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  • Which FIRE are YOU working towards?

    FIRE, FIRE, FIRE.

    So, what exactly is FIRE all about?

    TLDR; Financial Independence: Retire Early.

    Thus, which FIRE are you working towards?

    There are several variations on the FIRE Movement.

    First, the classic and traditional FIRE.

    The Classic and Traditional FIRE

    Some people define financial independence as saving 25 times your annual expenses. While some may argue that it means having enough money in the bank to say “F U” and pursue something you truly enjoy.

    In reality, this is quite subjective. Since everyone has unique life goals, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In theory, the primary aim you are pursuing is to acquire the life you desire by saving it during your youth.

    With that in mind, let’s look at the various forms of FIRE.

    Lean FIRE

    If you live a frugal lifestyle and wish to continue doing so in retirement, Lean FIRE may be something you’re striving for.

    The best way to conceive of this is FIRE on a much smaller scale. You may be living a more minimalist lifestyle because saving money is an important component of your life. You’ve established yourself as a master at managing expenses, keeping costs low, and strategies that capitalize to simplify your life without sacrificing comfort throughout the years.

    Many Lean FIRE enthusiasts, according to Investopedia, live on $25,000 or less per year.

    Fat FIRE

    Lean FIRE is someone who is exceedingly frugal, whilst Fat FIRE is the polar opposite? Yes, to a certain extent.

    People in this category save actively while maintaining their quality of living. Indeed, these folks earn more money and have more money at their disposal to cover bigger costs. Essentially, I see this as FIRE on steroids, where we may achieve Financial Independence while living a more lavish lifestyle.

    Barista FIRE

    In recent years, Barista Fire has grown in popularity. Barista FIRE are for those who desire to exist somewhere between the two options listed above (Lean FIRE and Fat FIRE). They abandoned their typical 9-to-5 employment and work a part-time job to supplement their income.

    This may be thought of as part-time FIRE. This eliminates the need to work full-time, as you will not be required to work 40 hours a week. Instead of working in a corporate setting, you can work at a coffee shop, participate in the gig economy, or work for a restricted number of hours each week.

    The benefits are that you are not working yourself to death in order to attain FIRE, but you may reach some kind of financial independence. This is ideal for those who are unsure about the notion of early retirement and wish to put it to the test. Furthermore, it allows you to explore some of your passions, side hustles that you may want to undertake full-time.

    Coast FIRE

    Finally, the Coast FIRE is a lesser-known FIRE.

    Coast FIRE is about having enough money invested at a young age that you no longer need to invest since compounding will fund your lifestyle.

    Before you submit the letter, you must perform the following calculations:

    1. What are your currency savings and spending habits?
    2. A simple rule of thumb for FIRE is to save 25 times your annual costs.
    3. Calculate a cautious compound interest return (56%).

    Is FIRE something for you?

    There is no “ONE FIRE” that everyone should follow.

    Many people adore the notion of FIRE because they despise their jobs and want to get out of the rat race as soon as possible.

    It is a common misconception that retiring early means never working again. It’s more about having the freedom to work when and how you choose. Ultimately, you don’t need a corporate income to enjoy your life, nor are you reliant on a job to make ends meet.

    Our Stand

    Personally, FIRE to me means 

    1. Freedom
    2. Having Options
    3. Doing what you love
    4. Being in control
    5. Having a safety net

    These are the factors that motivate me to pursue FIRE. What’s intriguing about the aforementioned FIRE kinds is that there are variants that go beyond the fundamentals of FIRE. Furthermore, when others began to embrace and create new varieties of FIRE, it piqued my curiosity even more.

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: What should you do in a crash, Crypto TokenomicsRisk come from not knowing what you are doing and MapleTree Logistics Trust.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock.

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  • The biggest crash in world history is coming?

    The biggest crash in world history is coming?

    Indeed, the markets look really ugly these days.

    Market Crash.

    Rising Interest Rates , Mortgages Rates in UK, Property Crisis in China, Russia and Ukraine War, Slower Money Supply Growth, Recession Fears, the list goes on and on…

    How has the past bear markets been?

    Start and End Date% Price DeclineLength in Days
    11/28/1980 – 8/12/1982-27.11622
    8/25/1987 – 12/4/1987-33.51101
    3/24/2000 – 9/21/2001-36.77546
    1/4/2002 – 10/9/2002-33.75278
    10/9/2007 – 11/20/2008-51.93408
    1/6/2009 – 3/9/2009-27.6262
    2/19/2020 – 3/23/2020-33.9233
    Average-34.94292

    Bear markets are indeed normal. There have been 26 bear markets in the S&P 500 Index since 1928. 

    Bear markets tend to be short-lived. The average length of a bear market since 1980 is 292 days, or about 9.7 months. This is significantly shorter than the length of a bull market, which is 991 days, or 2.7 years.

    What should you do in times like this?

    1. Dollar Cost Average  

    Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) into stocks/index is what truly challenges your conviction during a bear market. This is the best time to  lower our average cost of a given stock at these periods.

    At the end of the day, this frequently magnifies gains compared to exiting the stock market while stocks are down. That strikes me as a really wise decision. Furthermore, because fractional shares are now available, you may also easily do it with individual stock or ETFs.

    2. Best Time to pick up new stocks

    When the market crashes, I am always eager to buy new stocks. Of course, fundamentally solid stocks with a huge economic moat.

    This is when I will pull out my watchlist of companies and determine which ones have the largest margin of safety. Not just that, but figure out what caused the market to crash. We must also consider if the stocks in which we have invested will be able to weather this terrible market.

    Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.

Market Crash

    Warren Buffett once said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.”

