Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Future of Canroys

Canadian Royalty Trusts are usually energy producers (e.g. oil and natural gas) The trusts give out high dividends because they don't have to pay corporate income taxes if they distribute their income to unit holders (shareholders). Canadian royalty trusts differ from U.S. royalty trusts in that U.S. trusts are not allowed to acquire new properties whereas Canadian royalty trusts can. Canadian trusts are not corporations, and in theory at least, unitholders have unlimited liability for the actions of the trust. In practice, however, most experts consider it unlikely that individual unitholders will ever be held liable for the trusts actions.

Now, that is changing. When certain large corporations announced their intentions to convert to the trust structure, the Canadian government (Tories) changed the rules as they feared a drop in tax income from loss taxes. By 2011, all existing trusts will have to pay taxes similar to that of corporations while newly formed trusts will no longer get any tax incentives that current trusts enjoy.

A trust has only limited oil and natural gas reserves and these reserves are slowly depleted. With the proposed changes and uncertainty looming, access to new capital might be difficult thus making new acquisitions harder. Trusts without sufficient reserves in the ground may be unable to maintain their current distribution levels. Once the tax incentives stop in 2011, trusts might opt to use their profits for capital expansion or new projects instead of distributing them..

So what will happen between today and 2011? Some trusts could convert to regular corporations during this period. Others might be left with no choice but to reduce their distribution as their oil and gas reserves are depleted. Those that are able to step-up their output substantially will also be able to carry on the high distribution.
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Passive Income Sources

I found this really good article on Ezine which I thought I should share with everyone. It basically describes some of the sources of passive income that anyone can get. Here is the article attached below:


Cash is king!

This aphorism from real estate investing perfectly describes the little known method the rich actually use to accumulate millions of dollars. This report reveals 10 sources of passive income. Put any or all of these sources into place and sit back and watch the dollars roll on with no (or very little) further effort on your part.

If you truly want to get rich and live a life of luxury, then you must master the ability of generating cash flow from passive income sources. Without this ability, your income will be limited to traditional ways of making money, such as working. Working will never free you from having to work. You must do something different than working in order to obtain the income you need to live the lifestyle you desire. Passive income is the key.

Before you begin any investment plan, the first rule is to consult with a qualified investment advisor. By talking over your plan and considering possibilities you may not have considered, you will protect your capital to the greatest degree and help protect it from potential loss whiule multiplying your return.

This article will not consider the cost of entry to any investment nor will we look at rates of return. These will fluctuate - possibly every year or even over the course of a year- depending on the economy, conditions set by the SEC and other regulatory bodies and the IRS. This article will consider only the 20 possible sources of passive income; you will need to conduct further research to determine if any investment is appropriate for you.

1. ETF's - Exchange Traded Funds - This is a fund that tracks the performance of an index such as the Dow Jones or Standard and Poor 500, a basket of assets or a commodity. Trading in the same manner as a stock, its price will vary according to the days trading demands. Benefits of owning an ETF include the ability to buy short, buy on margin and to buy as little as one share. Expense ratios are often lower than mutual funds. A common ETF is called a spider - SPDR - and tracks the S&P 500 index. Look for the symbol SPY to research or to purchase.

2. REIT - Real Estate Investment Trust - One of my favorite investments because you own a portion of the real estate (or mortgages) the trust invests in. These also trade like a stock on the exchanges. An Equity REIT buys ownership (equity) in properties while a Mortgage REIT buys the mortgages on properties. Two key advantages to owning an REIT are the tax advantages and the liquidity of the security - you trade it just like a stock.

3. Canadian Oil and Gas Trust - This is an organization that invests in oil and/or gas production and possibly mining in Canada. Several of these are now trading on the American (US) exchanges. Purchase is the same as purchasing a stock in any other company. Tax advantages are similar to those of an REIT and a big advantage - the one I like the most - is that some of these trusts pay ridiculously high dividends - and they pay monthly! My advice: do your research, find a Canadian Oil and Gas Trust you like and then invest as much as you can.

4. MLP - Master Limited Partnership - Want a limited partnership that you can sell or trade as easily as a stock? Enter the Master Limited Partnership. These hybrid organizations feature the limited liability of a partnership while enabling you to trade the partnership units - investment units - just as you would a stock. What could be better? A MLP offers distributable cash flow as well as income and these terms must be mastered and understood before a reasoned decision can be made regarding the purchase of an MLP for your investment portfolio.

5. Annuities - Who has not heard of an annuity? But do you know how they work? Let's keep this simple: an annuity is nothing more than a contract you sign with an insurance company that guarantees to pay you a certain set amount of income over a period of time. You pay for an annuity upon signing and then the insurance company repays you the amount of your investment plus the "profits" (we'll keep this simple and not use the technical term) over a period of several (or many) years. These are generally considered safe stable investments appropriate for a conservative portfolio.

6. TIPS - Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities - Offered by the U.S Treasury, these are securities that are indexed to the rate of inflation meaning your dividend will increase as the rate of inflation increases. A TIPS pays interest every six months and pays the principal upon maturity. Also a conservative investment, you may want to consider these if you are looking to preserve and protect capital from the ravages of inflation while providing a consistent and dependable income, but your money may not grow at the rate you would prefer - but then we aren't looking at capital appreciation anyway.

7. Dividend Paying Stocks - Finally we get to what is perhaps the most familiar method of passive income. Anyone who knows anything about Wall Street knows that companies pay dividends to people who own their stock. Right? Well, most of the time , if it is a well known and established company. Many newer and smaller companies will use their income to grow the company instead of paying dividends and any company that incurs financial trouble may stop paying dividends. So if you are going to buy stock to acquire the income make sure the company has a track record of paying dividends. The best known American companies - commonly referred to as the "Blue Chips" are also the companies that traditionally have paid the best dividends. As with all other investments, research is necessary to capture the best dividends and target those companies with the best potential in future years.

8. Covered Calls - This is a passive investment instrument that is often considered risky. But it is not. A covered call is selling the option to buy stock that you own. You do not sell the stock, you only sell the option to buy that stock at a future price and time. The person buying the covered call buys the option at the price you agree upon - actually at which the market agrees upon - and you just set back and forget it. Well, not quite. The person who has bought the option has the right to buy your stock at any time between the time you sold the option and the expiration of that option. Writing (selling) a covered call is the only options investment that is considered safe enough by the IRS to be included in a 401K or other retirement plans. But you must do your homework and thoroughly understand the world of options before using this method.

