Here’s the deal:
Even if you have done all of it. But yet STILL Don’t Know What To Do…
Because there isn’t a step-by-step approach that you can FOLLOW and CONVINCED that will compound your capital - If you really want to cut out the standard crap and get straight to the point to grow your wealth - Then you are in the right blog.
And, if you have already started. But feel that the approach you take involves with many guesswork and requires tremendous hours of analysis - Then I've something for you.
Probably The Only Investing Blog
To compound your capital with less effort and spend the time on the thing you love
Don't invest until you have read this!
Do you know that the average investors annualized return is only 2.5%? This is a study done by BlackRock Investment Institute one of the world's largest financial institution.
And, in 2014 CPF reported its members(Singaporean) who used CPF monies for stocks investment. A startling figure of 40% of its CPF members are losing money.
Only a mere 15% is making above 2.5% investment return.
And, you know what?
By blindly invest in STI ETF(an index fund you can buy in SGX) alone you are already able to achieve 7% annualized return!
And that's WITHOUT making any effort of research or analysis on stocks.
The bottom story is. Investing in market index like STI ETF, you are almost 100% guarantee to compound your money in the LONG RUN!
Want to compound your capital even more?
I'm lazy of writing the same thing over and over again... Sorry for those who haven't read my older post.
The answer is to apply the same systematic approach to value investing - investing a group of stocks with low valuation - Read: What Has Worked In Investing by Tweedy, Browne Company LLC which details 44+ empirical data on value investing.
Cut the noise, Ignore the market. Stick with your strategy.
Any approach that is rule-based, backed-up by empirical evidence. Without ad-hoc decision-making. And with the above points I'd consider it as a systematic approach.
The goal is to make investing as systematic and as passive (eventually) as possible.
By the above points, I'd consider investing monthly(DCA) on STI ETF a systematic approach as well, because there is no market timed, no ad-hoc decision as to when to or not to invest and etc...
You cut the noise, you ignore the market. And you stick with your investing plan. Be it if you are investing in a passive index fund like STI ETF or investing in a group of low valuation stock i.e value investing.
Aren't this the same as Passive Investing?
Yup it is. The reason why I use the term systematic rather than passive is to cater for investing approaches that are outside of the index investing which doesn't requires much active effort when it is started.
However, the case is not so for say building a systematic value stocks portfolio. Which you would require an active effort at the portfolio-building phase. It will be passive once you have completed building your portfolio, as what you need to do after that is simply yearly assessment and re-balancing.
I'm a strong believer of Systematic Deep Value investing
I'm a big fan of deep value investing mainly because the of studies that conclude: The reward of picking under-priced stocks far exceeds the reward of picking the "winner" & "good story" stocks.
I'm highly influenced by:
Which based on the ideas of:
Ops, hope I didn't lose you with the systematic thingy and now with another new term calls deep value investing.
So if you have read books on value investing then you might be wondering now what is the difference between value stock and deep value stock?
In its simple term, value investing bases its valuation on business, management, earnings and other wide range of factors. Whereas deep value narrowly looks at company's assets.
Hence, investing in stocks that its assets price is significant higher than the market price.
Want to find out more about deep value investing? Enter your Email, I'll send you my 3 must-read articles and 31+ resources.
My background story
I'm GV(pseudonym). A 27 year old male living in a city-state calls Singapore. I'm an ACCA graduate, and would probably be a Chartered Accountant of Singapore by now had gone through the conventional auditor's path.
In my early school days, I cannot't express to you how bad was I academically. My score on the PSLE was around 85, luckily I still made it to secondary. My N level result barely allowed me to pass with only two subjects.
The result was so bad that none of my course options were approved by ITE. One day, however, they called me with a vacancy in electronics, so I accepted.
It wasn't something that I liked, and at that time I was working in a MLM firm with five downlines helping me. I didn't study, I didn't know what the lecturer was teaching, and I skipped school so that I could go to the library to read business books. My entire focus was on my team and business, so it's unsurprising that I stopped taking any exams and I eventually dropped out.
Roughly 6 months later, the MLM thing did not workout. I made $300-$500 in total by selling close to $10,000 worth of health products to my relatives and parents!
