Tuesday 29 December 2020

Closing Out 2020

Concluding 2020, I am a little reluctant yet grateful for whatever this year had thrown at us.

Why reluctant? Firstly, this blog wouldn't have started if not for the time afforded during the downtime when the virus appeared. Secondly, I got to spend more time with family as work from home became a normal feature which I like and had always wished for. Previously, one could only envy the Nordic work culture and as much as I tried to persuade my boss to transform in phases, it just couldn't happen until Covid handed a reality check. Thirdly, my physical condition is improving as I got back to active sports from almost a decade ago. Fourthly, money management became more focused as I read and plotted ways to build cashflow and assets. Fifthly, I cooked more times this year than I ever had (I rarely did before since I'm just not good). Now I can at least claim to be able to create something edible without referring to a cookbook. Sixthly, at the end of each year, I try to find out zodiac predictions for the next year just for fun and this Covid year mostly turned out to be true (well, except the travelling part)! Not bad for a non-believer. 

Therefore, it's been a rather positive year. I'm fortunate to have a job that didn't cut my salary, gave me the opportunity to tune out and basically took things easy. My view is the Coronavirus in whatever strain/mutation is here to stay and we just got to learn to deal with it as with other diseases. What would make 2021 another good year would be everything remains the same minus the viral fatalities. But I'm a pragmatist, if only 2020 can be further extended.

Tip: Franciacorta La Montina Brut

Friday 11 December 2020

Finance Investment Movement 4

Over the last two months, I have been gaining information on the terms and usage of various cryptocurrencies. By now, Bitcoin and Ethereum are probably household names in their unique digital universe. The value volatility of these products can be scary and moved around 15% during these times, whichever direction.

While I remain vested in both cryptos above, I thought there should be further diversification in my portfolio where I can own something different. The fundamental protocol of blockchain technology is designed to be open source and allow other use conditions to be programmed for specific needs. The type of usage is basically unlimited, only limited by what a client wants. That's when transactions can take place and digital coins are issued as payment for proof of work done. One of the industry expected to be greatly disrupted is the banks. The cumbersome nature of wiring process and exorbitant fees have been a bane for the longest time. As an example, just check out how long it takes and how much one has to pay to transfer SGD into USD and from Singapore to Indonesia. But that's where the banks had been able to earn fees for their services. So it came to my attention there is a company offering to replace this service at a faster and cheaper rate. That is a huge blow to the banks' business model!

Soon, it was reported that DBS would be the first bank in Singapore to step officially into the trading of cryptocurrencies. See below.

Therefore, my conclusion is put $200 into the digital coin XRP considering its growing acceptance and position as No 3 by market cap. It's a high risk investment given the uncertain future of where this could go. I expect to fully write this off or gain handsomely by holding for a few years.

Tip: Silverado Merlot 2016, pretty juicy and heavier than usual

Thursday 3 December 2020

DBS Multiplier Crediting Rate Cut

DBS has also joined in the savings interest rate cut, following similar ones undertaken by SCB and Singlife. Well, I have been impacted as the below shows.

Now, I have enjoyed the 1.5-1.9% crediting rate but these would be cut by around half in Jan 2021. I think it's futile to look for another cash guaranteed instrument with close to 2% yield. Therefore, the options would be to leave it alone or divert some funds into higher risk activities. I do need these funds to be as liquid as possible since they are also my emergency backup.

It's also the right time to relook this as I fine tune my financial plan for 2021. Heading to my planning room...

Tip: Teh O Siu Dai

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Month of November 2020

I'm very happy to say that I managed to achieve my goal of contribution via CPF this year. It leaves me one more month to siphon away some more bits into other savings measures or something useful.

On the health front, I did a proper bike ride of 47km along Changi Coastal Walk, on the pretext of testing out foldie bicycles provided by a friend. This month, I also took part in the Bloomberg 1 mile challenge with my team and clocked 8:06min which was slower than expected. I was also introduced to a new game, Pickleball, that works like tennis but in badminton court size with smaller bats. Very fun and moderately intense sport, I would highly recommend for anyone to try. Despite these efforts, my weight remained the same, an anticlimax to my hopes. Nevertheless, I am looking for a fitness watch to track my vital signs and it probably would act as my conscious self reminder.

There was a new sashimi fish that I got acquainted with. Its name is Hakkaku. Shaped like a flying fish with long fins, a scaly body and seahorse looking face, it looks hideous but I was surprised by the firm texture and oily taste. I suspect this helped to enhance the sake flavors by enhancing the sweetness and enjoyability. It's a winter fish found in Nagasaki area.

Tip: Sakuragao Junmai Daiginjo Nanbu No Shizuku