Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Author Creed posted on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 in , , , , ,
I had a few lots of Singtel (Z74) in my portfolio a while ago, which I liquidated for a small profit when I wanted to park my money somewhere else. I have a habit of re-examining my past holdings to see if there is good cause for re-investment. I've already pumped some more money into ST Engineering. Now, I have my sights set on Singtel once again.

Source: Google Finance

Singtel's share price dipped in December of 2016 (alongside competitors M1 and Starhub) as TPG Telecom won the bid to become Singapore's 4th Telco. After decent 3Q results, which saw net profit climb 4% to S$994 million, we saw Singtel's stock price climb back up to 3.90+ levels, leaving M1 and Starhub in the dust with dismal financial results. However, in the past few weeks, Singtel's price has dipped once more with international fund managers selling off their Singtel holdings due to concerns about increased regional competition. Out of the 3 local Telcos, Singtel has the most internationally-diversified portfolio, with stakes in Indonesia (Telkomsel), Australia (Optus), and India (Bharti Airtel), among other areas. These markets have come under attack, as TPG Telecom stepped up expansion plans in Australia, directly threatening Singtel-owned Optus. UK's Vodafone completed a merger of its Indian subsidiary with a competitor, forming India's largest wireless telecom carrier and unseating Bharti Airtel, the former leader, in the process.

Singtel and its holdings are facing increased pressure and competition, both domestic and offshore. TPG's entrance as the fourth Telco directly threatens Singtel's hold on the Singapore market, while heightened international competition has thrown their regional holdings and stakes into disarray. Mr. Sat Duhra, a fund manager for Henderson Global Investors, which recently divested their Singtel holdings, mentioned increased competition as their main reason for selling the stock. "It's going to face some short-term pressure," he said, and I do agree with this analysis. Singtel will need to look towards other areas for investment and development. Note the phrase 'short-term pressure'. The Netlink Trust (NLT) IPO would be very important for Singtel - divesting their holdings in NLT would give Singtel a massive warchest with which to pursue expansion with, and would raise their stock price accordingly. Singtel has been given until April 2018 to divest their stake to less than 25%.

As an aside, I would like to see if Singtel is willing to increase funding/development in their cyber security (Trustwave) and data analytics (DataSpark) arms  - my portfolio is geared towards the "Smart Nation" idea, and as such, I would be interested in companies with a strong focus on data/technology/cybersecurity. 

In the meantime, Singtel's results will be out on Thursday (May 18), and I am expecting to see an overall drop in net earnings and operating profit. I would expect this to bring the price down slightly. If Singtel moves back down to the 3.50 - 3.60 region, I would consider picking some lots up. 

Until next time.


Friday, 31 March 2017

Author Creed posted on Friday, 31 March 2017 in , , , , , , ,
With my warchest ready, I've been taking a look at Singapore Exchange [SGX] (S68) after talking with a friend from college (his name is Kean, and there is a link to his own blog in my links section). This counter is relatively ignored among my peers, but I figure increased trading volume from the recent bull-run could benefit SGX, especially if good sentiment persists throughout 2017.

FY2016 results demonstrated a 5% increase in revenue, from S$779 million to S$818 million, mainly driven by SGX's Derivatives segment (from an increase in volume in Iron Ore contracts and SGX FTSE China A50 Index futures). FY2016 numbers for net profit remained unchanged from FY2015's at S$349 million, due to higher expenses in technology and staff.

This was all before Trump was elected US President, and the markets took off in a bull run. The STI is currently sitting at 3100+ levels, a sharp rise from November 2016 levels. In fact, overall market statistics for February 2017 showed decent growth in year-on-year volume in Securities (17%) alone, with Securities Daily Average Value (SDAV) at S$1.4 billion, up 11% year-on-year. 2 new Catalist listings during the month raised S$49.2 million on their own. With the much-hyped Kimly Limited's IPO, and with other potential IPOs to come (e.g. potentially Netlink Trust, and Amarco if SGX offers enough incentive for them to enable dual-listing), I expect much greater turnover for FY2017 under the new CEO's charge.

