hello 40

Reviewing 30s

Work wise was tiring and started to see some money rolling in exponentially when I joined mncs at 36. Hence it helped me till date build up slight 50% of retirement goal. Now at 40, it’s tough to jump company to get huge pay increment given the climate and my skill sets it’s not feasible. Plus I have no desire to move and readapt again.

Housing wise: Sold 1st resale HDB flat at 35, made a mere 80k, stayed with parents for a year while finding the next flat. Hubby was tempted to spend 1.3m to upgrade to a condo but as the cfo I did not approve and looking back we are glad that we didn’t have much housing debt. Our CPF OA till date can service 50 percent of our current Hdb loan so we don’t have that much unwanted financial stress. We chose not to wipe out OA during our second Hdb purchase just in case we get retrenched and need not fork our cash to repay mortgage. Last year sept we repriced to 1.5% for next 5 years.

Health wise: starting to see some cracks like waking up frequently in the night making toilet runs, losing hair, anxiety etc hence embarked on wellness through TCM. Though not cheap, I do think health is important, if I don’t take care now it will haunt later. I do not want to be a burden to hubby or immediate family and definitely value quality of life.

Money wise: Am focus on buying needs not wants. Willing to spend a bit more on needs for longer mileage and low maintenance purposes. Still following long /short term financial goals. Investing in growth stock regularly (ten baggers concept), I hope I get to bag at least one per year.

Marriage wise i cannot ask for more. Blissful to have a hubby who is simple, does not go after material wants or have any midlife crisis yet :P. Only vices he have – gluttony and being nocturnal (both bad for health).

The most problematic part of our lives are my parents and his mum. 3 of them are not financially prudent.

However I am glad my parents have recently awoken. Our govt has been encouraging elders to return to workforce through monetary incentives. Both of them got a job near home and have extra cash to spend on wants now. Suddenly they are living amicably and not tearing each other hair out over money.

The only qualm is mother in law and her current hubby (not my fil) who lives off her. Both refused to work, or I think they are socially unable to adapt or mentally challenged. She takes a substantial monthly payout from my hubby for ten over years and counting while his siblings do not and is probably not willing to. My hubby biggest worry is his own mum and she is now 59, we still have a long way to take care of her. The worst thing is she does not have the concept of money and spends when money is on hand. She spent 30k in just 6 months (money gained from selling flat from her ex ex husband – not my fil). Hubby has to disperse cash twice per week, otherwise she can spend the monthly allowance (1.5k) in just one week. Well I try not to meddle and stay neutral, the only boundary I set and tell him- I trust he is adult enough know to give to a certain extent, not to enable the wrong behavior as his money is mine, and mine his. We are one entity. Hubby can only stop worrying perhaps 20 years later when he is in his 60s and his mum at 80. Well, luckily we don’t have kids because our parents are our big kids.

Well that’s life and we deal with it. We will continue to try to do the right things everyday and hopefully by 50 we should be in a better place in all aspects of our lives.

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Thankful

At this 2nd wave of covid period, I landed a job of a different nature in the same industry through past network work contact.

I am glad that despite so many retrenchments and worry of job safety, the access to a stable income is present.

Though the total package is not as lucrative as my previous roles – very high pressured, numbers driven environment to close sales on a weekly basis else PIP may be inevitable, for the age bracket I am more than fairly compensated given this is a brand new role and a calculated risk for the employer to hire me.

From this opportunity I realized the values of network, and not to ever underestimate it and be dismissive of it. I guess being humble and ask for jobs did help, and it’s a reminder for me to pay it forward to the next person who needs it. Such a continuous cycle of goodwill can make a big difference to a person life.

Now with income stream coming in, I have to remind myself not to splurge unnecessary and store ammunition for battles. Am going to take my first pay cheque to top up SA which is a short term goal to reach FRS ASAP.

SA ending 2020 without 7k SA topup – 124,728.00

Top up 7k voluntary plus employment contribution till Jan 2026 estimated SA would be 216,950.21.

