Thursday 25 February 2021

Recounting My Investment Journey Part 1/4

It's been almost 20 years since I started my first investment. Along the way, I have experienced highs and lows arising from various interactions and thoughts at that time. Hence, I would like to recall some of these for memory sake.

To begin, one need to have money before seriously thinking about investing to make more money. I got that by combining Ang Pow money and NS pay. Took me about eight years to accumulate. Fortunately, my personal expenses were very low since home provided my basic needs. The below were what I invested in and the lessons learnt.

Safety First - I began exploring
The most boring investment made was in fixed deposit. Those days, the banks offered 2-3% interest and I even went walking around (internet was dialup) for best deals/promotions. One of those was by Keppel Tat Lee Bank near Upper Serangoon Road. Nothing fancy since watching money grow was wasting time. This was a staple until fixed deposit rates kept going down. I still use this, more for hedging purpose.

Getting Adventurous - I was recommended
I have been using POSB bank accounts since birth and remains a loyal client. One day, over the bank counter, a teller asked to introduce some investment ideas. So I listened, went home thought about it and decided to place some money into a hot recommendation i.e unit trusts with technology focus. I went to the branch at Thomson Plaza, met a lady advisor and bought 2 funds (Asia Knowledge and Something IT ). She presented some wonderful information that convinced me to part $2000 to each fund. I will never forget this investment, not because it was my first try with unit trusts but more so because after seven years, both funds were redeemed with a profit of $100+. AK returned 70% while IT tanked 60%. This taught me never to listen to bank advisor's recommendation (no CKA at that time) and I have not touched unit trusts since then.

Stepping Onboard - I wanted more
My grandfather was a keen stock market watcher. His TV was always switched on and tuned to Teletext. Press a page number and it scrolled to display a SGX price list. He must have made quite a number of investments since he spent much time screening page after page. That's my impression of the stock market and my father followed on by introducing his hot tips from friends and showing me how to calculate the profits and brokerage fees. He showed me the money! So I opened a brokerage account and tried to emulate him. But I failed. Later, I realized investing based on his "insider" news doesn't guarantee anything and all he ever invested were penny stocks, typically $0.50 or less per share. The gains were good but the losses were easily magnified as well. Investing requires better understanding of a company and its prospects. I was told to enter a trade and the rest was up to me. There was no proper strategy. Till now, I still receive his tips but always with a pinch of salt.

Tip: Chateau Gaudin 2011, drinkable for a daily dose if the price is right

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