5 Things that I Look for When Investing in REITs!

In my previous article, I shared about how and where I invest my money. When it comes to active investing, my niche and strength mainly in researching and identifying opportunities in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) sector in the stock market.

REITs are great options for investors looking to build a consistent dividend income portfolio, while also having exposure to the commercial real estate sector. 

In this article, I would like to share 5 fundamental aspects that I consider when I invest in REITs.

These 5 aspects are also discussed in detail in my live REIT Income Investing Coaching Sessions, so if you are interested to build a consistent dividend income portfolio via REITs, be sure to click HERE and check it out!

Without further ado, let’s start!


#1 Is the REIT’s business nature suitable to grow in this current environment?

Not all REITs are born the same.

As an example, IGB REIT is REIT that runs a retail business that runs the operation of Mid Valley and The Gardens. On the other hand, Al-Aqar REIT is in the healthcare business where they own and/or operate hospitals and healthcare centers like KPJ Hospitals.

In other words, while both companies are categorized as REITs, the opportunities and risks involved with both IGB REIT and Al-Aqar REIT are fundamentally different.

Hence, it is important for us to recognize the business nature of a REIT and identify whether the REIT is suited for growth current (and future) market & business environment.

Related: Pros and Cons of different REITs HERE


#2 Healthy Balance Sheet

For REITs, a healthy balance sheet is extremely crucial in the operation of the business.

In essence, the health of a balance sheet refers to how well a REIT is in managing its liabilities (mostly debt) in relative to its asset (ie. Cash).

One very good measure of a healthy balance sheet is via Gearing Ratio. Gearing Ratio measures the company’s borrowings relative to the value of its assets.

This also means that Gearing Ratio is able to tell us whether a REIT is overborrowing. Generally, a REIT is required to maintain a gearing of 50% or less.

But personally, I like to be more stringent with my selection and will only go with REITs with gearing of 40% or less.

How to look for Gearing Ratio?

Method: On quarterly/annual report > Ctrl + F "Gearing" 

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IGB REIT's has a Gearing of 26% and 27% respectively for Financial Year 2019 and 2018. (Source: IGB REIT FY2019 Annual Report)

#3 Income Growth

As an investor, of course I am always be looking to invest in a business that keeps growing.

This translates to past consistent growth in revenue & profit of a company. In REITs, this is no different.

As a real estate business that earns mainly on rental income, it is crucial that under normal circumstances, the income of the business keeps growing consistently.

A consistent growth in income will, for most of the time, ensure growth in dividend payout to investors.

How to look for the details of a REIT's income?

Method: Via the income statement in quarterly/annual report, or via apps like KLSE Screener

Axis REIT's Revenue & Profit growth over the years. (Source: KLSE Screener)

#4 Occupancy

As a real estate business that depends on rental income, the lifeline of REITs is highly dependent on the occupancy rate of their properties.

As an example, IGB REIT’s income will be highly dependent on how well occupied the rental is in Mid Valley and The Gardens.

I will go more in-depth on this topic in future articles, but in general, there are 2 rental models of REITs:

The first rental model is around a short, normally yearly rental contract, where REITs’ management will have to renegotiate new contract terms on a yearly basis. This is usually seen among Retail REITs like IGB REIT and multi-tenant office building on Office REITs.

The second model is a longer, multi-year rental contract (or lease), where REITs’ management secure longer-term contracts (usually 3-5 years and even longer) with tenants. This is usually seen in Industrial REITs that run factories & warehouses, Hospitality REITs that manages hotels and Healthcare REITs that run hospitals.

How to look for a REIT's Occupancy Details?

Method: On the annual report, Ctrl + F "Occupancy"

Occupancy rate of both Mid Valley & The Gardens was at 99% respectively. (Source: IGB REIT FY2019 Annual Report)

#5 Potential Acquisition

While investing in REITs, an important indicator to gauge potential income growth of a REIT is through potential acquisitions.

As a real estate business, the major way for a REIT to improve income is to acquire quality properties under its portfolio.

This will ensure longer-term rental income growth and translates to better dividend payout for investors.

How to look for a REIT's Acquisition Details?

Method: Now, this will be a little tricky but generally, under Quarterly/Annual Report, you can Ctrl + F "Acquisition". Otherwise, I recommend reading through the Quarterly Report and you'll easily spot any acquisitions under the pipeline.

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Atrium REIT proposed new acquisitions (Source: Atrium REIT 4Q FY2019 Quarterly Report)

No Money Lah’s Verdict

So here you go! These are 5 fundamental aspects that I look into when I invest in REITs.

For sure, there are several other little details that will help in my decision-making process, but these 5 aspects generally make up my initial impression of a company.

Are you investing in REITs as well? What other aspects do you look into a REIT before making your investment decision? Share with me at the comment section below!

Else, if you have any questions or things that you would like me to cover on REITs or investing in general, do let me know at the comment section too! :)


p.s. Keen to Learn More About How You Can Build a Reliable Dividend Income from REITs? Click HERE to Find Out More!


How I Invest My Money as a Self-Employed Person (Detailed Breakdown!)

Where do I invest my money?

In this article, I want to talk a little bit about the breakdown of my (boring) investment portfolio. I’ll also shed some info on the asset classes involved and what I want to improve or refine further. 

By the end, I’ll share some of my core investing mindsets (or principles, whatever you wanna call them) that I follow closely in my decision-making process.

Have a good read!

Now, a few caveats…

1. The market is dynamic (so is life). Our financial priorities change as we grow older. Hence, I am pretty sure how I invest today will evolve along with time and my priorities in life. 

2. The focus of this discussion will be on my long-term investment portfolio. This means that invested assets will be focused 100% on achieving my financial goal (Financial Independence, or FI). 

They will not be cashed out for other purposes other than portfolio rebalancing. 

3. Money allocated for savings and emergencies will NOT be included in this discussion. This is because there is a high chance that these monies will be used for purposes other than to achieve my financial goals. 

Read my articles on savings and emergency funds HERE and HERE

4. Money allocated for short-term trading will not be included in this discussion. The nature & purpose between trading and investing are extremely different and there is no reason for me to add them to this discussion.

With that in mind, please approach this post with a pinch of salt. Your investment approach and style should be aligned with your own priorities in life, risk profile, and more. 

Do consult a licensed financial planner if you are serious about building your own investment portfolio. I am also working with my personal financial planner and have written about my experience HERE


No Money Lah’s Investment Portfolio + Breakdown Discussion – June 2020

#1 Cash in Hand for Investment Purposes

There are a few reasons why 40% of my portfolio is in the form of cash.

Reason #1: Risk of income fluctuation as a self-employed. 

There are certain months where my income may be less than my intended average figure. 

Hence, at this point in time (June), I have a 3-months cash buffer allocated for my monthly investment routine as you’ll read in this article.

Reason #2: Cash reserved for different opportunities.

We never know what’ll happen in the market tomorrow. 

Especially in this current market condition, I have extra cash reserved to take advantage of any opportunities that may come knocking on the doorstep. 


#2 Stock Market (REITs) – Active Income Investing

How I Invest: Every month, barring nothing special happens, I will pump a specific sum of money into my selected REITs.

When it comes to the stock market, I focus particularly on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

This is the part of my investing routine where I am involved actively to research and study what to invest.

The reasons why I focus on REITs are because REITs’ volatility is generally milder relative to other sectors in the market, and I like the idea of consistent dividend payout from REITs (something like collecting rent as a landlord). 

Simply put, REITs are my niche and it is a sector that I can utilize my thought process & analysis skills with high competence to generate alpha (edge).

What I’d like to refine further: Starting to expose myself more to foreign REITs (ie. Singapore, HK & US REITs) for the 2nd half of 2020.

Note: Click photo to access this article.

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p.s. I am often asked if I feel ‘sayang’ for missing out on all the hot headline stocks. To be honest, I don’t.

For one, I do not have time to study these companies for long-term investment. Secondly, the moment you see a stock appear on the headline, you are probably way too late to join the game.