    3. Look at the long term

    During a down market, it is critical to consider the long term. We should never get emotional during such moments. To begin with, if the companies in which we invest are tremendously lucrative and create significant free cash flow. There is no need for us to sell even though the market is in a panic.

    For any investor who did not sell any of their shares (assuming that the firms are fundamentally sound), their invested money would have returned to its original level within a few years and then exploded in value over the next half-decade.

    6 Steps to signup and qualify for the Welcome Reward by Moomoo SG

    1. Register for a MooMoo SG Universal Account  and download the MooMoo App on your phone
    2. Open an account (Singpass supported for quick approval) :  
    3. Two different ways to get free stock
      1. Option 1: Complete a net deposit of $100 to get 4 chances to draw a stock between $3 – $2000. Ensure that you maintain an average asset balance greater than $100 for 60 days
      2. Option 2: Complete a net deposit of $2000 to get 10 chances to draw a stock between $3 – $2000. Ensure that you maintain an average asset balance greater than $2000 for 60 days
    4. After signing up for the MooMoo SG Universal Account using Learn To Invest link, email us with a screenshot of your MooMoo SG Universal Account and we send you an exclusive portfolio watchlist 

    Our Stand

    Bear markets can be excruciating, but they are typically brief. While it may appear that selling during a bad market would be ideal, timing the market may be what everyone does, even for pros. This implies that the most essential thing an investor can do is choose high-quality assets with the purpose of holding them for the long term. This is not easy while maintaining a close check on positions in growth companies and perhaps volatile investments.

    Personally, in Learn To Invest, is this the biggest crash in world history? Who knows?

    No one has a crystal ball to predict the future. Instead, what we can do is to stay in the market and leverage the cheaper stock prices available to us. Above are 3 simple steps we believe you can take to tide through a market crash.

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: Crypto TokenomicsRisk come from not knowing what you are doing, MapleTree Logistics Trust and Trust Referral Reward.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock. This advertisement is not reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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  • What is Crypto Tokenomics and why should I know about it before investing?

    The economics of a cryptocurrency token is described by the term “tokenomics.” It discusses the creation and distribution of the token, supply and demand, incentive systems, and token burn schedules. All these factors could affect the use and value of the different cryptocurrency tokens. 

    For any successful cryptocurrency projects, it is critical to have well-designed tokenomics. Most investors and stakeholders usually evaluate a project’s tokenomics before choosing to take part. Tokenomics rules are created by crypto projects around their tokens to promote or prevent particular user behaviors. 

    Some examples of user behaviors include the likes of spending, lending, saving and the movement of money. However, as opposed to fiat money, the laws of tokenomics are open-source, predictable, and hard to change because they are implemented through code. Below are some of the key factors to consider when evaluating a cryptocurrency’s tokenomics.

    1. Token Supply

    The primary factors of any commodity or service’s pricing are supply and demand. Likewise for cryptocurrency. The supply of a token can be determined using several key metrics. 

    2. Token Utility

    The use cases created for a token are referred to as its Token utility. Below are some of the key use cases for the popular cryptocurrencies. 

    Tokens can be used in a variety of additional ways. Governance tokens allow one to vote on modifications to a token’s protocol. Stablecoins are intended for use as currency. These elements can assist you in identifying a token’s prospective use cases, which is crucial for predicting how the token economy will develop.

    3. Token Distribution

    In addition to supply and demand, it’s critical to consider the distribution of tokens. Large institutions and individual investors behave differently. Understanding the different types of entities that hold a token will help you predict how they will likely trade them, which will have an effect on the token’s value.

    To launch and distribute tokens, there are typically two methods.

    In general, it’s important to consider how equally a token is distributed. This is considered a riskier situation where a small number of entities holds a disproportionate amount of a token. This is because the long-term success of a token is highly dependent on the patience of its investors. 

    4. Token Burns

    Many cryptocurrency projects frequently burn tokens, which removes them from circulation forever. 

    For instance, Ethereum started burning ETH in 2021 to cut down on its supply overall. On the other hand, Binance also does coin-burning to eliminate coins from circulation. BNB’s total supply stands at 161M as of September 2022. BNB will continue to burn coins until half of the overall supply has been destroyed to about 100 million BNB. 

    When the supply of a token is reduced, it’s considered deflationary. Conversely, inflation occurs when a token’s supply keeps growing. Hence, this shows how the supply of token can directly affect the price of the particular cryptocurrency. 

    5. Incentive Mechanism

    Lastly, we will discuss more on Incentive Mechanism. Incentive mechanism revolves around how a token motivates its users to participate and maintain long-term sustainability. The block subsidy and transaction fees in Bitcoin are a fantastic example of a well thought-out incentive model (Proof-of-Work).

    Another increasingly popular incentive mechanism is the Proof of Stake mechanism. Participants can lock their tokens using this mechanism in order to verify transactions. In short, the likelihood of being selected as validators and earning incentives increases as more tokens are locked up. Additionally, validators’ own assets will be at danger if they attempt to undermine the network. This incentive mechanism encourages participants to act honorably and maintain the protocol’s stability.

    Conclusion

    Tokenomics has advanced tremendously since the Bitcoin network’s genesis block was created in 2009. Developers have investigated a wide variety of tokenomics models. Both achievements and failures have occurred. 

    If you do want to invest in cryptocurrency, tokenomics is a key topic that you will need to understand. It is a phrase that encompasses the key elements influencing a token’s value. However, it is not the only factor that affects the token’s value. 

    When evaluating a cryptocurrency project, there are other variables that need to be taken into consideration too. To make an informed judgment of a project’s future potential and its token’s price, tokenomics can be used in conjunction with other fundamental analysis techniques. 

