Sunday, December 11, 2022

Do I Still Believe In Financial Freedom?

In my younger days when I started this blog almost 10 years ago, I believed a lot in financial freedom and had the passion to live this out in my life through saving and investing. I was in my mid 20s back then. In 10 years, I've grown older and no longer too young anymore. Somehow, my views towards money have changed as I progress in life and I no longer focus so much on planning my finances anymore. The weird thing is I still believe a lot in financial planning but there is a fear in me that the plans don't work out. Life gets more stressful as I grow older and its no longer as simple as what I thought it would be. 

The different struggles for different income groups

$2K-$3K income
Having conversions with my others makes matter worse. I've seen people struggling with finances. For those who have low income of $2K+ to $3K+, they are mostly living from paycheck to paycheck. If you're single and young its ok but those at my age or older are mostly married or have kids. Many of them are waiting for their pay to come in each month and some even have to rely on government subsidies to survive. Some have to take loan just to survive the month. 

$3K-$5K income
This is an income group where many middle class workers are in. $3K is probably too low but the median is around $4K-$5K to be sufficient. Singapore's median gross monthly income from work is $5,070 in 2022. This includes employer CPF contributions so the actual monthly income should be lower at about $4106. The take home pay is then $3285. For average (mean) gross monthly income, it is higher at $5832 (including employer CPF). Excluding employer CPF will be around $4732 and take home pay is $3779. If its only a single income supporting a household with 1 kid, this is barely enough. From my conversations with my peers, I've seen people who are earning $4K plus and still struggling with their finances. While most months they will have enough to live by, some month they will have to tighten their belts when they need a sum of money to replace faulty home appliances etc. Another thing to note is that the median and mean gross monthly income already includes commissions and bonuses so the actual basic gross income will be lower. 

$5K-$8K income
This is probably quite a big range and can make a difference between someone earning $5K vs someone earning $8K which is much more comfortable. However, I do notice a trend where people who earn more will generally spend more also either they buy a car, go for more overseas trip, upgrade to private property, eat out at restaurants more and generally have higher standards of lifestyle. This group of people will still think that money is not enough to maintain their standard of living and worry about retirement if they need to upkeep this lifestyle. 

$8K and above income
Those who earn above $8000 are in the top 20% of earners in Singapore based on the statistics from MOM. I know of a few peers in this category and they are fairly comfortable in life. However, because of current economic uncertainty, the fear of retrenchment for this group of people can be scary as they would probably be in higher management position and if they were to get retrenched, they will be worried if they cannot find a job easily as there are lesser higher management jobs available as compared to a middle management position. 

Do You Struggle in your finances?

At every stage of life, we have something to worry about. I get depressed once in awhile when I compare myself to others and in Singapore, it seems like we can never earn enough. When we thought that we are comfortable, someone else seems to have a better life and somehow, the stress of keeping up strikes again. Someone would have a better house, better car, living a seemingly better life. While competition can be healthy sometimes to push ourselves to be better, its what makes us unhappy in life.
Do I still believe in financial freedom? I think its getting harder with the desired Singapore lifestyle and inflation going up. The struggles are real as a Singaporean. 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Picking Growth Stocks With Investor-One Portfolio

Growth stocks are good additions to our portfolio to boost our investment returns over the long term. Most of the stocks in our portfolio will be average or even loss making but there may be 1 or 2 super growth stocks in our portfolio which boost our returns significantly. 

An example of a growth stock is Netflix which grew by 145x if you invested in 2003. $10,000 invested in 2003 would be worth $1.45 Million now. Its a long 19 years but still the returns are exceptional at average of 763% annually. Another growth stock, Tesla grew by 146x in 10 years from 2012 to 2022. $10,000 invested in 2012 would be worth $1.46 Million now. While these growth stocks would have given our wealth a significant boost, the issue is always how do we pick winning growth stocks?

For Singapore market, there are also growth stocks. An example is iFast which grew 8x in just 2 years from 2020 to 2022. $10,000 invested in 2020 would have grown to $80,000 in just 2 years. The price of iFast have since retreated down but the returns are still about 4x-5x. 

