You CAN Afford to Invest on the Singapore Stock Market!

Most people are scared to death of investing. I'm not surprised.

Last week I spoke to one of my dance instructors and casually mentioned that I needed to save money because I wanted to invest and start buying stocks. At my words, she had a shocked look on her face, and advised me not to get involved as I could lose money.

Natural reaction. Most of my friends who don't know better react the same way when I tell them about my investing plans. In fact, I can share with you a few good reasons why you SHOULD invest in the stock market, but that's another post for another day.

We hear stories of people losing amounts in the thousands to millions on the stock market, getting their fingers burnt, having to borrow from loansharks to pay off the losses, etc...and start to think of the stock market as a scary place we should stay far, far away from.

Heck, even my own dad was a victim. I should know, because he lost my education money in the stock market, taking away the money that was meant to see me through university.

But contrary to popular opinion, you don't need to have a lot of money to start investing in the stock market.

This morning the Straits Times published an article showing the rise in the number of young investors in Singapore, people like you and I.

I remember being impressed with one of the guys interviewed in the article, as he is fairly young (only 23!) but already has a pretty decent and diversified portfolio at his age. The other anonymous interviewee, said he lost $100k in the stock market, which means it's probably safe to assume he had at least $200K to begin with in the stock market.

Of course, most of us don't have that kind of money, especially when we're still in university / fresh in the working world. In fact, most of us everyday folk have our dreaded tuition fee loan to settle first before we can do anything else (read my guide on how to pay off your TFL here). Heck, we're lucky to even have $10k for investing! And that's not even counting in our emergency fund yet...

So what CAN we do?

It's not a dead end. The good news is, SGX has recently revised their number of lots from 1000 down to 100. What this means for us is that we can now start investing with smaller capital amounts, compared to previous trading lots! Imagine if you are interested in buying DBS shares, which is a pretty decent blue-chip company (come on, just look at the number of ATMs they have islandwide, not to mention DBS Paylah, DBS credit card discount promos that you keep seeing at retail stores, their POSB acquisition years ago, etc):

DBS (price per share): $19.39
Previously: 1000 lots = $19,390
Now: 100 lots = $1,939

Previously, you would only be able to purchase DBS at a minimum of $19,000+, which is a ridiculously high sum for someone like us in our 20s. Even if we had the money, this amount would mean putting almost all of our money into DBS itself (aka putting all your eggs in one basket). Is that a safe move? Obviously not!

But now, let's say I only have $10,000 in savings (which is an extremely doable sum if you follow my tips on how I saved $20,000 in a year). After putting aside perhaps $5K for emergency funds, I can buy these companies at 100 lots each and achieve the following portfolio instead:

DBS: $1,939
OCBC: $1,043
Singtel: $424
Starhub: $427
Breadtalk: $152
Capitaland: $363
SPH: $410
Keppel: $876

Total = $5,634

Compare this to the original $56,000+ that we would have needed earlier last year to achieve such a portfolio!

Do you still think investing is out of your reach?


  1. Hi Budget Babe: nice take on stock investing. Keep going... Oh, by the way, you have a clean and cool blog. On second by the way, are you the only lady blogger at the recent Wongamnia game gathering at Big Fat Purse? ;-)

    1. Hey Richard, yes that was me :)

    2. Oh, missed the chance to introduce myself as I was at the other table... Nice meeting u here ;-)

    3. Haha yeah we were too engrossed in our table too. Do help to keep my identity secret! ;)

  2. Hi BB,

    I think with lower capital, the better and safer way might be to invest in index. If not, any particular company that you buy into might represent a very large % of your portfolio, which might not be too good. Unless one dives deep into the research of a company, it's better to have some semblance of diversification in one's portfolio.

    Personally, I would say at least 30k to 50k upwards before entering the stock market.

    1. Good point! I'm writing about index funds as well as some other options available to new investors. The 30K upwards is also good advice - I just had a reader write in to me asking what to invest with his 10k surplus, and my response was not to invest at this stage, but to save more first :)

  3. Personally, I feel that buying just 100 shares for each stock is pretty meaningless because the kind of returns you're getting is somewhat negligible for the sort of time you spend waiting. For example, a $800 investment, with a conservative 5% gain, represents a $40 return. Accounting the transaction fees, profit is about ~$20.

    The effort put into research does not compensate the kind of reward. Although it helps to encourage younger investors to enter the market, I wonder if it is doing more harm than good? Would they be too distracted with investing that they neglect their studies, etc.

    1. Hi Aloy,

      I used 100 shares as a simple illustration - of course it is not advisable to buy just 100 shares into multiple companies as that clearly shows lack of thought behind the buying process as well. Not to mention, you're spot on with the trading fees. Whatever profits on the 100 shares will likely be eroded by trading fees anyway, if the lot amount is that low.

      Hmm, there are plenty of distractions around and you raise good food for thought, but I personally feel if students get distracted by investing to the extent of neglecting their studies, then that shows immaturity and an inability to prioritise what's important at different stages of their life.

      Out of curiosity, are you still studying?

    2. Hi BB,

      I agree it shows immaturity! I'm currently in NS right now, will studying in NBS next year. That's why I have been very much helped by your post of Tuition Fee Loans Repayment, etc! They have been a delight to read!

  4. Hi budget babe

    Unless you are using scb with no min commission, the commission will amount to quite a large percentage of your invested capital.

    Maybe you should try index investing instead.

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for highlighting the trading commission fees, I neglected to account that in my original calculations while drafting the post. Of course, it is not advisable to buy just 100 shares either in multiple companies, that's just investing without much thought! Haha. I'm actually writing about index investing too in another post, do give me time to complete and I will appreciate your advice on improving that post once it's up since you might know more than I do! :)

  5. This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you. You definitely put a new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!buy sell signals

    1. Thanks Jahirul for your compliments! But actually i don't know "so much", haha, I still have tons to learn, especially in terms of technical analysis and other aspects of evaluating a stock! Just hope to share whatever I know with people especially from my generation out there :)




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