    Do keep an eye out for our upcoming article as we will be sharing more on how to fundamentally analyze cryptocurrency projects. If you are keen to explore our past cryptocurrency articles, you can check out the following: Basics terms of crypto

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalized investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock or cryptocurrencies.

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  • Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing

    The legendary investor Warren Buffet once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.”

    In life, we have to take many risks.

    With every decision, there will be a risk. 

    Crossing a street is a basic example. We are vulnerable to accidents whenever we cross a road. However, if we know what we’re doing and take adequate precautions to avoid a collision, we may lessen or reduce the danger of a collision.

    Of course, investing entails its own set of risks. The possibility that an investment may rise or fall in value is referred to as investment risk. It is this type of risk that causes investment returns to be unexpected. 

    There are many things we need to understand before investing. 

    1. Invest in a business you understand

    Never invest in a stock. Rather, invest in a business. And put your money into a business that you understand. In other words, before investing in a company, you should understand what business it is in.

    2. Don’t try to time the market

    Even Warren Buffett does not attempt to time the stock market, though he does have a strong opinion on the price levels acceptable for specific companies. The majority of investors, on the other hand, do exactly the opposite, which financial advisors have always warned them to avoid, and consequently lose their hard-earned money in the process.

    3. Follow a disciplined investment approach

    It has been observed that even great bull runs have had panic periods in the past. Despite the huge bull runs, market instability has eventually caused investors to lose money.

    However, investors who put money in methodically, in the appropriate stocks, and who held on to their investments patiently have enjoyed great returns. As a result, patience and a disciplined investment approach are important, as well as keeping a long-term broad picture in mind.

    4. Choose a brokerage that best suits your needs

    Given that low-cost brokerages are now so readily accessible, it makes sense to minimize your expenses as much as possible. High brokerage fees will definitely reduce your returns, especially if you are investing with a small capital. For instance, Traditional brokerages typically charge a minimum of USD25 per trade, that is ~1% fee on a US$1000 stock investment. Hence, from the purchase and sale of a stock, this can add up to almost 5% fees. Trading fees can build up quickly as one enters and exits several positions. Young investors who might not have as much funds to invest may also find this to be particularly intimidating.

    When it comes to lowering your brokerage fees, a low-cost brokerage like Futu SG (moomoo) makes all the difference. Moomoo SG now offers lifetime free-commission trades and 1-year free platform fee for all US stocks and ETFs.

    4 Steps to signup and qualify for the Welcome Reward by Moomoo SG till End October

    1. Register for a MooMoo SG Universal Account  and download the MooMoo App on your phone
    2. Open an account (Singpass supported for quick approval) :  
    3. Three different ways to earn cash and win free stock:
      1. Open Account: Get $40 Cash Voucher
      2. Deposit: Deposit more than $2700 and receive a free stock (up to 1 Amazon stock)
      3. Invest: Invest $20,000+ and get a free Jay Chou ticket
    4. After signing up for the MooMoo SG Universal Account using Learn To Invest link, email us with a screenshot of your MooMoo SG Universal Account and we send you an exclusive portfolio watchlist 

    Our Stand

    Thus, the quote – “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” is something really relatable to me. To me, if we do not have a great understanding of what we are doing, it seems like a blind mouse in a maze. Similarly, in investing, the 4 crucial things to understand before you invest are: Invest in a business you understand, don’t try to time the market, follow a disciplined investment approach and choose the most suitable brokerage.

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: Trust Bank ReferralBasic Cryptocurrency Terms , 5 Investing Mistakes and MapleTree Logistics Trust.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock. This advertisement is not reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. 

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  • KEY THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE INVESTING INTO MAPLETREE LOGISTICS TRUST REIT

    Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) is the first Asia-focused logistics REIT in Singapore.

    MLT was listed on the Main Board of the SGX-ST on 28 July 2005 with an initial portfolio of 15 Singapore-based properties valued at S$422 million. The trust invests in a diversified portfolio of quality income-producing logistics real estate as well as real estate-related assets in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific logistics sector. 

    As at 31 March 2022, MLT grew its portfolio to 183 properties with Assets Under Management (AUM) of S$13.1 billion. The portfolio spans 9 geographical markets, namely Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, India, Japan, China, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. The trust offers investors an opportunity to benefit from the growing Asia-Pacific logistics sector whilst enjoying stable distributions.    

    MLT is managed by Mapletree Logistics Trust Management Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mapletree.

    Overview of Business – Mapletree Logistics Trust REIT

    Key highlights of MLT REIT Portfolio:

    • 183 Properties, 9 Geographical Markets, and 62 Cities
    • Assets Under Management: S$13.10 billion
    • Portfolio Occupancy: 96.70%
    • Gross Floor Area: 7.9 Million SQM
    • Weighted Average Lease Expiry (WALE): 3.5 years

    Gross Revenue & Assets Under Management

    gross revenue by geography and assets under management by geography

    Gross Revenue by Geography – S$678.6 Million

    The 3 main countries which attributed to the Gross Revenue are

    1. Singapore
    2. China 
    3. Hong Kong SAR

    Assets Under Management by Geography – S$13.1 Billion

    The 3 main countries which attributed to the Assets Under Management (AUM) are

    1. Hong Kong SAR
    2. China 
    3. Singapore

    Gross Revenue & Net Property Income

    mapletree logistics trust gross revenue

    Gross Revenue for FY21/22 increased 20.9% (year-over-year) to S$678.60 million from FY20/21 S$561.10 million. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of MLT’s Gross Revenue over 5 years amounted to 11.41%. MLT’s portfolio continued to demonstrate resilience, enabling the Trust to deliver robust growth in both revenue and NPI in FY21/22. The improved performance was driven by healthy demand for its existing assets, underpinned by favorable market dynamics, and augmented by contributions from accretive acquisitions.

    mapletree logistics trust net property income

    Net Property Income (NPI) for FY21/22 increased 18.6% (year-over-year) to S$592.10 million from FY20/21 S$499.10 million. The robust performance was mainly due to an enlarged portfolio, higher contribution from existing assets, and lower rental rebates granted to eligible tenants impacted by COVID-19.

