Earlier Today I Experienced Every Investor’s Worst Nightmare – Unable To Sell My Stock

One of an investor’s or trader’s worst nightmare happened to me earlier today, and is still happening now.

As everyone probably know, the US is officially in the bear market now, with the market dropping more than 20% from the recent high.

For Singapore, the index plunged from a high of 3281 in January to currently 2672, a 18.6% drop.

STI Index 12/3/20

We foresee that the market will drop even more as Singapore feels the aftereffect of the virus outbreak globally.

Earlier today, I wanted to take profit on some of my earlier positions simply because:

  1. We expect price to drop even more. Hence it will be better to lock in the profits and then buy in later at the lower price since the current price of some stocks we are holding is near our entry price.
  2. We want to increase our war chest to double down on other high quality counters which are trading at extremely good value now. 

However, something frustrating happened. Upon logging in my DBS Vickers account, I found out that my selling limit is too low! It’s ridiculous that my selling limit is only S$1500 and I can’t even sell the shares I own! This is probably the biggest nightmare for anyone. 

DBS Vicker’s Dashboard shows my bank balance and it should be able to sell my position

There are currently so many questions running through my head now:

  1. How did DBS Vickers assign the low selling limit? My Multiplier account has more than enough money and it is reflected on my DBS Vickers Dashboard – shouldn’t they have seen the balance is more than what I am trying to sell, ie a S$4000 position? 
  2. Shouldn’t DBS Vickers have access to the stocks I’ve bought through them, my default brokerage firm and that I can sell them through DBS Vickers?
  3. How are the selling limit set? 
  4. If my selling limit is low, shouldn’t they have sent a notification notifying me to take note of this?
  5. If they are not confident of my selling limit, why would they assign a S$168,000 buying limit for me?

So I went ahead to google how to get them to increase my limit, and it turns out I need to send in my latest bank statement, NOA, pay slip, or CDP statement.

What puzzled me is that, couldn’t DBS Vickers just look at the bank balance that is shown on the DBS Vickers Dashboard?

As a DBS shareholder, this is a triple whammy for me – while stock price has crashed, the DBS Multiplier Account made recent detrimental changes to me, forcing me to make investment trades via Vickers every month to earn higher interest, and now this happened – I can’t sell the shares I bought through Vickers.

What an irony.

In order to increase my selling limit, I went ahead to email them earlier today my CDP statement and NOA, but have yet to hear from them. 

So I called in.

However, I was held on the line for 20 minutes and the line is probably and understandably too busy because everyone is probably selling their stocks now. 

I contemplated heading down to the office, but upon reading the review on Google, I think I won’t be able to get the help I need. The reviews are brutal, with people calling DBS service center trash, and that the customer representative officers being rude and unprofessional.

So here I am, stuck and whining about DBS Vickers. Left with much frustration and even more questions.

And I am officially not a happy DBS shareholder now. Borderline angry.

Over the past 1 hour plus going through all these ordeal, trying to sell my shares to lock in the profit, trying to call in DBS Vickers, and at the same time writing this article, the 3 stocks I wanted to take profit on dropped even further nearing my entry price. 

What we can only do now is just wait for Vickers to restore the selling limit, and perhaps not taking profit on them anymore.

I wonder for those who have leveraged positions and they needed to sell all their positions urgently, if they are in this situation, they would be really really pissed at Vickers.

The good thing is that, earlier this week we manage to sell off a small portion of our portion to take some profit, so that’s probably some consolation. Should have just taken profit on all the positive positions I have.

This is probably gonna get even worse, so buckle up people.

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War Chest Planning And What We Are Doing During This Uncertain Time

Looking at the market movement the past few days and weeks, we are slightly spooked by the atypical market movement, and are currently living in uncertain times now.

If you hold any US equities, you would have noticed that the past few days, the S&P 500 as well as the NASDAQ have been swinging by 2-3% per day upwards and downwards, and the market is unsure which side they want to head towards.

The 2-3% gain on one day is quickly wiped out the next day, only to recover the following trading day.

