Getting Started 101 (Part 2)

Now, assuming having opened all the necessary accounts needed for trading, it is time to learn more about trading itself. The fundamentals, technicals and psychological aspects of trading.


The process in which we analyze a company base on its financial informations, competition, economic environment, future prospects of the business, etc.

Fundamentals analysis usually focuses more on the financial informations, in which it is the financial statements of the company. Revenues, earnings, return on equity, profit margins, etc. are used to determine a company underlying value and potential for future growth.

Financial statements possess useful informations that might be critical in making your trading decisions and here are some examples and food for thoughts:

“It will be tough for a company with limited cash flow to have any significant growth prospects in the foreseeable future.”

“During the Thai mourning period of the late Thai king, slowdown of consumption in beverages (mainly alcohol) affecting the Thailand’s beverage industry. This would indefinitely affect the sales and revenues of the related company. In this case, the company affected was Thaibev.”

In laymen terms, it is to uncover what the company is really worth as compared to its share price traded in the market. Are the shares undervalued or overvalued?


Technical analysis is the forecasting of future stocks price movement based on the previous price actions in the market. It is about the candlesticks chart, support and resistance, trend lines, moving averages, etc. (too many to name)

There are multiples ways of drawing a chart with the help of various tools. However, there’s no one foolproof formula in predicting future stock price movements. I would suggest to use and apply what works best for you. It could be a tedious game of trials and errors. Study, study and study!!! Practice your trading plans on practice account and see how the market react to your plans!


A presence of mind and emotions that should not be waver by the fluctuations in the market. It is having the discipline to stick to an established trading plan. To be able to take profits or losses when targeted price is hit.

Withstanding fear, avoiding greed

Fear is selling out a position too soon. Reacting to bad news in the market through emotions, rushing to sell not because of targeted price being hit but rather because of fear.

Greed is hanging on to winning position for too long, when stock price had already breached your targeted price. For all we know, the market could just turn its back on you.

Therefore it is important to have a well established trading plan (tested and proven to be true to you) and stick to it when being hit by waves of emotions; greed and fear. For established plans are conceived in a rational state of mind and emotions are usually irrational in an emotional state, when standing in the face of fear and greed.


The above write up is obviously inadequate for anyone to kickstart their trading journey. Knowledge is power and one can never posses enough knowledge. Constant and consistent learning is necessary for the world is ever changing.

In my opinion, trading requires conscious efforts from individuals. Self-discipline and determination are required to teach ourselves more about trading. As most of us would agree to the the lack of, or shall I say, complete absence of such knowledge being taught in school. Despite all that, such trading knowledge are actually very much within your reach. Tens of thousands of financial/ trading materials out on the shelves and everywhere on the internet. Henceforth, the responsibility lies solely in our hands.

Nobody can deny you from consuming and gaining knowledges. Nobody, except yourself. Therefore, it is time to buck up, set some time away on a daily basis to educate yourself.

If you would like to start off with some light reading just to get the gist of what trading is and why should we trade, I would recommend ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki. It is nothing too financial, but it gives a rather good overview of trading.

Another financial book worthy of mention would be ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. It will sets you right in the success mindset which in my opinion is of utmost importance.

One of my favorite quote from Napoleon Hill would be that: “Success comes to those who become success conscious. Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become failure conscious.” In which, BuiBuiFA mentioned in her previous post how important mindset is!

Work hard till you reach your lane. Study, study, study!!! Knowledge is power and the beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.

– Valerie Choo


Saving HURTS but NO savings HURTS more

2017 is coming to an end. It’s the time of the year to check if we hit our saving target for the year and to plan a new one for 2018. There are many different level of saving. I have given some random name to them to make it a little more interesting. I am currently at the SHIOK stage which is the maximum I can go due to commitment.  This post will be a short one on how someone can progress through the stages base on my experience. I will only be covering until MISER stage because after that I have no experience yet. This article is only applicable to those who spend unnecessarily. Saving are inclusive of bonus and excluding CPF contribution. For example your annual income is $50,000 including bonus and after CPF deduction you are left with $40,000. You are saving $10,000 for the year, you will fall under MISER category.

