustle from my photography and commissions from investment products and allowance.

From all the cash inflows this year, I diligently “paid myself first” by putting 50% of the money I earn/recieve into Singlife 2% to park my money for higher yield and double as my investing war chest. By keeping to a savings rate of 50% or more, I am able to keep on contributing every month into investing which allows me to double or triple my net worth hopefully by 2021/2022.

Making money work harder before liabilities kick in

As I am currently a Year 1 student in NUS, I am also taking advantage of the little liabilities now and to optimise my savings by putting 90% of it for long term needs and 10% for short term liquidity needs such as my daily expenses and occasional big ticket spending.

I am still not comfortable sharing my net worth or portfolio value and I may do so in the future, not sure when but one day I will. But my goal is to hit 100k in investment portfolio hopefully by the time I graduate in 2024 (when I’m 24/25 years old) so that the compounding can start to make sense and hopefully can steamroll my net worth even higher by 2030.

2020 Portfolio Performance

In 2020, the STI index declined from 3247 to 2842, a decrease of 405 points or -12.47%. The STI ETF, which replicates the STI Index, also decreased by the same amount (or more after expense ratio).

A snippet of my portfolio


Overall, with dividends added, my portfolio recorded a net gain of 47.45%. Hence my portfolio has outperformed the STI benchmark by 59.92% this year. 
In 2020, significant gains were from the US growth stocks which achieved an average gain of 51.63%, followed by the S-REITs with 34.4% and Bluechips with 16.21%.

In addition, most individual stock performance except Alibaba, Salesforce and Intel and Coherus Biosciences were positive in both capital gains and earning results.

The low interest rate environment has lifted the equity market and growth stocks skyrocketed and responded positively to the declining interest rates.

2020’s Roller Coaster Ride: Portfolio (Red) vs STI/S&P 500/Total World Stock Index

I have adopted a long term approach to investing and plan to hold all the current stocks for at least the next 5 years. Many may think a buy and hold strategy is a very passive way to invest. On the surface, it may look this way. But I still put in the same vigour and energy in seeking for new investment opportunity. The reason for low stock turnover was that I can’t find better stocks to swap with the existing selections. It always boils down to opportunity cost. I shouldn’t act if there is no better opportunity than my current portfolio.

Speaking about opportunity cost, I swapped over my Singapore counters to US counters because US stocks has much bigger room for growth and I love paying $0 fees using Firstrade.

So from 2021 onwards, I will no longer look at Singapore stocks because of the lack of volume, growth potential or basically, the growth is too slow and there are little opportunities.

2021 and beyond, I will be maximising my DIY portfolio by sticking to 10-20 strong counters and complement it with Syfe Equity100. My target for 2021 to 2030 is to maintain an annualised return of 18% or more, which may be a difficult target to hit but based on my 2018 to 2020 performance, it is feasible if I continue staying on track and remain disciplined in my approach and my annualised returns since inception is 58.87%.

The Rule of 72

Based on the rule of 72, if I were to maintain 18% annualised returns for the next 5-10 years, I can effectively double my capital every 4 years. (72/18) This is why returns matter because the higher your returns, the faster it takes to double your capital and the lesser capital needed for you to hit your desired retirement capital.

18% annualised return is extremely ambitious but I strongly believe it is possible because retail investors have an edge over hedge fund managers, in that we have the freedom to buy any stock we want (no matter the market cap), as long as we do the proper research and understanding of the underlying business, it will be poised to outperform the market. And the important part is investing into Small Cap stocks which go undetected by analysts.

Fund managers have restrictions on what stocks they can pour their money into and almost the whole of Wall Street simply focuses on short term news and trade around the same few mega cap stocks.

If everyone is looking for the same spot for gold, what chances will there be for you? Do you think you will get higher returns than the market manipulators or big investment bank with thousands of analyst doing research every single second? Probably not. Instead, be a contrarian and look elsewhere where no one is looking, because that is where you will find multi-baggers that can deliver returns such as Peter Lynch. You can read up more about this in “One Up On Wall Street” by legendary investor Peter Lynch.

