Sunday, 30 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - 5 Investing Goals for 2019



5 Goals for 2019

Hello to you all. I hope you are keeping well on New Year's Eve 2018. Today's the big day with countdown fever spreading across the globe from Belfast to Bangkok.

How are you feeling?

Is 2019 going to be the year you propel yourself forward towards becoming the best possible version of yourself? Or... will you be crying into a beer, teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown by the end of January? Only time will tell.

Let's go with the former and ride on a wave of optimism towards the crest of the year. Let's puff our chests out and hold steady like intrepid adventurers, smiling in the face of adversity and laughing as misfortune passes us by.

This is going to be a good year folks. I can feel it. I hope you all join me in 2019 as I plan to deliver fun posts filled with useful information about my jaunt down the bumpy road to financial freedom.

Come one come all!

Without further ado, here are my 5 goals for 2019:


1. Keep blogging

I've been blasting out posts since July 2018, and my goodness, I've had a great time. Honestly, sharing ideas in written form is therapeutic. Usually, I spend my days in a frantic tizz, running around like a sanitarium day release. However, when I sit down and type, all the niggling anxieties that twist my mind in strange directions dissipate, and what is left is a centered feeling of calm. That said, I hope my words give some people a smile or inspire others to get involved in investing.

Normally, I post on a Sunday. However, in 2019 I plan to post twice per week. On Sunday as usual and once in the middle of the week. I hope this floats your boat.

Also, I would be great to get some feedback from you, the readers, on how the blog reads and what you think I should tweak to enhance your experience. I'm a big boy and can take constructive criticism so don't be shy now. Bring it on!

2. Keep investing 

2018 was a messy year for global markets and who's to say 2019 will be any different. Thus. with dark clouds loitering on the horizon, my goal is not to panic-sell and keep investing.

Remember folks, what's happening in the investing world now is perfectly normal. This is not the first time investors have seen a deluge of red in their beloved portfolios. Nor will it be the last. So, make yourself comfortable, strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride and most importantly stick like glue to your investment goals.

3. Keep running

Presently, I'm 38 years old and have never been more physically fit. As I've talked about in earlier posts, jungle trail running is my shtick. Goodness knows how many km I've clocked up over 2018, but it's easily >1000 km. Many of you runners out there will be able to back me up when I say running makes life better. Without it a dank void appears and both your physical and mental health suffer immeasurably. Run for a more balanced life folks!

4. Be more mindful

From time to time I suffer from anxiety. This is not serious enough to send me to the doctor, but it does add a level of complexity to my life. I find, of course, running acts as a slayer of negative thoughts, and combined with daily meditation and breathing exercises, I feel a lot more at peace with the world.

It's easy to fall into negative thought patterns, and these,  if not taken seriously, can develop into something more serious. So, please let's all look after our heads in 2019.

As a wise woman once said to me: 'You've only got one head...look after it.' 

5. Cook more

As ancient wisdom states: 'You don't need a silver fork to eat good food.'

I couldn't agree more, but how many of us finish our days thinking...

'Why did I eat that extra piece of cake?' or 'McDonalds again!? Come on!'

Let's be honest, most people could eat better. In this spirit, I urge everyone to throw on an apron and getting cooking in 2019. Let's go heavy on the vegetables and fuel ourselves with decent, wholesome food.

Who's joining me?

Please share your 2019 goals with me in the message box below and let's do this together.

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Saturday, 29 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - How I earned $37,000 in Dividends in 2018 (Part 2)




Part 1 of this series talked about three ways that enabled me to grow my 2018 dividend income to over $37,000. So, if you haven't already read the post, go back and give it read.

Part 2 of is a continuation. 

My purpose of this series is not an exercise in ego, it's simply to show how it is possible to build up a sizable dividend income without being a financial genius. Thus, I hope you will stick with me throughout this post and if you want to read more about how I got here, please go back and check out my earlier posts.

I began investing in 2015 at the tender age of 35. This may shock a few people, but if you had known me before this point you would understand why. In order not to blacken my squeaky clean image, I'll spare you the grizzly details.

Thats said, prior to 35, I spend most of my free time avoiding thinking about money or any literature connected to it. In fact, I would feel nauseous when I saw the financial section of the newspaper and discard in a basket used for window cleaning. 

I've never been rich in my life, but I've always avoided being poor as well. I suppose this is partly thorough luck and partly through never getting stuck in an undesirable rut.

