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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own, not those of my employer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

Learning Through Reflecting

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Was reading a book one day and this statement took me completely off guard, "you do not learn by going through an experience, you learn from reflecting on the experience!"

I felt that this was very meaningful as we can go through many experiences every day but we will learn little if we do not take some time to debrief and reflect on what we went through.

The debrief process also needs to be effective. So, objective questions need to be addressed:
1. What happened?
2. What worked, and why?
3. What did not work, and why?
4. What could have been done differently?

Firstly, it is to recall what happened.
Secondly, focus on how to recreate the success.
Thirdly, the mistakes to avoid.
Lastly, how to avoid those mistakes.

The process may seem very logical and simple. Many may even be thinking, "Like that only, who don't know"?!

Exactly, it is precisely so simple, yet few make the effort to do it, consciously. When going into the first and every subsequent investment, it is important to reflect when the transaction is over. Regardless if there was a profit or a loss, those same questions should be asked so that mistakes will not be repeated and positive strengths uncovered.

After many rounds, a whole set of best practices and the ability to be consistent develops. Many times, advice stops at, "If you fail, try again." However, that is also incomplete, according to Einstein who defines insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." Simple trying again is insane, unless one tries again, differently. I feel like when I was younger and did not do well in exams, parents will encourage and say "study harder". Doing more in the wrong way is not going to produce better results; rather the method of studying needs to be revisited.

Similar to "Practice makes perfect". Practice actually makes permanent, like a habit. But if it is the wrong habit, it is not going to be perfection. The practice requires refinement to improve each time to reach perfection. The spiral of the improvement cycle is only complete with the last feedback arrow.

Well, this has left me a lot of food for thought and I hope it has for you as well.

"When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and stop asking questions, then it is time to die."


The Best Interest Rate This Xmas

>> Friday, November 25, 2011

Walked past a HSBC roadshow recently, and they were offering 0.9% p.a. interest on a SGD 3 month time deposit. That is way higher than most banks for such a short duration fixed deposit (FD). In addition, they are giving a limited edition HSBC NETS CashCard pre-loaded with up to $500.

Just a side track question, what in this world is not "limited edition"? Once something stops production, it is also "limited edition", what realistically lasts forever in the physical world? Will this NETS CashCard be worth more in future?

Anyway, let's get back to talk about the tangibles, like reading the * Important note and "up to".

Well, I do not qualify for the Premier class, so I'll stick to review the Advance class. It offers a 0.8% p.a. rate for the same SGD 3 month FD. It gives a $28 CashCard (reasonable to equate to cash) for fresh funds of $25,000.

Therefore, using PV = 25,000 - 28 = 24,972 ; FV = 25,000 * ( 1 + 0.8% / 4 ) = 25,050 ; PMT = 0 ; RATE = 1.25% p.a.!

Now that is indeed a sweet rate for placing my liquid, emergency cash. Definitely more T&Cs to look out for, like this statement in especially small font: "In the event that the HSBC Advance account is closed within 12 months from 31 December 2011, the Bank reserves the right to impose a fee equivalent to value of the Gift issued."

All things considered, it is not a bad deal to me. In case I need the funds, I just lose the interest, if after 3 months, I just lose the $28 as a penalty and still enjoy the 0.8% interest.

Anyone have any better suggestions?


Gambling Trust

>> Friday, November 18, 2011

I read with amusement the recent news about the lady, who has a vegetarian hawker stall in Geylang, denied of her jackpot winnings at Marina Bay Sands (MBS). Two things aroused my interest.

One, MBS as a renowned casino operator did not want to pay! In an industry based on gambling trust, that is going to severely affect their business. Excuses given of faulty machines only made matters worse. In my opinion, it raises further questions, when was it detected and why were the machines still allowed to operate? They are in fact cheating customers to place bets that may never win! In addition to paying the lady her rightful winnings, they should refund every single customer who placed bets during that period of "machine fault". It is no different from saying that if you lose, it is working correctly; if you win, something is wrong and we will not pay.