I focus on my niche and strength, and will not touch something that I am not familiar with. 


#3 Robo-Advisors (StashAway + Wahed) – Automated Passive Investing

How I Invest: Monthly automated debit order.

Yes, I am aware of the risk of overconcentration by just investing in REITs. 

Hence, I am also passively invested in robo-advisors like StashAway and Wahed to diversify my portfolio into ETFs of various industries and other asset classes (ie. Bond, Commodities, Sukuk). 

In terms of risk profile, I am mainly focusing on medium-risk portfolios from both platforms (StashAway: 14% Risk Index, Wahed: Medium Risk Profile).

The beauty of robo-advisors is that I can invest passively at a reasonably lower cost than conventional unit trusts. 

What I’d like to refine further: Nothing.

p.s. Use my: StashAway Referral Code and get 50% off your management fees for 6 months, as well as Wahed Referral Code (Code: YIXCHI1) and get RM10 bonus fund!

Note: Click photo to access this article. 

#4 PRS – Passive Investing

Just to take advantage of tax and government’s previous incentive.

Note: Click photo to access article

#5 Gold – Monthly manual debit order

How I Invest: Manual debit via HelloGold’s Smart Savers program

Personally, I think of Gold as a wealth preservation asset and a correlation hedge against overall market volatility. 

The reason why I choose to stick with HelloGold is that it allows me to be extremely flexible with the purchase amount, whereas other platforms have a minimum purchase of 1g. 

What I’d like to refine further: Increase monthly allocation in Gold, and start to have exposure in Silver in line with the increment of my income in the near future.

Note: Click photo to access article

#6 EPF – Passive Investing

How I Invest: Monthly manual debit order

EPF is an interesting matter to me as a self-employed. This is because unlike normal employment where there is a standard to how much you and your employer will contribute to your EPF, I have to manage my own EPF account.

This is done by opening my own EPF i-Saraan account and manage my own EPF contribution.

What I’d like to refine further: Increase monthly allocation in line with the increment of my income in the near future.


#7 Bitcoin – Not adding any positions 

Presently, most of my bitcoin positions are my unsold positions during my purchase in mid-2017.

They are relatively small as I was lucky enough to sell off the majority of my position nearly at the height of bitcoin’s $20,000 peak by the end of 2017.

That said, I am also eyeing to start increasing my holding on digital currencies moving forward. Just gotta dive in and do some research first.

What I’d like to refine further: Do deeper research into digital currencies.


#8 ASNB – No Luck

Seriously, if you can get your hands on Amanah Saham Fixed Price Funds, get it. 

The consistency of return and the nature of ASNB unit price (fixed at RM1.00/unit) makes it a no-brainer if you are looking to invest passively.

Unfortunately, I never really got much luck to get many units since I’ve written my piece on Amanah Saham last year *sigh*

Note: Click photo to access article.

Context: My Situation

I am 26 this year. As a self-employed, I run this blog and actively organize live REIT Income Investing coaching sessions – both of which I have a lot of fun doing.

In my downtime prior to Covid-19, I am also an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) certified table tennis coach (though that stream of income is no more today).

More importantly, I am also passionately working behind the scene to become a full-time funded trader (*fingers crossed*). This part of my life requires a dedicated post, but suffice to say it is a very challenging, yet exciting journey.

I am single and currently living with my family (it’s a blessing). Hence, I am able to reduce my living expenses significantly which enables me to pursue my goals wholeheartedly, while maintaining a respectable savings ratio.

All in all, my situation is likely going to be very different from many people, as I do not have a fixed monthly income. 

Financially, my situation requires me to be extremely disciplined with money. It also pushed me to think 2 to 3 steps ahead in terms of my income streams, which is why you’ll see things like cash buffer in place for my monthly investment routines.


My Investing Mindset + Approaches

1. Create a disciplined financial and investing routine. For me, I review my financials and investments every month-end, so I am always aware of my financial state. 

2. Take time to discover your investment style. Not everyone has the time & commitment to pick individual stocks. Not everyone can invest in volatile businesses. Everyone is different. 

For me, a hybrid routine of active REIT income investing coupled with low-cost passive investing makes the most sense to my personality, time, and commitment. 

3. Foundational skills like how to analyze a financial report is a MUST in active investing. I think there’s really no shortcut here. 

4. A stock investing plan without an exit strategy is NOT a plan. Market and businesses are too dynamic to buy and hold forever. 

5. 99% of headlines are mostly for entertainment purposes. Until you know what you are looking for, headlines and news can be extremely overwhelming. 

p.s. I don’t really care about the hottest stock in town. 

6. Leverage on technology. Low-cost passive investing platforms like StashAway and Wahed helped complement my investment routine so I am always diversified in other industries. 

7. Avoid investing with borrowed money. I avoid leveraged accounts and invest only with the money I have (ie. Cash Upfront account on Rakuten Trade).

8. Learn to make independent investment decisions. I use various resources to help me gather insights, but ultimately, I make my own investment decisions. 

Nothing helps me improve more than taking ownership of how I invest my own wealth. 

9. Focus on the process – keep learning and stay humble. Whenever I feel like I know everything, the market will prove me otherwise. A little humility goes a long way in the market. 

10. In the long run, successful financial goals and investing depend on one’s habits, mindset, and skillsets. And yes, it’ll take time. 


No Money Lah’s Verdict

Oh my, this is a long article! Thanks for reading till the end, and hopefully you find this post an insightful one!

Ultimately, it is crucial for us to acknowledge that investing is a very personal matter. How I invest will likely be very different from you, and there is really no right or wrong approach here.

Either way, personal finance and investing is a life-long journey. Our money and investment routine have to evolve as we step into different stages of life.

Hence, keep learning, stay humble.

p.s. Curious, where do you invest your money in? Feel free to share with me at the comment section below! 

Talk soon! :)


This is an article that I’ve always wanted to write about. In fact, I have several drafts for this topic, yet I never really landed on an approach to this article.

Big thanks to Mr-Stingy’s article on 'How I Invest My Own Money' (check it out!), which has helped me decide how I should approach this topic. You can also check out a similar topic from Ringgit Oh Ringgit HERE.


You Might be Interested: What'd I do If I Were to Start Investing All Over Again?


Answered: Your Most-Asked Questions About Rakuten Trade!

Rakuten Trade is my main stockbroker when it comes to investing in local stocks due to it being one of the lowest-priced commission brokers in town.

For quite some time now, I have been receiving emails and various questions under my stockbroker and Rakuten Trade articles about the platform. Since the questions are quite commonly seen, I thought why not compile them in one article to address them.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Hence, if you do not find the answer to your questions in this article, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this article and I will update the list of questions accordingly!

Anyways, have a good read!


"What to do if I forgot my Trading Pin?"

Please login to the members' page via www.rakutentrade.my/login and then click “Settings”, select “change trading pin” and proceed accordingly.


'Order amount exceeded trade limit’ issue

To address extraordinary market volatility in the equity market, Rakuten Trade has implemented a market order mechanism (price band) that will prevent trades to exceed customer's available trading limits. The cost of trading will be calculated at 30% higher than the current market price.

Source: Rakuten Trade

*Price band percentages will be 30% above the market price, as such customer trading limit should have a minimum of RM138.50 in order to purchase 1 board lot of 100 units of shares.


"Can I transfer my shares from other brokerage accounts to Rakuten Trade?"

Yes, you can.

To initiate a share transfer from another broker to Rakuten Trade, you will have to reach out to the broker where your shares are currently deposited in to fill up the shares transfer form. The shares will be reflected in your Rakuten Trade account upon successful transfer from the previous broker.

What are the Charges?

It'll be RM10.00 per stock charged by Bursa Malaysia Depository regardless of quantity.

How long will the transfer take?

If the instruction is received before 10:00am, the transfer will be done on the same business day. If the instruction is received after 10:00am, the transfer will be done by the next business day.

Note: This is subject to when the transfer is accepted and acknowledged by Bursa Malaysia Depository.


