Saturday, 10 November 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Drink Less and Read More

Good morning on this beautiful Sunday. With blue skies and a delectable cool breeze from the east; this is going to be a good day.

I trust all of you are well or as close to well as can be. I'm buzzing today actually, and I put this down to a couple of factors, which I'll talk about today.

1. Cutting down on the beer

All my adult life, I've flirted with booze. Thankfully, I've stayed away - on the whole - from the harder stuff and stuck to mainly larger. That said our relationship has been long term and at times intense.

This started at a young age, for I come from a county (which will remain nameless) that prides itself on heroic consumption of alcohol. Thus, as a teenager, my friends and I would spend weekends in parks, up mountains, in forests and down beaches huddled together, sipping cans and enjoying nature.

Booze became, very quickly, an integral part of socializing and having fun.

This continued into university, albeit to a more intense degree, with a marked increase in not just the amount being drunk but also the frequency. What with 20,000 young people on campus and daily drink promotions the in the university bars, how could you refuse?

'It would be rude not to.' - as we used to say.


'Sure, you can't afford not to be pissed.'


After a heady, hazy few years of tertiary education, I moved to the other side of the world to peruse my career, only to be surrounded by folk who also enjoyed supping more than they should. Again, my social life circumnavigated the bar scene, and heavy consumption became the norm.

Now, this is not to say that I had lost control or anything like that, I hadn't. But it's just interesting how integrated into one's daily life drinking becomes: you go to meet a friend in town for a drink; it's your day off tomorrow so you get in a load of beers; it's your day off so you go for a few drinks in the afternoon; you're on holiday at the beach so you drink all day etc etc... It's like a insidious, incremental drip, drip, drip... an endless, joyless, pointless jaunt from one drink to the next without stopping and reflecting on the damage being done both mentally and physically.

Once you takes this step back and think about how life is ticking by with a booze fueled predictability, you start to re-think how life should be.

These days I run long distances on jungle trails and love the feeling of freedom and the fizzing of endorphins around by brain. I've found over the last week without alcohol this feeling has intensified.

While running with a fully detoxed body, I feel like I'm looking out on a new world, a fresher world, a world of intensified colors, smells and sounds. Gone is the heavy head loaded with uncertainties and anxiety, and in in its place is a head brimming with positive thoughts and possibilities. Therefore, when I weigh up how much I get from and alcohol and how much it take from me, it's irrational to keep drinking like before.

Churchill said, 'I've taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.' 

I used to feel this way, but now I've changed my mind. Drinking on a regular basis, no matter how much, becomes a habit loop that's difficult to break because you associate the bars and the friends that go there as part of your identity. If you gave the beer up, you'll lose part of your identity, an that's a scary thought. But this is an illusion.

However, when you finally take some time off, you see the world unveiled. This morning while running I had feelings about nature that I haven't had since I was a young kid. Suddenly, I felt more in tune with the greenery around me, more appreciative and observant. This is the way I want life to go on.

2. Reading more 

Presently, I'm reading Ray Dalio's 'Template for Understanding the Debt Crisis' and also Richard Dawkin's 'The Ancestor's Tale'. In the former, Dalio shows how the short term and long term debt cycles are predictable and inevitable. With painstaking research, he looks all all the major market crashes of the last century and analyses why these came about. I'll say little more about this as I don't want to spoil it for any potential readers. But what I can say is that it's food for thought and dam well written.

The Dawkins' book - as always - is peppered with delicious metaphor and analogy. It always amazes me how original he can be with his use of language. The book set you on a 'pilgrimage' from the present day back to the dawn of time, mapping the history of our species. Not coming form a scientific background, I love read Dawkins as he paints vivid pictures about complex scientific ideas. And, more amazingly, even a scientific dunderhead like myself can piece together the puzzle. Dawkins is worth reading for the science and also for the smoothness of his prose.

Thus, I come to the end of this week's post. Sorry, this weeks offering contains zero about investing etc. but sometimes when you start typing and get into a flow it's worth seeing where your thought process takes you. Today, it took me on a lovely little journey of self-reflection and mindfulness. For this, I'm thankful.

The two take-aways from this post are drink less and read more.

More next week. Have a good one.


Saturday, 3 November 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Trail Running and Investing

Jungle Running and Investing: Two Peas in a Pod

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Alright folks. Here we all are again on another Sunday morning. And, my goodness aren't we having fun?