Additionally, there are discussions for SGX to become the first Asian bourse to allow dual-class listing of shares, which speculators think could enable SGX to compete for big international listings. This, if properly done without alienating retailers, would mean higher volume for SGX and more major IPOs as well.

There were talks of implementing a lunch-hour break for the Singapore stock market recently. If it does come to pass, I expect trading volume to dip, but overall volume/SDAV should be bolstered by the recent bull-run and by the increased number of IPOs in FY2017.

I've decided to pick up 1000 shares of SGX at 7.55 earlier this week. The 52-week high was 8.05 in April of last year, when the market recovered from the bear market in late 2015/early 2016. Due to higher turnover, and potential implementation of policies that would improve trading volume, I expect to see SGX's price move towards 8.00 as the middle of the year approaches. SGX closed at 7.70 on Friday.


In the meantime, I've also increased my holdings in ST Engineering and Keppel DC Reit. I'm a believer in their link to Singapore's Smart Nation ideal, and I believe they'll do well.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Author Creed posted on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 in , , , , , ,
ST Engineering (S63) has been a part of my dividend portfolio for a while, ever since I picked it up early last year. I have a tendency to re-evaluate my dividend stocks/REITs every year or so - I want to see if I should take profit and park my money somewhere else, or if I should continue having them in my portfolio.

ST Engineering closed at 3.67 on Tuesday, and dividends are upcoming in April. The company, as a whole, did well in 2016. FY16 revenue improved by 6%, from 6.33 billion to 6.68 billion, with the main contribution coming from their Aerospace and Electronics sectors. The Aerospace sector encountered more than S$2 billion worth of new contracts, and their business is well diversified overseas. The Electronics sector the probably provides the most optimism, as Singapore moves towards the dream of a Smart Nation. S$2.33 billion of new contracts were announced, and new R&D methods have been put in place, one of which is the launching of the ST Electronics-SUTD Cyber Security Lab. ST's Marine sector delivered less revenue due to weaker shipbuilding efforts, and ST's Land sector dropped due to divestment of their GJK and JHK subsidiaries, but the drop of $208 million from two sectors was buffered by the overall gain across all sectors.

At the close of 2016, ST Engineering had an orderbook of S$3.7 billion expected to be delivered in 2017.

Source: ST Engineering Website

For the same reason that I invested in Keppel DC Reit, the Singaporean shift towards a Smart Nation is keeping me invested in ST Engineering. ST Engineering is currently Singapore's main link to technology for the Smart Nation project. As progression is made towards a Smart Nation, I expect cyber security and communications technology to rise in importance, which means more contracts and development opportunities for ST. Assuming another 10% growth in revenue for FY2017, the Electronics sector would be poised to bring in more than S$2 billion.

With good FY2016 results and opportunities for growth around the corner, I have an optimistic view on ST Engineering, and I will be holding onto this stock for the coming year. It might be a while before it regains the $4+ levels of 2013, but it still remains a solid blue chip stock with decent growth potential. I might consider picking up more if the price manages to retrace to the 3.40-3.50 level - it is currently too expensive right now.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Author Creed posted on Wednesday, 1 February 2017 in , , , , ,
A visitor to this blog asked about Keppel REIT (K71U) in the comments section of my Keppel DC REIT post. I'd been focusing on Keppel DC at the time, but I told him that I thought it would be a good time to enter Keppel REIT if the price dropped under $1.00. Following that, I began taking a serious look at Keppel REIT.

Keppel REIT has ownership of commercial properties in Singapore and Australia. They have stated in their FY2016 earnings release that 2016 was a "difficult year for the Singapore office market given the oncoming supply of office space and aggressive leasing efforts from newly completed buildings." We can expect these troubles to continue into 2017.

