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Singapore Financial Influencers Share Their Reflections On 2019 And New Resolutions For 2020

Big lessons and goals from some big names you might recognise.


The traditional festive lull at the end of the year is great for recuperating, reflection, and planning for the new year ahead.

If you want some inspiration and ideas, we’ve asked Singapore financial influencers to share some of their reflections on 2019 and some of the biggest lessons they learnt, followed by their aspirations and resolutions to make 2020 even better.

Read Also: 5 Reasons Why Do Your New Year’s Resolutions Fail (And What You Can Do About It)

Kenneth Lou
Co-Founder, Seedly

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance, investment portfolio, and Seedly?

Kenneth: 2019 was a great year in my personal finance journey. For my investment portfolio, I deployed more capital into a mix of robo-advisors and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and increased my wedding/renovation savings fund with my other half to hit our goal once we get married next year.

On the business front, we’re excited to keep growing and ensure that we’re set up for success in 2020, impacting even more lives and hopefully shaking up the personal finance scene, along with you guys at DollarsAndSense!

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Kenneth: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. To me this applies to both my personal and professional life.

On the Seedly front, I learnt that while there are always a ton of challenges, with a great team, you can ride through any adversity.

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Kenneth: I want to continue growing in my investing journey and start writing more about REITs and the global markets. I believe that if I can do that, it would make me a better investor as well as increase my investment returns.

Other than that, I’ll be getting married to my best friend and fianceé for the past 10 years (since JC) and going on our honeymoon. It’s a big milestone in life and I’m really looking forward to it!

Read Also: HardwareZone, Reddit, Seedly, And More: 5 Online Communities You Should Join To Learn More About Personal Finance

 

Shanison Lin
CEO, InvestingNote

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance, investment portfolio, and for InvestingNote?

Shanison: 2019 has been a good year for me.

This is a great year for InvestingNote. We successfully organised two of the biggest stock competitions in Singapore – the Investor-One stock pitch challenge as well as the SG Active Trading Tournament simulation competition, which focused on DLCs. 2019 is also the year we become profitable, after breaking even in 2018.

For my personal investments, I have invested in US, China and Singapore markets. Returns have been decent so far.

In particular, I have been actively trading US stocks and made more than 30% returns this year on stocks like Tesla, SEA and JD. 2019 has seen a bull market for the US with the S&P 500 gaining about 30% this year.

For China market, I have been investing more passively, holding ETFs like A50. I was vested in December 2018 when the SSE composite index is around 2,600, which turned out to be a great entry point for China stocks, some of which have given me returns of more than 50%.

For Singapore side, I’ve had less luck and made only about 5% in returns, which is quite low compared to the indices.

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Shanison: It is very important to know your own strengths and weaknesses and not to follow others blindly.

I have one friend who’s a strong fundamental investor and he was passionately sharing with me about a penny stock that listed on SGX two year ago. I bought the stock following his advice, even though I don’t remember why he was so bullish on this stock. Two years on, the stock was down 50% percent, and instead of cutting my losses, I decided to short sell the stock, but it then started to rally, causing me to lose even more.

I know that my costly mistake was blinding following others without even doing my own homework. Value investing might be a great methodology for others, but probably not me, since I don’t have the same kind of patience to simply wait for a stock to realise its value, without knowing when that will happen.

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Shanison: I have been taking Chartered Market Technician (CMT) program since 2018 and I just finished my CMT Level 3 exam in December 2019. After making many mistakes in the first few years of trading, I always wanted to take time to study systematically and reflect on my personal trading journey. That was why I decided to embark on the CMT programme.

Aside from the technical knowledge I gained from this journey, I also got to understand myself better. As a programmer and trader, my goal for 2020 is to build a bot that can assist me in making trading decisions.

For InvestingNote, we have been planning to expand overseas and we will be taking important first steps in 2020.

Read Also: CEO Of Investing Note (Singapore’s Largest Social Network For Investors) Shares The Best Tips He Has Read On His Platform

 

He Ruiming
Co-Founder and Writer, The Woke Salaryman

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance, investment portfolio, and The Woke Salaryman?

Ruiming: 2019 was a fantastic year. Some of the plays I made in the past in the stock market paid off. I joined a company which has a great culture. I also managed to double my emergency fund to last a year instead of six months.

Wei Choon and I also started The Woke Salaryman, which took off a lot faster than we expected.

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Ruiming: The law of diminishing returns applies to money as well. While money can help you solve some problems, eventually there will be a plateau.

I’ve seen some of my friends in their 30s develop serious, irreversible health conditions this year. No amount of money will help them get their health back.

It’s a reminder for me to keep my wealth-building endeavours physically and emotionally sustainable.

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Ruiming: Being a Woke Salaryman is more about being wealthy, it’s about giving back to society. Wei Choon and I intend to explore how The Woke Salaryman can have even greater positive impact on society as a brand.

 

Kyith Ng
Investment Moats

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance, investment portfolio, and Investment Moats?

