Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

Money Mistake @19: AIA Achiever Plan

Like most hot-blooded young men, I was first exposed to the insurance industry’s sales tactics at the tender age of 19. While I was waiting for my bus to get to camp at Pasir Ris MRT station, a good-looking female insurance agent approached me, wanting to share with me the benefits of a good insurance plan by arranging for a one-to-one session. That proposition proved to be irresistible. I handed out my contact information, and the rest is well, history. Besides buying a conservative endowment plan (which I had liquidated at a small loss many years ago) during those NS years when I...

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Passive Income Update: March 14

The STI surged well past the 3,200 mark during this month. Therefore, even though we did not channel additional capital into this passive income portfolio, the value of the portfolio increased by a whopping $7,000! With some annual reports being released, I have also updated some of the dividend numbers of the various counters. Coupled with thoughts of quiting my job , we expect some quiet months ahead on the stock-buying front. Since having more cash on hand could prove to be useful in maintaining tranquility, I think there is a good chance we could liquidate some of our holdings if the exuberance continues (i.e. STI breaches 3,500?). At the same time, cash could become...

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Why It’s So Hard To Quit A Job

Waking up almost every weekday at 6:30am to go to work at a job which I simply do not resonate with is really taking a toil on me. I have never voiced my unhappiness to my bosses since they would never be able to solve the root of the problem anyway. Nonetheless, I have been rotated to a few departments and each time, I held hope that things could turn for the better and it’s indeed possible to embark on a career in this organisation. But seriously, each transfer has been worse than the last (just like Andre Villas Boas?) And that’s even though...

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OCBC 360 Account: An Amazing Product?!

Once upon a time, there were about 6 or 7 local banks in Singapore. But after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and MAS’s commitment in 1999 to liberalize foreign access to Singapore’s domestic banking market, the local banks started merging with each other to consolidate their balance sheets. Finally, we are now left with the 3 local stalwarts: DBS, OCBC and UOB.  With the influx of foreign banks like Standard Chartered (of the Manhattan Card, X Saver accounts, Bonus Saver accounts fame) and continuing competition from local banks like DBS (with recent products like the POSB Invest Saver and POSB...

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Expenditure Update: March 14

All right, I will admit it, expenses are creeping up. March’s expenses amounted to a pretty hefty $4,632 in the end. I might be too hard on myself for this month since there were trips to the dentist and quite a few wedding dinners. But there’s no denying that we are spending quite a bit more on food. For a self-acclaimed fan of ERE, having an expenditure of more than $1,000 for food is really stretching it. And for the past quarter, the average expenditure worked out to an almost embarrassing $4,300 a month. For the past month, there were separate episodes when...

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Curbing The Urge To Compare & Compete

Would you rather: A) Make $50,000 while knowing all your friends and acquaintances earned $25,000 or B) Make $100,000 while knowing all your friends and acquaintances earned $200,000 I don’t really know if it’s surprising or not, but presented with this question, the majority went for Option A. And this choice wasn’t made because these people applied their knowledge of purchasing power or inflation really well (I digress). Instead, this showed that most people just wanted to be ahead of their peers. This mentality can be really useful since without it, our ancestors would probably not be able to out-compete...

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Passive Income Update: February 14

The STI Index has somewhat stabilised in the past few weeks, hovering around the 3,100 mark. Although the recent purchases like OCBC and ST Engg are still in the red, there’s been some pretty good gains from shares like Boustead. With another “small” purchase made a few days ago, the portfolio has also breached the $200k mark. Purchasing >$20,000 worth of stock within the first three months of the year does seem aggressive. But I haven’t suddenly turned bullish since my asset allocation has remained somewhat stable, with 70% in equities. It’s a buying spree mitigated by some special circumstances....

