Most often than not, people are lazy to get started learning about investments but know the importance of saving for the long term. Thus, many of them usually put their hard-earned money into safe instruments like bank deposits, fixed income; with insurance being the most commonly utilized to grow their wealth. While they are generally safe, the returns they offer are so little that you cannot even cover the inflation rate of 4% in Singapore! As a result, many people have flocked to the world of REITs, known as Real Estate Investment Trusts, for higher returns. They offer distribution yields averaging 6% with the highest reaching almost 10%! What is a REIT?
A REIT is a company that mainly owns, and in most cases, operates income-producing real estate such as apartments, shopping centers, offices, hotels and warehouses. Some REITs also engage in financing real estate. The shares of many REITs are traded on major stock exchanges.
To qualify as a REIT, a company must have most of its assets and income tied to real estate investment and must distribute at least 90 percent of its taxable income to its shareholders annually. A company that qualifies as a REIT is permitted to deduct dividends paid to its shareholders from its corporate taxable income.
As a result, shareholders of REITs are usually entitled to stable distributions as REITs have to honour this tax preferential treatment which do not require them to pay income tax.
Why are REITs so popular?
The first thing why people look at REITs is usually because of its steady distribution yield. It is even more so for semi to full retirees like my dad. The picture on the right shows the annual reports he received from owning them.
Heeding my advice, he bought into many REITs on the aftermath of the U.S. subprime crisis, and sits on some multi-bagger capital gains and juicy dividend yields based on the low share prices when the purchases were made.
No Hassle. People may ask why they should buy REITs instead of property. The main point is this, when you buy property, you will need to rent out it. Having disastrous tenants may offer you the worst nightmare. On the other hand, when you buy REITs, you are taking advantage of the experts to handle everything there can be.
In my next article, I will touch on how to choose the right REIT that fits you as well as explaining the different types of REITs. Hope you like my post! You can receive more regular updates by "Like"-ing my facebook page at www.facebook.com/kissinvesting. Thanks & HUAT AH!
Have you ever wondered why the rich keep getting richer and the poor get stuck in a rat race (the pendulum circle rats keep running in)?
This is especially so when they have the same 24 hours as you do? It is because they utilize leverage in an efficient manner such that they can accomplish much more in the same amount of time that you have.
3 types of assets you see the rich own:
1) Businesses - they leverage on people working for them while they think on how to expand the biz to make more $$!
2) Properties - they leverage on people paying rent to help them "pay" for their properties (after paying the downpayment; the property is theirs after the instalments are paid fully by their tenants!)
3) Stocks - They leverage on the skillset and capability of the companies to continue growing and as a result, they pay out dividends and capital gains back to the investor~
An example is how Warren Buffett really owns businesses but not trade on them.
Thou shall remember: Price is what you pay; Value is what you get.
During the past week, I have one colleague vested in Olam and she got a shock when a "H" suddenly appears in the "Rmk" column just beside the stock code. I told her that the management team is requesting a trading halt to make an announcement; and the stocks will resume after the request is lifted once more. She panicked again, asking if it is bad news. I teased her saying it may be; whereas it can be either good or bad. Fortunately, it turns out to be an acquisition from Temasek's subsidiary! In the end she profited handsomely from the deal. haha.. happy for her. So what actually do the abbreviations in Remark (Rmk) column denotes? According to the I touch on a few common ones below:
CD - means with dividend. A Dividend has been declared but not paid.
XD - Ex-dividend date signifies that the dividend has been paid out. Thus, you must buy the stock from the period [CD to one day before XD] to be entitled to the dividends.
H - Trading Halt [A temporary suspension in the trading of a particular security on one or more exchanges, usually in anticipation of a news announcement or to correct an order imbalance. A trading halt may also be imposed for purely regulatory reasons. During a trading halt, open orders may be canceled and options may be exercised.]
SUSP - It means that the shares are suspended indefinitely on a case-by-case basis, usually pending investigations. In the local context, many china stocks have been suspended before. E.g. China Hongxing.
As you can see from the list beside, there are still many other remarks to learn for stocks investing. Nevertheless, you do not have to worry so much. Stocks investment is an on-going journey, what matters most is that you are willing to keep an open heart to learn as you go along. Google is always there to help out!
Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006.
When my father died in 1995, he left behind a small life insurance policy that awarded each family member $5,000. It wasn't much, but it was the best he could do based on the fact that he had cancer. He hadn't been much of a planner, and hadn't been good with money, so that $5,000 per person was actually a significant amount.
