Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

Hindsight Insights Into The STI Index

First, let’s take a look at how some of the key indices have performed in the past few years. In the past three years, the US indices like the S&P 500 and the DJIA were repeatedly achieving new highs and giving investors high teen annualised returns. And in recent months, the bulls went over to China. The SSE broke out from a 5 year doldrum in the middle of last year. In June 2014, the SSE was hovering at around 2,000. Fast forward a year later, the SSE actually breached 4,900. That’s a 150% return within a year! A ferocious...

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Expenditure Update: June 2015

Last month was a pretty special month as the Mrs and I actually spent 2 weeks together almost 24/7. She was enjoying her sabbatical and I had 2 weeks of protected school holidays. And quite interestingly, our expenses came down to a very manageable $3,500. Moral of the story? Staying at home watching DVDs and playing games is really quite low maintenance. Not surprisingly. Ooops… So with June’s expenditure in, this brings our estimated total expenditure for the first half of the year to $23,500.  That’s pretty satisfactory in my opinion and can be considered rather low (especially with the...

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Top 10 Posts… For Now!

Life’s pretty ironic. A person generally does his best work when he’s still relatively uncelebrated and most likely appreciated by a precious few. But after he becomes famous, he more or less can live on his reputation. Let’s just take a look at Jay Chou. I am a big fan of his and adored his first 3 albums when I was a still teenager. However, whenever I hear the songs from the most recent albums, it’s like I am seasick on a boat. This phenomenon applies to authors and of course, bloggers like me too. Although I am and will never be as famous as Jay...

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Comprehending The “Ambition” Monster

Ok, I hope you appreciate the title. Took me the best part of ten minutes to come up with something bordering on interesting. Actually, I rarely spend two days in a row blogging but the reaction and aftermath of yesterday’s post somehow calls for it. Hopefully, things would get even clearer and I would be in a better position to reply most of the comments there after this post. ==================== 1. No ambition, no compass? Firstly, I would like to defend my friends. They received quite a bit of stick from the readers and I am partly to blame since I wasn’t quite...

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Lacking Ambition… Maybe Not?

This is going to be quite an emotional post, which is rather out of the ordinary and perhaps not that befitting of this blog? But well, documenting this piece of reflection just felt damn necessary on this Saturday morning. I really had to get this out of both my chest and mind. And nothing beats writing it out if this was to be done in a clear and coherent way. Even though it’s the June school holidays and I have been “enjoying” the past couple of weeks off from work, I have actually been in a funk for the best part of...

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Passive Income Update: May 15

Interestingly, there appears to be some subconscious target that’s governing my actions with regards to my portfolio. Although I have never spoken about it, I am trying to keep my portfolio value at around the $200k mark. It’s not totally illogical since if the value exceeds that mark, the market is likely to be doing well and it makes sense to sell at a high (like when I sold my Challenger holdings?) and when I am far away from $200k, it could be a good time to buy, like last month. I have been eyeing Genting for quite some...

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Rising Interest Rates…Any Regrets?

About 2 years ago, I made a decision to do away with my HDB Housing Loan and switched my mortgage to POSB instead. Then, with interest rates near negligible for almost 5 years already, the HDB Housing Loan rate of 2.6% didn’t seem all that concessionary. Moreover, POSB made a great offer to all existing HDB owners then: 1.38% above the 3 month SIBOR rate and subjected to a maximum interest rate equivalent to the interest rate under the CPF Ordinary Account for the first 10 years of the mortgage Even though I had just stayed in my existing flat for less...

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Expenditure Update: May 15

The total expenses for May broke $6,000. WOW. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so flabbergasted because that might be what many middle income DINKs are spending every month? An overseas trip for the Mrs, some purchases for myself from department stores and the purchase of a new laptop contributed to the extraordinarily high expenses this month for the 15HWW household. A more accurate picture is probably the average expenses for the first 5 months of this year which is about $4,000. Extrapolating it would result in an annual expenditure of close to $50,000, which is what we expect to roughly spend...

