Managing retirement investments (session 3)

There must be some lucky ones amongst us.  But, by now, many of us must have also looked at our retirement investment statements many times over, and see that we have lost some 50% of the money we have put in as retirement investments.  Time for session 3.  Likely an evening, and likely during a weekday.  Depends on the speakers.

Before I put up a date, may I have speakers or moderators to put up their hands.  Topic can be on forex trading, currency pairs, gold, property or simply cash under the bed.  It’s really up to you.  Use this as an opportunity to share.

This event is now set and fixed as follows:

  • Venue:  18 Bali Lane, complete with large TV screen, microphone, white board and 50 sitting audience.
  • Date:  Wed 3 Dec 2008
  • Time:  1800 – 2100 hrs.
  • Speaker and moderator:  Andrew Thio
  • Schedule:  1900 – 2000 hrs – Andrew.  2000-2100 – Another speaker.
  • Fee:  Free, strictly for registered SHC members only.


  1. Terence Seah
  2. Andrew Thio – Speaker
  3. Steven Tan
  4. Catherine Ho
  5. Annie Loh
  6. Celia Wong
  7. June Chin
  8. Ivan Lim
  9. Andrew Yeung
  10. Lina Tan
  11. Charles Wee
  12. Tim Liu
  13. Lilian Teo
  14. Cliff Wee

Terence Seah

35 thoughts on “Managing retirement investments (session 3)

  1. May I propose forex be the theme for this series. I gather from the postings there are 2 ways to invest in forex. Perhaps TS, Kenneth and Eleanor could take this opportunity to enlighten us. I can assist with the Q&A on issues involving Equities.

  2. Hi Terrence
    we discussed previously. Although I have done investments in Equities, Bonds, Property, Currency pairs, Hedge Funds & Commodities, most of my experience is equity based. Roger has already done a session on Equities so I’m not sure how useful it would be to repeat. This said, I’m ok to share if there’s interest.

  3. Hi all SHC investors and traders!

    More bad news hit the markets today!

    Closer to home, DBS retrenches staff and more job cuts in the economy are forecasted; the Sands IR faces a possible default, falling property prices…

    Morgan Stanley Pinnacle Notes Series 9 and 10 hit ZERO! Another structured product bites the dust! I fail to see how an AA rating can suddenly drop to CCC-!! This is another fraudulent product concocted by the banks/financial institutions/rating agencies and foisted upon the public by uninformed broking houses. I am waiting to see what the official reaction will be… “Those with a valid complaint can take it up with the financial institution…”

    Roger #1, I cannot see myself giving any advice on forex… it is only because that I have a CD in NZ dollars that I made the posts. Anyway, there are more than two ways to “invest” in forex… and “trading” forex is the latest thing to hit our market. Numerous ads appear daily to lure “investors” to their trading courses…

    Tiang Soon will be sharing his forex trading experience at the next monthly meeting; he’s put very much thought and discipline in his method. It will not be simple.

    I try to view myself as an investor more than a trader… by that I mean that I take a longer term view and rely on value and fundamentals. It is very difficult to find “good” stocks or time the market on a consistent basis.

    And I think this is where all the financial institutions and planners fail us: They make us think that investing is all about picking the right stocks, buying the right unit trust, buying the latest structured deposit because it will give us more than the measly fixed deposit.

    For the majority 95% of Singaporeans, we should have our money invested for the “long term” in a diversified fund. I remember the news report of an elderly lady who put her money just in Shenton Fund (a local unit trust) and built up a small fortune over time.

    You see, if the financial institutions just ask you to place your money in one place, they do not get to make any commission or repeat sales. So, they come up with new products, ask you to switch to the “latest and best”. Brokers will offer you the IPOs, special pre-launch share allotments, the latest market tips. Insurance planners package investments with insurance… and fail to provide adequate life insurance cover.

    Today’s Straits Times also has a report that more Singaporeans are opening US trading accounts to buy US stocks that they think are “ripe for the picking”. I think that a US account would be great… but not if they’re buying AIG, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs or other financial institutions as reported. The iShares Financial ETF is down 63% from 2007 and set to drop further. Do we think we can be like Oei Hong Leong and make a killing on AIG?

    Of course, the other reason for the rise of US accounts is the trading of options. Like forex, many ads and websites offer options trading courses. And the success stories of traders entice many to plunk their money and try to emulate them.

    I’m not anti-trading… in fact, I advocate putting some (a small amount) of your money in trying out these options or forex trades. But please keep it at a level where you can afford and not lose any sleep over it.

