It was a bright sunny Saturday afternoon. Instead of spending time with Mrs Llama, I made myself travel all the way to Hengda building at Cecil Street for a talk by Dr Wealth (Christopher). (She had wanted to come along, but she was not feeling well).
Image result for heng da building

Unfortunately, I got lost along the way and was late to the talk. After registering, I entered a room filled with avid listeners. Using my sensing, there were approximately more than 200 people who joined this event.

I took a seat at the third row, and my learning began.
(A pity I missed the first few mins of the talk.)
Image result for life as seasons
Life in Seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Christopher brought many perspectives to me. One of it, was viewing life as 4 different seasons. Spring represents the schooling stages of our lives. Summer is the life after graduation and stepping into the society to work.

Autumn, is when challenges become magnified. This is the time when technology changes, retrenchment happens, and our abilities start to plateau. Worse still, health may be deteriorating and probably affecting our ability to earn.

Winter is life after retiring. “How much do you need to retire?” This is the question most insurance agents will ask you. And, I must say I am extremely happy to hear this question being answered by Christopher.

(For perspective: Spring – Age 1 to 22; Summer – Age 23 to 42; Autumn – Age 43-65, Winter: 65-84)
Image result for 2 person snatching money
Conflict of Interest
I personally like the way he positioned the speech in a honest and no nonsense way, and this bought me over when he made me understand that insurance agents want to earn your money, as much as they wish to help you plan your finances. I can’t agree more with this. This is also a large part of why I started my blog.

“How much do you need to retire?”

The magic number was $500,000. Why $500,000 I asked?
It was from a statistical $1721 per month of expenses that was deemed sufficient to live a life with dignity after retirement.

I cannot exactly remember what was shared, but here’s my version:
  • Retirement at 65 (at least for now)
  • Life span of Singapore is 84 (Highest worldwide)
  • Gives about 20 years of living after retirement
  • To sustain your living, 4% returns from a sum of $500,000 will give you $1,666 per month.
(*Assuming amortization in the $500,000 investment principal)

According to him, this is the amount you will require to retire with dignity at the retirement age.

Generous sharing of his personal life
I believe he was already passionate in his university days, for the fact that he wanted to join a talk conducted by GIC.

You can read up more about him over here - https://thesimplesum.com/financial-blogger-retired-39/.

To sum up, it was impressive that he achieved financial independence at the age of 32. Being single, monthly expenses was $15xx. To mean that he has financial freedom, I assume he has about $300,000 to $400,000 in investments. This is simply a huge achievment at age 32.

He also shared about his extensive academic achievements. He started off as an engineer, did a Masters in Finance related field, did CFA, and even got a Law degree from Singapore Management University (SMU).

For someone that takes learning seriously, I find him a reliable person. He has knowledge that most people do not, which is Data management, or what you refer to as data analytics. 

Data applied to Investments
While I was interning in an investment bank, I do not understand the traders when they throw out terms like back-testing, stress-testing. However, Christopher made it easy to understand.

He showed us how it is like to invest $2,000 monthly in these following scenarios:
1. STI index (the one listed on SGX)
2. STI components - All in equal weight, meaning splitting your money into 30 parts and investing accordingly
3. STI components - Only the top 15 that has the lowest Price Earnings (PE) ratio

He also showed us how it is like to grow the same $2,000 monthly investment using Endowment plans & Investment-Linked policies.

He also presented from the banks perspective, where we got to see how $2,000 monthly investment works if we were to buy Unit Trusts (the product bankers love to sell).

All...with the aim of hitting the $500,000 mark, equivalent to the amount you need to retire with dignity in Singapore.

All the above methods lead to your goal, with 10-14 years. Great knowledge, as it reinforces my belief in value investing, or at least buying something that will not go bust.

He answered a question I had for years
He also answered one of the questions I always have in mind - Why is the STI returns okay only?

This is because STI is a capitalisation weighted index. The higher the price of a stock becomes, the higher the market cap, and hence, the higher proportion it will make up the STI index.

Hence, in the Singapore index, STI is largely made up of local banks.


What does the course offer?
The course offers a way for you to hit the $500,000 within 7 to 8 year mark.
Fast! Yes it is. With the same $2,000 monthly investment.

With his data knowledge, he explained that he has a way to identify stocks and investments that can give good annual dividends, at the same time, has a good portfolio Sharpe ratio.

