By Singapore Man of Leisure
Now why this didn’t this happen when I had a full time job?
By Alvin Chow
I didn’t have the intention to write an annual letter for our readers until Jon persuaded me to do so.
He forwarded this annual letter from Farnam Street, and I had the same sentiment with what Shane have written,
You trust me with something far more valuable than money: your time.
You gave BigFatPurse your time and we should respect it by reciprocating with content that would be useful in your lives.
Thank you for all the support and trust these years.
In this annual letter, I will talk about a few things that are close to my heart, and hopefully, could possibly be useful for you in some ways.
First, my thoughts, feelings and experience in these two years of entrepreneurship. Second, my observations and views about the personal finance landscape. Third, a glimpse of BigFatPurse in 2016.
A question always bugged me – why doesn’t Singapore have a truly international company that is known throughout the world? We are probably more successful in Southeast Asia, but hardly beyond.
I think the main reason was due to widespread Actychiphobia – fear of failure.
Entrepreneurship is a high risk endeavour and people know it. The fear of failure keeps people from attempting it.
Jon went a step further and …read more
By Singapore Man of Leisure
I do pride myself for being a bit “different”.
The last thing I want is to be associated with “mainstream”; it’s just another euphemism for “ordinary”.
OK, growing up during my childhood wasn’t so fun as there were moments of self-doubt and wishing I could be more like others. Especially when being mocked or teased. You know how children can be…
The funny thing is once I started working, I find I have a slight edge seeing things and doing stuffs different from others. Especially when I want to stand out for the right reasons.
I thought the same applies when it comes to blogging.
Alright. I must not be in denial anymore. I’m as mainstream like anyone else. #@$@!@$^&*(%#@!!!!
I thought I’m different
Then along comes coconut. To me, he is the most interesting and weird character out there. Which makes him all the more lovable. Often I’ll wonder whether is he for real!? No wonder they say insanity and genius is just separated by a thin line… LOL!
I thought I am quite open and transparent
That’s until Sillyinvestor started blogging. I don’t wear a brown paper bag over my head, but some of the stuffs Sillyinvestor shared makes me feel fully clothed at a nudist …read more
What a year it has been. In a flash, 2015 has come and gone. As a blog BigFatPurse is an oldie now at eight years and counting. As an incorporated company, BigFatPurse has just made it past two. Like a toddler, we are just starting to get stable on our feet. We are growing and learning fast.
In this high mortality business environment, we have not only managed to escape start up graveyard, but have turned a second year of respectable profits. That in itself is reason to cheer.
As we wind down and take stock for the year, I would like to share three lessons I have learnt this year. I play three different roles in BigFatPurse, and there is an important takeaway for me in each aspect. Here are my thoughts.
As a Blogger
BigFatPurse started as a blog in 2007. When Alvin first approached me to write for BigFatPurse in 2012, I agreed readily. Not because I had a background in finance or investment or journalism. I agreed only because I enjoyed writing, and there is no better way to learn than to share.
Writing is a solitary activity. For the introvert in me, writing is about finding peace and joy.
I also …read more
By Lionel Yeo
Hey ho! Sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A for the past 2 weeks – I just started a new job and have been spending my mornings trying to digest the waterfall of new information, which is why I haven’t been updating the blog (or replying to emails) that quickly.
Anyhoo, it’s the end of the year and everyone’s feeling a little introspective. It’s a great time to look back on 2015 and distill a couple of lessons to help us be even more awesome for the new year.
So for my personal annual review, I decided to follow blogger Chris Guillebeau’s fantastic template (well, the first part, anyways) which has achieved almost a cult status for his followers. I highly recommend you give it a shot too. Open up a Word document, and list out:
- What went well for you
- What didn’t go so well
- Bonus: What lessons you can distill
That’s it. Even if you never publish it, you’ll get amazing insights and a much clearer focus for next year. Or at the very least, you’ll feel a lot happier. Trust me, it works.
With that, here’s my annual review for 2015:
What Went Well
- I did new things that scared me. 2015 was a …read more
By Alvin Chow
Crude Oil Prices in 2015, declined from US$54 to US$35 per barrel. Chart from tradingeconomics.com
This is the price trend of SPC petrol prices in 2015. My pump price has actually increased from S$1.87 to S$1.96! Screenshot of chenlim.com, visit the site for price data of other companies.
Oil prices declined 35% while my pump price increased 5%!
Okay, to be fair, Jan 2015 was a 6-year low for pump price based on this report. But then again, the crude oil prices have dropped so much and the current pump prices aren’t convincing. Consumers did not seem to enjoy the cheaper crude oil prices.
Breaking Down the Costs
Let’s use RON95 grade since I pump that, which works out to be S$1.98/litre at Esso.
According to Exxonmobil, the costs could be broken down into the following 5 factors.
1) Internationally-traded wholesale fuel prices
We have established that the wholesale fuel prices have declined 35%.
One barrel of crude oil is equivalent to 159 litres. Hence, one litre of crude oil on 1 Jan 2015 would be US$54/159 = US$0.34, and it would have cost US$0.21 on 22 Dec 2015.
2) Excise duties and GST
“The petrol excise duty in Singapore is set at a rate of $0.56 per …read more
By Singapore Man of Leisure
Remember those days when air-con buses were first introduced in Singapore?
In April 2014, best selling author Michael Lewis published FlashBoys, a narrative non-fiction depicting the rise of High Frequency Trading (HFT) and how financial institutions; brokerages and stock exchanges are involved in the HFT ecosystem.
As recent as the early 2000s, 85% of all stock trades in the USA happened on either one of two exchanges – NYSE or NASDAQ. The exchanges were exclusive; a stock that is traded on NYSE does not trade on NASDAQ.
In an attempt to promote freer markets, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed more exchanges to spout. By 2008, there were 13 exchanges in the US. An investor could buy or sell a stock on almost any exchange of his choice.
More exchanges would normally mean more efficient markets, but as Brad Katsuyama, the protagonist of FlashBoys discovered, that was not the case.
Katsuyama is a Canadian trader who arrived in Wall Street with the Royal Bank of Canada in 2005. Trading for the bank, he discovered that he had increasing difficulty filling up his orders.
If he had wanted to buy 1 million shares of IBM from ready sellers, much of the sell orders would miraculously disappear just as he submitted his order. The outcome is that he …read more
By Alvin Chow
I love KFC chicken but it is a food that kills if we over-consume.
I believe many people have the same inclinations that made KFC a renowned brand that sold fried chicken worldwide.
As I was having a bite of the chicken, the analytic side of me started to wonder how much money does KFC make from me.
We will have to get to the financial statements of KFC to find out.
Some of you would know that KFC is not listed on its own. It is a brand that is managed under Yum! Brands, which also handle Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands.
This is the reason why you would usually see KFC and Pizza Hut in the same shopping mall as they could have more bargaining power negotiating for more rental space with the landlord. We do not see Taco Bell in Singapore anymore as it didn’t gain popularity with the locals.
It is also interesting to note that Yum! Brands was a spin of from PepsiCo, and this is the reason that KFC only serve PepsiCo’s brands of drinks.
The good thing is Yum! Brands is listed and that means their financial statements are easily available to the public for scrutiny.
Just do an …read more