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Which investment and personal finance bloggers to follow? (5 revelations from a regular retail investor.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whether we like it or not, many things in life have to be measured. However, it gets rather irksome when people want to measure us against others. 

If you get the feeling that AK is going to be ranting in this blog post, you are right!

My school results were measured against my cousins' all the time, I remember.

When I was a bit older, I told my mom and my aunts very firmly that I didn't like that. They stopped.

I think it was more fun for them than it was for me.

Now, for investments, it is the same thing. For some people, is not enough that we do well, we must be the best. 

Why do some people get so fixated with measuring and comparing everything?

"Wah, you are short! I am long!"

(Hey, I am talking about positions lah. Think straight hor. Huh? What do you mean 64 positions? Aiyoh, I don't know what you are talking about.)

Anyway, it gets so tiring sometimes that I wish I do not hear or read anything like this for a long time. 

It just gets quite pervasive at times.

I have been asked by some people on and off to give more details regarding my portfolio so that they can decide if I am beating some benchmark. 

What benchmark? 

The only marks I know on benches are graffiti in the public parks which might include the odd phone number offering some services by some people. 

Huh? Financial services? 

You say leh?

When I politely declined (for the umpteenth time), some people asked, 

"How would I know if you are worth following if I don't know?"

Wah! WAH! WAH!!!!!

Which color tastes better?

Hey, bro. Here are a few things I don't mind revealing:

1. Don't follow me. 

I have this fear of stalkers. I don't know why. I am just so scared of being stalked.

2. My investments might beat the index or they might not. I don't really care. 

All I care about is getting in with a margin of safety and having a dividend yield that makes sense. 

OK, sometimes, I get a little adventurous but I try to make sure that the occasional misadventure will not kill me. Yes, what I do care about is not losing money overall.

3. I never claim to be an expert or a guru. 

I am just a regular retail investor who got lucky quite regularly (I will admit). I say this all the time. There are some people who believe me and although not all are polite about it, I have no doubt that they are all clever chaps.

4. I am not very clever at spotting growth in companies. 

I can't seem to see very clearly what is in the future. I don't think anyone can guarantee growth. So, I rather get my hands on something which is more or less guaranteed, trying to avoid being stung at the same time.

5. The only person you should really follow is yourself. Know yourself. Know your temperament. Know your aptitude. 

You could be good at some forms of investment. Then, just stick to these.  If you want to be the best in the field, well, go ahead. Just, please, don't think that I feel the same way and that I have to be the best too.

OK, now I have a blog post I can direct some people to in future.

Related posts:
1. Motivations and methods in investing.
2. Market gyrations, my portfolio and a sabbatical.


The Sun said...

There will be no end if people insist to compare...

What's more, the selection of a investment performance benchmark is also highly subjective... best to leave it to each individual to determine based on his needs and motivations.

Singapore Man of Leisure said...



I think some of these "conditional" fan boys and girls have mistakenly thought they are your "customers".

If you have a paid subscription service, then of course these readers "own" you. You are their "servant".

But wait...

Unknown said...

Hi AK:)

Poor fellow! You are 'hot' [焦点人物}la.

A long time ago, I attended a requiem of a very pretty Taiwanese woman who was a PR in Singapore. At the church walls, I saw a wreath with a banner that reads {天妒才女]。In Greek mythology, the Greek gods were often ragingly jealous and wrathful of others, which in essence meant they did compared themselves with others.

Such is life. To live happily is often a challenge and often invite challenges from others. Take Care.

KC said...

You should be more direct.

"Don't like what you read? Eff off."

SMK said...

Just tune them out.

Sillyinvestor said...


Comparing is painful when we fall short, better not compare...

If you are able to compare with the best or benchmarks, it is a good problem, but do it internally, no need to let the world know...

It took me a very long time to tame the comparing demon in me. Very often, it still appear...

How I felt when comparing monster strike... (Read when free)

AK71 said...


Aiyoh... Paid subscription service? Then, some might ask me to produce a 24 hour movement chart liao. No, thank you.

You talk why talk halfway? Wait what? -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Dorshii,

Sounds Greek to me. LOL. ;p

I think comparing achievements with peers is really quite unhealthy most of the time. I know what some might say about how it could encourage us to do better but very often I just see the ugly side of it all.

I would rather avoid comparing and social settings which might give rise to comparisons. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi E H,

Aiyoh, no lah. I try to avoid that kind of language, if possible. I am a gentleman.

