the simple things (updated on 06.07.2020) ! ! some of my irrelevant ideas ... (work in progress, can get updated) DISCLAIMER (sorry): Complete losses possible with any strategy. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Nothing contained in this piece constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by me. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cpbbuaIA3Ds If You needed only to read 2 single books on investing in Your lifetime, because of the authors honest, evidence based & balanced approach and clear words on how the mainstream finance industry still does damage to retail investors today, these should be: Burton G. Malkiel : A Random Walk Down Wall Street https://1lib.eu/book/5565916/3dc865 ... and even better (You could use Google Translate) Gerd Kommer : Souverän investieren mit Indexfonds und ETFs: Wie Privatanleger das Spiel gegen die Finanzbranche gewinnen https://1lib.eu/book/2657535/1e35cb ............................................................................................................................ Burton Malkiel: created the concept of passive index investing to our advantage. ! ............................................................................................................................ ! Baseline: -to be completely free of debt -to have emergency funds available anytime for several months (6-12 mo) -to NEVER invest into the following (rationale: too risky and/or fees too high and/or too inefficient), take care: Unit Trusts (Mutual Funds), life insurance or endowment plans, single stocks (though most of us hold some), options, bonds, structured products/derivatives, CFDs (contracts for difference), ETNs, commodities, currencies, cryptocurrencies, actively managed or „smart“ ETFs, leveraged/inverse ETFs https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D7ETn56GWHQ -when investing seriously the invested funds should be left untouched for at least 5-10 years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYE-kn5GR0 … not much remains: -priority: passive (in the good sense!) stock index ETFs & REIT ETFs -physical gold (5-10% of assets, current times substitute for bonds as a means for stability, if any) -property (via REIT ETFs or even property of one's own) -to spend money for things one likes, though one better live healthy and eco-/ animal-friendly . The material world rarely gives longstanding deep satisfaction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPTHem2iu0A -to donate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPGv8L3asY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyqfHZjaRy8 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PoPL7BExSQU Platforms: -for ETFs: safe & cheap online broker (TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, POEMS, FSMOne, Saxo). Generally the trading commission fees, head towards zero, as evidenced in the U.S., where 0.00 USD has already been reached since 10/2019. This wave can be expected to reach Singapore also. note: U.S. based brokers subtract 30% withholding taxes from all dividends (but not from capital gains), of those only 1 x 15% can be avoided by filling in form W-8 BEN every 3 years, if Your country negotiated a tax treaty with the U.S., which Singapore currently has not! When the U.S. domiciled ETFs (given all on www.etf.com) seem to be more diverse, the better choice for Singapore investors of ETFs that are distributing a significant annual dividend would be to select an Ireland domiciled equivalent version of any given ETF (screen through on www.justetf.com with Germany or UK selected as the header drop down menu on the website). - You do not need a formal savings plan or a robo advisor, because with some reading and experience You can manage Your portfolio all by Yourself. Savings plans and robo advisors only create more fees and worsen Your total performance. -whenever a currency conversion is involved, never do let Your online broker or bank do this conversion. Almost all of the brokers & banks charge a hefty currency conversion fee that does not appear directly visible on Your trade confirmation ! Do use instead services like TransferWise (currently the top cheapest, safe & fast & reliable; alternative: competitor CurrencyFair) to convert/send currency into Your own account, even within Your country and within Your brokerage account. Example: with Your Singapore broker You buy ETFs directly on the U.S. stock exchanges. But take care that Your bank, from which You are transferring Your due amount to TransferWise does not charge a hefty fee for outgoing money transfers that could eliminate the advantage of