Sunday, July 28, 2019

How In-Camp Trainings can help you financially

 Update 30-09-19 - Made some minor amendments for my misinformation in blue.

This one is dedicated to the boys!

A lot of guys who went through their 2 years in full-time National Service (NSF) have to go through In-Camp Training (ICT) for reservist after ORD - I am no exception.

I actually just finished an ICT this week, and it was a good opportunity to catch up with existing camp-mates or get to know new ones.

The boys come from all walks of life. Naturally, you will have some camp-mates who does investment, trading, or otherwise have very useful snippets of information to share with you to give you a different way to look at things. I overheard people discussing about blockchain or bitcoins while queuing to get essential items in the eMart. There are such opportunities even during one's NSF days, but I believe these are much rarer given the age demographics.

Okay, so how does ICT actually benefits you financially? We look at these through 2 areas - networking and incentives (IPPT, Marksmanship, NS Excellence Award).

Note: Context for investment in this article goes beyond equities - it can cover career related ones as well.

I get to talk to fellow camp-mates who invests or trades and hear out their point of views on market sentiment, their way of managing their investment, as well as their analyses on various investments.

Beyond that, I get to learn more of non-investment knowledge that can be applied to how one analyse businesses - and consequently, can be applied to analysis of the business of stocks.

#1 - Camp-mate involved in marketing field
I have a camp-mate who is in the marketing field and shared how smaller companies can be more aggressive than bigger companies, and is generally more agile to capture market shares in their line of business.

Basically, smaller companies need not pay so much heed to being politically correct with their marketing efforts, while bigger established companies has an image to uphold and cannot do likewise, needing to appeal to social justice warriors.

He also went on to link the effect of marketing onto the business and share signs of how to tell if, for example, a fast food restaurant is doing well in a mall.

From time to time, you may notice how popular fast food restaurants are doing very well and consistently packed suddenly undergo renovation. When they are done, they may feature more seating. Conversely, if the fast-food business is not doing well enough, they probably do not undergo renovation for a looooong time. Or worse, go poof.

This could probably relate to analysing how well a mall that is under a retail REIT is doing, given that retail REITs are essentially landlords of shopping malls under their brand.

#2 - Engineer Camp-mate
I also have another camp-mate who is an engineer and we shared engineering knowledge with each other. Besides that, he has a goal to develop intellectual properties (IP) and applying for a patent in the future. Patents are potentially another source of income via royalties. He shared the process and the cost of applying for a patent.

For engineers, engineering knowledge is an asset that is their lifeblood and is one that needs to continually be accumulated. Such moments could potentially give you opportunities to do a joint venture or work on a patent and work on something groundbreaking or cutting edge as a team.

Update - My bad - this is misinformation on my end. Patents are for defending your IP.

Beyond all that, who knows, maybe an employment opportunity via a camp-mate's recommendation may be onto you (or vice-versa, an opportunity to do good, giving your peers an employment opportunity at your company)?

Well, so on as you are on good terms with them and do not sabo your camp-mates lah.

If you are taking your IPPT during ICT (although this is applicable to non-ICT IPPT as well), that is an opportunity to get incentives for keeping yourself IPPT-ready, and these can be used to offset your expenses or pump into your investments.

Sit up tight, let's run some numbers and then pump them into a quick calculation (forgive the puns - I had to):

I'll go with the following assumptions:
  • ORD at age 22
  • Start first ICT at age 23
  • Consistently clear ICT annually.
  • Can continue to maintain your gold in IPPT (that's $500 each) during your 10 years (7 high-keys / 3 low-keys) and then MR at age 33.
  • Reinvests annually with consistent annual returns of 6% - before compounding.
(1) The principal sum adds up to $5000
(2) When you MR, you would have $6691 - That's a total returns of almost 34%.
(3) Thereafter, for the next 12 years, you continue to reinvest consistently and get consistent annual returns of 6% before compounding, be it reinvesting dividends, getting scrips or recycling your funds, your returns after MR will be approximately doubled - your investment will be worth $13460 (that's +169% total returns from the initial sum of $5000).

Note - of course investment is not that straightforward and your returns is subject to what you invest in and prevailing market conditions. But I need to express it with a simplified example mah.

At times, you may need to do live firing and there are live firing activities which are potentially opportunities to get a little bit of cash. Again, these can be used to offset expenses or pump into investments.

NS Excellence Award
If you are amongst the top performer in your unit, you can get credits which can redeem freebies and again, these can potentially offset your expenses. At worst, these can give you free treats. These probably may not mean much when you are in your early 20s.

But when you are married and have a family? Every cent matters for a run-of-the-mill working-class guy or his family. Probably?

TL;DR - ICT can be a fantastic opportunity to benefit you financially directly or indirectly, via incentives or networking, be it in career, opportunities to do joint venture, investment or trading. If you are going for ICT, may as well make the most of it, you know?

1 comment:

  1. Your Engineering friend is bull-shitting you. What of patents?

    ST Engineering has a KPI to file patents annually. They have tons of patents. Mostly worthless as value to the Engineer himself. Out of the million patents, only a tiny handful have value, and only because they've been commercialised already. At venture stage, patents are useless. Patents are useful only as a defence post-market.

    Even if you did have a patent to defend yourself, the bigger company can just fend off litigation while copying you. Especially against goverment/military linked engineering firms.


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