Money-saving Tips for the Self-employed

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Author: Marubozu

This article was originally published by Uncapped Mortgage

Gone are the days when the American dream means climbing the corporate ladder. Over the last years, the mindset of the American worker has shifted to valuing flexibility and freedom over stability. Self-employment continues to be a rising trend as employees leave their day jobs to do freelance work or start their own business.


One of the major challenges self-employed individuals face is managing cash flow. Since you do not have the regular pay that a day job provides, not to mention health insurance and tax duties, it can be challenging when all these things fall on your shoulders. Saving and budgeting can be taxing, too, as there will be months when you’ll be flushed with cash, while there will be months when you’ll need to tighten your belt a little.


Below are a few money-saving tips for the self-employed.


Set a budget.  Whether you are a business owner or a freelancer, this is very crucial. Good financial planning can determine the success of your new venture. Total all your income sources. Make sure to list down all your expenses every month. Determine all the fixed costs such as monthly bills, subscriptions, and mortgage, which takes up a huge part of your budget. You may want to consider paying off your mortgage early to get it out of the way and have more room in your budget for other things like savings and retirement fund.  After listing down the fixed costs, add the variable expenses such as payment to freelancers if you hire some, and any other expense that vary month-to-month. By doing this, you’ll know the amount of cash you need every month to live comfortably. Stick to the budget as much as you can. There are plenty of budgeting apps and tools that can assist you with this.


Set your rate. Do not undersell yourself and do not be shy to increase your rates as you gain more experience. In terms of billing, it’s better to be billed in installments rather than in lump sum at the end of a project. It would be harder to budget your money if your cash comes in once every three months rather than having them sent in monthly installments.


Build your emergency fund. And maintain it. It is important to always save for the rainy days. An emergency fund can save you from high-interest debts in times of financial stress. Make sure you have a fund, ideally a 6-month cushion – for when something unexpected happens such as a big client backing out. This 6-month cushion cannot be built right away, but you must work towards building it as soon as you begin getting paid. Set a certain percentage of your income to be allotted to this fund every month.


Know your taxes. Now that you are self-employed, you no longer have your HR department’s compensation and benefits people to look after your taxes. You must do them yourself now. Be aware of the tax bracket you are in now that you have gone solo. If you are a business owner, seek the help of a financial advisor in determining the best entity type to register your business as.


Get help. Time is money. If you think it would be best to delegate some of your tasks to freelancers in order for you to focus on more crucial tasks, hiring help could be a great idea.


Can Debt Be Used to Build Wealth? Let’s Weigh In

Click on Can Debt Be Used to Build Wealth? Let’s Weigh In
for the source.
Author: Marubozu

This article was originally published by Uncapped Mortgage

Generally, people think of debt as something to avoid. Debt usually means “bad” and no debt means you are better off financially. So the idea of using debt to build wealth can seem a bit dubious. Can you really build wealth using debt?


In order to answer this question, we first need to know that there are two kinds of debt. There is good debt and bad debt. And though the thought of debt being “good” seems counter-intuitive, the fact remains that some debt is actually good.


Good debt is a debt that will increase your finances over time. So something like a small business loan is good debt because you use the money you borrowed to build up your business, thus, bulking up your finances in the long run. Good debt also has a smaller interest. So while you are expanding your business with your small business loan, you aren’t paying an exorbitant amount in interests. This type of debt also allows you ample time to pay back your debt.

Bad debt is the exact opposite. This kind of debt has astonishingly high-interest rates and usually involves some form of collateral. There is also a very short turnaround time for you to pay your debt, plus interest, back. Some examples of bad debt are credit card debts, car title loans, and payday loans. A loan of $100 will have you paying back nearly the same amount in interests alone. Bad debt will sink you financially faster than a boat riddled with holes.


So now that you know the two types of debt, you can probably guess which one can be used to build wealth. The question now is “how”.


A good way is the example stated above. Use debt to expand your business. If you do not have a business, use debt to invest. It could be in property or in various investment funds. Whatever you decide to invest in, it is important to know your risk tolerance and how much you are willing to invest.


The principle of leverage can help you out as well. Say for example you are investing 100 dollars of your own with an expected return rate of 10%. This will earn you a return of $10. If you borrowed money with an interest rate of less than 10%, you can add to your initial $100 investment and still earn from it despite having to pay off the debt you used to invest. You can diversify your financial portfolio using this strategy as well; borrow to invest in different institutions and different kinds of investments.