At the time, I was deep in debt. I had over $20,000 in credit card balances, and was gradually adding more all of the time. If I'd been smart, I would have taken the proceeds from my father's life insurance and used them to immediately repay $5,000 in debt. But I wasn't smart.
I used $1,000 to pay off debt (and patted myself on the back for it), but spent the rest on a new computer, software, and accessories. It didn't take long to realize that this was a dumb decision.
You see, when you receive a windfall, whether it's a tax refund, an inheritance, a gift, or from any other source, it's like you've been given a second chance. Although you may have made money mistakes in the past, you now have a chance to fix those mistakes (or some of them, anyhow) and start down the path of smart money management.
It can be tempting (as I well know) to spend your windfall on toys, trips, and other things that you "deserve," but doing so will leave you in the same place you were before you received the windfall. And if that place was chained to debt, you'll be just as unhappy as you've always been.
Since my father died, I've received a few other small windfalls (and a very large windfallwhen I sold Get Rich Slowly). With time, I've developed a system for handling these situations.
If you receive a chunk of cash, I recommend that you:
Keep 5 percent to treat yourself and your family. Let's be realistic. If you receive $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000 unexpectedly, you're going to want to spend some of it. No problem. But don't spend all of it. I used to recommend spending 1 percent of a windfall on yourself, but from talking to people, that's not enough. Now I suggest spending 5 percent on fun. That means $50 of a $1,000 windfall, $500 of a $10,000 windfall, or $5,000 of a $100,000 windfall. Don't be tempted to spend more!
Pay any taxes due. Depending on the source of your money, you might owe taxes on it at the end of the year. If you forget this fact and spend the money, you can end up in a bind when the taxes come due. Consult a tax professional. If needed, set aside enough to pay your taxes before you do anything else.
Pay off debt. Doing so will generally provide the greatest possible return on your investment (a 20 percent return if your credit cards charge you 20 percent). It'll also free up cash flow; if you pay off a card with a $50 minimum monthly payment, that's $50 extra you'll have available each month. Most of all, repaying debt will relieve the psychological weight you've been carrying for so long. Don't underestimate the feeling of freedom that comes from no longer having creditors.
Fix the things that are broken. After you've eliminated any existing debt, use your windfall to repair whatever is broken in your life. Start with your own health. If you've been putting off a trip to the dentist or a medical procedure, take care of it. Do the same for your family. Next, fix your car or the roof or the sidewalk. Use this opportunity to patch up the things you've been putting off.
Deposit the rest of the money in a safe account. It can be tempting to spend the rest of your windfall on a new motorcycle or new furniture or new house. Don't do it. Take some time to breathe. After attending to your immediate needs, deposit the remaining money in a new savings account separate from the rest of your bank accounts. Be sure that the account is as difficult to access as possible -- no ATM card, no easy transfer to your other accounts, no nothing.
[On a side note, IMO, the rest of the money can be better invested in ETFs or even insurance in the long run, guaranteeing you a large sum of money as your nest egg in the future with minimal risks involved]
Make a wish list. Allow your initial emotion to pass, getting over the urge to spend the money now. Live as you were before. Meanwhile, spend some time learning how far your windfall could go. Most people have unrealistic expectations about how much $10,000 or $100,000 can buy. Resist the temptation to spend the money now, but do run the numbers to see what you could buy.
In the end, it's often best to take the remainder of a large windfall and invest it for growth.
You've already repaid your debt and fixed the things that are broken, both of which are methods to spend on your past. You've also used 5 percent to treat yourself and your family, which is money spent on your present. The smartest move with the rest of the money is to spend on your future by funneling the funds into an investment account. (If you don't know how to do this, consult an investment professional.)
When I sold Get Rich Slowly in 2009, I received a large windfall. The old J.D. would have gone crazy with the money. The new, improved model of me was prepared, however, and made measured moves designed to favor long-term happiness over short-term happiness. Yes, I spent some money on new furniture and a trip to Europe. But I also set aside money to pay my taxes and to fix the problems in my life. (I was 50 pounds overweight in 2009, so I allocated $200 per month to becoming fit.)
Today, the bulk of my windfall still sits in the same place it's been for the past five years: an investment account. When first I put the money there, I thought I might use it for something in the not-so-distant future. That didn't happen, and now I've had time to get used to the idea that I have a large chunk of money that can act as a sort of "personal insurance." That cash eases my mind. It helps me sleep easy at night. And that's more rewarding than spending it on new toys could ever be.
Let’s take a look at the life of a man who has been attributed as the first game inventor to become a millionaire.
