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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Growing up to be truly rich!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Although we can say genetics make us what we are, our environment plays a part in making who we are.

If we are not careful, certain things we picked up in our younger days could set us back for life.

"Daddy, my classmate's family just moved into their new condominium. Has swimming pool and tennis court. So nice."

If a child said that to his father, I hope the father didn't say:

"His parents must be rich!"

Then, the child would grow up to think that anyone who buys expensive things must be rich.

"Wow, my colleague just bought a Ferrari. Must be rich!"


"Wahhhh. My supervisor just bought a Richard Mille watch. So rich. So good."


It is true that some rich people splurge on luxuries but it is not true that people who splurge on luxuries must be rich!

The truly rich are those who can afford to buy all the stuff they need and want

1. Even if they do not have any earned income


2. Without ever going into debt.

I believe that this is something that we should teach our children as soon as possible.

We will be improving their chances of growing up to be truly rich.

Related posts:
1. From rich to broke.
2. If we are not rich, don't act rich.

Investing in Starhub at the right price?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My investment in Starhub has turned out to be a bad one.

However, I am not losing sleep over this.

Why? Is it because I am on anti-depressants?

Hey, don't be so like that lah.

I stop taking those pills a long time ago.

I am quite ZEN about the paper loss really because my investment in Starhub is very small especially in comparison to my investment in SingTel which has been, of course, my preferred local Telco to invest in for quite a while now.

To give you a rough idea, the market value of my investment in Starhub is less than 2% the market value of my investment in SingTel.

Although I have been adding to my investment in SingTel as its share price declined in recent months, I have not added to my investment in Starhub even as its share price plunged.

Why is this so?

SingTel has a stronger balance sheet, stronger free cash flow and it pays out a fraction of its earnings as dividends to shareholders.

Starhub, on the other hand, has seen its free cash flow declining in recent years and it pays out much more than its free cash flow as dividends to shareholders.

Although Starhub has cut DPS from 20c to 16c, I think, if the management is financially prudent or unless business improves dramatically however unlikely, DPS should be cut again.

I did the numbers some time back and again more recently. I now feel that a more sustainable DPS could be 10c, assuming things do not get much worse.

So, if we choose to invest in Starhub today for income, we should ask ourselves if a DPS of 10c would make us happy?

I received quite a few messages from readers regarding Starhub recently. Examples:

Assuming that Starhub pays all of its cash flow to shareholders as dividends, I feel that it behaves very much like S-REITs.

Hanging on to that idea, if we can get a dividend yield of 7% or more from Starhub which is probably comparable to what we can get from industrial S-REITs, it is not too bad a deal.

Assuming a lower 10c DPS, even at $1.70 a share, we are looking at a dividend yield of 5.88% which doesn't quite cut it for me even with this new perspective.

Investing in Starhub for income?

Closer to $1.40 a share could be a more reasonable price to pay, I feel.

At $1.40 a share and assuming a more sustainable DPS of 10c, dividend yield would be 7.14%.

What if $1.40 does not happen?

No problem because I would rather invest in SingTel at the current price than to invest in Starhub at the current price, everything taken into consideration.

Looking at the chart, the RSI shows that Starhub is very oversold but like the MACD, the momentum oscillator does not show any sign of a trend reversal.

Although Starhub's share price plunged 5% (- 9c) today to $1.67, we could see it going lower if Mr. Market shares my sentiments.

Things could get worse before they get better.

So, why have I not been adding to my investment in Starhub?

Alamak. I anyhow talk to myself only lah.

You blur? I also blur.

Investing in Raffles Medical Group.

Monday, June 18, 2018

I revealed earlier in the year that I have a few hundred drafts in my blogging account, these are blogs which I started and did not finish.

It is terrible, I know.

There were always so many things going on in my mind and I am sure they contributed to my sleeping problem in the past.

Things have improved for me on the mental health front as I try not to think too much these days.

Anyway, this blog on Raffles Medical Group (RMG) was one of those drafts. 

It was more than a year ago when I started this.

OK, enough rambling.

When I looked at RMG together with Healthway Medical many years ago at around the time of  the Global Financial Crisis, RMG's historical PE ratio was 21x.

That provided a guide for me as to what might be a fair price to pay for a stake in RMG today if there has not been any major changes to its business.

With a PE ratio of about 33x in early 2017, I decided that RMG definitely wasn't cheap.

I thought if its share price should decline by a third, we would see a price movement approximately to its mean.

At the time in early 2017, RMG was trading at about $1.50 a share.

So, a one third decline in share price would give me a target buy price of $1.

Pay $1.50 a share?

Not for me.

Investors who invested in RMG at a PE ratio of 30x or higher had to expect RMG to register phenomenal growth in earnings year after year.

Otherwise, why would they value RMG so highly?

Personally, I could not see phenomenal growth in RMG's earnings happening especially with all the capital expenditure (CAPEX) and also the expected increase in operational expenditure (OPEX).

As RMG's share price plunged over time, I received emails from some readers who asked me to talk to myself but I declined.

They should talk to themselves and ask why did they invest in RMG at higher prices?

Were they investing for growth or were they speculating?

Believing that RMG would deliver phenomenal growth in earnings and accepting a very high PE ratio, they should understand that if growth should falter, Mr. Market could go into a depression.