If you still refuse the invest, and put your money in a savings account yielding 2% p.a, your capital will only double after 36 years based on the rule of 72. So on and so fourth. One does not get rich by simply saving money because of inflation.

Investment Objective

From 2021 onwards, I aim to achieve:

(a) A long-term outperformance of 6% per annum superior over the benchmark index (STI ETF). 

OR

(b) 18% annualised return for the next 5-10 years
The year-to-date performance of my portfolio vs STI ETF is tabulated below. Also for comparison, I also added in performance of the major world indices:

While the past year’s gauge does not determine long term performance, it is a good starting point to set up a long term track record and set the foundation for me to achieve my goal of 18% annualised returns over the long term.

While I managed to beat the market this time round, it does not mean I will continue to beat the market because my portfolio is after all tech heavy so any pullback will hurt my portfolio more than the market itself. The reverse is also true that when markets goes uptrend, my portfolio should outperform the broad market theoretically speaking.

Regardless of what the market does, I will continue to be a net buyer of stocks and continue building up towards my 100k portfolio.

General Thoughts

Timing the market or individual stock is not my game, I rather focus on taking a business owner mindset when I invest in a company. My philosophy is for a good quality company that is growing, I should consider holding on even if it is overvalued. Attractive investments are extremely rare, so get in when its fairly priced, and just ride the wave, ignore the noise and keep investing consistently.

On Market Crashes

This is the one thing that investors and layman alike fear the most. The market will always swing between being overvalued to undervalued, which at the extremes will lead to bull run (like right now) or market crash, and it is all due to market sentiments of greed and fear in play.

Looking back on history, the stock market experienced a severe (>40%) crash every 10-15 years or so on the average. All times, it has recovered and exceeded the previous high within a few years. 

Timing the market may work short-term but not long-term

Some may think a good profit can be made if we sell our investment when the market is overvalued and then buy back in when it crashes. I think this is very difficult to execute successfully. Miss one cycle and you may need to wait out many years without capitalising on the stock price gains and dividends.

Also, we don’t have many cycles to take advantage of in our investing lifetime. One difficulty is spotting the market peak before the crash, that the market doesn’t need to be grossly overvalued for it to crash. A market that is 25% overvalued and swing to a 25% undervalued is a 40% market decline, which is quite a severe crash. 

Each major market correction can offer opportunity to greatly magnify our portfolio performance. Many fails to realise that a lower stock price, in fact, reduces and not increases the risk. 

The importance of a war chest

Keeping a sizeable warchest is important. A war chest of 5% in cash will not have that much impact. But keeping too much cash (>50%), will mean you are only enjoying half of the earning growth of your investment during the in-between years. I think a good ratio will be in the 10%-20%.

Lastly, we have to be mentally prepared. Just imagine that your portfolio is cut by 40-50%, what is the impact to you financially, do you still have other incomes to cover the expenses? I always ask myself that if my portfolio is reduced by half, will my life be any different and will I panic. Stress test our financials to such scenario will help to prepare our mindset when it happens.

Because it will happen, the only question is when. (Already happened once in March)

Writing Journey

From the birth of this blog in July 2020 till now, I wrote a total of 39 blog posts (including this one) with an average of 1.5k words for every post! I was shocked to see I’ve already written nearly 60K words so far which is equivalent to writing a book itself! I did all of these purely out of passion and interest to share my thought process about the stock market and sharing tips and tricks and recommendations for beginners, intermediate and advanced investors alike-hoping to bridge the gap of financial literacy to the masses.

In less than 6 months from the start of this blog in July, I have achieved a total of nearly 38k views and 21k visitors from all over the world! I did not expect so many people reading my blog before I started, and I have to say I am extremely humbled by the stats.

I guess Forrest Gump’s quote was right, “Life is truly like a box of chocolate, you’ll never know what to expect!”