9. Real Estate - Everyone knows what real estate is and everyone knows - or at least is intuitively aware - that big money can be made from real estate. Real estate provides tax advantages as well as the opportunity to highly leverage your investment - leverage being a factor that is limited or absent in many other investments. Many real estate advisors and gurus insist that the one house at a time or the flipper strategy or fixer upper or wholesale method or other flavor of the month is the absolute best way to make money in real estate. Generally speaking, avoid all that. Making big money - meaning massive income - in real estate is possible with highly leveraged deals which are a certainty only in commercial property. Multiple family properties, office buildings, retail facilities and warehouses would all constitute commercial property. Of these, the best strategy is to invest in multiple family properties. The bigger, the better. This requires knowledge and education more than it requires capital. Capital can always be acquired through your network, but knowledge is the one ingredient that will make this passive investment method work. And, with a big property, the income from that one property may be all you need to secure your retirement - today!

10. Business Ownership - No, this isn't what you think. Owning a small business for most people is worse than working 9 to 5. In your own small business you get caught up in the details, trying to make the business go, searching for a market, dealing with customers; it quickly becomes more than a full-time job. That's OK if that's what you love to do. But, what we mean here is starting a business or franchise with the short term goal of handing it off to someone to run. The faster you can do this the better. If you can do it from the very beginning so much the better - the more time you free for yourself, the more time you will have to enjoy and/or create more passive income sources. A book that will help you is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, another is the Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. Both of these books will help you structure your business ownership in a way that frees you of actually running the business yourself - margaritas on the beach anybody?

As this article is already so long, we will create a Part 2. Passive income source number 11 is Private Lending - a relatively new income source and we will also look at a few others you may not be familiar with.

All of these sources require work to set up, but once established, they can be structured to run hands free. The two books mentioned in item 10 above will help you structure your passive income sources to be truly hands free income.

Perry Jones,
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3 Sources of Passive Income

David Bach Automatic Millionaire

We have all heard from the various wealth experts be they Robert Kiyosaki or Suze Orman or Donald Trump. Today, I will introduce David Bach.

Intro to David Bach

David Bach is the author of books like the Automatic Millionaire Homeowner, Smart Couples Finish Rich and Start Over, Finish Rich. Just by reading the first chapter of Automatic Millionaire Homeowner alone, I had already gained insights into how home ownership can actually slowly make one a millionaire over the years.

The thing about the way David Bach writes is that he uses real life examples in his books so that all can follow and relate to these cases. It shows that nothing is impossible and getting ourselves out of debt and onto an abudant life is really easy. Of course, one will still need to gain the necessary knowledge when it comes to various things like mortgage loans, retirement plans, buying real estate, managing your debt, etc.

Grow Rich

The true life examples or success stories remind me that wealth is possible as long as you believe that it is achievable. Important concepts like paying yourself first are also once again highlighted. I guess it is by studying all these concepts from all these wealth gurus can we then see where the commonality lies and what are some of the principles they have applied in their lives that have helped them to achieve financial freedom.

Buy A Home For Financial Freedom

One of the things that struck me was the concept that buying a home instead of renting one makes much more financial sense in the long run. Just imagine: a person who rents out a home will definitely be renting it out at a rate that is much higher than his monthly mortgage payments so as to make a profit. Thus, it makes sense to buy a home once you are able to afford it.

The author thinks that people should read David Bach's books or at least visit his website. His ideas are not new per se but serves as a timely reminder for us on our road to financial freedom.

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Income Investing - Rental Property

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Portfolio Update

I have sold off 10 lots of Suntec REIT at a price of $1.08 which I bought previously at $1.02. This is a return of almost $550+ in profits not counting the dividends that I have collected from it.
Re-invested that amount of money into NOL at a price of $1.75. The chart above is that of NOL which was plotted using ChartNexus. I believe NOL is a good company facing troubled waters and this could be the reason why its price is so depressed now. It used to trade at the $3 to $4 range. I am prepared to keep NOL for the long term even if the stock price trades lower in the short to mid term. However, I am also willing to take any profits if I can get a 5% ROI in the next few weeks
I am abit disappointed with my selling of Penn West Energy Trust (it's a Canadian Royalty Trust if you haven't heard of it yet). After selling it at $14.63, the price has shot up way past the $15 mark. But guess I will just wait on the sidelines and see if it is worth re-entering into this canroy
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2. Dividends
3. Income Investing - Canadian Royalty Trust

Free Tickets To Singapore Zoo

Apparently, there are 1000 free tickets up for grab to go visit the Singapore Zoo.

This is thanks to Dr Madeleine Chew, the 37-year-old managing director and founder of MW Medical, a Singapore health-care firm which specialises in home medical services. She forked out her own money to allow the celebration of the International Day for the Elderly.

What is the criteria?

Singaporean or permanent resident aged 60 and above. Offer lasts from Thursday to Sunday. Only limited to the first 1000 readers.

How do you claim the tickets?

Those who are interested in the zoo visit can call 6250-0625 up to Friday from 9am to 5pm to register for a ticket and choose their dates.

Tickets, which will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, can be collected at any ticket booth at the zoo on the entry date.

An identity card is needed for verification.

Inform the counter staff that you have registered with MW Medical when collecting your free ticket.

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Free Stuff
Top 10 Money Saving Tips
My Saving and Spending List
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5 Million by 2010

Nope. I do not mean that I hope to have 5 million by 2010. Instead, I just read the news that Singapore could have up to 5 million people pretty soon. The official figure currently stands at 4.99 million people in June 2009.

I remember the days when Singapore's population was just around 3 million. Those were the days.

Today, it seems that everywhere I go, there is a huge crowd. And the fact is this: I hate crowds. Go to Orchard road and it is crowded. Go to Vivocity and it is also crowded. Even the foodcourt downstairs is crowded. Ha.. Guess that will be the way of life in Singapore in the future.

I once read that if the whole world had the same population density as Singapore, we could squeeze the entire world's population into South Africa.

