Saturday, September 13, 2014

Paullow's different financial journey

I first got to know Paullow at valuebuddies, when he wrote deep analysis on Hupsteel.

He commented on my post about my delusional financial journey and is very encouraging.
We interacted and his views are rather thought provoking. I am not going to summarized our conversation, you can read the comments yourself. I think he gave me a few insights which I will share here.

Insight 1: Simple concept works

He told me not to spend too much time crunching numbers, but spot perpetual dividend payers. He mentioned Colgate, and when I ask about Hupsteel, he told me that counts too. 

The all important question: can the earning be repeated and dividend paid over and over again.

ST engineering come to my mind, but for him, it does not have to be blue chips. While his list include ST, he also mentioned TCIL ( no idea what that is) SATs and Noel. 

Insight 2: Invest regularly, no need to time the market

I know of many people who take advantage of bear market by keeping a big warchest. CW, AK took this approach. This approach looks easier than it really is, as Munger said:" it takes a lot of character to be sitting on money", and the truth is, we will never know the bottom or peak until we passed it. 

He invest a lot on his counters, he just reinvest his dividends, he never bother about the direction of the market, he just make sure he did the homework before he buy and leave it for the long term. His golden words: in the long run, the downside will take care of itself, and whatever is left is the upside. So, I finally find a third real flesh and blood in Singapore that actually practiced Peterlynch's approach and succeeded. I know Kopikat and Cityfarmer also practice this, but I do not have a chance to interact with them this closely. He is already in semi-retirement 5 years into his investment journey. He started 8 years ago. He is only 40. 

Insight 3: It is possible.

The few excuses I had for myself: Family committment, children expenses, etc, are no hindrance to him. He has 2 children too. So I should stop deluding myself and making my family the scapegoat. Not withstanding the size of capital, his lifestyle is still the same at semi-retirement. He enjoyed his hawker fare.

Insight 4: Enjoy the present.

He advised against mixing the active and passive income. Let the passive compounded and use the active money to enjoy, he mentioned he still drive his Mercedez. Don't think too much, we never know what the future holds for us and our plans might go wrong.

Final thoughts:

The above are my own interpretation of our conversation, Paullow, if you don't agree, my apologies, you can leave a comment.

While it might not be new knowledge, knowing how someone has really done it and living by the 4 insights is quite inspiring for me. 

This is really what enjoyed about blogging. I really gained new insights by connecting dots when interacting with people. 

I think I just clear another dilemma regarding core and diversified portfolio. There is no contradiction. I enjoy number crunching and it is, it is a hobby, so when I have the time, I am going to read up on SIA engineering to size up ST. 

The final words: To break the rules, you need to master the rules. I think Paullow has mastered the rules and can afford to front load his research and let it roll, for me, I am still building my circle of competence. Luckily I am enjoying it. 

Last warning and parting words from Paullow, don't follow his choices and expect only way is up. He insist he has no idea how his stocks will perform in days, and months. It does not bother him, if volality bothers u like it still bother me now, you have not reached his Zen level, be warned.



  1. I also strongly recommend that we physically and mentally separate our needs for living expenses and investment (for retirement income for life). I have not spend a single cents from my investment gains or dividends.

    Use part of dividends for overseas travel as one younger blogger said? Not me. It is for compounding for retirement income for life.

    We spend on what we earn on our job. When our investment portfolio is doing well; we can afford to spend more of our hard earned money to live the present better since our future will be supported and supplemented by our investment portfolio and performance. Why not? Life ahead can be unpredictable.

    Read more? Two Bank Accounts? No, You may need Four! - (4)

    We try not to mix our emotion over current money and future money. The future money has long leg to run the distance. Try not to be scary over it.

  2. CW, we are on the same page on this.

    That's why when I need to liquid a counter to pay for my expenses, I know I have it wrong... My working or operating budget is too low, I know save more for that and make sure defend my investment portfolio.

  3. Certainly very insightful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. LP,

      You are welcomed, I think Paul will find it meaningful to reach out to his audience. Just that my circle of audience might be too small to do justice. LOL

      I am doing exactly what he advised me against, I am crunching numbers again, LOL

      Bad student!

  4. thanks for that v kind intro.
    to put money where my mouth at the part where i separate emotions from market swings, i had amassed abt 3m shares of taisin at ave of 18-19c, then came euro crisis, i suffered paper losses of near 100k when it went as low as 16c. but i was looking for dividends n was in for long haul so i could still sleep well knowing my twice yearly cheques will be on their way to me. i shant iterate the same similar experiences for hupsteel, noel, tan chong international etc.
    if u have a plan n deep conviction for something, just do it.

