Thursday, 30 April 2015

Here are 10 things you didn't know about Adolf Hitler

When I was a lot younger, I was interested in military conflicts particularly World War II, and I still am. I could always be found in the library reading about such things. As such, my parents always thought I would study History, but lets face it, its simply not practical to do study History, at most we could be a teacher or a professor at school. Now, let me indulge in my childhood knowledge for a while..

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the death of Adolf Hitler and subsequently the end of the World War II in Europe soon after.

And so there are things about Hitler we didn't know..

10. Hitler was a Disney fan.

Hard to imagine this cold-blooded murderer sitting behind a TV eating popcorn and enjoying "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" or "King Kong", while millions are being gassed in his concentration camps.

9. Hitler had injections of bull testicle extracts.

A much older man than his mistress, Eva Braun, he required bull testicle extracts to be injected so as to achieve higher libido to satisfy her.

8. Hitler was an animal lover.

The oddest thing is this mass murderer of countless lives showed great concern for animals native to Germany and passed laws to protect them.

In 1934, Hitler passed a law called Das Reichjagdgesetz (Reich Hunting Law) which controlled how many animals could be poached per year.

7. Hitler banned experimentation on animals.

Nazi Germany was the first country in the world to ban vivisection, or the experimentation on animals. Hitler's great concern for animal welfare led to a complete ban of vivisection in April 1933.

6. Hitler was made Man of the Year by TIME magazine.

That was in 1938, but it was soon corrected to Person of the Year. Basically, we know that Joseph Stalin got it the following year and again in 1942. Sure enough, even a simpleton knows the obvious reasons for the selection. One had to have power to be selected, political or otherwise.

5. Hitler wanted to an artist.

Yes, he wasn't initially a crazy guy with world domination in his sights, he had always dreamt of being an artist by trade, and actually planned to continue his artwork right after his general education instead of college.

4. Hitler was a vegetarian.

Perhaps as a result of his respect for animals, he chose to be a vegetarian.

3. Hitler's unique moustache was forced by the circumstances.
Hitler's original moustache

During World War I, he almost died because of his long moustache which could not fit into the gas mask he was wearing. He was forced to cut his moustache smaller so that he could have the gas mask fitted. He kept the moustache the same toothbrush shape ever since.

2. Hitler was feminine.

Experts examining his handwriting found it to be a writing composed by a typical man with feminine instincts. Perhaps he was really feminine at heart all along, which also led to speculations that he was homosexual.

1. Hitler invented the concept of a blow-up doll.

We could not have ever guessed this coming, but Hitler could not stand the fact that his soldiers would be sleeping with 'dirty' French prostitutes and Jewish women. So to prevent them from doing so, he made the men carry an inflatable doll which they could use them anytime they wished. But carrying this with them was terribly embarrassing, and so the blow-up doll became a flop.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

How to better organise your life? (Part I)

Sometimes life can be full of first world problems, thankfully most of them not major. But sometimes a messy or cluttered space or room can get into our heads. And doing simple things may turn out to be extremely inefficient.

Have you ever thought about making your life easier by making the simplest of all changes to your way of life?


The simple life hacks I am going to share with you might make your day!

1) Protect those hands while holding the nail steady!!!

2) Want your personal butler? You’ve got it!

3) OR you could try this instead.

4) Extension plugs disconnecting on their own?

Now they wont!

5) Forget what to buy for your groceries? 

Now you wont! Take a picture of your fridge!

6) Stop that spill! Now you can enjoy your ice cream without getting your hands dirty! 

7) In-built speaker too soft? Use this for sound amplification!

8) Put a wooden spoon to prevent water from boiling over! 

Try it!

9) Look simple enough, but don’t underestimate the power of toilet rolls!! It really saves you the trouble of entangled wires! 

10) Use frozen grapes to keep your drinks chilled without the dilution from using ice cubes!

Today I have given you 10 life hacks we could use in our everyday lives. In Part 2 (below link), I will share with you more other life hacks, till then!

Monday, 20 April 2015

A climb up the United Kingdom's highest peak (Ben Nevis)

I promised I would share snippets of my UK exchange experience, and since I did recall of several memorable moments, I thought this was probably the most significant. A climb up the UK's highest peak would be an achievement I would like to take away from my exchange, something worthy to add to the already awesome SEP experience so far.