Investor-One, a website by ShareInvestor, has a portfolio feature where their research team manage a portfolio of stocks which are focused on growth. They select stocks based on a a set of fixed financial parameters as seen below:

These financial metrics seems reasonable to find undervalued companies which are not big market cap and with strong financial standings. Most of the companies which grew tremendously over the years had small market cap back then and they slowly grew to become big market cap companies such as Netflix. 

On the Investor-One portfolio page, you will be able to find stocks which are in their portfolio and their recent buys for this portfolio. This portfolio is managed by ShareInvestor's Investor-One team. You will be able to see their portfolio returns too. For each stock buy, the team has also put up notes to explain the rationale of buying the stock. One example of a buy for HRnetGroup is seen below:

In the Investor-One portfolio, there are 7 stocks now. Some of the stocks are making money while some are in the red. This is part and parcel of investment and our view should always be for the long term and hope that the winners are more than the losers in the long run. I've learnt over the years that we can never be 100% correct for investments but some financial metrics will guide us to choose the right stocks. Buying companies which are overvalued is a sure way to lose money so its important to refer to some financial ratios such as Price to Earnings (PE) and Price to Book (PB) when choosing stocks to buy. While financial ratios may not be a full-proof way to make money, it does provide some guidance for us not to buy overvalued companies. 

When the market is red hot, it is best to stay out of it so knowing how to use financial ratios to evaluate our investments will stop us from being too greedy. While the stock market is not red hot now, the Singapore property market seems to be with many buyers rushing to buy private properties as new launches for condos get sold out in a matter of days. Even HDB prices are skyrocketing with more and more above 
S$1 Million HDB being sold and buyers willing to fork out cash over valuation of $200K for a HDB which was sold for S$1.2 Million dollars just recently. Paying cash over valuation of 20% is like buying a stock 20% higher than it's PB. 

You can check out Investor-One portfolio page which will be updated when there are new purchases and you'll be able to see how the portfolio performs over the years based on the above financial parameters. 

This post is sponsored by ShareInvestor but all views are of my own

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Ultimate Financial Independence Visualisation Tool

There's a saying that goes like this "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". However, most of the time, you may be lost as to how to start your own financial planning to achieve financial independence (FI)? How do I even know how much income, expenses or investment return I must have in order to achieve FI? When is the age where I can finally say to my boss "I Quit"? 

These are all relevant concerns which is why I created a financial independence visualisation tool which I use for my own financial planning also. I've made it easy to use so you can just input your age, income, current savings, expenses, target dividend yield, bonus, salary increment and emergency fund and the tool will calculate it all out for you. 

Here's a screenshot of how the tool looks like in excel:

I'm giving this tool for free for download so do read all the way to the end for the link to download the tool. 

Visualisation is powerful where it can let us see where we are currently and where we will be in the future. With visualisation, we can adjust our parameters and achieve what we want for FI. This is like seeing light at the end of the tunnel instead of being blinded by darkness if we cannot visualise where we are going.

For example, if you're thinking of achieving FI when you are in your 40s, how do you do it and does your current financial situation allows you to do it? By putting in your details in the spreadsheet, you will be able to see if the dividends you receive will exceed expenses by what age? 

Using the visualisation tool, a person at current age 30 with the below details will have his dividends exceed expenses at age 62 only:

For networth, this is how it will grow for the same person:

To recap, for this person, his dividends received will exceed his expenses only at the age of 62 with a networth of almost $2.2 million. This is considering he only had a $2500 monthly expenses in his 30s. Dividends he will receive annually is $91,627 while his expenses will be $90,128. That's an expenses of average $7500 per month which has increased about 2.6x in 32 years just based on an inflation rate of 3%. That's the impact of inflation it has on our lives so we must factor this in our financial planning. We will definitely need more money in the future as cost of living continues to go up.

We assume the person above consistently invests 85% of his networth at 5% investment return and he will have $2.2 million at age 62. What if this same person does not invest at all? How much will he have when he's 62? The answer is $1.1 million, half of what he would have. This is the power of compound interest through investing. In the visualisation tool, it assumes that dividends received are reinvested back so it still acts like compound interest overtime. 

The tool may not be perfect but it would be the closest to what we can have to visualise our financial future. Feel free to try it and adjust the parameters and formulas to suit your needs if you feel its not too accurate for you. 

You can download the tool here and try it for free now. 

Hope this helps in your financial planning!

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