By Lionel Yeo
If you ever visit Kandooma Island in the Maldives, bring your running shoes.
Not because there are wild animals with sharp teeth (tourists at the buffet table don’t count), but because the running is excellent. The sun rises at 5.30am, so you get to have an early start before photoshoot-taking couples in flowery shirts invade the beaches.
You roll out of bed, put on your shoes, and run.
You don’t have a place to go: the great thing about running on holidays is that there IS no goal. There’s no IPPT to train for, no timing to meet, and no destination to reach. Try the scenic route – the one by the beach, with the crashing waves to your left and coconut trees to your right. There’s a light breeze blowing, the sunlight is bright but not burning hot.
Meander. When you pass a path that looks interesting, you take it. For example, there’s a long boardwalk that stretches out into the sea. Along the way, a passerby motions to you to take a look at the water: There’s a stingray swimming close to the surface.
You continue to the end of the boardwalk, where there’s a magnificent panorama of the sea all …read more
By Alvin Chow
C.K. Tang failed to delist the company until the third attempt in 2009.
Many shareholders were upset with the management, accusing the latter of diluting shareholdings through employee stock options to facilitate delisting.
The management was holding close to 90 percent of the company and offered a delisting price of $0.83. To many it was seen as a low ball offer considering the fair value of $0.93.
The company went ahead with the delisting and subsequently offered an exit for the remaining shareholders at $1.30, two years later.
Delisting at a low offer price relative to valuation is one of the most common ways of taking advantage of the minority shareholders and C.K. Tang was among one of the handful in history.
One might question the existence of shareholders’ rights.
From the Shareholders’ Angle
I think it is not difficult to think from the perspective of a shareholder since most of us have been one.
We talk a lot about investing in companies that have good management, who would act in the interest of shareholders.
It is easy to say we invest in good management, but it is very difficult to assess one.
Does someone with no bad record constitute good management? It is not fool proof because we have …read more
Several months back, I had the pleasure of spending one evening with a Director of Futures from one of our local brokerages.
He’s an interesting character!
Speaks England with heavy Singlish and lots of Hokkien phrases peppered for added spiciness!
Yup, not a graduate by any stretch of the imagination.
Like most street urchins made good, he stumbled onto the then Simex as a local with $30,000 Sing dollars (his life savings) when he heard how much a local could make from his friends working inside Simex.
He was in his late 20s when he became a local.
Fast forward to today, he’s one of those locals who have successfully made the transition from the trading pits to electronic trading as a scalper. (Have you noticed most professional traders are intraday traders?)
It’s not easy. Many of his local pals have dropped out of trading altogether as they find it hard to adapt in an environment where they can’t read the body language of their competition, and where machines from high frequency trading firms are able to run circles round them…
Now he’s 50 plus years young; still trades his own account and mentors the other prop-traders working for his broker.
This is a guest post by BH. BH is a healthcare professional who takes a keen interest in palliative care. He applies to his personal financial affairs the same level of meticulousness he displays at work. He has kindly agreed to contribute an article on something that is very close to his heart. BH is also a BigFatPurse reader and a long time childhood friend.
Speak of financial planning and the image of sitting down with a financial advisor going through numbers and portfolios will come to mind. We work hard to earn our money, and make sure that our money work harder for us by diligently saving and investing the money in financial instruments.
We try to make sure we have enough for our nest egg when we retire and not be financially dependent on family members. We buy insurance policies in case something untoward happen to us, so that our families will not be left high and dry.
A typical investor like me will probably have shares in the CDP account, savings in the bank and probably a joint savings account for household expenses. These arrangements work fine when one is well and is earning.
What if something untoward …read more
By Lionel Yeo
A big part of living a rich life is being able to spend money on the things we want.
Personally, I love spending on travel – In fact, I save a sizeable amount every month so I can take at least one big trip a year.
And from my conversations with friends and colleagues, most Singaporeans share my obsession for travel.