    Distributable Income & Distribution Per Unit

    mapletree logistics trust distributable income


    Distributable Income for FY21/22  increased 17.3% (year-over-year) to S$390.70 million from FY20/21 S$333.10 million. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of MLT’s Distributable Income over 5 years amounted to 2.90%.

    mapletree logistics trust distribution per unit

    Growing in tandem with revenue and NPI, DPU increased by 5.5% to 9.787 cents on an enlarged unit base. MLT’s resilient and steady performance over the years is testament to its focus on active asset management and prudent capital management to drive sustainable returns, and the strength of its diversified portfolio.

    Gearing Ratio & Property Yield

    mapletree logistics trust gearing ratio

    With the significant investments MLT REIT made during the year, we have strengthened our balance sheet and closed the year with a gearing ratio of 36.8%. This is well below the aggregate leverage limit of 50% set by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, providing us with ample debt headroom to take advantage of investment opportunities as they arise. 

    mapletree logistics trust property yield

    Similarly, MLT REIT property yield fell mostly owing to a S$1.8 billion in acquisitions and capital expenditure, and S$572.3 million of portfolio revaluation gain. The performance reflects MLT’s commitment to continually strengthen its regional presence through additions of modern, well-located assets, enabling the Trust to support its customers with a variety of high quality leasing solutions. As a result, the property yield in FY21/22 decreased to 4.52% from 4.62% in FY20/21.

    Mapletree Logistics Trust’s Occupancy Rate

    mapletree logistics trust occupancy rate

    MLT REIT portfolio occupancy was maintained at a healthy level of 96.7%, while tenant retention rate was 68%. The occupancy rate in FY20/21 of 97.50% dropped to 96.70% in FY21/22 mainly due to MLT’s China portfolio registering an occupancy rate of 93.1%, compared with 95.3% a year ago. The decline was partly due to the inclusion of 12 new assets, which had an average occupancy of 91.1%.

    Mapletree Logistics Trust’s Interest Coverage Ratio

    mapletree logistics trust interest coverage ratio

    MLT REIT Weighted Average Debt Duration remained stable at 3.8 years. MLT REIT has an impressive interest coverage ratio of 5.0 times, demonstrating its solid financial health and ability to satisfy interest commitments.

    Mapletree Logistics Trust’s Rental Reversions

    mapletree logistics trust rental reversions

    MLT’s achieved an overall weighted average positive rental reversion of 2.5% in FY21/22, with individual market rental reversions ranging from 1.2% to 5.0% across the nine operating markets. The continued growth of e-commerce is expected to increase demand for well-located, quality spaces and consequently, rent growth, increasing opportunities for positive rental reversion across MLT’s properties.

    Mapletree Logistics Trust’s Growth Prospects

    growth prospects

    Supply Chain Disruption

    There is a greater emphasis on supply chain resiliency. Before Trade War and Covid-19, Supply chains have been focusing on cost efficiency with companies adopting a lean inventory level.

    Instead of being over-reliant on lean inventory level, many retailers have move to “Just-in-Case”, where

    • Inventory of retailers is expected to increase by 10% to 15% to serve as safety stock in the event of supply chain disruptions
    • Businesses and governments are now increasingly aware of the importance to balance supply chain efficiency and costs
    • Supply chain resilience will be prioritized over efficiency especially for businesses operating in critical sectors
    • Businesses are softening their lean-inventory strategies and carrying more inventory as “safety stock” → more logistics space

    MLT’s extensive network of logistics facilities across key geographies is well-positioned to benefit from this structural trend. 

    Supply Chain Diversification

    supply chain diversification

    MLT leveraging on the “China Plus” strategy adopted by companies with bolster demand for logistics requirements in Vietnam and Malaysia. Companies are adopting the “in China for China” strategy to serve the local market while adding incremental capacity elsewhere.

    Vietnam and Malaysia are projected to benefit from strong Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) growth, with knock-on positive effects on consumption and demand for logistics space. 

    Mapletree Logistics Trust’s Dividend Yield

    Dividend Yield (5 Year)

    The current Dividend Yield MLT REIT stands at 5.47%,it’s 5-year Avg Yield stands at 5.02%

    dividend yield 5 year

    Dividend Yield (1 Year)

    The current Dividend Yield MLT REIT stands at 5.47%,it’s 1-year Avg Yield stands at 4.75%

    dividend yield 1 year

    Our Stand – Mapletree Logistics Trust REIT

    MLT REIT has been one of the best performing REITs since its inception, MLT REIT has also built a long-term track record of delivering:

    • Strong historical growth in Gross Revenue, NPI, and DPU
    • Increasing Rental Reversions
    • Strong tailwinds for future growth – Supply Chain Disruption & Supply Chain Diversification

    MLT REIT, despite its strong fundamentals, appears as fair value to me right now, with a current dividend yield of 5.47%. I will probably be looking to start a small position on MapleTree Logistics Trust REIT and all more if the dividends become increasingly attractive.

    Disclosure: No position at time of writing.

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: Trust Bank Referral, Basic Cryptocurrency Terms and 5 Investing Mistakes.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock. 

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  • How to get FREE $35 NTUC Voucher in 10 mins!

    Trust Bank, a digital bank backed by Standard Chartered and FairPrice Group, announced its launch in Singapore on the 1st of September 2022.