**Sharpe ratio - Basically increasing returns of your investment portfolio, but lowering the volatility. A measure of average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk.

Is this kind of returns tempting? You bet it is. You require an annual returns of about 30% to reach $500,000 with a monthly investment of $2,000.

What is the catch?
How do you generate the 30+% annual returns? I would wish to know too!

From what I gather, you would require leverage. Leverage will mean that you will borrow from the brokerage house in order to buy more shares. The collateral will be the current shares you already hold.

Let me show an example using my personal SCB trading platform!

Do you see the yellow highlighted part in the picture above?

If you have $10,000 of investments owned, you can loan $7,000 to invest in more stocks. In a way, you enjoy dividend returns from $17,000 worth of investments.

But you have to pay an interest expense on the $7,000 borrowed. DBS currently charges an annual interest rate of 3.25% for Singapore stocks.

$10,000 originally gives $500 as returns. With leverage, $17,000 investment can give $850 of returns. This is not considering the capital gains or losses.

Effectively, $850 minus off 227.50 gives effective returns of $622.50. Still, more than $500.

More examples:
1. Example without leverage
2. Example with leverage

I also found this interesting snapshot taken from Seedly:
Tree of Prosperity = Christopher
Image result for sti index annual

Personal touch to the audience
I agree with the way he views retirement. It is not an end goal, or something to be proud of. The biggest takeaway he shared, was that he can have more family time with his loved ones.

With his dry sense of humour, he shared with the audience that retirement is not about having time and money travelling to exotic places. Because, if you do not work, you do not get stressed, and hence, no need to travel. I find this concept interesting!

Inspired?
Who wouldn't? Christopher was very upfront about his income from both his normal portfolio and leverage portfolio. And it was a good sum of monthly income.

His casual use of xxx words also helped fuel the motivation to work harder towards your own retirement goal.

Mr Llama: "Fxxx this shiet and do it!"

I learnt a great deal even in terms of the way he present. He was super confident, and even shared that he use Menti to stock pick during his classes. He was even willing to put money to where his mouth is. 

It is, to invest money in his student portfolio! Well, you can critique and say he will only invest a small sum of money from the course fees earned. So what, it is still a good gesture! Simply impressed.

Will you take on more leverage?
I learn about REITs from Vince of REIT-tirement. Other than him, I am going to try reading REITs to Riches by Tam Ging Wien. As a young Singaporean, leverage sounds scary. It sounds as if there is this 5-10% chance I may lose all my money and potentially a happy relationship with Mrs Llama.

Honestly, I lack the guts to do so. Unless Tumble Mumble proves successful, there is no talk for now on leverage. But once again, right now, interest rates are low.

Given poor economic data of the developed countries, central banks will cut interest rates or carry out stimulus packages that raise REIT prices. Given good economic data, interest rates may be held or raised. This gives a mixed effect to REIT prices. All in all, it is still safe to perform REIT leveraging for next 1 - 2 years in my opinion.

So, Mr Llama, will you go for his course?
Yes I will, if i need this course as a hurdle for me to consolidate my investing attitude towards dividend investing.

Not now, but a few years down the road. I am still honing foundation in the markets, and wish to fight hard to prove Tumble Mumble.

I find it really beneficial to attend such talks and absorb whatever good there is from the renowned speakers. I wonder who is next. But, I do appreciate the 2 i attended in the month of November.

Thank you Christopher and Kelvestor~


Mr Llama

3 Comments

  1. Life span of Singapore is 84 (Highest worldwide) ?

    A tokkok minister is telling people every month we in SG are living longer and longer and forever and ever. Recently, she said many are living to 100 YO and beyond. Bottom line, top up your CPF and don't withdraw it until 70. Think after the E she will say 75 then 80. So that amount suggested is not enough. Need more $$$ to live to 100 and beyond. Maybe we will live to 150, who knows?

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  2. There is a lot that was explain that are presented in a way that feels correct but its very debatable. What is not said is the part that people should be aware about.

    Be aware how long of a history his data is. it is not long.

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  3. Hi Kyith! Honor to have you here!

    Thank you for the heads up! If i recall, the number of years of the data, was about 10 yrs? i didnt take any notes, unfortunately.

    However, I feel that we should be more concerned about the future. I took a peek at your portfolio, and was awestruck!

    I have 2 qns then, on what conditions would you sell off the reits you hold?

    What would you do once interest rates start to rise?

    Appreciate if you or anyone could answer :)

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