Joshua Giersch, A.K.A. Shiny Things HWZ.

Shiny ThingsJoshua Giersch, A.K.A. Shiny Things HWZ (HardwareZone)

I am still relatively new in the world of personal finances and have always been questioning whose advice should I be following.  I am sure many people out there are facing the same issues so I am going to try compile information about different financial gurus.  Today I will be covering on Joshua Giersch (Shiny Things HWZ). 😀

If you are a Singaporean who is into finances, this name will not be unfamiliar at all.  Joshua Giersch, better known as Shiny Things from HardwareZone (HWZ), is well-known in the community.  Shiny Things is active on HWZ, an IT-oriented online portal based in our homeland, sharing his knowledge with many of the forum-ers including me.  I personally follow his advice and would like to share his knowledge with everyone. 😀

*Note: All information compiled from HWZ, and his website.  Please let me know if I messed up somewhere.

Background

Shiny Things is a 30 plus-year-old from Australia, currently working at a software firm in San Francisco.  He was an FX option quantitative analyst for 2 years building options pricing tools for traders (in Excel / VBA), then as an FX options market-maker for almost 10 years, followed by spending 4 years designing and building risk management software for options traders [1].  Shiny Things runs a consulting business on the side, giving hedging and investment advice to large investors and corporations who need independent advice.  Lucky for us he spends time on HWZ giving us noobs great guidance and help.

Shiny Things Advocates

General Investing

  • Dollar cost averaging
  • Do not time investment – best time to start investing is always NOW
  • No stock picking [2]
  • Do not make many trading transactions – amount to high trading fees
  • Do not invest in gold [3]
  • For lump sum investments, either invest all at one go or split into 3 portions and invest each portion every month
  • There is no shortcut to getting rich

Purchasing

Rebalancing [4]

  • Do not rebalance in December – liquidity is at it’s worst
  • Rebalance in November if only rebalancing once a year
  • Rebalance in May and November if rebalancing twice a year – 6 months apart
  • Rebalancing more than twice a year is overkill

ETF

  • Stick to Vanguard & iShares – they only hold the stocks that they target to be vested in
  • For Overseas ETFs, go with IWDA – reinvest dividends hence easier to manage
  • For Singapore ETFs, stick to ES3 (top 30 Singapore companies) and A35 (multiple bonds)

Cash flow

  • If money is needed within 2 years, keep them in cash
  • If money is needed within 5 years, keep them in cash / bonds
  • Else, keep them in stocks

Insurance

  • Get good hospital insurance – shield plan
  • Buy term life insurance to age 65 if you have dependents
  • Never buy any other insurance plans – no ILPs, endowments, etc
  • There is no need for CI either – rate of payout is low, you should have enough cash to tide over

Summary

For small investors, our investment should be a mix of low-cost stock and bonds ETF.  For Singaporean investors, that’s ES3 + IWDA and A35, respectively; make the percentages equal to “110 minus your age” in stocks, and the rest in bonds.  Once a year, at the same time every year, rebalance your money – buy and sell to bring your stocks and bonds back to that “110 minus your age” proportion.  And as Shiny Things always says, go to the pub.

For more information, please visit Joshua at his website: http://josh.sg/.  He also wrote a book that details his recommendations.  Details of his book can be found here: http://richbyretirementbook.com/.  Or purchased from Indiegogo or Amazon.

 

[1] http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/107979305-post53.html

[2] http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/103070724-post4662.html

[3] http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/107498524-post5900.html

[4] http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/108098356-post6211.html

Read about my take on other financial gurus from:

Mr Money Mustache

Jacob, Early Retirement Extreme, ERE

Dave Ramsey

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7 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for the wonderful write-up. May I seek your advice on the trading account that you use for the Gobal ETF? I would like to start with $500 monthly for STI ETF (via DBS ETF Regular Savings Plan) and $500 monthly for IWDA or VWRD as part of the the saving plan for 20 year continuously probably…thanks.

    1. Hello Chai, you are very welcome. I am currently using Standard Chartered (SC) for ES3 and Interactive Brokers (IB) for IWDA (extra details can be found here). However, for your scenario, I would think Standard Chartered will work better. The high-level difference between both IB and SC is essentially the FX rates of SC vs inactivity fee of IB. Go with whichever is lower. SC’s FX cost is roughly 0.5% on the way in and 0.5% on the way out.

      Example:
      If exchange rate is 1.5 SGD : 1 USD
      SGD 500 : (USD 333.33 – 0.5%) — 0.5% is the FX cost
      SGD 500 : USD 331.66

      Difference: USD 1.67, SGD 2.51 (one way only)

      So, for now, think of the “fees” as approx S$5 (2.50 * 2) per transaction if you go with SC. While IB is USD 10 / month for inactive fees (unless you have > USD 100,000 to invest).

      Hope this paints a clearer picture. Note that I am no expert and do chat around the HWZ Forum more. Ask Shiny Things (and many other experts) directly, think they will be of more help!

      Also, I think DBS ETF Regular Savings Plan is a great choice for now, but do note that once you hit the S$1k / month mark you should start looking elsewhere. 😀

      P.S. I personally no longer do a 50:50 split between ES3 and IWDA. 🙂

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