There are a few to consider when using debt to invest. Think of your tolerance for debt. Can you realistically pay off your monthly payments? Can you pay off that debt within the time frame or do you need more time? Consider your cash flow as well. You need to make sure that you have enough income to pay off your debt.


So the answer to the question can debt be used to build wealth is yes, you can. You just need to choose the right kind of debt, invest in the right things, and keep in mind your debt tolerance.

[Case Study] How We Made A 44% Gain on An Undervalued Hong Kong Conglomerate

Click on [Case Study] How We Made A 44% Gain on An Undervalued Hong Kong Conglomerate
for the source.×32.jpg Author: Ho Khinwai

We didn’t blindly “hope” that our investment in this Hong Kong stock would return 44%. … Read more >>

Eagle Hospitality Trust IPO Prospectus & Summary

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Eagle Hospitality Trust IPO Prospectus & Summary

for the source.
Author: Marubozu



Eagle Hospitality Trust

EHT is a hospitality stapled group comprising EH-REIT and EH-BT.

EH-REIT is a Singapore-based real estate investment trust (“REIT”) established with the principal
investment strategy of investing on a long-term basis, directly or indirectly, in a diversified portfolio
of income-producing real estate which is used primarily for hospitality and/or hospitality-related
purposes, as well as real estate-related assets in connection with the foregoing, with an initial
focus on the US.

For the purposes of this Prospectus, real estate used for “hospitality” purposes includes hotels,
serviced residences, resorts and other lodging facilities, whether in existence by themselves as
a whole or as part of larger mixed-use developments, which may include commercial,
entertainment, retail and leisure facilities.

The REIT Manager is indirectly 51% owned by Howard Wu and 49% owned by Taylor Woods.
Howard Wu and Taylor Woods are the co-founders of the Sponsor (collectively, the “Founders”
and each, a “Founder”) and they each own 50% of the common equity interests in the Sponsor.
EH-BT is a Singapore-based business trust which will be dormant as at the Listing Date. The
Trustee-Manager is indirectly 51% owned by Howard Wu and 49% owned by Taylor Woods.
EHT is a US hospitality specialist with an invested Sponsor and a portfolio of full service hotels
in the top US markets.

See related news below:

Eagle Hospitality Trust prices IPO at US$0.78 per stapled security

  • Type = US Hospitality Sector
  • Sponsor = Urban Commons, LLC (Owners Howard Wu & Taylor Woods aggregate 15.2% of Eagle Hospitality Trust)
  • REIT Manager: Howard Wu (51%) & Taylor Woods (49%)
  • Total Unit Offered = 580,558,000
  • Portfolio = 18 Hotel in US (across 21 states, 5420 rooms)
  • Portfolio Size = US$1.27 Billion
  • IPO Offer Price = US$0.78
  • NAV per unit = US$0.88
  • Price / NAV = 0.8863
  • Distribution Yield = 8.2% (2019), 8.4% (2020)
  • Distribution Policy = 100% for 2019. 90% for 2020. Semi Annual Payout.
  • Occupancy Rate = 73.6% (2018), 78.5% (2019 Forecast), 76.8% (2020 Forecast)
  • Gearing Ratio = 38.0%
  • WADM = 4.2 Years
  • Offer Closing Date: May 22, 2019 at 12:00pm
  • Listing Date: May 24, 2019
  • Eagle Hospitality Trust IPO Prospectus


Compare to other Singapore REITs here.


Singapore REIT Bubble Charts May 2019

Click on Singapore REIT Bubble Charts May 2019
for the source.
Author: Marubozu

Bubble charts derived from May 5, 2019 Singapore REITs Fundamental Comparison Table. No significant changes compared to last Bubble Charts.

(1) Big cap REIT remains expensive and value picks remains at small and medium cap REIT. Note: Distribution yield is lagging.

(2) There are no significant changes in gearing ratio.

These Bubble Charts are used to show the “relative” position compare to other Singapore REITs.

Two visual bubble charts to pick and avoid:

  1. Undervalue Singapore REITs with High Distribution Yield** (Value Pick)
  2. Overvalue Singapore REITs with High Gearing Ratio (Risk Avoidance)

** Distribution Yield are lagging.

Compared to previous Singapore REIT Bubble Charts here.


