I confess. I don’t follow the market every single day, even though I do try to read regularly and keep myself updated out of interest in general finance matters.
I had intended to make a blog post earlier but my 7-year-old computer died on me, so I had to get a replacement built at Sim Lim Square. Blew more than $1K on it (yes, I still do casual gaming) but nothing to be worried about as I had budgeted the money for it way earlier.
Caught By Surprise
Anyway, imagine my surprise when I logged in to my portfolio tracker last week and saw STI ETF highlighted in red, and myself staring at $3.07 – what the heck happened? I frantically pulled up my Google Sheets and it confirmed what I had suspected.
I realized I had been holding my breath. Slowly, I exhaled deeply, and I smiled to myself. I have never bought STI ETF such a low price before! How awesome is that?!
With a swift click of my index finger, I hit the BUY button.
Blog Post Ver. 2 – Stay Positive!
I had drafted this post earlier but it was left on the back burner due to unforeseen circumstances, such as a really really bad, chest-pain inducing cough. STI ETF had eventually fallen below the $3 price level. However, the flood of negative blog posts left me thinking – and I tweaked this post to lean a little on positive side.
Yes, you read me correctly. My first ever purchase of STI ETF happened in December 2012, and the lowest ever price I bought STI ETF was $3.10 – hardly what you would call a low price. This was an excellent chance to make a small nibble, which was what I did.
I’m sorry if my mini-story turned out slightly differently from what you were expecting. I understand it is nothing but doom and gloom for many – I feel for you if you are sitting on paper losses.
This 15% correction (some prefer the term “crash”) from its height is wonderful opportunity for me to share a little bit of my thoughts.
Drawing On Reserves
Maybe I can share my approach to this whole “market crash” thing. This latest purchase at $3.07 was made using my cash reserves, otherwise affectionately known as “warchest” to many. I caught a lucky break and let go of a significant portion of my play-money stocks a while back. I still keep a couple hundred shares here and there, mainly my most trusted retail REITs.
Nothing beats positive reinforcements in the form of monthly dividends coming into my account regardless of the market conditions. Seeing the *keching* every month of the year is a simple but incredibly powerful reminder to myself.
Is this war? Or just a small battle? I am not sure. Cash reserves was my first line of defense.
As an index investor holding on to a Bogleheads portfolio, the logic is simple. Just rebalance even if I have no fresh funds! The bond index fund is basically my ammunition as well, my second line of defense against the deadly bear.
What sorcery is this?! Disregarding the occasional spikes (butter fingers perhaps), ABF SG Bond Index Fund has pretty much held its own, hovering between 1.14 and 1.18 for the past year.
In the event of a prolonged market downturn, dividends would thus form my third line of defense. Even a little bit of cash flow can help with small nibbles!
There is a fourth source of rather inflexible funds which I have prepared from day one. 养兵千日，用兵一时. Put up a disclaimer first – it might not be suitable for everyone. It is the result of a deliberate decision to stretch out my HDB loan to maximum duration. My first $20,000 in CPF OA cannot be used for investment anyway, and it will last me for 5 years of HDB loan repayments.
The rest of my CPF OA is currently sitting there doing absolutely nothing. While the risk-free 2.5% is good to have, STI ETF offers similar/better yield. If I am able to pick up STI ETF on the cheap i.e. the shit has hit the fan disaster then I’m definitely going for it.
I think I have surprised myself. This is my first ever “crash” but I’m feeling pretty nonchalant about it. Is there something wrong with me?!
Index Investing Facebook Group
A random thought of mine turned out to be way more successful than I imagined, numbering 124 members as of today, and more joining every week. Have you checked out Singapore’s one and only Index Investing Facebook Group? If you are keen on index investing, join us at Index Investing Lounge. Keep calm and chill.
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