From 2026 without yearly 7k voluntary top up but plus continuous employment till Dec 2030 the expected SA balance is 295k, if with 7k voluntary top up expected it would be 333k estimated. Retiring at 50, I should be able to meet the “FRS” at 55 with what dollars and sense illustrated here

Cpf is always a seen as the last line of defense while portfolio is what will provide us for our plausible early retirement at 50. Portfolio is targeted at growth stocks for now, and slowly liquid it to dividend stocks as we grow older to provide the passive income then for us from 50 to 65 before CPF payout.

How to be an interesting person.

Time is fleeting and I try to be conscious NOT to spend idle time mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or social media. Too much entertainment and marketing inserts on social media can dull my already empty brain and wallet.

I will wait till the skillsfuture credit is reloaded (soon by 31 dec 2020) to take the AWS cloud practitioner exam and probably enroll in some photography / video courses to help me create better videos.

Some of the things I picked up the past 2 months are 10 min morning meditation, 10 min end of day reflection (jot down on Apple notes). I have also restart my video creation on YouTube and completed Amazon web services cloud practitioner essential (classes are FREE online at AWS site).

Last year July I used up the skillsfuture on a makeup course at cosmoprof academy and had tremendous learning and fun. Respect to the makeup industy, it is not easy and they spent long hours standing, waiting with measly pay unless one is well established within the industry.

I will continue to read extensively on non fiction books (please recommend me some) and on Feedly where RSS feed of Singapore investment bloggers help me gain different insights and perceptions.

Health is wealth.

Past couple years, my elderly parents both had an major issue with health and have since recovered.

I am glad I’ve both parents insured on AIA healthshield so any payment is minimal. Brother has taken over Dad’s plan since last year to share the burden. One wouldn’t want to worry about bills when you had to mend your health.

Few days back (on Monday) Dad had a fall (hit his head and face) from an escalator and discharged today after stitches with observation. He cannot recall how he fell, but we requested CCTV footage (after masking is done then it can be revealed) from the mall to investigate.

Thankfully uncle came to drive us back while I handle dad’s discharge which is pretty seamless experience at the new hospital and with efiling everything was a breeze.

I just pray that the tiny bloodclot found in the brain (caused by the fall) will disperse (not advisable to operate on) with time. At this age, falling down is very fatal for elderly.

It is a reminder to safety proof the home (wet floors, slippery area), invest in a pair of good walking shoes, do more core exercise, rest well, avoid engaging in dangerous activity and practice good posture.

Buying in some, soon?

Upcoming stock split happening for Apple and Tesla.

I myself is a subscriber of iTunes music (Family), use Apple Pay, iCloud, use their hardware products extensively (iphone, MacBook Air, iPad, MacBook Pro, airpod, airport, Apple TV) and buy apps on iTunes.

5G will drive many upstream and downstream business. For consumers, intensive apps that need high throughput eg gaming with Virtual Reality element, AI, machine learning, IoT will rise. I believe many such apps will be developed and available on App Store for Apple to draw a portion of sales (30%) for in app purchases which are considered low hanging fruit with high yield.

Services is a growing piece of business for Apple year on year. They have added on streaming movie and TV service, a new video game subscription, and the Apple Card. These are diverse revenue stream.

For Tesla, I am not pleased with the crazy price currently though I agree EV including self driving is the future. It is a matter of either investing in the former or Nio (hmm) or BYD.

For supposedly upcoming IPOs, I’ll be keen to invest in Ant financial and Dji.

Other stocks to consider would be Nvidia and Qualcomm.

I see a lot of enterprise customers starting to use Nvidia GPU for their AI, machine learning and deep learning workload as part of digital transformation.

As for Qualcomm, it has wide and deep moat advantage in the mobile processor platform and possess strong IP. With 5G coming, many OEMs vendors already have signed up with orders to assemble the snapdragon chipset into their products.