Two, the publicity has made her famous, but may be attracting the wrong attention. Now, unless you are living in a cave (if there are even caves in Singapore), everyone knows she has $400k extra to spare and know where to find her. I believe relatives and friends which has lost contact since eons ago suddenly remembers her, and would like to interest her in lending (aka giving) them money, investing, selling or simply have some luck (aka "benefit") to rub off on them. I suppose that is why she is declaring that she will be donating her winnings.

Firstly, this is very similar to all investments, trust is of paramount importance. The investment platform and structure needs to be robust and regulated. Hence, do not jump into investments that do not establish such trust. Such as unregulated land banking, doggy overseas properties, mysterious gold, etc. There is sufficient amount of good quality products available to invest in for all risk profiles and portfolio construction.

Secondly, that is why, the truly successful remain humble and do not wish to attract unnecessary attention.

I have yet to step into either of the Singapore casinos to give lady luck a shot, but I guess my choice of which to go is clear.


Best Card To Use

>> Monday, November 14, 2011

I am a strong supporter of the Standchart XtraSaver account. I have been using it for years.
- It gives cashback for NETs purchases
- It gives the cashback in the form of cash every single month with no minimum spend requirement
- It gives a high cashback on MasterCard rebate of 2% (if no petrol purchases and $6k average account balance)
- First cheque book free
- No yearly fee
- No income requirement

1. I do not know of any other card that has rewards/cash for NETs purchases.
2. No complicated reward points system and pages upon pages of t&c-s.
3. Some other cards may give 3% or higher but too many complicated requirements to fulfill.
4. I do not use a lot of cheques so I am fine, some banks charge $2 every month just to open cheques.
5. An annual fee seems to be newly introduced, hope it can be waived continuously.
6. It is a debit card, so no credit facility, but I do not wish to live on credit anyway.

I was saddened to find out that the cap for the NETs cashback is being reduced from $50 to $15 from 1 Oct 2011!
Why the sudden cut and why there is no proper notification sent to customers...

Anyone else on XtraSaver too?
I am now tempted to search for better card promotions. Any suggestions?


Trading Psychology

>> Friday, November 4, 2011

This article may seem philosophical as I was listening to an interview with a successful trader recently and the topic was about trading the markets.

Naturally, the first question was how did he get so successful trading the markets?
In light humor fashion, he cheekily responded the question with a question, "Do you think it is because I am a financial guru that thoroughly understands the market inside out? What factors affects and influence at the macro and micro perspective?"

"Well, if you are expecting such a typical textbook answer, I must be is BS-ing you!"

He went on to explain that the only predictable thing about the market is that it is unpredictable. What is important is to focus on your interaction to this unpredictable animal, i.e. how do you perceive and react to the markets. Everything in this world is relative to the most important central element in your perspective, YOU!

Therefore, first and foremost, most importantly, you need to understand yourself. What is your trading psychology?

The market movement is all relative to you. The same market change of moving from an example value of 10 to 11 will mean different things to different people. Someone with a target of 10 and below will be in disbelief, whereas someone with a target of 11 and above will feel that it makes sense. It is that simple, the change is relative to the expectations.

There will be theories upon theories as to WHY the market moved from a 10 to an 11 but it does not change the fact that the movement has indeed occurred already. And more often than not, the movement has little to do with those theories.

Now observe your psychology towards this change, did you get stressed up, complain and get angry with the market when you were wrong; or did you get over excited, built your ego and set yourself to stick your neck out further when you were right; or did you calmly accept the fact regardless of the outcome, re-access the situation and focus on the next trade opportunity.

Trading is very different from investing, and psychology plays an enormous role for trading. It is really crucial to recognize and acknowledge the difference. Some say they invest but trade their holdings very often, some trade frequently but with the mentality of analyzing for investing.

Psychology is a diverse field that penetrates many different niches. is a directory consistently updated to keep up with important news, breakthroughs, and noteworthy studies made in the exciting field of psychology.




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To promote the education of individuals for the need to have a healthy lifestyle and wealth management through proper financial planning, particularly in investments.

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