"Can buy foreign-listed shares with my Rakuten Trade account?"

No


Potential RT Platform issue/System Down Issue

Since MCO started, the market condition as attracted a huge influx of retail investors into the marketplace. This resulted in an increase in brokerage account activations across the board regardless of brokers.

Indeed, I have heard feedback from people about system down issues on various brokers including Rakuten Trade. Hence, I have reached out to Rakuten Trade in hope to get some clarification on their approach to resolve the sudden influx of investors.

As per my knowledge, Rakuten Trade acknowledges and is mindful of the issue. In return, they are currently pushing updates to the platform in phase in order to improve the overall user experience.

Source: Rakuten Trade


"Do I have to open an extra CDS account in order to use my Rakuten Trade account?"

First of all, if you are not a Rakuten Trade user prior to this, you will need to open a CDS account specifically for Rakuten Trade (just like when you open a new brokerage account with anyone else as well). 

But worry not, as your CDS account will be opened for you when you apply for a Rakuten Trade account.


"What are the differences between Cash Upfront, Contra & RakuMargin accounts?"

Cash Upfront:

Works like a debit card. The limit of how much you can invest is based on the amount you have in your account.

I would suggest most people, especially new investors to stick with a Cash Upfront account unless you have extensive knowledge and understanding of how a Contra or Margin account works and the risks involved.

Contra:

Works like a charge card. You can have a trading limit of up to 5x the money and existing share value that you have in your Contra account (limit differs from the type of shares and warrant expiry period we plan to buy).

That said, you will have to fully settle your transaction within 2 days. Failure to fulfill the settlement will cause force selling to an account from the 3rd day onwards.

Suitable for experienced active investors & day-traders.

RakuMargin Account:

Works like a credit card. Essentially, you are given a credit facility to invest in shares.

The margin of financing of a RakuMargin account is 180%. Simply put, this means that in order to secure an RM10,000 credit facility, you will need to have collateral (ie. existing cash and shares value) of RM18,000 in your RakuMargin account.

The main difference between a RakuMargin and a Contra account:

 RakuMargin: There’s no fixed settlement period for RakuMargin account, but there’s an interest of 6.8%/annum on your outstanding balance (ie. Shares financed by margin, Losses from shares financed by margin).

Contra Account: Fixed settlement date of T+2. Meaning, you will have to settle your transaction within 2 days.


Market Transaction Hour

1st Session

Pre-opening: 8:30am

Opening and continuous trading: 9:00am

Closing: 12:30pm

2nd Session

Pre-Opening: 2:00pm

Opening and continuous trading: 2:30pm

Pre-closing: 4:45pm

Trading at last: 4:50pm

Closing: 5:00pm


"Does Rakuten Trade has an automatic Stop Loss Function?"

There is no automatic Stop Loss function in Rakuten Trade.

(Correction 16/7/2020: Initially, I mentioned the use of Sell Limit as an alternative SL order. The statement is invalid and I clearly made a clumsy mistake there. As such, I've removed the sentence to avoid causing any confusion. Thanks to my friend Ing Hong for pointing it out!)


"Why I can’t view my Rakuten Trade CDS account on Bursa Anywhere?"

Bursa Anywhere is an app launched by Bursa to allow users to consolidate and facilitate their CDS accounts.

That said, this is only applicable to direct CDS accounts. Since Rakuten Trade is a nominee CDS account, it is not viewable on Bursa Anywhere.


"What to do if I want to attend the AGM of the company that I invest in?"

To attend AGM/EGM, simply email your request to Customer Service (customerservice@rakutentrade.my) ten (10) working days before the AGM/EGM


"How long will it take for me to receive my dividends?"

   Your dividend(s) will be credited into your Rakuten Trade account in at least five (5) working days after the official payment date.


Have more questions about Rakuten Trade?

This article is not an exhaustive list, but it comprises of the commons questions that are asked by my readers for the past few months. 

That said, if you have any other questions that are not in this article, feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out! :)

Disclaimer: The content of this article is written purely based on my personal research and experience, and is NOT an official document from Rakuten Trade. I'll do my best to keep the content of this article relevant but for the most updated support and solution, please reach out to Rakuten Trade's official support team.


Open a Rakuten Trade Account Today!

If you find this article useful, and would like to open your Rakuten Trade stock trading account, do consider using my referral link HERE to register for your account (or enter ‘NoMoneyLah’ under ‘Educator’ when you register). For that, you will gain 500 RT points from this registration. Otherwise, you can always google for Rakuten Trade and open your account too.


Related Posts:

(1) Check this out before opening your stock trading account!

(2) How to make your first trade on Rakuten Trade?


This is What I’d Do if I Had to Start My Investing Journey All Over Again

I started to expose myself to the world of investing as a university student 5 to 6 years ago.

Well, my ultimate masterplan back then was to crush the market like peanuts and make hell lot of money with it.

(p.s. Obviously, that intention did not end up well for me.)

It took me a long, long time before I eventually discover my sweet spot and investing style (more on this in future articles).

Looking back, I always wonder if I could have been much better with investing (and with money) if I were to put every piece of the puzzle in the right place – one by one, step by step.

Depending on how you look at it, this article can be more like hindsight, or more of a reflection.

But my goal for this article is simple:

If you are totally new and are thinking about getting started, I hope this post will be of great guidance & insight for you.

With that, this is what I would do if I were to start over my investing journey from zero:


Step 1: First, I'd learn about personal finance & build a strong habit around money

New investors be like:

Harr… but I just want to find the best stocks to buy wor…

Yes, boring, I know.

But this is exactly what I would do FIRST if I were to start over my journey, because honestly:

Who cares if you can spot the best stocks to invest in when you have no savings to invest?

Who cares if you have attended the best investing course when you still struggle to pay off your credit card debt every month?

Looking back, instead of splurging on food & entertainment in university, I would start tracking my finances and have a more consistent savings habit (regardless of how little it could be).

I’d also build a stronger foundation & understanding around money (ie. Financial independence, compounding effect, asset & liability) by reading more personal finance (not purely investing) related books.

With all these financial knowledge and habits in place, I am sure that I’d be in a better position to start learning how to invest at the age 21 years old.

Strong financial habits are CRUCIAL to sustainable investing.

Step 2: Instead of asking “What Stocks to Buy?”, ask “What Skills Do I Need?”

“Which company should I invest during this crisis ah?”

“Is now the right time to buy into the shares of XXX yaa?”

These are without a doubt the most asked questions by investors on investing forums, telegram chat & FB groups.

Looking back, I wasted my fair share of time indulging in discussions like these.

If I were to start again, I’d definitely spend NONE of my time consuming any content like this.

Instead, after building a sound financial habit, the next thing I’d do is to learn the skills needed for me to build a solid foundation in investing – be it from books or a mentor/coach.

Some crucial fundamental skills include, but not limited to:

  • How to extract important data and information from a financial report?
  • How to develop a set of investment rules on when to buy & sell?
  • How to construct a decision-making framework & thought process?
  • How to make independent investment decisions without succumbing to headlines and unnecessary news & content?

Can you see how these skills above, once mastered, will be able to answer your ‘What stocks to buy’ question?

Nowadays, most new investors yearn for shortcuts and/or the easy way to make money from the ‘exciting’ stock market – all without considering putting effort into building their foundational skills.

But hey, I get it. That was me once upon a time too.

Just telling you that, if you are new, you might really wanna consider building a solid foundation first before risking your hard-earned money.

The only short cut in sustainable and successful investing is effort and hardwork.

Focus on the skills that you need before even thinking about the returns - read books, get a mentor and get hands on.

Step 3: Setting my initial vision with investing

If I were to start my journey from zero again, I’d want to spend some time constructing a vision for my investing journey: a sort of picture-like vision of the outcome of investing in my life.

This is the stage where I would learn more about different financial stages in life (eg. financial independence, abundance) and set a vision to motivate me to keep honing my skills.

Now, you may disagree with me, but I would not set a fixed goal at this stage (eg. Financial independence by 30 years old).

