Friday, 6 January 2017

Good Bye 2016, Hello 2017!

This is the first week of 2017. Happy New Year everyone! 

2016 ended remarkably well for me and my family as far as intangible non-material aspects of life is concern. My family is healthier both physically and spiritually. Relationships in my house improved tremendously too. Above all, we were blessed with a godsend baby boy due in few months time. Financially, while income and investment returns fall, overall financial status and net cash inflow (income minus expenses) for the year are very healthy. 

The year also ended well with a close to three weeks break from work for me and my wife clearing year end leave. This resulted in a family stay-cation at Sentosa and several gatherings with friends and siblings knitting closer relationships.  

2016 at a Glance

Before we start recapping year 2016 notable events for the World and Singapore, I wanted to clarify I am not a pessimist. As far as I could, I tried my best to uncover more positive events but sadly there are few. I am not going to list down too many events, but in general 2016 is really not a fantastic year for the World and Singapore.

World News

•    Donald Trump victory

•    Brexit and second ever female UK PM

•    Oil price stayed below $50/b and below $30/b at one stage

•    Increasing scandals and controversies of world top leaders – Trump, Clinton, Presidents of S.Korea, Brazil, C.Lagarde, 1MDB and the lists goes long…

•    Terrorists attacks intensified globally - US, Brussels, Turkey, Berlin, Parkistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, attacks etc.

•    Many earthquakes – Ecuador, Japan, Taiwan, PNG, New Zealand etc

•    Zika virus

•    Hanjin bankruptcy

•    Fed did not hike rate in 2016. BOJ, ECB & PBOC continued loose monetary policies

•    Portugal won Euro 2016 and Liverpool FC relatively good run under Jurgen Klopp 


Singapore

•    Singapore’s first year without LKY

•    SR Nathan died

•    Singapore first Olympic gold from Joseph Schooling in Rio

•    TPP deal likely to be called off

•    Finance minister Heng Swee Keat collapsed during cabinet meeting and PM Lee trembles during NDP speech

•    Beleaguered O&G sector - Swiber and Swissco’s JM

•    California fitness closed in Singapore

•    Pokemon Saga

•    STI relatively unchanged ending at 2880.76 in 2016 compared to 2882.73 in 2015 year end closing. 


Rolf Suey's H2F3

Using H2F3 and comparing to what I targeted in 2015 (refer here),

Health 
Very good health in 2016 compared to 2015. Medications are no longer necessary for my gastric and chronic-sinus sicknesses, which tormented me for years. My BMI was maintained in very healthy range of 24. Quitted smoking completely including those during social events. Wife encountered a glitch in health during pregnancy but it was completely healed without medications or operations. Kids are all healthy too! 

Hobbies 
Existing hobby in 2016 such as Gym, Jogging, Swimming, Reading and Blogging still stay the same. Discover a newfound purpose or hobby if you will like to call it. This is definitely more important in life. Hence I will backslide on Blogging going forward.

Relationships – Family and Friends 
Last year I ended the similar post yearning to build strong and quality relationships with people around me in 2016. 

I must say I was blessed to be on target. 

I experienced hugely improved relationships with families, friends and colleagues. There are more gentleness and meekness in my life compared to the past especially towards the end of the year. I learn also to respect opinions more than before. The result – more peace and joy, expressed through love.

Career 
Last year I mentioned my career objective for 2016 is just to keep my current job and to continue to have sustainable income.

I did it!

Nonetheless, it was a painful year, as I witness not only departure of many friends in the industry, but also almost all colleagues in my division in Singapore. I am the last man standing in my division. For how long, I do not know!

Finance 
TOTAL INCOME from decrease 12% in 2016 yoy. This is due to lesser bonus in salary as well as lesser income stream from writing free-lance O&G articles, and no baby bonus which was received in 2015. 

TOTAL EXPENSES grew however by 7% because of sale of car and fully paid car purchase, house renovations and income tax paid which was waived in 2015 because of newborn tax rebate. However because car is fully paid almost until 3Q2017 and there will be rebate of OMV, the savings will be realized in 2017. This means that 2016 expenses could have been lower. 

NET CASH FLOW decreases significantly by 33% due to lower income and higher expenses. 

MY STOCK PORTFOLIO fell, because of my
exposure primarily in Swissco which had enter into JM. Incurred realized losses after dividends of 2-3% of entire portfolio. Including unrealized losses, TOTAL losses of portfolio accounted for 6% of entire portfolio! 

I had been reducing my exposure in stocks gradually throughout 2015 & 2016 and now my stock portfolio is only a mere 7-8% of my entire portfolio. Out of it, a large portion is invested as stocks in my SRS account. 

In view of the unstable environment, I feel more comfortable to hold 50-55% cash, 8-10% bonds, 33% precious metals in my overall portfolio. 

Dividend income dropped >50% due to the hoarding of cash and precious metals. 

NET ASSET VALUE rises 11% due to income consistently exceed expenses and also because debts are pared down as I continue to pay down my mortgage loan without taking any other loan. 