Keppel REIT's stock price reached highs of 1.13+ in late 2016, a sharp increase from the 0.90+ at the beginning of the year, representing an approximate 25% increase. The price eventually tapered down near to $1.00 in January 2017. FY2016 financials dropped across the board, with total property income at S$161.25 million, down 5.3% from the previous year's S$170.35 million. Distributable income dropped to S$208.12 million from S$217.27 million, a drop of 4.2%. As explained by Keppel REIT management, these drops were mainly due to (1) the divestment of  Australian asset 77 King Street in 1Q2016, thus lending no contribution in the following quarters, (2) less contribution from Bugis Junction Towers, due to occupancy issues (94% filled at the end of 2016).

Distribution per unit (DPU) for FY2016 was 6.37 cents, a drop of 6.3% from FY2015's 6.80 cents. Based on a stock price of $1.02 as at 31 December 16, total yield would have been 6.2%.

Management, however, reported good performance from Singaporean assets at One Raffles Quay, Marina Bay Financial Centre, and Australian assets at 8 Chifley Square. While total borrowings only recorded a slight improvement from FY2015, Management has completed all refinancing requirements for 2017. Percentage of their debt portfolio at fixed-rate borrowing is 75% (a change from 70% in 2015), giving their debt portfolio a slight buffer against volatility, especially as potential interest rates hikes are introduced in 2017.

A record-setting bid was made for the Central Boulevard office site, which is expected to be completed in the first half 2017. Office rents should drop as office space floods the market, continuing the troubles Keppel REIT encountered in 2016. Overall portfolio occupancy for Keppel REIT stands at 99.2%, which is still high. Any impact that lower office rental prices may have on Keppel REIT in FY2017 is buffered by the fact that only 3.9% of leases are pending renewals in 2017.

Keppel REIT closed at $1.015 yesterday evening. Although the Singapore office market is to be facing gloomy days ahead, this S-REIT still has steady financials and fundamentals. At current prices, they represent a cheap alternative for dividend investing. I chose to bolster the dividends section of my portfolio by picking up 2000 units at $1.015. I will monitor the office market through 2017, to see how badly office rental prices are affected, and react accordingly.


In the meantime, I sold off my holdings of DBS at $18.85, netted a rough 6% return. This leaves me with some extra cash to park somewhere else in the near future. Blue-chip wise, I will be looking at Singtel and SGX.

Until next time.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Author Creed posted on Monday, 23 January 2017 in , , , , , , , , , ,
Which way, oh which way, will the oil price go?

SembCorp Marine's (S51) stock price languished in 2016 along with KeppelCorp's, as oil prices were driven down at the beginning of the year by severe global overproduction. SembCorp traded above $3.00 per share at the start of 2015. In early 2016, prices fell as low as $1.32 per share (demonstrating a 56% drop in a year), as oil prices plummeted. SembCorp suffered as contracts for rig-building dried up, and was forced to cut staff in the second half of 2016 as earnings dipped. The company, however, had an optimistic outlook:

"Despite the challenging outlook and intense competition, we believe that growth prospects for the offshore and marine industry remains encouraging over the long term."

December 2016 brought a ray of hope to the industry, as OPEC member and non-member countries stunned critics agreed to cut oil production by January. Recent reports [credit: Sydney Morning Herald] have cited that both OPEC and Russia have been cutting production a lot faster than expected, with as much as 1.5 million barrels being removed from the market daily. While Brent Crude is a far cry from its days above US$100 per barrel, the price has recovered to the 50+ region from the 30s, as critics await to see what effect these cuts would have on the oil price.

Hypothetically, if oil prices move higher due to the constant cuts, we can expect to see crude oil prices move upwards, which could eventually lead to companies resuming their oil-related activities, which were previously abandoned due to plummeting oil prices. Additionally, as mentioned in my previous post on DBS, the Singaporean government has stepped in to assist the Oil and Gas sector, announcing financial schemes to assist in financing projects through the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Source: Yahoo Finance

It would be easy to maintain an optimistic view of 2017, but SembCorp's order book needs to be closely monitored - if their order book remains dry, stock prices can be expected to fall as quarterly results are revealed. Currently, the company's subsidiary - Jurong Shipyard - is bidding to construct parts of an Oil and Gas vessel for Norway's Statoil [credit: Upstream Online]. Additionally, with Trump taking office, we will need to see what his 'America First Energy Plan' entails - Trump hopes will make America independent from OPEC by tapping into energy to replace oil. 

