They chose financial independence over home ownership.

This is somewhat extreme but watch how this Canadian couple chose financial independence over home ownership.  They are in their 30s and,...

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"E-book" by AK

Second "e-book".

Another free "e-book".

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ASSI's Guest bloggers

Progress and learnings in money and investment matters.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hi AK,

1) I've automated my monthly fixed expenses to be paid out of my credit cards - actually just one credit card - where possible. I now just need to refer to my month-end statements when they come, and cross-check them with the respective companies' billing statements for discrepancies (usually stat boards are accurate to the tee lah hor). 

2) After much research and small A/B tests, I've also decided to use the same credit card for my other everyday spends as well. Hence maximized and optimized, at least for now while the T&C is still to my spending patterns' favour.

It also gives me a good black-and-white copy of my expenditures, and I often use it as a form of accountability check on myself if I'm actually spending my monies wisely or am I regretting some spur-of-the-moment purchases. 

3) I've cultivated a habit of putting aside monies for savings towards my personal goals: opening savings accounts and filling them up to the minimum amount required is my new-found hobby (though it will die out soon as there are only so many that I can open). 

I'm just gamifying what seemed to be a mundane task i.e. saving money. May seem bo liao, I know. Maybe for your level, it's opening various priority/premier/privilege banking accounts? :P

4) Now each time after I receive my pay, I do a 30 min exercise of paying of my credit card bill (see point #1) and transferring amounts to my different saving accounts (see point #3), and soon after that, I'll know how much more excess cash I have for myself. 

5) Also automated (because GIRO) the amount that I set aside for long-term savings cum investment. It's just STI ETF for me for now, and I'm still working towards increasing and maximizing that monthly amount as my personal goal. Again, gamification of things. 

6) Outside of all these automations, I've also developed this habit of not paying items in full value, or at least their full face value. 

So I'm very auntie liao because I always keep a look out for discounts, coupons, credit card rebates for the items that I need to buy. For my wants, the decision-making process always get stuck in the deliberation stage, and more often than not, I forget about it. But if I don't, it probably something that I really, really wanted or am willing to reward myself for.

7) To occupy my time, I've also started to invest in stocks by paper trading with $15,000. 

Initially it was exciting: I took out my watchlist, screened them once more with my own self-approved parameters that I've learnt from different sources, and added a couple of counters to my portfolio.

It's not so exciting for me because I've reached a stage whereby I only have limited amount in my war chest to spend on, and gotta spend wisely. Assuming all the fundamentals are already self pre-approved, it's really more of waiting for the right entry points (negative P/B? lower end of the 52-weeks MA?) So what do I do? Wait for the next GSS (Great Stock Sale) lor. Told you I very auntie liao.

But one of the things I do learn on the side is why having a ready-to-deploy war chest becomes very important. 

I also learnt that looking at my portfolio everyday is not gonna help in anything. So long as I've bought the businesses for the right reasons, it doesn't really matter if the price moves up or down because I'm not trading and earning from margins anyway. 

Aside from capital gains, which will not be realized unless it's a time horizon of a few years, I'm just awaiting for dividend payouts which only happen on a bi-annually or quarterly basis. 

Right now I'm only sitting on 0.363% paper profits :D 

From this I also learnt why people always ask "if $x.xx is a good price to enter for counter A", and perhaps more importantly, why you always choose to be neutral about sharing such calls or actions. Because really, to each their own set of reasoning. 

8) Growing wealth is really like watching grass grow. Now I know why you started gardening. :D

Maybe this is why I always see the same aunties and uncles lim kopi at Toast Box, in an air-conditioned shopping mall near my place or doing line dancing in the CC. If all the pillars of your life are already sound and strong, and money no longer an worrisome issue, really what more is there to be done? Just smile and live life happily lor. :)


Sunflower seedlings.

Hi F,

Your update made me smile.

1. You are doing a great job in saving money and tracking your expenses while trying to have fun doing it.

2. Priority/Privilege/Premier banking relationships are all attempts by banks to make more money from us. Seriously, give me OCBC 360, UOB ONE or BOC Smartsaver any time.

3. An STI ETF is a good way to start your journey as an investor.

4. Why pay full price for anything if we can pay less? I agree. A penny saved is a penny earned!

5. Paper trading to gain experience is a good idea. The stock market will always be there. No hurry.

Finally, welcome to "gardening" as a hobby. ;)

Best wishes,


AK shared a recent development on Facebook:

Related posts:
1. Investing or gardening, be ready for war.
2. UOB ONE or OCBC 360?
3. Matthew Seah on Dollar Cost Averaging.


Kevin said...

Hi F and AK,

I would like to share this article from the Business Times about value investing.

Best wishes and happy investing.

AK71 said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for sharing the article.

I was introduced to Aggregate's style of investing a few years ago. They own many stocks (500 in their instance) with each stock not being more than 0.2% of their portfolio minimises concentration risk. However, I wonder if it is practicable for retail investors. Still, it is something to chew on.

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