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Expenditure Update: February 14

Firstly, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. Well, I know I haven’t been blogging for a couple of weeks now and this might have disappointed some of you here. But then, posting twice or three times every week for the past half a year was creating a bit of a strain and keeping the frequency up was increasingly a burden. I had to admit that I was not “that excited anymore” about posting articles in the past couple of months. The two-week break did help (no need to draft articles in my free time) and I had some uninterrupted...

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Passive Income Update: January 14

It’s awkward, isn’t it? The economic outlook for the world (or maybe just the U.S.) is supposed to have improved significantly. That’s why we have tapering, the monthly fiscal injection from the Federal Reserve for the past few years being slowly reduced. Good economic new should equate to good news for the stock market, eh? Unfortunately (or who knows, maybe fortunately?), this wasn’t read that way by most market watchers. With liquidity perceived to be drying up (heck, there’s still $65 billion sloshing around every month), there are fears that interest rates could shoot up and that funds might...

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My Generation’s Aspirations and Concerns

I was supposed to be in some form of self-imposed hiatus for this blog but some recent articles have got me thinking, and of course writing. Thoughts on my generation’s aspirations and concerns below: ================== Why Goh Eng Yeow Is Unrealistically Optimistic “There may yet be a chance that you will do as well as my generation, if you start saving early and investing wisely. For you, the younger generation, the best is yet to be.” Long-time Straits Times money correspondent, Mr Goh Eng Yeow wrote an article last Sunday. It attempted to encourage youths like us to start saving early so as to allow the...

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Expenditure Update: January 14

Mrs 15 HWW always told me that January is the period when she would feel poor and fat. Which I tend to disagree openly and agree quietly. =p There’s her birthday, her dad’s birthday, her uncle’s birthday, new year celebrations and this year, even CNY celebrations came early too in January. In short, it’s a month of spending and feasting. I don’t think I am a tightwad and I have been even pretty nonchalant about budgeting. Although I record expenses religiously, I have rarely put off an expense just because I feel we have been spending too much. (At least not openly). But...

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Why I Prefer Not To Feast During This Chinese New Year

For most traditional Chinese families, Chinese New Year is the biggest event in the year. Way way more important than Christmas and obviously, National Day. =p  There’s the reunion dinner today, followed by the many gatherings among relatives over the next few days. The two-day public holidays are welcomed by both adults and children and it’s a period when family and friends catch up and have fun. And well, the most postive and best representation of CNY for me over the years? Playing blackjack with a bak kwa in my left hand, pineapple tarts in the right with a can of coke sitting by my lap. Hopefully with plenty...

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My Investment (Out)Performance: 2010 to 2013

As I have subtly indicated in the title, I think I have done well in my investment journey so far. After crunching the numbers, the result is actually much better than what I had initially assumed. Based on my “active portfolio”, I have achieved a CAGR of close to 19% from November 2010 to Dec 2013. But hey, I also understand that “well” is pretty subjective. So before some investment gurus with >30% annual returns over several decades come bearing down on me (mocking at both the returns and the short time period of my records), let me clarify that I am just comparing with my...

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Growing “My” Tree Of Prosperity

Jonathan Kwok caused quite a bit of a stir in the personal finance world half a year back. Basically, he wrote an article illustrating how an average 30 year old could amass $100,000 before turning 30. Apparently, most “average” young adults were not convinced. But if he had written it 8 years earlier, I am pretty sure I would be one of those youths who would enthusiastically aspire to that goal. Why am I so sure? And it’s not because that Mrs 15HWW and I have more or less reach the target before 28. Instead, my personal finance journey...

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Passive Income Update: December 13

Slightly more than 3 years into my investment journey, our “projected” passive income has finally breached the $6k mark. Yeah, I know the amount of real dividends I received in 2013 is much lower (<$4k) and that it’s nothing much to shout at compared to other bloggers like B, Dividend Warrior and of course, AK71. (One advantage of updating assets/passive income a couple of weeks later than most is that you can always reference to others in your post =p) But hey, this is considered a significant milestone for us since this amount translates to a not insignificant $500 a month. $500 will probably enable us to cover the basic stuff...

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