I know, I am shameless. ;p

AK71 said...


I am getting better at tuning as I grow older but sometimes the tuner just doesn't work properly. LOL.

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

Don't compare.

It becomes easier as we grow older, I used to think.

Then, I realise that it has little to do with age.

It becomes easier as we grow wiser, I then realised.

For some of us, it happens earlier and for some, it happens later but I hope it happens for everyone at some point in life.

We live our lives for ourselves and people who matter to us. Who should we compare ourselves to? Answer: The person we were in the past. :)

SMK said...

Comparison in itself is not bad but I agree with and rather enjoy smol comment.

Sillyinvestor said...

oh ya AK,

Sorry to OT,

Wanted to ask you few questions.
1) how long it takes to set up SRS account?

2) once set up, I can immediately deposit money and the deposit can be use to offset assessable income, right?

Do we manually key in during our tax filing or is it auto updated?

Solace said...

unfortunately. It is inevitable.

it has nothing to do with you. It’s just people being people, the world being the world.

If i have to die each time i lose out to other people, even a million round of deaths would not have been suffice.

I have learned not solve "this problem"

EY said...

Hi AK,

This post finally jolted me out of my naivete!

How could I unquestionably accept and believe that you are the most frugal guy around? How could I??

If you don't show how shaggy your toothbrush is when you discard it and that you have bought the most cheapo brand, how can I believe you?

If you don't show items that you wear which had been sewn back after the seams burst or are barely held in place with rubberbands when waistbands have loss their elasticity, how can I be convinced?

If you don't show how you ration your toilet paper or how you save water by combining one week worth of shower, how can I be inspired?

I think I have come to the wrong place. Excuse me, I'm heading to eBay now. What austerity drive? I felt so cheated!

Made up my mind to be a fan (but I can't decide if I should be aircon or shower). :P

pf said...

I don't like to compare. And i think it goes both ways.

Quite frequently when i am lamenting abt smthg, i will hear a comeback "we r all facing the same thing!" if i am supposed to be consoled that i am not alone.

Me: "so tired. ...been working late these days. Sigh."
Friend A: "these days everybody work late what! I also!"
Friend B: "U feel tired? ! C'mon! What are you saying?! We are ALL tired!"

Me: "i hv some difficulty with my staff. Does not seem to learn the ropes...not meeting my expectation. ..."
Friend A: "Everybody same what....we all face such situation at work! Just coach lor!"

Chey! What other ppl face is none if my business. I don't get comfort to hear ppl suffering....not a sadist.

Lol....but ppl like to compare and hv company.

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

Just visit a DBS, UOB or OCBC branch and tell them you want to start a SRS account. Give them a cheque for the amount you would like to contribute at the same time. Yup, it is all done on the same day.

What you contribute will be deducted from this year's income for income tax purposes as long as you do this before end of the year. It is all automatically captured by Inland Revenue. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Solace,

Even though I know that there are all sorts of people in this world, I still experience a jaw dropping moment from time to time. Like, duh...

Although I choose to be nice most of the time, there were times when I just had to let go some steam and I guess this blog post is one of those times. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

You are incorrigible. LOL. ;p

Actually, I do use my toothbrushes until they are quite disgraceful before replacing them but I don't use some cheapo brand. I only buy Oral B toothbrushes cheap at discount stores for 80c or $1.00 each. I am the cheapo, not the brand. ;)

I just showered and I have the air-con set at 23 degrees Celcius while having the fan on to circulate the cool air. All 3 items in your last sentence. Am I extravagant or what? I am so sorry. OK, write me off as a fake. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

Aiyoh, like that also want to complain? I have friends like that also. No sympathy at all. Terrible, right?

I felt like giving more examples from my own life but I stopped myself in time. You won't get any comfort from hearing about my suffering. LOL. ;p

pf said...

Haha...its not abt how unsympathetic my friend is lah...or how i lament abt certain things. Just saying to show that no matter good or bad things, ppl wld compare....

Ppl even compare for flattery.

Friend X: "Wah! I managed to time the market for this stock and made 30% gain!"
Me: "wah seh! U r a stock guru! I nv make so much like u!"

Friend Y: "From the time I was 30 to 35, I was promoted every year."
Me: "Wah seh! U r so capable. ...I can nv manage to do that!"

