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Lost Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars! My experience!

Sunday, May 28, 2023

For readers who who are not subscribed to my YouTube channel or who simply prefer reading blogs to watching videos, this is the transcript of another recent video I produced.
I read my older blogs from time to time.

There are lessons to be learnt from history and I often find things I said in the past to be useful reminders.

This is inspired by a blog I published in 2011.

Back then, there was a bit of controversy surrounding a business trust called "CitySpring Infrastructure Trust".

It was the catalyst for the blog in which I shared my losses, and how I recovered from losses to do better over time as an investor.

"When I finally fully divested from "CitySpring" which I no longer liked as an investment for income, I did not lose money.

"I was also spared the subsequent rights issue."

So, the lesson was not to throw good money after the bad.

At the time, I said the business trusts which I counted as heavy losses were MPSF and FSL Trust. Back then, I also said I would consider any 5-figure loss as a heavy loss.

What about now?

Since then, I have added another black feather to my cap and that's the $100,000 loss in Marco Polo Marine. 

To be exact, it isn't that much since the company is still in business and my paper loss is closer to 90% now which means a $90,000 loss.

It still stings.

That was a few years ago.

I have been more cautious since then.

Also, these days, I am able to stomach low to mid 5 figure losses once or maybe twice a year without going into a depression as my balance sheet is much stronger than before.

What have I been doing since then to have a stronger balance sheet?

Staying invested mostly in bona fide income producing assets while remaining financially prudent.

Sounds boring? 

To many people, it probably is.

I also speculated in some stocks along the way but never in a big way and, most certainly without using any financial leverage.

Now, with much pessimism surrounding REITs due to higher interest rates, I also found something I said in that blog from 12 years ago a useful reminder.

I said that all real estate investment trusts I was vested in were back in the black. Many, like AIMS AMP Capital Industrial, were in the red but I used the price weakness in the crisis to add aggressively to my investments.

Now, we call that the Global Financial Crisis.

Those decisions to add to my investments in real estate investment trusts were rewarding back then.

This is a good reminder.

If we invest in real estate investment trusts which are genuinely undervalued and have strong balance sheets, if Mr. Market should sink into a depression, as investors for income, it would be an opportunity to increase exposure.

Doing what I did back then, the value of my stocks investment portfolio practically doubled as the world emerged from the Global Financial Crisis.

I remember one of my favorite investments made during the crisis was Hyflux Water Trust, but it was privatized later. 

So, it was a forced divestment but at a premium of 150% to my purchase price, I couldn't complain.

Many of my better investments were privatized over the years.

I also shared that I made some money trading stocks over the years.

However, from 2010 to 2011, all the gains to my portfolio of stocks were from the hefty dividends received. 

Honestly, I booked some paper losses trying to trade stocks while the market was turbulent. Fortunately, the decision to focus more on investing for income paid off.

Dr. Marc Faber said that the Global Financial Crisis was a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a lot of money in the stock market. Is it likely to be repeated in the near future? 

I do not know and, hence, my current strategy of not being fully invested in stocks.

There are many ways to achieve financial freedom, and my way is only one of the ways.

It is the toughest at the beginning.

However, experience tells me it should get easier with time if we are doing the right things.

So, do not lose heart.

Remember, there is no free lunch and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There is no short cut but do not cut short our journey towards financial freedom.

If AK can do it, so can you!

Further reading:
Passive income as much as earned income. Get rich slow.


C said...

Dear AK, a timely reminder to be pragmatic. Despite the temptation to buy more bank stocks, I prefer keep some dry powder for potential correction. I respect some who keep buying bank stocks with just minor dips, maybe they have deep pockets. I watched your YouTube about this guy who went all into Alibaba stock, with leverage some more. Took a brisk walk and reminded myself this is a long journey, no rush. Thank you :)

AK71 said...

Hi C,

Don't be overly optimistic but don't be overly pessimistic either.

Be pragmatic.

I remind myself that this is only one of the 3 words starting with the letter "P" that I try to remember. :)

3 attributes of a wealthy peasant.

Case in point, if the person who went all in on Alibaba with leverage at $200+ per share had been pragmatic, he would have the resources to buy more now at $70+ a share, which arguably is a much better entry price.

Indeed, there is no rush when we have good company on a long journey. Thank you. ;)

Yv said...


My largest loss also 100k. Lent to a friend in 2018 and haven't gotten it back since.
Think i have to write off.

AK71 said...

Hi Yv,

You are a good friend. :)

I would not have lent such a large sum of money to any friend.

Yes, I would write off the loan (and the friend.) :(

The difference between lending and donating.

Henry said...

Your article reminded me of 1990, when I first invested in the SG stock market. Cerebos, Keppel-Tat Lee Bank, Far East Levingston, NetSteel Electronics and some i couldn't remember their names. The go-go years. Buy any blue chips or subscribe to IPO sure make money. Now it's much harder. Need a lot more wisdom to get things right.

AK71 said...

Hi Henry,

I remember those booming good times when all my university friends were making money speculating in stocks.

Some made enough money to buy cars!

Then, the crash came. (TmT)

The Dreamzola Traveller said...

Truly, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a lot of money in the stock market.
DBS was only $8 ++, OCBC was only $5++
It is a great pity that I didn't have a lot of soldiers to grab as much as I can.

AK71 said...


If we live long enough, we could have another opportunity like the Global Financial Crisis. ;p

Looking back, most of my investments made back then were pretty rewarding.

One that I am still holding today is AIMS APAC REIT which has been free of cost for some time.

I am contented. :)

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