Reader Mail #24: Quick Q&A About Investing

Posted by Fitz Villafuerte under Investing, Reader Mail on June 4, 2013

Welcome to the 24th edition of Reader Mail, the section of this blog where I answer questions from my readers about money matters.

Today, we’ll focus solely on investing and I hope you find my answers helpful.

As always, please note that I am not a professional financial adviser and my responses are solely based from my knowledge and experience as an investor, this means you should always take my advise with a grain of salt.

Anyway, without further ado, here now are the Q&A’s:

I want to start investing, where should I go?

There’s lot of places you can go to invest, but the most convenient for me is through your own bank. Go and ask them about their Unit Investment Trust Fund or UITF products.

Which stocks are good to buy?

I’d recommend AC, ALI, AP, BDO, BPI, DMC, EDC, ICT, JFC, MBT, MPI, MWC, SM, SMPH, TEL and/or URC. Don’t know what these companies are? Then check it here: Best Philippine Stocks For Long Term Investing

I invested in stocks but I don’t have an emergency fund yet, what should I do?

Stop investing in stocks and save up for your emergency fund first. Don’t sell your current shares either, it’s okay to just hold on to them for now. Come back to the stock market once you have your EF.

Would you recommend getting the COL Financial x2 Margin offer?

That product is for seasoned stock market traders who want to leverage and not for stock market newbies. The interest rate of 18% is too high for long-term investing, but acceptable for short-term trading – but that’s assuming you know what you are doing.

Can I invest while saving up for an emergency fund?

Yes. Save up for an emergency fund. When you reach 3 months worth of your EF, put the next 3 months in a 30-day time deposit. Then the next 6 months worth of your EF in a low-risk UITF or mutual fund.

So total, you have 1 year worth of EF, placed in a savings account (3 months liquid), 30-day time deposit (3 months), and a UITF / MF (6 months).

Is it okay to buy IPO shares if I’m a newbie investor?

It depends on the company, but I personally don’t recommend it for newbies.

Stock price of companies that go on IPO tend to be volatile and sometimes, it’s overpriced too.

Without previous price history, and very little public info (in terms of financial records, because they’re previously a private company) – you don’t really know how the company performed in the past and will perform in the future.

According to Suze Orman in an interview with Karen Davila, we should invest in the Philippine Stock Index Fund. How do we do that?

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The Philippine Stock Index Fund is a UITF product of BPI. Suze Orman was brought here by BPI, so expect her to recommend BPI products. If you want to invest in that fund, just go to any BPI branch.

As always, more than listening and understanding financial and investing advise that’s going around right now from many people – try to also see where that person is coming from so you’ll know the rationale behind that advise.

I can save 15k a month, can I split it into 3 and invest to my emergency fund, mutual fund & stocks simultaneously? Or should I do it one at a time?

The plan to split it into EF, MF and stocks is okay. But you should really come up with your specific goals. Investing without an objective is like driving a car without a destination.

Your financial objectives will actually dictate where you should invest, how much you should invest and when you should liquidate your investments.

One final tip, as an entrepreneur, I would say that owning a business someday should be a financial goal because it will be a good source of passive income when you retire.

Paper asset investments are great for capital growth, but a very poor source of passive income – which is more important if you want to retire early.

I have an extra P100,000 that I can invest in a mutual fund. Is it better to invest all of it now, or is it still better to just invest P5,000 every month for the next 20 months?

You can choose to study the market and speculate if it will go up, down or sideways for the next 20 months.

Read and listen to the news and learn the market sentiment, collate all the predictions and decide which direction you believe the fund price will go.

If it’s up, then its okay to invest all at once. Otherwise, if it’s down or sideways, or if you don’t want to study the market at all, then it’s better to cost average your investment and just put P5,000 every month into the fund.

Is it still wise to invest in the stock market considering that I might be needing money for my husband and myself soon? Do I still have time to be a millionaire? How much should I invest monthly to make millions say after 5 years?

How soon is soon? If it’s more than 5 years, then it’s relatively safe to invest in the stock market.

Do you still have time to be a millionaire? Of course! Colonel Sanders started KFC at the age of 65! He died a billionaire at the age of 90.

Lastly, don’t ask how much you should invest, and how long you should invest. Ask yourself first the reason why you want to invest – what will be the money used for?

When you’ve answered that question, then knowing where, how much, and how long to invest becomes easier.

This ends another edition of Reader Mail. Thank you to everyone who continue to value my opinion on these matters. Lastly, please subscribe to Ready To Be Rich to get the latest updates on this site. Cheers!

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Photo credits: wonderwebby, cindy47452 and hungrytiger11


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16 Responses to “Reader Mail #24: Quick Q&A About Investing”


  1. arianb says:

    Hi Fitz,

    I remember Atty. Ariel asked during the workshop about Meralco if it is a good company to invest in. We just speculated, but we did not have a concrete answer at that time. Is there any updates whether this company is now being considered or recommended?

    Thanks!

  2. Fitz says:

    Hi Arianb,

    There’s still no official change in the list of recommended stocks for long term investing, as far as I know. So for me, the original list is still what I suggest, namely:

    AC, ALI, AP, BDO, BPI, DMC, EDC, ICT, JFC, MBT, MPI, MWC, SM, SMPH, TEL and URC

    However, COL Financial has released a list of top stock picks which have shown above average returns, and Meralco is part of that list.