Reason being, as a university student, there is simply no way for me to know what kind of circumstances I would be upon graduation. Hence, any form of fixed estimation is really inaccurate at best.

That said, as a start, having a conceptual understanding of what’s possible (eg. vision towards financial independence) is important and should not be overlooked.

However, it should also be noted that our lives will change as we move on to different stages in life – hence it is essential to be flexible with the vision and ultimately discovering our goal along the way.

Setting an initial vision of what's possible with investing is crucial in our investing journey.

Step 4: Hone my skills in a simulated environment

Learning the fundamental investment skills & knowledge is a thing, but it doesn’t mean that it is the end of the journey.

In fact, it is only the beginning of the journey.

So, what I would do is I will set up a simulated investing account via platforms like Bursa Marketplace so I can test what I’ve learned in a risk-free environment.

Now, this could be a very boring stage for many. I used to do it (and gave up) too back then as there is no fun at all buying stocks in a simulated environment.

But if I were to start again, I would spend at least 6 months to a year in a simulated environment so I am sure that I can follow my entry and exit rules consistently whenever needed.

No fun, I know. But I’d cut short a lot of my learning curve if I persisted with the practice 5 years ago.

Grow and practice in a simulated environment before using your hard-earned savings & money.

Step 5: Opening a Live Account (Finally!)

Now’s the time to finally worry about which brokerage account to open!

Or better, time to make some big money! *wink* *wink*

But is it so?

In the hindsight, what I would do as a beginner (regardless of my initial capital) is to set my intention right when opening a live account.

Instead of treating my initial few hundred bucks account as my immediate runway to become a millionaire, I would work on my ability to execute my plan/rules consistently without worrying about the returns as much.

By doing so in a small live account, it would build a very solid psychology foundation for me to handle my live account as it grows in the future.

Simply put, I would take my initial years of live investing journey to make mistakes and gain experience – not so much on making huge gains.

Honestly, what brokerage account to open is your least concerning issue when you first started.

Step 6: Continuous Reflection & Self-Discovery + Receive feedback

Remember that I talked about setting an initial vision in Step 3?

Now, with more experience in the market (and assuming I already graduated and started my career), I’d start to find a more solid goal and focus in investing.

This is because, by this stage, I would be more familiar with my financial commitment. Hence, it is easier to calculate and come out with a proper financial goal and action plan.

It is also time for me to start reflecting and discovering my own investing style to accommodate my other commitments in life.

At this stage, joining a community of like-minded investors (not a general Facebook/Telegram group) is hugely beneficial. It serves as a great & efficient way to leverage on great investors' insights and receive feedback to accelerate learning.

At the start, focus on the process of learning, not the outcome.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

As I write this article, I am fully aware of my own investing style – income investing (article coming soon).

That said, I honestly think that if I were to follow the above steps diligently when I first started investing, I’d be discovering my preferred style much sooner.

But the journey of investing doesn’t end at Step 6.

As both life and market are dynamic, it is a must for me to keep refining my skills and goals as I continue in my investing journey.

Anyone that says that they’ve known and learned everything is just another egomaniac with little time left in the market.

Ultimately, while I may not be able to time-travel to change my journey, there is one thing that I can do:

Focus on the right mindset, strive to keep improving, and most importantly, stay humble.


The Hard Truth: Why You Shouldn’t Care About What Stock Investment ‘Influencers’ are Buying on Social Media (Especially at Times Like This)

So, the inevitable has happened.

With the fear and pressure from Covid-19 pandemic and drop in oil price, the market has gone real bad.

As an example, Dow Jones has just dropped by 20% from its previous peak and entered a technical bear market earlier today.

At the same time, for the first time since 2008/09, the VIX (Market Volatility) Index had a daily close above $53. Also known as the Fear Index, this means that the market is generally in fear and expects huge volatility moving forward.

In short, just like the story of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, the wolf has, in fact, arrived at our doorsteps.

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The VIX Index

At times like this, it is not rare to see (more and more) social media stock investment gurus/influencers posting about the stocks that they are accumulating at low for ‘long-term investment’.

However, I am of the opinion that these posts, if not conveyed properly (as discussed below) are deeply irresponsible and you SHOULD NOT be taking 99% of these posts seriously.

If you have been consuming the content from these stock investment gurus/influencers for tips to get over times like this, this is the cold, hard truth that you need to hear:

  1. 99% of These Posts DO NOT Tell You the Whole Picture

Yup, I know that this stock investment guru has posted about accumulating Tesla at low. Perhaps, this guru even shared about why and how he entered the trade.

But this post only covered 1/3 of the whole investment plan.

Do you know their exit plan? Do you know the If/Then statement that the guru has in mind should certain changes in fundamentals happen? And more…

  1. Do You Know How Long is this ‘Long-Term Investment’ Going to Be?

“I am holding this long-term.”

But how long is ‘long-term’ for this guru? Did he/she mention the timeframe at all? How long is this guru going to hold this investment?

Weeks? Months? Years?

Even so, without knowing the basis of the investment plan, do you have the courage to hold these investments if the price keeps tumbling after you follow this guru’s entry?

  1. YES, You are Going to have a Different Risk Tolerance Compared to this Guru

This guru/influencer that posted this stock that he/she just got in may have the patience and risk tolerance to hold through a 20 – 30% further drop in price.

But can you do so? Can you handle the mental pressure of price going against your favor for even, say, 10%?

Know your investment plan: Do Your Homework and Due Diligence.

  1. Heck, Some of These People May Not Even Know What They are Doing

The irony is, it is much easier to write and spread bullshit investing ideas and concepts nowadays via social media platforms.

Spot for Facebook and IG pages that ONLY show off about how much they’ve earned – this is the biggest red flag that you should stay away from these pages or individuals.


Instead, What Should You Do?

  1. Formulate Your Own Investment Plan

If you have any prior (proper) experience in the market, learn to be independent and formulate your own investing plan.

What’s your entry plan? What’s your exit strategy? What’s your If/Then statements if X or Y happens?

Having all of these processes done properly will give you the confidence on when (and when not) to take action and stick through your investments at tough times.

Shameless Plug: For those who are not familiar, I share about how to formulate your own investment plan and processes in my upcoming REIT Investing Workshop. Details HERE.

  1. Focus on Reliable Passive Investing Solutions

If you are not familiar with how to manage your investment actively, definitely check out reliable passive investing platforms like StashAway and Wahed.

These platforms use financial algorithms to invest on your behalf and rebalance your investments according to the market situation.

(p.s. I highly recommend StashAway for the general public, and Wahed for those who are looking specifically for Shariah-compliant passive investment.)

  1. Focus on Wealth Preservation

Of all, make sure you have enough cash flow while not simply pouring them into the market based on tips!

Once you learned how to formulate your investment plan, this cash will act like bullets for you to take advantage of when the time is right.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

Stay calm, stay rational, and be healthy.



Wahed 2020 Review: The First Halal-Investing Robo-Advisor in Malaysia with Huge Potential!

Late last year, I was introduced to Wahed, a robo-investing platform that prides itself on being the first halal investment robo-advisor in Malaysia.

Less than 4-months of launch in Malaysia (Wahed was started in New York), Wahed has been making an impression among fellow fintech and investment enthusiasts.

Being an enthusiast myself, I have also signed up for a Wahed portfolio to personally try it out myself, and got an RM10 FREE bonus while doing so  (remember to apply my promo code “YIXCHI1” to get the bonus!). 

In this article, let’s dive deep into Wahed, and see if this is a robo-advisor that you should invest in!


(1) First thing first: What is Wahed?

Wahed is a robo-advisor that helps invest your money into Shariah-compliant investments*.

What differentiates Wahed from other robo-advisors is that they are the first company that has received an Islamic Robo Advisory license from the Malaysian Securities Commission.

As such, Wahed also takes up an important role in fulfilling the Malaysian Muslim community that is looking for an investment platform that is aligned with their values of life.

