Thursday, November 28, 2013

Life simulation app WhyMoolah for Singapore’s youth to face big life decisions

Previously i blog about PlayMoolah, a company based out of Singapore that designs authentic experiences for children and young adults to learn about how to handle money. I also said that they will be launching something called WhyMoolah and i was looking forward to it. Now its here!

Credits: WhyMoolah

Today, they have launched a new app called WhyMoolah. This is an app for young adults who want to learn how to manage their finances. I have just tried this app and there is only one word to describe it: AMAZING!!

What is WhyMoolah?

In their media release:

Mobile app WhyMoolah helps Singapore youth face big life decisions through the power of play
PlayMoolah partners DBS Remix to launch innovative application simulating life on the Little Red Dot

DBS Remix, Singapore’s first bank by day, financial playground by night, has partnered PlayMoolah, a start-up company which leverages technology to design new and fun ways to learn about important financial management skills and make smarter money decisions, , to  educate and empower young working professionals in Singapore to make informed life decisions. This partnership has resulted in PlayMoolah’s latest mobile application, WhyMoolah, backed by DBS Remix.

“Learning about all the different elements that go into becoming financially independent is something everyone goes through, and WhyMoolah helps map the way there,” says Audrey Tan, PlayMoolah CEO and Co-founder. “We want to show everyone that it doesn't have to be overwhelming to make informed decisions, and engage in open and meaningful conversations about money with their families and peers.”


More about WhyMoolah?

WhyMoolah is an entertaining simulation that will take you through life in Singapore! Proudly backed by DBS Remix, and created by PlayMoolah, WhyMoolah will show you how each and every dollar truly adds up at the end of it all.

WhyMoolah is a simulation that enables young adults to experience, explore and discover wealth, health and career options. Set in Singapore, the app simulates a person’s professional life after graduation, with recognisable backdrops from the heartlands to the Central Business District in Raffles Place.

The app comes at a crucial time, as many young Singaporeans are not sufficiently aware of their financial situation. According to a survey by national financial education programme, MONEYSENSE, more than half of Singaporeans do not have enough insurance to protect their dependants if something were to happen to them, and there are also people who over-spend and over-borrow. WhyMoolah will introduce important financial management skills to young adults through key events in their life journeys and help them make smarter money decisions.


Credits: WhyMoolah


After trying out the app, here's my review: 

The graphics are good. The life simulation really matches closely to major life decisions you have to make in real life after you start working. Every detail is considered in it. Stuff like parent's allowance, mobile and internet bills, wedding cost, getting a credit card, buying a house etc. They have the POSB everyday card and other DBS cards inside the game. When you apply for the card, there will be guidance on how the interest on the credit card works. You can actually use the credit card in the game to pay for expenses. The card also comes with rebates similar to how the actual card works.


Credits: WhyMoolah

Your salary inside even has CPF contributions and when you buy a house, the loan package and housing prices are closely matched to what we have in the market now. The housing price is as expensive as what we're seeing now. Even in the game i can feel the stress of buying a house. This stimulation will greatly help young adults see the consequences of not saving enough and prepare them for life's major expenses ahead. You can get married and have children in the stimulation game. Hospitalisation cost, insurance, baby bonus, baby's necessities are all included. You'll feel like you're living a real Singapore life inside.

Try out the app today. It is available on Apple's app store and Google's Android play store. Download the app free today!

Credits: WhyMoolah

Here's the official trailer of the WhyMoolah App:




LINKS

WhyMoolah (iOS) on the Apple App Store: 

WhyMoolah (Android) on the Google Play Store:

WhyMoolah Main Product Page: 

WhyMoolah social media pages:


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Teach your kids financial literacy this school holidays with PlayMoolah

PlayMoolah is a company in Singapore founded by 2 young Singaporean Women, Audrey Tan and Min Xuan Lee, both aged 25. They have an online platform for kids to learn financial literacy in a fun and enriching way. They focus on five key activities which is Earn, Spend, Save, Invest and Give. Parents can effectively teach their kids on how to manage money through the online game platform.


