Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Singapore Savings Bond: Guessing Next Month's Yield (Nov 2015 issue)

Earlier this month, I wrote a post on why I think the next SSB issue will have a higher yield than the current issue.

So since this is the end of the month, I went over to MAS and downloaded the statistics of the benchmark bond yield rates.


As you can see, based on the average yields this month, one might expect close to a 20bps raise on the front end of the curve and 9 bps on the belly and 14bps on the tail end if the relationship of estimating the previous month's average yield holds true.

For me, it's a bit strange to see that the 1 year and 2 year yields are so close to each other. Also, look how the front end has been rising the whole month, but how the tail end actually collapsed in the last week!

The yield curve is an interesting indicator, but I've yet to come across any source that has ever mentioned it in relation to the Singapore markets. Perhaps if I'm free one day I can try and do a study on that.

With the front end rising, the SSB as a cash alternative reduces the attractiveness of rolling over fixed deposits by a lot! Perhaps I will apply for some next month. We will see what yield will be announced very soon :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CIMB FastSaver: Account Opened


Wow, I applied for the FastSaver account online on the 24th and it was opened on the 28th! I did everything from the comfort of my computer!

I am really loving CIMB! I have 2 accounts with them (FastSaver and my previous StarSaver) and I have never ever been down to any of their branches yet!

Now I have the following decent yielding cash accounts:
OCBC 360 @ 2.25% (up to $60,000)
CIMB FastSaver @ 1.0% (up to $50,000)
CIMB StarSaver @ 0.8% (up to $1,000,000? not sure!)

Along with these 2 basket case accounts:
DBS Remix @ 0.05% (screw you DBS!)
SCB e$aver @ 0.10% (screw you too SCB, but not as much!)

I wish I had enough cash to reach all those limits, but unfortunately I do not. I have only maxed out my OCBC 360 account and that is becomes I am holding onto other people's money on top of mine. To be honest, the difference between 0.8% and 1.0% is pretty paltry, but I like it that these accounts are actually hard to access. Since they only have 2 branches, I can only access these funds through the online banking. Keeping my money squirreled away in separate accounts keeps me from suffering from God complex and spending money just because I have it.

I quite enjoy online banking. Although I have bank accounts with 4 banks now (OCBC, DBS, CIMB, SCB), I have only ever withdrawn cash from DBS just due to the convenience of the ATM network. I keep a tiny amount of cash in DBS earning nonsense interest rate just so that I can withdraw money from an ATM easily if I needed to.

I know cash and cash alternatives are shit "investment" vehicles in the long run, but I don't plan to keep my cash in there forever. Most assets look like shit to me right now given my investment goals and the ones that I am bullish on, I already have a healthy allocation to them. With Singapore in deflation (-0.8% yoy in Aug 2015), there is very low reason to be scared that "my purchasing power is being eroded by inflation".

When the time is right, I'm going to open up my warchest and become a legend. But no, I don't think that it is time yet.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Singapore Savings Bond: 100% allocation to all applicants

So much for people worrying if they wouldn't get the full amount applied, eh?  It's almost like a bad IPO, haha.

From the recent MAS media release today, it is now known that the 1st virgin maiden issue was massively under-subscribed.

If you check out the SSB maiden issue (Oct 2015), the amount available to be allocated is a staggering $1.2 billion. This issue was pathetically 34.6% subscribed.

Only a total of $413,161,000 was applied for by a puny puny 19,505 applicants (or 3 out of every 1000 people you see in Singapore), and that works out to be an average of $21,182.31 applied per person.

And yet I can assure you tons of people bought the GE 2% policy, which is bullshit.

You can bet your sweet ass that all the cash rich upper class Singaporeans dumped $50,000 (max limit per issue) into this issue and will be dumping $50,000 into the next issue, which would probably be yielding even higher. My estimate is 15bps higher on the tail end of the curve.

What more is that most of the people with $50,000 to throw at this have probably already done it, so in the issue after the next, the amount of people as well as the dollar value is going to massively shrink.

I don't know if MAS will accordingly lower the total amount available in the future since this kind of under subscription looks pretty bad. However, I do hope that they do not lower the amount and take into the account why they are offering the SSB in the first place. This big under-subscription is a fantastic thing for those people who have chosen to add the SSB as a tool into their portfolio! You do not have to worry about redeeming your previous SSB to roll into a higher yielding issue and not being able to apply for the full amount in the next auction. There is very low risk of not being fully allocated and thus bearing some opportunity cost waiting in cash until you can stuff the balance into the next issue.

My thoughts on the SSB still remain the same: Just like many many many many of the other available tools provided by the government that individuals are free to use to improve their financial situation (CPF, SRS, CPF Life, Medishield, DIRECT insurance, etc etc), the SSB is likely to be misunderstood and underutilized, particularly by the people that would benefit from it the most. It's just like term insurance. I bet if you compare the average income of term insurance buyers vs whole life insurance buyers, you would be startled by the findings.

When AK was talking about CPF, I think he hit it right on the nail when he called it a "self-help institution". CPF was not created to provide charity for Singaporeans. CPF is a tool that can be used by the individual to help themselves, only if they know how to use it. This is similar to the whole slew of other government programmes. It is only great for the people who know about them and how to use them. Ignorance might be bliss, but it might also be costing you... a lot of money.

Never do something if you don't have PASSION?


One of the worst advice that I really hate hearing is people saying that you should "always choose with your heart" and "if you don't have the passion to do it, don't do it".

Yes, I'm that downer friend that instead of immediately celebrating a choice, quiz about the alternative.

This brings me back to a time when I was taking a piss in a pub in NYC. Scrawled on the bathroom door was the most legit advice that I've ever seen.

"Don't take life advice from people doing shit with theirs."


Word bruhhhhhh.

Poetic words on a beautiful wanderlust background does not equal the truth. Unfortunately, most people who happen to have a tumblr happen to think otherwise.

Many times in life, you would be faced with a particularly similar recurring dilemma - do some shit you don't like which would probably be good for yourself in the long term, or screw it all and enjoy the moment.

Fuck salads. Pizza, fried chicken and booze, amirite?!

Life is all about being happy, right? RIGHT?

