4 Investments I Want To Try (But Haven’t)

Here are some types of investments that I have: mutual funds/unit trust, gold and crypto.

This article is all about investments I don’t have yet, but always been curious to try. I may or may not proceed with one or any of them in the future. It’s just to show you what I’ve done about them so far, and why I didn’t proceed with them yet.

#1 – ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds)

I’ve heard really good things about ETFs. How they tend to be low in fees, how they’re fairly low-risk, how they’re the passive investment of choice for many in the financial circles.

To be completely honest, I kinda sorta know the gist of what ETFs is, but they’re not particularly intuitive to understand. It tracks the performance of an index rather than the portfolio, or something like that. If anyone has an awesome analogy to share that explains ETFs well, please share in the comments section!

In Malaysia, I see ETFs being promoted most often by:

  • MyETF – their sponsored posts appear in my social media (see their video explanation of ETF below)
  • Robo-investing fintech companies now in the process of launching in Malaysia (they said they will start in Q3 2018)

Here’s my understanding of ETFs so far (please let me know if any of them is wrong, I’ll edit):

  • You can buy and sell them through brokers (related: DividendMagic’s broker comparison post). Although what I heard is selling is harder than buying, because ETFs are not very liquid in Malaysia (yet)
  • ETFs can track asset classes, country(ies) and demographic. I’ve seen ETFs in Malaysia that track Top 50 US companies, ASEAN, Dow Jones, agribusiness, etc
  • There are plenty of Syariah-compliant ETF options in Malaysia. Nice. As a (brainwashed) Muslim, this is important to me. The guilt is real.
  • They’re suitable as part of a long-term investment portfolio. ETFs is the slow-and-steady kind, not the ‘moon’ kind.

Looks good, right? But here’s what’s stopping me from investing with them now: aside from wanting to try ETFs, I also want to try robo-investing platforms. However, none of them is launched yet (at time of writing – this part will be updated after they do). Also, when I asked, they say they only plan to include Syariah-compliant ETF options in the future 🙁

I’m keen on robo-investing platforms because (1) those can help me pick the type of ETFs that is suitable for  me, according to my risk appetite, (2) their fees are much lower than other brokerage accounts (less than 1%, I heard!) and (3) I can invest outside of Malaysia, which is good for diversification.

So. Robo-investing fintech companies reading this. Please launch soon, and include some Syariah-compliant ETFs. I’ll promote the heck out of you 😀

#2 – Properties

Specifically, these two types: REITs and rental units

For REITs, I’m sort of interested, but not that passionate about them. If you are interested in REITs, see my 5 Things I Learned About REITs in Malaysia (From a Bursa Malaysia-Sponsored Workshop) article.

For rental units, I have this idea of buying a multi-room property, live in one of those units, then rent out the rest. It’ll solve both (1) my accommodation and (2) passive income strategy. Usually, when you buy property, you have to pick one or the other – for own stay or for investment. I thought this kind of solution, in theory at least, can be a ‘best-of-both-worlds’-type of solution.

I got the idea from a chap called Alan Corey in his book, A Million Bucks By 30: How to Overcome A Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and A Useless Degree to Become A Millionaire Before (or After) Turning Thirty. He bought a big house, lived in the smallest room, and rented out the rest.

There are lots of trade-offs for this strategy, though. Summarised in two words, tenancy woes. Living with other people can be frustrating, to say the least. How much do I want to sacrifice my quality of life, privacy and landlady-related headaches in exchange for the money?

A possible solution is complete boundaries between myself and my tenants. Different entrances, living areas, bathrooms, kitchens, the works. But that sounds expensive – that’s already considered an apartment unit, and hell I don’t have money to buy a whole apartment unit!

So until I see a property in my budget range that can work for this kind of situation, the search continues.

#3 – P2P Lending

What I heard (but can’t confirm or vouch for the stats) is that P2P lending is an awesome, mid-to-high-risk investment but with default rates of only less than 1%. You lend money to businesses in Malaysia, and within a few short months you can gain double-digit interest rates. It’s a short-term kind of investment, an alternative to fixed deposits.

This is one of those moments where my head goes, hmmm if it sounds too good to be true….

Regardless, I’ve heard enough good feedback about P2P lending from people I trust that I do want to give it a try. What’s stopping me is:

  • There are only six licensed P2P lending platforms in Malaysia (list in Securities Commission website), and as far as I know only one is Syariah-compliant (STUPID GUILT UGH)
  • The campaigns tend to end very fast. If you miss out, you miss out – gotta be very diligent with checking the emails to be one of the funders/investors. If you go to any of the websites, more often than not you’ll see everything is already 100% funded
  • And because the campaigns tend to end fast, you have to make quick decisions. To put in money or not? Decide then and there. Personally, I take a while to decide on all of my investments. I like researching them first.

Any of you tried P2P lending before? How’s your experience with it? Tell us everything.

#4 – Equity Crowdfunding (ECF)

Have you watched Shark Tank? That’s kind of how equity crowdfunding works, except the investors are a bunch more people instead of individual ‘sharks’.

At time of writing, there are seven licensed equity crowdfunding platforms in Malaysia (list in Securities Commission website). I’ve been tempted to put my money in various companies many, many times. Especially startups which I thought was brilliant, like Me.Reka Makerspace (they’ve reached their goal, but still accepting funding until end of September 2018!).

What’s stopping me? Simple. I don’t want to over-allocate high-risk investments in my portfolio. I hold hodl cryptocurrencies. The wild volatility already gives me anxiety. It takes all my willpower to not cave in and sell everything, especially during bear markets.