*For readers who are unclear, Shariah-compliant investments are investments governed by the requirements of Shariah law and the principles of the Muslim religion.

Wahed Invest is one of the new robo-advisor platform in Malaysia.

(2) Who Certifies Wahed’s Shariah compliance?

Wahed’s Shariah review is done by their Shariah Advisor, Dr. Aznan Hasan.

Dr. Aznan is the President of the Association of Shariah Advisors in Islamic Finance & Deputy Chairman of Shariah Advisory Council of the Securities Commission (SC). He is also a former member of the Shariah Advisory Council of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Wahed also has Straightway Ethical Advisory LLC (a US-based Shariah financial advisory firm) to advise them on matters of Shariah compliance and Islamic financial ethics at the group level.

Source: Wahed’s Official Site


(3) How Wahed Invests Your Money?

Now, though positioning themselves as the forerunner of halal investing, Wahed is at its core a robo-advisor that invest on behalf of their users too, just like its competitor StashAway and Mytheo.

Hence, Wahed is definitely a robo-advisor that you should not overlook if you are looking to build your passive investing portfolio, regardless of your religion and background.

(a) Fund Management Methodology

Just like its robo-advisor competitors, Wahed’s fund management strategy is powered by its proprietary financial algorithms. This means that there is no way we can back-test the strategy ourselves aside from the information shown at Wahed’s official site.

Unlike StashAway’s ERAA methodology, there is very little mention of how exactly Wahed manages the users’ funds.

That said, Wahed does mention that its financial algorithms are derived from the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). Essentially, the idea behind MPT is to help an individual create optimal portfolios that are tailored to the needs of the user based on one’s risk tolerance.

Personally, it is a little bummer to see so few details about the investing methodology employed by Wahed on their website (Wahed, take note).

More explanation about the investing methodology behind the scene would be very helpful.

(b) Investment Instruments: 5 Major Asset Classes

The good thing, though, is Wahed does give us an idea of what they are using their users’ funds to invest in.

As per my experience**, there are 5 asset classes that Wahed will invest our funds in, namely:

    1. US Stocks (Wahed FTSE USA Shariah ETF)
    2. Malaysian Stocks (MyETF MSCI Malaysia Islamic Dividend)
    3. Sukuk (Islamic Bond) (RHB Islamic Bond Fund)
    4. Gold (TradePlus Shariah Gold Tracker)
    5. Cash

There are 6 different risk profile that you can choose from. Depending on your risk profile, there will be a difference in the allocation of your funds across these assets.

**Information on assets and asset allocation is accurate is per my record when I signed up for a Wahed account. Unfortunately, unlike StashAway, Wahed does not reveal the total number of asset classes that they can invest in.


(4) Fees Comparison: Competitive, But Can Be Better

One big advantage that robo-investing services have over conventional mutual funds is its fees.

Generally, while typical mutual funds have an average fee of 3-5% per year, robo-investing services charge only a fraction of the fee (<1%).

This is important, as a few percentage differences in fee could mean a lot to your return. Here is a simple calculation to give you an idea:

 RM100,000 at 5% fee per year = RM5,000 on fees.

RM100,000 at 1% fee per year = RM1,000 on fees (and no, robo-investing services offer lower fee than 1% at RM100,000).

The question now is, how are Wahed’s annual fees compared to the other presently available robo-investing platforms – StashAway and MyTheo?

Now, every robo-investing platform has its own tiers of pricing. Hence, to make my life (and yours) easier, I am comparing the fee in terms of the category of fund amount:

Full fee details: StashAway, Wahed, MyTheo.

Now, as you can see, Wahed’s annual fees are competitive, and it gets even cheaper when your fund exceeds RM500,000 and above.

That said, in terms of versatility of fees, I think StashAway is still the robo-advisor to beat.


DON’T MISS THIS: Click HERE to Get an EXCLUSIVE $5 (RM20) BONUS When You Fund Your Wahed Portfolio today (REMEMBER to apply my promo code “YIXCHI1”)!


(5) Customer Service: Up Your Game, Wahed!

At this point in the article, I would like to say that while lower fees are important, it is not everything. A lower fee that compromises the overall customer experience is a NO-NO.

After all, what’s the point if a company has a low fee but no one is attending to customers’ issues properly?

To test out Wahed’s customer experience, I sent out inquiries to all 3 channels of customer support (as stated available in the Support section of the app): Email, Phone & WhatsApp, all during office hours.

Firstly, Wahed’s response time for email is decent. However, I failed to reach out to the support team via call and it is also disappointing to see that there is no WhatsApp chat support available yet.

As a whole, I think Wahed has to really up their game to stay competitive in customer experience when competitor like StashAway is already providing more support channels for users to reach out to them.


(6) How to Open an Account?

Opening a Wahed account is simple and can be done in less than 10 minutes (Click HERE to install the Wahed app on your phone). And while doing so, remember to apply my promo code “YIXCHI1” to get an RM10 FREE Bonus when you fund your Wahed portfolio!

The account opening process is also straightforward. You will be asked about your investing goals and your savings in order to identify your risk profile.

Then, you will be recommended with one of the 6 portfolios from very conservative to very aggressive. Of course, you can also choose your own portfolio if you have a personal preference.

Once you completed all the procedures, it will take a few days to get your account verified and you are good to start!

You will be recommended a portfolio upon completion of your profile.

(7) What do I like About Wahed?

(a) Huge Market Potential

What Wahed is providing is truly one of its kind at the moment, and fits in well with the demographics of the majority Muslim community in Malaysia.

In short, Wahed is the to-go robo-advisor platform for people that are looking for Shariah-compliant investments.

(b) Help in Promoting Ethical Halal Investing in Malaysia

Given its unique positioning, Wahed is a great platform to promote halal investing to fellow Malaysian users regardless of religion and background – of which I like its core principles and concepts.


(8) What Could be Better?

(a) Customer Service needs Some Work

As discussed above, Wahed needs to put more effort to improve its customer service. That said, I do understand that Wahed has just launched in Malaysia (Oct 2019) and may need time to build up their Malaysian team.

On this matter, I will revisit Wahed’s customer service in my review next year and see if there’re any improvements.

(b) App UI needs Refurnishing

One thing that annoys me while using Wahed’s app is that the app interface seems to have issues showing the last letter and decimals of the word and numbers (eg. Overvie’X’ and RM100.’XX’). This may be something that Wahed will have to resolve with their backend team.

Wahed must improve its UI.

(c) Minimum Deposit of RM100

Unlike competitors like StashAway that has no minimum deposit, Wahed has a minimum deposit of RM100.

While this may not be a big issue, but it is definitely not as flexible as other robo-advisors around and I would love to see this minimum being lifted in the future.

(d) Only 1 Portfolio for each User (for Now)

As of the time of writing, there is no way for me to create another portfolio in Wahed other than the one I’ve created when I opened my account.

Meaning, I am not able to open a Moderate risk portfolio if I started off with an Aggressive risk Portfolio.

This is kind of a bummer because, in comparison, StashAway allows multiple portfolios of different risk profiles.


No Money Lah’s Verdict – A Robo-Advisor with Huge Potential

Is Wahed a good robo-investing platform?

Personally, I feel that Wahed has done a good job of positioning itself at the forefront of halal investing in the robo-advisor space.

Not only that, I’ve also heard good feedback from the Malaysian community, especially their awesome referral reward: Fund a minimum of RM100 and get RM10 FREE Bonus – Instant 20% Gain!.

If Wahed is able to enhance its customer service and user experience, I foresee that it will definitely give competitors like StashAway and Mytheo a good run of their money.

If you find this review on Wahed useful, my suggestion is to TAKE ACTION on your investments RIGHT NOW: Time wasted on inactions is more painful than money badly managed.

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p.s. Which Robo-Advisor Should I Invest In?

Now, if you are wondering if you should go for one robo-advisor over another, why not try investing in these platforms and see which one fits you the best?

StashAway: Claim your EXCLUSIVE 50% off your fees for 6 months when you use my link HERE!

