Are you SABOing your Investment for Retirement?

It is a very unfortunate event that investors lost their hard earned money and retirement fund with Six Capital.

Angry investors file police reports against fintech firm SixCapital

What can we as the retail investors learn from this incident?

Let’s use the SABO model to analyse this incident. By the way, this SABO is NOT the Singlish of “Sabotage”.

SABO stands for S (Suitability), A (Affordability), B(Benefit) and O(Objective).



Before we invest, we need to have a very clear objective in mind on why we need to invest, how long is our investment horizon, what is our risk profile, how much time we can allocate to monitor our investment portfolio, etc.. Setting the right objective is very important because it serves as our lighthouse to identify, select and understand the right asset classes to meet our objective.



Once we are clear with the objective, the next step is to select the asset classes which are suitable to our risk appetite, our life style, available time to do our homework and investment horizon.

Examples of the wrong match of one life style, personality, risk appetite with wrong asset classes and investment strategy:

  • a busy executive scalps forex every night after work;
  • a retiree invests his / her majority of retirement fund in land banking;
  • a person who dislikes numbers trades Option
  • a housewife who does not have computer knowledge trades crytocurrency

It is not sustainable with all the above examples due to the mismatch.

If you are struggling with your current investment, it is strongly suggested you do a review immediately on your current investment portfolio or your trading strategy, before you commit more time and more money doing something which is not suitable to you.

The following questions the investors have to ask to see whether the investment is suitable to them :

  • How the investment strategy can give 18% per year?
  • What are the risks in this investment?
  • What is the worst case scenario?
  • How volatile is this investment?
  • How quickly if the investors want to redeem their investment? Is there a lock in period? Are there any early redemption and other charges?




  • Can we afford to lose all our investment if we make mistake investing in the wrong asset classes or instrument?
  • Can we afford to ride through the market volatility if there is a big correction or black swan event?
  • Can we afford to take more risk for higher return?
  • Can we afford to be ignorant, DIY and listen to tips when come to investing?
  • Can we afford to get professional advice to help building the safe and diversified portfolio?



  • Is the return of the  investment meet my expectation?
  • Is my expectation realistic?
  • Is it worth to take more risk for additional return?
  • Is my investment liquid and sell anytime when I need money?
  • Can the investment give me Peace of Mind and give me a “Sleep Well” factor?


I am rather concern with this statement “A few retirees indicated that they had poured in significant retirement sums. One lady was the age of my mother. She said that she was going to the temple to pray.”

My recommendation to retiree on their retirement fund:

  • First priority is Capital Preservation, Not Chasing for Return because you can’t afford to lose your retirement fund unless you can replenish your capital easily if you lose all of them.
  • Look for investments which are less volatile and pay consistent dividend like Bond or REITs.
  • Nothing is guaranteed in this investment world. Please don’t believe in those marketing materials indicate “Guaranteed Return”, etc. Countries, Banks, Insurance companies can all go bankrupt.. so, where does the guarantee come from?
  • Do have a diversified investment portfolio and Manage the Risk… Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. You cannot afford to make any costly mistake at retirement age. One big mistake may wipe out all your retirement fund.


If you need an Independent Third Party to have an unbiased view on  your current investment portfolio (Fee based), you can contact me through email


Scope of the Investment Portfolio Review

  • Identify your Investment Objective
  • Risk Profile Assessment
  • Strength and Weakness of current portfolio
  • Recommendation


Kenny Loh

Invest Fair 2017: Investing in 20s, 30s and 40s

I was invited as a panelist to share my investing experience at Invest Fair 2017 at Suntec Convention Halls last Sunday, together with Jes (SimplyJesMe), Brian (ForeverFinancialFreedom) and Alison (Heartlandboy) and Mark Cheng (Moderator from MoneySmart). The topic given is Investing in 20s, 30s and 40s, and looks like I was invited to represent the 40s and retirees because the other 3 panelists are in 20s and 30s.


We were given a set of questions for the penal discussion. I think it is good to share My view and My Experience here as many of you do not have chance to attend Invest Fair last weekend.




Investing varies at different stages in life. How would you describe the differences of investing in 20s, 30s and 40s?


  • In general, I would love to split into 2 different strategies: Wealth Accumulation (early stage) and Wealth Preservation (retiring stage). The portfolio is different with different asset classes, allocation and risk profiles. In the early stage where wealth accumulation is the focus, one can have higher allocation to higher risk type of asset class which give high capital appreciation and growth like equities or commodities.
  • In the retiring stage, capital preservation has to be key focus whereby higher allocation to income producing assets like Bonds, Dividend Stocks or REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust).