    Referral Code – F09VXCHE

    Sign-Up Bonus – Steps 

    1. Download “Trust Bank SG
    2. Use our referral code – F09VXCHE (you gotta type it out)
    3. Sign Up through Savings Account (Savings Account will be instant)
    4. There you go, a $10 NTUC Voucher in your Rewards (Coupons)
    5. To get the $25 NTUC voucher, you have to make 1 debit transaction.
      1. First, transfer $1 into your Trust Bank
    1. Next, head to the Grab App – Balance → Top Up → Cards → Add a new card
      1. Trust Bank Card details – Money → View and Manage Card →  (Flip the card)
    2. Once you add the card to Grab, there you go! 
      1. $25 NTUC Voucher in your rewards (Coupons)

    Benefits of Trust Bank

    • No minimum balance required.
    • Regulated by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) up to $75,000
    • Savings Account: Base 1% interest on the first $50,000 of deposits
    • Security Feature – ‘Lock’ your card if it is misplaced.
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  • 5 Basic Terms to get started for any cryptocurrency beginners

    There has been a lot of buzz around cryptocurrencies, especially after prices of cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high in 2021. Many value investors may despise them as they struggle to find the intrinsic worth to support the prices for cryptocurrencies.

    However, personally, I have always been a person that is open to new ideas and technologies.  I’m excited to take you all along on my quest to learn more about the cryptocurrency sector and to share my opinions.

    Web3.0. Crypto. Blockchain. Even while these keywords become common in regular speech, most individuals still do not understand why they are important. And I believe that most individuals are unsure on how to find out more about cryptocurrencies. Therefore, these are some of the terms that one should be familiar with as they begin learning more about cryptocurrencies.

    What is Cryptocurrency?

    The term “crypto” refers to the cryptographic methods used to secure the financial system. Cryptocurrency is a digital form of money that functions as a means of exchange within a network of users. These transactions can happen directly between participants (peer-to-peer) and are tracked through a public digital ledger. Examples of cryptocurrencies include the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum and more.

    What is Blockchain technology?

    Blockchain is a digital ledger that serves as a database for transactions and it can be viewed by everyone. This indicates that there are several copies of the ledger (distributed) and multiple controlling authorities (decentralized). Simply said, any user that is part of a blockchain network maintains an electronic copy of the blockchain data. This database is constantly updated with all the most recent transactions and in sync with the copies of everyone. It is a technology that can be used for other industries that go beyond financial transactions. 

    However, this is quite different from the centralized ledgers that most are familiar with. Some common forms of centralized ledgers include a bank’s record of ATM withdrawals. Traditional ledgers are “centralized” since they are typically dependent on a single database and are managed by a single entity.

    What is a Blockchain Consensus Algorithm?

    A consensus algorithm is a tool that enables people or machines to work together in a distributed environment. Even if some agents fail, this algorithm ensures that everyone in the system agrees on a single source of truth. Some popular consensus algorithms includes:

    Above are the more popular consensus algorithms. However, keep an eye out for subsequent articles where we might discuss other consensus algorithms. 

    What is Stablecoin?

    A Stablecoin is a cryptocurrency asset that is pegged to another asset, like fiat money or precious metals. In order to help users avoid the volatility observed in the cryptocurrency markets, Stablecoins are created to maintain a price that is comparatively stable. Stablecoins come in three types: algorithmic, crypto-backed, and fiat-backed. 

    What is Web1.0, Web2.0 and finally now, Web3.0?

    Source: CNBC

    Since the early 1990s, the Internet has advanced significantly and has continued to do so throughout time. The original Internet also known as Web1.0 utilizes static HTML pages that could only display information. Users couldn’t upload new data or update the existing data in any way. Simple chat messengers and forums were the only social media outlets available.

    Gradually, there was a change towards a more interactive Internet which began to take place in the late 1990s. With Web2.0, users may communicate with websites via social media, databases, and server-side processing. These tools have transformed the static web experience into a dynamic one. User-generated content and interoperability across various websites and applications have become more important thanks to Web 2.0. Web 2.0 was more about users participating than it was about watching. By the mid 2000s, the majority of websites had made the switch to Web 2.0.

    While Web 2.0 allowed for user-generated content and social interaction, there were concerns over the usage of the data. Third-party cookies and the overabundance of data concentration in the hands of a small number of companies. Data leaks have multiplied, and it now appears routine to find biased, upsetting, or overtly sponsored content online. Hence, now the “read, write, and trust” version of the internet also known as Web 3.0.

    Web 3.0 is here to establish trust in the current system with DeFi, or decentralized finance. This eliminates the need for a central authority by leveraging smart contracts on the blockchain. Each user will therefore be the owner of their data. However, they will have the option of selling it and receiving payment in the form of tokens (designated cryptocurrencies). Web 3.0 may go even farther by allowing consumers to get compensated for the time they spend watching movies and other corporate content.

    Our Stand

    If the above sharing does make you more interested in finding out more about cryptocurrencies. Keep an eye out for our next posts. We might discuss cryptocurrency evaluation in more detail or offer our thoughts on important developments in the market.

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: 5 Investing mistakes, Singapore Bank Comparison and Visa Stock Analysis.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalized investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock or cryptocurrencies.

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  • 5 Investing Mistakes I have made, and you should not make

    It’s no secret that the 2020 pandemic introduced a fresh flood of young investors ready to try their luck in the stock market.

    The pandemic provided the ideal opportunity to begin investing, since stocks were less expensive to purchase as the market fell. Interest rates were near zero, leaving many millennials trapped at home with nothing to do.

    Furthermore, many new brokerages provide excellent sign-up bonuses with no minimums and low-commission trading. This enables practically anybody to begin investing, even with a modest sum of money.

    I made a lot of blunders when I first started investing. These are the five mistakes I made that you should learn from and avoid if you are starting your investment journey.