This is a key risk factor when paying prices which reflect high expectations for growth and this is usually represented by a high PE ratio.

Of course, Mr. Market's optimism could create opportunities for investors of the more patient variety who prefer getting more value for money.

After all, the swing from optimism to pessimism could be quite dramatic and we really should be buying when Mr. Market is feeling pessimistic.

Don't blame the analysts, professional or amateur (including bloggers).

Good or bad, they probably had their plans.

Ask what is our plan?

The truth is RMG is facing some challenges.

With medical tourism in Singapore facing stiff regional competition and ongoing CAPEX with attending start up costs to be seen in their new Chinese hospitals through 2018 and even 2019, earnings at RMG would probably take not one but several hits.

It would, therefore, be a good idea to demand a bigger margin of safety which, of course, means demanding a lower entry price, everything else remaining equal.

Although RMG has a good track record of growing value for shareholders over the years, if we want a better outcome for our investment, it would make sense to pay a more reasonable price.

What is a more reasonable price?

Regular readers know that one method I use is to compare with crisis valuation to help determine if a stock is cheap.

RMG's lowest PE ratio was about 14x. This was during the GFC (2009). So, assuming earnings bottom at 4c a share, at about 56c a share, RMG would hit crisis valuation.

Not expecting another GFC, I decided that paying anything below its historical mean (21x) is probably a bargain.

So, paying anything below 84c a share should provide me with a good starting point.

In September 2017, when RMG hit $1.03 a share, I thought it was still expensive. 

Assuming an EPS of 4c, PE ratio was almost 26x.

Of course, Mr. Market didn't care what I thought and RMG saw its share price recovered.

I decided then that perhaps I should not wait for 84c and that I could nibble if it should ever touch $1 a share (i.e. PE ratio of 25x)

A PE ratio of 25x is significantly lower than 33x but, to be honest, I would still be buying into the expectation that RMG's Chinese investments would do well and lift earnings in a spectacular fashion in future.

If nothing goes terribly wrong, perhaps, the year 2020 is when earnings would improve more meaningfully for RMG.

So, investing in RMG now is to invest in growth but expectations should be realistic.

At $1 a share, dividend yield is about 2%.

So, it probably wouldn't appeal to the purist income investor. 

I got my foot in the door by paying $1 a share but unless the price goes lower from here, I am keeping my investment relatively small.

Related post:
Investing philosophy is timeless.

A $71,000 lesson or a haunting experience?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

This is a follow up to an earlier blog (see related post at the end of this blog) and there is a simple but important message in this.

All of us make mistakes, some bigger than others.

However, it is important to remember that there is nothing bigger than life itself.

We are always learning in life.

Life must go on and in a good way too.

Reader says...

I am so sad to fall into such greed and indeed lessons learned not to be greedy at all. 

I wonder how many people in your blog had experienced the same and can offer some encouragement and empathy.

I really feel so stupid for not checking your blog in 2014, and feel even stupider for doing more due diligence check. 

I feel so sorry for those who were in the same boat as us because I saw herds of people joining those conference in hotels giving free food and dinners.

"Crying my heart out" and those who pocketed our investors money must be laughing at us for being so stupid.

I do have feelings of burning down some buildings and at least slapping someone if killing is too much??

Where is the money?

AK says...

I do feel sympathetic.

However, it could be better for you to treat the money as gone and not think about it too much.

I have been in situations where I lost money in investments and a lot of money too and it was horrible.

However, I had to get over it and I told myself to take it as a learning experience and not to make the same mistake in future.

It will take time. 

Cry but let it go after crying. OK? :)

I would rather treat this as a $71,000 lesson than to let it haunt me forever.

Related post:
$71,000 bogus investment?

Should I sell my home and downsize or downgrade?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

This is a reply to Ruby, a long time reader of ASSI, but it turned out to be quite lengthy.

So, I decided to publish it as a proper blog instead.

Ruby's comment and questions:

My reply:

Hi Ruby,

Of course, the property agent would want you to sell your home and buy a new one (probably from him too). ;p

Ask do you need to sell or do you want to sell your home?

Your home is a freehold property and does not suffer from lease decay.

This is a fact.

Aging freehold property?

I don't understand why is that an issue.

From the perspective of your home holding its value over time, what's wrong with that?

Now, if you need more money for retirement and if selling your home is the only way to achieve this, then, you have to do it.

Then, you can choose to either downsize (rightsize) or downgrade.

You could get another freehold private apartment but one with a smaller footprint if you care about your home holding its value and often people care about this because they want to leave their home as a legacy for their future generations.

I think a one bedroom 500 sq ft apartment should be good enough for a married couple if the space is used efficiently.

If you need the same amount of space as your current home, if you want to stay in Singapore, then, downgrading to a public (HDB) flat is the only way to go and, with the current rules, resale flats are your only option.

As retirees, I guess you don't have to be located in mature HDB estates.

It is a fact that flats in non-mature HDB estates would cost less and this option would leave more money in your pocket.

Also, as seniors, if this is the route you choose, you don't have to be so particular about shorter remaining leases of resale HDB flats as long as the price is right because HDB flats are for staying in and not meant to be a store of value for legacy planning.

You might also want to read the related post at the end of this blog which is about another reader who was thinking of downsizing.

Wishing you good health and good luck!

Related post:
Downsizing our home for better?

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