All durian sellers sama sama?

I was having a chat with a potential employer where a statement was made – “all banks are the same with different colors of logos”, so having industry understanding or their business landscape are undermined. He instead went on to emphasize knowing the seller solution and mapping it to customer’s challenges is crucial which I wouldn’t disagree but every bank in the industry has a few unique differentiator that elevate their perceived value to the targeted audience and these differentiators are likely where the highest revenue sits. It’s not cookie cutter selling. We live in a world of customizing and this makes the customer experience unique and personable.

For example, UOB has strong presence in Thailand vs OCBC which makes business that have market in SG plus Thailand incline to bank with UOB for a one stop solution. Moreover the borrower has a bigger combined quantum loan to garner a better lending rate from UOB likely.

Likewise OCBC with Wing Hang acquisition has 1/2 of its net income from greater China gives SG customer who wants access to China market a opportunity to extend their business there.

DBS has a strong API business culture and ecosystem with fintech or relevant financial providers for business. One can leverage on that for their online business catering to multi region audience in where the ecosystem partners serve. They also are leading digital bank in India.

This is prevalent in all industries.

Durian sellers are not the same pedigree too giving the varying demands of discerning consumers. Some offer certain interesting breeds time to time, some offer bao chiak at a premium like Sindy, some market organic durian, some offer consistent quality in the popular breed like MSW, some are farm to table seller thus reducing middleman and returning cost savings to customers with quality controlled produce.

The list goes on.

Sinktel?

Many local blue chips are not doing particularly well in this pandemic. Even those with a perceived investment moat like SingTel is not exempted. I think the high barrier of entry in consumer telco is cracking, with emerging innovative telcos like Circles.Life etc.

The few hopes I can cling to that it will go climb to the usual 3ish price (at least) and dividend yield in time to come are :-

– new revenue stream from the possible award of digital banking license where they bid & partnered together with Grab.

– 5G roll out (but not so much upside as compared to new revenue stream)

– overseas telcos where SingTel have a significant stakeholder share in are growing their revenue / profit

– possible blockbuster lifestyle services offered other than the unappealing CAST, Hungrygowhere and more boring stuff.

Time will tell if they can make it…

Inequality (self reminder)

The world isn’t a fancy place to begin with unless one wish to paint a pretty picture. It is what it is.

At this age of time, inequality is even more pronounced where the rich become richer and poor become poorer.

The accessibility to aid between the privileged and non privileged is eminent. For example, the young of privileged has leverage such as – private tuition/lessons or inheritance or network vs the poorer children to get a head start in life.

If one remove the human emotion aspect, the logic would be it is lesser evil to not reproduce if the environment is non conducive for the perceived success in life.

However irl the deed is done and cannot be undone, but any vicious cycle if any can be be broken over time and societal aids to be given to the underprivileged to even the playing field is important.

While we thrive as an individual, we must give back to society because everyone would need some kind of help in their life, be it monetary or through actions so that we can collectively progress as a nation, with as little left behind as possible.

Reorg or retrenched…

Mister is just given news that their global team roles are going to be outsourced to a 3rd party. There will be upcoming programme to transit their headcount to the 3rd party. It was vague and whether all or some were be offered a position with the 3rd party is still unknown. The transition should be finished by October this year and hundreds are affected.

This is a big shock still as this is the first time this has happened to mister despite knowing this is inevitable as the global trend is moving to cloud or outsourcing IT to cut cost. This business decision may be particularly accelerated by COVID-19 situation too.

He probably needs time to let it sink in as he has been with the company for 11 years long, I have to support him with positivity through his personal tough time together as a family.

If this happen to me, I would have teared. And I guess as a man, it is even more difficult to bear, and much emotions intertwined.

Life is not a linear path but full of ups and downs. This is the time for me to weather bad times with him as a couple. Yes for good or for bad, we will go through this storm or future storms and emerge stronger.