    1. Letting my emotions rule

    Source: Co-operators

    Personally, I believe that every investor could have possibly made the very same error at some point in their journey. Fear and greed do really dominate the market. When an investor allows emotion to govern, it is the beginning of a downward spiral in which one should focus on the broader picture. This sort of negative return and panic sale occurs when an investor is governed by emotion, when they would be better off holding the investment for the long term.

    I was a victim of this because I panic sold during the COVID crisis, thinking I could “time the market.” Instead, I failed terribly as the market recovered in a ‘V’ shape, taking just a few months to return to its all-time highs. I believe it was a tuition fee well spent because I found this early in my investment journey.

    2. Following advice from the media

    Source: HiPlay

    The media always posts issues that grab attention, which may or may not be the most wise financial advice. When investing, it is critical to conduct your own research and read up on the individual providing the financial advice on Tiktok, Instagram, or any other platform. It is critical to filter relevant information from market noise. Many experienced and successful investors obtain information from a variety of independent sources and do their own research and analysis.

    When I first started out, I relied heavily on financial advice from youtubers, blogs, and professional analysts. I believe them wholeheartedly without conducting my own due diligence prior to investing, which has caused me in the stock market. Now, I understand how to filter the noise in the stock market and surround myself with like-minded investors with whom we can bounce ideas off one another.

    3. Lack of understanding in a company I invested in

    One of the world’s most successful investors, Warren Buffett, cautions against investing in companies whose business models you don’t understand. Hence, to start off, it is important to invest in a company that is in your circle of competence.

    One significant example that I previously made was a stock that I purchased — Ticker: MSFT (Microsoft) – and quickly sold. First, I didn’t do any research on Microsoft, and I didn’t understand the business. I sold Microsoft when it was up more than 20%, which cost me a lot of money; at its peak, I might have gained up to 70%. In retrospect, I regret not understanding more about valuation.

    4. Chasing the trends – FOMO

    The GameStop craze exemplified what Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is all about. Investing in GameStop or new cryptocurrencies is the most common mistake investors make in 2021.

    “A lot of investors make the mistake of chasing trends or what’s cool because of FOMO,” Boneparth added. Many new investors entered the stock market during a bull market, which may have clouded their judgment and led them to make financially imprudent decisions.

    I was a victim myself, investing in companies with terrible fundamentals and, as some might say, “Companies that are selling you the dream.” Lemonade, Nikola, Virgin Galactic, and Teladoc are among the unprofitable startups in which I have invested. Fortunately, it was a little piece of my portfolio that I am pleased I learnt from.

    5. Constantly checking my portfolio

    Source: CNBC

    According to research, the more regularly investors, monitor their portfolio, the more risky they perceive investing to be. This is also known as myopic loss aversion: when investors continually monitor their investments, they become more sensitive to losses than gains.

    Of course, not checking your portfolio at all makes no sense. What happens to me is that whenever I continually monitor my portfolio, my buy-sell volume increases, and I begin to realise I no longer invest for the long term. Furthermore, once the stock market drops, I am more inclined to make impulsive decisions and, as a result, risk losing money.

    Now, I hardly ever look at my portfolio anymore. I only log into my broker on days when I find a good investing opportunity. As many successful investors suggest, when you first start investing, you must trust the process and take a bird’s-eye view of your investments. 

    Our Stand

    Making mistakes is a natural part of the investment process. Being a successful investor requires knowing what they are, when you are committing them, and how to prevent them. To avoid making the same mistakes I made, you should create and stick to a disciplined investment strategy. Set aside some “fun” money that you are totally willing to lose if you choose to invest in riskier things. I am confident that if you avoid the aforementioned blunders, you will be well on your way to constructing a portfolio that will provide healthy long-term returns.

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: Singapore Bank Comparison, Visa Stock Analysis, and Digital Core REIT Analysis.

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  • All Three Banks – DBS, OCBC, UOB, which bank stock should I buy?

    Comparing the three local banks has long been a hot topic among Singaporean investors. The majority of investors might assume that DBS will stand out. But is this actually the case? Due to the growing interest rates that increased net interest margins, all three banks announced exceptional profits for their Q2.

    Let’s examine the qualitative and quantitative characteristics for each of these banks in detail.

    Background of All Three Banks

    Beyond Singapore, the three banks do have activities and offices in numerous other countries. However, DBS and OCBC have much more exposure to the Chinese, Thai, and Indonesian banking markets. Hence, these would make them more susceptible to country-related risks.

    Quantitative of All Three Banks

    Let’s now take a deeper look into the quantitative aspects that affect the business.

    1. Revenue Growth (Winner: DBS)

    All three banks had strong year-over-year growth, primarily as a result of the rise in interest rates. DBS seems to be outperforming the other banks, with a 5 Year CAGR of 7.4% for Revenue Growth.

    1. Net Interest Margin (Winner: UOB)

    The local 3 banks profit from the loans they provide to companies. The difference between the interest they pay you and the interest they receive from the borrower is known as Net Interest Margin (NIM). For all banks, their NIM is expected to increase over time as more loans are refinanced. As of FY2021, UOB managed to record the highest NIM among the local banks.

    1. CASA Ratio (Winner: DBS)

    DBS’s Current account, saving account (CASA) ratio stood out at 76% among the other banks. Compared to fixed deposits, CASA is a more affordable option for banks to raise capital. DBS is anticipated to profit the most from central banks’ increasing interest rates as this widens the interest rate differential.

    1. Dividend Yield (Winner: OCBC)

    The dividend yield for each bank will be the indicator that attracts the greatest attention from income-seeking investors. Banks are increasing their dividend payout in sync with their earnings as MAS’s dividend restriction has been lifted. With a 4.52% dividend yield, OCBC has the highest yield of the three banks at current share price.

