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Thursday, January 25, 2018

THE FINANCIAL JOURNEY OF TOM K FINALLY EXPOSED!

As I have promised readers, I will share my financial journey with you for you to better understand my financial motivations as an investor and motivations of learning and sharing with all of you as a blogger. I also hope that through this sharing of my financial journey, you have a better understanding of who I am as a person and the objectives of Singapore Stocks Investing blog towards creating value to you. And here the narration of my financial journey goes, so sit back, relax and have a bag of popcorn with you:
Seeds of my Financial Education

I am born into a middle-class family. My father is a hardworking person who is capable enough to ensure his three children complete their university education through his average salary, his rigorous savings and continuous drive to upgrade his skills. My mother is a dedicated full-time homemaker who dedicates her life to the care of my siblings and I and her grandchildren. Kudos to my parents for giving me a solid financial education, in fact the most important pillar of all by stressing the importance of savings. Though we do not talk much about monies, through deeds, my parents personalize the importance of savings and they are the first teachers of my financial education. Till today, I remain largely a frugal person and have benefited much from their financial education in savings.

Financially self-reliant

Though this is not really something to boast about, I stopped taking allowances from my father when I entered National Service as I earned my first paycheck in NS. To me, this is an important financial lesson as I also learn to be self-reliant in my financial needs. Not taking allowances come naturally to me then as I am all along, a self-disciplined and rather independent child. I also think that I help my parents save quite a bit by not having the need for me to attend academic tuitions in my life. Despite not having tuitions, I ace all my subjects from primary school to university, except for a less-than stellar grades in English. I also have a record of topping my primary school and secondary school mathematics and continue the streak of “As” to JC mathematics as well, including Special-papers. Scoring As in science subjects also prove natural to me as well. I did not know then that my good mathematical and analytical skills will benefit me in my investment journey which I would be embarking on.

My First paycheck

Not counting the allowances from my full-time NS obligations, my first REAL paycheck comes from giving private tuitions, close to my ORD, without my parents’ knowledge. A month into the job, I told my parents about what I was doing and my parents, in particular my father was shocked as pretty much they are quite conservative parents in nature. It also does not help when I was giving private tuition to a group of four female students in their teens (as I was one then too). Nevertheless, they came to understand me and my “tuition career” continued throughout my undergraduate years till I started work. For the first time in my life, I see for myself how my own personal efforts translate into monies. This is an interesting and financially rewarding lesson to me, although I would soon learn other important financial lessons that highlight to me that hard work per se is necessarily but may not be sufficient to create one’s desire level of wealth.

Lesson on value creation

Though I am trained in an analytical discipline, I opt to intern in a sale job in order to understand the corporate world. Perhaps as an intern, I only managed to clinch one big deal. My other intern counterpart is a natural sale lady so it did not surprise me to see her enter the MDRT league soon after her graduation from university. I saw first-handedly how the better performing sale personnels tend to be more recognized at work. I learn the lesson of value-creation: that one receives more wealth by creating more value to the company and to customers. This mantra of wealth creation correlating to value creation stands firm in my financial philosophy today though the stakeholders might differ depending on what station one is in life. The fact that the company management is largely frugal though they are millionaires impresses upon me the virtue of frugality once again.

Cleared my First Financial debt

With frugality and my tuition incomes throughout my undergraduate days, I was able to clear my first financial debt of my life: study loans within a year after graduation. Not many undergraduates could do this, I believe

Financial Awakening: My First Investment

As soon as I stepped into society to start work, the “lust” of earning more monies soon overwhelmed me so much so that I bought my first investments in a fund from a well-known insurance company, without doing much research, from an auntie simply based on trust. The fund seems great as it had good publicity in the newspapers when it was introduced. I gave my first “investment capital” via a cheque of $8,000 to the auntie. A year later, the financial crisis struck and the rest, they say is history. I was sad to see my first investments go down below my cost as the financial crisis unfolded. Not being able to stand the emotion of holding the “soured investments”, I sold the investments and received back only $3,500 of my capital. This first investment lesson lays the seeds of my investor education: that one should take charge and be responsible for one’s own monies, and not let others do it for you. Do not entrust your monies to others based on simply trust. My first insurance policies which I have gotten once I started work were beneficial though and I add on to this slew of policies with others as my financial needs evolve with the different stations of my life.

The “predecessors” of Singapore Stocks Investing

To give a more balanced perspective of my work life, life after work then is spent with family, my hobbies, dating and sports. One of my hobbies has always been writing and with the internet times, instead of penning my thoughts on a diary, there is Blogger blog to use. To digress a bit, I penned down each and every day of my National Service experience on notebooks; all of which ended up in refuse bins, years after.

In my free time then, I started blogging to share my experience of interesting places and events in Singapore on a blog which I called the “Singapore Short Stories” blog (I really think I am one of the earliest to coin the Singapore stories before this whole phrase of the Singapore Story becomes a buzzword after the General Election 2011). Soon after, I also documented my hair loss experience on what I called the “Singapore Hair Loss Support Group” and also my travel experiences on another travel-related blog. As for the evergreen question of whether I am “botak” now, I would let you find out yourself.

