Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

Portfolio Update: September 2017

Even with the North Korean tensions escalating, the market remained somewhat flat during the past month. So I was pretty delighted to eke out some decent gains for the portfolio, especially with the crediting of close to $2k worth of dividends during the past few weeks. The portfolio rose pretty significantly by $6k to reach $421,000 and a big contributor was the good performance of the DWI sub-portfolio as a couple of stocks there made good gains in the past month. The annualised return of all the sub-portfolios are above 6% again.  There was no transactions this month but I...

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Being “Miserly” To The Mrs?

I read SMOL’s post on the difference between frugal and miserly with quite a bit of interest. Not to mention the conversation it generated with the numerous comments. He basically summed up the difference as: A frugal person loves to spend less on himself; but when it comes to people that matter, he does not mind spending money on them. A miser will not spend money on himself and others. Although I largely agree with the above distinction, I personally don’t think it’s very useful, at least in my own situation. According to the Mrs, I tend to be “kinder and...

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Expenses Update: August 2017

We managed to set a new low for our expenses in August, spending less than $3,150 and after including this month’s expenditure, our average monthly expenditure this year has been cut to around $4,259. Since we have switched to UOB One from OCBC 360, there is much less incentive for us to dine at restaurants during weekends and I reckon this will help to keep our food expenses down,  a huge factor in the overall decrease in expenses. Let’s see if this trend continues for the next few months. Eating Out: $508.05 Hawker ($180) – Pretty reasonable as we alternate between home...

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A Thoughtful Teachers’ Day Gift

Honestly, I did not expect any gifts from my students on this day. Well, to me, the irony is that any teacher that “expects” to receive something in return for their hard work probably isn’t deserving of any. Not to mention tutors, where we are sometimes treated more like an “employee” rather than a teacher. I often tell my students that the best gift they can give is improving their learning attitude. When the attitude is right, more often than not, the results will come thereafter. And results is an internal KPI that I use to assess my performance....

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Reflections On Optimisation And Benchmarking

On Optimisation “Huh? I have to eat Cai Peng everytime because it’s the most value-for money? What’s the point of retiring early then?” “What?! Manage 10 bank accounts? You should spend your time on activities that can potentially generate more income for you.” If optimising something becomes too tiring or too ridiculous, it’s probably time to take a step back. Optimising can be an addiction too. But how to define “too tiring or too ridiculous”? Well, it really depends on the capacity and situation of that individual. What I find reasonable might just be too tiring for you. On...

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Why I Would Refinance From HDB Concessionary Loan To POSB Home Loan

TL;DR: If I were still on the HDB Concessionary Loan for the mortgage of my flat, I would switch over to the POSB Home Loan in a heartbeat. Why? $23,000 of savings and perks over a decade. Read on to find out how. WHY I AM LOOKING AT HOME LOANS AGAIN 1) Prefer Lower Mortgage Rates As mentioned in this earlier post, by refinancing from the HDB Concessionary Loan (HDB CL) to a bank loan 4 years ago, I was able to take a small advantage of the low SIBOR rates with some form of certainty, knowing that my...

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Portfolio Update: August 2017

The market had a mini sneeze during the past couple of weeks and the 15HWW portfolio was not spared. The portfolio rose slightly by $1k to reach $415,000 but if we took into consideration an injection of around $2k+, this is another relatively poor performance organically. On the transactions front, this was a busy month as there were quite a few trades executed.  1. 15HWW Permanent PortfolioEarlier in the month, the USD actually dipped to USD 1 to SGD 1.36 but recovered back to 1.37 right now. Interestingly, with the strong performance of the STI ETF (due to banks...

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Expenses Update: July 2017

We spent less than $3,400 in July and after including this month’s expenditure, our average monthly expenditure this year has been cut to around $4,420. Although we definitely can’t stick with $42,000, there is still a high probability that we could make do with $50,000 when the year wraps up. I guess a worthwhile goal would be to make sure that the remaining $11,000 can last us till at least October and maybe even the first couple of weeks in November, considering that our fixed expenses has miraculously dropped for the second year running. Eating Out: $702.40 Hawker ($117.20) – With the Mrs...