Perhaps I could model such dilemmas into a somewhat mathematical model.
Option 1 : Bite the bullet and take a hit for (-5) units of utility, but enjoy (+1) utility every year after
Option 2 : Screw it, #yolo! (+3) utility today

Pretty much half of life is making choices like this on a daily basis - between what you can do and what you should do. When you consistently pick a certain choice time after time and no longer consider the alternative, it becomes a habit. Do you think people are just born fat? Because of genetics? Er, no. Not for 99% of the population anyway.

Of course, maybe you're that special lucky 1% snowflake with some weird obese gene. You win! No... wait. You actually still lose.

If you think that the world is beautiful, bubblegum, rainbows and ponies and we can all just have a happy and blissful hedonistic existence, I'm sorry to break into that bubble of yours.

While simplifying life, don't make the mistake of removing reality from that equation (yes socialists, that's a swipe at you guys). Many things seem like a beautiful concept, but when put into real life, turns out pretty shit. Much like this post I'm writing now. It was a lot more convincing and less arrogant sounding in my mind.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to communicate is this: If you think you can do whatever you want in life and it's all going to turn out awesome, it won't. Hope isn't a strategy.

Saying how much you want it and talking about how much you "deserve" ain't got nothing to do with reality. (Personally, I'm even one step further down this line of thought because I don't believe in Karma. So I don't think that the universe is going to "bless" good people or people who have endured a lot of suffering. There isn't anyone keeping score and balancing out right and wrongs - in my opinion)

Life doesn't go a certain way because you hope for it to be. Life brings you there if you take action to make it so.

This doesn't only have to apply to financial goals. This could be for anything. Landing that job. Closing that work deal. Opening up a successful business. Getting fit. Staying fit. Maintaining an active social circle. If you want something, do something about it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In Brazil, They Really Love Pet Rocks


YTD, BOVESPA returns is -10.35%
1 year BOVESPA returns is -17.93%
5 year BOVESPA returns is -36.15%
10 year BOVESPA returns is 48.8% (annualized 3.6%)

As fed to us by all the modern day investment gurus, stock ETFs are the best investments ever, all the time!!! I guess if I was a Brazilian, I would have a home bias to my local stock market. Of course I wouldn't own any of those stupid barbaric "pet rock" relics! Only idiots own such a speculative non-cash flow producing asset, right?


Now add that to the fact that inflation has averaged around 5-6% over the last 10 years and you get pretty shit returns from the stock market.


YTD, pet rock returns in BRL is 44.2%
1 year pet rock returns in BRL is 54.9%
5 year pet rock returns in BRL is 104.5% (annualized 15.4%)
10 year pet rock returns in BRL is 334.1% (annualized 15.8%)

I'm not saying that Brazil and Singapore are in the same situation. We are vastly difference economies. All I'm saying is that if I was Brazilian, I bet I'd definitely be glad if I had some pet rocks.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Apply For The Oct 2015 SSB? No.

In my previous post, I highlighted how the current SSB might no longer be as attractive as future SSB issues since interest rates have moved up.

The average for August's yields proved to be a pretty accurate reflection of the SSB that was released at the start of September.

If this relationship holds true, it means that the September average yields would be useful in predicting the yield of the next SSB if it was to be issued in November.

I went to the MAS website and I extracted the month to date yields and here are the results below:


As you can see, the average yields across the entire curve have moved upwards. Even from the very first year, yields would be higher. In fact, 1 year yields are higher than 2 year yields!

Given that there are only 4 more trading days in the month of September, if is extremely extremely unlikely that the average yield of September will dip below the current SSB offering. Even if yields collapses and end at 1% / 1.1% / 1.95% / 2.28%, we would still be higher. Yields need to absolutely crater over the next 4 bond trading days to bring down the month's average rate.

What might be an issue is if this relationship of using the month's average as a proxy is not true and MAS instead gives much higher weightage to the yield values of the last few days of the month.

However, for now, it seems that the average yield is an accurate proxy. As such, I will NOT be applying for the current SSB (to be issued Oct 2015) and I will instead postpone my issue application and wait for next month.

All the best to SSB applicants!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Apply For This Month's SSB?

Chin Wai wrote a very good post about the SSB and how it is structured quite differently from normal bonds. In his post, he also posting his findings that the simple average August yields were very close to the posted SSB yield to be applied in September and issued in October.

I've also gone to the MAS website to download the yields and calculated the simple average and compared it to the listed SSB simple yields.


Now, this is pretty interesting if you can predict with some degree of accuracy what the next month's yield would be!

Similarly, doing the same calculation so far for this month, you would see that the yields across the entire curve have shifted upwards. However, I think it is still too soon too say yet because we don't need to make the decision so quick.

Based on the calendar for the SSB, the last date for application is on the 25th of September. Since the 24th is a public holiday, there will be no data for the 24th. However, extracting the yields and calculating the average should give a pretty good guess of the following month's yield if this suspected relationship holds true.

Currently, we only have 14 days of data out of a month of 22 days. This is only 63% of the data points. If we wait until the 25th to decide to apply, we would have 17 days instead, which is 77% of the data points.

I had actually drafted out 2 posts about the SSB - one to post if I apply for it, and another to post if I was going to wait and apply for the issue. For some reason, I didn't think to use the entire month's data and I was only looking at the last week's data. Using the whole month does seem a lot more accurate. I am sure that with the data available and trial and error of a few months, we will have a better understanding of the SSB and how it sets its yield.

I will monitor the yields and on the 25th I will decided if I will apply for the SSB or not. However, looking how things are going, I think I would not be applying this month!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Let's See My Insurance!

Inspired by this post by Derek, I have decided to list down my insurance and take a look at them!


As you can see, my insurance is very simple and straight forward.

I have term life insurance from the DPS scheme and also the AVIVA SAF GTL from my NS days. It was actually at $100,000 SA, but I felt that I am more valuable after working so I upped it to $200,000 then. This would be a nice gift to repay my parents whatever they have spent on me, which is mostly my university education.

I have minimal CI coverage because I do not think that CI will set me back so much. I am very aware of my family history, so I have a pretty ace chance of getting cancer in my lifetime. However, my father (who has had cancer) told me that he spent around $40,000 which wasn't covered by insurance.

I have H&S insurance from NTUC which I took over from my father. I'm not sure if I would have picked the preferred plan. My father has been to many hospitals, so I'll just trust him on this. I have the assist rider so my out of pocket payment for any hospitalization will be capped at $3,000 which I think is a pretty reasonable sum.