Credits: Image adapted from http://playmoolah.com/blog/

Co-founder Min Xuan Lee on why Playmoolah was started:

“PlayMoolah was started in response to the global financial crisis a few years back. We noticed that in spite of the financial turmoil surrounding us, most people were still unaware of the personal finance issues affecting them. We soon realised that these problems originated from families that were struggling to develop this core life skill. That’s when we started Playmoolah to address this critical need.”

I'm really impressed with the passion that the founders have to make an impact in young people's lives in terms of money management. I'm glad that there are more and more people out there doing a part to improve financial literacy in the world. PlayMoolah is a social enterprise in Singapore. The founders' were recently honoured as young women innovators at the 2013 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Forum(WEF) held on 6-8 September 2013 inBali, Indonesia.

So if you have young children at home, why not teach them financial literacy with PlayMoolah. You can try it free at their website here: http://www.playmoolah.com/. Check it out and have fun with your kids.

P.S: PlayMoolah is starting another segment called WhyMoolah which is targeted at young adults. I'm looking forward to this when it is launched. In the meantime, you can check out their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/whymoolah

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

8 Signs you're a gambler and not an investor

There is a great difference between a gambler and an investor. There are people who invest in the stock market and there are also people who gamble in the stock market. We've heard of people who accumulated huge amounts of debt or went bankrupt just because they gamble. Do not be surprised that many people gamble in the stock market but they think they are investing.

Signs that you're a gambler and not an investor


1) You think of gambling as an investment

Investing in 4D and TOTO? How can it be investing when the odds of winning are always not with you? The probability of winning is probably just 0.001%. In case you didn't know how low is that, look at your bank interest rate. Somehow they are similar. Maybe even the banks gives a higher percentage.



2) You want to fire your boss when you strike it rich


Hate your boss and want to resign from your company when you strike that 1 million TOTO? Gamblers want to make money and make it fast. They think humans can fly. Investors know humans have to walk up the stairs slowly. 



3) Out of so many people, you believe you're the lucky one


There are millions and billions of people out there. Somehow, gamblers think they can defy the odds and be the lucky one. Hundreds and thousands of people queue up to buy 4D but there are only a few winners. These people queuing up must be invisible to them.  



4) You love tips

Fancy a lucky number tip or stock tips? Gamblers want to know which is the next hot number or the next hot stock. They strive to find out where is the lucky store which sells lucky 4D. Somehow when a store has a big winner, long queue forms up at that place after that. This brings me to the next point....



5) You love to follow the crowd


HOT, HOT, HOT is what you love. When everyone is buying it, how can it be wrong right? But you're indeed wrong. Seems like the crowd is always wrong. This is why only a few are rich but most are poor. 



6) You buy more when prices goes up

You buy even more 4D and TOTO numbers when there is a 8 million draw. You buy a stock when the prices have already gone up very high. You buy a property when prices are at record highs. Well, i'm just talking about your neighbour next door. I hope so.



7) You cannot imagine what will happen when you strike it rich


How do you use your money when you have 1 million dollars? How does it feel like to instantly have 1 million dollars? A gambler has no plans for money and will not know what to do with his money. Even when they strike it rich, most lose it in a short time. This is why humans who fly will fall also. They must have forgotten that an apple on a tree dropped on Netwon's head. Newton's law states that what goes up must come down. This is why humans must climb stairs and not fly.  


8) You like fun and excitement

You hate your boring job and your boring life. Fun and excitement is what you look for. Is the stock market fun to you? Becareful, you may be a gambler instead of an investor. Remember, an investor does not fly. He walks up the stairs which is plain boring and tiring too. 


Finally, I'll add on the definition of gambling and investing from the dictionary. 

Gambling is taking risky action in hope of a desired result.

Investing is to commit money in order to gain a financial return.