SembCorp Marine closed at 1.535 yesterday. Optimistically, we should see a conservative 2.00 by June this year, but only after a few retracements to the 1.40 region as oil prices fluctuate. Oil prices drastically need to recover if Sembcorp is going to stay afloat, as current prices are still too low for oil firms to confidently restart development. I'll be keeping my eye on this.

Until next time


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Author Creed posted on Tuesday, 6 December 2016 in , , , , , , , ,
Not any time soon, I reckon.

After witnessing the impressive rally that took place over the course of the past few weeks, I bought into DBS (D05) late at 17.80 with the intention of doing a bit of short-term trading. The stock has surged roughly 20% since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, and it should continue to head upwards as we approach the New Year.

The Italian referendum took place on Sunday (4th December), and the Prime Minister has announced his resignation. DBS's price seemed to be unaffected on Monday - the stock price only dipped slightly before recovering and powering up to 17.90+ amidst positive sentiment. The wave continued on Tuesday, kissing the 52-week high of 18.20 before closing at 18.16.

Third quarter performance (3Q2016) exhibited good numbers, with total income rising 8% against the previous year (3Q2015). Lower operating expenses caused total expenses to fall by 5%. Net profit remained stable, due to higher allowances for bad debt.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Positive sentiment seems to have been fueled in the aftermath of the OPEC agreement, where OPEC member and non-member countries stunned critics by agreeing to cut oil production by January. While the deadline is still a month away, the news sent oil prices soaring. Brent Crude trades above $50 this week, though it might face some difficulty breaking $60 before January arrives. With the rise in oil prices, optimism has been injected into the Oil and Gas sector, an area in which DBS has a lot of exposure (as a major moneylender to the O&G industry). Additionally, the Singaporean government has stepped in to assist the Oil and Gas sector, announcing financial schemes to assist in financing projects through the Ministry of Trade and Industry. While this does not completely eliminate DBS's exposure to Oil and Gas turmoil, it does help to mitigate their position.

With the US Federal Reserve's upcoming rate hike in mid-December, both American and Singaporean bank-related stocks are also expected to rise along with interest rates - the effect on US interest rates has tended to spillover to Singapore markets in the past. Plus, DBS is currently among the top ten largest private banks in Asia, and they have recently made acquisitions in wealth management and retail banking from ANZ. 

The run doesn't seem to be halting any time soon, although profit-taking might occur after mid-December. I would anticipate a conservative short-term target price of 19.00. 

Until next time.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Author Creed posted on Saturday, 3 December 2016 in , , , ,

And there goes my war chest. Apologies for the late post, but December has begun, and Winter has come at work.

So I've been looking at Keppel DC Reit (AJBU) for a while. I was busy with work and missed the opportunity to pick it up when the price dipped after the preferential offering - but I didn't see the need to wait any longer. The price recovered very quickly from the mid 1.10s to 1.20+ after the offering. I anticipated that I wouldn't have time to catch up on stock prices when the potential rate hike hit (December tends to be a hellishly busy time for me at work), so I moved to pick 4,500 shares up at 1.21. 

Keppel DC is diversified overseas - their assets are located throughout Australia, Europe, and Southeast Asia. This mitigates risk should anything unsavoury occur.

The need for data centres should only increase as we continue into a digital age - as IT and Fintech continue to increase the need for data creation, usage and storage. Growth in 2017 would be bolstered by their recent DC acquisitions.

The potential US rate hike might make the price dip again, but I expect strong recovery in the following weeks. This serves to bolster the dividend segment of my portfolio - I am expecting growth to be consistent and steady over the next few years. Keppel DC closed at 1.22 on 2nd November.