Since my parents are financially equipped to look after themselves in old age, I have no dependents. I think it must be very clearly pointed out that I am over-insured. In my demise, my parents would not need the payout money. Of course, leaving them with a gift is nice. Nice, but not necessary.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With the introduction of DIRECT insurance products (due to lack of distribution costs), I can see that it is actually much cheaper for me to layer on additional coverage instead of increasing my existing policy coverage. However, in the longer term, it would seem that the SAF policy will be cheaper for later stage life insurance coverage, especially with the policy rebate.

I have decided that I will keep my current policies as it is for now, but I will be doing some research to take action:

1) Find out the difference between all the different NTUC riders and if my current Assist Rider is what I need.

2) Look for and consider a DIRECT insurance that is good until age 65 and compare that to one that is 5 year renewable. I need to find out what is the discount rate that the insurers are using to know if it is worthwhile for me to level out my premiums until 65, or if I should renew after every 5 years. The policy would covers Life + CI for SA $50,000. I am also looking out for an insurer that currently does NOT cover me so that I can "diversify" my insurance risks as well.

AXA Age to 65 seems to be the right plan, but I'll follow up on this when I have time.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, I am a strong disbeliever of insuring yourself for everything for your whole life. Insurance is not only a cost premiums / value of sum assured game. Insurance is greatly dependent on your financial standing and the ability to bear the brunt of the force if you meet with an unfortunate incident and need to pay out of pocket.

But then again, it's your life and your money, so you can do what you want with it. For me, I am very clear about why I will not want to be covered and burdened paying insurance premiums for the rest of my life.

You can read more about my philosophy on insurance here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

My Guess for the Fed Announcement

Original Post: 1.55am
Post Announcement Update: 2.02am - No rate hike ;)

Looking at my coconuts, I predict....


NO RATE HIKE!

Well, let's see if I'm right. Gundlach is behind me on this.

My main reason for thinking this way? This article about the probability of rate hike. TL;DR, the probability is 30%.


Let me just remind you again how many bad everyone is at guessing rate hikes. You can't really blame them though, especially if the Fed always say that they are going to raise rates but never.


"At zero, they can only go up!" "How long can it stay at the zerobound?" Hey, is that Japan over there?


They can stay low for a long, long time. Even if rates go up by 25 or even 50 bps, it's chicken shit compared to the big picture.


Anyway, I expect no rate hike. If there is a rate hike within this year, I would be pretty certain that they drop back to the zerobound soon enough.

I hope this starts the ball rolling - the bowling ball rolling down the alley to wipe everything out.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CIMB FastSaver: The 1% No-Frills Savings Account


This is the new online savings bank account that CIMB is currently offering. Basically, it is a simple, no-frills, cash savings account.

  • 1% interest on the first $50,000 (SDIC-insured)
  • 0.6% interest on balances above $50,000
  • No fall-below amount and fee
  • Online application (no need to go down to branch or send forms)


They are also having a promo now, which means if you put in the eligible cash amount, you will get the cash credit for keeping the money there for 6 months. This is on top of the 1% rate that you will receive. 

For $1,000 put in, you get a 3.02% 6-month fixed deposit. 
For $10,000 put in, you get a 2.01% 6-month fixed deposit.
For $25,000 put in, you get a 1.81% 6-month fixed deposit.

Basically, the promotion is pretty sweet. During that 6 months, any extra money deposited under the $50,000 will get 1% interest. And after that 6 months the whole account reverts back to normal and just earns 1% status quo, which is still a very good rate!

Honestly, I am a real fan of CIMB given their StarSaver account (which I recently opened and am currently using as a 2.82% high yield fixed deposit with their promotion) and their step-up fixed deposit products. When it comes to retail products, CIMB is definitely one of the front-runners that know which buttons to press to attract consumers.

However, they seem to have a real problem about cannibalizing their own market share and having products that are just slightly behind the curve for them to be the front runners.

With this FastSaver account, they've just killed off the small savers with bank balances below $50,000, since all the StarSaver account holders will switch. (I will also do so with my earmarked money that can be withdrawn in 2016)

Their step-up fixed deposits was completely destroyed by the Singapore Savings Bond, which is why the 5-year structure is not available anymore, leaving only the 12m and 18m structure.

Their Visa credit card ate up all their Mastercard credit card as well.

If you do not qualify to get the high interest rates offered by OCBC or UOB because of all the hoops that you have to jump through and tricks you have to perform, CIMB is really an excellent choice.

CIMB is really a nice, simple, clean, no-frills bank that I really enjoy. Pair it up with one of the simple credit cards with immediate no-frills 0.5% rebate. Now it is no longer an excuse not to save money because there are no products for you. It might not be the best product, but it is definitely better than nothing!

For my secondary cash savings account (after OCBC 360), I am abandoning my StarSaver account and I will open up a FastSaver account (boohoo, no promo for me!)! What about you?

Japan Downgraded from AA- to A+

(Source: CNA)

Is this a surprise? Well, it isn't to me given the fact that I think the Abenomics is a insane policy based on crazy Keynesian theories. (Go team Austrian economics!)

Japan is so far down the rabbit hole, I don't see how it's possible for them to ever recover. Their debt is beyond crazy. Their demographics is worsening. They have a rich and beautiful culture, but is immensely tough to assimilate global workers into. Their language is not easy to pick up and is frankly, quite isolating for them. It's not as if their domestic market is huge and growing, unlike places like Indonesia or India. How can things improve?

Keep in mind that what I am referring to is their economy, not the digits of their stock markets. Regardless how crazy people are to believe that pigs can fly, they will have to wake up one day and face reality.

I don't mean to be a bitch to compare Singapore with Japan, but unfortunately that is the only country that I have some form of vague expertise on. Singapore is currently the only Asian country left that is top rated of AAA, AAA and Aaa by S&P, Fitch and Moody respectively.


In contrast to Japan, which is spiraling into a debt hole, Singapore's budget is much more often than not balanced and with a surplus.

Let's look at some simple demographics. Japanese people are much older with a median age of 46, tieing them for 2nd place for country with the oldest populations. Singapore is much better off, with our median age being only 33. Both Japan and Singapore have similar fertility rates of 1.46 and 1.26 respectively, which is well below the replacement value of 2.1.