Few things evoke a bigger “waaaaaaahhhhhh so shiookkkkk!!” response than posting your travel pictures on Facebook. Office conversations usually start off with, “So, are you going anywhere this December?” As a nation, we’re crazy about travelling. Why?
- Maybe it’s because we live on a tiny island so we get bored easily
- Maybe it’s because we want CHEAP SHOPPING
- Maybe it’s because we can’t wait to get away from the office
But let’s dig a little deeper. WHY do we travel? WHAT makes the idea of going to a distant land so attractive?
Here are 3 reasons why I love travelling:
Because It’s An Adventure
When I was in college, I went on a backpacking trip to Mexico and Guatemala. For some reason, we assumed that backpacking = live below the poverty line, so we did everything super cheaply.
One evening, we ate cup noodles for dinner …read more
Imagine our lives’ starting point to be the snow-capped mountain tops.
As the snow melts, it forms little brooks we can step over; then into creeks we can jump over; blend into streams we can wade across; and finally merging into rivers we can swim across…
No, the journey does not end in the warm embrace of the oceans.
That’s just a comfortable temporary holding area.
For those droplets of water who can let it go, they’ll float into the skies.
And be the carefree clouds 😉
This river allegory is “less taxing” since it’s about “going with the flow”. The “hard” part though is the “letting go” bit…
As you may have discovered, ants prefer the mountain story, while grasshoppers would prefer the river story 😉
This post was inspired by WolfT during our discussions in my previous post:
This River allegory borrows from what Bruce Lee had said about water and the non-action philosophies of Taoism.
Ever noticed the duality and polarity of Life?
Remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion?
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. …read more
One evening some weeks ago, after wrapping up an evening workshop, the four of us stood around the table in our office drinking whisky and trash talking.
It’s been a long day and we are unwinding. The conversation was random and totally irreverent.
Actual Picture – Alex, Louis and Alvin at their usual perch
We joked about people with no necks (don’t ask me why), we laughed at how dim sum is created, we chided Louis for his off-the-charts IQ. We were having a blast.
And somehow or another, the conversation drifted to breast pumps. Yes. You heard me right. Breast pumps. The little contraption used to extract milk from breast feeding mums.
It all began with Alex actually, when he remarked that his facebook feed is filled with friends discussing the merits of breast pumps and which ones to get. People spend hours comparing and debating the merits of each.
There were electrically operated ones and manual ones. Battery powered ones vs non-battery powered ones. Some are closed system, while others are not. Some have silicon cushions, backlit LED screens, different power settings. Others are quieter, more compact, and have stronger suction power. It was mind boggling.
Now don’t get …read more
Think for a moment how you view your employer.
How you behaved in front of big daddy every election.
Notice your behaviour when you ask others for help?
As an investor/trader, do behave more like the dog or cat when it comes to your relationships with intermediaries like – brokers; analysts; financial advisers; SGX, MAS, banks; insurance companies; mutual funds, etc?
By Lionel Yeo
One of my favourite movies last year was X-Men: Days of Future Past.
To save the X-Men from the Sentinels who want to fry them into goreng pisang, Wolverine travels back to 1973 to create an alternate future, forever altering the fate of the X-Men.
Which really got me thinking: What if I could travel back in time and talk to my 20-year old self?
What would I tell my younger self about money that would forever change my entire future for the better?
Here’s what I would’ve said:
1. Pay Yourself First
I get it – it’s really, really hard to save money when you’re 20.
Your tiny allowance is barely enough for meals, movies, and the occasional overpriced coffee and organic ice cream at some hipster cafe.
Here’s a tiny hack that’ll help you save with less effort: Pay yourself first. Every month, take $200 from your allowance and deposit it into a separate savings account.
It’s a lot easier to save money that you can’t see.
In all likelihood, that money would have been spent on random, forgettable things like snacks, coffee and cab rides anyway. So you probably wouldn’t even notice that it’s gone.
I only started doing this when I was 25. If I started …read more