Saturday, April 08, 2017

Mystics Secrets of the Eunuch Sorcerer !


Before I go for my exams and take 10 days off my blogging, I'd just like to address the amazing traction of my Eunuch post by looking at ways for a fresh graduate public servant to rapidly create a portfolio that can facilitate an early exit from stifling bureaucratic environment.

The public service is a lot more forgiving for entry-level personnel and you will find that your early salary trajectories are quite steep to keep you interested in staying on as a public servant. Furthermore. a rookie public servant also experiences much gentler office politics making it easier to keep earning the pay-check.

This makes your earlier years the best time to start creating the early "exit" portfolio. Any delay and your organization will slap the golden handcuffs on you and emasculate you forever.

a) Some generous assumptions

My salary projection assumes a starting salary of $3,500 before CPF for a top flight local graduate with a first class Honours degree ( Salary taken from top end of MOE Education Officers ). He maintains a disciplined lifestyle and spends only $2,000 a month but gets a 2 months bonus every year. Salary increments are projected to be 5% every year.

[ Life is unfair but I have a fairly smart, capable and sophisticated readership who show up on time for almost all my seminars ! ]

b) Target

The target portfolio size is $300,000 which, when invested in high yielding instruments, would generate the $2,000 salary expenses and cover the basic expenses of a male herbivore who lives with parents and wants to play computer games all day.

c) Portfolio is a simple STI ETF

This assumes that the exit portfolio is a diversified local equity portfolio returning a modest 7% a year. This exit portfolio is designed for total returns and only converted to a high yielding portfolio after exit from the service.

d) Results 

If you follow this example, based on my spreadsheet, you are expected to complete your exit portfolio in around 10 years.

( Do try it out yourself on a spreadsheet ! )

e) Eunuch Sorcery : Tapping on the power of leverage through margin financing

I was thinking about whether are there ways to speed up the creation of the exit portfolio and then had this idea of looking at margin financing.

You can check out this link  The Maybank website allows you to enter the name of the stock and it will return the interest rate they will charge you if you borrow from them to buy a stock.

Some of the data points were very interesting for yield investors :

  • Aims AMP Reit (yielding around 8%) is considered investment grade and financing can be obtained at merely 2.88%. 
  • So is Cache Logistics Trust which yields around 8.4%.
  • The STI ETF is considered Grade 2 and financing is expensive at 5%. I can imagine how interesting things can get if this can be upgraded to Grade 1.

So you can leverage a portfolio of yield counters at a low financing cost of 2.88%.

e) What if the public servant leverages 50% of a diversified equity portfolio which returns 7% at a cost of financing of 3% ?

Because the timeline is particularly tight, at least on my spreadsheet, there is insufficient time to compound the additional returns from leverage, this tactic will at best shave off 4-5 months from the time needed to generate $300,000.

Conclusion

A disciplined top-flight local graduate will be able to safely generate a portfolio to leave the public sector and get his modest expenses completely replaced within a period of 10 years. The fastest way to speed this up is by either performing better at work so that increments can exceed 5% or cutting your spending below $2,000 a month ( Spending $1500 can cut the time down to 8 years or 7 years if you are targeting a passive income of $1500 ).

The bureaucrat can attempt Eunuch Sorcery by leveraging his portfolio but the time horizon is too short for compounding to take place and it will at best allow him to exit the public service 4-5 months early. There is also a risk of magnifying losses when introducing leverage into a portfolio .

A  smart, capable and lucky public servant can possibly exit within 8 or 9 years if he attempts to employ all these techniques at once. If he is a male who has done NS and had a 4 year degree, he would be 34 years old - not too late for another career in banking or management consulting, perhaps ?









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