It was May 2013, our exams had just ended and we took advantage of the short week to make time for a road trip, just before we would have to start to part ways. It was so sad it reminded us that all good things eventually come to an end, but we are determined not to let it end with a whimper.

The road trip took us to many parts of Scottish Highlands, i.e. the Wallace Monument, Loch Ness, Inverness, Loch Lomond and many others. It was my idea to include the Ben Nevis climb as part of the road trip itinerary, and I was relishing the chance to scale UK's highest peak. However, the weather threatened the night before, and because UK is well known for their gloomy overcast weather with frequent bouts of rain, I was pretty worried that we might not be able to make the climb. Fortunately, by the following day, it was a beautiful warm summer day, with clear blue skies!

Off we go!
The climb was a challenging one, with the terrain changing from dirt tracks to snow, the going got harder and progress was slow towards the top. Here are some of the many shots I took on the ascent to the summit.

Hikers on the way down Ben Nevis
The beautiful view when I looked back
Almost there...
The summit? Apparently not..
While I took a picture of this very dangerous cliff, I could already imagine myself stepping on a pile of snow that just gives way, with me falling into the abyss below. My hands are already sweating while typing and recalling this moment...

WOAHH, this is the furthest I dared step up to...
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you.. THE SUMMIT!

Some house-looking thing at the summit
Cheap Tesco baked beans for lunch at the summit!
Place we rested for lunch
While we rested, all the heat generated from the sweaty climb up disappeared and the cold wind is beginning to remind us of our inadequate clothing. It was time to head back down..

Fresh Mountain Water to refill our empty bottles
Bumping into some sheep on the way down
And so, we went from sweaty bodies to freezing bodies and back to sweaty bodies back at the bottom. But its definitely a "cool" experience, away from the summer heat at sea level. More exchanging stories, soon to come. (:

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Motivations to invest

It is actually not too difficult to find a motivation to invest. Look all around us right now, banks are offering miserly interest rates for deposits into their saving accounts, the usual POSB account offering only a miserable 0.05% for money put in their accounts. Sure enough, I did blog about how OCBC360 is a much better alternative offering as much as 3.05%, but that will be bound to change come May 1, with interest rates about to be reduced to a maximum of 2.05% if all 3 conditions were to be fulfilled. We cannot avoid the inevitable fact that we are actually at the mercy of these changes. 

But yet, I am not complaining. At 2.05%, it is a far cry from the miserable rates offered by the other banks, plus given that money are insured as much as $50k by SDIC while we have a peace of mind earning an absolutely risk-free interest rate. Why not right?

Then why invest then?

Looking at the maximum interest rate OCBC will give us from May 1, assuming we even fulfill all 3 conditions, it is hardly enough to cover the inflation rate of 3+% these past few years. Sure enough, inflation rates have fallen, but that is mainly due to falling oil prices and residential prices, which are not really things which we would buy on a daily basis.

Based on the STI at 3400 points, the Singapore market is valued at 14 times earnings. In other words, if we owned every single component companies of the STI, we would be paying $14 for every dollar of profit earned by those companies.

Now we put that in another way. If all this profits are paid out like interest rates from a bank, that works out to be a yield of 7.1%! But hold your horses, its not really time to plough all your hard earned savings yet. The thing to note is that these companies do not pay all their profits out to their shareholders, most of the cash earned are kept for free cash flow, or to pay back their loans or kept for future investment opportunities. Some do give part of their profits as dividends and so the dividend yield is a widely measure valuation metric.

The STI dividend yield is about 3% now. But its worthy to note that about a third yield about 4%, and if your are willing to concentrate on just one fifth of them, we can get a yield of more than 5%.

Now compare this to the miserly bank interest rates, and even against the OCBC360 interest rates, 5% is enough to cover inflation as well as grow your wealth as time goes by.

Of course there are other factors to consider, such as risk management, in which I would gladly exercise the many tools we have right now to achieve my financial objectives.

Don't just think, act now in securing your financial freedom!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A brief history of my investment journey

Dividend Simpleton's investing journey began in the middle of 2010, right after he had served his compulsory National Service. He had been completely clueless about the fact that just a mere year ago, there was a huge calamity in the financial markets and he had completely missed the boat of opportunity.