  5. Hi Paullow,

    LOL, if 18-19 cents is entry point, and it went to 16 at the height of crisis, I think I can sleep well too.

    Even without crisis, I have counters doing worse than that, cannot imagine if I get pecked by a black swan then clawed by a bear, will I be strong enough to throw my leash at a bull to ride back at them?

  6. Sillyinvestor,

    Interesting write-up on a Value buddies forum member!

    It reminds me of 八仙过海,各显神通.

    Have you noticed you (seem to) know a lot about other people's style?

    What's your style? Do you have one in the first place? Sure?

    Back to the question I asked you previously: What's the difference between lecture and teaching others?

    Your answer to me in "spirit":

    Other people lecture (share with) me, I benefit the least.

    I teach (share with) others, I benefit the most.

    Pause. Ponder. Reflect ;)

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Just poking like the auntie in the supermarket to see if the orange is still fresh.

      Noticed that you were using words like - he told me; he advised...

      We may have issues if the orange starts believing he is a papaya overnight...


      "Yup, did that done that. Tutorial also can skip when tutor don't understand the difference"

      This insight of yours was what I was leading to when I asked you what's the difference between lecturing others and teaching others?

      Blistering barnacles! It took CW to draw that out of you... I am so pissed!

      Now I must drown my frustrations with fantasies on oranges and papayas...

      Oh Jared, behave!

    2. Hmm...

      I like to believe I am durian, ugly outside, good stuff inside. Coconut ... Also can...

      I think it got to do with my English la, I never wannabe anybody else, although I am not sure what I want to be LOL

      You talk too chim la, I lower being lei, next time more direct ? Can? LOL

  7. Hmm... SMOL.

    I think I have a style in place, but since you ask, it seems like you think I do not realized that I have a style in place? You get me wondering if I do have a style. Maybe can change silyinvestor to confused investor?

    Actually, 当局者迷,from your perspective, am I a blind leading a blind? I always thought my style is work in process.

    But I do know I am investing for sustainability of dividends.

    A lot of nitty gritty questions will get fire up when I connect dots and new dots appear.

    I particularly prefer to buy alpha company at the right cycle, or rather, not at the peak cycle.

    YZJ, Venture, Golden agri all followed this theme.

    You really had me paused for a good 5- 10 minutes pondering. But I am none any wiser, can be more explicit?

    As for (seem to)know a lot about other people styles, I kind of think I can know a person "kuan" after working with him/her for a while.

    Maybe because of my intrapersonal personality?

    Still confused... maybe some enlightening???

  8. hi sillyinvestor, u might love crunching numbers, but i think you need to ask if such activities translate to long term gains or even acceptable gains. i am sure financial freedom is your aim or at least one of your major aims, correct me if i am wrong.
    that's also main reason why i stop contributing in valuebuddies, because i found a lot of members are actually speculating ie flipping for quick gains rather than investing based on fundamentals for long.
    i am a believer of dividends.
    i can hardly believe anyone can place a huge sum of money in a counter, not fpr flipping purposes, get nil dividends and wait for unlocking to appear which might be a remote possibility itself.
    so when i saw your topic, it suddenly reminds me of the time when a just graduated and started from zero and i started to pen down my thoughts.
    hope this will benefit pple.

  9. Hi Paul,

    Financial freedom is one of my aims. Hmm...
    Actually I now focus not as much as the numbers as the story. But I cannot leave out the numbers as it is part of the story. Maybe our definition of number crunching differs, I don't spend nights figuring out WACC rates, hurdle rate, discount rate etc. but I do spend hours consolidating FCF of the company I like and their peers, after that, I usually just do yearly updates on the FCF and other important metric like Margin etc.

    The process like you say, give me confidence to sleep well during a correction.

    E.g. When I am looking at steel companies, I look at 5-6 companies including Hupsteel and settled on Lee metals; also because of it track record of dividends.

    A few quarters of poor results at Lee metal cause the share price to fall, but at no time did I worry or think about selling. In fact, I think about scaling at the right low price.

    All these confidence does not come if I do not crunch the numbers first, and know that it is cyclicality and the weak steel price that is affecting Lee metals, not is competitiveness

  10. What is the difference between Lectures and Tutorials?

    Some lectures can skip as we can read ourselves. Tutorials most will try to attend.

    1. Yup, did that done that. Tutorial also can skip when tutor don't understand the difference

  11. hi sillyinvestor,
    hmm...i am thinking of setting up a separate blog site to exchange knowledge.
    I might use some of our conversational exchanges here.
    hope u don't mind.


    sorry, not good at using computers. pardon my poor blog site.

    hope my message is not distorted.


  13. Of course not!! I believe many will benefit... In fact many value buddies should have 1 too.

    Your journey is one of the higher read post 😄

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