I remember, it was in a Chinese New Year, and I was depressed. Everyone on my team (which was now down to only two members) was depressed. My upline was depressed, my sideline as well. The overall atmosphere made it seem impossible to continue, so we left the company together.
At that point in time, I didn't have any qualifications other than an N level certification showing that I barely passed basic Mandarin and computer classes. I didn't know what to do next rather than waiting for my enlistments.
Actually, it wasn't that bad. I did have some early success prior to the MLM endeavor. I was running block-by-block selling ice cream tubs to people, making pretty good money. I averaged about $100/day with 4 hours of effort; on good days I could even made close to $200!
My friends and I were smiling all the way home; we even joked about how we were making more than the working adults. Anyway, that didn't last long, and I sometimes would wonder where the money had gone.
Back to the days after leaving MLM, I was enlisted into SCDF and selected as a firefighter. Thinking about my future back then was pretty dark and scary; what job could I take on with only an N-level certification?
So I resolved to study part-time to get my business management diploma in MDIS. Luckily, I was posted to a fire station where the working hours were 24 hours on the first day, with the 2nd and 3rd day off.
When on duty, I was also allowed to take time off to attend my classes. I didn't study much, except maybe the last few weeks prior to exams, so my grade was pretty average. The subject wasn't that tough, wo it was pretty manageable despite my weak academic foundation.
I completed my NS, and a few months later I graduated. I found my first job in a healthcare organization chasing medical debt from patients.
I felt fortunate that the company recognized my private diploma and paid me fairly in a time when many people were discussing whether private diplomas were just useless pieces of paper.
I didn't stop fighting, but I knew clearly that this certification would not take me far. My career potential would be limited by my paper, so I needed to study for a degree. ‘What?’ and ‘How much?’ were the questions I was pondering.
Clearly, I couldn't afford a $20K degree course, and even if I could and then graduated, how far would it take me? Again, the same question of whether a private degree would be useful started coming out.
In the end, I decided to go for ACCA for budget reasons. It was a bold move, as ACCA is known for being one of the world's hardest accounting qualifications with a passing rate that can be as low as 35%.
There were so many stories on HWZ forums sharing how they or their friends gave up half way through the papers, so I was at first very tentative in my approach. If it didn't work out, then I would withdraw.
I was still holding my full-time job while studying part-time on my ACCA. The progress was slow; I could only finish a few papers per semester.
I knew that I would not make it further with the limited study time I had while working a full-time job, since the papers would only get harder. So I quit my job. A rather risky move many would feel.
Firstly, I didn’t have a PROVEN academic track record. Secondly, I was COMPETING with students who had a stronger academic foundation. And thirdly, the passing rate was too low. In other words, the odds were stacked strongly against me.
By the way, it was really, really tough. I couldn't understand what the professors were teaching, and I was struggling every day. I felt so stupid that I started reading books on how to get smart, but ended up only getting smart on the topics that I read.
The knowledge I gained from my diploma didn't help at all. This was a totally different level, but luckily I chanced upon a blog called StudyHack by Cal Newport.
Two important lessons I learnt from Cal Newport
Two important things he taught me. First, your intelligence has nothing to do with your study, so forget about putting blame on that. Second, if you don't make it, that means you are either not putting ENOUGH hours in, or you are doing things the WRONG WAY.
Instead of saying, "Maybe I'm not smart enough," I said, "How can I put MORE hours?" and "How can I do things differently?"
So I reviewed my study strategy and increased my study hours. I made a detailed study plan. I voice recorded every lesson. I questioned every step and number in the answer. I played the record countless times on concepts I couldn't figure out. I pretended to be a smart person, and studied for exams as a smart person would.
At the end of every semester, I reviewed my study plan, finding gaps to improve. I was figuring out how to learn things better and faster. It was at that time I realized that learning itself is a skill! I didn't have that skill, but anything that is a skill can be developed and improved. This applies to the skill of learning as well.
Soon, the results started showing. I did getting better at studying on subsequent semesters, and my results were indeed getting better despite the papers getting more difficult as I progressed.
I think it was cultivating the right mentality and study habits that allowed me to sit at my desk studying for 10 straight hours without getting distracted. Yes, I was able to do that on the last semester... although not even half of it now.