From 2021 onwards, I have a goal of releasing an E-Book hopefully by the end of the year if I managed to find time and ideas to complete it which will talk about investing, personal finance and self-growth. It’s a mini project which I have set out for myself and to constantly improve myself and do something I’ve never done before.

The growth of this blog and the ever growing tele channel community really motivates me to write even more knowing my articles are value adding individuals and empowering more people to take charge of their own finances and hopefully one day break out of the rat race through prudent investing and adopting a long term investing mindset.

As university’s workload piles up while my next semester arrives, hopefully I will keep up with at least 1 blog post every week and I hope that if you really learnt a lot from my blog posts, a shoutout or sharing of my blog post with your friends and family really mean a lot to me, because all these time and effort spent into crafting and writing out a blog post are purely out of my own passion and I will ensure that posts will remain absolutely free for all to read in the future.

Individual stocks analysis-type of posts will come soon hopefully once I find enough time to research and pick up key informations so that it can be easy for even a layman to understand. This blog is also here as a reflection for my own thought process and tracking my own journey towards financial freedom, just like many other financial blogs out there.

Conclusion

So what are some of the goals you managed to achieve in 2020? Be it financial goals or health goals or relationship goals, I hope that all of us learnt an important lesson this year and that is: To not take our lives and loved ones for granted.

Covid-19 was unprecedented and unexpected, and the fact that we are still here breathing and living under a roof, and you reading this post with a smartphone/tablet/laptop meant that we are extremely lucky to make it out of 2020 alive while others mourn over their loved-ones and those still battling with the virus.

From 2021 onwards, try and set new goals and targets so that you will continue to improve, and always aim high so that even if you fall short, you still do decently well and keep focusing on self-growth.

There will always be someone else better/smarter/richer/luckier so throw away those unnecessary comparisons, and just keep aiming to be a better version of yourself by switching your mindset.

As 2020 comes to an end, I wish each and everyone all the best in your journey towards financial freedom, good health and peaceful family ties and of course, happy new year in advance! To those who read all the way till the end, I sincerely thank you for the bottom of my heart for the unwavering support thus far.

Referrals

I use StocksCafe to keep track of all my investments (include Robo) + research on stocks. You can also view my portfolio as well as many others so you can compare your own performance with other investors. If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to sign up and access premium features for 1 extra month for new users. (3 months)

TL;DR Syfe Promo Code

For people who are interested to invest into Syfe and wants to open an account, you can use the promo code below as a bonus 🙂

Promo Code: SRPTH8LK3

$10 bonus for the first deposit of $500 (or more)!

$50 bonus for the first deposit of $10,000 (or more)!

$100 bonus for the first deposit to $20,000 (or more)!

Note: Bonus is applicable on the first deposit made only. The bonus will be automatically credited to your portfolio and invested along with your existing investments

For those new to the blog, here’s a collation of some of my favourite and most popular posts this year:

My Top Ten Holdings

3 Reasons Why The Stock Market Is At An All Time High

Is Syfe’s New Equity100 Portfolio Worth The Hype?

5 Stocks I Would Buy If The Market Crashes Again

Syfe VS Stashaway: Which Robo Is Better?

What I Use To Purchase US Stocks: Introducing Firstrade

How To Pick The Right ETFs For Your Long Term Portfolio?

The Truth About Investing And How You Can Start: Part 1

The Truth About Investing And How You Can Start: Part 2

When To Sell A Stock? 6 Reasons To Do So

Syfe VS Autowealth: Which Robo Is Better?

A little update: Just hit 630 subscribers on my Tele Channel! If you don’t want to miss out any post, investment insights and personal finance tips + Quote of the Weeks, do join the channel! Thank you to all readers for your support thus far ❤️

Join My Tele Channel Here For Updates!

With the rising popularity of Robo-Advisors due to their efficient approach and simplifying the barriers to entry for a retail investor. Gone are the days where you have to research on your own stocks or ETFs, the painstaking process of opening a brokerage account, and to try and “time” the market and disappoint yourself.