    1. Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio (Winner: OCBC)

    DBS is by far the most expensive bank of the three, trading at a P/B ratio of 1.49 times. UOB comes in second with a P/B of 1.06 times. Lastly, OCBC is the cheapest, trading closest to its net asset value at 1.04 times.

    Our Stand

    There is no one clear winner, as is evident from all of the important measures that we examined. Do not misunderstand as this does not imply that the local banks are bad. Firstly, the portfolios of the local banks are still strong, and future interest rate hikes are advantageous to them. Furthermore, all 3 local banks’ net asset values are rising which could justify their valuation growth over the years.  

    However, the share prices of all these banks have recovered quite a bit since the Covid crash. Hence, it might be wise to evaluate if you intend to start a new position as their prices are close to all-time highs. 

    Disclosure: No existing position in any of the 3 local banks.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock.

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  • How does Visa compare to MasterCard? Is Visa a better buy?

    2022 is a year that will go down in history. Every month, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases tremendously, with the latest June report increasing 9.1% over the past year. On top of that, the Federal Reserve has delivered the biggest rate increase since 1994, a 0.75 basis point increase, to tackle the ever hotter U.S. inflation.

    In times like this, companies in the consumer staples industry usually thrive. This is because companies in the consumer staples industry  are seen as recession-resistant. Moreover, payment technology companies, such as Visa and Mastercard, are businesses that are highly reliant on consumer spending activities.

    Recent market corrections have somewhat deflated the bubbles in many growth stocks, bringing their valuations to much more reasonable levels. PayPal Holdings and Visa are two representatives. Paypal has declined over 70%, while Visa has declined to a lesser degree, by about 20% off its peak.

    Thus, we would like to discover and unpack more about Visa on whether this could be a good opportunity to buy this stock. So, let’s take a closer look at Visa’s main business and financials in order to better assess Visa’s overall performance.

    visa logo

    An Overview of Visa’s Business

    Visa was introduced by Bank of America (BofA) as the BankAmericard credit card program in September 1958. In 1966, in response to competitor Master Charge (now  ), Bank of America began licensing the BankAmericard service to other banking institutions. By 1970, BofA relinquished direct control of the BankAmericard program, creating a partnership with other BankAmericard issuer banks to oversee it. In 1976, it was renamed Visa.

    Based on the yearly amount of card payments processed and the number of issued cards, Visa is the world’s second-largest card payment organization (debit and credit cards combined), having been eclipsed by China UnionPay in 2015. As UnionPay’s size is essentially determined by the size of its native market in China, Visa remains the largest bankcard firm in the rest of the globe, where it controls a 50% market share of total card payments.

    How does Visa work?

    how does visa work

    In a typical Visa transaction, it involves 4 different parties: Cardholders, Issuing bank (Cardholder Bank) , Merchant and Acquirer (Merchant Bank). Visa acts as the toll operator and is responsible for authorization, clearing, and settlement of payments across all parties. As a result, Visa is paid transaction and volume fees by the respective banks for facilitating all these payments. 

    In summary, Visa typically charges 1.15% + $0.05 to 2.40% + $0.10 for each transaction. These charges include assessment, processing, authentication, and connectivity fees. This may seem puny, but when one considers that Visa processed over 10.4 trillion transactions in 2021, it adds up.

    visa's revenue streams

    Qualitative Factors affecting Visa

    Let’s look at the qualitative aspects in order to get a more accurate assessment of Visa’s price and value.

    Economic Moat

    1. Economics of scale

    Economies of scale arise when a company’s marginal costs decrease as the volume of its activities grows. Visa does benefit from economies of scale since it operates a large network to handle data and transactions. The expense of adding new clients to this network is small in comparison to the company’s earnings.

    Visa has attained a gross profit margin of about 97% during the previous ten years. This is because, like other SaaS firms, it has few costs that are directly related to its sales. Visa is likely the most obvious example of scale economies. This is both a plus for Visa since it can attain greater overall margins and a disadvantage for rivals because they will not benefit from this improved profitability till they reach a specific size.

    2. Brand Equity

    Visa, once again, is in a really unusual branding circumstance since it is a truly worldwide and intersectional brand. Visa markets to whom? Everyone in the world is the answer.

    Visa has effectively established a household name, and its brand is synonymous with convenience and dependability. Trusting your money to a corporation is a tough thing to do, which is why firms like Visa and Mastercard have maintained such a firm grip on the market. Visa is an appealing payment option since it is used by practically everyone, implying that it must be reliable.

    kantar top 10 most valuable global brands
    Source: Kantar

    Furthermore, according to Kantar research, Visa is one of the world’s most well-known brands. Visa was ranked 7th among the top ten most valuable brands in 2022.

    Growth Opportunities

    1. Secular growth tailwinds in the e-commerce (digital payments)

    Visa looks well-positioned to benefit from the secular growth trend of payments gradually moving to digital channels. Whether we like it or not, COVID has accelerated the pace of adoption of emerging technologies. In fact, digital payment methods are one of the many ways that have benefited.

    The global digital payment market was valued at USD 68.61 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% from 2022 to 2030. The worldwide increase in customer preference for real-time payments is one of the major factors driving the market’s growth.

    Thus, Visa is poised to capitalize on the megatrend of the eCommerce explosion. Ecommerce boomed in 2020 as home-bound consumers sought shopping alternatives and drove the fastest growth rate in five years.

    2. Change in consumer behavior (away from cash)

    Customers that are younger and more tech-savvy are interested in digital wallet payments. According to a Business Insider article, the expected global contactless volume is growing at an exponential rate. Less conventional alternatives, such as person-to-person transactions and Buy Now, Pay Later payment arrangements, have seen great recent development. Visa is ideally positioned to capitalize on these changes since it provides a payment network with size, security, and reputation.