Being poor has never been high on anyone's bucket list, but it's never far away for most. Have you heard the maxim: 'Your never more than two salary payments away from sleeping on the street?'

The words of this quote drove my wife and I to open our first business together in mid to late 2000s. I won't go into details, but let's just say the business flopped. 

Deflated but not beaten, we decided to go and live half way across the world and try again, this time more determined and battle-hardened from our first experience. That was 2009 and we are still involved in the same business which has now grown bigger than anything we could have imagined. 

More on this story in a future post, for I feel one of my digressions coming on. Excuse me.

Let's get back to the main thrust of the post: How I earned $37,000 in Dividends in 2018 

3. Don't chase big wins

This is important advice for all investors both young and old. Be careful folks. 

I remember a few years ago being on business in a foreign city. I was sharing a condo with some random people and an old business associate. One morning, I was sitting at the breakfast bar reading financial blogs and eating breakfast. Is there anything better? Perhaps not... Anyway, after some time, I felt a presence behind me, so I turned around and a teenager, probably about 17 or 18 standing behind me.

'Have you ever traded on margin?' the fresh faced boy said smiling.

'No, I haven't',  I replied taken aback by the young fella's question

What was this spotty kid doing peeping over my shoulder in a random condo located in the middle of a random city? 

I scratched my head and spoke.

'How old are you?'

'18'

'Are you an investor? You're very young.

'Yes, I am. In fact, I only trade on margin. You get double when the market goes up and when i goes down...'

He trailed off in mid-sentence and giggled.

'What's so funny?' I asked stony faced.

'Why do you not invest on margin? You can make money quick, you know?. My dad knows a guy who hit it big when he...'

I felt myself pulling away from his conversation.

Here was a boy with all his investing life ahead of him, gambling with what little money he had in an attempt to become a superstar. I'm sure he's been badly burned since our conversation, and I hope he learned from the experience.

As tempting as it is, I try not to chase big winners. I was so tempted - as still am - to take a bite of Asian Pay Television Trust when it tanked a month or so ago. Any why not? There's nothing wrong with some healthy speculation - if you can afford it. The spotty teen most certainly hadn't the means to gets whacked on margin; I am sure of that.

I know there are a million and one gurus out there on You-tube waffling on about how they made a million on gold/property/margin bla bla bla, but...what's the rush? 

Why not sit back, chill out and read a little? Why do you think Warren Buffet famously reads for most of his day? 

Arm yourself with knowledge rather than credit.

I think it was B Franklin who said something along the lines of...

'An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.'

These are words to live by folks. So before you jump on the next hot tip or watch 'How I made a million traded gold futures' go to your local book shop and pick up a book. Read it, critically evaluate and cherry pick the juicy bits and grow not only as an investor, but also a human being.

Have a Happy NY you crazy cats!!

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Friday, 28 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - How I earned $37,000 in Dividends in 2018 (Part 1)




Add caption


If you are new to my blog, I strongly encourage you to read the following posts, for these will give you a little more background on my story:

My Story 1   My Story 2   My Story 3   My Story 4   My Story 5

Also, nestled in between these are a plethora of other posts - some good, others silly.

But sure, have a read and let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Now, on with the show.

---

With so many conflicting ideas out there about how to build a sizable passive income, I thought I would share with you how I have earned over $38,000 this year from dividends.

So how did I do it? There are numerous factors, but for starters, here are three:

1. Work like a person possessed!


Being the owner of a SME, I'm consumed by my project.

The company does OK, but as as anyone who has owned a business knows... it could, if unchecked, eat up every moment of your life, leaving you curled up in a ball in the corner of a room, gasping for air.

There's a fine line between the business good times and frazzling your brain.

Imagine for a moment:

(Gasping like a fish swiped from the tank, hugging the kitchen table leg, sobbing)

'15 hours in the office for seven days straight! What have I done with my life? Is there no end? Am I the only one? Poor me! My life is over!'

Business owners... ever been there?

Or, probably a better question to ask is... been there this month?

You know the story. Pushing projects to the max, researching, managing staff, overseeing marketing, dealing with international customers, doing HR etc. etc... this and that, this and that ad nauseum!

On top of this you have the pressure of balancing the books, paying wages, keeping staff and customers happy, and most importantly, not losing the plot and ending up being dragged of to a mental hospital by men in white suits holding syringes full of powerful sedative.