Mytheo: Enjoy FREE 3 months management fee when you use my link HERE!


Disclaimers:

  1. Past return is not indicative of future performance. (just like your mom may not be angry at you today doesn’t mean she will not get angry with you tomorrow) 
  2. Now, one thing that I have yet to comment is Wahed’s return. As Wahed is still new in Malaysia (since Oct. 2019), I cannot comment on the return – and neither you should take others’ words as it is. I will keep monitoring the return and give my feedback in my 2021 review. 
  3. This post may contain affiliate links that afford No Money Lah a small amount of commission should you sign up through the links.

 


3 Ideas to Maximize the Return of Your Angpau Money (Tried & Tested)

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone – may this new year showers you with health and wealth!

If you are like me, you know that growing up, we do not get to keep our angpau money. Instead, our angpaus are being kept and managed by our parents.

The good thing? It prevented us (the child) from spending on unnecessary stuff. On the flip side, it made a lot of us pretty bad angpau money ‘managers’ upon growing up.

 If that’s the case for you, here are some solid suggestions (which I personally do) on how to best make use of your angpau money!

 


 

#1 Invest them! (Starting from RM0)

Getting your angpau invested is definitely one of the best and most direct ways to start a prosperous new year!

If you are new to investing and/or have no extra time to manage your money, be sure to check out StashAway to help manage your investments, hassle-free!

Essentially, StashAway is a smart wealth management platform that helps you manage your investments via algorithms in accordance with your risk appetite and economic condition – think of it as an (often cheaper) alternative to mutual funds.

Personally, I have been using StashAway to manage my passive investment portfolio and have no problem recommending it to people due to its reliability (regulated by Securities Commission) & lower fees than typical mutual funds.

In terms of returns, StashAway managed to give a return of around 10% for my combined aggressive portfolios in 2019 – a very respectable return by all means. Check out StashAway’s 2-year performance in the photo below.

Alternatively, there are other similar wealth management services like Wahed (Promo Code to get FREE RM40  bonus when you deposit a min. of RM100: YIXCHI1) and MyTheo (Promo Code to get 3 months FREE management fee: CHINYXWD49) of which I will be covering in the future.

If you are keen to try out StashAway, be sure to click HERE to get an exclusive 50% OFF your StashAway fees – AND no worries on how much you get for your angpau as you can get started with any amount at all!   

 

StashAway’s Performance compared to same-risk benchmark. (Source: StashAway)

 

 


 

#2 Spend on Books for even Bigger Return!

Nothing pays more dividends than acquiring new skills and knowledge.

If there is one thing that I can comfortably recommend anyone to spend on, books will top the list without a doubt.

Now, if you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that I am a huge book lover.

I enjoy reading books on personal growth, habits and money & investment – and here are 3 books that you should not miss in 2020:

 

(a) Mindset by Carol Dweck (Personal Development)

Mindset by Carol Dweck is a great book on personal growth that I am personally reading at the moment.

This book emphasizes the importance of having a growth mindset in personal life, sustainable leadership and long-lasting relationship – and the approach that you can apply to build this mindset.

Definitely check out this book if you are looking to make a significant breakthrough in 2020.

 

“True self-confidence is “the courage to be open—to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source.” Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.”

― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success

 

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(b) Atomic Habits by James Clear (Habit-Building)

Atomic Habits by James Clear is hands down, the best book on habits that I’ve read in 2019.

Essentially, this book rips off myths on conventional habit-building methods and introduces us to simple & scientifically proven hacks to build a good habit that lasts.

If you have problem building habits that last, this is THE book to go for.

 

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”

― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

 

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(c) The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman (Money, Personal Finance & Business)

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman will be my next read after I am done with Mindset.

The reason I am excited to read this book is that it covers a comprehensive aspect of personal finance and business – which I think would contain a whole lot of golden nuggets for me to discover.

Plus, you can now get this book at 41% OFF – which is really a great deal that I do not want you to miss out on.

 

“You can’t make positive discoveries that make your life better if you never try anything new.”

― Josh Kaufman, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business

 

 


 

#3 Optimize Your Financial Goals with a Professional Personal Financial Planner (BONUS: Free Consultation Session using my link below)

If you are looking to have a prosperous new year in 2020, you will definitely need a solid money plan on how to grow your wealth (like seriously).

This is even more important especially if you have a goal in mind that would need a big sum of money to accomplish in this new decade:

Planning to get married? Buying your first house or car? Looking to retire soon?

How about the plan for a trip to Japan, or the idea of changing your 3-year old smartphone this year?

If you have all these big (and small) financial goals in mind, and are still clueless about how to achieve them, engaging a Personal Financial Planner is the way to go.

Personally, I have worked alongside my very first Personal Financial Planner to get my 2020 financials planned with effective action steps – and I’ve learned so much about my finances.

Now, I DO NOT want you to pay for a Personal Financial Planner if you do not find value in their services.

For that, I am throwing in a FREE financial consultation session for you to find out for yourself (Click HERE to register) – I promise that it will be a time well-spent with great insights!

 

Working alongside my personal financial planner

 


 

Verdict: The Best Return of Investment in Money Spent is When Your Grow Alongside Them.

One of my biggest satisfaction when it comes to money spent is to feel or know that I’ve learned something from the transaction.

As of the case for angpau money, it is even more meaningful to use them in ways that could elevate your wealth and/or growth to kickstart the year.

For me, that’s the best return ever.

Take care and have a great festive season! 🙂

Yi Xuan

 


Disclaimers:

(1) This post may contain affiliate links, which afford No Money Lah a commission if you make a purchase.

(2) Any investment related sharing in this article is purely my personal opinion and should not be taken as a buy/sell call. Please seek financial advice from a professional financial planner for this matter. 

 


Is Now (or anytime) a Good Time to buy Gold?

If you are considering to start buying gold or to add on to your current gold holdings, this article is for you.

The second half of 2019 has been an interesting time for gold.

Gold went from the year’s low of around $1270/ounce to a 5-year high of $1565/ounce – a huge 23% run, before settling for $1555/ounce to end the year.

This is an interesting time because I started to see a lot of ‘Buy Gold’ or ‘Gold is the Safe Haven’ related articles and contents sprouting around social media.

Clearly, people’s interest in gold has been rising especially with increasing uncertainties around global geopolitical issues.

With a simple price action analysis, let’s explore whether it is now a good time to buy gold? If now’s not a good time, then when’s the best time to do so?

TLDR –

In my opinion, gold would likely see its next bullish run if it is able to find a stable footing above the $1525 – $1610/ounce resistance zone (~RM215 – RM227/gram*).



*USD 1.00 = RM4.00 for ease of calculation


First thing first – Where does Gold Price stand now?

Again, gold is in an interesting phase right now.

From the gold’s 10-year weekly chart below, it can be seen the price of gold has finally broken away from a 6-year large corrective structure since the 2nd quarter of 2019.

This is significant, as the bulls (or the buyers) are finally taking over the overall trend after a 6-year tug-of-war against the bears (or the sellers).

In short, it can be said that the market is becoming more bullish towards gold for now.  

10-year weekly chart for gold. (Get your chart HERE)

That said, is it the right time now to buy gold?

As of now, the price of gold stands at a unique point.

Referring to the 10-year weekly chart below, the price zone between $1525 – $1610/ounce has been a key interaction point between the Bulls (Buyers) and the Bears (Sellers) over the past decade.

As an example, the first point of contact was in April 2011, when the Bears defended the zone from the Bulls for the first time.

Thereafter, the Bulls have defended the zone 3 times between 2011 – 2012. This showed the conviction of the buyers to defend the zone from being further pushed downward.

However, it was also in the same zone that the Bears actually took control in March 2013 and pushed the price below the zone – which started a 6-years long corrective phase.

At this moment, the buyers have been testing the zone twice since late 2019. That said, the Bears are clearly still holding the fortress firmly against the buying pressure.

In short, $1525 - $1610 is a key price zone that the Bulls (buyers) must overcome should we want to see a more significant bull run in 2020.

