Investing is one of the keys to achieving financial security.
Relying on your salary and savings to become financially secure might not bring the results that you are looking for. Also the earlier you start, the better it is.
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However, the problem is that investment is not easy to learn.
It takes time, effort and money to figure out and it would be best for you to find some help when it comes to understanding the basics of investment.
Hence today's topic on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Academy.
What is SGX Academy?
Their aim is to give a solid foundation in the basics of investment to those who would like to try it for the first time and also enhance the skills and knowledge professional investors.
SGX Academy is a Centre of Excellence when it comes to investor education in Asia. The training programs under it have been specifically designed to match the needs of investors of various needs, expertise and skill levels.
The SGX Academy is under the Singapore Exchange, which is one of the leading market infrastructure in Asia and is, by far, the exchange with the largest diversity of asset classes in Asia.
SGX Academy uses various delivery formats for their programmes, including:
The participants can choose the format that they prefer so they can make progress. There are three classifications for the programmes:
SGX Academy provide a hassle-free learning platform for those who want to learn more about investment.
7 Reasons Why You Should Consider Investing As Part Of Your Financial Education
Unfortunately, investing is not really taught in schools. You can graduate from university and be trained in a professional field without being educated about how you can properly invest your money.
Financial Literacy although important, has never really been emphasized during our formal education. And this can lead to many problems down the road.
This lack of education is the reason why the programmes offered by SGX Academy are so important.
If you’re still thinking about getting a proper investment education, here are some things that you should think about:
1. Most Investment Advice Can Be Half-Truths
You cannot rely on the advice of so called financial experts that you find on the internet. The logic is simple. One plus one is two. That is not up for debate. Ask ten mathematics experts and you will receive the same answer.
People in the business call this converging lines of evidence. Multiple credible sources have pointed to this as the correct answer. It is thus, far more probable that this answer is correct.
However, few experts agree on the same things, if they even agree at all. One expert might tell you to pay all your debts, while another one will tell you that you can leverage your income with good debt.
What’s the truth then? How do we arrive at an answer?
There isn't a singular right answer. An accurate perception of market outlooks and the most current financial climate requires knowledge that comes from understanding world macroeconomics, financing, investments as well as a blend of psychology and investor/trader behaviours.
While it might seem a daunting task, it's actually not. Not really. Decide on a domain that you're interested in. Whether its trading or investing. Reach out. Expand your network of information and do a deep dive into looking at who you can trust in order to validate the information and insights they've provided.
Don't listen to one or even ten experts. Develop your own knowledge. Invest time into learning the topics you're interested in. Keep finding answers to the questions you have. in the beginning, the waters will always look murky. It's only by slowly filtering out useless and unwanted information that you will achieve greater clarity and depth perception into the markets.
We know its tough. So over the years , Dr Wealth have also published various investing guides on REITs, Value Investing, STI ETF and more to help investors gain financial knowledge without paying a single dollar.
2. You Need to Find What Works for You
There are financial gurus offering seminars and Singapore investment courses that you can take which would cost thousands of dollars. They promise to teach you the "secrets" of investment so you can make money.
Let's be clear. There are no secrets to investment. Secrets aren't secrets once you sell them. They become open knowledge.
The programmes offered by SGX Academy are not to teach you secret investment practices. These programmes are meant to teach you well-established practices which will help you determine the best investment choices for you.
There is no one investment path that would work for everyone. You need to find the one that would work best for you.
3. You Need to Protect Your Interest
There would always be a conflict of interests when dealing investments. The only person who will really be looking out for your money when you start investing is yourself.
Everyone else is out to protect their own interests.
The way to protect your money and your investment is to become educated and understand how the system works.
4. It Is Your Responsibility
Sure, you can let your financial planner or adviser be the one to handle important financial decisions for you. But let's be clear about this. You're not doing yourself a favour, regardless of how much your trust or even love your planner.
It is your responsibility to be aware of what you need for retirement, how much you will need to set aside for college savings for your children, and future wealth planning.
There is nothing wrong with delegating the tasks relating to those matters but it is still your responsibility to know about them.
As a wise man once said, fail to plan and you plan to fail.
5. You Absolutely Must Grow Your Financial Intelligence
It is not just your investment portfolio which should grow over time but your financial intelligence as well.
Accountants know how to help you save money on taxes (legally!) because they know more about accounting. Lawyers help your to dodge tricky legal scenarios because they know more about the law.
In the same way, you must grow your financial intelligence in order to not just protect yourself better but also make more money in the long run.
Imagine if you had to make investment decisions involving millions of dollars based on the knowledge that you have when you are just getting started with investment. It is likely that you wouldn’t be able to make the most out of your investments then. You might even lose all of it.
6. It’s An Investment on Yourself
You should look at financial education as a kind of investment that will earn you money for the rest of your life. The knowledge that you will get from the right kind of investment education and training will help you to make even more money in the future. It's not a race. It's a slow, ongoing marathon.
One of the biggest "secrets" that nobody will tell you about is that the hyper rich investors and businessmen didn't get there by chance. Sure. Some luck might have been involved but they almost always are individuals with extreme focus, discipline, and a thirst for knowledge. They always strive to improve themselves and learn more in the fastest, most efficient way possible. And that is the same reason why a majority of people nowadays fail to become truly successful investors or businessmen. They lack the internal drive, discipline, and thirst for knowledge.
Don't be one of them. Invest in yourself.
7. It’s A Must For You To Be Truly Independent
One of the key reasons to educate yourself is also to be truly independent. That means to operate free of assistance and help from others. Like being able to walk without crutches after breaking a leg. Or being able to drive without an instructor there to guide you.