Other than the price movement, earnings from big and small companies are giving mixed signals – while most companies we are monitoring registers continued growth in earnings, but they are giving revenue drop guidance.

The full impact of the virus towards the global economy will only be registered by individual company’s P&L in the next 1 or 2 quarters. 

We are also seeing new lows everyday from counters adversely impacted by the COVID 19, such as DBS, which dived more than 10% from a month ago.

SATS too plunged >20% from the price a month ago, almost a 4 years low. Comfort on the other hand, is testing its 2 years low of S$1.91, and if the current price of S$1.92 breaches that, we will be seeing price levels from 2013.

Building Up War Chest And Preserving Cash

So what are we doing? For now, we are looking to build up our cash in bank.

What this means is that, we are resisting the urge to buy individual counters, although the price levels are very very attractive. If you look at our monthly updates, what you will notice is that every month, Mr or Mrs Budget will be initiating a position in a local counter. We will be putting a brake on that for now.

We think that the COVID-19 impact is still not being priced in fully by the global market – worse still, this might even catalyse the next recession.

The tax season and our annual insurance premium is here too, so hopefully the savings can offset these new additional expenses. 

Continue Our Syfe DCA With Reduced Contribution

Besides building up our cash holding, we will still continue our monthly DCA into Syfe our Roboadvisor.

The Irrelevant Investor recently did an article comparing the portfolio growth of “buying the dip” vs DCA and found very interesting insights.

What he found is that, a straight dollar cost averaging actually did better than the buy the dip strategy across the history.   

He also concluded that if something goes up over time, then the longer you delay investing, the worse off you are. 

So for the Mrs and I, we will still continue our monthly DCA. However, we will reduce the DCA slightly from a monthly of S$1,500 to S$1,000. This is so that we can build up our cash to buy high quality blue chips stocks that are really too attractive to give a pass now. 

Cutting Down On Unnecessary Expenses And Exploring Free Entertainment

The third thing that we are doing during this uncertain period is to cut down on unnecessary expenses.

What this means is that, we will try as much as possible to lower our entertainment cost and dine out cost. This also means that we will try to cook in more, eat more cai fan for lunch during work, as well as looking out for free entertainment such as exercising during the weekend or simply Netflix-ing at home more.

Hopefully we can bring up our current cash holding and leverage on the market recovery if it does happen.

This is our war chest planning for the next 6 months:

Cash HoldingMr BudgetMrs Budget
CurrentS$55,774.29S$49,400.74
Targetted in 6 monthsS$65,000.00S$65,000.00
6x Monthly Expenses S$30,000.00S$12,000.00
Available for InvestmentS$35,000.00S$53,000.00
“Bullets” available for
S$5,000 individual investments
710

What are you doing during this uncertain times?

Looking to invest via Syfe? You can use our referral code: SRP6X8B8Y when you create an account. We would both get $10 to $100 depending on your first deposit amount, and you’d receive your bonus within 5 business days. 

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February 2020 Monthly Expenses Update

At the end of every month, Mrs Budget and I will reconcile our monthly expenses and see what are we spending on, and where we can optimise or cut down our expenses.

We subscribe to the believe that every penny saved is a penny earned – sometimes its easier to save S$100, than to earn S$100, both of which results in the same net worth increase.

In February, here’s what Mr Budget spent on.

ExpensesFebruary
Meals$369.30
Transportation (mrt)$40.00
Entertainment$67.30
Groceries / Home$510.05
Shopping / Cloths$8.00
Phone Bill$56.10
Mum$210.00
Income Tax$103.05
Hair Cut$30.36
Digital Subs$30.56
Malaysia Mortgage 1$763.84
Malaysia Mortgage 2$359.96
Malaysia Home$583.33
Singapore Mortgage$1,215.26
Travel$38.67
Others$482.32

Mr Budget’s total expenditure for February is at $4,868.09, a significant reduction as compared to last month’s extraordinary expenditure. 

The bulk of the expenses are mortgages related expenses, and if we remove all of those expenses, the true expenditure will be at S$1945.71. Mortgage related expenses is at S$2922.39, making up to 60% of the monthly expenses. 