With Robo-Advisors, you no longer need to worry about having to time the perfect market entry (to go in at a good price), but instead let the Robo-Advisor automate this process for you, allowing even the most clueless and lazy individuals to become invested.

Contrary to popular belief, Robo-Advisors are not actual robots investing for you, instead, it is an app platform managed by a team of financial advisors behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and cost-efficient approach to investing. Their purpose is very similar to that of a human financial advisor but each Robo Advisor have their own specialties and approach for different investment needs in the market.

Who Should Use Robo-Advisors?

Robo advisors are perfect for time-starved working adults who are looking to grow their money passively or clueless (but in the process of learning) young adults with small capital who are looking to invest but not confident to DIY themselves and want a foolproof way to simplify investing. In essence, Singaporeans aged 18-40+ years old suit the profile and should benefit from Robos the most.

Without sounding too naggy, let us get to it and analyse these 2 Robo Advisors and which one may be best for your long term investing needs. Oh, and for those looking for a comparison between Syfe vs Stashaway, you can read this post here!

Background

Between the 2 Robos compared today, Autowealth has been around since 2017 while Syfe is a newcomer who launched their first portfolio in 2019.  Despite being a newcomer, Syfe has been rolling out popular portfolios such as the REIT+ and the Equity100 for investors who want an SG-based Income Portfolio which is currently a first in the market as well as a 100% equities portfolio for investors seeking aggressive growth looking for the highest risk-adjusted return in the long run. Also new is a cash management portfolio with 1.75% yield coming our way in 2021.

Syfe has a total of 4 portfolios to date and are as follows:

  1. Syfe Global ARI (Automated Risk Management)
  2. Syfe REIT+ (100% S-REITs/S-REITs with Bonds)
  3. Syfe Equity100 (100% equities) -My Pick
  4. Syfe Cash+ (Cash Management 1.75% Yield)

Autowealth has a total of 4 different portfolios which ranges from Risk Level 1-4.

  1. Risk Level 1 : Preservation (20% equities / 80% bonds)
  2. Risk Level 2 : Conservative (40% equities / 60% bonds)
  3. Risk Level 3 : Balanced (60% equities / 40% bonds)
  4. Risk Level 4 : Long-term Growth (80% equities / 20% bonds)

In each Autowealth portfolio, the ETFs used are:

  1. Equities track : MSCI All-Country World Index ETF
  2. Bonds track : FTSE World Government Bond Index ETF

*Take note: Preservation and Conservative Profiles have lower portfolio risks, hence they track the MSCI World Index instead which excludes Emerging Markets.

TL;DR

Syfe Promo Code

For people who are interested to invest into Syfe and wants to open an account, you can use the promo code below as a bonus 🙂

Promo Code: SRPTH8LK3

$10 bonus for the first deposit of $500 (or more)!

$50 bonus for the first deposit of $10,000 (or more)!

$100 bonus for the first deposit to $20,000 (or more)!

Note: Bonus is applicable on the first deposit made only. The bonus will be automatically credited to your portfolio and invested along with your existing investments.

We will be comparing the Robos based on 2 factors:

  1. Fees
  2. Performance

1. Fees

When it comes to investing, the amount of fees you pay as a percentage of your investment is really substantial in the long run2% of 100k is $2000 and 0.5% of 100k is $500. Are fees significant? Yes. They play a huge role when it comes to overall returns of a portfolio in the long run. Since the fees are recurring, as your capital compounds, so does fees. Therefore, the lower the fees, the better!

So what are the fees structure when it comes to Syfe and Autowealth?

Robo AdvisorPlatform SupportedAnnual FeesMin. Investment
SyfeWeb/Mobile App0.4%-0.65%No Minimum
AutowealthWeb Only0.5% +18USDS$3000
Robo Head to Head Comparison

As you can see from this overview here, Syfe is more beginner friendly in terms of getting started with a small capital (at no minimum, so you can start with even $100) compared to Autowealth where you need a minimum of $3000 to start.