How can this be overcome? If the population is declining, the only solution is to bring in people to make up for the numbers! However, Japan is strongly hindered by their culture and language, making them one of the world's most homogeneous populations. Due to this immense barrier, they are completely unable to stimulate immigration into their country. Immigrants make up a mere 1.9% of their population, while immigrants make up a staggering 42.9% of Singapore's population.

With their weakening currency, Japan is also not the top choice for foreign workers anymore. Foreign workers now choose countries which are easier to settle down and get used to, while still getting paid a competitive salary. Even if foreign workers do want to work in Japan, Japan doesn't want foreign workers. Their policies are not friendly and their people are not as welcoming.

When Lim Swee Say took a swipe at China or Malaysia, it was too easy of a cheap shot. Who would want to be Chinese or Malaysia? If he had instead brought attention that our GDP per capita based on PPP is more then DOUBLE of Japan, people might sit up and cherish our extremely lucky and favourable position that we are currently on.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a swipe to Japan. I love eating Japanese food, I watch Japanese anime and I am planning to learn some basic Japanese before I head to Japan for a holiday next year. However, that doesn't change the fact that Japan is rapidly deteriorating as an economy and they need to expand their economy or else they would only be left with the nuclear options. However, it seems that they do not have any aces left up their sleeves to play.

Abenomics seems to be all that they had and they went all-in on that one.

The good news is that the game is still being played. The bad news is that we all already know how it ends.

How long can this shill game last? The answer is that it is well within reasonable probability that it lasts for a very, very, very long time. You don't need to look very far to see countries that have been run entirely on debt for years (hi Italy!). Since Japan runs their own currency, they would never default since they can just "print" more money pay back their debt. Of course, that would lead to hyper-inflation.

The path that Japan is on has 1 only destination - the devaluation of their currency. Unless they have an economic miracle before then.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Save money at all costs?

Without even knowing the full story, I am sure that the general audience that reads financial blogs will shout out "Save money!". However, hear out my story first.

In this hypothetical world, you want to buy some electronics. It could be anything these days, such as headphones, cables, keyboard, mouse, etc.... but for this example I'm just going to go with speakers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While browsing the internet, you see an ad for these speakers. You've actually been wanting to get a new set of speakers and had read about the benefits of this particular brand and model!

You casually make your way to the usual online shopping websites and you even know how to use ShopBack to get some rebates, plus you are planning to charge it to your credit card which gives anywhere between 3-7% off from online spending.

Just the difference between the online price compared to a retail store is close to 30%.
Throwing in ShopBack rebates and credit card rebates, you can squeeze out an extra 10% of savings.

But.... here's the catch. You don't really want to spend that kind of money without first having a "hands-on" experience to see if you would really like it.

Now, you head to a shopping centre and look for the electronics store. It could be Challenger, Best, Harvey Norman, Gain City, etc. It doesn't matter. You zoom to the speakers section and start molesting the model of your dreams.

Within seconds, a salesman descends upon you. His supervisor is one row away watching his performance closely.

You shoot out all the questions about all the different technical specifications that you were too lazy to search for at home over the internet. You question certain features and how it works.

Your salesman calmly replies with the concise answers and confirms everything you wanted to know. He shows you a live demonstration how to engage and maximize utility from the unique features. For the 1 or 2 questions that he couldn't answer right away, he quickly asks his colleagues and comes back with the correct answer.

Check. Check. Check. Everything looks good. Everything feels good. You are amazeballs to pick out such a good model!

The salesman notices your contentment and gleams, "Is there anything else I can help you with?".

You look at the price tag one more time, sigh and eek out a weak smile and say, "Thank you for your help, but I need to think about it some more".

His smile slowly drops as he lowers his head. "Yes sir, I hope to see you again..."

You reach home, turn on your computer and with a few clicks, beeps and bops, your order is placed.

One week later, you're enjoying fantastic quality music from your swanky new speakers and everything feels great!

But then, you also feel something is a bit wrong. You shrug it off. 40% savings. Only an idiot wouldn't do it!

Right?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The same scenario as above, except when you reach the store, there isn't a salesman around. Very strange.

You fondle the speakers and read the information brochure beside it. You compare it to similar brands and models around it.

You are satisfied that the model is a good one and you leave the store without even saying a word or making eye contact with a human being.

You order the speakers online. You feel awesome. You're a money saving machine!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The same scenario as above, except when you decide to break your rules and just order it online without "trying" it.

You order the speakers online. It's exactly what you expected. You feel awesome. You're a money saving machine!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Even though the outcome for scenario #1, #2 and #3 are all the same, the process to arrive to that outcome is slightly different. In #1 you might feel a bit crummy, but in #3 you feel like you're a genius!

I think I would make use of the fact that the electronics store has other customers that just walk in and buy without comparing, and I am being a "free-rider" and benefiting from their service that they have to provide everyone. I am being subsidized by those customers and my subsidy is free information and a cheaper price compared to them.

Written out, it sounds quite wrong. But I still think I would exploit the system.

The last time I did something like that was in 2011 when I bought a digital camera. I saved about $400.

What would you do if you were in scenario #1?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

[XMM STI ETF Investing] August 2015 Update

It has been quite a while since my last update. I have been updating on my spreadsheet monthly, but I always forget to post up my review.

As mentioned previously, this will be my attempt at having a monthly update of the small portfolio that I am running for my sister and mother. The aim to have as little downside risk as possible, and maximize returns from there.

Here are the current stats of the portfolio as of end August 2015.

31 August 2015       Sister             Mom               Total       
Amount Contributed
$10,321.20
$18,288.89
$28,610.09
Percentage
36.0754%
63.9246%
100%

31 August 2015  Stocks  BondsCashTotal
Amount Contributed
$891
$10,246.05
$17,473.04
$28,021.80
Percentage
3.11%
35.81%
61.07%
100%

- Stocks are in the STI ETF (ES3.SI) with 3 lots.
- Bonds are in UOB SGD Fund Class A with 5902.1 units.
- Cash is earning 2.25% from filling up the remainder of my OCBC 360 account.
- Additional $600 was added to Cash.


Starting May 2015, the OCBC 360 account now only gives 2.25% interest. This is unfortunate, but it is still the best cash option for me.

Returns for the rest of this year should be quite optimistic considering that the bond fund was busy paying off its sales fee last year (they have since removed the sales charge for that particular bond fund, grrr). I will most likely be running out of space in my OCBC 360 account as I near the $60k limit myself, which means I must find this cash another good yielding alternative. I have opened up a CIMB StarSaver account which yields 0.8% in preparation of this.