Nevertheless, he bought his first stock, OSIM International and held it for a grand total of.... 1 day. He sold it for a few hundred bucks of profit and moved on to look for his next target.

He was interested in the telecommunications sector and had shortlisted 2 telco stocks, Singtel and Starhub. At that point in time, Starhub was the cheaper one, hitting a low of $2.15 at one point. Singtel, was trending along the range of $2.80-$3.00. Dividend Simpleton decided to go with the "safer" company, Singtel, which he believes will not fail as it has the huge backing of the Singapore government and it was its brand name telco. He bought some Singtel at $2.90 and simply "forgot" about the stock.

Fast forward to August 2010, Dividend Simpleton has entered university as a freshman. He was in the midst of a lecture when he was notified of the sudden share price strength of Singtel. He sold the stock by the end of the day at a price of $3.21, a gain of about 10%. He was feeling good about himself and his confidence grew. He continued to pour more money into blue chip stocks.

By the end of 2010, he had bought Capitaland stock at a price of $3.60. The counter stayed weak and was on a downtrend. He kept with his convictions that it will do well soon enough...

From the first half of 2011, he traded excessively with the hot commodity counter, Noble Group. He was very successful with timing the market, buying on the dips and selling in the peaks. Dividend Simpleton was on fire. He thought to himself, if I could earn money so easily by trading stocks, then why bother to buy and hold, and why bother to study hard too? After all, he could make a living out of it if he kept up with his successes. In fact, he treated himself to good meals with the profits earned and he was feeling really good about himself.

By the middle of 2011, he had bought NOL, a shipping stock which share price was falling. Dividend Simpleton decided that it was a simple correction and felt it will go higher. He bought some at $1.93 and waited...

Meantime, he continued to trade Noble Group. This time he made an entry into Noble Group at $2.11, which he felt was the support at the time. It failed to hold and broke down. Dividend Simpleton could not believe he was wrong, and because he was very confident it will recover like it did in the past sessions, and so he held on...

And so by the middle of 2011, he had 3 stocks, Capitaland, NOL and Noble Group. 

All 3 stocks went into a downtrend, continuing to fall all through 2011 (America credit rating downgraded) and into 2012, and Dividend Simpleton continued to hold them, refusing to admit he had made a mistake. By the middle of 2012, the Euro Crisis reared its ugly head again. All stocks pared all the gains for the year, and was back at their lows once again.

And so, Dividend Simpleton, tired from seeing his stocks whipping back and forth, decided he had enough. He sold everything right in the depth of the crisis. Capitaland was sold at $2.47 (-32%), NOL at $1.03 (-47%) and Noble Group at $1.06 (-50%). The losses were disastrous, for the case of NOL and Noble Group, half of his invested capital was completely wiped out!

From that point onwards, Dividend Simpleton took time to reflect. He realised he had made countless mistakes and sought them out to learn from them. He went through many sources for knowledge, seeking a new start and a new strategy to work on to get him back on his feet. Instead of focusing on short term fluctuations, he looked to company fundamentals to provide for the reason to invest in a company for the longer term.

This time, it was time to get back in again. The crisis was still plaguing the markets and Dividend Simpleton scoured the market for strong fundamentals amid the battered down share prices. The focus was now on income generating stocks, he looked for companies which could pay good dividends as well as grow them in the future. It was here he bought his first REIT, Keppel Reit, at that time it was known as K-Reit Asia. The share price of K-Reit was severely depressed, after the controversial purchase of the Ocean Financial Centre at high valuations. However, the purchase seemed to provide for higher rental yields, bumping up the DPU of K-Reit. At a dividend yield of 8+%, He felt the risk was justifiable and potential share price appreciation was likely given the already depressing overhang on the stock. 

He turned out to be right. The price quickly recovered on the back of improving markets as they rallied on the back of improving market sentiments.

However, after the price reached his target price, he liquidated it. Perhaps way too quickly, as the NAV was actually way higher than his target price. This was a case in point that it does not necessarily take a loss for one to learn from the mistakes made, but that we can learn to improve our strategies from winning trades/investments too.