October was a bumpy ride in the markets, prompting many to freak and run to the hills in the grips of an atavistic freak out: Agghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Last week I commented on this in my post Chill Out in which I asked the spooked masses to think again before they do something silly, based on emotion rather than rational analysis.

So, how has your week been? I hope you've had a good one.

Something I've never shared with you is that running is one of my great passions. In particular, trail running. I've only been at it for a couple of years, but my God I love it.

While belting down a jungle trail, jumping over buttress roots and ducking under ferns, I feel a tremendous sense of freedom. With my heart thumping in my chest, I inhale long and intoxicating lungfuls of delicious air. At this time, niggling anxieties melt away and my brain, fizzes with endorphins and feels content.

So how does all this running chatter fit in on an investment blog I hear you mutter? Well, there's a lot of crossover between investing and trail running.

Let me run you (pardon the pun) you through a few:

The first is preparation. Before I set out on a jungle trail, I must make sure I am well hydrated. This involves drinking at least 2/3 liters of water in advance. Running trails in the tropics is a sweaty business and to avoid heat stroke, you must make sure to be nicely watered. Similarly, before you invest in an equity, you must analyze the necessary metrics, the management and the future prospects. Failing to do so would be childish and reckless. Real investing takes time; speculation doesn't. Thus, both runners and investors need to prepare.

The second is resilience. Running jungle trails is an extreme sport. Its physical demands are obvious, but it's the mental challenges that separate the men from the boys. As a novice trail runner, the mind has great power to control your physical output. For example, in the first six to ten weeks running if the mind says:

'You're too tired to climb another incline. Sure, why not walk for a bit and relax.'

In these early stages, you listen to this interior monologue and obey. What the mind says, goes. But as time ticks on, and so does your mileage, you learn to ignore the voice in your head. Pushing through the pain barrier time and time again, turns down the voice's volume. Its nattering fades into the background.

These days, I enjoy the challenge and am prepared to push though the burn. Why stop when you can push on?

Investing, likewise, requires similar resilience. Newbies, will observe their portfolio decline in value by 10% and panic. The voice in their head screams at them:

'Sell the lot! You've better off in cash. What if you lose the lot? This is time to get out of the game and wait for the next bull market!'

We saw this in October, with the blogging world pulsating with fear. Otherwise sensible people were airing existential crises for all to read. Many didn't sleep; hairlines receded. 

Let me ask you this: after spending years repeating the Buffet mantra of 'Be greedy when others are fearful' etc. why do the opposite. What's needed is a healthy dose of resilience, folks, and I recommend grabbing some soon before you whittle your hard earned money away. I believe by building up resistance to the voice while running can help you as an investor when times are tough. Give it a go and see if it works for you.

Finally, I think trail runners and investors both share focus. Imagine you have to run 20kms over three steep mountains, through leech infested swamps and via pineapple fields where cobras lurk... If you failed to visualize your path and got sidetracked by the whats and the ifs, you'd never get to the end. Your scattered mind would lead you off in the wrong direct, ending your chances of reaching the finishing line.

Investing, too, require a goal, usually referred to as an 'investing horizon'. Thus, do you want to hold share for 5, 10, 15, 20 years? Or do you want to be in the game for life? It's important to set up this goal before you invest a dollar because if you do, you're much more likely to stick to your game plan. Focus in investing is imperative to avoid irrational silliness.

OK, so that's the end of my wee rant for this week. I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to comment, but be nice to me. I'm a sensitive soul.

Until next week...


Saturday, 27 October 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Chill Out

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Well folks, how are you? With the STI down about 20% and the media screaming bloody murder, what's a man to do?

Many people are selling stocks like there's no tomorrow. I've seen friends glued to Bloomburg, their eyes pinned open like Malcolm in A Clockwork Orange, grating their teeth.

'I just can't believe what's happening in the markets. This is weird' he said to me.

'What's so strange about it?' I replied.

He rubbed his red, puffy eyes with the back of his hand and said, 'Who knew there would be a crash?'

I walked away from this conversation scratching my head, his words echoing in my head.

'Who knew...? Who knew...? Who knew...?

Well, that's just it, isn't it? No one knows and if you think this way, you shouldn't be investing in stocks. If your mindset shifts to rhetorical questions, especially those of a defensive kind, then keep your hard-earned cash in a money market fund.