Yes, indeed, life can be tough for us SME types, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Or would we?

When the good times roll, and the cash flows like a river close to its source, it all feels worth it.

So, what are you going to do with your cash?

2. Buy dividend paying equities

I remember back to 2015 when I worked like a madman and deposited my money in the bank. For my pleasure, the bank paid me a pitiful amount in return.


At this time, the idea of investing was something reserved for the super rich - not for me.

Why would I get involved in that game? Poor people bet on chicken fights, the rich stocks.

How wrong I was.

I remember having the conversation with my wife. I was sitting reading a classic novel, probably late Victorian. Thomas Hardy or something, I can't remember exactly.

'I think we should start learning how to make our money work, you know?'

'What do you mean ''work'' sure our money's fine sitting in the bank. At least we have it safe, and  when we need it...'


'I just finished reading a good book. You should have a read after your done with that one.'


'What's the book called? It better not be about money. You know I hate reads like that.'


Like all good husbands, after a flash of evilness, I caved.


My wife sent me a PDF of Rich Dad Poor Dad (so sorry Robert) and I read it in two days.

After finishing the book, my mind was seized with ambiguity:

How could I have been so blind for so long? Had I really been so idiotic until 35? As a reasonably well read guy, how could I have missed ideas like this? Why had none of the hundreds of people I had met throughout my adult life not have mentioned things like this before? 


Perhaps all the answers didn't live in the minds of Hemmingway, Joyce et al. after all...

Perhaps I'd been living in the dark.

This epiphany, this awakening, this light switching on moment propelled me into action, and I began reading widely about investing. I'll save these details for a future post though, for I want to stay on track.

In the early days, I listened to the Motley Fool (USA) podcast  religiously. In particular I liked (and still do) Chris Hill's Motley Fool Money show. This podcast opened my eyes and showed me that investing could be fun when talked about in an articulate and succinct way.

Inspired, I began researching US ETFs. Subsequently, I bought a few.  To date this was one of my biggest investing errors. Again, I will blog about this in 2019.

Next, in late 2018, galvanized by the words of Dividend Mantra I began to read about divided growth stocks and got hooked. What inspired me was an intense desire to build passive income.

What could be better as you get older than a growing a collection of paying equities that pay you regular dividends?

The main reason I got out of US ETFs was the 30% tax on dividends. After some research, I discovered that companies listed in the Singaporean stock market are blessed with 0% on dividends!

This piqued my interest and started a period of aggressive investing that still continues to this day.

The first dividend paying shares I bought were Singtel, Keppel Corporation and SATS. Soon after, I bought Keppel DC REIT.

Since then I've invested heavily in a wide range of dividend paying stocks from a many different sectors.

I realized I couldn't sit on the sidelines for ever and wait for the next big crash; I had to make up for lost time.

3. Reinvest Dividends

If you want a big dividend paying machine, you need to reinvest your dividends back into your portfolio. This can be done every quarter or so. For me, I reinvest when my dividends hit $10,000 in my account. I usually look for an existing counter out of favor by the market and pick up some value. This type of dollar cost averaging is useful over the long run, for trying to buy during a correction could leave you sitting watching while valuable dividends pass you by.

As Peter Lynch says...

'It's not timing the market. It's the time you're in the market.'

Words to live by folks.

So, there you have it for now. That's all for the first of this weeks blog posts. I'll write part 2 over the next few days as I'm off work and have time.

And, by the way, what has worked for me mightn't work for you. These words are for entertainment purposes only. Please do your own research and find your own way.

All the best and Happy New Year!

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Saturday, 22 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - The Tony Robbins Conundrum




How many times in 2018 have you heard the following?:

'Tony Robbins is amazing! You just have to check him out!'

'Tony Robbins changed my way of seeing the world. Do you know him? He's powerful. Check him out. I'll lend you a book.'

I have heard words of this nature at least five times this year, and not just from credulous types.

So, the question is why does this man have such a passionate following? 

What do his books contain that appeal to so many? 

I needed to investigate.

---

After a glowing report from a friend, I bought 'Awaken the Giant Within', a tome of a book, from a second hand book shop in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Eagerly, I shuffled through the baking back streets, ice cold Chang in hand (Go on Thaibev!) looking for a shady place to sit and read. 

I settled under an arboreal freak called 'The Giant'. Beside me, a bright smiling Thai lady selling pineapple from a street cart said hello. Sweat trickled down my chest and back darkening my shirt. 