Charles Darrow was an unemployed salesman and inventor living in Germantown, Pennsylvania, who was struggling with odd jobs to support his family in the years following the great stock market crash of 1929. Remembering his summers spent in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Charles spent his spare time drawing the streets of Atlantic City on his kitchen tablecloth, with found pieces of material and bits of paints, wood etc. contributed by local merchants. A game was already forming in his mind as he built little hotels, houses and other tokens to go along with his painted streets.
Soon friends and family gathered nightly to sit around the kitchen table to buy, rent and sell real estate, all part of a game involving spending vast sums of play money. It quickly became a favorite activity among those with little real cash of their own.
The friends soon wanted copies of the game to play at home (especially the winners.) The accommodating inventor began selling copies of his board game for four dollars each. He then made up a few sets and offered them to department stores in Philadelphia. Orders for the game increased to the point where Charles decided to try to sell the game to a game manufacturer rather than going into full-scale manufacturing.
He wrote to Parker Brothers to see if the company would be interested in producing and marketing the game on a national basis, but the company turned him down, explaining that his game contained “three fundamental errors” including: the game took too long to play, the rules were too complicated and there was no clear goal for the winner.
Undeterred Charles continued to manufacture the game, and hired a printer friend to produce five thousand copies. He had orders to fill from department stores including F. A. O. Schwarz.
One customer, a friend of Sally Barton, daughter of Parker Brothers’ founder, George Parker, bought a copy of the game. The friend told Mrs. Barton how much fun Monopoly was, and suggested that Mrs. Barton tell her husband, Robert B. M. Barton, who was the then president of Parker Brothers. Mr. Barton listened to his wife and bought a copy of the game.
Not long after he arranged to talk business with Charles in Parker Brothers’ New York sales office, offering to buy the game and give him royalties on all sets sold. Darrow accepted and permitted Parker Brothers to develop a shorter variation of the game, added as an option to the rules.
The royalties from Monopoly made Charles Darrowa millionaire, the first game inventor to make that much money.
So what can we learn from this?
Here are ten million dollar ideas drawn from the example of Charles Darrows…
Think – Take time to think. Pause from your busy life and think.
Identify – Identify a problem and seek a solution. Stay alert.
Explore – Delve into new areas of thought with fresh eyes. ‘Livingstone, I presume?’
Doodle – Keep a journal and write down ideas whenever they come into your head. Keep a record.
Review – Go over your records of old ideas. There is a season for ideas. It may have been winter the last time you looked, but now it may just be spring.
Experiment – Try things. Don’t discount anything until you have exhausted all the possibilities and then some.
Brainstorm – Pull together a team and throw up your ideas. Write down what your team comes up with. This is the place for idea multiplication.
Initiate – Don’t wait for a publisher to recognize you. Self-publish. Charles Darrow created the game long before the ‘big guys’ ever noticed.
Twist – Look at existing ideas and add your own unique twist to make it faster, smoother or better. There is always another way.
Succeed – Turn recess into success by just staying committed to yourself and your ideas.
With those ten ideas activated you will be in a position to turn any recession into a powerful succession.
And when it comes to succession – participate!
information source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darrow
As i browsed through the financial readings for the night, I saw this particular watch that is selling for an astonishing price I can ever imagine.
Guess the Price?
Its selling in The Hour Glass for S$150,700! I can only use one word to describe - disbelief. S$150k can buy me a car straight or used as downpayment for a condo or something... And what if you drop it on the floor accidentally? Ouch!
Then again, it spurred my thoughts to head another way - Alternative Investments.
Types of Alternative Investments
Offhand, I can name just a few like Gold, Wine, Watches, Collectible Coins etc... Wanting to know more, i did a search and i realize basically; An alternative investment is any investment other than the three traditional asset classes: stocks, bonds and cash!
So practically many other things like fine art, private equity or real estate are considered alternative investments too!
Let's take a look at some of the popular ones most investors will pursue (considering hedge funds, private equity are only limited to accredited investors with S$1million or more):
The collectible coins are valued, not for their weight in precious metals, but because of their scarcity. Popular collectible coins include Morgan dollars, Walking Liberty half dollars and certain Buffalo Nickels.
Many factors influence how valuable a particular coin can be such as:
2) which mint mark it carries and
3) the year of issue.
Mint condition coins are always more valuable than coins that are heavily worn. Certain years of coins had fewer mintings, making them more rare and valuable [source: Coin World]. For example, some 1918/7-D Buffalo Nickels could be worth as much as $285,000 because the coins were printed with overdates when then 1917 die was impressed with a 1918 hub.