Anyhow. I’m planning to keep my crypto holdings for at least a few more years. This could be my best investment decision, or the worst, let’s see. If it turns out well, I’ll re-diversify and consider investing in startups.

Last thoughts about investments I want to try

There are some investments I’m absolutely not interested in, like art (collectibles in general), foreign exchange (USD/EUR/etc money), and individual Malaysian stocks. I’m not saying they’re bad investments, I’m saying I don’t enjoy them and therefore won’t be motivated to research them, which is not a good trait to have as an investor for those types of investments.

How about you? What investments:

  • Do you have?
  • Do you want to try?
  • You are NOT interested in?

Linking related posts about investments that’s related to this article:

Articles about investments I have:

Author

22 comments

  1. P2P lending, no doubt is a good option to be considered in diversification.

    Personal experience: invested in 6 of them, giving me fairly good returns, considering no default loans yet.

    Pretty excited to see the Robo advisors thing you mentioned.

      1. I’m using FundingSocieties as their user interface is friendly enough for me to navigate.

        Most importantly their customer service team quality is top of the chart (so far lah). Immediate response from them, you can expect that kind of support.

  2. Great article Suraya! Personally I don’t invest in ETFs. They’re great securities for people who don’t have the time inclination to track individual stocks though…I would check out https://www.amazon.com/Millionaire-Teacher-Wealth-Should-Learned/dp/0470830069
    Andrew Hallam certainly knows his stuff when talking about ETFs.
    For more research on REITs, I would read up https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17883242-value-investing-in-reits
    Personally I invest in dividend growth stocks, and I’m sure this is covered somewhere else. Best of luck on journey and thanks for making all of us part of it!

  3. for the property, you can try to look for Dual-key unit, which consider as 1 property , but having 2 diff main entrance to separate spaces .
    1 might be a studio, and another 1 might be a 2/3 bedroom unit.

  4. Currently there are 10 ETFs on Bursa Malaysia.
    I recommend only 5 of them:
    1. MYETF DOW JONES U.S. TITANS 50
    2. CIMB FTSE ASEAN 40 MALAYSIA
    3. CIMB FTSE CHINA 50
    4. MYETF MSCI MALAYSIA ISLAMIC DIVIDEND
    These four ETFs looks like they have “growth” characteristics, so it makes more sense to invest in them as their value will increase over time. Other ETFs look more “flattish” instead (for example, check out MYETF DOW JONES ISLAMIC MARKET MALAYSIA TITANS 25 http://www.bursamalaysia.com/market/listed-companies/list-of-companies/plc-profile.html?stock_code=0821EA).

    5. TRADEPLUS SHARIAH GOLD TRACKER
    This ETF is great that it is a proxy to gold. Especially now (middle of September), the price of gold has already bottomed out and in the midst of bouncing back. Now is a great time to buy the ETF (or gold in general) as it might as cheapest as you can get.

    Like always, past performance don’t indicate future performance (another way of saying, if you lose money don’t blame me!!!)…. :)))

  5. P2P lending no doubt is a good alternative investment that yields high returns. Malaysia is the first Asean country that regulates P2P lending. Personally I would recommend Funding Societies and Quickash. The latter has principal guarantee element as well. The only way to minimize the risk is to diversify your portfolio. =)

    1. Another positive feedback on P2P lending! Thanks for letting us know about Quickash’s principal guarantee element too, good to know!

  6. Hey Suraya,

    I started experimenting with P2P lending a couple of months ago, and I have to say that the results have been promising, so if you’re still on the fence, I say it’s worth a try.

    Just be sure to start off with a conservative amount that you can afford to lose so you can sleep soundly at night! It’s definitely a more exciting (and profitable) alternative to them old-fashioned FDs.

    Also just this month, I invested in REITs for the first time. I’ve considered buying a property, but dealing with tenants and the hassle (time-, energy- and cost-wise) of having to maintain a physical property just isn’t something I want to do.

    As for the other two types of investments you mentioned — ETFs and equity crowdfunding–I think I’ll stay away for now. Like you said, ETFs can be illiquid, making them harder to sell, and I don’t know enough about how I’d be able to get an ROI from investing in a startup, so I’m taking a wait-and-watch stance with it.

    Would love to see a post on your progress with the investments that you do decide to go ahead with 🙂

    -Michele

  7. Yup, MyETF MSCI Malaysia Islamic Dividend – can’t help to be brainwashed!

    Downside to ETFs in Malaysia is not so popular yet so rather illiquid at the mo…there are appointed (I think) institutional “market makers” for each of these ETFs so that they liquid enough to be traded by retail investors.

    1. Personally I’m not particularly worried over current lack of liquidity of ETFs in Malaysia. I think, over time, the ETF market will be more liquid as more Malaysians find out about it 🙂

  8. Hi Suraya! Me again! Hahaha anyhow thanks for sharing. Now I understand a bit more about ETF.

    Similar like you, I am excited about robo-advisor too! Now that Stash Away is launching soon, do you think we should wait? Wonder what your opinion on this.

    And also, when you say “ETFs are not very liquid in Malaysia”, what does it mean? I try to google about it but got even more confused because of the financial jargons -__- i hope there’s a site who can explain in laymen terms or with visual reference for someone like me to try to understand. Or i should just learn/take up finance class lol!

    1. Hi Nisa,

      Stashaway already launched 😀 Go and check it out!

      Re: investments that are not very liquid – that means it’s relatively hard to turn back the investment into cash, into RM. Say for example property – sometimes must wait for months or even years for buyers! When an investment in not liquid, it forces the investor to sell at a loss, or wait until there are buyers. That’s obviously bad if they need the money fast

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