I took the book out and looked at the cover. A giant head with gleaming white teeth looked back at me. 

So, this was Tony Robbins, the man I'd heard so much about. 

The man who changes lives. 

The man who has the answers. 

The man I need to get to know. 

Really? 

He looked more like a used car salesman rather than a self-help guru.

That said, I'm an open minded guy and not one to judge without reason, so I blanked out the toothy grin and opened the book at random.

-------

What struck me straight away were the abundance of quotes from famous folk littered throughout the text. It was a who's who from all four corners of the intellectual world including Mark Twain, John Locke, Lord Chesterfield (whoever he is), Winston Churchill, The Buddha, Victor Hugo, Aristotle, Ayn Rand etc. 

This struck me as cool as I've always been a fan of quotes. As an adult, I've never been too far from my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, for it's a marvelous way to sound smarter than you really are. 

Imagine you bump into an old friend...

'How's it going?'

'Not bad at all, and you. How's the form?'

'Fine. All's well at my end. Still smoking?'

'Thankfully, no. Quitting was the best thing I ever did.'

'I agree. As Walt Disney said, ' The way to get started is to stop talking and start doing'

'Really, he said that? Powerful words.'

'Yes, indeed. I agree. We should stay in touch more you know. Make more of an effort. You know 'walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.'

'Disney again?'

'No, Helen Keller.'

I'm sure you'll agree there's a fine line between sounding like an ass and sounding intelligent, but you get the picture.

Quotes are cool. Full stop.

Anyway, as I flicked though the pages of this massive book, I couldn't help wondering how in the name of God I was ever going to read it all. I read a paragraph here and there and quickly realized I'd never been exposed to anything like this before.

NAC Master Step 3 - Interrupting the Pattern

Decide What you Really Want and What's Preventing You From Having it Now

Get Leverage: Associate Massive Pain to Not Changing Now and Massive Pleasure to the Experience of Changing NOW!

This all sounded like profound stuff to me, but a bit heavy for digesting under the midday sun, half drunk in the middle of bustling Chiang Mai. Thus, in this spirit, I returned the book to my bag and cracked open another cold Chang. (Go on Thaibev! again)

After nailing four big bottles and eating a plate of Gai Pad Grapow, I felt ready to tackle the book again.

The Power to Reinvent Yourself

Use Contrast to Put Your Life in Reality

The Future of Your Identity

Whatever We Focus on Becomes Our Idea of Reality 

Words jumped of the page endlessly, a constant flow of dos and don't, positive affirmations and ways to improve. 

From Tinkled to Turbo-Charged

I read the first fifty pages on the spot and felt dizzy. I was reading the words, but nothing seemed to sink in. I re-read maxim after maxim but nothing stuck. The prose itself felt rushed, frenetic.

One chapter felt the same and the next, and my head felt as if it was being slapped repeatedly for no good reason. 

I knew after one hundred pages this type of reading was not for me, for it felt too American... too preachy. 

It felt like one of those self-help books given out by religious nuts on city center streets. 

I'm always cautious of those who proclaim to have all the answers, and Robbins is surely one of these types, buy hey the guy's worth about a squillian dollars so he's doing something right.

Or is he?

For sure, there's a religious feel to the message.

The Ultimate Lesson

Dis-empowering Beliefs

The Pathway to Power

Can Change Happen in an Instant?

These chapter headings could have been written by a Jehovah's Witness or a Scientologist and ooze with faith-based psycho babble.

Most of the content isn't for me, I'm afraid. Now, having said that, if Tony Robbins gets you going then fair enough. I just think there are better writers out there with more to say. 

For example, just to stick with contemporary pop culture, Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology, is much more qualified to talk about the mind than Tony Robbins, but still the latter is able to charge a million dollars for a private consultation. 

Personally, I would urge people to read Aristotle, Kant or The Stoics of ways to lead a better life, but if Tony Robbins helps you sort your life out then all the power to you.

Work away, roll with it if you will.

Maybe I'm missing something, maybe there's more to it than I can see. I'm only talking here about 'Awaking the Giant Within' not his other books or live shows etc. It's mystery to me how this book  helped propel a man without formal psychology training into a guru for many.

How did this happen? 

If you have any ideas, please comment below, and let's see if we can untangle this mystery together.

Sláinte for now folks.