$1525 - 1610 is an important price zone with many interactions between Bulls & Bears over the past 10 years.

What if… the Bulls (buyers) manage to break above the zone?

Now, if the Bulls break the Bears’ defense on the key $1525 - $1610/ounce zone (RM215 – 227/gram), chances are this would trigger the Stop Loss orders of the Bears on the other side of the zone.

This would stop some key sellers out, and would likely lead to a change in the overall market bias to be even more bullish.

Should that happen, I am anticipating a more aggressive buying pressure from the market.

This upside would likely be going to continue until the next key resistance level of $1800/ounce (~RM254/gram) – a 12% potential upside from the $1610 level.

In short, I will be more bullish towards gold should price manage to overcome and find a stable footing above the key $1525 – 1610 resistance zone.

$1800 is the next key resistance should price breaks above the $1525 - 1610 price zone.

What if… the Bears (sellers) manage to defend their position at the $1525 – 1610/ounce zone?

We cannot say with 100% certainty that Bulls will take over the trend – what if the otherwise happens?

Let’s say the Bears (sellers) manage to defend the $1525 – 1610/ounce zone, chances are the price of gold will be pushed downwards away from the zone.

With that in mind, the next key price zone where the Bulls (buyers) would likely be active again would be the zone between $1365 – 1465/ounce. (RM 193 – 207/gram)

On that note, the gold price could either make a bullish rebound (green arrow) if the $1365 – 1465/ounce zone is well defended by the bulls. Otherwise, a further bearish momentum could continue if price breaks below the zone (red arrow).

$1365 - 1445 is the next key support zone should price is not able to make it above the current zone.

Good to Know – China has been buying gold at an increasing rate**

In my previous article, there is a mention of how China’s gold holding makes up less than 8% of the country’s total reserve.

However, global geopolitical issues, especially the US-China trade war which started in the second half of 2018 have made an impact on the rate of China’s gold reserve.

Since the 3rd quarter of 2018, China has been buying gold at an increasing rate (4Q2018: 0.5%, 1Q2019: 1.8% and 2Q2019: 2.2%).

On that note, geopolitical uncertainties are definitely part of the reason why gold price has been increasing in 2019.

China's Gold Reserve (in tonnes) (3Q 2016 - 2Q 2019) [Source: World Gold Council]

No Money Lah’s Verdict

I have always enjoyed reading and studying about gold.

Gold’s unique characteristic from an economic and cultural perspective makes it one of the most interesting and valuable commodities in the world.

However, since gold is a volatile (and to some extent, speculative) commodity, I am more inclined to have the thoughts that people should approach gold in a well-researched manner.

To summarize from today’s article, I will be more bullish on gold should price breaks above the key $1525 - $1610/ounce zone as this will follow with a 12% potential upside (towards $1800/ounce).

Hope you enjoyed this read! 😊






Thinking about opening a gold investment account? Definitely check out the link below to get started!


Disclaimer: This article is written based on my best research as of the time of writing, and should not be considered as a buy/sell recommendation. Please do your own due diligence and/or seek professional advice when making your investment decision.

--

**Credit: Part of this article is made possible with the help of my friend, Mr. Varian Soong.

Mr. Varian Soong is an Economics graduate from University of Malaya. Being one of the brightest of his batch, he came in as the 1st runner-up in the 2017 CFA Institute Research Challenge. 

Also, he has completed CFA Level 2 professional paper and he is now pursuing his professional career as a Credit Analyst in Public Mutual Bhd. 

Connect with him on LinkedIn HERE.


3 MUST-BUILD Mindsets to become a Better Investor & Person in 2020

Hey everyone!

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you Happy New Year! 2019 has been challenging yet really amazing for me. What’s more, the year was even better as I get to know everyone of you – your support and feedbacks have been tremendously motivating to me.

As I gather my takeaways as a developing trader, investor and, well, a person, I would like to share with you 3 MOST IMPORTANT mindsets that you must work on or cultivate in 2020.

From my personal experience and studies, these 3 mindsets are crucial for a person to develop and master in order to achieve any kind of significant breakthrough in his or her life & investing endeavors.

Now, it must be mentioned beforehand that building these mindsets would not promise immediate monetary returns. However, I am confident that having them will make your 2020 an extremely empowering year to live in.


#1 Mindset: Focus on Process over Outcome

A mistake that many beginning investors do is to anchor their investing performance to the return of their investments.

This mindset is what I call the ‘Outcome-based Mindset’, and it is THE BIGGEST mindset hurdle that an investor must overcome to stand a chance in the market.

Reason being, there is no 100% certainty that the market is going to give us what we want. When that happens, the confidence of a beginner investor will get shaken to the extent they may eventually develop a pessimistic view towards investing.

Hence, in 2020, focus on getting the process right. Aim to build a ‘Process-based Mindset’.

Focus on the process of learning. Focus on the process of executing your investing plan properly. Focus on the process of growing.

Amateur investors aim for the outcome, the successful ones focus on the process.

Focus on getting the process right in 2020 and the outcome will come.

#2 Mindset: Consistency is the Key

Now, when I mention consistency, I am not talking about the %/year that you can make consistently.

Rather, I am referring to one’s consistency in the execution of his or her processes.

You cannot control the market movement (external factor), but you can certainly take charge of how consistent you are in your process and effort (internal factor).

Be consistent in your routine to study financial reports & charts. Be consistent in your process to filter for quality investments. Be consistent in your risk management.

Ultimately, be consistent in your pursuit of mastery.

As cliché as it sounds, the consistency of ‘outcome’ that amateur investors dream of – they come from the consistency of ‘process’ that successful investors practice to heart.

Consistency in execution leads to consistency in outcome over the long run.

#3 Mindset: Relate to Challenges with Positivity

As the year goes by, it is for sure that there’ll be challenges in your life and investing journey.

In times like this, people with a mediocre attitude will look for someone or something to blame for their encounter.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset will take charge of their life challenges and take it as an opportunity to improve.

Fear and challenges consume the people with a fixed mindset, but lift the people with a growth mindset.

Lady luck favors the positives.

Verdict

2020 is an exciting year. For the year and the decade ahead, things will evolve. The market will change. Some skillsets will become obsolete, and some will become high on demand.

However, a healthy mindset is timeless. No era of time will ever make a growth mindset irrelevant.

With that, I wish you the very best in your life and investing journey in 2020, and have a great, great year ahead! :) 

-Yi Xuan


Get Your 2020 Financial Goals Mapped-Out Strategically with Practical Action Steps!

Stepping into the new year (and decade) and still have ABSOLUTELY no clue about how you can achieve your ideal financial lifestyle & goals?

Or rather, you have some idea about your financials but are still 'kind-of' miserable about HOW TO REALLY ACHIEVE YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS?

Personally, I had a fair share of these experiences in 2019, until I finally consulted my first ever Personal Financial Planner to get my 2020 financials properly planned - and it is the BEST thing that I've done for myself in preparation for the new year and decade!

Hey wait - I DON'T WANT YOU TO PAY for your Personal Financial Planner if you are not convinced that they are not able to add value to your financials.

Hence, as a No Money Lah's supporter & reader, I am throwing in a FREE Financial Consultation just for YOU!

Find out HOW and CHECK OUT my personal experience working alongside my first personal financial planner BELOW!


I've Been Working Alongside a Personal Financial Planner - Here's My Experience with Them.

Back in October, I had the opportunity to work with my very own Personal Financial Planner to get my financials planned for the new year of 2020 – and I would like to share my experience with you today.

Now, it should be noted that I do have the habit of keeping track of my daily expenses. Plus, I do monthly reviews on my overall financial status and investments.

This means that I actually have a decent understanding of my personal financial state. That being said, why did I opt to work with a Personal Financial Planner?

The reason is simple: because I have a personal financial goal in mind, and I would like to seek professional opinion on how I can achieve my goal.


What is a Personal Financial Planner, really?

The best way to explain what a Personal Financial Planner is to compare one to an insurance agent.