True independence comes from not simply being rich or listening to the right people or even being able to develop a right view after listening and examining various sources.
True independence comes from being able to do it all yourself properly.
Here's an example: Even within the branch of value investing as an investment strategy, there are multiple schools of thought. Some people prefer deep value (buying severely underpriced stocks). Some people prefer to trade on tips on what is "value". Some people prefer to take the one stock that every independent expert has recommended.
What should you do?
You should form your own benchmarks (after thorough research!), sift through the financial statements, go through a deep dive on the management of the the company you have targetted for value-investing and then come to a decision after hearing the perspectives from all of the outside sources (they might catch something you miss after all)!
Only through the continuous practise and implementing of such decision making and learning can you truly become independent. Remember that not all information comes without bias and you will forever be bound by their views and disputing points if you do not learn to separate what matters most from the information provided.
These are the reasons why getting a financial and investment education is very important today and in the future, especially the kind provided by SGX Academy. Singapore tops the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to financial literacy, thanks in part to programmes like the ones being offered by SGX Academy.
SGX Academy Programmes
Whether you are just planning on becoming an investor or you’re already a seasoned trader, SGX Academy has a programme for you.
1. Beginner Investor Programmes
These are the types of programmes that you should look into if you are seeking to understand the basics of investment, its importance, and the basic techniques that you need to learn.
Under the Beginner Investor Programmes of SGX Academy, you will learn the fundamentals that you need to master to understand investing. You will also learn the basic investing techniques and how you can get started.
These are some of the Beginner Programmes that they offer:
- Make Trading Your Source of Income
- A Guide to Derivatives Trading
- The Basics of Investing
- A Guide to Financial Statements
- Getting Started in Bond Investments
2. Intermediate Investor Programmes
If you have some experience when it comes to investments and you have already built your portfolio, then the intermediate programmes are for you. Under these courses, you will acquire a better understanding of the various methods of investment and the different instruments used in it.
These are some of the Intermediate Investor Programmes they are offering:
- Analysing Financial Statements
- Financial Analysis Techniques
- Strategic and Tactical Asset Allocation
- Futures, Pricing & Hedging
3. Professional Investor Programmes
These are the programmes intended for those planning to trade professionally. These programmes focus on the techniques and instruments that are used by professionals.
These are some of the Professional Investor Programmes they are offering:
- The Art of Trading: Trading to Win
- Short Term Trading Strategies
- Mastering Structured Warrants through LRMM
- Essentials of Professional Futures Trading with TA
These various programs are developed in partnership with academic institutions and industry players to produce specialised content that can deliver high impact learning. With the E-training platform provided by SGX Academy, you can learn anytime, anywhere.
It’s also easy to keep track of your progress because of event history and the reminders provided by the platform.
How Much Does It Cost?
The different programmes that are available in SGX Academy have various prices. The prices of the programmes range from free of charge to a fee of $2400.
Most of the Beginner Investor Programmes are available for free, you just have to register. Even the ones that require a fee would only charge a low amount, like S$35.
All the Intermediate Investor Programmes require a fee. The prices of these programs range from S$100 to S$1,000. For example, the Analysing Financial Statements has a S$549 fee.
The Professional Investor Programmes are the most expensive programmes offered by SGX Academy. The Essentials of Professional Futures Trading with TA programme will cost S$2,400.
That’s a very steep price to pay and you might think that you don’t need it at all. But remember that the knowledge and information which you can learn from there will allow you to earn more as a professional investor.
What You Can Learn
Are the programmes worth your time and, in the cases of the paid ones, your money?
To answer that, it would be best to look at the content of one or two of these programmes. What are the things that are offered under these courses and who would be teaching it?
We’ll take a look at the Basics of Investing which is one of the Beginner Investor Programmes offered by SGX Academy. Let’s check out what is in store for you should choose to study under this programme.
The Basics of Investing is one of the programmes that is provided free of charge. This program is specially designed for new investors who are seeking to build their first portfolio. When you look at the overview of the programme, you can see that it covers some of the most basic things that you need to know about investing.
It includes but is not limited to the following topics:
- Investment Goals
- Investment Products
- First Portfolio
The speaker for the program is also very crucial. The speaker should be an authority in the topics that will be discussed. For the Basics of Investing, the speaker is Benjamin Goh, CFA. He’s a Senior Lecturer at the Singapore Institute of Technology and he worked for Credit Suisse, Deloitte Consulting, CIMB Group, JPMorgan, and Hewlett Packard in the past.
Now, let’s take a look at the Art of Trading: Trading to Win programme which is one of the Professional Investor Programmes offered by SGX Academy. This course takes a close look at the mindset of a trader. It identifies the rules that keep a trader winning with each trade that they make.
Some of the things that you will learn under this courses
- Identifying the kind of trader that you are.
- Knowing and avoiding the fatal flaws of trading.
- Constructing a trading plan.
- Exercising practical trading ideas.
Before you take this course, you must have several years of experience in investing so you can make the most out of it. The speaker for this course, Nicholas Teo, has 25 years of experience in the finance industry.
The best way that you can become financially independent is to get into investments but it’s not going to be real independence if you will be relying on other people to manage your money and your portfolio. While you may get a financial planner to manage your portfolio, it is crucial that you understand how it all works or you could just end up losing money unnecessarily. Remember, no one cares more about your own money than you do.
SGX Academy is one way to get a financial education and training in Singapore. Their courses are designed to match your level of experience and proficiency with investing so you can move on to the next level.
Taking the courses offered by SGX Academy will not guarantee that you will become a good investor. There will always be the risk of losing money even after you have gone through the courses but that would be minimised because the decisions you will be making will be based on sound principles and not guesswork.