Names Explanation
Debtor Saving rate below 0%
Rat Saving rate between 0%-10%
Average Joe Saving rate between 11%-20%
Miser Saving rate between 21%-50%
Shiok Saving rate between 51%-80%
Happiness Saving rate between 81%-99%
Freedom Saving rate 100%


Debtor is someone who spends on wants using future money.

  • Cut all your credit card. There is no need for credit card for those who are always in debt. The card benefit is of no use to you because you simply cannot control your spending habit.
  • Spend 50% of salary to clear your debt.
  • Transfer 10% of salary to a newly created account with no ATM/passbook.
  • Go visit the supermarket and buy some instant food such as biscuit or noodle once you salary is in.
  • Keep only 1 ATM card for withdrawal. Always use cash. What happen if you still can’t control yourself and you run out of cash? Eat the instant food that you buy in advance and make sure you last till the next payday.

  1. RAT

Rat is someone who lives pay check to pay check. They have self-discipline and will not spend beyond their means but have little or no savings. They tend to spend more on the first week after payday and by the fourth week they will be leading miserable lives.

  • Track you expenses for at least 3 month. If tracking it every day is too troublesome for you, track only the fourth week or the week prior to payday when you feel like you are living in hell.
  • Calculate out how much you spend on average during that hell week.
  • Add 50% to that figure. For example you spend $100 for that hell week, add $50 to that number.
  • Adopt the envelope budgeting system by setting up GIRO that will transfer $150 to your spending account every week. If you can survive $100 during hell week, $150 will definitely be more enjoyable. Of course you can also use real envelope if you prefer it over GIRO.


Average Joe is someone who follows the crowd and tends to spend before they save.

  • Start small by eliminating unnecessary spending. For example cutting down on dining in restaurants or taking private car. If you tend to dine in restaurant 5 times a week, cut it to 2-3 times.
  • Before you buy anything, always remind yourself that not everything your colleagues or friends have, you will need to have it. Most of the time it will be useless to you and it’s your wants.
  • Save before spending. On top of your usual saving, add 1% every month until you reaches your limit. For example you save 15% this month, next month you save 16% instead and so on.

  1. MISER

Miser is someone who is not bothered about what others have and will not follow the crowd blindly therefore others will see them as a miser.  They do not have much wants hence able to save up the money. However, there will be a few things which might not cost much that they are unable to resist depending on individual. The most common example will be ice cream, chocolates and for me is bubble tea. Although it doesn’t cost much, if it is consume once every 2 days, it will be a substantial amount. I only have 1 suggestion to counter this which I am still doing.

  • Every time when you walk towards your cravings, look at it, look at the price, turn around and walk away while laughing in your heart saying you did it.

Okay I know you will be saying I am crazy at this point but everything is just in the mind. You just need to start doing it and resisting it. After a while you will get used to it. I started from drinking bubble tea every day to drinking it 2 times a week now. Reducing it not only allows me to save up more money, it also reduces the amount of sugar I consume. Win win situation.

– BuiBuiFA

Dive into the mindset of BuiBuiFA (Part 2)

Mindsets cannot be changed easily because the brain is created to protect ourselves. Once there are intruders (new mindset) the brain will try to resist it. However with much practicing and perseverance, it will slowly become part of you. There are plenty of mindset that can be adopted and some of this mindset are good while others are bad. Good mindset helps the person to succeed while bad mindset drags the person down. Hence it is important to note that in order for the new and good mindset to be helpful, one have to discard their old and bad mindset.

In the previous post, I introduced one of the mindset I adopt and how it changes my life. Today I will share two other mindsets that I am currently practicing. Some might be wondering why I’m covering this topic in a financial blog. I believe having the correct mindset is essential for success.

Always choose to be POSITIVE.

Image result for the positive thinkerPositive is a choice. Everyone can choose to be positive no matter what kind of situation they are in but people tend to do the opposite due to overthinking and fear. Overthinking will lead to self-doubt and unnecessary worries while fear is just fake evidence appearing real. Combination of the both will lead to self-destruction. All the dreams you have will not be possible.