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Yearly Investment Performance Update: 2014

It’s been a year and a half since I last posted an annual update on my portfolio performance. How fast time flies. When I first started the blog two years ago, I wasn’t really that interested in measuring my performance. Afterall, I had assumed that doing so had no tangible effect on the outcome of my investments. Which isn’t absolutely wrong. Knowing my exact returns definitely doesn’t change the outcome of the performance. I only needed to know if the passive income could cover my expenses.  Nonetheless, I had to admit that it would be immensely useful to find out IF picking stocks and...

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My First Ever Bond Purchase

Ok yes, ok. Dear Singapore government, I apologise for this impudent title. Afterall, ALL of us started buying bonds after we started working. Don’t quite catch me? Well, your CPF contributions from employment are channelled to your own Special and Medisave Account and CPF Board then uses these monies to purchase Special Singapore Government Securities. So yeah, the 4% interest that you earn from those accounts come from the yields of these bonds. So everyone should be quite familiar with bonds, uh huh? That aside, there’s no doubt that the Frasers Centrepoint Limited (3.65% Per Annum) Bond is the first time I chose to actively...

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Passive Income Update: April 15

On the personal finances front, this was a really lousy month. Here’s the quick lowdown from Point 1 to 3. 1. Portfolio dropped a massive 4% ($8K dip) If I was a true-blue market timer, I would probably be broke by now. In September 2014, I was getting jittery with the volatility in the market and promptly sold my STI ETFs which I held through the Philip Capital ShareBuilders Plan. The market then rebounded. Argh. Just last month, I was postulating what to do when the STI goes past the 4,000 mark. After all, my portfolio gained a massive...

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OCBC 360 Account: A Heavy-Hearted Update

I had always seen this coming. For what is effectively a liquid savings deposit, the OCBC 360 Account offered a ridiculously high interest of 3.05% for balances up to $50,000 during its introduction last year. Therefore, during the past year, I had been one of the biggest proponents of the OCBC 360 Account. In fact, in April 2014, I wrote a comprehensive blog post advocating how AMAZING the product was and unexpectedly, the post went a little viral. So much so that someone actually emailed me to check if it was ok for OCBC to feature my site URL on their website as a referral link (although...

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Expenditure Update: April 15

April is another frugal month as we went under $3,300 for the month! If we include March’s expenses, it’s actually two consecutive months of low expenses. Way to go! If we cut down a little more on restaurants, maybe, just maybe, we could even go below $3,000. Besides being a record, that would be making a statement too. But highly unlikely next month as the Mrs is quite adamant on having a feast for my belated birthday celebration. Moreover, there’s upcoming baby showers and wedding lunches/dinners. We are actually looking forward to these special events of our close friends! Afterall, life’s really not...

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Passive Income Update: March 15

A rising tide lifts all boats.  As the STI Index soars past the 3,500 mark, there’s finally some good feelings about the stock markets again. 3 months to half a year ago, it seemed that those who were not vested in the US markets didn’t catch the tide. But with the Shanghai and Hong Kong markets gaining >20% during the past few months, many investors here are reaping benefits directly or indirectly, including yours truly. Even with MTQ on board dragging down the performance, the stock portfolio still managed to gain ~$7,000 in value during the past month, which translates to something...

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Expenditure Update: March 15

It’s actually been quite a while since we went under $3,500 for our monthly expenses and I am quite pleased to report that we did it in March! Way to go! This happened because there wasn’t big one-off expenses even though we went a little overboard on restaurants again. Since we had accumulated quite a bit of Ringgit (we were surprised that we had almost Sing$1,000 after a quick count), we decided to spend a day there to use some of the currency up and enjoy ourselves before the GST kicks in. April’s Challenge: No soft drinks The monthly challenge is back again...

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