As you may have guessed, this story has a happy ending. I did make it. I completed all of the ACCA papers. Best of all, I'm the first one among my classmates who completed 4 professional papers in a semester (two of which had a crazily low worldwide passing rate).
Not all story turns out to have a happy ending.
Have you seen Attack of The Titan? There is a scene where the male lead believed in his teammate, trusted his commander’s strategy and followed a very well thought-out plan.
Before that, he wanted to jump out and fight the female Titan outright after witnessing the gruesomeness of his comrade’s body being ripped apart by the Titan. Eventually, he stuck with the plan. All of his teammates were happy.
Everyone was proud of him for being able to control himself and stick with the plan. He was making the RIGHT choice.
You know what happened next? Everyone died. The teammate that praised him died. Blood was gushing everywhere. The female Titan appeared unexpectedly. All died.
Did he not make the correct choice? No, he made the right choice.
But bad things do happen, and you have no control over the outcome. All you can do is make the best decision you can and hope that the outcome is positive. Right decisions don’t always lead to the right outcomes.
There is no 100% certainty in life. And no ending is always happy ending...
The first job I got was from Apple, as an online store payment related support role. The pay was great, and the staff benefit was generous. The cafe, lounge area, and the environment and the ambiance were spectacular. It was a dream place to work in.
That was also the time I started picking up my first investing books, Intelligent Investors.
My manager saw my enthusiasm, and she put me on a project team in my third month. I did have a good start, but after six months of employment I made another bold decision to quit a job that was already comfortable for a risky endeavor in prop. trading.
I weighed the risk and reward, and thought that it was worth taking.
Everyone in the firm was doing spread trading. I started off trading the spread of AU bond futures and 10 Yrs US bond futures based on the concept of mid-reversion.
The working hours were really crazy (~15hours/ day), and many of my weeknights were spent in the office. I would get back home at 7 am, sleep for a couple of hours, had lunch, then return to the office at 12 pm on a consistent basis.
There was no basic pay; you only got paid when you had a positive P&L. It was mentally draining to see how you were profiting every day, and then one day (out of nowhere), it would come to wipe out all your gains. The only hope was to have some profit left.
James Altucher summarized it well "Day trading pulls everything out of you. It sucks the soul out of your body, blends it up, and then explodes. It doesn’t turn into a nice smoothie. It explodes."
Even so, the profit had to be paid for desk fee and commission, and you only got a cut on the remainder. The size you started out with was really small. Hence, the norm was not making any money in the first six months.
After putting my entire heart and soul into it, I did not see that manual trading was sustainable. “Hand-on-the–mouse” style of trading was clearly outdated.
It was so freaking clear that when you look at the market ladder(NOT CHART!), all the orders are being placed by the bots, and not human. When I placed 10 lots on the price of 122, 50 lots stacked on top of my orders. When I removed that 10 lots, the same 50 lots gone immediately!
So I left. I was quite broke and my ex-girlfriend left me because of my career choice. So it did suck everything out of me and exploded. BOOM!
After that, I got a position in a metal trading company as a trainee/ trader. I stayed for 10 months. I thought I would have a stable career life, nothing risky, nothing funny. Something deep inside me started crying after a while, however. I felt I was dragging my feet to work. I was not learning much from the job.
In fact, I learned much more outside by myself than on the job. I didn't know what I was doing in the office every day other than replying to emails, doing paperwork and making calls, and then collecting a paycheck at the end of every month.
I realized the fire inside my heart had not extinguished, and I knew that I had to quit. I knew I could do something for myself with the knowledge and energy I have.
So one might think this is an act of a passion; however, more of it was out of desperation: the desperation of wanting to do something more in life and not settling for the status quo.
I had the desperation of wanting to build a rare and valuable skill that would allow me to dictate my own life by having stronger bargaining power in this capitalistic society than the company offered. In addition, I did not want to risk my future further by changing to a new job.
In the end, I tendered. I believed I could build the skill by my own hands, in the same way I managed to pull myself out from an ITE drop-out to an ACCA graduate.
So here I am, running this blog full-time.