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Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - My Story 5 (Life Changing Advise from a Portuguese Trucker)



Evening all. I trust you are well. I just realized that it has been ages since I wrote My Story 4 which tells the story of a mysterious guy referred to only as 'Mr X'. I strongly advice you click and go back and have a read because I tell a little about my hometown, my flirtations with aggressive literature, drinking myself silly in a forest, and also about my relationship with the amiable 'Mr X'. Oh yes, and there are allusions to investing in there as well, of course!

Today's post contains an amazing fragment of my life. It's an endearing glimpse into my early twenties when life lay coiled upwards in front of me like an endless spiral staircase. It involves an encounter with a man called Manuel, a Portuguese truck driver.

-----------

My mindset pulsated with the call of adventure and no destination was off limits. In fact, I didn't care where I traveled to as long as I was on the move and never too far from a bottle of booze and someone to share it with.

The year was 2004 and I was fresh out of university. Looking back I lacked the maturity needed for full time employment and instead saw myself as a kind of beatnik/hippie/punk rebel, roaming the streets looking for whatever action I could find.  A paperback copy of Albert Camus' The Stranger or Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums pooped out of the back pocket of my jeans. 

Please note by twenty three I had never opened an investment book. It was like I had placed some kind of unconscious restraining order on literature connected to money. In bookshops I moved quickly towards the classics and politics sections, bypassing investing and self-improvement as if they were leprous. 

My hair was long, curly, unkempt and a Drum Halfzware Shag cigarette hung perpetually from the side of my mouth. In short, I was young, carefree, impulsive and ready to have fun wherever and whenever. 

The big, bad world of stocks, bonds, saving, precious metals and ETFs were as alien to me as black variety act would be a far right demonstration. 

Inspired by Kerouac's novel On the Road, two friends and I decided to go on a journey of discovery to Poland. The plan was to meet in Amsterdam and then hitch our way east to Krakow. None of us knew a lot about Poland or the surrounding area, but it didn't matter. What did matter was we would be together on the road, slumming it, living it. It would be a memory to take with us into the future, a snapshot in time. 

In some distant future, we might meet in a sleepy bar perched on a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Below us the ice cold black waves would bay, and we would warm out hands over a open peat fire, drink Guinness and laugh about the trouble we had with the police in Zakopane... Perhaps...

What did transpire on that epic journey would take 100,000 words to recall, and I for one know that the average attention span of a blogger is less than this. Thus, in the spirit of conciseness, I'll boil it down somewhat. 

In chronological order:

1. I traveled to Amsterdam, alone, and stayed for one week on the sofa in a bar. 

2. My two friends arrived and we partied liked crazed warlocks for a few days.

3. We sat under the sun in Vondelpark and quoted the late great Bill Hicks...

'All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves'

It's an Amsterdam thing...

As I said earlier, our focus was somewhat left-field at this time. I can assure you there wasn't any chat about interest rates, macroeconomics or yield curves... no no. Chat often took a philosophical turn.

4. We hitched a lift with a Transit van full of Moroccan builders to the edge of the Amsterdam.

5. We got picked up by a fancy sportscar. While driving, it transpired the driver was the editor of the Dutch Mixmag music magazine. He dumped us out out in the middle of nowhere and we slept in a forest.

6. We found a truck stop and searched for a Polish truck. 

7. We found what we though was a Polish truck (it has a 'P' sticker on the back) but it transpired 'PL' is actually for Poland and 'P' is Portugal.

8. We decided to scrap Poland and go to Portugal instead. Why not?

9. The driver of the truck, Manuel, took us on-board his eighteen wheeler. We spent the next 2 months on the road with Manuel, cooking at the side of the road, meeting cool truckers at truck stops, sleeping in the trailer with concrete piles and drinking heroic amounts of cheap red plonk.

Now, here's the deal. While we motored down the winding roads of the French countryside delivering concrete blocks to building sites, Manuel talked incessantly about the need to save and invest. Of course, we hadn't a clue what he was talking about and were more interested in drinking and talking nonsense.

As time ticked on, Manuel persisted in talking about bonds, stocks, indexing and property. He could have been speaking Swahili to us as his words drifted over our heads like pigeons at the seaside.

However, as we progressed though France and then finally into Spain, I became intrigued by his stories.

He told us about a friend, a postal worker, who saved a large proportion of his monthly wage and invested it into stocks of the company he worked for. This company paid a handsome dividend which the man re-invested every six months. After doing this for thirty years, the man retired at fifty and lived in a small house beside the ocean with his wife and dog.