For Mrs Budget, here’s what she spent on.

ExpensesFebruary
Meals$149.70
Transportation$80.00
Family$600.00
Groceries / Home$510.05
Phone Bill$25.00
Endowment$303.97
Insurance$87.25
Shopping$163.02
Fitness$28.00
Dog$39.00
Singapore Mortgage$1,231.54
Others$7,042.80

Mrs Budget total expenditure is at S$10,260.33, significantly higher than January.

This is partly due to the one off annual contribution to her CPF SA account of S$7,000. Excluding that, there isn’t much changes in her monthly expenditure.

Both Mr and Mrs Budget also paid for our annual property tax last month and hence our home expenses shot up this month.

We don’t foresee to have any big expenses for the rest of the year other than some small travel expenses to Malaysia, so that should ease our cash flow as well as help us build up our cash savings for the year. 🙂

How has February been like for you?

October 2019 Monthly Expenses Update
November 2019 Monthly Expenses Update
December 2019 Monthly Expenses Update
January 2020 Monthly Expenses Update

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Syfe Portfolio Update – February 2020

Frequent followers of Mr and Mrs Budget will know that Mr Budget had started a regular savings plan with Syfe.

The main reason why Mr Budget decided to go for Roboadvisor is because he is looking for a more affordable way to invest in multiple baskets of ETFs to get more diversification.

Another reason is that, Mr Budget views roboadvisors as the professionally managed portion of his portfolio since he does not have any financial advisor.

As Roboadvisor firms have professionals looking at the funds daily, I’d think the results won’t be that bad as compared to our own DIY portfolios.

In February, Mr and Mrs Budget also started investing into Syfe’s new REIT portfolio REIT+. As both Mr and Mrs Budget are looking at monthly contribution into Syfe, we have decided to combine our Syfe account together so that our returns (or losses) will be compounded. 🙂

So here’s Mr and Mrs Budget’s monthly Syfe portfolio summary.

February 2020

Global Equity Portfolio
Total invested: S$4520.00
Current Value: S$4248.60
Portfolio Return: -6%
Downside Risk: 25%

REIT Portfolio
Total invested: S$3150.00
Current Value: S$3075.90
Portfolio Return: -2.35%
Current Dividend Yield: 4.57%

So far the portfolio registered a negative return as the market entered a correction zone over the past 2 weeks.

We are not too concerned as we will continue to put in regular contribution to Syfe monthly, and hopefully 5 to 10 years later we will be able to see the returns.

Will Syfe give us a good return, better than what CPF SA is giving us? Only time will tell. 🙂

You might be interested in previous months update too:

Global Equity:
January 2020: S$2009.00 (-0.25%)
February 2020: S$4248.60 (-6%)

REIT+
February 2020: S$3075.90 (-2.35%)

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monthly updates

What Have We Done This Month Towards Our Financial Goals – February 2020

So February has came and gone now. And wow February has been a roller coaster month because of the whole virus situation.

While everyone else is doing a monthly portfolio update, we thought it is more meaningful to document what we have done this month towards our financial goals.

Mr Budget
Position Added: MTQ, Syfe Global Equities, Syfe REIT+
Stop Loss: Sembcorp Industries

Mrs Budget
Position Added: MTQ, Comfort Delgro, DBS, Syfe Global Equities, Syfe REIT+, Stashaway
Take Profit: N/A

Here’s a graphical representation of what we have done this month towards our financial goals:

February is a big month of investing especially for the Mrs. Both the Mrs and I have initiated a position in MTQ, after first discovering about it from Brian of Forever Financial Freedom.

Agreeing with mostly what he outlined, and seeing that we don’t have an exposure in the oil and gas sector, we initiated a small position in MTQ. The stock went up shortly but came down again when the market reacted to the COVID 19 virus.

On top of MTQ, Mrs Budget has also taken the opportunity of the market correction to scoop up both DBS and Comfort Delgro, two blue chip stocks that we are confident will be here to stay for a long time.

