08 August 2016

Pokemon-Go and what it means to daily life

Over the past weekend, the level of human activity in Singapore has surely increased significantly. There are visibly more human beings walking around, albeit a bit strangely? Never have I seen any product that could create that kind of impact on human behaviour overnight. Welcome to the Age of Pokemon.

Anyway, as I trolled around neighbourhoods, staring at my mobile phone and the battery draining Pokemon app, I had a few moments of insights ...

How is Pokemon-Go good?

- Long waits at Polyclinic may become more bearable. There're two PokeStops outside a Polyclinic I came across. May well be a bad thing too. People don't want to leave when their visit is actually done!?

- Parks are in fashion. It has encouraged more people to step out and about. There're numerous PokeStops around the park trails. Health Promotion Board and N.Parks should be happy.

- Quiet National Park trails become popular. I noticed a string of 10 or so PokeStops along that otherwise quiet trail off Casuarina (nearby the Prata shop). Don't fall off the trail!
[p/s: Don't bother with Coney Island though - nothing there except sand-flies apparently! Sheesh.]

- The Zoo is now worth more than the animals. Comes with virtual ones too. Kids are going to get thoroughly confused with the proper names and species of animals. Rats and birds will never be the same again.

- It's going to create an increased demand for portable battery chargers. Challenger will be most happy.

- You will feel like a celebrity, because people seem to be pointing their camera phones at you. Actually, they're just chasing Pokemons. Don't feel that your privacy is being invaded. You're not that handsome/pretty after all.

Time to start selling Pokemon toys and anything Pokemon? Sounds like a retail business.

Meantime, I've clocked more steps a day on average ever since. It's quite life changing. For now.

Oi, is that a rat in your ramen?

04 August 2016

When Junk Bonds Become My Moolah

Equity hasn't been kind in recent years. While a historical performance of 10-12% (with dividend reinvested) may have been the norm of past, it's been far, far lower of late. But income investing has remained decent with 3-4% dividend payouts while REITs have been giving me 5-6%.

With a combined family portfolio that has crossed seven digits, I felt that I can afford to ante up my risk palette. So I've started placing a small percentage of investment funds into a P2P platform, specifically, Moolahsense.

Spreading my investments into numerous blocks of a few thousand dollars each and across multiple loans, it's effectively creating a DIY junk bond fund isn't it? The nominal loan interests have averaged 17-18% across the portfolio so far. With many of the payments being made on monthly basis, after a while, it seems like there is an incoming payment every other day. Is that shiok or what?

But the shiokness can be deceiving. Logically, I would expect some percentage of defaults. I mean seriously, why would any company take up loans of 17-18% if they could borrow from banks at lower rates? It's almost as bad as owing credit card debts. Clearly, the banks see them as so risky that they are not even prepared to offer them a cent. So, everyone of them is a potential default case.

Like banks that make provisions for non-performing loans, I'm making a provision for 5% defaults. In simplistic sense, if a $100,000 portfolio is making 17%, that's an interest of $17,000. With a 5% default on principal, that's a loss of $5,000. But, the overall outcome would still be 12% gain in net income. Not bad.

But, if the defaults climb above 17%, I'll be in the red.

I'll see how this turns out after a year or two.

Supposing a portfolio of $1.3 million with a spread as follows:
- $1,000,000 of stocks @ 3.5% dividends = $35,000
- $200,000 of REITs @ 6% = $12,000
- $100,000 of P2P loans @ 12% = $12,000
That would generate a passive annual income of $59,000, or almost $5,000 a month.

01 August 2016

4 Apps and a Whole Load of Freebies

Digital wallets and e-transactions have taken some time to materialise. But surely and certainly they have. There now seems to be a myriad of options. I finally succumbed to this form of electronics transaction.

In truth, I didn't have much of a motivation to do so. Most, if not all, credit cards already have this pay wave option, and most transactions below $100 don't even need to be signed anymore.

I finally got round to installing Android Pay, but only because POSB/DBS has some offers to link their credit cards to Android Pay with the first five transactions offering 25% rebates till 30 Sep 2016. So why not?  Anyway, the installation and linking to my credit card was quite seamless and went without a hitch.

Using it, however, was another thing altogether. Must say I'm a noob on this. Wifey told me McDonalds was offering a further $2 rebate with payments via Android Pay. More discounts! So I gave it a go at the McCafe when we went to one outlet for breakfast over the weekend.

Took a few tries before I got it to work though. Other than switching on the NFC function on my phone, and activating the app, I couldn't figure out where on the reader machine I was supposed to place my phone against. Sheesh. Pretty embarrassing. Felt like an old fogey who couldn't handle technology. The staff was not much help, so I guess I sought some consolation in that. After some trying, it eventually worked. Looks like need to place the phone over the right corner of the reader.

Have a cuppa and enjoy discounts over discounts ... at least, for the first few transactions anyway.

And in addition to that, since I was ordering McCafe coffee, might as well use the McCafe app to earn the rewards to lead to a free drink. 5 cups of McCafe coffee will get you that freebie. Speaking of which, here's a trick when ordering at McCafe - you can order the normal McDonalds menu items too. Skip the lengthy queues at the normal McDonalds queue!

And since the McDonalds was at a CapitaMall, there's also their CapitaStar loyalty points programme. Snap a picture of the bill above $20 and get points that can be redeemed for a cash voucher.

So there you have it - 4 apps and a whole load of freebies: Android Pay rebates, McDonalds discount, McCafe free coffee, CapitaStar cash voucher.