Author: My 15 Hour Work Week

Portfolio Update: March 2018

The volatility that I talked about last month has appeared to be a non-event on hindsight. The STI has since climbed back to above 3,500 and is just a few percentage points away from this year’s high. Perhaps just like this recent article (which tells us to pay less attention to news and yet be more informed), we should also pay less attention to the market and just continue to save and invest for a better future. Most likely, after a decade or two, you would have built up some serious wealth by then. And yes, with the injection of...

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2017 Expenses: Summary And Reflections

For some people, tabulating expenses can be a nightmare scenario. Be it the hassle of recording, the shock at finding out how much your healthcare insurance have increased or the guilt at finding out how much you had spent on lottery. But not so for the 15HWW household. We have been publishing monthly expenses updates on this blog since August 2013. That’s 54 times consecutively. They are the main reasons why I have been able to consistently write every month. They are a hassle to look back on, though. So a couple of weeks ago, I exported all of...

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Thoughts On The Elimination Of Full Riders For Health Insurance

Variations of this piece of news flooded my Facebook Feed last night. Coincidentally, I am halfway through Taleb’s latest book: Skin In The Game and there’s plenty of interesting applications I can make to this issue. 1. There is a high price to pay for certainty  Personally, both the Mrs and I are not really affected as we are not part of the 29% who are on full-riders. We are covered by NTUC’s Enhanced Income Shield with an additional rider that reduces our co-insurance to 10% and cap hospitalisation expenses to $3,000 a year. A limit of $3,000 of out-of-pocket...

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Expenses Update: February 2018

Finally, a month when I might be able to associate the word “frugal” with our expenses without feeling too sheepish. Even though there was CNY to contend with, it was balanced out by the relatively short month. We spent about $3,500 and we finally managed to reduce some expenses with regards to eating out, especially at restaurants. Let’s see if we can keep this up in March. Eating Out: $432.20 Hawker ($183.20) – This is a short month and I dare say after a couple of years of adjustment, we will be cutting down on “eating out for the sake of...

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Portfolio Update: February 2018

We saw a little bit of volatility at the start of this month. In fact, within a couple of days, our overall portfolio was down by more than $10,000 at one point in time. This episode is a good reminder to myself that market movements are not within my control. I only have autonomy over my own actions. There’s only 3 things I can do in the stock market. Buy, sell or do nothing. In a falling market, I prefer to narrow the choice to 2 to simplify decision-making. Either do nothing or buy some stocks. And yes, most...

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Expenses Update: January 2018

This is probably another frivolous spending month. We spent more than $4,800 in January and besides a bigger than usual restaurant allocation, there were quite a few one-offs like a trip to the dentist and aircon servicing. Well, the higher expenditure is nothing surprising since the Mrs’ birthday falls on January and we are also getting ready for CNY. Moreover, we also celebrated our 10th dating anniversary! Omg, I feel so old.  Since this is a new year, I have made some changes to this expenses reporting front. Besides adding some photos to make it more interesting, it will...

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Profit From Macroeconomic Trends

After several years attempting to prospect companies, I finally recognised that this is not something I intrinsically enjoy. Getting to know how a company really functions is interesting enough but I would rather use my time to read other stuff like geopolitics or even fiction rather than detect potential corporate issues lurking in those dreary annual or quarterly reports. Potential Of Macroeconomic Trends On the other hand, I am more interested in how I can profit from macroeconomic trends. Imagine if I had known 5 years ago that the US was going to recover/grow really well and had invested in...

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My Way Of Paying It Forward

My Own Experience (A Leap Of Faith) It’s been 3.5 years since I left my cushy, well-paying first job in the government service. With nothing concrete lined up then, it was a step into the unknown. A leap of faith. On hindsight, I took a huge risk. But well, I was deeply unhappy with my lifestyle and drastic action was necessary. These days, I count my blessings that things have turned out rather well as a full-time freelancer/self-employed. So I was filled with nostalgia when I came across these posts (here and here) by Jes recently. With a toddler in...