Once you choose to be positive, everything changes because you will start to look at things differently and calmly. With a positive state of mind, you will be able to think of solution to the problem. Positive thinking leads to confidence and confidence is an important element for success. Everyone has big dream and most of the time no one else other than yourself will believe you can do it. Without confidence, you will eventually end up giving up your dream. I will tell you one example of how I use this mindset in my life.

Bowling embarrassment

I have been approached by my colleague to join the bowling group within the company due to the lack of female participants in the group. I agreed instantly (practicing the first mindset) even though I do not know how to play the game well. After I joined, I have been added into the league unknowingly which mean I will have to represent my company to compete with other player from other companies.

This was a disaster isn’t it?  Who in the right mind would agree if you know that you cannot play well? Since most people fear embarrassment, who will want to be embarrassed in front of so many people when your score for the round is 65 and your opponent is scoring more than 180?

However, I did not make a fuss to leave. I choose to think positively that this was an opportunity for me. An opportunity for me to learn from the experience player without having to pay any fees. True enough, my first match was embarrassing and my lowest score was 65. However, instead of being judged by others, many of the players end up teaching me how to play. With teachings from experience player, I did improve a little. During my second match, the lowest score I get was 90.

If I did not choose to be positive, I would have opted out from the league and I would not have the chance to pick up a new skill and make new friends. Fellow readers, the next time you face with a situation, choose to be positive and see for yourselves how things turn out differently from what you expect.

The choice is yours.

Walk the talk, don’t talk the talk.

Everyone has goals in life but why some of them are able to achieve and some of them can’t? One of the main reasons is that they only talk about their goals but too lazy to put in the effort to achieve it. Laziness is in all of us. It’s how we overcome it. You do not agree with me? Let me tell you one example I encounter.

My friends like to ask me how to get more money even though they are earning pretty decent salary. Fair enough, who doesn’t want more money? I would share with them certain promotion available online such as signing up for a credit card and get welcome gift of $x. Most of their reply will be “oh okay. Thanks for the info”. The next time you see them they will ask the same question but when I ask did u apply for the card, the answer will be “no because no time” or “aiya the gift so little only, not worth my time to get it”.

This is what I call no action talk only (NATO). When it’s time to take action, they usually end up not doing due to laziness. This analogy above is similar to your goals. There are no shortcuts in life. You will not achieve your goals overnight. Lots of hard work and effort are required. You need to take many baby steps which seems like you are wasting your time but it’s alright because you are learning through the process. I will tell you an example of what I did to get closer to my goals.


For those who know me, you would know that I am obsessed with money. Anything about money I will be more then willing to talk about it. Be it asking me question or telling me news things. I walk the talk by revolving my life around it until I became obsessed. Meeting me and talking to me can be a pain too because my entire topic revolve around money. I would usually ask questions like insurance, investment, credit card or bank accounts. This has cause many friend to distant me especially those who avoid such topic. To me, it is a norm because I have expected the path to FF to be a lonely one.

I spend my time on train rides reading blogs and surfing banks web page and forum. Although not all of them are useful, I will still be able to get different point of view from different type of people. When I read about new products which can be beneficial to me, I will take my time to read all the terms and conditions or even go down to the provider to clarify about it before I act upon it.

If I did not do my research on such topic, I will not be able to talk about it to friends or even start blogging. I will not be able to find better products to make my money work harder for me. If my goal is FF, the things I have to do are to read more and talk more about it to further understand it and to do it (invest).

The time to ACT is NOW.

Image result for act now quotes

– BuiBuiFA

Getting Started 101 (Part 1) 

Before we dive right in to the fundamentals, technicals and psychological side of investing, I would like to dedicate a couple of entries to help readers who have limited understanding on how to get started on investing. I feel that it is only right to start off from the very basic. I know that one can easily Google about how to get around doing it, but when I first started out I really wish someone could have been there to compile and water down necessary informations to make things easier and digestible. So, this is also dedicated for the 20 years old me.