So let me try to do an analysis of what 5 Million People living in Singapore might mean to me:

1. More cars on the road? Definitely. With more people, there will be a need to increase the number of taxis, buses and cars on the road. The roads will be more congested I guess and perhaps.

2. More people on the streets. There will be alot more people on the streets. So there better be large shopping malls and complexes in every corner of Singapore. If you haven't figured it out yet, people in Singapore LOVE to hang out at shopping malls and complexes. So the best way to deal with this problem is to built like mini Orchard roads in all the four corners of Singapore so that people stop congregrating at Orchard Road.

3. More food to Eat? With a bigger population, hopefully there will be a greater variety of people from different countries. Perhaps then we will have more exotic food like Russian cuisine and stuff. Let the European people in I say!

Oh well. That is all I can think of at the moment. I sure look forward to seeing Singapore become more cosmopolitan. We need these foreigners to push our country to greater heights!

Majulah Singapore!

Free Stuff

It is time for me to share with people some free stuff that you can get online. Afterall, keeping our expenditure low is one of the best ways to become financially free.

Free Charting or Trading Tools

For charting purposes, there is a free software out there called ChartNexus that is extremely easy to use. The download is pretty fast too. The user interface is likewise easy even for the begineer. I would seriously recommend it to anyone who is trying out charting for the first time to download this software. Just type ChartNexus into Google and you should be able to find the site to download it from.

Free Sites for Movies or Drama Serials.

I am not talking about downloading movies illegally. Rather, it is about watching movies through streaming websites. You are not downloading anything per se. My current favorite site is . In this site, you can find all the latest korean and japanese movies and drama serials. The time it takes to load these movies are also pretty fast.

Free Sites for EPL matches

Want to watch English Premier League matches but can't afford to pay for the sports channel? Fret no more. Simply type MyP2P in google and you should see a website that allows you to watch live matches. You will need to download Sopcast (which is a sort of media player) in order to watch these streaming matches live. If you just want to watch the match highlights, go to YouTube or type and you can watch all the goals of the lastest matches.

Free Sites for News

Why buy newspapers when you can read them online? Apart from getting a free copy of the Today newspaper, there are a wide variety of news that is available online today. The following is a non-exhaustive list where I get my daily news from:

So there you have it. Some of the free stuff you can get off the web at no cost to you. Hope you enjoyed this posting.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Income Investing - Bonds

Bonds are probably investment tools that most people are familiar with. A bond is basically a debt instrument in which the issuer is obliged to pay the holders or buyers of the bond an interest (usually in the form of coupon payouts) and the principal sum at a later maturity date.

I never really liked buying bonds due to the hassle involved and the lack of liquidity. I prefer to get my exposure to bonds through unit trusts as it is a far simpler way compared to going down to the banks or ATM to subscribe for government bonds or treasury bills.

In Singapore, you can invest in bonds by buying it through the primary market. The good thing about bonds is that the income that you get from it is exempt from tax. You can also use your CPF to invest in bonds. You are however required to set aside the first $20,000 in your CPF-OA and the first $30,000 in your CPF-SA before you can invest in the rest.

There are some great links to read up on the bond market in Singapore. You can view some useful info here:

1. Income Investing #1 - High Dividend Yield Stocks
2. Income Investing #2 - REITs
3. Income Investing #3 - Canroys
4. Income Investing #4 - Rental Property
5. Income Investing #5 - Bonds

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Formula 1 Singapore

So its the Formula 1 Race for Singapore again. The whole town is jam packed and everybody (well almost) are suddenly Formula 1 fans. People who don't usually watch the race are now catching it on TV. Now that's what I call good marketing by F1. People here can't really tell the difference between any of the race drivers. I am still abit surprised that the F1 fever is actually quite hot in Singapore.

I sold away Suntec REITs @ 1.08 on Friday as I felt that the price should hopefully drop further. Been monitoring a few stocks lately and have been thinking of trading the stock market a bit more actively since now I have time on my hands.

Have been reading some ebooks on trading lately. Hope to brush up my skills on trading especially in terms of the Mind, Method and Money. What struck me perhaps was the focus on money management and how much of each stock one should buy when trading. It never cross my mind that money management was such an important aspect of trading.

Adsense earnings have been pretty decent this past few days and if this keeps up, I think my broadband expenses can be covered by my monthly expenses pretty soon. I still think it is possible that there are people who earn more than 3 digit per day from online income. If one really puts in the effort, everything is possible.

Signing off,
Sleepless in Singapore on Sunday 1.31AM

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Portfolio Update

I have sold off Hongguo and PWE (Penn West Energy Trust) for profits of around 30%. Decided that a 30% gain was good enough so decided to exit both stocks. If the opportunity arises, I will enter into both PWE and Hongguo again.

I have also been trying learn more about technical analysis. Just downloaded ChartNexus. It seems like a pretty good software to play around with. Think I will be combining both FA and TA for my purchases of stocks next time round. Still need to learn a great deal about the various indicators and stuff though.

Still no success at the job front. Just bumming around each day with nothing to do. Don't really know what job I am passionate about. I just feel so weary and tired and feel like I could do with a really really really long break.

Just for my records purposes:

Dividends received from PWE = $11.27
Dividends received from ST Eng = $30.00
Cash from selling 24000 shares of Hongguo @0.355=$8488.93
Still waiting for the proceeds from the sale of PWE.

1. Decided to Quit My Job

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello Canadians!

I realised that a lot of Canadians have been visiting this site lately.

Just wanted to say a big "Hi!" to all Canadians who are visiting this site.

It is interesting how the internet has really shrinked the entire world such that whatever I am typing here in sunny Singapore is actually being read by a Canadian in Canada (which is like right across the other side of the globe).

While I am sipping coffee here in noon, it is probably like the wee hours of the morning in Toronto.

I wonder what Canadians eat. What clothes do they wear? What are their dreams? What are their fears? What are their working hours like? How do they spend their free time? What do they invest in? What are the online newspapers they read?

Is it as stressful as it is in Singapore? Is the pace of life as fast as that in Singapore? Is the cost of living high? Do Canadians also hope to be financially free?

I really wonder..

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1. Income Investing - Canadian Royalty Trusts
2. Investing in Canadian Royalty Trusts

A Perfect Day

I am a morbid person. I have recently been thinking about life and death. I realise that death is a respecter of noone. It can visit you when you are young. It can visit you when you are old.