Autowealth

Autowealth has a simple fee structure where you basically pay 0.5% of whatever amount you invested and an additional 18 USD (24 SGD) for platform fees every year.

AutoWealth has a personal financial advisor or wealth manager that is assigned to each client. They call this the hybrid approach where you will meet the financial advisor before you open your account and start investing.

To put things into perspective, if you invest a total of $5000, you will be paying a total of $25 (0.05% fees) + 24 SGD (18 USD fee) making it a total of $49 paid to Autowealth in Fees.

If you put it in % terms, you are paying 0.98% in fees for your $5000 investment even before talking about any potential gain or loss on your investments.

We will get to this later and see how much invested capital will make this a better choice.

Syfe

When it comes to Syfe, it is obvious that they are more beginner friendly with a straightforward pricing structure: Anything from $1 to $19,999 will be 0.65% and above 20k will be 0.5% and 0.4% for 100k and above investments. 

Autowealth and Syfe Fees Head to Head

Compare Syfe’s fees directly to Autowealth, if you invest a total of $5000, you will be paying a total of $32.50 in fees (vs $49 for Autowealth), or 0.65% of your total $5000 investment (vs 0.98% for Autowealth)

If you were to hit 20k investments, you will be paying 0.5% + 18 USD for Autowealth and 0.5% for Syfe, which makes Syfe a more superior option if your capital is between $0 to $20,000+.

The additional 18USD fee from Autowealth is a huge barrier for most investors as it takes up a significant amount in fees. Unless you have 100k or more in capital to invest into Robos, I think the clear winner here is Syfe because you are paying lesser fees on a recurring basis which will become really significant in the long run. 

Fees are the number one reason why most funds underperform

Two similar funds can have extremely similar holdings (hence returns) but if one fund has a higher management fee, the clear winner is the one with lower fees since annualised returns takes into account the fees that you pay for trade commissions/ management fees.

Fees Concluding Statements

In conclusion: If you are an investor in their early 20s with less than 100k capital, you are paying lesser fees yearly if you opt for Syfe since you will be incurring 0.4%-0.65% fees (excluding ETF expense ratio) compared to Autowealth’s 0.5% + 18 USD if you have a small capital.

If you are an investor in their 30s or 40s and beyond and looking for somewhere to invest spare monies of 100k or more, Autowealth may make sense to you since fees will be constant at 0.5% + 18 USD depending on how much capital you have. Remember to keep fees below 1% of your entire portfolio, so after accounting for the 18 USD and you are able to keep it below 0.65% of Syfe’s offering, Autowealth may be a good choice in this scenario.

You can also choose Syfe too since their fees drop to 0.4%(excluding ETF expense ratio) when you invest more than 100k and have a dedicated financial advisor who will guide you along the way. 

Winner: Syfe (Lower fees = Higher Returns)

2. Performance

One of the key reasons why we choose an investment is due to its performance: Is the investment able to generate you the highest risk adjusted returns based on your own risk profile and time horizon? If yes, you found your right fit and can start to decide on what to invest. We shall now dive into the performance of the 2 Robo Advisors and see which one makes more sense based on your own individual risk profile and time horizon.

AutoWealth

Taken from AutoWealth website

As you can see here, the different portfolio averages out to 5%-7% annualised return per annum. Why is this so?

The reason is simple: You are holding a basket of Equites which goes up in the long run and bonds which may be useful during a downtrend but weighs down your equities in the long run. Eventually the returns averages out to approximately 5%-7%.

Autowealth focuses on being the most passive by investing into Index ETFs which you can DIY as an investor but again, to prevent from timing the market, Robos will be more efficient than DIY but are the fees justifiable? That depends on how much you are investing and your goal of investing.

As a general rule of thumb, the more equities (stocks) you hold in your portfolio, the more volatile (price fluctuations) your portfolio return is going to be. But do note volatility does not equate to risk. A common misconception beginner investors make is to think that a volatile instrument is a risky investment, risk can be defined by many different things but the biggest risk to investing is not knowing what you are doing.