As we have also mentioned in our earlier post, we are slowly putting in some funds into Syfe (and additionally into Stashaway for the Mrs) so that this will be our “emergency fund” which we viewed as the professionally managed portion of our portfolio.

In terms of position sold, Mr Budget also manage to close his position in Sembcorp, after holding on to this shit stock, pun intended, for over 1 year before the price plunged even further.

Mr Budget has no confidence in the financials and fundamentals of this stock and there seemed to be no price catalyst / innovation for the company in the near future. Hence, this is a good time get some cash back to build up his war chest to buy other attractive stocks right now. Overall, Mr Budget registered a loss of 22% on the counter over a 1 year period. 

Our net worth continue to grow and excluding our properties, we are hitting S$583,000 in net worth (including CPF). Our joint net worth last month was at S$560,000.

Updates On Portfolio due to COVID

If you notice from our net worth, our net worth still grows steadily despite the COVID virus. That is partly because our exposure to equity is still kept at a manageable % of our overall portfolio. A sizeable portion of our net worth is still tied to CPF, something which we foresee to be the case for a long long time.

For Mr Budget, his equities investments forms less than 40% of his total portfolio, and part of the equities losses this month is offset by the gains of the US equities in end Jan / early February.

For Mrs Budget, the equity exposure is even lower at 28%.

In terms of the counters that we are looking at, we are very tempted to average down on Hong Kong Land because it is trading at a very very attractive price now.

Other counters we want to average down is also Lendlease and MNACT, and new counters Mr Budget is also looking at includes Comfort Delgro, CCT, and Singapore Exchange.

US equities side, we are still very interested in Bookings, and are actively monitoring Mastercard and Adobe

If only we have in excess of S$50,000, we would just scoop up all of these stocks now. But unfortunately, our bullets are limited, and my sense is that Mr Budget will average down on Hong Kong Land if prices hit $4.80. Let’s see what happens after their earnings in the next few days.

There’s someone in some telegram group now saying that the current price correction is making investors behaving like a child in a candy store, and that is exactly how we are feeling now. 

However, we are also mindful that we might just be seeing the start of a recession, because the full impact of the virus is not felt by the global markets yet.

Hence we are cautious, and not actively deploying all of our capital in the market yet. For this month, we may only be investing in our regular robo investments. 

In the meantime, stay safe everyone, and happy hunting!

Monthly Tracking

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Geopolitical Risk In Malaysia Is Seriously Scaring Investors Away

So one of the biggest thing that happened earlier today was that, Malaysia’s prime minister has just announced that he will be resigning as the prime minister of Malaysia.

The motives aside, the stock market of Malaysia reacted and fell to its 5 years low, the index fell below 1500 points for the first time in 5 years.

One of the things I mentioned to my friends in Malaysia is that, the Malaysian stock market confuses me. It seems that the market is driven not by company fundamentals, but rather driven more by geopolitical movements. 

As investors, I think this is discouraging. We only have access to the financials of companies, and we make investment decisions based on the company’s financials. However, it seems as though geopolitical risks are very high in Malaysia, and the politics can swing a high rising company stock and send it crashing down.

When the new coalition party managed to overthrow the ruling party’s grip in the last election, market crashed because there is a change in regime, hence affecting companies largely with dealings with the government. 

Stock prices didn’t really recover over the past few years, even if the stock prices had the chance to recover, surely the recovery now is again stifled by the change in government again.

This affects not just companies with dealings with the government, but also independent companies listed in the KL Bursa who has no dealing with the government with sound business fundamentals. 

As an investor, I will surely be staying out of the Malaysia stock market – who knows when things are starting to stabilise, the new government might mess things up again. 

If you’ve noticed from our portfolio, Mr Budget have been holding onto some Malaysia equity. Those were purchased before the previous election.

Following the past 2018 election which saw Pakatan Harapan overthrowing long ruling Barisan National, the whole portfolio went down by -40% in just 2 weeks. Currently I’m holding on to a paper loss of -60%. The good thing is, the overall holding is only worth less than S$2,000 now. 