There. Ppl likes comparison.
Actually for the above cases, I also feel its no big deal to me coz its not my biz. But when ppl say such things, flattery is expected. If I don't give it to them, they are not happy. Lol....

EY said...

Hi AK,

Me incorrigible? Absolutely!

And very soon, my bank account balance is going to be as disgraceful as your toothbrush. Haha. What a great simile! Please add that to your AK Financial Dictionary.

I just spotted grammatical mistakes in my earlier comment and a missing 'not' in the last sentence. Next time must proof read. Or else, I'm gonna be more disgraceful than AK's toothbrush! LOL~

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

I don't know how to respond to this. Cham... Now, I know why I don't have many friends left. -.-"

When I do share my methods and information on my investments, it is usually with a view to ... er ... share. I don't expect flattery from people. Maybe, that is why it never occur to me that people might expect this from me.

Maybe, this is normal for talkative people. We talk so much that we have no time to hear what people say. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

A missing "not" is not a grammatical mistake. Grammatically, the sentence could still be good. ;p

On a higher level, it could be a deliberate effort in stylistics. Very gifted authors omit words sometimes to be coy. However, for the rest of us, we were just careless. LOL. ;p

EY said...

Hi AK,

I said grammatical mistakes AND a missing 'not'. You want to lure me to point out my mistakes right. Ok lah, indulge you for once.

Spelling mistake in 4th para .

Wrong tense used in 6th para.

Careless? No lah. I was trying to keep the English teacher in you alive! LOL~

EY said...

Oh, and a missing article in the last sentence. Oh my! Please bury your toothbrush! I don't wish to be compared to it. :(

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

I am deeply appreciative of your efforts to help me keep Alzheimer's at bay. My brain is growing duller by the day. -.-"

Kamsiah very much. ;)

pf said...

I don't hv many friends too. Coz i seldom give them flattery. Comparison is meaningless to me. Haha. ...

Unknown said...

Hello AK,

Could I ask u more basic stuffs?

Need you be an existing shareholder to exercise this rights? And is 1 for 1 rights meaning, 2 shares at $1?

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Hello AK,

Don't mind if I ask some basic questions as I'm new and not familiar to the terminology of 1 for 1.

Do I have to be an existing shareholder to exercise this rights? And does it basically mean 2 shares for $1?

Many thanks

AK71 said...

Hi Sherman,

I guess you are referring to Singapura Finance's rights issue?

1 for 1 means that for every share you hold now, you will be given 1 rights share.

The rights shares are priced at $1 each which means that if you wish to keep the rights shares, you have to pay $1 each.

If you are not an existing shareholder, you could buy nil-paid rights in the open market when they start trading.

I blogged about how to determine the value of nil-paid rights before. If you search for "rights issue" in my blog for First REIT, AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT or LMIR, you will get to read some real cases. :)

Unknown said...

Hello AK,

Thanks for the prompt reply! Any idea is there a date whereby this right will commence or cut off?

Thank you

AK71 said...

Hi Sherman,

I am still waiting for instructions. The package will arrive in the mail soon enough. :)

Unknown said...

Hello AK,

Shld be deciding to buy in a little on this share now..

Thanks for the info! (:

AK71 said...

Hi Sherman,

I was only talking to myself. So, please do your own due diligence. ;)

AK71 said...

I want to thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog to benefit fellow Singaporeans.

Alamak. I where got so altruistic? I blog because I enjoy it lah. ;)

Seriously, I am telling my friends and family to follow your blog and learn something useful. All Singaporeans who care about their money should follow your blog.

Aiyoh. Don't like that say lah. Later, they start questioning me. I cham. -.-"

AK71 said...

James said...
When I first come across your blog, what strike me is the pure honesty - you do what you say, you say what you do.
When it comes to investing, it is always a problem when there is a self interest (be it those that get paid for blogging, or are vested in a company).
But you have demonstrated very openly, the why you are in it, and why you are not.
You have left it to us, the readers, to decide our own path.
Like many who have commented, I thank you for openly expressing your thoughts and providing us so much wealth of knowledge.
If there is anything like minded, is that we believe that only us are responsible for our own personal finances.
Happy New Year.... Jim

AK said...
Thank you for the compliment. :)
I always say that I am only talking to myself in my blog and that was really the case in the early days. My audience was me and only me.
This is also why I say AK is mad. AK talks to himself. ;p
I hope I am honest when I talk to myself. -.-"
Happy 2018. :)

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