Too many times in our lives, we are just cruising through. We are not truly happy. We are just making a living.

We all know that we should live each day as if it is our last. But how practical is that? If everyone was to do that, I am pretty sure that noone will be going to work. Everybody will be hanging around and doing nothing.

So as much as work is a "curse" in that sense of a word, it is still a necessary part of our lives. Without work, most men will not find meaning in their lives. Without work, there will be no food on the table. So how do we balance work and life? What would make a perfect day?

This is my thoughts on the perfect day (inclusive of work):

8.00am - Wake up and wash up
8.30am - Breakfast, coffee, read newspapers
9.30am - Leave home, DRIVE to work, listen to the radio
10.00am - Reach work, say HI to all your colleagues
10.30am - Settle down and clear all your emails
11.30am - Plan out what you are supposed to do by the end of the day. Meet boss.
12.00pm - Eat lunch with colleagues
1.00pm - Coffee to go, start finishing the work that you have planned out.
3.00pm - Tea Break, catch up on the latest news in football
3.30pm - Back to work, read your email, finish your work
4.30pm - Meet boss, clarifications
5.00pm - leave office
5.30pm - Reach home and change
6.00pm - Get out of the house and meet friends
7.00pm to 10.00pm - Chill out.
10.00pm to 11.00pm - Surf net, read books

That will be a perfect day for me =)


PWE? You might be thinking that I have gone crazy. Is is some wrestling federation or something like WWE?

Nope, PWE stands for Penn West Energy Trust. Just typing PWE into Google gives me the stock price of this canroy which I own. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol as PWE.

In fact, I have been receiving cheques from PWE every month for the past few months. Based on my estimate, the distribution yield by this canroy is slightly below 10%. It does make a very good income source I must say.

It also just declared its distribution for the month of September:

Penn West Energy Trust ("Penn West") (TSX:PWT.UN) (NYSE:PWE) confirms that its September 2009 cash distribution will be CDN$0.15 per trust unit payable on October 15, 2009 to unitholders of record on September 30, 2009. The ex-distribution date is September 28, 2009.

The CDN$0.15 per unit is equivalent to approximately US$0.14 per unit (before deduction of any applicable Canadian withholding tax) using currency exchange of one Canadian dollar equals US$0.90. Registered unitholders with U.S. addresses will receive their distributions directly from Penn West's transfer agent, and will be paid in U.S. currency using the exchange rate in effect on the record date. Non-registered U.S. unitholders will receive their distributions through their brokers.

I bought into this stock while it was over US$10. Today it trades at close to $15. That is close to a 50 per cent gain on top of the dividends that I have received. But guess I will just hold on to this stock for now.

See Related Articles:

1. Income Investing - Canadian Royalty Trusts
2. Investing in Canadian Royalty Trusts

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Income Investing - Rental Property

What do you need to know about property investment? Renting out a property gives one monthly income. It is similar to investing in a REIT except that you own the property. What are some things that one should note when buying a property for rental income?

Though I do not have a rental property, I do own my own property which I live in. As such, I believe I roughly have an idea of how mortgage loans work and how much one can get from rental income by investing in a property. Note that I am not focused here on buying properties for "flipping" or investing for capital gains. I am basically touching upon property investment for rental income. Should the property gain in value over the years, that is an added bonus.


Most people know that land is scarce in Singapore. I believe it was Robert Kiyosaki who also once mentioned in his book about property investment in Singapore. Even international movie stars like Gong Li and Jet Li have also bought property in Singapore before. Jim Rogers moved to Singapore to be closer to China.

Okay, the Jim Rogers case is not really related to property investment but you can tell from the decisions these people make, living in Singapore is something desirable. Singapore also boasts one of the highest standard of living in the world. As such, property investment in Singapore makes sense for both the locals and foreigners.

In Singapore, locals are given special priviliges to own property while foreigners need to apply if they wish to purchase restricted property like vacant land, bungalows, terrace houses and semi-detached houses. For public housing, the minimum requirement is usually that of being a Singapore Permanent Resident. Other rules do apply to. Check the HDB website here for eligibility requirements


Property investment requires a huge budget. To purchase a rental property, you will need to be able to pay the initial downpayment, monthly mortgage loans and monthly maintenance expenses. Banks will only lend you money based on the amount you are earning. Thus, the mortgage loan that you get cannot exceed a certain percentage of your monthly income (or combined monthly income if you are married).

Different banks give different loan packages so do shop around though a mortgage consultancy firm first. These mortgage consultancy firms usually tie up with the various banks and thus have a clearer picture on the best rates available. Ask them to do a comparison for you. The rates that they offer are usually the same as those offered by the banks so there is no additional cost to you. It saves you a lot of time too so it is much better to get a mortgage consultant instead of doing the comparison yourself. Of course, if you already have an idea of what the best rate in town is, then you can skip the mortgage consultants.

The key to earning income from a rental property is to make sure that your RENTAL INCOME exceeds that of the MONTHLY EXPENSES (e.g. mortgage loans, property tax, etc)


Get an idea of what the rental rate for your area is. Hire a few property agents if you are lazy to do your own leg work. Surf the internet for info. Usually, you will see similar properties and will be able to gauge the rental income that you can get.


There are many risks involved when it comes to purchasing a property.

Firstly, there is the risk that you might not be able to get a tenant for periods of time especially when the rental market is down. You might need to lower you rent to an unprofitable rate just to attract tenants. Therefore, I believe that it is important that you always have spare monthly cash to afford paying the monthly mortgage installments should that happen.

Secondly, there are times when the property value drops. How will that affect you?? There is a little known clause involving bank loans that the bank is only willing to lend you a certain percentage (e.g. 80%) of the property's value. For example, a property could cost $1 million and the bank's maximum loan to you could be $800,000. Should the property value drop to $500,000 someday, the bank reserves the right to ask you to top up the difference between the maximum it can lend you and what you have already borrowed. In this case, it will be a whopping $400,000!! Of course, this scenario might or might not happen so it is something that you ought to consider when looking to buy a property.