What I find weird is that the books, websites and blogs we read, the podcasts we listen to and posts we write are littered with historical data about this crash and that correction. It's doesn't take a genius to work out that after such a long period of time without severe market turbulence that some was on the way.

That's life my friend, warts and all.

Personally, I see this time as an opportunity as a dividend investor. I'm more than happy to let the markets tumble and pick up some bargains. Why pull your hair out and freak? The current corrections are as natural as water evaporating, forming into clouds and then falling as rain. It's the way it goes. Full stop.

My investing horizon is super-long term, so I will continue to reinvest my dividends no matter what the market is doing. If it's down, sweet. If it's not, cool. I'll continue to grow my dividend paying portfolio rain or shine.

Don't sweat it people. Invest in decent companies while there's some value to be had and sleep soundly with this in mind.


Monday, 15 October 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Vegetarian Festival and your Portfolio

As I type, local Chinese communities in mainly Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia are slicing, parading and praying their way towards the final day of the annual 'Vegetarian Festival' also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.

Phuket, Thailand, is the best place to witness the festivities at their most frenetic. About half of the island's inhabitants are Chinese Thai, and these people congregate in the countless temples around the tropical paradise. During the week, people partake in rituals and ceremonies that resemble events from a forgotten age with gruesome mutilation and spiritual possession. 

In Thai the festival is called thetsakan kin che (Thaiเทศกาลกินเจ), 

As Wikipedia states:

'many religious devotees will perform ritualized mutilation upon themselves and one another while under a trance-like state, including but not limited to: impaling through cheeks, arms, face, legs, back etc., with everything from as small as syringes to as large as is agreed upon between all members; partial skinning (the skin is not removed, just cut and flipped over); slashing of limbs, chest, stomach and especially tongue with swords, axes and knives; bloodletting; removal of tissue (normally limited to cysts) and intentionally wrapping or standing near fire crackers as they are lit.'

According to locals the purpose of the impaling and bloodletting is in veneration of the Chinese gods and ancestors with the majority of this being done by the Masong ม้าทรง  

These individuals, it is said, are used as vehicle for the gods/spirits during the week. The Masong behave as if in a trance-like state with rolling eyes and erratic movements. After undergoing piercing by all manner of objects including swords, spikes, banners, petrol pumps, machine guns and anything else you can imagine, they walk the streets with their minders, clad in white, around the streets giving blessings to bystanders. This is quite the spectacle when combined with the rhythmic beats of drums and temple bells. 

So, anyway, how does this atavistic freak out relate to investing (I'm having to think hard myself here) Well, in a way it does.

Wish thinking

People taking part in the strange ceremonies of the Vegetarian Festival believe their luck will improve as a direct result. Personally, I've always has an issue with luck being the prize of doing this ritual or singing that song. 

How can you be so sure? 


How many people make investment decisions based on advise from a fortune teller or some other 'expert'?

How many believe it's just bad luck when their investments  are unsuccessful? 

How many spend hard earned money seeking advice from people claiming to know the unknowable?

As a wise man once said. "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Is this not the case?


It's important we don't think of investment as a game of luck. Sure, there are elements of luck, but over the long term if we read enough and exercise patience, fortitude and courage we will succeed whether the gods are smiling down on us or not.

Enjoy your day folks.


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Ranting Under the Stars

Morning folks. Here we are. Another Sunday morning and another blog post from Singapore Dividend Collector. Strap yourself in people.

I would like to start this post with a few thoughts on what has been going on in the markets over the past week.

We've all read about the the nose dive in the US with the major indices loosing more than 3% in a single session. Household names such as Apple, Microsoft, Nike and Amazon felt the heat losing more than 4% of their value. Investors have been hit in Singapore, too, with some in the blogging community freaking out and talking about running to the hills. Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

What I find interesting is how quickly the tone of writing changes once market turbulence kicks in. For a long time, people have been glowing, showing their portfolios online for all to admire. Like kids in the playground presenting their football cards, these bloggers fizz with excitement when given a message of encouragement from a random in blogosphere.

"You're so close to FIRE!!!"

(By the way, next person to say "FIRE" gets a punch in the neck. I'll be blogging oh so soon on this fucking annoying term)

However, as the last week has shown, the stock market occasionally will rabbit punch you in the kidneys.

"Oh, have you seen my new Hong Kong growth portfolio?"

"No, I haven't."

"You just have to see this; I swear micro caps are so the way to go moving forward." 