Even putting your money in the bank has risk, such as credit risk and inflation risk. So everything in life comes with risks. It’s sad that the only thing certain in life are taxes and death…

Autowealth’s portfolios generally follows a Boglehead Passive Indexing approach by diversifying into asset classes such as Stocks and Bonds and in general these types of portfolio tend to do decently well in any condition. The only caveat here is that returns will neither be the best nor the worst. You will just enjoy a decent risk-adjusted return with downside risk protection from bonds but when markets go up bonds will be weighing down on your potential gains. (such as the current bull run we are in).

In conclusion, Autowealth’s myriad of portfolios offer a decent risk-adjusted return with downside protection and is matching the returns of the World Stock Market Index. Your portfolio will not outperform the market, but it will most likely match market returns ranging between 5%-7% annualised. (Personally I feel its too little returns and I’m not amazed by the returns.)

The potential cons going forward will depend on how much bonds you have but at the same time the amount of downside you will face potentially also depends on how much equities you have. 

Autowealth’s portfolio is designed for busy professionals wanting a lower cost collective investment scheme as compared to higher fees Unit Trusts. The portfolios itself consist of ETFs only though, so returns generally depend on overall market conditions.

This Robo is recommended for investors with Low/Balanced/Medium-High Risk Profile with a bigger capital (>100k recommended), since the targeted group will be investing into the different portfolios with a short, medium and medium-long term time horizon with significant capital amassed already.

Syfe

When it comes to Syfe, Syfe offers 3 different portfolios targeting different types of investors with different risk profile and time horizon. For one, Syfe’s Global ARI is extremely similar to Autowealth’s portfolio with a focus on downside risk management and tilt towards international ETFs. It can be seen in the above backtest done by Syfe which shows that they have the ability to outperform the index they are tracking.

Syfe offers the industry’s first and only SG REIT based portfolio REIT+which was extremely popular among Singaporean investors when it first released. It gave an opportunity to Singaporean retail investors to own the top 20 REITs in Singapore without incurring hefty trading fees and upfront capital if they were to do it themselves. In fact, this is the only portfolio which does not invest into ETFs but buy into the actual underlying REIT which you will be able to own directly albeit being a custodian.

However, it is still a good way to diversify into the S-REIT market and a good startingIncome Portfolio. It generated a return of 27.1% with a dividend yield of 5.1% in 2019. However do note that past return is not a guarantee of future performance so it is still up to you if you choose to invest in this portfolio.

As for Syfe’s newest portfolio Equity100, it changed the entire ball game when it comes to Robo advisory investing: They have opt for a 100% equities (stocks) portfolio targeting investors seeking the most aggressive growth with a long time horizon. This portfolio will outperform any other portfolio offered by Autowealth if you as an investor hold it long enough because equities trend upwards in the long run and absolutely destroy any other asset class over a long time period.

From my StocksCafe Portfolio (Syfe Equity100 Outperforming 3 Indexes)

Based on my own computation of my Equity100 portfolio, it is significantly outperforming the S&P 500 ETF, VT (World) ETF, and absolutely crushing our local STI ETF Year-To-Date.

Syfe also has a cash management offering called Cash+ coming up which I presume should be competing for a share of the capital protection market, for yield hungry individuals looking for a place to park their funds now that banks are slashing their interest rates. I do foresee many people using this after they max out their 10k in Singlife. With no lock up and withdrawal fees, this offering is extremely competitve and should be popular among fixed deposit holders or people wanting to preserve their capital.

In conclusion: Syfe offers 4 strategic portfolios which caters to different investors or for an investor to craft a powerful Core-Satellite Portfolio to capture higher gains using Equity100 and hedging against downside risk using the Global ARI portfolio as a Core holding. The REIT+ can also compliment the growth segments by providing passive income in the form of dividends while Cash+ can be double as an investing warchest and for capital preservation purposes.