Peek into 2017

My objective in 2017 as follows.

Good health, both spiritually and physically. Definitely strive to have continuously improved relationships with people around me with more love, peace and joy.

Lead a frugal lifestyle striving to have no lacking in life and no debt (except for housing).

Look forward to our newborn!

Be a better person who can be blessings to others.

Continue to build up the wisdom and knowledge in life. And to be at the right place at the right time and to do the right things at the right time also. To learn about the past so as to see into the future and always be orderly and plan ahead. 

That said, I will not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


I wish everyone the Best of Health, Relationships & Wealth in 2017


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Differences between Happiness and Joy - Do you know?

Consider below statement:

“As long as I am happy, I do no evil or nothing against law, I am clear conscience to my soul, I will live without regrets each day!” 

In contemporary society, many will think that the above statement is so true. Is it really true?

Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy. We make chasing this elusive ideal of happiness a lifelong pursuit.

We work hard to earn, and after we earn, we either spent it on ourselves or on others. We collect things and constantly search for new experiences to satisfy our desires.

But happiness depends on circumstances. A child can be happy when he or she has a new toy. But what happens when toys rust or the toy become old and not longer satisfies the child? The child is always looking for something new to satisfy him or herself.

You can be happy during the moment when you are partying, eating and drinking excessive alcohol. However the next day, you may have a hangover, or stomach problems. And it may appear that you have found your Mr./Mrs. Right by outward appearance, only for time to let you discover how the inward self is the key for a long-term joyful relationship. 

Then there are things beyond your control that makes you really unhappy. You can be the most honest and person of integrity and dignity, but when things beyond your control take place, you will still feel extremely unhappy. For instance, health deteriorates, love ones die, money lost, and party is over?

Often happiness flees and despair sets in.

Therefore happiness is somewhat temporary and based on circumstances. It is like something that requires self-effort, self-will and constant self-seeking desires each time and again to attain.

On our lips we always claim we “will be happy” or “as long as we are happy” can liao, yet how many realize that “Happiness” is something not permanent.

Joy

In contrast to happiness stands joy. Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of love and work in our lives by a supernatural force. Joy is the abundance of love, care and comfort and it does not depend on what happens in this world.

It is something inward. It is permanent and eternal expresses through our heart. A heart that is right! It is liken to be a gift to us. In contrast the so-called “happiness” we are chasing for, requires the constantly search new things or experiences to fulfill our desires, intellectual or emotions.

How to have Joy?

So how to have joy? I humbly lay down the below points to ponder.

Love
The need for love overflowing more and more and that we keep growing in knowledge and understanding of the truth! The truth that is circumcised in our heart and display in works and in spirit to people around us. And not just by putting on the lips or just going to a place with brick and mortar.

Righteousness
Have a righteous character that lives pure and blameless not just for the sake of yourself or your family, but also to neighbors and strangers. And not just saying that I abide by the law, do no harm to others that I am great. Or if did we only realise that good education grades is so important that we forget about character building in a person?

Not for myself alone
Many think to break the law is a big sin. But how many of us realize that a bigger unwritten sin - the love of self and pride within us, which leads to all sorts of problem in today’s world. Do not be selfish, do not try to impress, be humble, thinking of others as better than you. Do not look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too. Do not have selfish ambition, insincerity and have false motives.

Unity
Agree wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Be united in body, soul and spirit.

Wisdom, knowledge and anticipation
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean and innocent, yet wise and knowledgeable, shining like bright lights in world full of crooked and ambitiously wicked people. With the gifts of wisdom and knowledge and ability to discern the good from the evil, you will be able to see into the future and be prudent. 

Do not conform to this world
Do not copy the behavior of this world and see things only the norm or public can see to reap temporary reward by being selfish or wicked. Instead be kind and see the light into the future for you will receive thirty, sixty or hundreds folds in due time to come. Be patient.

Be bold and have no fear
Do not be intimidated in any way by your enemies. Do not fret because of the evildoers, nor be envious of the reward of the wicked. Gain confidence and bodily speaks the truth without fear.   

Be labourers awaiting patiently to reap the harvest
Sowed goodness, be patience, and you will reap and receiving multi-folds of wages, and gather fruits for eternal life. Laziness is a sin. Do not just hear the good news. Learn and understand and do and declare good works in glory and let it multiply so that others can also enjoy the fruits.

Be contended
Give thanks with a grateful heart and learn to be contented with whatever you have.

Beware of false teachers
Beware of those who teach others but do not teach themselves. They teach you not to steal, but they steal from you secretly. They easily deceived you because you open door for them, due to your own greediness and desires of worldly pleasures. These are the false teachers who also perform miracles for you to be rich and successful and yet blinded with the worldly pleasures. So much so that it is just the beginning of the sorrows that is going to steal, kill, divide and destroy you and your family eventually.

Do not pin hopes on human leaders
Do not hold too high a confidence in human shepherds to take charge of your life or even to take charge of your nation. They are unable to do it, no matter how much promises they lay down to you on their lips. The problems of this world is too huge for a president, for a government to tackle. Therefore filled our hearts with the love peace and joy, so that we shower it to others and help people in need. 