Disclaimer: The analysis is for Author own use and NOT to be used as Buy / Sell recommendation. Get a proper training on “How to use this Singapore REIT Bubble Charts?” here.


Check below on other events: Investing Course Portfolio Advisory


Singapore REIT Price / NAV Range Chart May-2019

Click on Singapore REIT Price / NAV Range Chart May-2019
for the source.
Author: Marubozu

Original post from

Singapore REIT Price / NAV Range Chart base on May 5, 2019 Singapore REITs Table.

See last Singapore REITs Price/NAV here to see the changes.

Disclaimer: This chart is NOT a recommendation to buy or sell. Do NOT use it if you don’t understand how to interpret it.


Check below on other events:

If you are REIT investors, it is strongly recommended to attend the coming Singapore REITs Symposium on May 18. First 30 signups via promo code (msinvesting) will be entitled to a mystery gift and it’s redeemable on ground at ShareInvestor’s booth. Click the REITs Symposium here to register. Investing Course Portfolio Advisory


Diversify Your Investment with REITS

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for the source.
Author: Marubozu

Find my interview as one of the panelists in insideINVEST.


  1. Kenny Loh (Senior Consultant of an Independent Financial Adviser)
  2. Chan Kum Kong (Head of Research and Product, SGX)
  3. Nupur Joshi (CEO, REITAS)


With growing interest in REITs and retail investors hunt for higher yields amidst the uncertainties in the macro environment, hear what our panel of experts have to say about S-REITs.


S-REITs have performed well over the past 10 years. What are your views of this asset class moving forward?

Kenny: The FTSE ST REIT Index, which represents the Singapore REIT sector, has gone up by 114% in 10 years and translates to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% excluding dividend yield. The worst correction from the peak is about 22% during this 10-year period.

Moving forward, S-REITs are expected to grow in market capitalisation and continue to offer investors attractive returns. However, investors must be cautious as this sector is currently getting close to a 10-year historical high. As long as they continue to grow in distribution per unit (DPU) and interest rates maintain or reduce from current level, there is a high possibility that S-REITs can break the historical high and move northwards.


Kum Kong: Most sectors have performed well over the past 10 years through to the end of 2018, exemplified by the Straits Times Index’s annualised total return of 9.2%. For a more recent perspective referencing the last three years and comparing against the performance of the biggest Singapore-focused developers, construction stocks to S-REITs, they are clearly more defensive in their total returns in each of the years. While Ascendas REIT, CapitaLand Mall Trust, CapitaLand Commercial Trust, Mapletree Commercial Trust and Suntec REIT averaged only two-thirds of the strong 45%+ average gains by their developer and construction counterparts in 2017, these five REITs averaged a marginal gain in 2018, compared to 20% average declines for their counterparts in real estate development and construction.

Apart from being a defensive alternative in recent years, REITs’ average yields are currently more than double of 10-year government bond yields. In addition, REIT ETFs have enhanced investor access to the sector, and we now have three REITs in the STI, with all five STI Reserve Stocks represented by REITs!


Nupur: S-REIT is one of the most active sectors on the Singapore Exchange. Over the last 5 years (2013-2018), the FTSE ST REIT Index has delivered total returns of 38%. The number of REITs and property trusts has grown to 42 with a total market capitalization of around S$90 billion.

One of the notable trends currently for REITs is expansion into overseas markets to seek acquisition opportunities for growth. This is mainly because Singapore is small and most good quality properties here are already securitized. Over 75% of REITs and property trusts now have properties outside of Singapore compared to 65% five years ago. In fact, there are now only 8 pure-play REITs.

The other related trend is the listing of REITs with foreign sponsors and foreign assets. Prudent regulatory framework, supportive tax policies and a strong currency are some of the factors attracting foreign REIT listings. As more foreign REITs list here, and with our existing REITs acquiring more and more properties overseas, Singapore is solidifying its position as a global REIT hub. Finally, one trend that we are likely to see moving forward is the introduction of new asset classes (e.g. student accommodation, multi-family housing etc).




How can a REIT maintain growth in a fast-changing landscape?

Kenny: REIT managers have to constantly monitor the changing economic landscape and how these changes affect the utilisation of their current portfolios. They must also anticipate the impending impacts and plan ahead to diversify into different types of properties.