Essentially, a Personal Financial Planner covers a wider aspect of personal finance aside from insurance. In addition, financial planners are usually brokers to multiple insurance companies which means that they are able to compare and filter for the best solution (from more than one insurance company) for their clients.

A crucial difference, though, is that Financial Planners earn mainly through charging their clients a consultation fee, while insurance agents earn mainly through the commission of the insurance solutions sold

Added together, working with a Personal Financial Planner ensures minimal conflict of interest in their services as they are only accountable to their clients and no one else.  

That said, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to financial planning, and one should go for the best-suited services by considering what’s best for him/her under their personal circumstances.

The difference between a Financial Planner & Insurance Agent.

What is it like to Work with a Personal Financial Planner? (My Experience)

Generally, a financial planning package (or service) is separated into 2 modes: a full financial planning package or a modular package.

A full financial planning package includes a comprehensive analysis of every aspect of personal finance from investment, insurance and estate planning (eg. Will writing and asset allocation).

On the other hand, a modular financial planning package includes a comprehensive analysis from either one of the 3 services (Investment OR Insurance OR Estate Planning).

Now, it is also important to note that both packages of financial planning also include an in-depth analysis of one’s cash flow status and financial health check – which is extremely crucial in helping us to understand our current financial strength for future planning.

Personally, I opted for a modular financial planning package from Wealth Vantage Advisory, specifically in investment as I want to explore how I can best optimize my cash on hand to achieve my financial goal.

A glimpse of my current financial strength, courtesy of Wealth Vantage Advisory's trademarked Wealth Vantage Score.

The Flow of Working of a Personal Financial Planner (Step-by-Step)

Personally, I find working with my Personal Financial Planners from Wealth Vantage Advisory (Stev & Catherine) really simple and straightforward (to be honest, I thought it was going to be a complicated process initially).

Step 1: First Engagement

It all starts with an initial meetup in October in Stev’s office after signing up for my financial planning package.

The objective of this meetup is to do some fact-finding, expectation, and goal-setting. Along with the meeting, I also sent in my personal financial details required to my Personal Financial Planner.

Now, it should be noted that not everyone is equally comfortable to share their personal financial details, even with a professionally trained Personal Financial Planner. I, for one, resonate with this very much as I felt vulnerable when I was asked to do so.

However, Stev and Catherine’s professionalism towards their work eventually made me really feel safe for doing so. Furthermore, the existence of legal paperwork in this financial planning process also ensures the privacy of our personal data.

Behind the Scene…

So, what happened after I submitted the details required by my Personal Financial Planner?

In Wealth Vantage Advisory, they have a team of certified & professionally-trained financial planners to analyze my financials and put up a detailed action-steps to help me achieve my goals.

Knowing this gives me peace of mind knowing that not just one, but a team of experts is working behind the scene to produce a solid financial plan that’s in my best interest.

Working with a Personal Financial Planner helped me to realign and be accountable for my financial goals.

Step 2: Implementation Meeting (1 month after first engagement)

About one month after our first meeting (October), I met up with Stev again for our first implementation meeting in November.

By now, my financial plan is prepared and Stev essentially, in detail, went through my (1) current financial health and (2) investments’ strengths and weaknesses with me.

The meeting was really an eye-opener as I have never been exposed to such detailed financial data of myself.

Essentially, I was given an aerial view of my current financial status including the health of my cash flow, net worth, asset allocation and more. With that, my financial plan also includes precise action steps in order for me to achieve my financial goals (more in ‘My Takeaways’ section).

What I really like about Wealth Vantage’s Personal Financial Planning session is that although I opted for a modular financial planning package in investment, Stev and the team also helped me analyze my insurance plans.

With that, they also provided me with suggestions on how to optimize my insurance expenses by comparing my current package with the other solutions in the market  – a nice touch indeed.

Behind the Scene…

Having a Personal Financial Planner is not just about giving you a plan and say bye-bye to each other.

In fact, the good thing about having a Personal Financial Planner is to assist and keep you accountable for the execution of your plan.

I find this very useful as it provided me with a push to get certain things that I’ve always wanted to do done after the meeting.

Detailed analysis of my personal financial status and precise action steps for me to achieve my financial goals are prepared.

Step 3: Follow-Up Review Meetings

Review Meetings are done to keep track of the execution of one’s financial plan. Not only that, it is set up to see if there is any further implementation needed to achieve one’s financial goals. 

For someone that is opting for a modular financial planning package like myself, Review Meetings are done on a half-yearly basis (twice in a year). For people that opt for a full financial planning package, Review Meetings are done once every quarter (4 times a year).

For sure, this is a great structure as you get all the accountability and support in getting your plans executed properly.

The full flow/timeline while working with a Personal Financial Planner, schedule courtesy of Stev from Wealth Vantage Advisory. (click to enlarge)

My Takeaways

An important takeaway for me in my financial planning session with Wealth Vantage Advisory comes in the form of my asset allocation. While I have been conscious of my financial status, I did not realize that I am not optimizing my assets to its full potential.

Namely, I have a relative sum of emergency cash reserves that could be put into Fixed Deposit (FD) alternative like Money Market Fund. Doing this will give me better returns on my cash reserves while still ensuring the liquidity of my cash (unlike FD).

In addition, I also like that the proposed action steps are precise and straightforward. In my case, the plan proposed a fixed % of cash allocated to the Money Market Fund. This is a sweet touch considering most people (okay, maybe it’s just me) are just too lazy to make decisions nowadays.

Not only that, going through a financial planning session also pushed me to rethink my approach towards my income stream. As in, how can I improve my active income flow while pursuing my goal to become a professional full-time trader?

This made me realized that sometimes all people need is a push and accountability to really do what it’s needed to achieve their financial goals – and engaging a Personal Financial Planner is no doubt a great way to do so.


Do You Really Need a Personal Financial Planner?

Now, I personally think that most people need a Personal Financial Planner more than they think.

Even for me that practice the habit of keeping my financials in check, I still found enormous value while engaging a Personal Financial Planner. The question is, do you need one?

If you are a young adult planning ahead for your wedding, family planning, and any other financial goals – go for it.

If you are a parent planning for your children’s future education and life – go for it.

If you are in your 30s, 40s or even 50s looking to retire earlier and/or manage your after-life asset allocation but not sure what to do – go for it.

Even more so, if you have a lot of savings in hand but have little to no clue on how to deal with them – GO FOR IT.

Getting a Personal Financial Planner will give you a clearer picture of your financial strengths and weaknesses – and support your journey towards achieving your financial goals.


Get Your First Financial Consultation Session Today – FREE OF CHARGE!

Before we continue, I think it is helpful for you to know that a 1-year Full Financial Planning package from Wealth Vantage Advisory is priced at RM3,000. Meanwhile, the 1-year Modular Financial Planning package (Investment/Insurance/Estate Planning) is priced at RM1,000.

To be clear, I DO NOT want you to pay for a Personal Financial Planner unless you are convinced that they are able to add value to you.

That said, I also want you to give yourself the chance (like what I did) to explore the potential where you are able to make the best use out of your hard-earned money and achieve your financial goals in life.

Hence, I am working together with Wealth Vantage Advisory to bring a FREE session of Financial Consultation Session to all No Money Lah’s readers!

Even better, if you sign up for the session, you will also get a FREE trial of MyPF’s Premier Site (one of Malaysia’s top Personal Finance site), where you also get access to exclusive personal finance tools & investment insights.

Essentially, you will be able to gauge if a Personal Financial Planner is going to add value to your pursuit of financial goals once you experience your FREE financial consultation session – so be sure not to miss out on this one!


Disclaimer

This article is made possible through a collaboration with Wealth Vantage Advisory. Special thanks to Stev and the team for making this collaboration such an impactful one.



Wealth Vantage Advisory did not receive copy approval rights on this article – that means they are reading this article for the first time, right alongside you. :)



p.s. This post may contain affiliate links, which afford No Money Lah a commission if you make a purchase.