And so, our dear Dividend Simpleton is still learning now, consistently working on improving his strategies and implementing those that worked for him. It took him heavy and painful losses to realise that patience, discipline and hard work is what it takes for someone to succeed in the stock market. The term "to succeed" is subjective, but for Dividend Simpleton, it is learning from one's mistakes and improving on them that makes one successful.

Dividend Simpleton hopes that his story can inspire and help those who have experienced their fair share of financial losses not to lose hope, and those who have yet to experience it, to learn from Dividend Simpleton's mistakes and avoid such undesirable outcomes.

Invest safely and Dividend Simpleton wishes you well!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Who is Dividend Simpleton?

Some of you might have already summed up who I am and what I have set out to achieve. Yes, I am a recent graduate with a long road of working life to go along, as well as saving up rigorously in order to generate enough capital to invest into income generating assets.

Taken from:

As much as I would like to talk about my recent successes in investing, I have my failures to look back upon and to reflect constantly in order to improve myself every day. It is only through our mistakes that we can pick ourselves up again, reflect and reshape our strategies to take on the next further knocks in life once again. I will talk about my failures in another post perhaps.

I had set myself a target to achieve at least $1k of passive income by the time I reach the age of 30 years. Based on a passive generation yield of an average 5%, I should be able to achieve $1k of passive income if I have accumulated at least $240k of invested capital.

This is actually a challenging target to achieve, given that I am only earning a take home amount of about $2k per month, assuming I don't get any pay raises as a conservative estimate, I would only accumulate $120k in 5 years, by which I would be already behind my target.

So if that is the case, then how would Dividend Simpleton achieve his target? I am not making calculations based on this, but I would be banking various factors to make the cut. 

The power of compounding is a strong one and it must not be underestimated. To achieve this, it is only possible if one finds undervalued income generating assets and invest through a longer term horizon, investing more capital if it remains undervalued and shows sustainable income generation ability. Dividend yielding blue chips will form part of this strategy as long as I can pay a fair price yet achieve a reasonable income. As Warren Buffett famously said, "it is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

To help to boost the pace of capital growth, I would allocate some of my capital to invest into companies with strong share price movement at slightly undervalued to fair value which I would not consider to be great entry prices for a long term horizon, but suitable to tap on at the point in time of good company sentiments. Once either my target price or stop loss price is achieved, that would mean the end of the investment. Some people call this trading, but it has a longer holding period depending how how long it takes to hit either my target price or my stop loss. Because of its relatively speculative nature, I will only allocate a comparatively smaller portion of my capital into this.

At this point, I would like to emphasize that everyone has a different way to growing their wealth and by all means, choose the path that is most comfortable as well as having the best chance of succeeding. No one method is a foolproof way to success, and one strategy that might have worked may not work for another circumstance. So there is a need to keep up to date with company financial results and reports, to minimise potential pitfalls should the company show the danger signs. Thus, it is also important to have a basic understanding of some financial/valuation ratios for comparison to understand the health of the company.

All this need time to prepare, so don't rush. Patience and discipline is key to your success. If you don't have it, then the stock market is no different from your regular casino.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

My Easter Trip, exactly 2 years ago..

Well, I had allowed Facebook to remind me of events that happened on the same date as today and it has been much to reminisce about these days. It just so happened that exactly 2 years ago, I was still Europe-trotting during the month long Easter break common to European universities. We as exchange students grabbed this opportunity to pick up our backpacks and head to the neighbouring countries which were all waiting to be discovered!

So the day was 9th of April 2013, I was in the last destination of my month long Easter trip, right in the heart of the Netherlands, Amsterdam!

Venice of the West

A Venice of the West, the only place in the world to legalise drugs, the red-light district, the land of the bicycles, the city which goes by so many names is such a unique destination I just could not afford to miss!

We stayed at this place called Lucky Lake Hostel, I had rigorously checked the reviews and prices of the accommodation using easy to use hostel booking websites like hostelworld and hostelbookers. My personal favourite was to use hostelbookers which I am more familiar with having previously made bookings with them as well as their no booking fee guarantee.

Lucky Lake Hostel

And so we finally got to our very own cabin/caravan, which was so cool because it was a step outside the conventional norm of hostels being a boring old building with simple dorms of decker beds.