"Really? why's that?"

"Well, like, I read this book, yeah. And it said that the only real way to get a ten bagger is to scour international markets for this little companies called micro caps, yeah. Are you with me?"

"Yes, I'm with you."

*The following day*

"Shit, help, my micro port is down...badly. I'm selling up. This is not for me. Big time."

Anyway, the fact is that we haven't had a decent, balls to the wall, blood out the nose market collapse for a long time now, and it's on the cards. Make no bones about it: something big, grotesque and vulgar lucks on the horizon, and things are going to get messy.

For me this is cool. I'm happy to let the markets do their thing while I nibble at beaten down stocks from time to time. History has shown us there's little to fear in the long run. In fact, as Business Insider wrote ' There's almost no chance young investors will lose money over 40 years.' Thus, it's important for people during these times of volatility to remember the long term game (if that's the game you play, of course)

I play the long game in investing and sleep at night as a result. A colleague, who will remain nameless, buzzed around out workplace earlier in the year, gesticulating like a street drinker on acid.

He felt he found the key to life (like so many by the way) in the Crypto rally.

"Bit coin is the way forward. Followed closely by Litecoin. Have you read about Litecoin? It's the future according to my research."

Hearing this, I breathed deeply and shuffled somewhat uneasily in my office chair, waves of cynicism warming my veins.

"Your research? Tell me about that, if you will."

He ran his fingers through his hair and chomped quickly and awkwardly on some gum. His mouth moved up and down almost as if controlled by some hidden, malevolent force."

I saw this and it alarmed me. I'd seen this type of chewing before by people on MDMA and Cocaine.

"Are you OK?" I asked him. "You don't look OK. Have you been sleeping?"

He sighed deep and long and chewed on his right thumb nail.

"I haven't really been sleeping. No time really. I feel this run in the Crypto market is my big chance. I believe this is a once in a generation opportunity, and I will not miss my chance."

The dark rings under his eyes and flabby facial expression told me a different story.

"What do you mean your chance?" I replied.

"Can you not see what is going on here? This is the big one. The big chance. All we have to do is study this stuff and invest hard. The markets will take care of the rest."

I saw in his eyes a strained expression. One full of painful, stretched optimism. Eyes reddened by too many sleepless nights. 

I'm sure you will agree this is not a wise road to traverse. And the same goes for freaking out when the market has a wobble. Don't panic; don't sit up all night watching endless videos about the history of stock market crashes; don't listen to Doomsday pundits predicting Armageddon for your portfolio. Screw all of that 100 times over!

What you need to do is the following: make sure you are confident in the underlying businesses you own. Do they have decent management? Do they make money? Are you confident they will be around in the future?

If the answer to these questions is yes then chill out, work hard and then invest back into your portfolio when pessimism is high. Don't get caught up in the noise. Relax, for life is for living, not gnawing at your lunulas like some crazed psychopath.

Please be rational and learn from history. All is well and will continue to be so. Crack open a beer and smile.


Saturday, 6 October 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - What % of REITS/Trusts should I have?

Good morning party people I trust you are smiling on this overcast Sunday morning.

For the first time this rainy season, little bits of bright blue sky are beginning to assert themselves overhead. With only a month or so left of the rains, it's time to visualize long evenings spent reading on the beach with a cool wind ruffling the green palm leaves. Ahead, past the demerara sugar sands, the ocean, flat and twinkling, relaxes and reflects on the sanctity of life. Psssssssssit! I crack open another beer and toss the lid aside. As the horizon begins to glow crimson, blue and orange, I reflect on how lucky I am to be here; how lucky I am to be alive. In world full of atrocity, pain and existential paranoia, I sit here, wide-eyed, smiling, contemplating the beauty of nature and my place within it.

Living in the topics is more than I could have ever dreamed of as a boy, and it's where I feel home. Like most, I don't want to work for ever. This is not because I hate what I do - far from it. It's just that I know I won't always be able to work at such a frantic pace: days blurring into weeks into months like some sort of purgatorial punishment; missed meals and irrational moods. The pursuit of money will one day take a back seat in my consciousness, and so it's vital to have a hefty income paying portfolio as back up. This will provide the means in the future to lounge around, sipping booze and reading books (two of my favorite things)

I realized this is 2015 - rather late I may add- thanks to a few gentle nudges by wife. She noticed that we worked all the time and our money sat dormant in the bank. At the time, I had a mindset that said the following:

'Well, at least the money is safe.'