Source: Keppel DC REIT site - moving forward with a recent acquisition

If I have the time, I'll be looking into picking up some DBS and KeppelCorp shares in the near future for some minor trading. With oil prices recovering after the OPEC deal, I expect to see Oil and Gas related companies rally. The upcoming rate hike should prove to be good for DBS as well.

Until next time.


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Author Creed posted on Saturday, 12 November 2016 in , , , , , , , ,
2016 has been a year of change. Brexit shook the world in the middle of the year, sending markets into flux. Yesterday, it was the US Election. I had to head into the office early to prep, and even that early in the morning, Forex prices on my screen were already going nuts. All of us were on Bloomberg, watching the US slowly turn red.

I still tried my best to keep an eye on the stock market - I was trying to look for opportunities, which were all over the place, since almost all the counters on the front page of the SGX website were in the red. Midday, the bank stocks dropped like flies - DBS, OCBC and UOB went down. When I saw that UOB's price had hit close to 18.00, I decided to take the plunge and pick up 1,000 shares. I managed to get in at 18.13, and I held it overnight. At 18.13, I figured it was at a big-enough discount, so I wouldn't be too badly affected even if the price continued to drop.

Behold, America - your new President.

I was expecting another red day for the stock market on Thursday, but prices recovered really sharply. Today (Friday), I was prepared for UOB to correct and head further down, but UOB prices remained strong over the course of the day. Due in great part to uncertainty about next week, I decided to replenish my war chest by taking profit on UOB. I think I'll be needing it for the next couple of months.

So, with a surprising stock market surge, and with relative uncertainty in the weeks to come, these are the areas I'll be watching over the next few weeks:

1) REITS (Keppel DC)

I've been wanting to get into REITS for a while, more specifically Keppel DC REIT (AJBU). I missed the opportunity to buy in at $1.00+, so I've been waiting for the price to come down before entering. The need for data centres should only increase going forward, its numbers are solid, and this particular REIT has demonstrated decent growth since its inception. REIT prices tend to drop when the US raises interest rates, and an upcoming rate hike is due, should nothing else change.

It is yet unknown if the rate hike will continue as planned (although several analysts so it will), because the USD has strengthened over the last couple of days, with USD/SGD moving into the 1.41 region. Regardless, I would considering entering Keppel DC REIT when the price moves closer to $1.10. It closed at $1.195 on Friday. There is a preferential share distribution due next week, so I will wait to see if the price gets diluted.

2) Telcos (Singtel)

Price closed at $3.77 on Friday. With the potential fourth Telco incoming, I expect that Singtel (Z74) would be the least affected. Out of the current three, Singtel is the most diversified overseas, even though Australian subsidiary Optus is facing stiff and cutthroat competition Down Under. A 6.8-cent dividend will be paid out in January 2017. If Singtel continues paying >4% dividends per year, it might be worth a pick up.

I remember picking it up at the beginning of the year at 3.49. I would consider going in again if it drops to 3.50+.


I will also be watching the banks over the next few weeks, to see what happens. To any and all of you trading or investing next week, all the best.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Author Creed posted on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 in , , , , , ,
With the upcoming US Election looming near, uncertainties abound. Whatever the outcome will be, world markets will most certainly be affected, much like Brexit. Hillary seems the more stable choice, but even then, whomever gets put into office will throw the SGX into a bit of turmoil.

Whoever wins, be careful you don't wind up a loser.

I will be taking great care to watch my positions heading into the election, and I'd advise that you do so as well, especially if you lack holding power. Don't get caught with your pants down.

I figure that my position in ST Engineering is stable enough to weather whatever storm brews up, so I'll be leaving that alone. My recent trading attempt with HMI didn't get me a 10% return as I'd hoped for, but I managed to sell it off at 0.645 for a bit of coin before the price began plummeting. I figured that I would abstain from any more trading until the election was over. My war chest is now ready, and I am watching for opportunities. I will be looking for blue chips and REITs at bargain prices.