Beyond the business model of purely leasing the property to collect rental, they can also create an eco-system to increase rentability, add value to the tenants’ businesses and create stickiness. I am already seeing the integration of hotels and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) in one of the hospitality REITs, instead of relying solely on traditional hotel accommodations. Another example of ecosystem would be Healthcare-Tourism-Mall and e-Commerce-Logistic-Shipping Port.

Personally, I hope to see a student accommodation REIT listed on the Singapore Exchange. It will be very interesting if one day the hostels and staff apartments in NUS and NTU can be structured as REITs.

China and Southeast Asia are pretty much untapped areas. We can leverage on our existing experience and knowledge to expand into these untapped opportunities.


Kum Kong: Expansion is one way to maintain growth. In fact, the S-REITs sector has been expanding, with multiple examples of SGX-listed REITs in the region and further abroad. For instance, Cache Logistics Trust, listed on SGX nine years ago with just six logistics warehouses in Singapore, has expanded into Australia by acquiring 16 warehouses in the last four years. This REIT currently has a total of 26 logistics warehouses in its portfolio and is looking for opportunities in South Korea and China. Manulife US REIT has acquired three office buildings in late 2017 and 2018 – Exchange in New Jersey, Penn in Washington DC and Phipps in Atlanta – which lifted its net property income by 38.4% and DPU by 7.7%, for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2018. This brings its total portfolio to seven office properties in the US, with an aggregate net lettable area of 3.7 million square feet, as at the end of 2018.


Nupur: The environment for REITs is becoming increasingly competitive. There is fierce competition to acquire properties with the key competitors being private real estate funds, sovereign wealth funds, developers, REITs in other markets etc. With that, REIT managers have to look harder – at new geographies and possibly even new asset classes where growth potential is higher or competition is less fierce. In fact, we have seen several S-REITs buying properties in Europe and the US in the past months. Having said that, entering into a new market or geography is not easy as REIT managers need to do a thorough analysis and fully understand the market dynamics before acquiring a property or a portfolio of properties.

Besides acquisitions, redevelopment is another option available to REIT managers. Recently, asset recycling has become more popular, that is, selling assets that may have limited growth prospects in the hands of the REIT but meet the requirements of other owners.

More importantly, REIT managers have to constantly review their portfolio and ensure that they are deriving the most value out of it, either via asset enhancements, redevelopment or simply lease structuring.




How do you see the disruptive opportunities in the REITs sector?

Kenny: Co-sharing work spaces, Big Data, and cloud servers enable people to work any time, any place. They do not need a fixed office location. As for the financial services industry, client meetings can be conducted at any place with the use of RoboAdvisor, e-Financial Compass and Fintech applications, and consumers can use ATMs and mobile devices to do banking transactions. All these disruptions will have an impact on the demand for commercial offices.

As Singapore goes through economic restructuring, lower value-added manufacturing would be phased out eventually. Affected REIT managers have may consider restructuring their portfolios to high- specification factories or even convert factory usage to hydro-farming, etc.

With the expansive use of artificial intelligence, Big Data and robotic automation which require huge amounts of data and computer processing power, demand for data centers will definitely grow in the long term. I expect many more data centers to be included in S-REITs in the very near future.


Kum Kong: The S-REIT sector includes REITs with a focus on high technology and e-commerce related properties. Some examples include Keppel DC REIT, the first data centre REIT listed in Asia, investing in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate assets used primarily for data centre purposes, located in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, UK and Italy. Mapletree Industrial Trust also owns 14 data centres in the US (through its 40% interest in a joint venture with Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd). EC World REIT has a portfolio of 7 properties used primarily for e-commerce, supply-chain management and logistics purposes in Hangzhou and Wuhan, China, which enables the Reit to ride the wave of rapidly expanding e-commerce retail sales in the country. China, which accounted for 43% of global e-commerce sales in 2015, is expected to grow to nearly 60% by 2020, according to data from E-marketer.


Nupur: Disruption is both a threat and an opportunity. REIT managers must assess which disruptions they believe are transient and which are here to stay. No asset class is shielded from the rapidly changing market place. For example, co-working space is a big disruptor in the office segment and many office REITs are increasing their exposure to co-working operators. In the industrial sector, conventional factory spaces are being disrupted by higher value-added manufacturing facilities. In logistics and retail, e-commerce is a major disruptor and we can see REITs aligning their business model to meet the changing needs of customers. Integrating physical (offline) retail with online shopping has been one of the ways retail REITs are adapting. The key message is that REIT managers need to have their ears on the ground and be constantly aware of how things are changing, and then be nimble and astute to take advantage of these trends.