TransferWise. Here these transfer service companies can be compared: https://www.monito.com/ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l0zaebtU-CA -for physical gold: safe & cheap dealer (not a bank, they charge high fees up to 2%) ETF infos: https://www.etf.com/etfanalytics/etf-finder https://www.justetf.com/uk/find-etf.html https://www2.sgx.com/securities/etf-screener https://www.hkex.com.hk/Market-Data/Securities-Prices/Exchange-Traded-Products?sclang=en http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?symb=vt&insttype=&time=8&freq=1 https://dollarsandsense.sg/how-paying-1-in-investment-fees-could-mean-giving-up-to-13-of-your-wealth/ What to expect with well diversified passive stock ETF investing ? There is no defined long-term annual performance % classification for 100% stock exposure for retail investors, can evolve, takes into account fees and real world investing mistakes (with gold and bonds added the % would even be lower). My averaged % per year numbers refer to Your total investing portfolio. 1-4%: realistic net return 5-7%: good (something that professional pension systems achieved for their clients over the last 10 years) 8-12%: excellent (something that the very best U.S. university endowment funds achieved over the last 10 years, like MITIMCo , Harvard's, Yale's). Disgression: MITIMCo's reading list https://mitimco.org/read/ above 12%: not sustainable longterm over more than 10 years, or very very unlikely, particularly for retail investors. ETFs general selection criteria: -only passive stock indexing ETFs or REIT ETFs (no bond ETFs etc.) (For the stock market there is good evidence by studies, that active managers cannot beat the market robustly over longer periods.) https://assetbuilder.com/knowledge-center/articles/why-it-keeps-looking-worse-for-actively-managed-funds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BillMiller(investor)#Investmentphilosophy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHNbHn3i9S4 ALWAYS READ THE ETF FACTSHEET : Within the 'fact sheet' pdf documents of Your ETF , easily retrievable on the internet, You will find the following essential ETF data: -assets under management ( AUM ) should be high (more than 100 mio USD), otherwise the ETF could get closed by the parent company, because of non-profitability. -total expense ratio ( TER = annual fees) should be lowest possible (ideally less than 0.30%). See last chart on this webpage below ! -the indexes should be replicated 'physically' , not by SWAPs (= 'synthetically', the synthetic ones are prone to high counterparty default risk, You could lose all Your money, which does not happen with the physical ones, when the synth-counterparty goes bankrupt!) -the ETF should ideally not lend stocks to other parties -proven track record (excellent past longterm performance, ideally for already 5-10 years) Techniques: -to diversify (countries, asset classes, sectors) to mitigate risks (most ETFs are already well diversified), don't succumb to home bias. Chart: 10 year performance singaporean STI ETF (ES3) versus U.S. S&P 500 index ! -to not buy&sell, but buy&hold ultra-longterm instead -believe it or not: with an ultra-long term Buy&Hold strategy it is completely irrelevant, when You are buying. Anyway to determine best entry/exit points is absolutetely impossible. So better invest just periodically ('dollar cost averaging'), monthly or quarterly or semiannualy or even only once per year to have an appropriate lump sum (and thus low relative trade commission fees) is all O.K. -to not (!) rebalance, letting winners run, most of the time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tguu4m38U78 -to not panic when the markets are going down, the crashes will come, be patient then and don't sell, after few years the markets in the past recovered completely most of the time (see ultra-longterm chart of SP500 with big crashes visible ... but negligible for the longterm investor) ETF Strategies: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qWG2dsXV5HI Attention: If Your selected ETFs distribute relative high dividends (more than 0.5% per year, roughly), try to buy the Ireland-domiciled UCITS version of the ETF (when available) instead of the U.S. version, because You loose 30% taxes with the U.S. domiciled ones. Because of their higher liquidity I feel that the London Stock Exchange and the German ones (XETRA) should be selected for the trade. If You'd like to enjoy the tax advantage of Ireland-domiciled ETFs, You should look for a cheap online broker with european stock exchanges exposure, for SG residents the following are possible online brokers with exposure