Real stories about money from real people. Money Confessions, a SingSaver series, will excite you, inspire you, and leave you wishing to get financially woke.
40% stocks, 30% robo-advisors, 10% cryptocurrency and 20% cash. What does your investment portfolio look like? These Singaporeans reveal their portfolios and the reasons behind the allocation.
When it comes to investing, there is no one size fits all. Every portfolio differs depending on your investment preferences, risk appetite and financial situation. It could also be affected by other factors such as ease of getting started, minimum investment amounts required or what your friends and family are currently investing in.
In this edition of SingSaver’s Money Confessions, we get 9 different people to divulge their portfolio allocation. Check out if any of the portfolios below mirror yours! You might even take inspiration from their portfolios as you curate your own.
Bob Y., Student, 24
Dabbling in trading with cash set aside for rainy days
60% CFDs: I use CFDs because my capital is small, so using leverage can help me to increase my returns. Plus, CFDs allow for short selling easily. While CFDs involve higher risks for higher returns, I mitigate my risk by only selecting SGX-listed CFDs. I also use a risk-to-reward ratio of at least 1:3, ensuring that losses do not exceed 2% of portfolio per trade.
40% Cash: My rainy day savings. Percentage wise might seem high but the overall sum is small as I’m not working yet. I’ve set aside an amount that is sufficient for a student for 3 to 6 months.
As a student with limited savings (and no job that earns me an income yet), I am willing to take higher risks for returns and build up discipline for trading.
George T., 25, Engineer
Engineering my own investments with a small portion for funds and robo-advisors
60% Stocks: I’m taking charge and doing my own investments for better transparency and self-management. This also allows me to spend less on management fees. The stocks I hold are mainly for short to mid-term investments.
20% Funds: Invested in two funds through a financial advisor, mainly for medium to long term investments.
15% Savings: Money kept in the bank to tide through rainy days if needed. I try my best to minimise the amount kept here as bank interests are too low to beat inflation rates.
5% Robo-advisors: I see robo-advisors as a way to diversify since it’s a relatively new platform. I’d also like to see the returns of my investments here first before I think about any plans to add to this in the future.
J. Chong, Analyst, 26
Maximise equities for growth, with sufficient cash as safety net
35% Stocks: Approximately 70:30 ratio between US-listed and SG-listed stocks. I do stock-picking after doing due diligence and I hold long-term unless the bull thesis changes (e.g. Alibaba).
30% REITs: Stable, regular dividends with room for price appreciation. A good alternative to bonds, especially during such low-interest environments.
20% ETF: Each month, if I have spare cash and cannot find stock-picking opportunities, I’ll just put it in ETFs for diversified returns. Currently, I put my money in both Tracker Fund HK and VOO (which tracks US S&P500).
15% Cash: There’s still the need to have cash, especially as I am paying for my bills and insurance. I try not to have more than 20% here.
0% Cryptocurrencies: Not a huge believer in crypto and it’s also too volatile. I believe in doing my own due diligence and avoiding assets I don’t understand.
0% Robo-advisers: I considered putting some money into robo-advisors, but due to my company’s trading restrictions on robo-advisor funds, I’ve decided to put it in ETFs instead.
Steph W., Freelancer, 28
Taking more risk for maximum growth, with blue chips for dividends
50% Stocks: A large portion in Singapore banks, namely DBS and OCBC. I purchased these stocks for their dividends and also because I have the confidence that they will stand the test of time. Other stocks I hold include REITs and a handful of US stocks I might be trading.
4% ETFs: The only ETF I purchased (apart from the ones in my robo-advisor accounts), is the Nikko AM STI ETF — something I’ve been purchasing monthly since 2015. However, its performance has been extremely subpar and it’s crossed my mind a few times to sell it off. I know it’s all about time in the market, but I’m just thinking this same amount would be doing so much better tracking another index like the S&P500.
15% Robo-advisors: I love the services robo-advisors provide: a diversified portfolio, at low cost. Currently, my money here is split into two different robo-advisors, both of which I’ve selected a portfolio that has the highest risk, with greater exposure to equities and less in bonds.
10% Cryptocurrencies: I can’t be missing out on the likes of Bitcoin or Ethereum, can I? This is my ‘speculative’ fund that I have in crypto. I try to ensure this doesn’t take up too much of my portfolio because let’s face it, it’s extremely volatile and risky.
1% Bonds: I’m still young and have a long investment horizon. This allows me to take on more risk and hence I keep my bond allocation very low.
20% Cash: I have more cash on hand than I need. But it gives me strong peace of mind that should anything happen to my portfolio or my job, I have the funds to tide me over the next half a year or more. This also allows me to disconnect my emotions and not have any knee-jerk reaction should my portfolio go underwater. I hold my cash in the Singlife account, DBS Multiplier and cash management accounts offered by robo-advisors.
G. G., Software Engineer, 30
Relying on funds with initial work income in fixed deposits
50% Funds: Currently investing in two funds on the advice of my Financial Advisor: one high risk and the other medium risk. Both have been performing comfortably well and are liquid enough to be withdrawn quickly if I need cash.
25% Savings: Most of my cash is in my standard bank account, currently looking into putting more money into stocks when I get more time and savings.
20% Fixed Deposits: Most of this is inherited from my parents investing passively from my work income when I was younger. Moving forward, it’s unlikely I’ll put more money into these.
5% Cryptocurrencies: Holding on to a little bit of Ethereum just for the fun of it.
0% Stock: Something I have been considering and will start investing in once I have the spare time to do the research.