The most important of the aforementioned is that I would soon discover that my interest in finances and investing as well as the passion to learn and share through blogging will engender the start of Singapore Stocks Investing blog.

Journey of being a Master of my Wealth

In a bid to master wealth creation myself, I read books, attended seminars on the different models of wealth creation: forex, stocks, real estate, education; etc. I even joined in a MLM before though just to “help” a friend and I did not even felt the need to sell a single product. I would soon discovered that the easiest way to get started on the wealth creation journey is investing in stocks myself. Informed of the risks associated with investing, I knew that there ought to be an option out and that is after a series of learning, I found that this would be via a disciplined approach toward financial and investor education. I am by nature quite a conservative guy and hence to “kickstart” the momentum to take that “most difficult first step”, I went on to sign up a stocks account and a CDP account to take “REAL ACTION”.

An Even Greater Financial Awakening

Even though I had now a trading account, it remained pretty much a “dormant” account. It was years after the set-up of the trading account that I experienced the impetus to learn investing and to take investing action ……..

As I entered into the workforce, I have had a roaring start. My diligence, capabilities and skills were recognized by my bosses and I have had the potential to rise and shine. However, these “career good times” were soon replaced by a turn of my career due to corporate restructuring. As a result of the restructuring, I was forced to take on positions that affect me in my professional life and salary. Gone were the long-term career prospects and I had to believe that the best opportunities of my career “are over”. With this second financial awakening, I knew that I have to create wealth myself and not to let others determine how much I should be paid or how much I should be worth. As a result of my career “setback”, some of my former friends distanced themselves away from me as I was deemed to be a “career failure”. Truly speaking, I experienced a wide spectrum of emotions at this “nadir” of my career.

While inherent in me all along is the wish to become rich, my career experiences provides me with the impetus to kickstart my investing journey as I could no longer count on my career to reach my desired level of financial level. Not to mention, retirement will no longer be an option if I do not do something in the financial aspects of my life. Pursuant to the above, I began to visit the libraries more often in order to crack “the code of wealth”. I consumed books after books containing the basic investment strategies first, mainly on fundamental and technical analysis as well as simpler investment tactics.

My First DIY Investment

With all I have learnt in my maiden investment journey, I took a shot at investing via a position in Noble Group stock; a decision after “an analysis of graphs I have charted in Microsoft Excel”. I bought just one thousand shares of the stock and I could recall my fingers really “trembled” upon clicking the purchase button. I held Noble Group stock and made my first DIY profits of more than $500! Though the profits were not much, it was nevertheless a valuable lesson to me that an educated, planned and informed approach towards investments would reap profits.

But is Investing really that easy?

With my first investment success, I invested and traded in more stocks, not to delude myself and readers, I profited in some positions while not profiting in others; but I am starting to see my overall profits improve as I educate myself more in both financial and technical analysis, reading of financial articles and schooling myself in the whole spectrum of financial education. I count Robert T. Kiyosaki as one of my favorite financial authors.

What I have learnt so far?

After “absorbing” all the investment principles from a spectrum of information sources and seeing the improvement in my investments, I am convinced that I have started to find a way to create wealth from the Singapore stocks markets. It is definitely not about systems or softwares else everyone who has bought a stock forecasting software from a self-touted expert would become millionaires now. It is also not necessarily a “Buy and Hold” strategy; I mean everyone could adopt this technique by buying blue chip dividend stocks and holding them. And most important of all, for retail investors, the method needs to be “safe” and hence it would not be a technique of following the professional traders by speculating thousands and thousands of one’s hard-earned monies on penny stocks. So what is the approach behind my Singapore Stocks Investing Strategy?

My Investment Approach and Value Add to readers

There are thousands of investing and trading schools of thoughts and principles. There is also an increasing number of financial education one can pay to attend to get “educated”. There are also practically hundreds of softwares and apps to help investors make “informed investing decisions”. With all the gamut of information and resources, why is it that only some investors are successful while many are not?

I have been thinking about the above and have come to one conclusion that sums its up all. The secret to investing is (some may think it sounds like a cliché, but it really is not) to understand oneself. The more one understands oneself, the better he will be as an investor.

Hence, I really hope that each of my blog articles will go towards, incrementally in helping you understand yourself as an investor and enhance your investment returns. I believe every sharing of my investing and financial experience will enable you to learn some important points of investing and improve your understanding of yourself as an investor.

My financial journey at this juncture is far from over. Will I eventually achieve my financial goals of being FINANCIALLY FREE at last and decide how late I can wake up on weekdays, not having to report to a JOB? Or will I become bankrupt as I become retrenched from my job? Join me as I continue to write the story of my financial journey on Singapore Stocks Investing blog! Join the emailing list to receive regular Financial and Singapore stocks newsletters too! Like" me on Singapore Stocks Investing Facebook page to receive all posts on your Facebook as well as read more articles. Follow me on Twitter too.

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