to european markets in ascending order as to fees (% trading fee & minimum fee) as of 27.06.2020: Interactive Brokers 0.05% 1.25 EUR SAXO Markets 0.10% 10 EUR Standard Chartered (SG based) 0.25% 10 EUR Maybank Kim Eng 0.30% UK 20 GBP KGI Securities 0.50% 70 EUR OCBC Securities 1.00% 60 EUR ........................................................................................................................... ! #1 single ETF strategy MSCI World (VT, LCUW, EUNL, SPPW ) still tilted much towards U.S. companies #2 single ETF strategy with more upside potential and possibly more risk SP500 (VUSD, VOO, IVV) #3 ‘balanced‘ global ETF strategy 50% SP500 (VUSD, VOO, IVV) 50% MSCI World ex-USA (VEU, VXUS, IXUS) #4 focused ‘leader countries‘ ETF strategy 40% SP500 (VUSD, VOO, IVV) 20% China (PGJ, GXC) 10% S-REIT ETFs Singapore (Lion-Phillip S-REIT) 10% Switzerland (DBXS, EWL) 10% Sweden (OMXS, EWD, Avanza Zero, also: Investor AB , which is not an ETF but a stock, of a Sweden stocks holding company, gives high dividends too) 5% Germany (OXDA/DBXD, EWG) 5% Japan (EWJ, EUNN/IJPA/SJPA) #5 interesting ETFs with higher risk but past good performance (sector funds must be classified as risky because of less diversification and high volatility) U.S. Technology: VGT QQQ (not pure tech ETF) Subsector Technology: FDN SOXX SKYY China Technology: CQQQ KWEB HK:3147 CSOP SZSE Chinext ETF (risky) HK:3173 Premia CSI Caixin China New Economy ETF HK:3181 Premia Asia Innovative Technology ETF KSTR (upcoming, risky) Germany Technology: EXS2 Asia (ex-Japan) Technology: ASX:ASIA (BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETF) Emerging Markets Technology: EMQQ Biotechnology: XBI FBT IBB ARKG (caveat: risky & actively managed) Medtech: IHI Non-Singapore-REIT ETFs: VNQ IQQP/IPRP IQQ4 ............... Nordic Technology focus Unit Trust (no ETF, actively managed mutual fund, risky ): TIN Ny Teknik (Sweden) (they also have a new one: TIN World Tech, but honestly no intended advertizing here, management team has a special approach to particular companies and historically a very good performance, however it still has the potential disadvantages of actively managed mutual funds including much higher fees than ETFs) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C7DyWdkyY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=115HvpEgLow . . Disclaimer: Think for Yourself. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vtx5NTxebJk All private opinions, total losses possible with any strategy. DISCLAIMER: The Content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Nothing contained in this piece constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by me. ! ! ! Interesting auto-updating chart, reflect well on ETFs longterm performance after the severe economical threat of the Corona Crisis (maximum prices level before crisis was on 19.02.2020), give recovery yet a bit of time, however some ETFs already climbed to all-time highs soon after this crisis: ! There is no place for charisma in investing, only objective performance and integrity count. Do You believe You realistically could beat the average market performance, f.ex., SP500 index by diligently (and time-consumingly) 'picking stocks' and market-time? Then look here to evaluate the success over the last 10 trailing years of two of the most famous and 'successful' (???) living value stock pickers: Bill Miller Opportunity Fund (LGOAX) and Warren Buffet (BRK.A, Berkshire Hathaway series A stock). Both the fund and the stock interestingly do not distribute dividends, which the depicted cheap & large & successful Vanguard SP500 ETF (VOO) however does. These ETFs dividends are not included in the chart, so VOO is even more successful (and Bill Miller and W.B. even less so) than the chart could tell. (sidenote: Warren Buffet himself concludes that something like VOO is the right vehicle for most investors. Integrity.) Do you still feel, You can realistically be a successful 'stock picker' over long-term measured against an appropriate stock index when the mentioned 2 'role models' with all their professional research resources and staff fail to do exactly that ? ! Walter Benjamin: "... The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress." ! See here an empirical chart of the performance of individual investors, who buy & sell often, try stock picking, try market timing, sell panically on stock exchange crises versus simple Buy & Hold ultra-longterm passive SP500 investing: ! What You lose in absolute terms over the years with only 1% or 1.5 % annual fees (as typical currently with unit trusts/mutual funds) You can see here. Think !: !