When I started this blog, I wanted to commit to radical transparency and authenticity, and to provide real financial advice that works.
I have felt that the conventional financial advice given in Singapore is sub-optimal to say the least, led mostly by marketing dollars. And a lot of people talk, but very few actually dare to post their results in a clear and transparent way.
I have often wondered why financial gurus across the world don’t post their actual returns or portfolio. I know now that it would shatter the illusion that they are a guru in the first place, and what they sell are giant wastes of money.
Why else would a guru be afraid to post their results? If you are good, you shouldn’t mind. You would at least come close to the appropriate passive benchmarks. I think its fine if one falls slightly below, since the vast majority of all professional fund managers can’t beat that.
But if you are far below and for too long a period, its morally and professionally questionable to be advising or helping people to invest. People should be aware. Too many people pay high prices for mediocrity and lies.
This is not a game. It is people’s lives and hard-earned money. It determines how well people retire and are taken care of after a lifetime of work. Many lives have been ruined by honeyed words and doctored results.
To me, results and transparency are the clearest way to show what works and what doesn’t. I strongly believe that if you are seriously in this business, you post your portfolio and transactions. In an easily understandable way. No excuses. Especially if you are extracting high fees. Sunlight is a wonderful thing.
So I told myself that I would post my financial results every month, without fail. I would also post my transactions within 24 hours. Unlike others, I don’t cherry pick what to show. If I do badly, its a data point for others not to follow.
I’m proud to say that as of 22 Dec 2021, my net-worth is up 27.7%, edging out the S&P 500’s returns of 25.6% and the Nasdaq’s 25.8%.
Keep in mind that I calculate based on my net-worth and not investment returns. It would be considerably higher if I did so. As I don’t have meaningful income, I consume up to 30% of my investment returns to sustain my lifestyle. In addition, my insurance company has left me without my monthly payouts for about 6 months now, so I have to draw down even more from my stocks, losing out on gains and incurring interest.
2021 has been a tough year for stock pickers, and it seems many are deep red, especially with their 2021 purchases. I myself have been affected and the portfolio is down from its earlier highs. Despite this, I feel pretty comfortable as I had drastically reduced my margin these last few months, and have been sitting on the sidelines.
I’m lucky to have outperformed the market, and I don’t expect this to happen every year. I don’t consider myself a guru worthy of telling others how to invest. Just a father trying to safeguard his family’s money in an unforgiving market, posting his lessons along the way.
If you would like to know the full details, my portfolio, and what I think about 2022, I do ask for a coffee. Besides the portfolio and transactions, there are also dozens of articles of financial hacks from the point of view of an accredited investor. The subscription is easily cancellable and if you are unsatisfied for any reason, I will provide a full refund. My integrity is worth far more than $5.
Why a Paywall?
While I’m here, I want to provide more transparency on why I have a paywall. Why do I ask for a coffee when I’m supposedly financially independent?
The starting reason for creating the paywall is that I was attacked by insurance agents online when I shared my insurance experiences, in particular when I wrote that multi-pay critical insurance (CI) and early CI plans were not good value.
I stand by what I’ve shared. I have done plenty of research and I have the experience of actually claiming well over a million dollars across several different plans. I have done every single one of my claims myself and won various disputes. My knowledge does not come from exams or selling plans.
So I felt aggravated that obviously biased interests were attacking me as a consumer and cancer survivor, who had shared freely and honestly, without getting a cent. I decided it was not worth it, and closed off. I feel a lot happier now sharing with less hostile people in the audience, among people who are genuine. In short, the $5 is for screening.
Secondly, I came to realize that the website can provide me with an occupation. To explain, I have a $3,000 monthly insurance payout from a disability income policy called IdealIncome, with Aviva. As a quick summary of the terms, the policyholder will get payouts if they are unable to work in their old occupation due to their health. However, they must find a new occupation after 2 years to continue the payout.
In order to fulfill that, I have monetized the site, earlier than what my insurance required. I chose to go with a subscription model as I felt that would let me stay independent and transparent. I dropped Google ads eventually as they were ugly and I could not figure out a way to have it disappear for subscribers. Despite many invitations, I do not want to do sponsorships or spam affiliate links either. While earnings would be lower, it doesn’t really matter to me, because the policy is supposed to provide a floor of $3,000.
Even though my portfolio is larger than average, I find that its really important to have that $3,000. Stocks do not always go up. I have very little cash in my daily balances. People peeking over my shoulder when I’m at the ATM would not find me worth robbing. There are times when I run into cashflow problems, especially when the market is down. I also have significant ongoing medical expenses, from medications (averaging over $500 a month) to scans (historically over $5,000 a year. Moving to public care to save costs). When I consider I can be alive for still some time, it’s vital to maintain such a payout.
Your $5 lets me earn over $3,000 a month. I cannot describe my gratitude. I’m very thankful to my subscribers for letting me work at home to take care of my family and young son, as well as to better manage my health.
Will be coming out with a more detailed financial review for subscribers, with reflections of my best and worst investments for 2021.
Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and for your families to be safe and content.