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How Reggie Koh, Podcaster & Co-Founder Of The Financial Coconut, Saw Finance Evolved Among His Growing Audience During The Pandemic

If there is one good thing that came out of the pandemic, it’s that people are a lot more interested in personal finance matters


This article was written in collaboration with IG, Singapore’s No. 1 CFD/FX broker (by total number of client relationships. Investment Trends 2022 Singapore Leverage Trading Report). All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg based on our research. DollarsAndSense.sg is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

As of 13 February 2023, Singapore’s disease outbreak response reverted back to Dorscon green – the lowest level that indicates a disease is mild or not spreading easily.

While COVID is no longer restricting our activities and movements, this doesn’t mean that we have forgotten all about the pandemic. In fact, for better or worse, many things in our lives today are no longer what they used to be.

In the workplace, zoom meetings and remote work have replaced formal meeting rooms and office cubicles. In schools, home-based learning for students is common, while online shopping and food delivery, which were already rising in popularity before the pandemic, have become the norm.

The financial markets have also evolved significantly over the past three years. During the early days of the pandemic, many people, while confined at home, got interested in the financial markets.

An individual who witnessed firsthand just how popular finance has become over the last few years is Reggie Koh, co-founder of The Financial Coconut, Singapore’s first financial literacy podcast.

Since their first episode was released in 2019, The Financial Coconut has gained popularity both in Singapore and around the world. Today, the company is not only pushing out new content on its podcast channels but also regularly producing content on other social media platforms, including TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

With growing demand from the Singapore audience for finance-related content, Reggie scaled The Financial Coconut in a few short years. Today, the company partners with financial institutions looking to reach out to their audience base.

In this edition of #TheNewNormal, I spoke to Reggie about how The Financial Coconut was able to capitalise on the growing interest in finance over the past few years to establish their brand and whether he thinks the interest in finance today is here to stay.

Timothy Ho (Timothy): What got you started on wanting to create audio content for personal finance topics?

Reggie Koh (Reggie): I have been an avid podcast listener since 2017. While I was backpacking, many podcasts accompanied me on my journey. Special shoutout to “Philosophise this!”.

I thought if I wanted to create content, let me use my voice. Creating a good podcast was definitely much harder than I expected. It reminds me of the saying, “If you love games, you will love creating games”. This isn’t always true!

As to why I ended up focusing on personal finance topics, it’s mainly because of the many YouTube ads that I watch where you have gurus who were talking about how you can get rich easily in the financial market. This annoyed me because they were fanning people’s insecurities and oversimplifying certain ideas, essentially creating this idea of a miracle pill that investing and trading can solve all your problems. As someone who was hurt by scams, I found the energy to record my thoughts and to just throw them on the internet.

Timothy: You started in 2019, a few months before the pandemic. How did the pandemic affect the production of your content and the growth of The Financial Coconut?

Reggie: It caused a dip in consumption in the first few months after the pandemic started. I am not sure if you know, but most people listen to podcasts while they are on the go such as when they are travelling to work or at the gym.

During the start of the circuit breaker, people stopped going out and glued themselves to the TV screen. So that actually caused a dip in consumption of at least 20-30%.

Eventually, I think as people adjusted to the new normal, we saw numbers climbing again and we definitely benefited from the personal finance boom after that.

Timothy: The early days of the pandemic in 2020 saw many first-time investors and traders. Were you surprised by how quickly finance became a mainstream topic during that period?

Reggie: Yes, I was.

Here I was doing my own thing, ranting about fake gurus and sharing my thoughts on personal finance topics on the podcast, and I always wondered “where are all these people coming from?” – like, why are there thousands of people tuning in weekly to hear my ideas?

It was a pleasant surprise, and this made me more conscious about my ideas, and I began to filter my thoughts with more clarity so as not to misrepresent or oversimplify the topics.

Timothy: It seems like younger investors are open to taking more risks these days and this has led to them investing or trading alternative investments including cryptocurrencies, options trading or even meme stocks. What are some advice that you have for these investors?

Reggie: I have no qualms with younger investors taking more risk. I believe that when most people were young, they made objectively riskier moves too. From penny stocks to depressed US properties in Detroit to timesharing, there is always the next big thing.

When we are young, we want to get a big break. Sometimes we stumble onto something that works, and sometimes we fail. But as we grow as investors and traders, we must become more sophisticated in the sense of “we must become consistent” with our results.

Regardless of what tools or mediums you choose, can you consistently achieve profits?

If the answer is yes, then you may have found a system that works.