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Portfolio Update: January 2018

Similar to 2017, it’s a terrific start to the year for the markets. Month-on-month, the portfolio managed to increase by $10,000 and the value of the portfolio is now at $438,000. With work gearing up, we managed to inject $2,000 to the portfolio. This also means that the organic gains total $8,000 this month. In fact, all three sub-portfolios registered gains! Even though my stocks are still under-performing the index, I am definitely not complaining. Let’s see how long this bullish sentiment lasts. Overall Portfolio (Value: $438,000) 1. 15HWW Permanent PortfolioIt’s quite incredible that all three of STI ETF, Berk...

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Learning Through e2i’s ULeap App

The Need For Lifelong Learning It’s the Year 2012. Meet Mr Tan, a 50-year-old taxi driver who has been in this industry for the past 15 years. He learnt the tricks of the trade in his first few years. Whether it’s which roads/highways to avoid during peak hours or where to wait for flag-downs, he has got it covered. In fact, his accumulated experience means he has been coasting in his job for the past 10 years. Things were not so different as compared to the late nineties. He still derived most of his income from passengers who flag-down...

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Why I Have Never Topped Up My CPF (Yet)

Like many other financial bloggers, I logged in to the CPF website a week ago. The CPF interest for 2017 were finally credited. However, unlike other financial bloggers, I have neither done a CPF OA to SA transfer nor performed any Retirement Sum Top-Ups to my CPF accounts so far. And as a self-employed, I have also not made any Voluntary Contributions (VC) to my CPF accounts. The only contributions I have made in the past two years were the mandatory Medisave Contributions as a self-employed. So it’s not surprising that my CPF balances are very modest (even below EI...

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How I Could Benefit From The Booming Electronics Sector

The Booming Tech & Electronics Industries Although not as rapid as the rise in cryptocurrencies, stock markets have actually been on a tear in the last couple of years. Tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google & Amazon have exceeded $500 billion in their valuations in Tech Boom 2.0. And unlike tech unicorns 15 years ago, these companies are here to stay. Their impact is wide-ranging, changing the way we work, spend our leisure time and how we buy our stuff. We are ushering in the age of the Internet Of Things and we are seeing an increase in demand...

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Overcoming Potential Downsides Of Freelancing

Times flies. I have been a full-time freelancer for the past 2.5 years, deriving income from tutoring students and writing finance-related articles. I am plugged into the growing gig economy, alongside others like tour guides, delivery couriers and piano teachers. Freelancers and self-employed (FSEs) are often the envy of friends, who harp on the fact that we are in charge of our daily schedule. We could easily sleep in on a Monday morning or take a siesta in the afternoon to recharge. But like most things in life, these perks are balanced out by potential downsides. And here’s how...

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Expenses Update: December 2017

As we pre-paid for one of our trips in 2018, it’s no surprise that the past month’s expenditure surged past $5,000 again. In a month of celebration, catch-ups and gift-giving, we spent about $5,300. With December’s entry, the yearly expenditure came in at $53,000 and on average, we spent about $4,400 a month. This is an amount slightly on the higher side as I was quite confident we could keep to $50,000 at the start of the year. It’s really alright though since we were still able to clock a very decent saving rate on our income. Moreover, there...

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Thoughts On Cryptocurrency And Freeganism

There are two refreshing and intriguing topics on the investing and personal finance front: Cryptocurrency & Freeganism. They are probably on two extreme ends of the scale so I thought it would be interesting to bring them together and juxtapose with each other. Cryptocurrency: Revenge Of The Millennials I didn’t want to embarrass myself too much in this post, so I actually spent some hours reading more about cryptocurrency and its underlying technology, blockchain. Which led me down one shit hole after another filled with more questions than answers. Especially when you don’t take the information you read for...

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