Invest Fair has always been an event which Heartland Boy has attended ever since he got curious about investing. Heartland Boy attended only because it is a free-admission event whereby the public can learn more about investments. It is the annual flagship event organized by ShareInvestor, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings. Invest Fair 2017 Singapore was held on 5th and 6th August 2017 at Suntec Convention Centre. For the 2017 edition, it got a little more special for Heartland Boy because he was invited to be one of the panelists for a specific subject matter. Yes, Heartland Boy was featured at Invest Fair 2017 Singapore!
Why did Heartland Boy Agree to feature at Invest Fair 2017?
When Heartland Boy first received the email invitation from ShareInvestor, he did a double take. He was invited to be a panelist on the topic of “Blogger Sharing: Investing in 20s, 30s and 40s”. The objective of the discussion was to engage the young investor community and to provide experiences of building portfolio at every stage of your life.
Heartland Boy has obviously never been a panelist before and nothing in school has ever prepared him for this. Plenty of self-doubt crept in. As the reality slowly sank in, he rationalized the pros and cons. Eventually, he took a mega leap of faith and agreed to the invitation for the following reasons:
- In the past, Heartland Boy had previously missed out on some events organized by the personal finance community due to his work schedule. Being in Jakarta made it really hard for him to connect with the community. Therefore, he thought this was an excellent opportunity to learn from very experienced seniors such as Brian, Jes and Kenny. The solid sharing during the session and the advice they dished out vindicated his decision.
- Heartland Boy has personally benefitted plenty from the generous sharing by the personal finance community over the years. Therefore, giving back to this community motivated him to join the eco-system of financial blogging. He rationalized that Invest Fair 2017 was simply a different forum to fulfil the very same objective.
- Heartland Boy would have attended Invest Fair 2017 anyway since it is his annual routine to learn interesting investment concepts. Therefore, agreeing to the invitation was just an additional task to be accomplished for that day, although it was a pretty darn huge responsibility from his perspective.
Heartland Boy’s Answers At Invest Fair 2017 Singapore
To calm the nerves of the panelists (admittedly it is not fair to generalize), ShareInvestor shared some “ambushed” questions beforehand so that the panelists could be better prepared. Just in case you missed out on the actual event, here were Heartland Boy’s responses (not all of which were aired) to some of the questions raised by the forum moderator.
Investing varies at different stages in life. How would you describe the differences of investing in 20s, 30s and 40s?
“The difference is huge primarily because:
- Commitments and financial responsibilities vary at different stages of life
- Risk appetite and risk-taking ability are typically linked to investor’s age
In your twenties, if you are fresh out of school, your financial responsibility should be to clear all your existing debts such as tertiary education loans. As you are fairly young, your investment horizon is longer and thus your risk appetite should be bigger.
This is in contrast to someone in his or her thirties as there will be more financial commitments. For instance, that individual may have formed a family and have dependents. At this juncture, the risk-taking ability may be reduced and it could be appropriate to switched from an aggressive to a conservative portfolio allocation.”
As most people just start to get in touch with investing, how should one educate themselves on investing and the fundamentals of financial planning?
“I would recommend reading a lot of books. I started to get really interested in investing after reading a book by Adam Khoo. That book is titled “Winning the Game of Stocks”. I felt that the book is very clear in its methodology and very relatable because it is contextualized to Singapore as opposed to other well-known investment books. That is definitely a book that I will recommend to all beginners.
As a heartlander, I confessed that I am very cheapskate. Before I started investing, I attended a lot of free-investment workshops. Those were typically preview sessions whereby the coaches reveal 2 out of 6 techniques. Nonetheless, that is enough information to get myself educated on investment.
For someone in his or her twenties, the important fundamentals of financial planning would be to learn budgeting, to pare down all existing debts (credit card bills as well as school loans), set aside 6 months of emergency funds as well as to get comprehensive insurance.
I think it is also very important to speak to a few trustworthy financial planners as they might be able to spot blind spots that you could have missed. I would encourage someone in his or her 20s to take a more proactive approach, instead of the usual scenario whereby a friend or relative comes calling because they have just become financial planners.”
What are the types of investment beginner should look at and what is the appropriate amount to start investing?
“With regards to the types of investment that beginners should look at, there is really no correct or wrong answer. Rather than getting too focused on the type of investment class, I feel that it is very important to be mindful of 3 factors: pick a winning strategy that suits your lifestyle and your personality.
1. For instance, Warren Buffett’s is a well known investor who made his wealth from value investing. So that is a proven winning strategy.
2. How much time can you commit to investing? Do you have long working hours or heavy family commitments? If the answers are yes to these questions, perhaps a passive strategy of investing in ETFs would be suitable for you.
3. What is your risk-taking profile? If you are someone who is patient and willing to wait for your investment thesis to bear fruit, perhaps value investing is suitable for you. However, if you are someone who prefers quick results and are comfortable with leverage, perhaps trading is more suitable for you.
Lifestyle and personality aside, I feel that someone in his or her 20s can be more aggressive in nature. That is because of the long investment horizon that someone in that age group has, and this is an advantage as it gives you the ability to ride out market cycles.”
How can one determine the right form of investment when they are just starting out?
“After you have identified the winning strategy suitable to your lifestyle and profile, I think the young investor can consider looking at stocks associated with his occupation. Given that this is your occupation, you should be able to understand the industry quicker since your fundamentals are well-drilled. Repeat this process and this can slowly become your area of competency. From my personal experience, I work in the real estate industry. Therefore, I am more at ease when analyzing REITS and property developers.”
Is there any precaution one should take in investing during 30s as there many huge expenditures occurring at this stage in life such as marriage, purchasing houses, childbirth etc.
“Absolutely! I think one should only invest with money that they can afford to lose. It is definitely an unpleasant situation to have to delay marriage just because you have lost money in the stock market. As a suggestion, if you need cashflow to tide over such huge expenditures, it may be prudent to invest in stocks which provide healthy dividends. It helps to receive money once in a while to pay for the diapers.”
Bloggers’ Event At Invest Fair 2017
Now that the event had concluded and Heartland Boy had collected that experience under his belt, he now knows how those directors feels during AGM. On hindsight, Heartland Boy realised that most of these answers were actually just a rehash of the various articles that he has written on his blog. There wasn’t any exciting new content that he shared. Unfortunately, Heartland Boy did not reproduce the responses of his fellow panelists in this review for fear of inaccuracy and gross misrepresentation!