His stories reverberated with conviction and life. I started to take notice and asked him to explain words like stocks, bonds etc. which he did.

My friends seemed oblivious to our chatter, but from the French border south to Madrid, and then north west to his home village just south of Porto, Portugal, he taught me many basics of investing.

Manuel owed his own truck and spoke proudly about being self-employed. When he spoke about it his face beamed and his gesticulated wildly. Every two weeks Manuel would drive from Porto to Denmark (I'm don't know where) and pick up his first load. From there he would make his way south through Holland, then into Belgium. Form there he headed down into France, where he made many pick ups and deliveries. After France, he chugged along at 70km per hour to Madrid, and then finally back home.

For his efforts, he was paid well. This he invested into stocks, property, small businesses for his family.

As we were leaving Madrid, Manuel asked the three of us if we wanted to come back to his family home and help out of the winery. We took him up on this kind offer and spent the next few weeks out in the fragrant grape fields of northern Portugal, picking and stamping red grapes for wine making.

So, there you have it. We never made it to Poland, but I learned a bucketful from Manuel. For that, I'm truly grateful. In the years after this trip, I neglected his advice and continued on my own merry way as a wage slave. It wasn't until my wife awoke me from my slumber in 2015 that Manuel's teaching came back to me.

Sometimes life changing advice can come from the least expected places.

As the saying goes, 'it's easy to miss something you're not looking for.'

All the best folks.

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Monday, 17 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Total Dividend Income for 2018


As we fast approach the end of 2018, it's time for balancing the books, counting the pennies and thinking about how we can make 2019 even bigger and better.

But most importantly of all it's time to tot up my dividends for 2018!!!! Yeah!!

Equities around the world have been beaten and bruised and according to all forecasts 2019 mightn't be much better. Bah! 

That said, my disposition is much to optimistic to get cast into the doldrums over this prediction or that. In fact, the longer I invest and converse with others like me, I think many of us would benefit with a little less stress, a lot of sleep and a sliver of silliness once in a while. Loosen up you shower of misery guts! Life is for living!

So, without further ado I would like to present my total dividends received for 2018:


$37,034
This is a big jump from my 2017 total of $23,197

That's a 63% increase for the year which is fine by me.

Just to give you an idea of where the dividend total has come from, have a look at the following figures:

2015: $1097
2016: $12,713
2017: $23,197
2018: $37,034


As you can see I've been very aggressive since the beginning and this will continue into the foreseeable future. My investing goal is income so this is where my focus will remain.
How about everyone else in the dividend community? How has 2018 treated you?

More soon...

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Saturday, 15 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Can Meditation boost your Portfolio?



For years I've flirted with meditation. I've read many books and articles about how to sit, breath, let go etc. but like many others, I've never quite worked it into my daily routine. I always find an excuse not to bother. Anyone else in the same boat?

Running is more my game, and it, too, is difficult for many to enjoy. During the first few months practicing, your body feels like its going to give up. We've all been there: lungs on fire, legs heavy and bursting with lactic acid etc. Now, I'll be first to say feeling these feelings are horrible. Why get out of your lovely warm bed all comfy and then masochistically wheeze around the park? It's a good question, and one that can only be answered after around 5/6 weeks of running - 2/3 times per week.

After this time, your runs get easier and your confidence grows. You will experience the hallowed 'Runner's High' which for a long time I though was nonsense. But, when it finally hit me, I was shocked. I began get a buzz of positive energy and clear-headedness after a couple of kms, and for a hour after my run ended. It's as close as you can get to drugs without the need to hang around an abandoned car park.

In my post, Trail Running and Investing I investigated the above and explained how scampering along mountain tracks is conducive to being a good investor. If you haven't read the blog, I urge you to go back and give it a read.

Now, I would like to explore another pastime of mine, meditation, and find out if it, too, has any benefits for people looking to make their money grow.

From the off, I want to make it clear that I am no meditation expert, far from it. I'm an elementary practitioner at best. As a result, please take my words with a healthy pinch of salt. The internet is jam packed with 'personalities' pretending to be expert in this or that. I'm not one of them.

Think of the self-improvement space, in particular. It amazes me that the same old sayings, quadrants and blueprints can still inspire people to part with sizable sums of cash. The Yanks of course do it best with Tony Robbins leading the way. It amazes me that educated people will spend thousands to read a re-hashing of a book with some loud music, sob stories and group psychology thrown into the mix. Honestly, if you want to feel better about yourself surely a run, press ups or a bowl of fruit salad would be a better choice for the savvy investor.