When evaluating a REIT, what are your key metrics?

Kenny: At the macro level, I monitor the yield spread of S-REITs and 10-year government bond yields, monetary policies and technical analysis of the REIT index.

At the micro level, I use 4 key metrics – distribution yield, Price/NAV valuation, gearing ratio and historical DPU trend to analyse individual REITs. These are the key metrics I use to screen and shortlist the REITs. In addition, I also conduct risk assessments on the sustainability of the dividend payout before I pull the buy trigger.


Kum Kong: Popular key metrics include portfolio occupancy levels and Weighted Average Lease Expiry (WALEs) which are indicators of the REIT’s long-term cashflow and earnings stability. These metrics are based on tenant base and leasing agreements.

Other key metrics include the percentage of fixed rate debt versus floating rate debt, weighted average debt maturity (in years) and aggregate leverage ratio (maximum gearing ratio of 45% as mandated by MAS). These are also indicators of the REIT’s financial health in a rising interest-rate environment, in addition to an indication of income available for distribution and DPU growth over the years. In a recent kopi-C report and Business Times article, Daniel Cerf, CEO of the manager of Mainboard-listed Cache Logistics Trust highlighted that “REITs in general are really for annuity investors”.


Nupur: Sometimes, investors tend to look at the dividend yield as the key factor determining which REIT to invest in. While yield is important, one must first understand where the yield is coming from and the stability of that yield moving forward. In order to understand that, investors should study the track record of the REIT, its property portfolio, capital management strategy, growth strategy and the strength of its sponsor.

For example, investors need to understand the quality of the REIT’s assets and take time to study the demand-supply dynamics of the asset class in the key geographies that REIT has properties in. Other useful metrics are Weighted Average Lease Expiry, lease expiry profile, top 10 tenants etc.

On the capital management front, metrics such as gearing ratio, debt expiry profile, percentage of distributions that are hedged (for REITs with overseas properties) are important indicators.

At the end of the day, investing in REITs is no different from investing in other asset classes – the quality of the portfolio, picking the most able of managers and buying at the right prices.


What is your favorite sector within REITs?

Kenny: I love all the sectors due to the different ways of generating returns for my portfolio.

My favorite REITs sectors are healthcare, retail malls and data centers. I like the defensiveness of these sectors and I use them as my core portfolio.

My satellite portfolio would be in the industrial, commercial offices and hospitality sectors as I seek to optimise my portfolio returns with capital gains due to their cyclical nature.


Kum Kong: There is a strong element of diversification across the REITs sector, in terms of property asset types and geographies. Investors have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing their most favored REIT investment.

Property assets of SGX-listed REITs span retail, office, industrial/logistics, healthcare facilities (hospitals/nursing homes), serviced residences, hotels, and data centres. Examples include retail shopping malls in various cities in China, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia; office/commercial properties in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, United States, Germany, Italy, Amsterdam and France; industrial parks in Singapore and India; hospitals in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and nursing homes in Japan.


Nupur: As a REITs association, we would like to see all S-REITs do well and thrive. Market conditions inevitably change, but the distinctive aspect of REITs is that a well-managed REIT should be able to give relatively stable distributions through different business and property cycles.


I will be sharing at REITs Symposium on May 18, 2019 at Sands Expo and Convention Centre,
Marina Bay Sands, Level 4 (Roselle Simpor Ballroom).


Catch me in person

  • Panel Discussion #1 – REITs: Still a Viable Investment? (2:10pm to 2:40pm)
  • REITs 101
    • REITs vs Physical Properties (10:15am -10:30am)
    • Metrics to Evaluate a REIT Part 1 – Yield (12:00pm -12:15pm)
    • Metrics to Evaluate a REIT Part 2 – Price/NAV (1:15pm -1:30pm)
    • Metrics to Evaluate a REIT Part 3 – Gearing Ratio (2:45pm -3:00pm)
    • Building a Diversified REIT Portfolio (4:00pm -4:15pm)

First 30 signups via promo code (msinvesting) will be entitled to a mystery gift and it’s redeemable on ground at ShareInvestor’s booth. Click the REITs Symposium here to register.


REITs Symposium Registration


Take note that registration will be closed on May 14, 2019.