Investing in 20s:

As most people just start to get in touch with investing, how should one educate themselves on investing and the fundamentals of financial planning?


  • In general, I find that there is a lack of financial literacy in Singapore. If given a chance for me to start all over again after I graduated from the university, I would like to find an experience mentor to guide me on the Life Stage Financial Planning Process and invest in myself to equip myself as much financial knowledge as possible. I have wasted the first 15 years since graduation losing money investing into something I don’t understand like Time Shares, Land banking, oversea properties, Singapore S-chip, Singapore blue chip (Creative Technology, Chartered Semiconductor, etc).. Basically I have wasted my previous time and my money doing trial and error and give hefty tuition fee to the investment world.
  • In summary, I would suggest the following:
    • Attend financial planning classes which is not taught in the school. Start early and start with right knowledge. Learn as much as possible before investing your first dollar into anything including insurance, endowment, ILP, all sorts of investment products.
    • Get an experience mentor who have lost money before… not the mentor who tell you how to make money easily and sell you the dream.
    • Don’t fall into Get Rick Quick, Retire Early type of investment or trading seminars.
    • Get Real if you want to invest properly. There is No free lunch and you have to work hard for it. Forget about all the free investment tips. Why should people tell you free tips and make you rich? Why don’t they just keep the tips themselves so that they can become millionaires themselves?



What are the type of investment beginner should look at and what is the appropriate amount to start investing?


  • Blue chip Dividend Stocks, REITs, Unit Trust, ETF. You have less probability to lose 100% of your capital.
  • Start Small…. Learn from the mistakes when you lose money. You can start as low as $100 every month investing in Unit Trust and ETF which offer good diversification.
  • Losing money is part of the learning journey. Accept it, learn from it and manage it.



How can one determine the right form of investment when they are just starting out?


  • Understand the products before you invest. Don’t invest in something that you don’t understand.
  • Ask what is the maximum amount you are going to lose if something goes wrong.
  • If you cannot stomach the maximum loss, the investment is not suitable to you.
  • Have a right investment mindset: Prepare to lose everything when you invest. Nothing is guaranteed in the investment world. If you come across any products which give you guaranteed return, READ the FINE PRINT. There will probably have some conditions imposed in the product like hard lock period, penalty on early redemption, etc.



Investing in 30s

Most people would say that 30s is the best time to take risk, what are your view on this?


  • There are always risks in investing. No investment is guaranteed in this world. Risk Management is one of the important skills one should master before investing. Invest in something that you can sleep well at night and can afford to lose.  A sole bread winner in 30s who needs to support his / her family, children, elderly parents without any insurance protection is not suitable to invest in risky asset classes with lock in period. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different at different life stages.


What form of investment should someone with prior investing experience consider at this stage?


  • Go for something liquid with no lock in period as there are a lot of uncertainties at this stage of the life. E.g. Marriage, Child birth, purchase house, taking care of elder parents, stress in career, setting up own business, etc. This tests your money management and risk management skills as one have different roles as Parents, Children, Spouse, Boss, Employee, etc.
  • If something goes wrong, one has the flexibility to liquidate your investment and re-deploy your resources to something more important and urgent.
  • Summary: Focus on Investment Risk Management in terms of Liquidity & Flexibility.


Is there any precaution one should as there many huge expenditures occurring at this stage in life such as marriage, purchasing houses, childbirth etc.


  • That’s where the Personal Financial Planning is very essential at this stage of life. I learn this financial planning process through my real life experience. I wish I have learnt this through a proper financial planning course at early age to avoid making unnecessary mistakes and wasted money to rectify those mistakes. I paid for unnecessary insurance premium, paid unnecessary interest to the banks, and even at one stage my wife had to borrow money and sold her gold jewelries to raise cash as we faced short term cash flow problem due to over leveraging of loan.
  • I shared some good financial planning practices here (very important to plan in sequence):
    1. Set aside minimum 6 months of emergency funds
    2. Get yourself and your family well protected for any unforeseen event like death, accidents, critical illness, hospitalization, lost of income due to disability, etc. If you don’t have sufficient insurance protection, your investment will be very vulnerable. E.g. One critical illness medical expense can wipe out your whole life saving / investment or even cause financial burden to your family. Be responsible and don’t pass your liability to other family members.
    3. Only invest your excess money after you have done the above 2 steps.