    The Top 10 Stock Picks (based on expected upside returns) as of January 2013 are:

    TEL, MER, MBT, BDO, PGOLD, SMPH, AGI, EEI, MPI, and MEG

  3. al says:

    very educational for newbie like me, i’ve learn a lot.
    Thanks and more power.

  4. Carlos says:

    Very informative!

    But I do want to dispute the answer re: Suze Orman.

    I agree that looking at someone’s background is necessary. And BPI did bring Suze Orman here (whether or not she was paid is a little off topic already).

    But there are index fundds that are not BPI products. Philippine Stock index fund Corp is a mutual fund. And I thin PNB has an index fund as well. Plus, at the time she said it, I think BPI ALFM PSIF was actually not offering additional shares. (though their new on the BPI Phil. equity Index fund might have been; I’m not sure.)

    I think she recommended an index, because its been (latel, at least)regarded as the “smart move” in the US. People are finally seeing what John Boggle (did I spell it right?) was preaching for decades.

    But then, I’m an index believer, so my opnion is biased too. 😀

  5. carol says:

    love your answer on the question about Suze Orman.

    I am concerned about some of your recommended list of stocks such as ALI, AC, BPI, JFC, MBT and MER. These guys are at their high time right now, wouldn’t be it be unwise to buy high?

    It might be better for newbies who want to invest in these stocks to first monitor the prices for the next 6 months to get a better picture if the trend will be going up or down.

  6. Carlos says:

    Hi carol,

    I’d like to hear Fitz’ answer too, but in the meantime I’d like to share my thoughts on your question.

    – I think they just went on sale? The index has been nosediving so they should have lost some of their pricey-ness…

    – Not even experts can really time the market – at least not with consistent success.. I think most just know how to react to what happened. I’m pretty sure a newbie can’t reasonably be expected to do any better. it could work though, after all who am I to doubt other people’s capability – or luck, for that matter.

    – I’d advise cost-averaging in that situation. It gives you a buffer, whether the stocks are up or down. Plus, you’re already investing, as opposed to waiting for stocks to go up or down, while nothing is happening to your money. But that assumes you’re set (emergency fund, insurance, stable finances) and you already have a concrete goal for the stock investment.

  7. Ramil says:

    Sir Fitz,

    ano opinion mo sa nalalapit na merger ng mga SM real estate companies? nag cost averaging kasi ako sa SMPH for more than a year na.. salamat sa inputs.

  8. Fitz says:

    @Carlos

    Thanks for your inputs. Indeed, there are lots of index funds out there, and I believe they’re all good options if you want to invest in the PSE index. When Suze Orman said “PSE Index Mutual Fund”, I interpreted that as the one being offered by BPI. 😀

    @carol

    Carlos gave a great response to your questions. To reiterate, just go ahead and invest because that’s one of the advantages of cost averaging – no need to time the market.

    Your returns will not be as high compared to if you timed the market, but at least that will not cost you the time (and effort) in “waiting and analyzing” when the market would reverse back up.

  9. koko says:

    Sir Fitz,

    I have a question to ask regarding the merging of the SM groups.

    I’ve been investing in SMPH for 7 months now.

    I just want to ask if I need to sell it now or should I buy more

    even there is a possibility that it will be delisted.

    Please advise what will happen to my stocks if smph will be delisted

    Thanks a lot

  10. annabelle says:

    What can you say about the present stock market condition? Prices are going down, what can you recommend?

  11. Fitz says:

    @koko

    If you’re on the positive, then I suggest to sell and wait until the “dust settles” before investing in SM again (which is still a good company for long term investing).

    But this is just a personal opinion, and it would be better if you can consult your stock broker or a stock analyst about it.

    @annabelle

    I am a long-term investor, so market correction such as this one doesn’t really concern me. So I just continue to buy and invest.

    If you’re a stock trader, you can either sell now and buy later when the trend reverses.

    Again, this is just my personal opinion.

  12. koko says:

    Thanks a lot Sir Fitz but for now I can’t sell my stocks in SMPH

    because the price went down :’c. Do you know what will happen to my

    stocks if it will be delisted? will it cash out automatically?

    thanks again Sir Fitz.

  13. Lois says:

    I also plan to sell my smph the moment it gets positive or kahit break even lang, then buy another stock para mabawi ang losses. Some say just to hold it pero I’m not willing to take the risk. reality is stock market is really high risk and ngayon ko lng napatunayan yan sa sarili ko. Like many people I got swayed to invest in this, but Fitz was right on insisting to have savings first before investing, and never to go investing without a savings. So now I know who to believe the most. And thanks to Fitz for that.

  14. Sundae says:

    Hi Fitz, I am new here and just recently reading your blog and its great.
    What are your thoughts on this, suppose I have and emergency fund and I have 200K that I plan to invest for retirement. Should I invest this in one go or thru monthly investment, I’m plannning thru BDO Easy Investment Fund. Now my age is 34 and still earning, and willing to put into 15 years.

  15. Fitz says:

    Hi Sundae, don’t invest it in one go. Invest only a small fixed amount, but do it regularly over a long period of time. With 200K, invest 5k a month, that’s good for 40 months or almost 4 years. If you can continue that, for 10 years, then the better.

  16. Noel says:

    Good day Fitz, its the 20th of July2013 and im sure you are fully occupied today. Somehow i just like to share im gratefull to see my COL starter account reflects my funding as i first logged in yesterday. I think i get more smarter after i first visit your blog 3yrs ago? For i have no regrets but technically happy because i Sowed only the best and im sure shall Reap wonderfully for my household. Am still hoping to sitdown on one of your workshop soon.
    Thank you.
    Noel

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