    Better stop here or I’ll be summoned for over-running the post limits. My next post will probably be next month after the Mae Hong Son/Chiang Mai trip.


  4. Hi, all SHC members.

    I have posted in my Yahoo mail 2 Magazines for any one interested to read everything about trading FX, equities, commodities, futures and options.

    How to access.
    Type in in the Web browser and click enter.
    In the Yahoo,Singapore page click “mail” and
    enter user: tsoon2005
    Password : 1abcde

    U will find so far 2 mails,
    click any one of interest and open the page.
    Click the word “DOWNLOAD”

    By the way, I had posted this message under “Housing Bubble comes to AUS” and also under “MY PROFILE” .

    Enjoy Reading,
    T S Lim

  5. Kenneth-T @ #4, that’s the verity.

    Decades ago, banks borrowed from savers’ deposits to do the simple & straight biz of lending out, such as to factories to buiy machinery to produce goods. No great ambition, our folks put their money with banks to earn interest, and that was safe.

    Finding it all too bland, too placid, to whet the appetities of the gambling few who wanted to risk for more money, the banks set higher targets for their key managers to achieve. So they had to be creative, beat each other with innovative products neither they nor their investors needed to understand for afterall, who cared when everybody was playing in blindfolds?

    The number game was easy, no sweat. Little reference to any tangible assets. Index trading, derivative trading, structure bonds………you buy at a number, you sell at another number…….you profit or lose in the difference.

    The gambling few bragged and drew in the housewives and retirees. Many left their farms and factories, abandoning hard and long work hours for the aircond comfort of watching number movements on the computer screen. No mosquito bites and ant-bites from plucking fruits but greeted as Sir and M’am, treated like royalties with champagne, food and more food. You lived it up.

    Relationship managers & financial advisrs persuaded, coaxed and even told lies in straight faces to get people to invest. Euphoria was everywhere and the sheer force & size of investments kept the markets bouyant, up and higher.

    Traders were rewarded with obscene bonuses, and they obliged with newer and more intricate products built on a pack of cards. All hopeful that the party would go on & on……forever as the Emperor continued to lead merrily in his new clothes.

    Then came that little boy who blinked and the pack of cards came crashing down like dominos.

    Those who followed the herd groaned and moaned, whining that they had been fooled forgetting that one has to be some kind of a fool first.

    As the pall covers many in the current pessimism, one has to be even more careful/watchful over one’s spending. Dont get into any credit card debt. With SIBOR at its historical low, credit card interest has to be any financial institution’s succulent cut. If you cant pay the debit balance, sueing you in court is one option less effective than using debt collectors. If that happens, your nitemare has just begun…………….

  6. The 3rd session on Managing Retirement Investments has been set for Wed 3 Dec 2008 at 18 Bali Lane, from 1800 – 2100 hrs.

    Andrew Thio will be the speaker and moderator. Thank you Andrew. The time 1900 – 2000 hrs.

    Another speaker will be speaking from 2000 – 21000 hours. The name will be announced soon.

    If you plan to come, please let us know. More details soon.

    Terence Seah

  7. If you would like to hear from Andrew Thio, who will be sharing his views on Retirement Investments, do join us on Wed 3rd Dec.

    Our newspapers have been carrying reports of how Singaporeans will be affected by the recession; and what are the measures about to be taken to minimise pain and sufferings. I think that for many of us, there is a possibility we will still get a bonus, maybe a smaller one, and a muted salary increase in Jan 2009. I have just attended a Thur/Fri sales conference, and was asked by fellow attendees if there is a recession in Singapore. Their general observation of Orchard Road, the lights and the crowds in the shopping centre and restaurants gave them a positive perception that there is no recession here.

    Maybe, when we get a smaller salary increase or a job loss will we feel this recession impact. I also get a general Asian opinion that the recession will start to swing around after 2 Qtr 2009. I am pretty pessimistic. What do you think?

    Terence Seah

  8. TimL,

    Cheer up! We have to be optimistic and positive, despite the events happening around us, here in Singapore and around the world. Stop your passions from sliding. This is not you; trying making us happy.

    Terence Seah

  9. Thank you Sengh and Yew Kwong.

    I am one kind of a cynical sentimentalist so the happenings around me do affect me.

    That foreign workers cheerfully taking on menial work here affect me. It tells me that they must have been living in abject poverty at home. So the jobs we wont want to do are great jobs to them which come with what they also see as great pay. For now, they’re contended but wd they still be after 1 year, 2 years of blend-in, seeing how “rich” the locals are and starting to compare? Will more abandon construction worksites and head for the financial district in the backlanes of geylang to operate mini-casinos for easier money? In short, after becoming another “locaL”, will they remain as “good”? Or will they give even more reasons to serangoon gdns residents to worry about?