In the coin market, the rarest coins tend to provide huge returns (upwards of 100 percent of their value in a year), while more marginally rare coins provide only modest returns (sometimes as low as 0 percent in a given year). With any investment coins, find a dealer with a good reputation and inspect the coins carefully before making a purchase, as there are always forgeries circulating.
There are tons of commodities traded in the futures markets including resources like crops and livestock, fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and precious metals like copper and gold. Nevertheless, the most 2 common commodities people keep a tab on are Oil and Gold prices.
Do you still remember the financial crisis from the U.S. sub-prime era? During the period, everyone was worried of the hefty debt levels in the U.S. and sought safety in gold; thus Gold sky-rocketed in the aftermath and investors who bought into it early would have seen impressive returns. On the other hand, economies across the globe aren't doing well, and leading to a drag on the oil prices.
There are various ways to buy into commodities (you don't have to buy the actual stuff and store in your house!). One is to buy into commodity futures through a broker which involves leverage or stocks/companies that are into the mining or supply of the relevant commodities.
Lastly, if you wish to seek diversification, you can also go for exchange traded funds (ETFs) where you can purchase several different commodities at one go, rather than focusing on one. ETFs can eliminate some of the uncertainty from choosing which commodities might rise and fall at a given moment too.
Historically, real estate has been a very popular alternative investment especially in Singapore as people view it as a form of retirement scheme. History has proven itself as many rich people in Singapore do that due to the rise in property prices in the past few decades.
Buying rental property can usually provide steady, reliable income if you find the right tenants. What's better than having someone else pay for your housing loan and to own a house debt-free at the end of it? This is a way to beat inflation and to take advantage of leverage in the best form, provided that the "ingredients" are well in place.
In contrast, if you are afraid of the hassle of owning a physical property, you can always turn to real estate investment trusts (REITs). They offer a more hands-off, low-risk method of investing in real estate.
An REIT is a group that invests in various real estate properties, and receives preferential tax treatment from the government in exchange for paying most of its income to shareholders. Investors can purchase shares of REITs on public exchanges, making them one of the more liquid alternative investments. Another upside is that, like stocks, shares in REITs pay out regular dividends.
Historically, many of these alternative investments have been more popular among high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. That's because many alternative investments require larger initial investments than stocks or bonds and are usually less liquid.
But despite that, there are some advantages to alternative investments. Read on to find out those advantages, and educate yourself before you dip your toes into those murky waters.
Saving a lot of money is like trying to run a marathon. If you dwell on how long the race is, you might not even get off the couch. But if, instead, you focus on putting one foot in front of the other and running one mile, and then two miles, and so on, suddenly a marathon doesn't seem quite as intimidating. Try to think about your finances in the same way.P
Minor changes that you make right now can have a major impact on your long-term financial security, according to Stephany Kirkpatrick, senior director of financial planning and aCertified Financial Planner at LearnVest Planning Services. Below, she shares eight quick and easy tips that can help you slowly and steadily stash away cash—and we profile real people who've put them to the test, much to the benefit of their bottom lines.P
Open a Separate Savings AccountP
Simply put, you want to keep your checking account and savings account at two different banks. Erica Zidel, 31, of Boston, Mass., who runs the babysitting startup SittingAround.com, says that this is the single best thing she's done to save money. "I kind of forget that I have the savings account, so I'm not tempted to dip into it," she says. "Since doing this five years ago, my savings have grown 400%."P
Kirkpatrick agrees that the out-of-sight/out-of-mind mentality is helpful—plus, it usually takes two to three days to access money from a separate savings account, so you probably can't spend it as impulsively.P
Set Up an Automated TransferP
It's easy to promise yourself that you're going to transfer a certain amount of money into savings each week or month, but following through takes an awful lot of time, energy and discipline. Take the process out of your own hands by either asking your company to regularly deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into your savings account (that's ideal, says Kirkpatrick, because you never even see the money) or asking your bank to regularly transfer a certain amount of money from your checking account to your savings account.P
"My husband and I set up an automatic transfer with our bank between our checking and savings accounts, " explains Kendal Perez, a 28-year-old marketing manager at Kinoli Incorporated in Fort Collins, Colo. "Each week, $50 is transferred, and we don't typically miss it. That has helped us build an emergency fund and cover costs like car insurance and vehicle registration." And do it frequently: "If you transfer from checking to savings, I recommend weekly transfers, because they keep your checking account more level. You won't feel a huge dip once a month," says Kirkpatrick.P