1. Income Investing #1 - High Dividend Yield Stocks
2. Income Investing #2 - REITs
3. Income Investing #3 - Canroys
4. Income Investing #4 - Rental Property
5. Income Investing #5 - Bonds

Another Day at Starbucks

It is another day at Starbucks for me.

People are studying all around me. Some people are sipping coffee. Some are surfing the internet. The guy sitting next to me is busily monitoring the stock market. The Starbucks staff are busily chatting away as they serve customers the coffee. The aroma of the coffee and the jazz music that is playing at the background helps to soothe my nerves and gives me comfort.

I see people getting off the bus stop and from where I am sitting, I can also see people waiting for the train.

The weather is really hot and I am enjoying the aircon. The caffe latte (whatever remains of it) sits on the table in front of me.

I have been reading this blog by a Malaysian full time blogger and have found some useful tips for my own blogging. You can read his blog here.

Record Earnings from Adsense ($4.85 in A Single Day)

On a happy note, I earned like a record $4.85 from Google's Adsense while I was sleeping last night. Apparently, my articles on Canroys ranked pretty high up Google's search pages. Not too sure how I did it but when I checked again just now, the rankings have gone all the way down.

Imagine the power of the residual income I will be able to earn if Adsense gives me $485 per day instead of $4.85 per day. I will be laughing my way to the bank! Hahahahah

Sold off Hongguo for a profit of over $3000

On the investment front, I sold off one of my small cap stocks (Hongguo) last week before the long weekend. Managed to earn over $3000 from an initial investment of $5000. Quite pleased with my results and am looking to enter into it again should the price drop once more.

I have also been looking closely at the performance of my REITs and wondering whether I should cash out of Suntec REIT which I have entered into at $1.02. The current price is now at $1.12 so it is a profit of $1000.

Financial Standing

How do I compare to the rest of Singapore? I think I should be at least above average in my savings and investment =)

I have $13K in my CPF OA, $14K in my CPF SA and $20K in my CPF MA.
Me and my wife have $100K+ in liquid cash sitting in the bank
I have $80K+ in stocks.
I have $50K in cash value in my insurance policies (Whole Life and Invesment linked plans)
Me and my wife have a flat that is valued at $550,000 when I last checked the HDB website resale price.

I believe that I have an abundance which some people do not have.

Yet, I am pretty sure that there are people out there who are like a hundred times richer than me.

Time to work harder!!!!

Income Investing - Canadian Royalty Trusts

This is part 3 of a 5 part mini-series on my thoughts about Income Investing. Today, we will focus on investing in Canadian Royalty Trust and how you can benefit from such an investment.

Canadian Royalty Trusts (Canroys)

Canadian Royalty Trusts very often tend to be related to energy. They are usually involved in oil and gas mining with the occasional coal mining. Some of the newer trusts actually focus on synthetic oil and coal. Because of they pay out majority of their cash flow as dividends (distribution), they enjoy a special tax exempt status compared to corporations. Many of these trusts actually do pay out a monthly dividend similar to REITs.

Canadian Royalty Trusts are able to grow their amount of reserves and do so primarily through the acquisition of other companies. A Canadian Royalty Trust basically controls an operating company which operates and runs the oil and gas fields.

Canadian Royalty Trusts run the risk of depleting their existing gas and oil reserves. This could result in their distributions being reduced over the years. It is therefore important to take into consideration the reserve life of gas and oil fields.

Another risk of Canadian Royalty Trusts is the expected tax change in 2011 that will remove their tax exempt status. This is because the ruling party in Canada believes that such royalty trusts are actually causing them lost revenue in the region of hundreds of millions of dollars. The announcement of the proposed tax changes caused a huge drop in the prices of many of these trusts. The so called "Halloween Massacre" came about just when some corporations announced their intention to covert into trusts structures. Any hope of this tax being removed is if the Liberal party comes into power.

Many Canadian Royalty Trusts are also exploring the option of coverting back into corporations with the removal of this special tax exempt status. With a 4 year grace period till the 2011 dateline, a coversion to a corporate structure will allow these trusts to reduce distributions and re-invest money for expansion. Other options also exist which include transforming into Master Limited Partnerships - which will enjoy tax advantages in the U.S.

Canadian Royalty Trusts are traded publicly on both the U.S. Stock Exchange as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange. To invest in these trusts, you need to have access through a brokerage firm to either the US stock market or the Canadian stock market.

Investors invest in Canadian Royalty Trusts primarily for their high dividend yields. With the proposed tax changes, the future of canadian royalty trusts are a bit more uncertain and 2010 could prove a volatile period with all the expected changes.

The writer owns Canadian Royalty Trusts in his portfolio. He likes the monthly dividends he receives but is uncertain about the viability and certainity of Canroys in the future.

1.Investing in High Dividend Yield Stocks
2. Investing in REITs
3. Investing in Canroys
4. Investing in Rental Property
5. Investing in Bonds

Read : The 25% Cash Machine
Read: Dividends I have Received Thus Far

The Road to Financial Freedom (10 part series)
#1 - The Greatest Mistake
#2 - Protect What You Cannot Afford to Lose
#3 - Spend Less Than You Earn
#4 - Spend Less Or Earn More
#5 - Buy Assets Not Liabilities
#6 - Read and Learn More
#7 - The Magic of Part Time
#8 - Health Equals Wealth
#9 - It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
#10 - Congrats! You have Achieved it!

Income Investing - Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

This is part 2 of 5 on a mini-series based on some of my thoughts about Income Investing.

Read Previous Posting here: Income Investing - High Dividend Yield Stocks

High Dividend Yield stocks are a good way to do income investing as they give out dividends monthly,quarterly or annually. Another good way to do income investing is to invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs as they are commonly called.

What are REITs?

Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs are basically like a common stock traded on the stock market just like any other stock. The only difference is that they invest primarily in property and are given tax breaks for paying out a certain amount of their profits as distribution. REITs earn money through the rental income they derive from the properties they own. Investors like REITs for their high dividends (sometimes much higher than those of normal stocks) as well as their defensive nature in a volatile economic climate.

Things to note about investing in REITs

REITs need to secure funding every now and then be it for acquisition projects or simply to refinance their existing loans. In 2008 when the credit crisis was pretty severe, concerns about these REITs getting funding caused many REITs counter to drop in value. Some REITs also had to issue rights so as to raise funding to improve their overall gearing.