    Motorists who refuse to give way to buses exiting from bus bays will be punished. Plausibly, the rationale behind this is to ensure that buses will be able to keep time. To me, it’s not a reason for applause cos if buses dont waste time crawling on the roads, they dont need these few seconds and commuters will get to reach their destinations earlier.

    Washington has installed a new team to deal with an old problem. Will it succeed? Or will it add on to the mess of a world mired in financial woes as it tries to contain the sourge of terrorism?

    Will try to find the time to catch up this evening at Scorebot……………..

  10. Hi TimL,

    I am also a sentimentalist, neither critical, or cynical. I like to see pluses. I see the world as a see-saw. From one end, you walk up towards the middle, and then you climb down as you reach the other end of the see-saw. You then turn around, and the same thing repeats itself.

    I see December as a month of false hope. We worry that tomorrow will be tough year; and so we spend and enjoy this season. Like in 1997, we worry about job security for the over 40s and the plunging property values. We worry about India and Thailand; and we worry about our retirement investments. We wonder if Obama save America; and if China can save Asia.

    On the brighter side, we have read and heard from experts that we need to cross 2nd Q, 2009; and the recession would be over. That sounds nice and short. Then, we have other experts who would have us worry ourselves to death for another 5 or even 10 years.

    I think we need to cheer up, encourage ourselves and keep moving to the other end of the see-saw.

    Remember, music moves the world.

    Terence Seah

  11. Sengh, first I was bemused by yr see-saw anecdote, and, having mused over it, cant help but find it amusing as it bears out one truism in life, that life is not fair.

    Some need only to play on the see-saw – walking up & down and then down & up – to make a rich living. Like this, how not to see many pluses in life?

    Some work from dawn till dusk, with only 3 toilet breaks in btwn, chalking up fines for talking a bit longer or more, and they earn only 1/1,000th of what the one idling on the see-saw is paid. They see many XXXs, not one plus, living a dog’s life like this.

    When one has reached the middle of the see-saw, shoudnt one stay there which is the highest one can go? Why head for the other end which points only to the way down? Does one think that one has a birth-right to the see-saw such that suka suka, he can walk up and down as he likes? The cynical me will tell him that the see-saw will be taken away from him and he may be put on a merry-go-round that spins him round and round reaching no further than where he had first started years after.

    December is celebrated as the month of Christ’s birth. It’s also the month when one has to clear one’s annual leave, when bonuses are paid with the ensuing gift exchanges. Happy tidings.

    Reality strikes and strikes ruthlessly hard come January. Holidays hv ended and it’s time for cost cutting. The axe will have to fall. You dont want it falling on yr head bcos your children are still in schools, colleges, you have bills to pay and a bf you made at Little India during the Dec holidays to feed. Cheat, sabo, play deaf, play dead and play politics to save yr skin……and you live in stress and fear all over again. And 2009 being the Year of the Ox means…………………haha.

  12. Yesterday, 16 SHCians had a cosy discussion with Andrew Thio on his equity investments experience. Andrew’s personal view today is that the stock markets are still unstable, and that he would wait a while longer to pick up good stocks. He would rather put the money in the bank for 2%.

    We may have another session in this series of “Managing retirement investments”, if we have an offer from members to speak on this topic. I did notice there were a few other SHCians who would love to speak and share their experience and advice; but had not raise their hands.

    Terence Seah

  13. Hi Terence & Andrew,

    Thks for arrranging & sharing your personal view. Am glad also to get to know a few new SHCians,Alice, June, Roger & Charles.


  14. Hi Terence & Andrew,

    Thanks for arranging this talk, enjoyed the views shared and exchanged by the memnbers and esp. Andrew for his charts and discussion. Regards.

  15. “………….thanks for the primitive adv…………….” So he was an early man who returned from the stone age ? And so his advice was : go jump into the sea to catch fish.

    With a haul enough for the whole kampong to feast for a month and still with balance left, we shall salt and sun the fish. In short, the advice was : forget about stocks, shares, derivatives, KT’s ATM…….go sell kiam herr, go hunting, go pluck coconuts, dump the internet for the fish-net…………..

    And then what do we see in Dolly? Not a high-flying career achiever strutting about but a kiam herr ah sor sulking about, heheee.

    Seriously, Andrew’s take was simple : cash is king, hold on to your money and wait………meanwhile, can joint venture with Dolly in her biz………fish salted and sunned wont die again and will last a long long time till at least when the economy recovers.

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