I have rebalanced the portfolio in January of 2015 to have a better portfolio allocation between bonds and cash. I think a 40/60 split between bonds and cash is a good "war chest" allocation, especially since I highly suspect that 2015 will have an opportune time for me to pick up some lots of the STI. 2014 did not even experience a 10% correction the whole year, so just simple probability is telling me that there will be an opportunity soon. Very very soon.

I have begun following my STI ETF Playbook, which is a mechanical strategy to help me overcome emotions and to buy more stocks as the stock market falls. It's not a scientific method at all, but it follows the basic principles of value averaging which calls for buying more when the price goes lower. In the month of August, I have already hit the 10% and 15% trigger, so I currently hold 3 lots of the STI ETF.


Of course, I don't want things to be so strictly mechanical, so on top of this, I may opportunistically invest the fresh cash added each month into the STI or even liquidate my bond holdings if the opportunity really is very tempting.

The goal is to average down without being too kan chiong or humji, so I think the base case would suit me fine to help me dip my toes into the STI at increasingly safer levels. That's right, the lower the STI falls, the safer it is to invest!

No rush at all, really. Steady she goes.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Gold is either 40% down or 30% over ATHs... which Currency are you looking at?

"Gold is a store of value" is commonly heard all the time when people talk about gold. But is it?

Since the precious metals peak of 2011/2012, Gold is USD is down a pretty disgusting 40%. This is about the same in CNY and GBP.

Strangely enough... Gold is up 32% in Rubles and up 16% in Real! And this is compared to the highs of the "precious metals bubble"!


In a currency crisis, gold is one of the few things that can save you from total destruction of wealth. It isn't that gold is a stellar performer in Russia or Brazil that it is making all time highs. It is the fact that their currency is getting destroyed.

We all have learnt about situations like this when we were taking history lessons in Secondary school. I remember learning about the "hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic" and also briefly about Zimbabwe. I remember how they had pictures showing children playing with stacks of the worthless money. It was so hard for me to imagine how money could lose its value and purchasing power by so much, so quickly! Personally, that horrified me. I suppose that is a huge scare for savers and people who hold a lot of cash. Almost no one ever thinks about the effects of currency on their day to day lives. Perhaps that is why I am personally a bit fond of precious metals beyond that of a regaular investor.

Throughout the recent "emerging market currency crisis", the SGD has lost about 12% of its value to the USD. In that same time period, Gold has performed "relatively" better, only losing 4% of its value when priced in SGD.

I highly doubt Singapore will run into a currency crisis in the near future. However, some other countries are seriously running the risk of their entire currency and economy collapsing due to bad financial policies that their government and central bank have in place. The examples I always bring up is USA and Japan (more on USA and Japan individually), but the recent Greek crisis have brought attention and exposed a lot more dirty laundry in the Euro area. Would I lend any money to European countries in Euros? No.

Since the SGD is such a minor currency on the global stage, a big rise in gold prices in SGD would probably be caused by the spillover effect on global gold prices surging. Gold prices in SGD would get dragged along upwards. That's just my theory on it anyway.

With Gold in SGD near multi-year lows, precious metals supply becoming tight as well as the crackings of many currencies of poorly run countries appearing, I don't think it is ludicrous to want to transfer some of your wealth into the form of precious metals.

I think it's actually ludicrous if you know all of this and you don't want to!

But honestly, I don't care what you do. I just thought that this is something interesting to share and consider. Most people would just brush me off as foolish and inexperienced. Oh well.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Elections Logik Fraw


Just because the majority won, that does not mean that the majority is right. That is a very big logical flaw.

However, that also does not mean that the majority is wrong.

It just means that they are the majority - no right or wrong is attached to it. There simply was more people that believed one way compared to another.

It is very dangerous to assume that the majority is always right. The timeless example is how the majority of people believed that the Earth was flat for the longest time. As a contrarian investor, I always have to keep this thought in mind - being the majority does not mean being right.

This is not me saying that I believe that the recent polling outcome is flawed or wrong. This is just me saying that to not draw the conclusion that the majority is always right, and that the opposition supporters are uneducated, brainwashed, etc.

However, that doesn't mean I will think of all of my friends the same way as before they expressed their political views. Objectively, they may not be wrong. Subjectively, I would never want to talk about politics with some of them in case they boo me. (I think you can guess how I voted now)

Anyway, the best thing to come out of this elections is the "Ownself check ownself" meme. I just love it.


Happy long weekend everybody.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Precious Metals: The warning signs are already here

For me, I'm a pet rock lover. I like precious metals for 2 reasons:

1) It is the time-tested way to store wealth
2) It is (to me) cheap with plenty of upside as a speculative investment

I think not many people are interested in the pet rock these days. What a far cry from the 2009 - 2011 days where everybody seemed to be a gold expert, eh?

However, I see rumblings in the market and it is making me sit up and take notice.

First off, the insane chart that I showed back a month ago that had paper claims to physical claims to be 124:1 has now surged to become 228:1. That means that there are 227 other people holding the exact IOU that you have, but there is only 1 product available to be claimed. Problem? I think so.


As Dave from Smart Passive Cash Flow has pointed out, the physical supply is getting very, very, very tight. I trust him, but I went to verify on my own anyway.


If you don't believe me, you can go and check websites like SilverBullion or SilverAG yourself and see how many of their products are either "out of stock" or "pre-order" only. Even BullionStar is not spared and is out of some products (American 2015 Eagles, American Buffalo, PAMP 1oz)!


When both gold and silver prices were crashing in July, me being the crazy fool I was, started buying some physical precious metals.

At that time, Silver was trading at $14,80 and I had bought a stack of American Eagles and paid 23% price premium over spot for them. Today, guess whats the premium? 39%! I've done my research before and I know what are the normal price premiums for different products. 23% is the upper range of normal, so 39% is a high premium!

Even the humble Canadian Maple that usually trades 17-18% over spot is now selling for 27% over spot!

However, that's not the real problem. The real problem is: Are you even able to find a dealer that has inventory to sell you?

Today spot silver is at $14.65, but American Eagles are selling for $29.16. When I bought my American Eagles 2 months ago when spot silver was $14.80, I bought the Eagles at $24.57!

Spot prices are 1% lower, but physical prices are 18% higher? Whoa, that's weird, isn't it?