Nathaniel L., Content Designer, 30
A largely liquid portfolio, with a mind to pump up investments
14% Regular Savings Plan: Ever since we got introduced to the COVID-induced bear run, we’ve also got introduced to how ‘investments are the new savings’. My POSB Invest-Saver RSP is something relatively new that I started, back during the Circuit Breaker when there was a fee waiver promo. I’m definitely glad that I set the wheels in motion back then, because I’m already seeing substantial profit margins now and it negated the dismal interest rates.
3% Investment-Linked Policy (ILP): I felt I could’ve done more research on this back when I bought my ILP in 2014, as I acted on the impulse to invest while reviewing my insurance portfolio. But I’ve got no major complaints. The performance of underlying funds have been decent (I opted for the lowest risk profile) and the monthly premium is quite the bare minimum. I’m also getting about $100,000 in sum assured out of it.
3% Endowment plan: I’ve got two endowment plans, actually. One has already matured, and it effectively cleared my entire student loan. Now, I’m only paying for the other. It has a flexible yearly cashback option, but I usually choose to plow it back to continue racking up interest gains.
42% High-yield savings: Perhaps out of habit, or the perpetual excuse that ‘I just haven’t had the time’, a lot of my money is still sitting in my DBS Multiplier account. Whatever that’s parked here won’t be touched as it’s meant to be my emergency reserves. Nonetheless, definitely needs a relook now that interest rates across high-yield savings accounts have been slashed mercilessly. The plan is to channel some of the funds into robo-advisors in the next couple of months.
42% Cash on hand: At the end of the day, nothing beats the smell of cold, hard cash to reassure myself that I’ve got the liquidity to meet whatever that comes my way.
Z.H. Lim, Insurance Specialist, 32
Robos and ETFs for diversification, with a bet on cryptocurrencies
50% Robo-advisors: The idea of diversified risks through investments into different ETFs was a very attractive one to me. The other ETFs that are currently on the market right now have rather sub-par results for the risk level I am willing to take.
20% Cryptocurrencies: I was an early adopter of crypto and it has proven me wrong, especially after the huge rally recently. Decentralised finance and having a candidate for a ‘global currency’ is the motivation behind the risk I am willing to take.
10% ETFs: Like most people, I started investing in the infamous Nikko AM STI ETF. But despite what is normally negatively said about it, it is a decent performing ETF with dividend payouts to start out anyone’s financial journey.
10% Bonds: Bonds are bonds.
10% Cash: Cash in bank is putting your money at risk of depreciation through inflation, and to me, it’s not a good strategy to leave too much of your money as cash.
0% Stocks: The thought of putting money into a single stock doesn’t seem very attractive to me as the risks involved are higher than other instruments.
Emma. K., Barista, 32
Keeping more in my savings and fixed deposits while finding my (investing) feet
30% Stocks: Mid-risk investment that is mainly Asian stocks (China and India Pharma). The performance has been pretty stable. I bought them partly because I think one day, China and India will dominate the world.
30% Savings: Cash in bank, split between two accounts (OCBC and DBS) to increase the once sought after additional interest and cashback from their high-yield savings accounts.
35% Fixed Deposit: Short-term fixed deposit that has yet to mature. I got this because I don’t want the money to sit idle in my bank account, but I can’t really decide what to do with it either. Because when I came to this money, I wasn’t exactly financially savvy, so I just wanted to place it somewhere that had very little risk while I figured stuff out.
5% ILP: Just to diversify and get additional insurance coverage.
5% Funds: This was actually done to hit the minimum criteria set for high yield savings accounts. I bought US and China real estate funds with a trial-and-error kind of mindset, to see if it’s something I would want to invest more in.
5% ETFs: Local ETFs, I think of this as part of my monthly savings contribution. I love it because it can help me diversify my portfolio while being extremely liquid.
Felicia Tan, Senior Forensic Security Officer, 33
Leaning on ILPs while including robo-advisors to the mix
60% ILP: I buy pure investment plans with the insurance company because I do not want to spend the energy to read up and research on different funds and also maintain them. The insurance company has a fund manager that helps to manage and allocate the funds. I prefer this convenience of just top-up-and-forget.
My insurance agent is also someone whom I can trust to look after my funds and portfolio for me (on top of the fund manager’s management), keeping me updated on my funds’ performance and also recommending a fund switch if required. This ensures that my portfolio is still performing and meeting my requirements. I like that it is not a once-a-year meet-up but a constant conversation. Frankly, this is what I’m paying the agent for and why I need an agent.
20% Robo-advisors (15% REITs, 5% ETF): REITs are generally more stable and safe, so I have put more there. Again, with robo-advisors, there is the convenience of wealth managers managing the funds and thus, less need to worry. I wanted another option of funds other than the ILP in order for me to compare the funds’ performance. However, because of the volatile environment and the platform, I do not park too much here.
20% Cash: No matter what, I still need emergency cash and there is still interest to be earned from the bank. I keep my money in the OCBC 360 account.
Building your own investment portfolio
How does your portfolio stack up against the portfolios of these Singaporeans looking to grow their wealth?
It’s evident that people have different preferences when it comes to investing. Some are bullish on cryptocurrencies, while others would be wary to even allocate 1% of their portfolio to this new, decentralised currency. Some are comfortable investing on their own, in stocks, ETFs and robo-advisors, while others prefer the support of a financial advisor.
There are also different speeds in which people start their investing journey — some might have had a head start in their teenage years, while others only start exploring the investment world at an older age.
Whatever it is you choose, there are similarities in our end goal — to grow our wealth.
If you’re on your journey towards financial independence, we’re here to help. Check out all our investment-related articles here!
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