Also, I understand that many of the readers here have already had some sort of experiences in investing, so you guys might want to skip this post! I would rather be straight up about it than take up your time, for time is precious right?


First of all, to get started in investing you will inevitably need a stock trading account!! I would highly recommend anyone who doesn’t have a stock trading account to open one now. It cost you nothing, except a few minutes to fill up the applications form and to get your hands on the necessary documents. It will be wise to have it ready before getting started on anything else.

Set up ASAP so when you need it, it’s ready.

Here, I have come out with a list of things to consider when opening a stock trading account:

  • Age
  • Commission Rates
  • CDP Securities Account or Custodian Account
  • Trading Platform
  • Convenience & Accessibility


Are you at least 21 years old or are you in the range of 18 – 20 years old? If you are at least 21 years old, opening an account is made much easier for that is the standard egilibilty age to open a stock trading account with most, if not all, major brokerage firms.

However, if you are in the range of 18 – 20 years old, opening an account is made trickier but not impossible as not all brokerage firms are able to offer you a stock trading account. My first trading account was with CIMB Securities (this is not a sponsored entry, but in the future it can be. HAHAHA! Not sorry, but I’m an opportunist.). Signing up as a youth investor would usually require a minimum sum of deposit, $500 in the case of CIMB Securities.

A quick Google search reflects that OCBC, DBS Vickers and UOB Kay Hian are a few others major brokerage firm that provides stock trading account to minor. So, how do you choose which brokerage firm to open an account with? In my opinion your decision should be based upon (1) Comission Rates, (2) CDP Securities Account or Custodian Account, (3) Trading Platform and (4) Convenience & Accessibility.


Commission rates differ amongst brokerage firms. A minimum fees is incurred for every trade that you take, irregardless of the value of the trade contract. Also, trading fees from your brokerage firmthat is based upon on the contract amount (+ SGX clearing fees of 0.0325% & SGX trading access fee of 0.0075% for CDP Securities Account). A total of four different fees you will need to pay. Hence, it is advisable to work out the amount you need to enter and exit a trade before entering the trade.

(Comparison table retrieved from: )

Assuming BuibuiFA purchased 2 mini lots (200 shares) with a contract value of $500, the fees paid will amount to a significant percentage, >10% of her contract value.

So, here’s a few questions to ponder about:

(1) Will it be worth it to enter the trade which is going to take her back -10% upon entry?

(2) How long will it take for her to breakeven?

(3) What is the expected profit from the trade? Will the time taken be justifiable?

Also, it is cheaper to trade online(advisable), by yourself on the trading platform, than through a broker. Hence, do take the time to learn how to execute trades, it is very much doable and it will save you money! (Not to worry, I’ll teach you how in my future entries. Pinky promise!)


Wait a minute! Shouldn’t we just open an account with Standard Chartered or SAXO Capital Markets since their fees are significantly lower than other brokerage firms? No, not necessarily. Let me show you some of the differences with the following comparison table I’ve came out with:

Should you open your trading account under a CDP Securities Account  or Custodian Account?

The decision is yours to make for it will all boils down to your needs and level of comfort.

Things to note: If you are opening your first ever trading account, you can apply to open your CDP Securities Account together with the intended brokerage firm. It usually comes together with the application forms.


Trading platform differs amongst brokerage firms. Some provide features that others may not and some may not be as user friendly as another. Do you like the charts they provide? Does it suits you? Are they equipped with charting instruments or technical indicators that you might want to use? How informative are their research report? Is navigating around the platform easy? These are some questions that you might want to ask yourself when choosing a broker. Personally, what appeals more to me are platforms that allow me to navigate around effortlessly and the charting instruments they are equipped with. Again, it’s pretty much dependable on individuals’ preferences.


Convenience and accessibility are of significant importance. It is necessary to have easy access and be able to trade anywhere without any hassle.