With the high geopolitical risk, along with the bad Malaysia stock market performance, the state pension board (EPF) also recently announced a low interest rate of 5.45%, the lowest since 2008. 

Malaysia Historical EPF Rate

I have also been doing voluntary contribution to the EPF board since last year, and might look into this strategy to see if it make sense to continue contributing to EPF. While the EPF rate is still higher than CPF (SA 4%), in the long run, the rate might continue to drop, and the currency depreciation might erode the returns of the EPF.

Geopolitical risk can play a very big factor in investor’s sentiments, and as a Malaysian, I’m feeling sad for the country. 

Hopefully Singaporeans don’t take the Singapore government for granted, because I really think Singapore have some, if not the best, ministers anyone can find. 

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The Dreaded And Expensive Valentine’s Day Is Around The Corner – Here’s Mr Budget’s Plan

The annual dreaded Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Thanks to the great marketing of Valentine’s Day, we are mostly accustomed to giving or doing something for our other half during Valentine’s Day as our way of showing love.

Throughout last week, Mr Budget was mostly stressed out thinking about what to buy or do for Mrs Budget in order to maintain our peaceful relationship (HAHA!). So I turned to Google to see if there are any interesting restaurants or things to do this Valentine’s Day.

And what I found out gave me a mini heart attack!

What I realised is that, a 4 course meal in a fancy restaurant in Singapore cost minimally S$150+ per couple this coming Friday! 

Of course, there are some cheaper alternatives than a luxury dinner at a fancy restaurant, but because Mrs Budget likes surprises, unique dining experience which caught my eyes were really expensive!

Here are some interesting ones and their cost price:

Dining at Aquarium Singapore $488 per Couple  inclusive of a glass of sparkling wine  5-Course Set
Dining at Alkaff Mansion$148 per Couple 3-Course Set Menu Complimentary – 2 cocktails & 1 bouquet of flowers
Dining With A View at Cook & Brew$188++ per couple
Dining at Alley on 25 at Level 25$88 per person  3-Course Set Menu
Tallship Sunset Cruise$288 per person 3-Course Set Menu Fireworks
Staycation at Six SensesS$420++ per night One Night Stay Dinner for two Unique craft experiences

Honestly the list can go on if I search for more but the more I research, the more I feel like spending the money doesn’t make much sense.

Being more rational than emotionally driven, I tried to see if it make sense for me to splurge $300 – $500 on Valentine’s Day.

My average stock position size is S$3000 – S$6000. To make S$300 in returns from one of my stock, depending on the stock position, the stock will need to return me 5% – 10% for me to cover the cost of Valentine’s Day! I’m not too sure if it made financial sense for me to splurge. Surely there are some other ways! 

So what I’ve decided to do instead, was to look at all the menus of the restaurants, and I’ve decided that I would cook for Mrs Budget a 4 course meal instead!

The menu which I will be trying is cooking a steak and seared scallop, complimented with baked salmon with a little bit of aglio olio pasta, and finish that up with some dessert. Hopefully it’s not too ambitious! From a cost perspective, I think I can get all of these for less than S$40.

Of course, while this sounds like the perfect plan, I needed to get Mrs Budget’s buy in. 

So I decided to tell her my plan. 

Mr Budget:
Babe babe, Valentines day i cook for u ok? Want to book outside but xiao ex haha thinking of staycay also but like want to save money also haha i try cook steak and maybe we sear scallop if we eat outside its at least $150 per pax for like 3-4 course dining meal so maybe i go buy steak, scallop, salmon also, and pasta. we eat at home?  BUT if u want, you can also ask for like an out of home experience

Luckily, Mrs Budget welcomed the idea.

Mrs Budget:
awwww you so cute
no need celebrate v’day la babe
I loveeeeee
hehehe happy excited
wa u nv tell me u stress haha poor thing

So yes, that’s Mr and Mrs Budget’s plan this Friday! Nothing fancy, just a simple dinner. Sometimes maybe quality time is more important than expensive gifts, depending on your partner’s language of love.

And yes, the Valentine’s Day thing is generally an annual stressor for most guys.

What’s your Valentines Day plan this weekend? 🙂

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