The STORY behind It Pays to Invest (iP2I)

Bloomberg Terminal lookalike

Hi Everyone, if you are reading this – welcome to iP2I. I hope you find the content here useful in your journey towards financial independence, and in achieving your life goals.


Why did you start this blog?

I decided to start this blog because I realized that many fellow Singaporeans don’t really know where to begin when it comes to the world of investing. This was an idea that I toyed with for the past year or so, but finally decided to get down to creating it because of the coronavirus induced circuit breaker that has trapped me at home with just my Wifi and not much else.

I also recently saw this article on Today that talks about how Covid19 is renewing financial worries for our youths, especially those that are graduating into the workforce, so I thought that it is a good time to launch a blog, with the hope that some of those youths would stumble upon this page in their search for answers.


March Madness and Market Mayhem

Also, in March 2020, markets sold off and economies around the world entered into recession, ending the uninterrupted economic expansion since the last crisis over a decade ago during the GFC. The following month in April saw the best monthly returns in decades. How on earth is one supposed to make sense of the madness coming out of the markets? Is it a good time to invest or not? Now that we are in May, is it time to Sell in May and Go Away?


You’re in Finance right? Tell me how to invest.

I do like a good pair of shoes and enjoy watching movies, but the rest just doesn’t apply.. at least not in Singapore (I hope).

Well, I studied finance in uni, and work in finance, so my friends and family kinda see me as a finance guy and often ask me those questions. The truth is, while I was equipped with a good theoretical understanding from textbooks, they don’t quite prepare you for the emotional aspects when it comes to dealing with money, especially your own. Further, markets were under severe stress for a brief period of time during the month of March, leading to trading days where assets included in portfolios to provide risk diversification, such as bonds and gold, moved in the same direction as stock prices. Harry Markowitz, the father of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT), would disapprove.

While market conditions stabilized after the Fed stepped in swiftly to provide enormous amounts of liquidity to ensure that we did not have to deal with a financial crisis in addition to the economic damage brought on by the ongoing pandemic, the fact remains that low interest rates aren’t going to cure Covid19 on its own. As it stands now, markets appear to be detached from economic realities – economists are engaged in constant battle over the shape of the recovery, while we are now close to retracing the highs in February (V shape recovery complete?). More will follow in later posts.


What else are you going to write about?

Other things that I intend to blog about are:

  • The investment mechanisms that we could adopt – e.g. Dollar Cost Averaging through Robo-Advisors or RSP (Regular Savings Plan) into Mutual Funds vs Tranching into Markets. There are pros and cons to each, depending on one’s personality, and your expectations of markets.
  • Investment types will also be discussed – stocks, bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds; and which platforms one should use for trading or investing in them as a Singapore tax resident.
  • How to optimise the use of national schemes available to us as Singaporeans – SRS, CPFIS
  • I would also review some of the interesting developments in the Fintech space for investors, as I personally feel that the Investment process could be made a lot more customized and seamless for the retail investor, especially as Millennials and Gen Zs are often rightly characterized as digital natives accustomed to the sleek UX that big tech provides.

How often will you write?

I will try to do one post every week, at least until the “Circuit Breaker” is over. After that, it will move to a more sustainable cadence, as I believe in publishing quality content, and that requires a corresponding level of time investment. Ultimately, it pays to invest, and I hope to be able to share with you why, as this blog develops.

Happy Mother’s Day, and thanks for being here.

L.

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