    Visa has worked with a number of companies to provide Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, as millennials become increasingly interested in mobile and digital wallet payments. Contactless and tap-to-pay have reached 20% penetration in the United States. These services will eventually aid in the acceleration of cash digitization. As a result, merchants are not required to invest in large infrastructure, making these solutions appealing and cost-effective for smaller merchants or merchants in emerging regions.

    Business Risks

    1. Recession and Exit from Russia

    The possibility of a future recession is always present. While Visa will continue to gain from the consumer staples business, transactions and payment volume for discretionary products are expected to fall, resulting in decreased income.

    Visa ceased operations in Russia in March. This will almost certainly be detrimental in the long term since it will result in fewer total transactions and payment volume. This will immediately result in less revenue for the firm and poorer fundamentals.

    Hence, these 2 possibilities, if they were to happen in the future, would definitely have an impact on Visa.

    2. Emerging Technologies – Digital Payments, BNPL etc

    The physical payment market is dominated by a duopoly of Visa and Mastercard. While Visa and Mastercard continue to dominate the physical payment business, retailers cannot escape utilizing their network, even as competition in in-store payments grows. There are more options for online payments, and the recent emergence of buy now, pay later (BNPL) possibilities is another threat to Visa’s stronghold in the digital payments market.

    buy now pay later market

    This occurs because BNPL is sometimes less expensive than charging large purchases to a credit card. Most credit card companies and banks charge very high interest rates that can reach 20% or more, but most BNPL solutions do not charge any interest as long as clients follow the payment schedule. Payments are normally made in three or four installments over a short period of time, usually no more than 3-6 months.

    As more people avoid using credit cards for online purchasing, Visa’s position in the payment choices may deteriorate. This might be one of the reasons Amazon has threatened to discontinue Visa cards in the United Kingdom.

    Quantitative Factors affecting Visa

    Let’s look at the quantitative aspects in order to get a more accurate assessment of Visa’s price and value.

    Visa's overall statistics

    1. Financial Highlights (Revenue Breakdown)

    The majority of Visa’s revenue in 2021 is contributed by Data Processing Revenues. The other segments, like Service Revenues and International Transaction Revenues, are also big contributors to their annual revenue. Currently, 46% of their revenue is derived from the United States and the remaining 54% is from international markets. 

    visa revenue breakdown
    visa revenue by geography

    2. Key Valuation Ratios

    When evaluating the financial state of a growing firm like Visa, we must assess key financial ratios such as Revenue Growth, P/S, P/E, Gross Margin%, Operating Margin%, and FCF.

    Revenue Growth (5 Years)

    Visa’s 2021 revenue stands at $24.1B with 10.0% (YoY growth) and its 5-Year CAGR stands at 5.6%.

    visa's revenue growth

    Price/Equity (P/E) ratio  (1 Year)

    The current Visa P/E stands at 33.61x, while it’s 1-year Avg P/E ratio stands at 38.45x

    visa p/e ratio
    Source: CapitalIQ

    Price/Equity (P/E) ratio  (5 Year)

    The current Visa P/E stands at 33.61x while it’s 5-year Avg P/E ratio stands at 37.43x

    visa p/e ratio
    Source: CapitalIQ

    Price/Sales (P/S) ratio  (1 Year)

    The current Visa P/S stands at 16.74x while it’s 1-year Avg P/S ratio stands at 18.78x

    visa p/s ratio
    Source: CapitalIQ

    Price/Sales (P/S) ratio  (5 Year)

    The current Visa P/S stands at 16.74x while it’s 5-year Avg P/S ratio stands at 17.48x

    visa p/s ratio
    Source: CapitalIQ

    Other Key Ratios

    A company’s profitability is measured using two metrics: gross profit margin and operating profit margin. The difference is that gross profit margin only considers direct manufacturing costs. On the other hand, operating profit margin also considers running expenses such as overhead. Free Cash Flow (FCF) represents the cash available for the company to repay creditors and pay out dividends and interest to investors.

    Looking at Visa’s financials, its EBITDA margin has been lingering around 69+%. Its operating margin has been sitting around ~60% while its FCF margin is around ~55%. An operating margin of more than 15% is regarded as good in most businesses as a rule of thumb. As a result, this clearly demonstrates that Visa has been doing alright financially.

    Other Key Ratios20172018201920202021LTM
    EBITDA Margin %68.8%68.8%69.9%68.0%68.9%70.4%
    Operating Margin %50.8%62.8%55.6%47.8%63.2%59.8%
    FCF%46.9%59.3%52.3%44.4%60.2%56.7%
    Source: CapitalIQ

    Our Stand

    Visa has a robust worldwide network, but its growth is slowing and new entrants are flooding in. With disruptive innovators lurking in the shadows, it may be time to sit back and see how this sector develops. Visa appears to be a potential company to explore in terms of quality, safety, fortress balance sheet, and long-term risk management.

    However, Mastercard is a far faster-growing corporation, which might result in exponential returns for Mastercard stockholders, who are anticipated to witness significantly higher growth over the next 10+ years. Although, Visa retains a significant moat due to its far bigger payment volume and ever-increasing number of transactions, Mastercard seems to be a better buy between the 2 payment processing giants.

    Click here for our Mastercard Stock Analysis

    If you are keen, check out our articles on other analysis: Digital Core REIT Analysis, What happened in the 1st half of 2022, and OCBC Stock Analysis. With all this in mind, Visa still seems a little expensive, but it may be a good opportunity to consider if you have not invested in it.

    Disclaimer: The information provided by LearnToInvest serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalized investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock.

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