Things to look out for:

  • Does it support mobile trading platform
  • Does it support your mobile platform (iOS / Android)
  • Efficiency of call service centre
  • Overall efficiency of platform

I understand that it might be quite a challenge to unravel the efficiency of it all but don’t worry too much about it for one can always easily open a trading account with another brokerage firm if the initial isn’t to your liking. However, it is always good to DYODD (do your own due diligence) of the broker you are interested in to save yourself some time and hassle.

– Valerie Choo

Dive into the mindset of BuiBuiFA (Part 1)

Image result for Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny

The brain is the most powerful organ in the human body but most of the time we are not utilising it to its utmost potential. Basic functions of the brain includes; coordinating your body and storing of memories such as feelings, thinking and reacting to situations. The way we think and react to situation are strongly related to the mindset we choose to adopt. Luckily, mindset can be changed either through personal effort or via the hard way (continue reading to find out). Since everything starts with our mindset, managing it well is an important element for success. So, what are some of the mindsets I adopt and how I manage it?

Getting out of your comfort zone.

In this clip, the speaker, Bill Eckstrom, talks about the 4 growth rings. The rings are namely stagnation, order, complexity and chaos. According to the speaker, growth will only occur in the state of discomfort which can be achieved in the complexity stage. In which there are 3 ways complexity can be triggered. It can either be force upon you, someone help you get there or by triggering it yourself.

I have been in the stagnation and order stage for the past 24 years due to the fear of uncertainty and my introvertism. Early this year, I choose to step into the life of complexity after being told multiple times that only through getting out of comfort zone, I can grow. I choose the method of triggering it myself. Sounds weird? Here are some examples of what I’ve done and the benefits of me doing it.

Extending social circle through making friends online

At the start of last year, I have been actively reading forums and blogs. After months of reading, I get to know more about savings, insurance, credit cards and investments. Towards the end of that year, I started actively commenting on forums and have since found myself a mentor (for those who do not know, having a mentor helps to expedite your learning curve). Soon enough, I have been invited to join a chat group which discusses about stocks and from there I get to know many individuals with the same goal in mind: achieving financial freedom.

Birds of the same feather flock together. Shortly, someone suggested a meet up. Being an introvert, I would usually shy away from meeting strangers online but this time, it was different. I agreed to attend the meet up. Chasing financial freedom is a lonely path because this group of people only make up minority of the population. Being able to meet up with this group of people that shares the same dreams, discussing about the same topic, encouraging one another, sharing knowledge and strategies definitely helps me mentally (especially when the path gets tough and there is no one you can talk to among your social circle).

Meeting them was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. You will be surprise by how people from different industries and ages can come together so quickly just because we have a common goal. Although I do not know how long these chat group can continue, I do hope it continue a long time and everyone can HUAT together. Thanks guys and girls. You know who you are.

Volunteer to join the Union committee

In every company, there’s bound to be unhappiness and complains. Some of which are trivial issues, some are unreasonable and some are serious issues affecting the well-being of the workers. There is a saying that goes, “If you’re not helping it to make it right, then stop complaining about it being wrong.” Therefore early this year, I volunteered to join the union committee in my company to help negotiate for better working conditions and benefits for the worker. Many workers avoid being a committee member due to reasons like lack of time and fear of being on the opposite side of management. However, being in the union expose me to more people including the management, it helps me to understand why certain things are done in a certain manner and provide more opportunities for me to upgrade via different courses.


Recently, Valerie invited me to join her on this blogging journey. Getting out of my comfort zone has become so easy after frequent practicing, I easily agreed. I clearly know that my command of English only reaches the standard of a primary 5 student but it did not stop me from agreeing on this because I know that only by facing it and doing it frequently, I can improve. Only time will tell how far this will bring me or what I might achieve through this but I know I will definitely achieve something.

What is the greatest takeaway I have for practicing this mindset?

Adaptability. Getting out of your comfort zone are just like investment. The start will always be the most difficult part but through practicing, it will become a norm. Once it becomes a norm, you will slowly find that things get easier and it comes naturally. After being exposed to different things, you will become more adaptable.

Opportunities. When I’m willing to step out the first step and get myself involve, I realised that there are plenty of opportunities out there for me to grab. Opportunities that wasn’t there previously.