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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

As we all know, Philippines was hit by a typhoon just a few days ago. I have some colleagues from there where i got to know how serious the disaster was. The coastal areas had a storm surge which was similar to a tsunami. Waves just came crashing in and many houses were swept away. Most people died from the flooding. Yesterday there was a broadcast on Channel 8 where they interviewed 3 Singaporeans who was in Philippines when the typhoon strike. The things they shared made me realise even more how serious the situation was there. On the first few days, they had no electricity and not enough water. The 3 of them had to share a bottle of 500ml water for 2 days.

In Singapore, many non-profit organisations are sending teams in for the relief work as well as to provide essential supplies to the victims of this disaster. We can do our part to help out too. One of the organisations that is helping out is our Singapore red cross society. For more information on how you can donate to the relief efforts, please refer to the Singapore red cross website here. A little bit of help by each person goes a long way.

Here's a video of the aftermath of this typhoon:




My condolences goes out to the victims and all those who were affected by the Typhoon. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Does the school you come from determine your success or failure in life?

Recently, i saw a comment on Facebook being shared by one of my friends. The comment was about how this girl debated with another guy that his study for a private Australian university degree in Singapore is useless and cannot be compared with her own local NUS cert. She went on to say that ITE cannot be compared to JC and in a sense an A level cert is better than an ITE cert.

Here's what she wrote:

This has gone viral on facebook with more than 900 shares and massive number of comments. It gives people the impression that those who come from good schools look down upon others who come from normal schools. There's also another blog post by a guy from RI (raffles institution) comparing his school with neighbourhood schools. That also went viral online.

Why do people have such mindsets that people who come from good schools are better off? Does the school you come from determine your success in life later on? Let me share my comments and views on this issue.

I've always heard people debating on whether JC or poly is better and if local or private overseas degrees are better? This is a never ending debate and I tried to find out the answer. One day while I was working, I met a guy from another company and we were working on a project together. This is the first time I met him and a conversion strike off between us. He started to ask me if there are more foreigners in my company now? In which I replied yes and said its a normal trend in Singapore currently. He too said there are more and more foreigners in his company. We went on to say how crowded the MRT is now and if we look in the MRT cabins, Singaporeans seem to be the minority. I'm sure you have had this feeling before. Now, I have to state clearly that I have nothing against foreigners in general. I have friends who are from overseas and we get along very well. This is however a sensitive topic and has been debated fiercely during our previous general election.

The next comment I hear from this guy whom I've just met surprised me and left a deep impression in me till now. He's in his 40s and I'm in my 20s.

So he said: "don't study too hard in Singapore, its not worth so much of the effort now".

I was shocked at this and thought why would he say this? Then I realised something. Where you get your certification/degree is not so critical to companies now. Think about it, foreigners graduate from their own local university back home say in Malaysia or Phillipines and come to work in Singapore. Do companies hire them? Yes they do! And they are hiring more and more. If you think companies pay them lower salaries, you're wrong too. Most of them come to Singapore with relevant work experience and they get much higher pay than fresh graduates in Singapore. Well, my boss is a foreigner too (hope he doesn't see this :p)

Many of my friends struggle in local universities because of the rigorous curriculum and the many modules and electives they have to take. There are cases of students committing suicide also as they cannot handle the stress. Is it really worth the sacrifice?

On the other hand, I have friends who graduated from private institutions with an overseas degree mostly from Australia or UK. They are doing very well in their careers now and have no problem getting a graduate level job with decent market rate pay. My uncles all of them have overseas degree and they even say they got an MBA in one year without attending any lessons. Just have to self study online and take an exam. They are earning more than 12k per month now.

When you're a student, your job is just to study. There is no EQ involved where you need to network well with your classmates(colleagues) or get along well with your teacher(boss) to get good results(promotion and higher pay).