Bring Your Lunch to WorkP
Did you know that the average American who eats their lunch out during the week spends nearly $1,000 a year? Stuart L. Cantor, Ph.D., a 49-year-old pharmaceutical scientist in Mt. Airy, Md., used to be tempted to go to a Chinese or Indian restaurant with co-workers for lunch on occasion and drop $12 to $15 each time.P
"Now I bring my lunch to work every day. Either my wife and I will cook something or I'll microwave a frozen Indian dish that costs $1.99 for 14 ounces. I always eat something healthy and delicious, so I don't feel cheated," he says.P
"The key to making this habit stick is to make sure you're not taking an enjoyment factor out of your life," says Kirkpatrick. "Have one or two splurge days if you need to. Bringing your lunch 3 or 4 days a week is still better than none." Ask your co-workers if they want try this strategy too and eat with you, so you'll get the same sense of camaraderie that you would at a restaurant and they'll help hold you accountable.P
Just Add 1% P
Add 1% of your gross income to your retirement savings every six months. The idea is to keep doing this gradually until you reach the maximum amount that you're allowed to contribute. Maximums can change year to year. For traditional or Roth IRAs, for example, the current limit is $5,500 (and $6,500 for those 50 or older). For 401(k)s, it's $17,500 for those under age 50 and $23,000 for those age 50 or older. P
"1% is a good amount because it's a painless but significant step in the right direction. You can live without that small amount of money," says Kirkpatrick. If you are contributing, say, 2% right now, within about 4 years you'll slowly grow that amount to 10% without even feeling it by following this strategy.P
Track Your Spending for One MonthP
Before you can spend less, you need to figure out exactly where your money goes. You might think you have a good idea, but many people are surprised by what they find.P
Hudson Valley, N.Y. writer Virginia Sole-Smith, 32, certainly was when she used a spreadsheet to track what she and her husband spent on groceries in May and June of this year. But the exercise helped her pinpoint areas where she could slash costs. "We were spending $75 a month on individual, 6-ounce Chobani yogurts at a fancy grocery store! Now we buy four-packs and 32-ounce tubs from Stop & Shop," she says. Tricks like this have enabled her to cut her yogurt bill nearly in half and spend 37% less on all her groceries.P
"Pay attention to recurring costs, like cable TV bills and gym memberships. Ask yourself if you're getting your money's worth," says Kirkpatrick. If you're not, it might be time to buy an HDTV antenna (a one-time fee) or pay for Hulu or Netflix (which are recurring fees but are less expensive than cable). Or you may want to watch free exercise videos on YouTube instead of taking gym classes.P
If your weak spot isn't a recurring cost, try putting yourself on a cash diet, says Kirkpatrick. For instance, if you can't enter a shoe store without purchasing three pairs, don't go in there with a debit or credit card—take only a certain amount of cash, so you can't go crazy.P
Use a Rewards Card WiselyP
"For the past 17 years, my husband and I and our five children have saved by charging everything on my Southwest Airlines card and paying off the balance in full each month. We rack up free miles so we can visit family in Raleigh and take vacations, like a trip to San Francisco, at much lower costs," says Andi Wrenn, a 46-year-old financial counselor in Arlington, Va."Over the past four years, we've earned anywhere from 3,000 to 12,000 miles per month." P
This tactic can be advantageous, Kirkpatrick agrees. "But only if you spend within your means and pay off the balance in full every month, so you have to stay disciplined," she advises.P
One big money drain can be forgetting to pay a bill—and then getting slapped with a late fee and/or having to pay interest on a credit card payment. This can be easily avoided by getting organized.P
"I started using a hard copy planner (and then a few years ago, I switched to using a Google digital calendar) to record reminders throughout the year for different money deadlines, such as paying monthly bills, contacting my tax professional, reviewing insurance policies, getting a credit report and more," says Ray Advani, 42, of Chicago, who founded the blogSquirrelers.com.P
"Over the past 10 years, this has saved me about $1,000 and prevents a lot of stress!" he adds. You can also schedule alerts via email or text. "Setting reminders is a helpful strategy for people who lead busy lives," says Kirkpatrick. "You can also ask vendors, like your cable company or electric company, if they can reset your payment due date. You might prefer to have all your due dates on the same day for convenience or it might help your cash flow to spread them out over the month."P
Move Your Savings to an Online BankP
"Consider putting your savings into an online bank, as opposed to a brick-and-mortar bank, because the interest rates tend to be higher, so your money will grow faster," says Kirkpatrick. For example, if your emergency fund sits in Citibank's savings account, it'll earn .01% interest. If it sits in Ally online bank's savings account, it'll earn .87% interest. And, as this story shows, even little differences can add up.