Life begins outside your comfort zone.

– BuiBuiFA  

Li Ka-Shing’s Money Wisdom

Li Ka-Shing, one of the wealthiest person in Asia, with a current net worth of US$34.4 billion (September 2017, Forbes) comes from humble beginnings. Having lost his father to tuberculosis at the tender age of 15, he was forced to drop out of school and had to work to support his family. From a salesman at a plastics trading company to a business owner in the plastics’ industry and subsequently transforming it into a property development and management company, Li Ka-Shing gradually (not so gradually more like skyrocketed) grew his wealth. Even if you have not heard of this man, I’m quite certain that you have contributed to his wealth for he is a major shareholder (75%) of Wastons.

Below is a brief summary of an article on Li Ka-Shing’s money wisdom that I came across a few years back. It showcase the idea of  how we should proportion our salary into 5 parts. In which I would like to share it on my first post as I believe that money management is the first step to kickstart your investing journey. 

So, the main agenda is to always split your salary into 5 parts.

For a better overview, let’s analyse based on a salary of S$2000/month.


The necessities of everyday life which includes food and transportations. Eating simple and healthy is the key takeaway. 


Transportation: S$120/month for bus and rail concession (S$600 – S$120 = S$480)

Food: S$480 / 30 days = S$16/day 

In all honesty, this is relatively attainable by sticking to food court, Kopitiam and fast food restaurants.


He included phone bills in this 2nd set of funds. Also, to buy lunches for people who are more knowledgeable or people who have helped you in your career.


Phone bills: S$50/month (S$400 – S$50 = S$350)

Lunches: Assuming buying lunches twice a week, eight times a month (S$350/8 = S$43.75)

That will be inclusive of your own share too! It’s not all about scrimping and saving after all! You still get to treat yourself and the people you adore to nice cafe and restaurants. Have a nice cup of coffee and some desserts while exchanging and sharing ideas or having an intellectually stimulating conversation over lunch. 

THIRD PART: LEARN (15%: S$300)

Books (5%: S$100) and Training Courses (10%: S$200).

Books; learn lessons and strategies that are being taught and put them into your own languages and share it with others.

Attend training courses; learn good knowledge and to meet like minded people. 

Personally, I have not been to any paid training courses as to date as I feel that the web are able to supply me with the knowledge I’m currently seeking for. However, I might do it in the near future if there are any courses that caught my interest. As of now I would save this portion of fund or spend it on books or financial magazines. 


What is life without a little enjoyment? Apart from it all, remember that taking a break and getting away is just as important. Use travelling experiences to recharge and reward yourself so that you’ll continually have passion in your work. 

S$200/month equates to S$2400/year which is able to provide a relatively comfortable travel. 

The evolution of the web and the idea of sharing has made travelling much cheaper and convenient. Besides air tickets, accommodations takes up a substantial amount of the travel funds. However, thanks to Airbnb, I was able to save up a decent amount on accommodations and spent it more on exploring and experiencing the foreign land (not forgetting, staying like a local). Honestly, there are many times where Airbnb are able to offer accommodations (situated at prime locations) that could cost at least 25% cheaper than hotels! The trade off being no making up of room or room services, but I’m very much fine with it. If you have not tried it, you should! 

Here’s a little something for you (S$45 off) when you booked your first ever Airbnb through this link:

With the terms and conditions being: booking a trip that’s S$100 or more.


Lastly, save and grow a quarter of your salary as your initial startup capital that can be used to do a small business. Small business provides a new learning experience and even if you lose money, it will not be a lot. The lessons learned will greatly surpass what you lost. If you were to earn money through your small business, it will boost your confidence and courage. Eventually,  grow your savings to invest in various financial instruments. 

Noteworthy Remarks: 

  • buy minimal clothes and shoes. Buy all you want when you’re rich. 
  • Save money and buy some gifts for your love ones.
  • The difference of a persons fate is decided from what a person spend in his free time between 8 – 10pm.
  • Use the two hours to learn, think. 


The complete article can be found here:

– Valerie Choo