In the working world, it takes a lot more to survive. Graduating from a local university like NTU and NUS does not mean you can get along well with your boss or determine if your working attitude is good. Likewise whether you're from a neighbourhood secondary school or a elite high school in Singapore does not mean you will be successful in life in the future. Well, many top scholars deviate from the way of life and get trouble with the law as seen on news just this year alone. Remember the MOE scholar caught with child porn in UK? He's in jail now. How about the NUS law professor with the sex for grades case? He got into trouble too. Plus the many other corruption cases in Singapore. Good grades and character sometimes do not come together. We should not judge a person's character base on his or her education alone.

Coming back to success in life. What does it mean? Does it mean you earn a lot of money? Live in a big house and drive a luxurious car? To me, that's not called success. You can be drawing a big pay check but heavily in debt. You can be driving a luxurious car but can't pay for your credit card bills.

As a financial blogger, I would say many times we need knowledge to make sensible financial decisions. Making the wrong decisions or developing a wrong financial habit will destroy your adult life completely.

When it comes to financial knowledge, it does not matter if you graduate from local or private institutions. It does not matter if you're from ITE or JC. It does not matter if you're from RI or a neighbourhood school. We do not learn how to save money from schools. We do not learn how not be over-leveraged on debt from schools. We do not learn how to make wise investment choices from schools.

Back to the Facebook post. The post was featured on therealsingapore.com and many comments flood the site. Some of the comments are quite interesting. I'll quote it here:

We have been brought up this way. Smarter ones go jc n poly. Not so good grades go ite or dropout. Tats a fact. But eventually we succeeds or or fail in life or work depends on our heart n mind n hardwork.

Why criticise ite student. My brother not even jc graduate and his earning 5k. While I'm myself ite graduate but bucking up myself to take private diploma. No matter how successful you are if you ain't humble it won't get you nowhere.

Having past the uni education system for abt 3yrs, all I can say is that people with these kinda mindsets usually ends up at the bottom of the food chain. EQ is more impt than IQ when you come out and work. Yes, ur IQ and results land u ur first job, but its ur eq and attitude that gets u further. I've seen people with Straight A's honors students going into work and starts at mgmt lvl, but no one listens and works for her, end up dept head sack her cos she screwed up the whole team. Then there r the so called ITE students who started at admin level went into sales and then supervisory role. End of the day, the company sponsored her to study overseas. So who do you think is more successful in the end? 

Thus, success is not about graduating from a top school in Singapore. It is also not about getting straight As or an NUS degree cert. Success is about how you make life decisions wisely and how you get along well with other people. Studying only takes up the most 20 years of your life but your life after that is another 50-60 years. Having success in studies does not automatically make you successful in life.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Croesus Retail Trust - First Quarter results released and initiated long position

I blog about investing in Japan's real estate 3 days ago here. There are 2 companies listed on the SGX which primarily owns real estate in Japan. One of them is Saizen Reit and the other is Croesus retail trust. I've bought into Croesus retail trust today at a price of 87.5cents.

Main reason for buying is because of the high dividend yield. This trust promises a 100% payout ratio for the first 2 years. The dividend yield we're looking at on the current price is about 8% pa. Another reason is that we can take the opportunity to ride the widely discussed and predicted growth in Japan if it does happen. Well, this would be harder to predict but it will be good if it does happen.

Today, Croesus retail trust released its 1st Quarter fianncial results. Actual distribution per unit (DPU) is 3.26 cents. This is higher than the originally forecast of 3.11 cents. NAV per unit is stated as 91cents after conversion from Japanese Yen. This means that at the current price of 87.5cents, is still trading at a discount to NAV. Dividends are expected to be paid on or before 31st March 2014. I'm sure existing shareholders are happy to hear this news.

As stated in my earlier post, the downside of this trust is the high gearing level of about 43%. I do hope the management will be able to maximize the use of this loan and put it into good use.

Overall, the results are encouraging. As the occupancy rate remains stable, this trust is set to meet its forecast DPU. It is a good income generating investment.