I love the ideas of sharing free content to people and benefiting their lives. I'm a good example of someone who has benefited greatly from the blog StudyHack.
Ever since, I have started reading more about blogging, marketing, and the whole social media thing in general, which I used to think it was all about internet scamming or other illicit activities.
I was awed by how much the online world has changed. It is not about publishing a blog post, but about the connection and collective inspiration you can have with people.
I had a paradigm shift. Suddenly, I felt I knew so little about it. So many opportunities have been created in the past 2-3 years that we can hop on to benefit the lives of others. Plenty of tools and resources are out there to help you.
There are no people stopping you at all; there are no gatekeepers. The only thing that is stopping you is the lizard brain in you.
What is even luckier is that Singapore is still pretty backward; we are still stuck in the early 2000s internet era. Just ask anyone the difference between blogging in the early 2000s vs. 2015; they can't tell you the difference except perhaps a better design.
So there is a 15 years knowledge gap to close. In finance, we call this “arbitrage opportunity.” I'd like to call it “knowledge arbitrage.” Learn from the west, and apply it to Singapore (and profit from the spread). :)
One of the questions people often ask is, “How do I make money”? Actually, there are plenty of ways. As of now, this is how I see it for my blog.
In the short-term, I will force you to see the ads on my site, but that's not a smart way to make money. Incidentally, I have started removing them.
In the mid-term, I will sell you other people’s products or courses from which I have personally benefited, and hence I believe you will be benefited as well.
The ultimate goal for now is to create my own product and sell it to you. As for what product and when it's not something I can answer now.
90% of businesses fail because they spend a lot of money, create a product, and then look for customers. Only then do they realize that no one wants their product.
I prefer to do it the opposite way; I'll build an audience first, figure out their demand, and then create a product to solve their problem. This way is much safer. Put simply: No audience, no demand, no product.
To break it down further: No quality content, no readers, and an inability to understand their problem…. Fail.
Email Subscription - will you spam me?
The answer is no, because my email provider is registered under the law of CAN-SPAM Act by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
One of their regulations is that if enough of people label my email as spam, I will get BANNED from my email provider. I might even lose my email contacts!
Secondly, I want you to open and read my emails, not ignore them. To achieve this, I need to send you ONLY meaningful content, not junk.
Thank you for spending the time to read all the way down to here. It's a very long “About Me” section, probably the longest you have ever read!
I know that my thinking and actions are quite unusual by any Singaporean standard. A foreign friend of mine even commented that I can't be a Singaporean, and asked where my parents came from. I replied that they were from Malaysia. She said, "Ah, no wonder, trueborn Singaporeans won't have the guts to do half of what you are doing."
Probably that's due to my upbringing. I didn't have much influence from the standard educational system or from my reserved parents. Most of my influence has come from books, which mostly are from the west, and promote individualism. Maybe that is what shaped who I am now.
What I'm doing now is probably risky, and the chances of succeeding could be low. But you know what? 100% of opportunities are created simply because people are uncertain about almost anything in their lives.
Anything that can amount to something isn’t going to be easy and certain. Building a blog is hard, writing is hard, promoting it is hard, and building an audience is damn hard.
But I believe I have what it takes to make it. I've done it before. I failed my N level English and Math. I used to be an ITE dropout; I pulled myself out and made it to one of the world's hardest accounting qualifications.
I did it last time before, and I will do it this time again. And then again, and again and again. This blog is just the start.
I see the trend is moving in our favor. The whole online ecosystem is there. If the investing and personal finance niche is small, then I will scale it. If you think it's un-scalable, then I will scale the un-scalable.
I'll beat against all odds.
So join me. Stand by my side. Follow my blog by entering your email below. Be part of the growth of my blog!
Witness how I scale the un-scalable.
Latest update: I'm now working in a financial educator firm.
Thank you! - GV
"I really think you have a bright future ahead. Great ideas, unwavering faith, inquisitive mind, brave actions. All the qualities to a successful person... I would like to be part of your success. Lol
....Actually, I thought you are just any other investing blogger. But after meeting up with you and chatting with you for over 3 hours. I found so many excellent qualities and ambitions of yours that I liked but I don't dare to execute by myself."