I've had my eye on Keppel DC Reit for a while, but it's pretty expensive now. I'll take a look again when the US decides to change interest rates.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Author Creed posted on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 in , , ,

Recently, a healthcare stock has been on the rise - Health Management International Ltd. (588.SI), more commonly known as HMI on the local stock exchange, closed at 0.64. Their current price is a far cry from the 0.48 at the start of September. The stock has been picking up speed recently, hitting a high of 0.65 today.

I've been looking to get into some trading after liquidating Sino Grandness last week - the loss wasn't too great, but an overall profit on any portfolio isn't a bad thing. I was delving into the healthcare sector for opportunities when HMI caught my attention. At the time, I decided to pick some up at 0.61.

Something brewing?

Health Management International Ltd. owns and operates the Mahkota Medical Centre in Malacca and Regency Specialist Hospital in Iskandar Malaysia. Currently, plans are to expand the Regency's medical block due to strong patient demand. Construction is set to begin in 2017, and is expected to take roughly 2.5 years to complete. The Regency has also begun advertising overseas, and has started to attract Indonesian patients. Mahkota's Nuclear Medicine division is pending a license to begin activities, and plans to add a new inpatient ward in 2017. With plans already in motion, the company is expected to keep growing as it moves into the future.

Their FY16 results were released in August. Revenue increased by 15.2% to MYR 397 million  as compared to last year, with the increase being mainly due to higher patient count and an overall increase in bill size. Their Net Profit After Tax, however, decreased by 14.8%, largely due to an increase in income tax expenses - a one-off recognition of MYR 9.4 million deferred tax assets and higher administrative costs contributed to this.

As at June 30 2016, HMI had a cash & cash equivalents position of MYR 78.9 million, up from the MYR 66.1 million at March 31 2016. This amount is almost double their position as at June 30 2015.

Due to healthy results, the company has announced a dividend of MYR 0.0075, with the ex-date being on 31 October 2016. HMI also recently announced an AGM to be held on the 24th of October, during which they will propose to renew their Share Buyback Mandate. The company had already approved the Mandate for the period of Oct 2015 to Oct 2016, during which they bought shares back at the 0.30 - 0.40 range.

At this juncture, my short-term target price is 0.685 - I believe this to be reasonably conservative, given the healthy news and dividend announcement. I am wary of chasing the price too far at this juncture.

Until next time.


Friday, 7 October 2016

Author Creed posted on Friday, 7 October 2016 in , , , , , ,
I've been holding onto this stuff for way too long. I could've sold everything off when prices hit upwards of 0.70, but I didn't. Could've, would've, should've - it's all water under the bridge. I took a gamble on the Garden Fresh IPO from Sino Grandness (T4B), and it's about time I liquidated my holdings. I would most definitely make a loss, but I am thankful that my other trades (thank you, Silverlake Axis) somewhat made up for it

Time to get out? I'm done with speculating on this stock for now.

For the uninitiated, allow me to give you the cliffnotes: Sino Grandness, a Chinese beverage and canned foods producer, had been wanting to spin-off its subsidiary, Garden Fresh, for quite a while. They eventually submitted an application to have Garden Fresh listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) on 1st April 2016. The spin-off would have created huge value for Sino by potentially bringing in big investors and by providing a means to settle some of their outstanding debt. Many people (myself included) saw target prices above 0.80. The price crossed 0.70 earlier this year, but eventually, the price started tanking. It dropped to 0.60. 0.50 followed soon after. After a few short-sell attacks, and a horrendous miscommunication of news (a rumour was spread that Garden Fresh products had failed an official food test when they had actually passed), the price settled in the 0.40 region. After it became clear that the IPO application was going to lapse, the price dropped to the 0.30 region. Thus far, Sino Grandness has not released any more information regarding the IPO application apart from the fact that they would still be trying to get Garden Fresh listed on the HKSE.