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1. Looking to invest in Japan's real estate

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Looking to invest in Japan's real estate

There has been much news about the economic reforms that the Japanese government is embarking on to revive its economy. Japanese prime minister Shinz┼Ź Abe has launched Abenomics which is a combination of measures such as quantitative easing, increased public infrastructure spending and the devaluation of the Yen. Maybe now its a good time to look into investing into the Japanese market as its economy sets to recover from the lost decade it has experienced.



Why is it worthwhile to look into investing into Japan's real estate? By this, i don't mean that you buy a property directly in Japan. Alternatively, you can invest into a variety of real estate investment trust and business trust which are already listed in the Singapore stock exchange. Let's look briefly into the history of Japan's economy to understand better why they are positioned for growth in the future.

Japan's real estate prices were rising tremendously from 1986 to 1991. This formed an asset price bubble and the bubble burst in 1991 sending real estate prices down into negative territory. Japanese Yen was appreciating a lot due to the Plaza Accord. This was an agreement to depreciate the US dollar in relation to Japanese Yen and German Deutsche Mark. Both these 2 events lead to the Japanese economy suffering and ended up in deflation. I will leave out the finer details of what happened exactly but i hope you got a rough idea.

Japan's government has set an inflation target of 2% to reach by 2015. Prior to that, Japan has been in a deflation state for many years. As prices keep dropping, Japanese people defer their buying in the hopes that they can buy it at a cheaper price later. This is completely opposite from our current state in Singapore where people rush to buy properties because they are afraid that prices will keep going up. It's the thought that if i don't buy it now, it's going to get more expensive.



So with prices set to rise in Japan, it's timely to consider investing into Japan's real estate and ride the growth that is about to happen.

Let's look at some of the companies that we can consider investing into that are listed in Singapore.

Saizen Reit
Saizen Reit has a portfolio of income producing real estate. These properties are mostly residential properties. To date, it has 139 properties spread across 14 cities in Japan. Occupancy rate is at 91.9% on average in FY2013. As home ownership is low at about 60% in Japan, rental properties are still in strong demand there. Rental prices are set to rise as the Japan's economy recover.


One of the residential properties owned by Saizen Reit


Stock price for Saizen reit is currently at 0.93. Net asset value is $1.22 as presented in their recent november 2013 presentation. Thus, it is trading at a discount to NAV of 23.7% . Gearing level is around 34.7% which is quite normal for a Reit. Distribution yield for the whole of 2013 was about 5.2% which is fairly attractive.

For those investors who're interested in having a part in Japan's residential real estate, you can consider Saizen Reit.

Croesus Retail Trust
This is a business trust engaging in retail properties. It currently owns 4 shopping centres in Japan. This company just IPO in Singapore on 10 May 2013 this year. IPO price was 0.93 per unit. On first trading day, the stock opened at 1.12 and was at a high of 1.18 before tumbling down to 0.875 currently. This is already a 22% drop from opening to now. This fall in price presents investors an opportunity to buy the stock at a cheaper price.

One of the malls under the management of the trust, called Luz Shinsaibashi


Fundamental wise, NAV is calculated to be at 0.90 per share. Thus, the current price of 0.875 is trading at a slight discount to NAV. The company has promised to payout 100% of its income to shareholders for the first 2 years. Thereafter, a 90% payout ratio can be expected. The forecast dividend yield will be around 8.5% if you bought at current price. This is quite an attractive yield. However, gearing level is quite high at 43.7%. I guess with high yield comes higher gearing level too. But i think Japan's interest rate will remain low for quite sometime thus it won't affect its loan tenure too much. The weighted average debt maturity for them is around 5 years. The only thing we can hope for is the management use the debt wisely to acquire more assets and enhance shareholder's value.

This is a chance to invest into Japan's retail property market. Investor's who're keen in it can consider Croesus retail trust.

*I do not hold any shares in the above companies as of now. But i'll be looking into accumulating some soon.


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