When I buy REITs, the things I look out for include the following:

1. Yield - This is similar to the dividend yield that we talked about in the earlier postings. For REITs, I would prefer to have a yield of greater than 5% with the REIT increasing its distributions every year.

2. Net Asset Value - This is the value of all the assets held by the trust. If the price is trading at a discount to the Net Asset Value (NAV), it presents a good buying opportunity.

3. Net Gearing - This determines how leveraged the trust is and how much debt it is taking on. While it might be good to have a low net gearing, having too low a net gearing could mean that the trust is not making enough use of leverage.

4. Parent Company - Some REITs are tied to certain parent companies. These REITs will usually be able to secure funding even during bad times and thus often trade at a lower yield compared to REITs who do not have a strong parent company.

5. Other Risks - Some REITs might be too focused on a certain country (e.g. Japan or Indonesia). Other REITs might be too focused on a certain sector (e.g. office rental space). Should there be a downturn in these countries or sectors, the distributions by the REITs could be affected. Currency risk is also another factor to consider when purchasing REITs. If the REITs receives its rental income in another currency, the depreciation of that currency could affect its distribution.

I currently own a few REITs in my own portfolio. The REITs include First REIT, Suntec REIT and Ascott REIT. I have also been monitoring Realty Income which is listed in the NYSE.

Read : The 25% Cash Machine
Read: Dividends I have Received Thus Far

The Road to Financial Freedom (10 part series)
#1 - The Greatest Mistake
#2 - Protect What You Cannot Afford to Lose
#3 - Spend Less Than You Earn
#4 - Spend Less Or Earn More
#5 - Buy Assets Not Liabilities
#6 - Read and Learn More
#7 - The Magic of Part Time
#8 - Health Equals Wealth
#9 - It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
#10 - Congrats! You have Achieved it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Income Investing - High Dividend Yield Stocks

I am starting another mini 5 part series. This time, the topic will be on income investing and the various instruments that an investor can invest in to obtain an income.

Posting #1 - Investing in High Dividend Yield Stocks

Some people call this high yield investing. Investing in high dividend yield stocks basically means buying stocks of companies or corporations that have the habit of paying out dividends (a.k.a cash) every month or year. After reading this article, you should be able to know how to compute dividend yield for a certain stock, understand what high dividend yield means and also have an idea of some of the high dividend yield stocks that are available in the market including how to search for them.

Calculating a Stock's Dividend Yield

It is really simple to calculate a stock's dividend yield. The method I use is simply to take the amount of dividends given out each year divided by the price of the stock and multipy by 100. For example:

If price of ABC stock is $10.00 and the dividends for that year is $1.00 , the dividend yield works out to ($1.00 / $10.00) * 100 = 0.10 * 100 = 10%

The dividend yield of the stock works out to be 10% per annum. The reason this number is important is because it gives you a basis to compare the yield with other similar stocks. Thing to note is that comparing dividend yield between 2 stocks might not be a good basis alone as the higher yielding stock might have a lower price due to certain factors that have occured after the last dividends that it paid out. This accounts for its seemingly higher yield.

Another good reason for having the yield is that it gives you a rough gauge of how much dividends you can expect to get each year based on your invested capital. IF the dividend yield of the stock is 10% and you have invested $10000, you can expect to receive $1000 per year in dividends.

What is considered a high dividend yield stock?

I would like to think that a high dividend yield stock is basically one that has a relatively higher yield compared to peers in a similar industry. Most people however compared dividend yields across different stocks in different industries and buy the stocks with the highest dividend yield. For me, a high yield will be one that gives me a better return than the bank's fixed deposit.

Looking for High Dividend Yield Stocks?

If you are looking for high dividend yield stocks, you can check out S&P's Dividend Aristocrats List which provides a filter on various dividend yielding stocks. Another simple way is to simple search using Google. Just key in the words High Dividend Yield Stocks and you will get lots of suggestions from various websites and blogs.

1. Investing in High Dividend Yield Stocks
2. Investing in REITs
3. Investing in Canroys
4. Investing in Rental Property
5. Investing in Bonds

Read : The 25% Cash Machine
Read: Dividends I have Received Thus Far

Buying a Car : The Hidden Costs

Buying a car is like cutting a hole in your wallet. The upfront downpayment for the car and the cost of monthly maintenance is seriously high.

Let's not talk about the monthly installments that one has to pay for the car loan. Let's just explore the cost of maintenance alone:

Road Tax ($700 to $1000)
Road tax that you pay depends on the type of car you are driving. In Singapore, expect to pay around $700 per year for a 1.6L car.
Carparking ($2400 - estimated $200 per month)

At the cheapest, car parking will cost you easily $200 per month. This includes parking for both work and home. If you work in town and drive there, the costs will be much more.

Motor Insurance ($500 to $1600)

This depends on a whole host of factors such as the age of driver, model of car and whether you have been involved in an accident before. One should expect to pay in the region of $800 to $1200 if you have never been involved in an accident. (See how you can save money on insurance)
Petrol ($3600 - estimated $300 per month)
This depends on how much you drive per week. But you can roughly expect to be filling up at the station every week. Depending on the grade of petrol that you pump, you can expect to pay $70 to $100 for a full tank.

Car Washing ($100)

Let's say you only wash your car like once a month, it will still cost you easily $100 per year.

Maintenace ($500)

Changing tyres, aircon filters, etc , etc.. Everything seems to need replacing after a few years. Expect to be paying up to $200 to $300 for each servicing trip you make.


Adding up all these hidden costs, you will see that owning a car involves paying up to $8000 per year. This does not include your monthly installment payments and also other charges like ERP. That is close to 2 months salary for most people!!!

Good luck if you intend to buy a car anytime soon.

Online Income From Adsense

The Beginning

My journey into the world of Adsense began when I started this blog. I wanted to explore ways of earning income online. That was about a year ago and I would not say that I am earning as much as some professional bloggers are. The amount that I am earning in Adsense income however has slowly and steadily increased over the year.

For a start, look at my first update on my adsense earnings here
I was earning less than $1 per month then but it was slowly increasing!