Across the board, premiums for almost all precious metals have risen, even if their underlying spot rate has not. This means that the physical precious metals market has been more robust and held up better than the market spot prices.

Even though prices of precious metals are still depressed, I am hoping that the price premiums of the products that I want to buy will drift lower so that I can accumulate more at a good price or if there is supply. RCM 10oz (my personal favourite) are out of stock everywhere, while the dealers that have inventory of Eagles and Maples have pushed up their premiums around 10% higher compared to normal periods.

My bullion of choice right now would be the 1oz Canadian Gold Maple where price premium at BullionStar is still under 4%.

I use BullionStar myself, so that's where I'm going to get my physicals. Of course, if you are interested to buy precious metals, don't take my word for it. Feel free to exercise your right as a discerning consumer and shop around and check out other dealers, but they probably have no inventory or have higher prices.

Whenever I think of precious metals, this quote always comes back to mind.
"I rather be 1 hour too early, than 1 second too late."

Full disclosure: If you enter BullionStar through my site, and you buy anything, I get a small commission.

Whether you buy at BullionStar directly or enter from my site, the price you pay does not change. The only difference is whether I get a cut for referring customers or not.

My personal precious metals investments are stored with BullionStar and I pay the same fees as any other regular customer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The difference between "Can" and "Should"

One of the things that I've noticed now that I am older is how juvenile some arguments tend to be.



Just because something CAN be done in one way, that does not mean that it SHOULD be done that way.

There are millions of examples of things that you CAN do, but you SHOULD not do.

Can I stay at home all day, don't work and watch TV? Can.
Should I stay at home all day, don't work and watch TV? Probably not.

Can I not study, not work and be on welfare? Can.
Should I not study, not work and be on welfare? Probably not.

Can I pull down my pants and take a shit on the MRT? Can.
Should I pull down my pants and take a shit on the MRT? Probably not.

Can I go to the kitchen, take out a knife and chop off one of my fingers? Can.
Should I go to the kitchen, take out a knife and chop off one of my fingers? Probably not.

Can I exercise my "universal" right of "free speech" and say to someone whatever I want? Can.
Should I exercise my "universal" right of "free speech" and say to someone whatever I want? Probably not.

Whether something is illegal or immoral does not affect whether an action can or cannot be done.
However, just because something is not illegal or immoral does not mean that it should be done.

Can I have 10 children if I do not have the financial means to raise them? Can.
Should I have 10 children if I do not have the financial means to raise them? Probably not.

Can I spend all my money and rely on social welfare for my retirement years? Can.
Should I spend all my money and rely on social welfare for my retirement years? Probably not.

Simple people ask if it can be done this way.
Smarter people ask if it should be done this way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to increase your Income, the Inverse way

Sometimes I find it hard to understand why people feel that saving more is a very arduous task. It really isn't as tough as it sounds.


When people think of increasing their savings, most people will naturally wonder about how to increase their income, while few think of where their expenses could be trimmed instead.

The formula only has 2 inputs:

Income - Expenses = Savings

For most people, the Income part is the tough part to change. Can you force your salary up? It really is dependent on many things, not least things that may be out of your control, such as how much your superiors like you and if you have any scheming colleagues out to get you. You can get a second job for side income, and of course you can also invest for more income. However, like I said, this is the tougher part to change.

The easier part to change is exactly the Expenses portion. If you earn the same amount, but you spend less, you will save more! This really isn't rocket science or quant finance. I think reducing expenses is the easiest way to increase your savings and it could also be better for you in the long run.

Both SS and Jes have wrote very good and timely posts about this I think that they are very useful, especially since they give some very practical suggestions and solutions.

The basic principles of how to cut down expenses is the same. Switch to a similar, but cheaper alternative. If that expense is really unnecessary, consider eliminating it altogether.

Other than just saving money, there are also other benefits of trimming expenses:

- Downgrading coffee brings you back down to earth and makes you less of a snob
- Swapping taxi rides for public transport on the way home also can make you less of a snob
- Preparing your own food can be fun, therapeutic, healthier and also help improve a life skill
- Limiting eating out with friends allows you more personal time and reduces the rush in your life
- Skipping dessert would probably free up some calories in your diet

Saving money doesn't mean that you need to take a big hit in your quality of life. Happiness is a perception and if you are able to train your brain to acknowledge both the monetary savings and the other benefits of these expense trimming activities, it would be easier to stick with them and incorporate them as good long-term habits.

However, I think this is also a good time to bring up that you should not be penny-wise, pound foolish. A lot of people are great at all these kind of small things, but yet they can drop $10,000 on a random stock tip that they read in an article somewhere. Or a $5000 handbag / watch. Or a $5000 vacation. The more money is at stake, the more time I would advise someone to slowly think about it and fully understand their actions and risks.

You don't necessarily have to get a better job, second job, higher salary or start a business to increase your savings. It is very possible to increase your savings just by looking at which expenses you have that can be trimmed.

Start on the easy things, then work your way up!

Monday, September 7, 2015

My own "better than Minimum Wage" of $100 per month

I read this post by Christopher Ng regarding unemployment insurance and also minimum wage and I found it very interesting since it approaches from a slightly different perspective from the usual arguments.

I personally do not think that there should be a thing as mandatory national unemployment insurance. If you want unemployment insurance, like Christopher suggests, be your own insurer and create your own insurance. Most of us normal people just call this an "emergency fund". Important to have one? I would say that I would prefer one, just like I would prefer a parachute if I was jumping off a plane. Of course, to each their own. Living dangerously is a lifestyle choice.

If you want your own "minimum wage", it can also be done through building a portfolio of dividend stocks or other income generating assets. I think it is very possible to have a retirement portfolio with a value of $200,000 and yielding 6% to generate income of $1000 per month in perpetuity.

Over the past 2 years, I have managed to build up a portfolio that is 10% of that value and also 10% of the monthly income. I have a portfolio that is around $20,000 yielding 6% to generate $100 of income every month. I achieved this only just last month.

If I do this until I'm 35, I should have built up at least a "minimum wage" of around $600 per month for myself, and this is considering if I do not increase my investment contributions, the market returns only 6% (under the 8-9% long term average) and I do not reinvest my dividends and capital gains.

In a more realistic scenario, I ought to actually be able to have built up a portfolio that gives me a "minimum wage" of about $1000 per month at the age of 35.