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Fixed Expenses Update: 2017

As most followers of this blog knows, we record our monthly expenses almost religiously. I have little doubt that this is the best way for us to find out how much we are spending every month. Otherwise, without doing this, when would we realise we have squirrelled away enough for our semi-retirement or even quarter-retirement? 🙂 To keep the monthly updates uncluttered, I have actually divided our expenses into two portions: 1. The fixed, recurring expenses and 2. The variable expenses And for the past year’s monthly updates, I have been using the amortised fixed expenses calculated on 8th July 2016 as a simple way to calculate our total expenses for...

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Debunking 7 Myths Of Bank Home Loans

Background In early 2013, when I first received the keys to my BTO flat, I had a mortgage of about $255,000. Like most first-time BTO owners, by default, I was on the HDB Concessionary Loan (HDB CL). Even in 2013, there was nothing “concessionary” about the mortgage rate of 2.6%. SIBOR rates were hovering at 0.5%-0.7% then and most banks were offering home loans at rates wayyyyy below 2%. With a loan period of 30 years and at the “concessionary” mortgage rate of 2.6%, I found myself paying about $1,020 a month. (Using this calculator here.) A few months later, I decided to...

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Portfolio Update: July 2017

There’s a little bit of euphoria in the market in the past few days as the STI Index breached the 3,300 mark temporarily yesterday. However, organically, the 15HWW portfolio actually shrank a little, due to the strong Sing Dollar which appreciated against the USD and HKD. Not to mention the anaemic performance of gold. Despite the local market doing well, the overall portfolio only rose by two thousand bucks to $414,000. Another no-transaction month and I am looking to make a couple of sales if the market pushes up a bit more.  1. 15HWW Permanent PortfolioThe SGD appreciated against...

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Ditching OCBC 360… And Moving Onto UOB One?

Dear OCBC 360,  It pains me to write this break-up letter. I have actually developed real feelings for you during the past 3 years. Over this period, even though you have decided to gradually give fewer in this relationship (from 3.05% on April 2014 ⇒ 2.25% on May 2015 ⇒ 1.85% on April 2017), I have continued to stick with you. Even when so many others (here, here and here) have told me to move on, I have waited till this point. You were definitely not a fling to me. But it appears now that our relationship is truly broken....

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Expenses Update: June 2017

We spent about $4,300 in June and yes, even after May’s large travel expenditure, this month includes air tickets too.  After including this month’s expenditure, our average expenditure this year has settled at around $4,593 for each month. If we were to stick to a budget of $42,000 for this year, it would leave slightly about $2,000 for each of the remaining six months. Which, if we were to keep, would in all likelihood leave us very miserable. So the odds are that we will spend the remaining $14,000 or so within the next three months and that we are going...

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Most Achievements Are Simple, But Not Easy

I read this post written by Lionel from Cheerful Egg about a week ago and it struck a massive chord with me. It actually surprised me that Lionel preps so much for his pitches and presentations because the impression he gave was that “he’s just naturally really good at it”. To think that I thought I was the only one who had to prepare a script word-by-word, rehearse it to a T a few times, before being able to step out with any semblance of confidence. So I guess for the benefit of everyone, I shall come clean with everything. No...

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Investors Exchange 2017 (29 July)

I often get emails from readers asking me “How/What/Where Should I Invest?” Honestly, it’s tough to give anything more than a generic answer. Even when the reader provides me a bit more in terms of details or context, I am only just able to value-add a little (at most). After all, I am just one individual and I am definitely no expert in investing. Moreover, I also believe that no individual has a monopoly on all the good investing ideas. Therefore, if you are looking for more information and more help with regards to investing, I cannot think of...

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