Be spiritual wealthy
Be spiritually wealthy with outpouring compassion to others seeking righteousness in life, rather than materialistically wealth with self-seeking indulgence. Live in spirit and walk in spirit.

Faith and hope
Put on the breastplate of faith and helmet of hope in life. We will be given strength to perform miracles beyond our wildest imagination.

Do not worry
Do not worry too much about your life. Do not worry also about what you eat or what you will drink, nor about the luxurious house you stay, nor how you will look or wear outwardly, nor what job you have, nor what stocks you own, nor the eagerness of achieving financial freedom. The seeking of one freedom (financial) leads to the enslavement of another without you yourself knowing.  

For tomorrow will worry about its own things as we live today with righteousness, love and peace. All things will then taken care by itself supernaturally with overflowing joy tomorrow and for eternal.



Thursday, 10 November 2016

Latest Updates - Portfolio, Market and Life (The Good and Bad News)

It's been more than three weeks since my last post. This is probably one of the longest breaks between posts for me since I started blogging in Mar 2014. Perhaps, it will be the case going forward at least for a while. To start, let us recapitulate the last update on my portfolio, market and life, here

Portfolio Brief 

Very similar to last update except I further disposed more stocks to accumulate cash during this period. Super Group acquisition news and GLP rumored sale caused their stock prices to surge and I took opportunity to offload. 

Bad news
I also accepted substantial % losses in Overseas Edu as I see no sign of short-term recovery in the International School market. The worst news of all is my stake in Swissco (trading halt now). Mentally, I am prepared for total loss.

Good news
I am feeling very comfortable now with less than 10% (current value) of my total portfolio holding in stocks. Very little action and likely to remain the same in the short term. 

Work 

Bad news
It needs no explanation of the market as almost all companies within the sectors are struggling. There are no sight of the bottom yet even after two years of plummeted oil price. 

I speak with confidence that more than half of the people I know working the industry have already left. It is almost entering a state of depression now, as many people I know in the industry are feeling so stressful and fearful to lose their jobs. It does not matter how hard you work, because there are simply only a handful of projects.

Good news
I too am being demoralized. Nonetheless, I try not to succumb to fear and worries of losing the rice bowl. Those who follow my blog for a while know that the pessimistic and prudent views I taken since last year definitely help me to prepare myself financially and mentally. In these times of uncertainty, a well constructed plan B need to be in place so that a new career endeavor can be activated if plan A fails. That said, I shall not leave to my own will, but for things to happen by itself, if it does happen. 

Market

Good news 
Things still does not look so bad on the surface with no sign of crashing. Wait a minute.... this article is actually drafted before Trump’s victory!

The STI did shave off a tad % after Trump’s triumph, but it quickly rise again. Signs of optimism? Anyway, I am not extremely perturbed by Trump’s victory. I am neither supporters of him nor Clinton.

Bad news 
Trump’s victory signals the end of TPP. This worries Singapore leaders. A seminar I attended in January this year had Mr. Kishore Mahbubani mentioned the importance of TPP to Singapore. Refer here.

For the market, I take a quite different views compared to many others. I reckon if there are no signs of stock market sharp crashing, instead of something to cheer about by many, it is actually even worse.

In my opinion, the Global Economy is entering into a perilous state that many leaders in this generation will have neither experience nor capability to tackle it effectively. Trump, Clinton or Obama…. Nah! Even Ronald Reagan or Clinton of the past can do very little! Whoever leads, pale in comparison to the big global picture now.

For Singapore, during AFC or GFC we saw a sharp crash to the bottom and the quick recovery. I anticipate it to be different this time! An unusual situation seems imminent, where the entire world economy will be seeing a slow and gradual decline over a prolonged period of time. It appears to me that it will difficult to predict the bottom unlike the last few major economic crises! 

Therefore leaders of all countries are going to find it so tough to cope, and some weaker leaders are likely to make decisions that only appear effective in the short term but catastrophic in the long term. 

I hope not, but we shall see. 

Life 

Bad news
Anyway I had been spending lots of time meeting many friends recently. To my sadness and surprise, there were as many as three divorce cases I heard. 

To add to the woes, two friends are seriously ill without immediate cure, and many are in work and financial related distress and anguish. 

It is almost liken an evil spiritual storm coming like a whirlwind destroying health and family relationships, where just few years ago, people are still cheering for exponential growth of material wealth.  All good things have to come to an end?  

Good news 
Relationships with family and friends are very strong as we (my family) were revealed to the true meaning in life. 

I also had been very happy doing Parent Volunteer work in my child's future potential school, getting to know many nice parents in the process of doing so. 

The spiritual wealth my family experienced lately also overshadowed that of the material wealth. There are indefinitely more love, peace and joy and true freedom in my life, rather than just financial freedom.

The pursuit of financial freedom can often lead us finding one freedom, and yet falling into the enslavement of another without knowing it.

Last and most important of all, a new addition to the family is coming soon. :-)