Our cute pink cabin

And here is what is inside, a comfortable cosy little room for us to stay in for the next 2 days!

Our cosy corner

After taking some time to relax our tired legs in the room and overcoming the huge inertia to get out of out comfy room, we finally went back into the city after paying 2 euros for the private van which goes out from our hostel once arranged with the reception. And yes, the only drawback of Lucky Lake Hostel was that it was located quite a distance away from the Amsterdam city centre. But it wasn't as bad as it seemed for us as we would soon find out in the next few days there.

Outside the Anne Frank Museum

The first stop we went to was the Anne Frank Musuem, yeah how can we miss this monumental piece of history here, also the fact that my buddy and I are history buffs, missing this would be like missing our breakfasts..

Wow, not dark at 8pm!!
We kind of lost track of time as we went from place to place until we came to this clock tower which told us it was already 8pm. YES, we could not believe 8pm could ever be this bright. Call us a frog in a well or "sua ku" (mountain tortoise), but growing up in Singapore, we had never experienced daylight at 8pm. This is why we can so easily lose track of time here, but sure enough it eventually got darker and it was time to go back.

And that wrapped up the first day in Amsterdam, well I actually have more pictures, but the other days were mainly spent on free tours, shopping and eating. After looking through, I realised the best pictures came from day 1. (:

They say money can't buy you happiness, but it just amazing money can buy you such vivid experiences to last a lifetime!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

OCBC tightens the terms for its OCBC360 account

As we know by now, OCBC has decided to tighten the terms and conditions required for us to earn the 3% interest from the OCBC360 account. As I had already mentioned in my previous post, it is widely expected that they would do so, and to be exact, the promotion has been running for exactly a year. I had actually predicted they would end the promotion by April, and it seems like I am not so way off my prediction.

So here are the changes. (highlighted in green)
The Revised Changes taken from the OCBC website.

Basically, the main changes which is likely to hit us would be that the existing interest rate from paying your 3 unique bills and your credit card spending would reduce from 1% to 0.5% each! Plus, the requirement for credit card spending would increase to $500!

But it is not all bad news, the OCBC statement briefly mentioned on another 2 conditions which would allow the account holder to achieve additional bonus interest. As quoted from an OCBC spokeswoman, "Customers who satisfy the terms of the two new categories could  have their deposits yield an interest of over 3%." There is a rumor going around that one of them is going to be a refinancing home loan requirement. Well, if it is, then I won't be able to fulfill it. :(

This revised changes will take effect from 1st May 2015. I don't know what to make out of the new 2 conditions, but the changes to the existing conditions is definitely not so good news for existing account holders like us. Well, we will see how it goes on 1 May then.

My Portfolio - March 2015

I thought of sharing my current SGX portfolio, and of course disclaimers apply. Whatever I am putting up here is mainly for my own reference sake, and a means to keep track of my investments.

*As of 31 March 2015

No. of Shares
Average Price (SGD)
Total Capital Invested (SGD)
Accordia Golf Trust
Cache Logistics Trust
SembCorp Industries
Cash Reserves and Equivalents
Total SGD

Total Invested Capital = $31,245.28

Total Expected Dividends/month = $189.63

Average Dividend Yield = 7.28%

A large portion of my portfolio is invested in Accordia Golf Trust, which I had intended to accumulate in anticipation of the bumper payout this year, likely mid June. I am watching this counter, and if it continues to get cheaper, I am ready to pounce to average down my entry price.

Cache Logistics Trust had always been an on-off dividend play for me, and I intended to hold the stock right up the the reporting season, which is end of April. I may look to divest once it hits my target price. REITs are a bunch of yield plays which would likely be affected by the impending rise in interest rates this year. However, debt expiry for Cache Logistics Trust will not be until 2017, where the majority expires in 2018, so I feel a lot more comfortable holding Cache as compared to other industrial REITs in this volatile times.

The relatively small position I have with Sembcorp Industries (SCI) was a small step in investing into blue-chip companies with a good dividend yield and a sustainable form of passive income for me. SCI has about 50% of its revenue from the Marine sector, which is heavily dependent on the current oil market. Currently, oil prices have yet to consolidate clearly so I am much more comfortable with a smaller position as of now. I may consider adding small positions in the future if fundamentals and valuations becomes more compelling.