How To Invest

How to start investing in Singapore: A practical guide for beginners (updated 2020)

It’s been over six years now since we founded The Fifth Person. In that period, we’ve shared our investment insights and analysis, published hundreds of articles, and written about how anyone can achieve financial independence through prudent and long-term investing.

Along the way, we’ve received several emails from readers who wanted a practical guide on how to start investing in Singapore. This was when we realised that while a blog is a great way to share our research and insights in a timely manner, it’s not the best way to organise information about a topic in a practical, step-by-step sequence.

So we decided to compile a list of our best articles that will guide you step-by-step on what you need to do to start investing today. We hope this practical guide will help you get the ball rolling — especially if you’re a beginner – and ultimately help you make better, more profitable investment decisions. 😊

How to start investing in Singapore

1. Before you start investing, it’s important to set your personal financial goals and how much you need to save (and invest) to reach your target. These articles will show you how to plan ahead and get your personal finances in order before you put first dollar in the stock market.

2. Once you have your finances in order, it’s time to open a brokerage account. We’ll show you how to open a brokerage account in Singapore and the minimum sum you to get started (it’s not much, really).

3. The next step is to choose you investment style that works best for you — based on your own risk profile, investment goals, and financial needs. Remember, any particular strategy can give you great returns as long as you do it right, and you’re also free to combine different styles to suit your individual needs.

Knowing that, these articles will give you a deeper introduction into each investment style:

Value-growth investing

Income investing

Singapore REITs (Income investing)

Deep value investing

4. Once you understand the types of companies you should be looking out for, you need to manage a watchlist and portfolio of stocks. We’ll show you some quick ways of finding investment ideas to add to your watchlist, and what you need to do manage and monitor your stock portfolio along the way.

5. You can invest in foreign stocks to gain exposure to more growth opportunities as Singapore is a small market. Here are some reasons why investing overseas is a great idea and what you need to look out for.

6. Your CPF is an important part of your financial planning and retirement. Here are some articles which show you how to make full use of your CPF and the important things you need to consider if you plan on investing your CPF.

The fifth perspective

We hope you find this guide on how to start investing in Singapore useful. This list is by no means final and we’ll add/update the guide as we write more articles and share new information that’s relevant to investing in Singapore.

At the same time, check our favourite investment books, read our analysis section, and our coverage on annual general meetings on how we apply these concepts when we do our research on companies in Singapore and beyond – I believe you’ll find a treasure trove of insights that will help you become a better, more profitable investor.

To your investing success,
The Fifth Person

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38 Comments

  1. iam construction worker.I am bangladeshi.can I strat stock exchange business in Singapore? if I can,how to I start? please tell me details.

  2. Hey! I’m a 19 y/o student with a keen interest in investing and was wondering if you have any book recommendations/tips on how I can get started!

    1. Hi Randall,

      Sure! You can check out these 3 books:

      1. The Little Book of Value Investing by Christopher H Browne
      2. Bull: A History of the Boom and Bust by Maggie Mahar
      3. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Phillip Fisher

  3. Hi, I’m a 19 y/o tertiary student who’s keen to learn investing. I’ve a sum of $2000 which I would like to get started with. I’m someone who wants to see returns within a short while (say 2-3 months) and not wait for 10-20 years before seeing results.

    Hope I could get some advice.

  4. We are moving to Singapore. We want to start a business there and these article is totally giving us clue on how we can invest or start a business. Thanks for sharing these.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Yes, you can invest in the Vanguard ETF. The most cost-effective way is through a U.S. brokerage firm. And if you buy it through a Vanguard brokerage account, you pay zero commissions.

      As a foreigner, you’re not taxed on capital gains, but you have a 30% withholding tax on dividends.

  5. I have $2000 in my account.. How and where I should invest so that i can see my fund growth every year.. I will add up some money if the growth is good.. Kindly help me on this.. Im malaysian working in Singapore.. Thanks in advance..

  6. Hi I am from Bangladesh. And I am a regular trader in Dhaka Stock Exchange market.

    Now a days I feel a big interest to start my investment/trading in Singapore stock market.

    So How can I do that as a Bangladeshi/foreigner?

  7. Hi may i know will our investments be taxed? Because we singaporeans have to pay income tax. For example if i were to engaged in stocks or shares .. thank you & what if we were to buy shares from foreign stock exchange?

  8. Hi guys. Many thanks for this wonderful guide, presented in an easy to understand and objective manner. I am a retiree and a new investor. I am interested in Index-based ETFs as they are diversified and low cost. You mentioned that the best way to invest in Vanguard ETFs are through US or Vanguard brokerages. I know Vanguard has presence in HK and Australia. Do you mean the brokerages in these countries? Further, which of these have the lowest expense rates in Total – iFast(in SG), the HK/Australia brokerages, IB, TDAmeritrade, Schwab, when it comes to US/Vanguard ETFs? Many thanks for your pointers!

    1. Hi Sazali,

      Thanks and you’re most welcome! We suggest directly opening a U.S. brokerage account to trade U.S. securities; the fees are usually much lower compared to Singapore brokerages.

      Interactive Brokers is the cheapest but it charges you a US$10 monthly fee unless you make 10 trades per month or have US$100K in funds. If not, something like Charles Schwab is a good, solid option (US$4.95 per trade).

  9. Hi there, I’m a foreigner living in Singapore and interested in investing in foreign stocks. According to your previous comments I assume the best beneficial way to invest in e.g. U.S. stocks is only by choosing those companies without paying a dividend due to the 30% withholding tax?
    Do you also have any knowledge in terms of tax payments in Singapore regarding the European stock market (Capital gains and dividends), e.g. UK and Germany stocks.
    Many thanks in advance.

  10. Hi! Im 20yr old and currently in ns. I’ve been growing interest in investing and may i know what’s the minimum amount that i need to start investing?

  11. I really liked the post and I have been reading this blog for a long time, congratulations on the quality of the content, but can you ask me how long it takes for me to see results in my investments made recently?

  12. Hi,

    I would like to trade Singapore and US stocks. Do I need to have both CDP (for SG) and nominee accounts (for US trade). What is the recommended way.

        1. Hi Kay,

          We assume that you shortlisted these two as you want access to more markets besides the U.S.

          Over the long term, Interactive Brokers is the better, cheaper option. But if you want to avoid the US$10/- monthly fee because you don’t plan to fund US$100K to your account, then Saxo would be more suitable for you right now.

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