World and Personal Turmoil
The world is in shambles lately. Greece facing EU exit; Oil crisis; Fed potential interest rates hike; China stock markets dive; MERS spreading; Malaysia 1MB and PM probe; Currency depreciations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia etc.
Due to oil crisis, my company is not spared either. Talks about cutting workforce in Europe started. In my opinion, the worst in the O&G is yet to be felt!
Personally, things aren’t so perfect lately too! I had six overseas business trips in the last two months. The days when I am back home, I hosted four different groups of overseas visitors and attended two industry-networking sessions. Not only my personal time and sleep were stolen, I fell ill on many occasions.
If you think this is it? No it isn’t!
Last month was school holiday kids are at home all day! This month, my domestic helper is back to her native country for three weeks. My wife is also extremely busy and work long hours in office. The house is in a mess and all my kids are making so much noise at times when I need peace. Moods naturally are aversely affected for everyone. Quarrels are commonplace.
What Should I do? Bottled stress up and explode eventually.
Not quite my style!
Right State of Mind First
Step one, which is most basic and fundamental. Get the state of mind right! I know that tuning my mind to the right frequency is extremely important. Although I had always been positive, but seriously there had been too much pessimism surrounding lately.
Therefore, I felt that It pays well to inject “more positives” into my brain. So I borrowed a book titled “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale.
“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.” - Norman Vincent Peale
When I have worries or feels tired after a day of hectic schedule, I will close my eyes, take a deep breath, and mentally throw all my worries into the ocean!
Stay Positive and it helps.
Continue to Invest Even When World is in Turmoil
The crazy world lately did not stop me from continuing my investment. Earlier in March, I wrote an article titled “Stock Markets Toppish – What Should I Do?” In it, I discussed about why we should continuing investing (with precautionary measures) even when Market is Toppish.
Notwithstanding all the negative news plus my busy schedules, I continue to invest.
In the month of June and July, I added twice Coca Cola Amatil ASX (9.5 & 9.25) due to the retreat of share price of close to 20% since Apr. The depreciating AUD, which I reckon over long term should rebound, fueled my buy actions further.
Silverlake a company with strong balance sheet was not spared the slides when its share price tumbled more than 30% since the high in Apr. I took the opportunity to add this counter twice (1.05 & 0.92) during this period.
Then I “nibbled” on traditionally strong counters such as Raffles Medical (3.85 Apr) and Comfort Delgro (3.05), while disposing entirely China Aviation Oil (0.79)
I also added Vicom twice (6.3 & 6.05) and Woolworths ASX (28.3) while selling Courts, OUE and Lippo Malls (partial).
Overall my portfolio is still in green. This excludes dividends that I have been receiving. Had it not for Oil and Gas stocks (<15% of my portfolio) which I am still holding Swissco, Ezion, Sembcorp & Krisenergy, my portfolio results will be fantastic. Still, I am happy with the overall results (in green) in view of the current bad market situation.
For more about my portfolio, refers to my earlier post “ My Portfolio – 1Q15 Review”.
Devise Your Investment Strategy
For the past half year, I had been patient and build up quite a sizeable cash reserve funds. This cash buildup of more than 25-30% of my portfolio comes from my monthly savings as I reduce my investment expenditure per month compare to last year.
Therefore I did not really trim my portfolio size to have a huge warchest.
The reason is simple. I still have confidence over long term on most of the stocks I handpicked earlier. Admittedly I do make many mistakes in buying the wrong stocks and those are the ones I sell to rebalance my portfolio. I also sell for strategic reasons when there exists better investment opportunity around.
Last year, I will always try to buy each counter at a higher $ (>7K) to reduce commission fees paid. On the contrary, for this year, I will acquire each counter at a lower $ (<5K). Yes, commission is proportionally higher but you have to realize that market is volatile. By buying lesser per trade, you can dollar average the share price cost better and safer over a longer depressed period.
Bear in mind that I am no “George Soros” who knows when is the right time to invest!
This is my nibble and dollar average strategy!
It eliminates the need of very precise timing, although general timing is still needed! For instance, after each bad world news, you could nibble “good company with great fundamentals” that has fallen in price. Another bad news comes months later… you nibble again. Slow and patient…NO CATCHING OF FALLING KNIVES all at once!
No Time, But Still Continue to Do What I Like
The discouraging economy did not stop me from continuing investing. Likewise the super hectic schedule is not going to stop me from pursuing my interest in investments, blogging or exercising.
Be it at home or overseas, I will always read financial papers or online articles during breakfast daily. At night, I will spend at least an hour going through stock news or investment blogs. Of course intensity is reduced, but who cares?
Reading books and writing blogs on the plane and airport terminal is my best way to optimize time and yet doing things I enjoy. That does not mean I will skip my free Kris-entertainment movie on the plane. However I try to limit to one movie per trip and mix it with reading and writing blogs.
No Time, No Health? That is an Excuse!
My sleep is affected badly with so many nightout with visitors and colleagues and yet having to work next morning. Health is badly affected. To prevent my body from further deteriorating, DISCIPLINE is needed. I remind myself to eat healthy and never miss a meal. Try to exercise in hotel during overseas trip even when extremely tired after long day of meeting. The 15 minutes workout is better than none! During days at home, I will swim or jog with my kids. Again, optimize time, exercise and yet family time!
Family Time Sacrificed? Manage Properly!
To say my family relationship is not affected is a lie, since I spend so little time at home recently. The constant reminder to my wife and myself, that this busy time is only temporary provides relief. To have a work life balance, I already applied a week’s leave this month to recharge my battery at home. Yes on leave but, no overseas family tour. Some people may say it is a waste of annual leave but I think this is necessary. Using online Apps to catch up with family members while outstation also reconnects our bonds while distance apart.
Friends & Relatives Must Not Be Ignored
Most people will have ignored their friends for this kind of crazily busy period. But not me! I attended two wedding events and two baby showers over four weekends. Wait… I do have a choice of not attending, since I had so little time for myself. Wouldn’t personal time at home over weekends more enjoyable? Then I think about it…Hey...but these are my loyal friends and relatives who also attended my weddings and baby showers!
Building Career By Building Relationships
After the company acquisition, I already anticipated busy times ahead. See my earlier post “Oil & Gas Crisis – Time to Take On More Work Even with No Pay Raise!”
Overall for me, the positives outweigh the negatives for my career.
While my salary satisfaction is stable and inch up slowly per annum, my job satisfaction levels rise tremendously lately. The satisfactions were mostly attributed to:
1) Learning new products and getting to know new colleagues and clients from all over the world
2) The gratitude I received from my fellow more junior colleagues after giving them advice about work
3) The appreciations from my overseas colleagues for bringing them around this beautiful Lion City. And for working so well together tackling new projects as a team, something they may previously lack with our local office.
So overall, I am continuing to build a good relationships both externally with clients and internally with colleagues.