Monday, November 11, 2019

Letter to Batch 9 of the Early Retirement Masterclass.

Dear Students of Batch 9,

It’s been a great honour and privilege to be able to conduct a 2-Day Early Retirement Workshop for you.

The highlight of this session is that we managed to successfully conduct a new version of the Emigration Exercise that used to be done for earlier batches. In this exercise, students get to roleplay an emigrating singleton and to investigate one destination that they would like to emigrate to by digging out the economic data of a target country. Once they reach their destination country, students will have to determine whether they can live on the dividends generated back home in Singapore. Students will also get to present one new stock that they would like to purchase once they open their trading accounts in their new home.  

We were unable to pick a favourite destination today after looking at the data because New Zealand (Wellington) and Thailand (Bangkok) garnered equal votes. The results of this fun and enlightening exercise will be shared in a future article on the Dr Wealth blog.

I have also learnt quite a bit from Batch 9.

The first thing I learnt is that I can reduce my expenses further when I pick the GrabHitch option carpooling feature when calling for a cab. I will make it a priority to try this out from Bukit Panjang this week.

During the qualitative analysis segment of equity counters, the discussion on OCBC was unusually lively.  Students shared useful insights on how OCBC is resonating with millennials with their first mover advantage on CDAC accounts and the tactical positioning of the Frank sub-brand. The class also unanimously agreed that OCBC apps and webpage were more user-friendly compared to the other local banks. As I am not an OCBC customer, I was pleasantly surprised that my previous impression of OCBC as a stodgy old bank no longer reflects the reality experienced by their customers today.

The biggest pay-off from teaching Batch 9 came was when I discovered that one really smart student is an actuary in real life so I jumped at the chance to ask her what kind of insurance does she buy for herself. Her answer – just term life and H&S, totally made my day. If you ever want insurance advice, you should mirror the moves made by the folks who actually create them for a living.

By this batch, the ERM has more or less settled down with our methodology of stocks selection and this batch of students has managed to choose six blue-chip stocks and six REITs to form the core component of the portfolio. I find this class even-handed and balanced in their approach of stock elimination, so I look forward to investing with my trainer fees before the end of this week.

As a response to feedback during this course, I will be taking steps to align the final portfolio closer to the asset allocation exercise done as part of early stages of the course. We are always improving our material after your feedback, so you can expect a supplementary write-up to be posted on the FB group within the next few days.

Christopher Ng Wai Chung

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