Thursday, 10 September 2015

Focus.

Ola everyone!

Hope you guys are doing well. As usual, I have yet to receive any substantial work nor get assigned to any division so again I am pretty much free. As the seniors say, be happy with your free time now and enjoy as much as you can. But today as I was doing some reflections, I just want to share about my focuses and I see this blog as a perfect avenue to pen down every single thought.


Personal development

I see myself as a shy person, particularly to new people I have met. But this identity must change. Few days ago as I was reading a book called "Winning the Game of Life" by Adam Khoo, one of the topics wrote about changing Your identity. One core takeaway from this topic is that you will work towards what and how you view yourself, your perception and your own mindset. I find it particularly challenging to reflect on this, because all this while I have been telling myself I am an introvert and therefore it is natural (and it is okay) for me to just keep quiet and listen. But now I realised... NO IT'S NOT OKAY! By keeping quiet, no doubt I tend to be more attentive at times on collecting information, but at other times my mind just wandered to somewhere else. Things get worse when the topics are just not my cup of tea and the conversation sometimes sways towards gossiping.

But what if I say, it doesn't have to stay the same way? HOW?!

First and foremost, I have to change my mindset. I must see myself (note I used the word "must", instead of "should") as an extrovert not an introvert, and by seeing myself as an extrovert, I will take actions towards becoming one. Don't believe what I said? Ramit Sethi, the author of "I will Teach You to be Rich" in his blog mentioned about how he managed to change from being an introvert to an outspoken social person in three simple ways of starting a conversation when meeting new people:

"Hi I am Nicholas..."
"Hi nice to meet you, I am Nicholas, what brought you here?"
"How do you know the host/organiser etc?

These three icebreakers are pretty much foolproof and should work well if you could buckle up a little. But once I get fairly comfortable with you, you will know quite a different me in the sense I won't stop talking. Maybe not a good thing hahaha! So if I am still quiet around you, you know I have yet to get comfortable with you. But time will tell for sure! :)


Finance

As taboo as it may seem to many people, I still think it should be made common, even necessary, to discuss more about it. People especially Chinese, since I am one, tend to say talking about money hurts relationship, but let me ask you, if you never want to talk about money, when else are you going to talk about it?

For the past few days I have been reading blogs on personal finance and investing, one thing I can say is I am deeply inspired by their works that they have put together. Their efforts, time and some money invested in developing their blogs all started off with a common genuine interest, which is to share knowledge and discuss their views with the public. Sharing knowledge sometimes not only enhances people, but enriches your own understanding about the topic you are sharing, sometimes even inspires you to check out further knowledge surrounding it. My desire to teach somehow gets ignited when sharing becomes the primary motivation behind blogging.

Having amassed a small sum of wealth from my scholarship, I was considering a few options to invest my money: fixed deposits, unit trusts, and lately stocks. The most basic and liquid financial asset everyone should have is savings. Without savings, there is nothing much you can do to grow your wealth. If you are heavily in debt (especially the death trap of credit card), settle your debt first. One thing I find necessary but difficult for most people is to pay yourself first. What I mean by paying yourself first is setting aside at least 10% of your salary and save for the future. Don't ever underestimate the power of compound interest, some say it is the eighth wonder of the world.

Some of the highest fixed deposits I found out, as at 10th September 2015, are Bank Rakyat (4.1% p.a. for one year), RHB (4.1% p.a. for 9-month period) and Public Bank (4.175% p.a. for one year). To balance between liquidity and interest, I personally prefer Bank Rakyat's 3.7% p.a. for 3-month period and set up auto-renewal upon maturity. After one year it will effectively yield 3.75% p.a. assuming I reinvest the dividends earned. Having said that, I am currently looking into Public Bank's 4.175% p.a. for one year period deal, which only last until 30th September 2015. Grab it quickly if this is what you are searching for!


Unit Trusts

I came to learn about this investment vehicle only recently and immediately got intrigued. I found out that we can actually invest via Maybank2u's investment platform, but one thing I hope I had learnt earlier before I subscribed to seven funds is something called sales charge. Maybank2u is charging 5% for sales charge. Whilst 5% sales charge is quite common in general, I could have gotten something even lower through another independent platform called eUnittrust by Philip Mutual. eUnittrust only charges 2% for sales charge, making it way more economical to trade on unit trust. Coupled with its vast option to subscribe to more than 300 funds from famous Fund Houses (such as Kenanga, Eastspring, Manulife, RHB, AffinHwang, CIMB etc.), it is hard to ignore this platform. Maybank2u, in my opinion, is not that flexible in the sense that it only allows the users to invest in certain funds from some selected few Fund Houses.

What unit trust can bring is its flexibility to invest into various markets catered to your personal risk appetite. If you are risk lover, you can invest in funds putting heavy emphasis on equities. If you are risk averse and conservative, funds investing on fixed income securities and bonds are also available. Even balanced funds are available for those who lie somewhere in the middle. But of course investing in unit trust, like any other investments, carries certain amount of risk. You may not get back your full capital if the performances of your funds turn south.

More information on the eUnittrust can be found here.

Another thing you should be aware of about unit trust is its NET ASSET VALUE (NAV). Unit trust works in terms of NAV, similar to stocks work in terms of price. You should always check out the current NAV of the funds you are interested to invest in, and the history of its NAV for the past 3 months or one year (depending on your time frame). If the current NAV is slightly near the highest NAV for the past 3 months, it may not be the right time to invest now. Just like in stocks, you should always buy low sell high. But not everyone can do it, in fact most don't. One thing to consider is consistency always win. Funds which have been consistent in their performances speak something about their investment strategies. It may not be doing well lately due to the deteriorating financial market, but the past performance, while is not the only factor, does contribute some weights into my consideration.

My dad who has been investing with Public Mutual, did not have a very good impression of investing in unit trust. Apart from saying that the capital grew like a snail or sometimes even loss making, unit trusts tend to pay their fund managers first, leaving very little return for investors. I don't deny outright that statement, after seeing the expensive sales charge of 5% being taken from my capital. If the fund does well, of course 5% is fine but who can actually tell for certain which funds will outperform others and which funds will make it to the top losers? (Hint: Nobody.)

So unit trust, yay or nay? I would say, ultimately it is your call. If you are positive about it, go for it. For the time being, I am.

That's it for now, stay tuned!

Signing off.

Favourite Music! =)