Based on my own experience here are a few ways meditation can help investors. Here are two:

1. Meditation and investing require discipline

Both practices require sitting for a period of time on a regular basis and focusing your attention. In meditation you sit quietly and watch your breath as it moves effortlessly in and out of your body. Investing requires quiet contemplation of your portfolio, checking asset allocations, dividend income and overall performance. Because meditation improves discipline, an investor would be less inclined to make excitable decisions and would also analyse his portfolio with more focus.

2. Meditation and investing reveal weaknesses and allow you to learn from them

If you ask any investor about his biggest investing mistake, they'll crack a wry smile, clear their throat, and in a croaky voice tell you their tale of woe. Ask them again have they ever done the same thing again,  and the answer will surely be no. The same applies the meditation practitioner. While sitting gently observing your breath, your mind takes you off to strange places: one moment your aware of breathing in for the forth time, and the next your thinking of what it would be like to live on Mars. Suddenly, you realize this and pull your mind back to your breath. Then as you pass your third exhale, you wonder what Brian from high school history class is doing now and who he's doing it with and if he's happy and if he's got kids etc etc.

Honestly, the human mind is a wacky and inexplicable piece of kit. That said, by drawing your mind back to your breath from these weird, and at times. somewhat psychedelic narratives, you learn the true nature of the mind is the moment and the very breath you take. Thus, with practice you can learn more about the true essence of being rather than being distracted my randomness moment to moment.
Don't you think eliminating scattered ideas from our heads would be good for our portfolios? I do.

Anyway, so there you have it folks. Two lovely, juicy ways meditation and investing can symbiotically feed off each other. As we approach NY, I plan to meditate more. Let's see if it can do wonder for my portfolio. I'll keep you posted.

Cheers

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Friday, 7 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Epiphanies and Investing Woes




We've all had conversations and experiences that make us stop and think. It might be a word someone uses that evokes a deep and painful memory; maybe a loved one shuns you at an important moment; perhaps a once cherished and profoundly important place in your life ceases to be. Whatever happens, life will use this opportunity to reveal a truth, one previously veiled and unfathomable.

In James Joyce's first book, Dubliners, a collection of 15 short stories published in 1915, he explored this idea using early 20th century Dublin, Ireland as his experimental canvas. On this, he paints pictures of ordinary people in the city going about their day. For example, Joyce uses priests, teenagers, landladies and drunks to name a few. Reading a snippet from the daily life of a pubescent boy may not sound like anything new, but if you get the chance to read these stories, you'll quickly realize you're dealing with more than the vapid ramblings of a Irish boozer.  

Joyce was writing at a cultural and historical crossroads in Ireland. The country was experiencing the last dying breaths of 800 years of English colonialism, and ultra-Irish nationalism hung thick in the air. Thus, the majority of Irish people wanted to assert their Irish-ness and carve out a future free from the straitjacket of colonial repression. This ardent desire for freedom lead to converging ideas and influences. Joyce explores some of these important themes such as regret, realization, self-hatred and moral demise. 

One of the interesting things about the book is Joyce's' use of epiphany, a word previously loaded with religiosity

'the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi' (Matthew 2:1–12) 

Joyce plays with the word and expands its meaning to represent a moment of sudden and striking realization. Today, it's used to refer to scientific breakthroughs and philosophical discoveries.

At the end of each short story (and most are very short, bar the final story 'The Dead') the protagonist experiences an epiphany and suddenly a significant life lesson rabbit punches them in the kidneys.

For example, in 'At the Races' a spoiled young Dublin man, Jimmy Doyle, is lured by ostentatious displays of wealth - namely flashy cars, and the chance to mingle with high-society. All of this leads him into agreeing to throw his money at a dodgy Parisian car business. As Jimmy tags along with the rich folk their tall tales intoxicate his thinking and eventually he ends up losing all his money in a late night card game. The grim realization of his follies are the moment truth poked his ugly head into Jimmy sense of being.

'He knew that he would regret it in the morning, but at present he was glad of the rest, glad of the dark stupor that would cover up his folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin door opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light: -Daybreak, gentlemen!'

I love the how the everyday words ' Daybreak, gentleman' expose Jimmy's foolishness. He's been duped and he knows it.