Kyith: Personal finance have been okay. Since I have been rather disciplined for the past 15 years, nothing much changed. I earned more this year, though I also spent 17% more this year.

In terms of investments, I underperformed the S&P 500 this year, but probably come close to the Straits Times Index, and will probably outperform the Hang Seng Index. I had included a cash portion that was undeployed in my portfolio, so that is one reason for the underperformance.

For Investment Moats, things are getting more difficult. I couldn’t write as much in areas that I would like to write about. Competition is tougher because the new entrants are very aggressive and they tend to spend on advertising as well. But as long as Investment Moats survives I am contented.

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Kyith: This is a tough one. Some of the biggest lessons I learnt about money this year was from my job. I saw how passive some people can be about their wealth, despite building flourishing businesses and careers.

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Kyith: I want to get back to investing in earnest.

The past 3 years have been pretty tough for me to do individual stock prospecting. I am not sure if I could live up to this resolution, but I want to start with some habits like spending an hour a night looking at investing stuff that is not related to financial planning.

Let’s see if doing so will get my brain back into sync.

Read Also: The Motley Fool Singapore Shuts Down. Here Are 13 Websites You Can Follow Instead For Stock Investing Insights And Commentaries

 

Alison Liew
Heartland Boy

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance and investment portfolio?

Alison: Despite the heavy financial commitments of paying for the downpayment and renovation of my HDB BTO flat in 2019, I was fortunate enough to meet my financial goals. Investment returns have largely tracked the Straits Times Index, so it was prudent spending that really helped.

One interesting tip that I learnt this year was the HSBC Advance credit card hack which allowed me to enjoy between 2.5% – 3.5% cashback on my spending. This immediately catapults the HSBC Advance ahead to become my favourite cashback credit card.

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Alison: My mum accidentally bought two ElderShield Supplements, which doubled her coverage. However, from a cost-benefit standpoint, it was not worthwhile, as the additional premium was not cheap.

This entire saga forced me to dig deeper into this topic, which will put me in a good stead for the coming year when CareShield Life is introduced and made compulsory for my cohort.

Read Also: CareShield Life Will Replace ElderShield From 2020 – Here’s 12 Things You Need To Know

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Alison: Now that most of my heavy financial commitments are behind me, so I am hoping to significantly add to my net worth in 2020. Specifically, my target is to increase it by 25%, which would come from both saving up and investment income.

 

Dawn
SG Budget Babe

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance and investment portfolio?

Dawn: 2019 was the year where I realised time is more valuable than money.

It was also a year of huge expenses now that we have a newborn baby to support. We also bought our resale flat and started renovations. This necessitated dipping into our savings to pay for all of these expenses, and I’m glad that we worked so hard to save up in our earlier years so we didn’t have to take any loans!

Our insurance costs also went up this year, now that we have an additional member of the family.

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Dawn: Your network is your net worth. And parenthood is both challenging and expensive!

My biggest investing lesson this year would be to react fast when an opportunity in the stock market presents itself. There were a few instances when I was lucky enough to have grasped good timing on.

I also learnt how to leverage on other people as resources. We hired a domestic helper and it took a lot of the burden and stress off my husband and I so that we could go back to work, while having peace of mind that there was someone always around to take care of my baby.

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Dawn: I want to earn and save more next year, as my savings dipped considerably this year due to large ticket expenses.

I’m also aiming to improve my managerial skills in 2020 and beyond.

Read Also: Dawn Cher (a.k.a Budget Babe) Shares With Us The Most Important Financial Lessons She Learnt After Becoming A Mother

 

Timothy Ho
Managing Editor, DollarsAndSense

#1 Looking back, how was the 2019 for you – in terms of personal finance, investment portfolio, and DollarsAndSense?

Timothy: DollarsAndSense is doing well but I think it has reached the stage where further growth of the company comes at heavy cost, both personally and financially. We are on the lookout for the right talent to bring us to the next level, but it’s very challenging.

To be honest, I wish I had the time to focus a lot more on my own investment portfolio. But with another child this year, that wasn’t possible.

#2 What are the biggest lessons you learnt from 2019?

Timothy: It’s ok to be spending more, especially if it buys you quality time with your loved ones.

When I was younger, I used to save up as much I could – and I could really save! These days, between running a start-up that requires a lot of my time, energy and mental focus. I am also fulfilling my responsibilities as a dad, husband and son, so time has become a commodity that I just don’t have enough of.

One of the best “investments” I made in 2019 (if it qualifies as one) was to get a domestic helper. Doing so has really relieved me significantly, giving me the time and energy to focus on the business and to spend time with my family without having to worry so much about household chores. I am very thankful for the help we received.

#3 What are your personal resolutions (finance or otherwise) for 2020?

Timothy: The first is to learn how to become a better boss and colleague in the office.

The second is to be able to spend more quality time with my parents and my kids.

If I can get both of these things right in 2020, I will be pretty stoked.