Why do I think that this is better than a minimum wage? A minimum wage requires me to work to receive wages. Here, I do nothing and receive income. While the amount is still small, it can be a supplement to my monthly salary. However, as it grows, I hope that one day it will exceed all my expenses and I would be financially free.

I am actually quite happy that I have hit this milestone of $100 per month, but I know that I still have a long way to go to reach my goals. It's all right. Slow and steady.

Everybody has to start somewhere, right?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I've Decided Not To Care About Politics


As stated in #3, economics is politics.

Bad economics is bad politics, it's as simple as that.

All the different political parties can say whatever they want about this that and whatever, but I pretty much only care about the economics of it all. There are a lot of policies here and there being thrown around, but I think I've narrowed down to what I think are the most important ones regarding labour, taxes, housing and individual responsibility.

That said, I would not vote for a party that:

1) wants to implement a minimum wage
2) wants to abolish GST
3) wants to allow people to own multiple public housing
4) wants to shift the bulk of the individual's burdens to the collective (any sort of pooled funds)

There's a lot of fiery debate going on, but I'm just completely withdrawing from trying to change anyone else's point of view to align with mine. I was actually going to extract some policies from the various parties and critique them, but I decided to screw it. Why? In all honestly, I just don't give a shit anymore.

Sure, I speak my mind on certain things like the minimum wage and social policies. It's more of a way for me to verbalize my thoughts on these topics and make a clear stand for myself rather than a call for action and support. You know, so next time when I am supreme ruler of my own country, I'd know what to do.

As a voter, my single vote is but a tiny ripple in the ocean. This is very similar to the financial markets where I am a price-taker, not a price-mover. I'm no big fish and more importantly, I don't even have the intention of becoming one.

I've reached the next level of enlightenment that I don't give a shit anymore about which party is going to win and how many seats are they going to get. I'm just going to vote for whichever party runs the better race in my constituency. I'll be voting for whoever says the least stupid things and that ought to be good enough, I guess.

You know what globalization is. Does it mean that because I was born a Singaporean that I have to live, work and die here? We are not trapped and imprisoned here to live by rules and laws that we might disagree with. If you don't like it here, you can always leave. If you can't, you're making excuses for yourself. At my own whim and fancy, I could leave this island and start life somewhere else because I have been equipped with the skills needed to survive and succeed.


If Singapore's future is navigated poorly by whoever is in power, be it the status quo or the new kids on the block, the most important question for me is:

Do I stay, or do I go?

Many Singaporeans think that this island we live on is paradise, especially since all the FTs are trying to release the floodgates and invade our land. I have travelled to many countries. For now, I still like Singapore the best. However, I can easily see how it may not remain that way in the future if we all make some bad decisions together as a whole.

I moved banks from DBS to OCBC just because the interest rates was shit. We might have had some good ol' times together, but what matters to me now is the present and my future. Who cares if you were nice to me in the past? Are you screwing me over now?

PAP can win. Opposition can win. It doesn't matter to me anymore. If Singapore one day sucks and there is another country that is better, I'm going there. This could be either from Singapore deteriortating or other countries progressing. Truth is, the reason why doesn't even matter as long as there is a better alternative. How is this any different from changing banks?

It's really not that different at all.

To piss some people off, I shall end with a quote from SMRT Ltd (Feedback):
"I end this note with the hope that Singaporeans will now think rationally when deciding the future of Singapore. Don't oppose for the sake of opposing, and don't be blinded by populist ideology. I am not pro-Singaporean but I am pro-Singapore. I do not accept the definition of a 'true-blue Singaporean'. When we divide people into different categories and class, we are in for a downward spiral, and it's something that I cannot accept. "

Thursday, September 3, 2015

[STI Statistics] August 2015

Hi all, this is my monthly post analyzing the STI.

As of 31 August 2015

STI Closing Value: 2921.44
P/E Ratio: 11.60
P/B Ratio: 1.18
P/CF Ratio: 9.41
Dividend Yield: 3.27

Monthly Data Series from 2008

Mean P/E: 12.28
P/E Standard Deviation: 3.07

Mean P/B: 1.45
P/B Standard Deviation: 0.21

% of time when the STI is cheaper based on P/E: 41.16%
% of time when the STI is cheaper based on P/B: 9.42%

Comments

The P/E and P/B ratios are finally on the same page regarding the index. Based on P/B, the STI is more than 1SD below its mean. P/E value is finally under 12 after coming off it's high of 14.36 in June 2014. I do believe on hindsight that many global indicators topped in June 2014. The STI is clearly no longer expensive at this point of time. For those investing for the very long term (as you should be), now is a pretty decent time to be making monthly purchases of the STI, though it must be cautioned that it is still very possible to move much lower.

Considering how the index has recently pulled back, I have purchased some lots. I am expecting and prepared for more downside to come.

*Straits Times Index values from Yahoo Finance
** P/E and P/B Ratios from SPDR STI as a proxy

***Data Series 2008 - 2014 from Bloomberg
****Data Series 2014 onwards from SPDR STI as a proxy
*****Probability calculated with http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/normal.aspx

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Singapore Savings Bond just raped the GE 2% "Guaranteed Saver"

Guaranteed to make all those GE agents happy, you mean.


Check out the current yield of this month's SSB (from here):


As I mentioned in my previous comparison between the SSB and the GE Guaranteed Saver, there is a very real likelihood that the actual yield of the SSB will be over 2% since it is a moving target.

Returns for the GE promo is 2%, nice and easy number. The SSB is a moving target and based on this reference table from FSM, we are looking at yields between 1.94 and 1.98% as of now. Of course the finalized yield will only be known when the bond is issued and it could definitely be higher than 2%. But for now, it is under 2%.

For whatever reasons and factors that have come into play, the SSB for 5 years is now 2.01%, beating the GE product by a mere 0.01%, ahaha!

But, it is actually just simple average returns. The true compounded yield is actually 1.954%, which is eerily close to the rate that I predicted a month ago with my comparison post. However, this does not make it inferior to the GE product. GE's number of 2% uses simple average returns. This was a huge basic fundamental mathematical error that I did not take into consideration in my last post, so sorry. Using the same formula, the GE's product has compounded returns of 1.924%.

Without taking into consideration reinvestment of the payout or coupons, $20,000 in the GE product yields $2,000 interest, while $20,000 in the SSB will yield $2,032 interest. The SSB has a marginal beat of $32 dollar, but a beat nonetheless.