The Journey

I started to explore other methods of increasing my online income but so far, I have narrowed it down to Google's Adsense. Though I know the existence of other affiliate programs, my decision was to concentrate on increasing my income from Google's Adsense. I read up quite a fair bit and am glad to say that I can earn an average of $10 to $20 per month now based on Google's Adsense alone.

Just for the month of August 2009, I earned $14.75 while the earnings from Sep 2009 are likely to be slightly higher. The reason why I blog is mostly to sort out my thoughts but earning a passive income on the sideline does provide some added motivation. To konw that each and every post I make has the potential to earn me money in the future keeps me going and makes me disciplined in my postings.

The Goal

I started out with a simple goal of increasing my adsense earnings to $1 per day. Until today, I have not been able to achieve it. But I will keep on trying. Of course, my dream job will be to just stay at home and blog =)

Who knows? Perhaps that could be a possibility in the future!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Singapore's 40 Richest (2009)

Apparently Singapore is set to become one of the countries in the world with the highest density of millionaires. Read it in the news that the number of households with a supposedly high networth of over $1 million in USD investible assets is up. I figure that out of every 10 households in Singapore, 1 household will likely fall in the "High Networth" category with over USD $1 million in investible assets.

However, the big names in town were recently published in Singapore's 40 Richest. In fact, the total wealth of Singapore's 40 richest has jumped by 20% !! Apparently, the economic crisis has not affected them at all.

I decided to try and see what did the rich invest in and how did they get so rich to have their total wealth increase by over 20% even in this economic climate.

The list of the 40 richest Singaporeans are as follows:

1. Ng Teng Fong (Real Estate)
2. Khoo Family (Hotels? - Goodwood Park)
3. Kuok Khoon Hong (Commodities - Wilmar)
4. Kwee Brothers (Real Estate)
5. Wee Cho Yaw (Banking)
6. Zhong Sheng Jian (Real Estate - Yanlord)
7. Peter Lim (Stocks - Wilmar)
8. Kwek Leng Beng (Real Estate - City Dev)
9. Lee Seng Wee (Banking - OCBC)
10. Ong Beng Seng & Christina Ong (Real Estate, businesses)
11. Lien Family (inheritance - banking)
12. Tan Boy Tee (Business - Labroy Marine)
13. Chang Yun Chung (Shipping)
14. Peter Fu Chong Cheng
15. Ho Sim Guan
16. Chua Thian Poh
17. Kwek Leng Kee
18. Henry Ng
19. Vivian Chandran
20. Koh Wee Meng
21. Olivia Lum
22. Chew Hua Seng
23. Simon Cheong
24. Ow Chio Kiat
25. Cheng Wai Keung
26. Ho Kwon Ping
27. Tan Pong Tyea
28. Lee Kian Soo
29. Yao Hsiao Tung
30. Ng Chwee Cheng
31. Loo Choon Yong
32. Kwek Leng Peck
33. Oei Hong Leong
34. John Chuang
35. Goh Lik Tuan
36. Sunny George Verghese
37. Brian Chang
38. Victor Sassoon
39. Wong Ngit Liong
40. Tay Liam Wee

I got tired after reaching no.13

Basically you get the main idea already. The 40 richest in Singapore basically got rich through the following means:

Real Estate

Makes me wonder... should i start concentrating my efforts on Real Estate and Businesses?

Read Related Articles:

1. Key Lessons from Rich Dad, Poor Dad
2. Donald Trump Lessons
3. David Bach Automatic Millionaire

Investing in Canadian Royalty Trusts (Canroys)

I have canroys in my portfolio. Canroys are basically Canadian Royalty Trusts (CanRoys) and usually own oil and gas fields. Canroys receive tax advantages that allows them to distribute quite a lot of money to their shareholders monthly so as to avoid paying corporate taxes. In Canada, canroys often feature in people's portfolio especially if they are looking for high dividend yield stocks.

However, it seems that there will be certain changes to the legislation pretty soon. The Canadian government will change the laws in 2011 to make existing canroys pay taxes at the same rate as that of corporations. Without the tax incentives to pay out dividends, the yield from canroys are set to drop to levels around 2 to 4% (in line with those of corporations). During the recent economic crisis of 2008, canroys prices dropped due to the announcement of the proposed tax changes in Canada.

In Singapore, you can invest in canroys as long as you have a US stock trading account. Canroys and similar stocks that can be found on the US stock exchange include the following:
  • Penn West Energy Trust
  • Pengrowth Energy Trust
  • Enterra Energy Trust
  • Baytex Energy Trust
  • Enerplus Resources Fund
  • Provident Energy Trust
  • TransGlobe Energy Corp
  • Nexen Inc
  • Compton Petroleum Corp
  • EnCana Corporation

The monthly dividends that canroys distribute will then be sent to you through mail via a cheque. Do note however there there are charges that include withholding tax (15%), postage/handling charge ($5) and 7%GST. For the month of September 09, I just received a cheque for $9.94

I currently own Penn West Energy Trust (PWE). Used to own Pengrowth Energy Trust but sold it and consolidated all my holdings of canroys under PWE.


Read : The 25% Cash Machine

Read: Dividends I have Received Thus Far

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Received Over $1000 in Dividends for August 09

I received over $1000 in dividends for the month of August. Pretty pleased also with the way my portfolio is regaining its value. The month of August was also significant for me as I started a simple 10 part mini series about the Journey to Financial Freedom. You can read all the postings here:

The Road to Financial Freedom
#1 - The Greatest Mistake
#2 - Protect What You Cannot Afford to Lose
#3 - Spend Less Than You Earn
#4 - Spend Less Or Earn More
#5 - Buy Assets Not Liabilities
#6 - Read and Learn More
#7 - The Magic of Part Time
#8 - Health Equals Wealth
#9 - It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
#10 - Congrats! You have Achieved it!

I have also begun to explore using HubPages to increase my Adsense Earnings

Thoughts at StarBucks

So I am sitting here at Starbucks at 3pm in the afternoon. Just got some work done and was wondering what a funny life I actually have.

3pm and people are most probably working in the office. And here I am sipping my Starbucks Cafe Latte and blogging. I never expected that I would actually be living such a life!

After so many years of schooling, I would never have expected it if someone told me that I will be living the life I am living now.