Based on individual risk profile and time horizon, you can then determine which portfolio to choose. As a general rule of thumb, the younger you are the more risk you should be willing to take due to the long time horizon you have ahead. Hence, Equity100 will become part of my long-term portfolio since it will give me the highest risk-adjusted returns in the long run compared to diversified portfolios holding bonds and gold which may weigh down my potential gains in the long run.

Winner: Depends (Syfe if you are able to stay long term with them/Autowealth if you are a busy professional wanting downside risk and average 5%-7% risk-adjusted returns with a medium term time horizon.)

Overall Thoughts

So at the end of the day, which Robo advisor you choose really depends on how much capital you have and what kind of investor you are. If you are currently schooling and only have a couple hundred bucks, or less than $20,000 to invest, Syfe makes the most sense given its lower fees (0.5%-0.65%) compared to Autowealth (0.5% + 18 USD) Autowealth really only makes sense if you have higher capital to make the 18 USD less significant and even so, if you are happy with 5%-7% and do not wish to find out more on how you can achieve 15% or more return, then go ahead with Autowealth.

Other than fees, an investor can opt for Syfe if you are looking for a 100% equities portfolio through the Equity100 or a 100% S-REITs portfolio through the REIT+. Both of these are unique and the industry’s first, so if you are a young investor that wants to go full equities like me or simply wants to invest in Singapore’s top 20 REITs, Syfe will make the most sense to you.

Likewise, if you are busy professional with little time to care about your finances and investments, wants to have the flexibility in choosing different risk profile while protecting your downside risk, you can opt for Autowealth’s portfolio and customise it whichever way you like and call it a day. Or you can also use a Core-Satellite strategy using Syfe’s Global ARI as a core holding, and then Equity100 and REIT+ as a satellite holding. 

This will make sure you have your downsides covered while at the same time enjoying some of the gains from the satellites holding that the Core is not able to attain.

At the end of the day, investing should not be binary and you can opt for both Robos if you want to. You can even use Autowealth’s portfolio as a core holding while Syfe as a satellite holding, it is totally up to you!

All of these comes back to the same questions:

  1. How much capital do you have?
  2. How long is your time horizon?
  3. How much risk are you willing to take?
  4. Are you in a profession whereby there’s simply no time to care about investments? 

Once you are able to answer these questions, the right Robo will naturally make sense to you. But the most important thing is to start now and stop procrastinating!

Autowealth Beanstock Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Syfe Beanstock Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Both Robos have an extremely clean UI and easy to understand platform with great customer support. One thing to note though, is that Autowealth only works on the web platform and no mobile apps, in contrast to Syfe which have both web and mobile platform.

You will get a dedicated financial advisor when you first begin with Autowealth, and likewise 1 month access to financial advisors for Blue tier members of Syfe after signing up.

Both are able to bring back decent returns for their investors. The reason Syfe got a higher Beanstock rating is because it ticks more of my personal checklist of investing but that is because my needs and your needs may be different. (And also because Equity100 can deliver returns which I am satisfied with)

Choose the Robo which can offer you the highest risk-adjusted returns based on your own risk profile, time horizon and capital available. With the capital you have, choose the one that will incur the least fees because fees will really eat into your returns and will be compounded just like your capital. Hence, the Robo you choose should be in line with all the above criteria and you should always stay invested, so remember to pump in spare cash every now and then.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have more clarity on the similarities and differences between Autowealth and Syfe. Both are excellent Robos which allow investors to diversify into Global ETFs without incurring hefty trading fees and to start. So which one did you choose? Leave your comment down below! Stay safe and stay invested! 

Oh and, Syfe Promo Code for those who wanted to scroll back and find it, here it is for your convenience 🙂

Promo Code: SRPTH8LK3

$10 bonus for the first deposit of $500 (or more)!

$50 bonus for the first deposit of $10,000 (or more)!

$100 bonus for the first deposit to $20,000 (or more)!

Disclaimer:

The content here is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security. In fact, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor and may not be used to evaluate or make any investment.

Do note that this is not financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your stock broker or financial advisor.

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