If the answer is kind of, refine it.

If it is always a moonshot, then investing in or trading that asset class just may not be your thing.

Timothy: In your opinion, will the interest in finance that we see among the masses today be here to stay? 

Reggie: I do not necessarily think so. I think there will always be a core group of people who are interested in finance, and perhaps this core group has expanded. But the periphery is more dynamic similar to mental health, it was the talk of the town, but it won’t always be the key focus for everyone.

For me, personal finance will always remain a relative niche, and I will argue that it is only amongst the people that have money. If you do not have money, you do not care, or if you do care, then you might just be hoping that money will solve your problems – which isn’t the right way to think about it in the first place.

Investing & Trading Can Be Exciting, But Don’t Overlook What It Takes To Succeed

From my own experience at DollarsAndSense and what Reggie shared with me, we can see that personal finance, in particular investing and trading, has been a hot topic for many people in Singapore over the last few years.

Being able to make profits from the financial markets is something that would excite most of us. And with the general stock market doing well in 2020 and 2021, it’s not difficult to see why there are many new investors who are excited about the profits they have made.

Unfortunately, 2022 wasn’t a good year for the financial markets, and many investors would have seen the value of their portfolio decline. This is a stark reminder that markets can go in either direction and that often, it’s impossible to predict which direction the market will go, particularly in the short-term.

For traders, it’s volatility that allows us to make profits from the financial markets, regardless of the direction of the price movement. For example, we can use Contract-For-Difference (CFD), we can take either direction of the market. If we think prices will increase, we can buy a long CFD. If we think prices will decline, we can buy a short CFD.

CFD providers such as IG, Singapore’s No.1 CFD/FX broker (by total number of client relationships. Investment Trends 2022 Singapore Leverage Trading Report) also allows us to trade a wide range of asset classes. These include shares, forex, indices, commodities and other asset classes.

When trading via a CFD, we don’t own the underlying securities that we trade. Instead, we are only liable for any profits or losses that are incurred in the trade that we make.

CFD trading typically utilises leverage in order to increase the size of the position taken. What this means is that a small movement in price can translate into a much larger profit or loss, depending on the position that a trader takes.

Being Consistent In Our Trades

As Reggie emphasises, it’s important for investors and traders to become consistent in whichever market they trade in. While we may be initially attracted to a particular asset class or trading strategy because of the profits we make in the short-term, what is more important is that we can consistently perform over the long-term. If we are able to achieve this, then we might have found a system that works well for us. However, if we are always just hoping for the best, then perhaps we are just hoping for luck to be on our side.

A demo trading account with IG could be a good way to start trading. A demo account allows us to practice trading using virtual funds, get familiar with the platform that we are using and test strategies on the different asset classes that we trade.

Once we are confident, we can move on to create a live trading account with IG and start off with a small amount that we can afford to lose. Many experienced traders that I know call this a “tuition fee,” as we are allocating a small sum of money to trade and to possibly learn from the mistakes that we make.

Another piece of advice that traders often share with me is to never trade your way out of a money problem. For us to be successful in our trades, we need to take the time to learn, refine our strategies, test them out, and repeat this over an extended period of time. If we jump into trading, hoping it can quickly solve all our money problems, we might end up being impatient and taking more risks than we should.

One such product that limits the risk that an investor can take for each trade is Knock-Outs. Offered by IG, Knock-Outs are similar to CFD except for one key difference – there is an in-built mechanism for each trade that automatically closes the trade position if the ‘knock-out’ price is hit. This way, traders can maximise their potential profits while taking limited risk in each trade. Similar to CFD, traders can take either direction of the market whether they are bullish or bearish.

Education is one way that we can improve our knowledge of trading. Besides podcast channels such as The Financial Coconut or DollarsAndSense, the IG Academy is another avenue that we can rely on to access content such as online courses and trading webinars.

Disclaimer

IG provides an execution-only service. The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute (and should not be construed as containing) any form of financial or investment advice or an investment recommendation or an offer of or solicitation to invest or transact in any financial instrument. Nor does the information take into account the investment objective, financial situation, or particular need of any person.  Where in doubt, you should seek advice from an independent financial adviser regarding the suitability of your investment, under a separate arrangement, as you deem fit.

No responsibility is accepted by IG for any loss or damage arising in any way (including due to negligence) from anyone acting or refraining from acting as a result of the information. All forms of investment carry risks. Trading in leveraged products, such as CFDs, carries risks and may not be suitable for everyone. Losses can exceed deposits.

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