Going to be 28 years old soon and it seems that I don't really have any career ambitions. It certainly does not seem that I will be someone important or famous. Afterall, all those people are perhaps being "groomed" right now in the MNC boardrooms and government agencies. They are probably rubbing off with the "who's who" in Singapore at a golf course or something. And here I am, sitting at starbucks blogging about my life. What a funny irony =)

But I guess it is a good break from the rat race and stuff. I am taking things a bit slower right now. The rat race has done me no good. I have probably not grown or matured as much as I wish I should. I now just try my best to live up to God's standards and not man's standards. I try to read more, think more, love more and give more. I have decided that the corporate ladder is not really something that I would like to climb.

So I sit here near the counter and realised what a great deal of students are actually able to afford Starbucks! My nowadays really have lots of spending power. I certainly do not remember drinking Starbucks during my schooling days! The irony of it all.. People who are working are not enjoying life while those who are not working per se are learning how to enjoy life.

I am not saying that these school children are not working. They do have their school work and stuff. The reason why they are able to enjoy life so much better is perhaps because they still have dreams and hopes of what the future might be. For someone my age, I think I have grown a bit disillusioned about what I was told to pursue in terms of my job and career.

I really need to sit down and ponder more about the kind of life that I would like to live and be remembered for.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

#10 - Congrats! You have Achieved it.

This is the #10 posting to the Road to Financial Freedom, a simple 10 step mini-series to get one started on the road to financial freedom.

This posting is actually the final posting on this topic.

Congrats! You have achieved it!

I know you have most probably heard it before but what begins in the mind most likely results into something that you see later on in your life.

I am not trying to be a motivational speaker or writer but I really see the point where they say that if you have a self defeating way of thinking, you most probably will not be able to accomplish anything great in life. Likewise, to achieve financial freedom, one needs to start on the correct footing and this correct footing begins with one's MIND.

As the common saying goes:
Your thoughts determine your actions.
Your actions determines your habits.
Your habits determines your character.
Your character determines your DESTINY.
To achieve financial freedom, one needs to have the correct mindset. You need to believe that your goal is achievable before you can achieve it.

Usain Bolt believes that he can run faster and that is why he is breaking world records. Likewise, you need to believe that you can achieve financial freedom when you are searching for it. As simple as that. Just do it. Nothing is impossible!

This brings an end to a simple 10 part mini series on what I think are the essential points to get you started on your own journey out of slavery from your job and money. I hoped that you have learnt something useful is this 10 part mini series.

To see all the postings, please see the links below:

The Road to Financial Freedom

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#9 - It's a Marathon Not A Sprint

This is the #9 posting to the Road to Financial Freedom, a simple 10 step mini-series to get one started on the road to financial freedom.

In the journey to financial freedom, one must realise that one is working basically towards a lifelong goal. This is not an instant rags to riches formula. Rather, it is a very slow marathon that one takes for his entire life. Just as we train for a marathon, we should make sure that in our own financial journey, we run the race like running that of a marathon instead of a 100m sprint.

Have the End Goal in Mind.

Just like running a marathon, you ought to have an end goal in mind. Do you aim to complete your race in 3 hrs , 4 hrs or 5 hrs? The time frame that you have set for yourself is important as it will determine how you subsequently pursue your goal. A person who aims to achieve financial freedom by age 30 will work very differently and use very different methods compared to one who only hopes to attain financial freedom by age 60.

Pace Yourself - Keep Track of Your Progress

Just like running a marathon, it does not really matter how fast you completed the first few kilometers. Most importantly is that you pace yourself such that you are running at a speed that will help you finish the race in your desired timing. Each turn of the route, you should know whether you are behind time or ahead of time; whether you can afford to speed up or slow down. Always pace yourself. It is okay to run a little slower if you know that you can make up for lost time later down the road.

Stop for the Water Points

You won't forget to hydrate yourself when it comes to running a race. Likewise in the journey to financial freedom, remember to reward yourself with treats and stuff. If you do not stop to enjoy and replenish yourself, you might find that you will have no more energy left for the rest of the race.



The Road to Financial Freedom (See The Other Postings Here)
#1 - The Greatest Mistake
#2 - Protect What You Cannot Afford to Lose
#3 - Spend Less Than You Earn
#4 - Spend Less Or Earn More
#5 - Buy Assets Not Liabilities
#6 - Read and Learn More
#7 - The Magic of Part Time
#8 - Health Equals Wealth
#9 - It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

#8 - Health Equals Wealth

This is the #8 posting to the Road to Financial Freedom, a simple 10 step mini-series to get one started on the road to financial freedom.

Today's title should say it all: " Health = Wealth". Well, almost literally I would say based on experience.

A healthy person is more likely to be wealthy. Yes, I know that this can be too sweeping a statement. But it does not take one too long to figure out the benefits of health and how it can impact all aspects of your daily life like your work, finances, family time, etc.

This is really common sense actually but lots of people neglect their health once they start working. An unhealthy person basically is not able to work as well and as focused as a healthy person. Imagine having to go to work with a headache. Will you be able to work well? No!

Apart from this, a person who is unhealthy will more likely choke up more hospital bills in the future which will thus erode his wealth. Not to mention the amount of loss income and stuff. He or she will also not be able to enjoy life to its fullest.

The problem is that we take our health for granted. We only wait for symptoms to show up before we start taking action. Very often, our body already gives us warning signs that our health is deteriorating. Feeling tired all the time...getting sick more often....visiting the doctor more often...

I fell sick recently and this thought came to my mind. If there were 2 options laid in front of me: To be healthy and poor OR to be wealthy and sick, which would I choose?

I decided that health is perhaps more important than wealth. A rich man cannot buy back his ailing health with all the money he has. But a healthy man can still have a fighting chance to become wealthy. As they say: "He who has health has hope. And he who has hope has everything"

Health equals Wealth. Take care of your body and your body will in turn take care of you. In the road to financial freedom, make sure that you remain healthy so that you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Visit the Health Promotion Board's website here and start living healthy today!

The Road to Financial Freedom
#1 - The Greatest Mistake
#2 - Protect What You Cannot Afford to Lose
#3 - Spend Less Than You Earn
#4 - Spend Less Or Earn More
#5 - Buy Assets Not Liabilities
#6 - Read and Learn More
#7 - The Magic of Part Time
#8 - Health Equals Wealth
#9 - It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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