'I know nothing about the stock market.'

'I didn't study finance.'

'Investing is for rich people.'

'The stock market is for greed-heads.'

If any of you have ever had such thoughts, I'm sure you can empathize with me. Honestly, I thought with my extensive background in reading classic literature and living in far flung places in the world, I had life all worked out. But, I was wrong.

So, what was the turning point? How did I make the shift from an artsy reader of literature to a income investor?

Socrates said 'True knowledge exists in knowing you know nothing.'

I heard this quote on the 'In Our Time' show hosted by Melvin Brag on BBC Radio 4, and it got be thinking.

My  wife continued to urge me to read the financial section of the newspaper - at which I grimaced. All those ratios and numbers; all those greedy corporate assholes; all those anachronisms! Screw all that...

However, Socrate's quote bounced around my head like a pinball, and little by little my ego retracted.

'Perhaps I know less than I think.'

This phrase invaded my consciousness like the evening does the day and I began my reading.

I will talk in later blogs about books, blogs, blog and podcasts that have influenced me over the past 4 years. For now, I must talk about my portfolio's REIT allocation.

Presently, I have the following holdings. I've divided them into sectors with % of total portfolio.

Keppel DC REIT7.00%REIT data center (alternative)11%
AimAMP Cap REIT3.00%REIT industrial17%
Ascendas REIT14.00%REIT industrial
AscottREIT2.00%REIT property19%
Fraser Com Trust14.00%REIT property
Capita Com Trust3.00%REIT Property
First REIT9.00%REIT healthcare9%
CapitaMall Trust4.00%REIT retail4%
Global Investments1.00%Trust investment1%
Acenndas H Trust5.00%REIT hospitality9%
Accordia Golf Trust4.00%Trust golf courses hospitality

REITS and Trusts Total = 66%

Some might say this is rather aggressive, but I don't think so.

The rest of my portfolio is made up of blue chip divided payers, all of which I plan to hold for as long as possible.

SingTel6.00%Stock telecommunications8%
Starhub2.00%Stock telecommunications
SATS1.00%Stock Airport management and services1%
Keppel Corp1.00%Stock oil etc. and property1%
DBS0.10%Stock bank0.35%
UOB0.25%Stock bank
SGX3.00%Stock stock market etc.3%
Singpost2.00%Stock post and logistics2%
Kingsmen Creative1.40%Stock marketing events and displays1%
Sheng Siong5.00%Stock supermarkets17%
Thaibev12.00%Stock food and bev

Blue Chip Dividend Payers Total = 34%

(I'm aware a couple of the shares in there are not blue chips)

As you can image, this portfolio is generating a large amount of cash all of which is pumped back in. between Jan and Aug 2018 passive income stood at $28,000 (Singaporean) which is not to be sniffed at. Give it ten years and this has the potential to be a worthwhile project.

The questions is though, do you think the REIT and Trust component is too meaty at 66%?

I'm happy with the risk, but is this just because I ignore the realities of a rising interest rate environment, or is it that I understand the likelihood of all being fine in two decades time? 

I'm not sure I know the answer myself.


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Accordia Golf Trust (BUY)

Welcome to you all. This blog is a collection of thoughts loosely related to my investing adventure that began in 2015. If you fancy you can check out older posts in which I tell some of my back story and reveal my holdings.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have by leaving a message. As you will notice within microseconds of reading my posts, writing is a means for me to stay level in a busy world. Don't expect to read my posts and be enlightened...I hope they provide a little light-hearted peep into my investing world and show others that even a scatterbrain, procrastinating Mr. Average can push toward financial freedom with saving and aggressive stock investing.

Anyway, in with the focus of this post and out with the waffle.

Today, is my birthday (cue HBD song) so instead of going out and spending a ton of cash on fancy food and wine I decided to pick up a further 14,500 shares of Accordia Golf Trust at 0.56. 

This counter has taken a battering of the past year and at yesterday's price of 0.56 looked to good to refuse.

Thus, with this birthday purchase, my position has grown to 58,500 shares.

It looks decent value to me:

These kinds of ratios, combined with its sweet 7.13% yield make the company seem dam tasty, so I just couldn't resist.

Sure, the company has debt issues to deal with, but I still think this is a great long term income play.

If you disagree, please tell me all about it.