Have you ever been there before? Have you ever suddenly realized you have been wasting your time? Have you ever wished the ground would open like the San Andreas Fault and swallow you whole?

If your like me, then I'm sure you have.

So, here we are at another departure point in the posts of Singapore Dividend Collector. Just how do I dig myself out of yet another blogging hole of waffle and abstract noodling and make this post related to the blog's namesake? Good question indeed.

Well, to perform this Sisyphean feat I must tell you about an encounter I had with an old friend just a few days past.

As I've said in previous posts, I'm big into jungle running. You know, proper hardcore jungle trail stuff. No messing about. Swamps, leaches - the lot. Anyway, after runs, a few friends and I huddle together, tell tales of woe and drink a few cold ones under the deepening evening sky.

I struck up an investing conversation with a trusted confidant the other day, and it unraveled something like this:

"So are you still preparing your 'All Weather Portfolio?"

"Oh yes that. Not really actually. I've gone offf the whole investing thing after Bitcoin's crash"

"Really? What so you've given up completely?"

"Maybe. I lost a ton, but that said, the whole thing taught be something I'd never thought of before."

"What? How to lose all your cash and end up a street drinker?"

"Na, but sure you never know what could happen. What I learned was this: It was like a switch flicked on in my head. My January Bitcoin slaughter fest made me think about the brevity of life. One minute we're here, the next we're gone. To where I don't know. Scary isn't it?""

"Jesus! This is a bit grim for a Saturday evening, isn't it? Lighten up."

"You asked, and I'm telling you. So many people invest likes there's no tomorrow, like they're invincible. It's an ego driven business and one to keep a close handle on."

"What... do you mean investing in general or just Bitcoin?"

"I'm not sure. The feelings I experienced are difficult to express, but one thing's for sure, THEY FELT RIGHT. IT WAS LIKE AN EPIPHANY" After the Bitcoin rout, I was on the edge. My thinking drifted inwardly towards the antipodes of my mind. In moments of deep, blissful self-reflection I discovered the self to be an illusion and that we are simply the imagination of ourselves. I'm not saying people should stop investing, far from it. I just want people to stop and think before they gamble their kids education on a 10% dividend yield. There's more to live, don't you think?

"What? You drifted toward the Antipodes of the what?"

" Ha! I'm only joking with the trippy stuff. But really I'm not investing for a while."

And there you have it folks. This was the moment I heard the word Epiphany in an investing context. Please if you haven't already read James Joyce's masterpiece 'Dubliners' and learn for yourself how a sudden, unexpected realization can change how you perceive and interact with the world around you.

All for now.

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Saturday, 1 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - Random Thoughts on Sunday Morning



I can't believe 2018 is drawing to a close. It's been a quick one for sure. I remember as a kid adults would talk about how times flies when you get older. Never have truer words been spoken. It's like a celestial time-lord has lost it and is tweaking with the laws of space and time. Boom! there goes another year!

So, with only one month to go and the party season fast approaching, what's an investor to do? For December, I'll be taking it easy and reading up the usual blogs on sginvestbloggers It's my no. 1 go to place these days. In particular, I like financialhorse for his informative and well written articles. I don't think I'll be investing in the month as a took a rather large bite of FIRST REIT a few weeks ago when it crashed over 20%. I know this was a gamble, but I still think in the long term the investment will pay off. Presently, it is paying a divided of over 8% as well, so I'm happy enough grabbing this yield with both hands and pumping it back into my portfolio down the line.

I'll be getting a close eye on the following counters:

THAIBEV
SATS
AIMSAMP


The FIRE trend seems to be reaching a tipping point now with the BBC etc. running segments about it. Personally, I've always run away from trends like this. They're cool when few people are involved, but when it becomes mainstream, I tend to loose interest. That said, I do read mrmoneymustache and admire his way of thinking. FIRE does have a Millennial vibe to it though, just like manicured facial hair, veganism, fruit drinks and Instagram six packs. However, investing enough so that you can get out of the 9/5 rat-race is a much more worthwhile cause, and Mrmoneymustache's blog is full of tasty morels we can all learn from.

As we drift effortlessly into 2019, I need to give my blog a re-think. I'm not sure what direction I want to take it. Should I go Mrmoneymustache style or should I try and incorporate more of my literary and philosophical influences into my articles? This remains to be seen.

Anyway, I hope you are all well and enjoying life wherever you are.

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