Looking at these numbers, the previous table that the GE agent made and shared is very very very wrong, since their projected interested of the SSB was a mere $1,654 compared to the actual $2,032. This is a huge error of 23% over the forecasted interest received. What kind of anyhow accuracy is that sia.... And of course, they also conveniently did not "reinvest" the coupons, like they did for their own product. The agent that made the table is very tricksy indeed.


However, before you jump out of your chairs and go after that agent with pitchforks, it is noted in the infographic that it is "illustrative only". You are also asked to "do your own research". So her backside is safe. Anyway, we are all humans and humans can make mistakes, right?

If you didn't do your own research and trusted whatever your GE agent said and are now a proud owner of that GE "policy", congrats to you for helping them hit their KPI this year!


As summarized before, the SSB is the clearly superior product as it has:
- Higher interest rates

- Flexibility of early termination with no penalty
- Free option to extend the investment period
- Low capital required of only $500
- Zero default risk

For all those fixed deposit lovers, now is the time for you to get your hard-on about the Singapore Savings Bond :)


I will be throwing my spare cash into the SSB as and when I have spare cash. For this month, I plan to bid for placement. I have not decided the amount yet, but at the very least, it is going to be $1,000 just so I am familiar with the process and own some of it, which grants me the right to talk shit about this investment. Felix wrote a step by step guide on how to apply for the SSB with POSB, and I will definitely be using it to guide me along when I apply!

I've said this before, but I guess there is no harm repeating myself:

For the savvy individual, the government has come up tons and tons of ways of helping us. We have plenty of choices so that we aren't restricted to make better decisions of our financial future.
The CPF accounts (OA/MA/SA/RA), CPFIS, CPF Life, SRS, Medishield, Dependent Protection Scheme, ElderShield.... and now the Direct insurance products and this Singapore Savings Bond.
If you think the government is not doing enough for you, clearly you haven't been looking at the right places.
I think that the government has done a fantastic, fantastic job laying out the foundation and giving us all these tools and products to help us satisfy our most basic needs, as well as allow us to improve beyond the basics if we know how to take advantage of them.
You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

MAS has also created a very useful calculator to view the interest payments. I am in the midst of creating my own spreadsheet so I can know if it is worthwhile for me to rollover my SSB into a higher yielding SSB in the future. It's not easy, my brain hurts.

Time To Ditch and Burn the New OCBC Frank Card

Scg8866t blogged about the change in the Frank Card benefits. I can't say that this caught me off-guard. In fact, I participated in a survey by OCBC asking participants what changes would they like to see in a "revised" Frank card and if they would accept certain changes. So, I knew that some changes were in the works.

The main highlights are:
- $400 offline spending to qualify for all the bonus rebates
- 0.3% rebate if $400 offline spending is not met (down from 0.5%)
- 3% online rebate (down from 6%)
- 3% NETS ATU rebate (down from 6%)
- addition of Cafes*, Cinemas**, Bars & Entertainment*** with 3% on weekdays and 5% on weekends
- $60 monthly rebate cap

The finer details of the T&Cs can be found here.

What are my thoughts about this?


Don't think that "Cafes" mean hipster cafes that young kids go to for cafe-hopping. In the T&Cs, Cafes are defined as one of 6 coffee franchises, namely Starbucks, Coffee Bean, TCC, Dimbulah Coffee (lol, who the hell is that?), Coffee Club and Costa Coffee.

Basically, for me, "cafes" cover places I almost never frequent. Except for the very rare Starbucks, I prefer drinking kopi or teh. So, it is a useless category for me. I'm very sure a lot of people are going to get tricked by misunderstanding what "Cafes" stand for.

Cinemas are clear cut, but with the advent of the internet, I've watched maybe.... 2 movies this year. Almost no impact to my life again.

"Bars & Entertainment" is a bit interesting though, since it includes drinking establishments, bars, taverns, nightclubs and anything under merchant code 5813. Now, I do spend money at drinking establishments, but 3-5% for the few times a month that I go out to such places? I think that's pretty shit, especially when the ANZ Optimum card offers 5% at all times on a much broader category of "Dining and Leisure". I have a friend that uses it and he picks up the tab every single time. He told me that in the month of August he managed to get cashback of $300. ANZ has no rebate cap, while OCBC Frank does.

Everything else about the card has become shittier.

NETS ATU down to 3% from 6%.
Base rebate down to 0.3% from 0.5%.

The worst thing of all is now the mandatory $400 offline spending to qualify for any rebates. There have been months where I bomb my Frank card with a $1000 airfare charge and got happy that I maxed out the rebate. Now, I can't do that anymore. If I'm overseas on holiday, it's not that simple to rack up $400 of offline spending since I have less time that I even am around locally to spend money.

It is very timely that I have recently done a review of my credit card spending and calculated my effective cashback. It was 2.07%. With this new changes to the card, I expect my cashback to plummet like a rock to something just above 1%, which is pretty shit considering all the hoops that I have to jump through, so:


Credit cards are so desperate for new sign-ups with some even throwing free credit at the faces of consumers.

(ANZ Optimum: $100 sign up credit, 5% rebate on 1 category, 1% rebate on all else, no rebate cap)
(SCB Singpost: $50 sign up credit, $600 min spending for 7% online rebate, $60 rebate cap)
(AMEX Cashback: 5% rebate for 1st 3 months, after that 1.5% rebate for everything)
(UOB One: 3.33% rebate for $500 per month spending, all catergories)

I am now going to undertake a review of my bank accounts and credit card spending now. Up until this point of time I have been comfortable with OCBC. However, circumstances have changed. As a sailor, I only can respond to the conditions. Of course, I can bitch all along the way while I do it.

I will be looking to see if it will better for me to switch cards from Frank to the OCBC 365 card, or whether it would be better to just entirely forgo the OCBC 360 Credit Card spending bonus of 0.5% and get a better, more flexible card. This could mean that I adopt the UOB One card and possibly their account as well, or I could just drop the account tie-ins and go for a good standalone card (such as ANZ).

Whatever the case is, I am no longer going to be using the Frank Card in a few months. Too complicated and pathetic benefits. Of course, many people are going to be fooled by these "awesome new changes", but that's their own problem. I deal with mine.

This isn't about loyalty or whatever, so no hard feelings. This is just math and good business.