Now that the IPO application has lapsed, overall negative sentiment has sent the price tanking to the 0.30+ region. A sudden move back to 0.50+ is unlikely at this juncture, and with the upcoming rights issue (with the intention of raising money to fund their business activities), the share price looks to drop even further due to dilution. I feel like Sino's management could have handled this fiasco a lot better.

I knew the risks when I invested in an S-chip - this time round, my gamble didn't pay off. It's high time I cut my losses and put the money to better use somewhere else. I'm done waiting.

Until next time.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Author Creed posted on Sunday, 25 September 2016 in , , , , , ,
Sarah has a husband who is uninterested in all things financial. He doesn't care about insurance, investing, financial planning, etc. What he earns every month goes into his savings account with POSB and only leaves when he spends it. Sarah, however, is financially savvy, and asks that she be allowed to manage their money - she plans to put their combined earnings to work for them. She also gives him advice on what type of insurance to buy. "Sure," he says. "Go right ahead, love."

Sarah has a brother - Sean - who is also married. Discussions about finance are a cringe-inducing topic in Sean's household. He wants to invest his money, and urges his wife to do the same. His wife, however, has heard the horror stories that typically accompany stock crashes, and prefers to keep things simple. She doesn't want him doing anything potentially risky, and nags whenever she sees him looking at stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles. She would rather he put his money into a savings account, just like she does. Sean, on the other hand, disagrees, and this causes friction between them. He doesn't agree with how she spends her money. To make things worse, she doesn't agree with his methods either.

Money isn't the root of all evil, but differing ideas on finance could be cause for arguments.

As long as one person is willing to bear the burden of being the couple's financial planner-cum-investor, financial apathy is easy to deal with. 

However, when couples have different views on money and how it should be saved or spent, the situation gets tricky. What is to be done? One's a spendthrift, the other a miser. One doesn't trust stocks, the other is more willing to invest and trade. One wants a family car for the sake of convenience (and also for face in some cases, although this usually isn't said out loud), the other insists on public transport because cars are too expensive in Singapore.

For those of you in this particular pickle, I feel you. I feel for you. It can be difficult, but perhaps some middle ground could be found with the following points:

1) It doesn't hurt to have a savings account with a decent interest rate

For simplicity, some people would rather put their cash in a POSB savings account and just be done with it. Even if your partner likes to keep things simple, having a savings account with a decent interest rate would be safe enough for them to venture.

Try the OCBC 360 account - it's simple enough to earn the bonus interest, and ATMs are fairly common around the island. Banks like CIMB and BOC do offer higher-than-usual interest rates on their savings accounts, but accessibility could present an issue.

2) Try to have the 'talk' before marriage

This is important, and should have been the first point, but it's true - try to get to know your partner's spending/investing habits before marriage, so this issue can be worked out in advance. The best remedy to a problem is the prevention of it in the first place. These ideas don't suddenly change because of a wedding band.

If both parties cannot agree on finances, I've personally borne witness to too many real-life horror stories to know how badly it could go. If this issue persists after marriage, it starts getting messier and messier. If you can't trust your spouse with money, how do you trust them with other matters?

I've seen people break up just one week after making wedding preparations because the issue of money reared its ugly head. If both parties really can't agree, you can foresee stormy clouds in the future.

3) Start them off slow, and don't forget to show proof 

For the more risk averse, it can be a daunting challenge for them to do something with their money which is - as far as they know - not guaranteed. What if the stock does badly? What if the company can't settle their debts and end up like Swiber? What if the economy does badly and the stock sinks too?

If you're into investing in blue-chips and you've been making a steady passive income, tell them what you've been doing. If possible, bring out the black-and-white. Records of steady dividends (along with the amount of capital spent) might help you along in your quest to win your partner over. If you succeed in breaking the ice, consider teaching your partner a little about investing.


On another note, my trading portfolio isn't looking so good right now - I'm going to hold on a little while longer to see how things turn out.

Until next time.