Investing in 40s

This is the stage when we are reaching retirement age, how should this affect our assets management and investment portfolio?


  • We have to prepare for loss of jobs and reduce in income.
  • We also start to visit hospital or clinics more for ourselves and taking care of our elderly parents. Hospital will probably one of the most visited places for the rest of our lives from now onward.
  • As there is no certainty of our income and also we are not able to anticipate what will be the medical expense which may shock us, Capital preservation is the top priority. We just cannot afford to lose our hard earned money from the past 15-20 years. One wrong investment mistake will wipe out all our saving and we don’t have time and energy to recover.
  • This is the age we have to be defensive in our investment and avoid dreaming to chase for higher return if you cannot afford to lose your retirement capital. Thus, I would suggest to have higher allocation to Income generating Assets like Dividend Stocks, REITs and Bonds, non stock market correlated type of Multi Asset Classes (e.g. air craft leasing, solar farms, invoice financing, healthcare royalties, mortgage financing, re-insurance premium, student accommodation, etc)


What are the factors one should consider to ensure they can retire promptly?


  • Protect your capital at all cost. This is not the time to chase for additional returns.
  • Portfolio should be defensive in nature and lower volatility through a very well planned diversification across different asset classes with minimal correlation.


How can one finance for the next generation?


  • Estate Planning is important if you don’t want leakage to your assets. It is no point you have spent your whole life accumulating your wealth but you do not plan for a proper hand over to next generation.
  • Our Estate does not equal to our Asset when we pass on because we may pay more taxes, legal fee, or we have to liquid our investment at the wrong price (e.g. market crash)



What other advice can you provide to the audience with regards to investing, regardless of their stage in life?

  • Focus on Financial Education, it is a life long journey as there are many complicated financial instruments out there. We have to understand Pro & Cons different types of asset classes and how they generate returns. If the product is too good to be true, it probably it is.
  • Choose investment which is suitable to you (ie. can sleep well) but not only looking at the return.
  • Learn how to differentiate investment scams and genuine investments. Some common traits of the investment scams:
    • Low investment amount to participate
    • Offer High Returns
    • Posh Marketing website and seminars at the hotel
    • You can make additional money by referring your friends and families.


See the recorded panel discussion here.


Original post from

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Is Stock Market a Pasar Malam?

I receive many questions whether this is the right time to buy stocks. I also saw many investors to tell others to buy this stock or buy that stock when the price has dropped significantly….

Original post by Marubozu from My Stocks Investing Journey.

There is no right or wrong answer because it very much depend on individual risk appetite and risk tolerance (ie. holding power).

My humble thoughts:

  • Stock Market is not a Pasar Malam, it does not mean we must buy when the stock price has dropped significant or cheap (or Perceived Cheap). Cheap stock can get cheaper! Low Stock Price does not mean the Stock is cheap.
  • When the chart is showing a confirmed Down Trend, why do we need to be so hurry to buy and lose more money?
  • Some property counters are trading below the NAV (ie. under value) but undervalue stock can become more undervalue if it is on the down trend. Do you know that NAV can drop when interest rate increases?
  • Some REITs are offering attractive dividend, do you know what your Total Invested Capital can lose more than 10% within a month (on down trend) while you are chasing for a Annual Dividend Yield of 6-7%?
  • Do not Live in Denial. Down Trend is Down Trend (This is Fact and can be seen on the chart). The stock price will go lower in the down trend. No point to “selectively” search for “make yourself feel good” factors to stay in the trade (This is Hope).  I have seen many investors to find all the good reasons to justify themselves to hold on the losing trades and “hope” the stock will come back one day. There must be some reasons why the stock price plunge and beaten down badly. What make them feel that their analysis is always right? Trade base on what we see but not what we hope.
  • Do not fall in love with certain stocks. Stock is NOT your girl friend / boy friend or wife / husband, and you don’t need to have love affair with the stocks. The objective of Investing in stock is to make Money $$. You don’t need to be faithful to the stocks which can’t make you money. Dump the stocks and move to seek for another Good Stock (to long) or Bad Stock (to short.)

To cut the long story short, it is NO WAY we as retail investors (even professional traders and economists) to know everything about the stock market. My approach is ALWAYS refer to the chart when in doubt. Those stock price in the chart will tell the whole story. I will not invest in any stock when there is a down trend no matter how attractive is the valuation or good news (which can be manipulated).