Thursday 30 June 2022

Month of June 2022

For the past ten years until Covid struck, I used to frequent a coffee shop near my office that among others, housed a Teochew porridge stall run by a pair of early fifties couple. They were down to earth, got ready very early everyday for the morning workers and closed after lunch. My favorite breakfast was french beans, eggplant and braised tofu with a small bowl of porridge that cost $2.80. Such affordable and comfort food. During the WFH phase, I probably went to office about once a week and dropped by the stall twice in 2021. The price had risen to $3.30 for the same combination. The couple retained the same vigor and eagerness despite the slow business. Somehow, I did not manage to visit thereafter and early this month, made the long awaited trip. Getting off the car and looking in with excitement, what greeted me at 630am was a brightly lit frontage with many trays of food ready to be served. Not bad, it appeared things were looking up. When I got to the stall, the couple were not around, instead it was manned by three guys in uniform with various tattoos on their arms, looking dreary at proceedings. The signboard had also changed and the feel not as cosy as before. Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the couple (since they were addressed as Uncle and Aunty) and not taken a photo of the stall before. I walked towards another usual haunt for Ban Mian and the stall keeper was no longer the young Chinese man with a thick Southern accent. They are probably economic victims of the pandemic and needed an income replacement elsewhere. Sadly, these strangers whom I had not acquainted with left without notice after ten years of breakfast service and all I can only say is to wish them the best of whatever life brings them next.

Ever since I contracted Covid, one of the action item I wanted to tick off quickly was the annual IPPT. This year, I had to do it twice. In the first session, after completing the static stations, it was decided to cancel since the weather wasn't cooperative. When the announcement was made, you could immediately see a group of twenty inch closer to the trainer as if the instruction was not clear enough. They wanted to appeal the cancellation as it was their last chance before the test window closes. Of course, many disappointed faces emerged after. The booking system reopened a day later and I quickly secured the next available slot which was an evening one a few days later. My memory of the second session was running my lungs out in the 2.4km and scrapped through for a silver award by seven seconds! Very close shave there.

To round up, the last week of the month was spent serving this year's reservist requirement. Not much going on in the unit except preparation for the very important celebration of SAF Day on 1 July. Well, I just played a small part by manning the office area while the regulars get on with their work.

Tip: Gran Maestro Primitivo 2019, gooseberry, plum and menthol. Decent sample

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Finance Investment Movement 22

A long delayed task was finally completed. That's the Will endorsement of the wife and I which had been pushed back due to Covid and scheduling mismatch over the last few months. The trip to meet the lawyer lasted about 30 minutes as he confirmed the draft details, made a few minor amendments and then affixed our signatures to seal the first Will of our lives. It was also mentioned there would likely be a version two when situation changes later on in life.

One fine day, I received a text message from Syfe to open up a trade account and get a one day special promotion of S$15 credit for any deposit amount. So I tested its validity by completing the onboarding process and put in a dollar. Indeed, I saw the amount credited the next day. Next, I attempted to get the welcome bonus of S$60 by making a buy trade. The US market seems to be tanking at the right time for a foray so I went in for one share of SPY at $378.50.

After studying the JPM Income fund, I concluded not to proceed as the interest rate environment is not in its favor. You see, the main components are US long dated bonds and yields are rising, add in the management fee of 1%, the fund manager will have difficulty delivering positive returns this year. It's kept in my watchlist for now.

Tip: Didier Pabiot Pouilly Fume Eurythmie 2017, fresh vanilla with good length and finish

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Look Back To Plan Forward

Today, I thought to review my approach to financial sufficiency after going in circles since my 20s.

My journey began around national service period with stocks and insurance being the preferred ways of investment. Saving in the bank was something my mum strongly advocated and I picked up this mindset very early on. I did save quite a bit of money only to spend almost all in my higher education pursuit as I wanted to experience life in a different country. Over the years, things unraveled as life circumstances changed (get married, have children, buy car etc). Naturally, I was working, earning around $4500pm and the saving routine was re-established. It took a number of years to prepare a warchest. However, my investment at that time was very haphazard and focused only on Singapore stocks. I tried various stocks, never mind growth or value, big or small cap, with or without CPF. It was part trading, part holding for the longer term and the overall value never got above $40000 as I preferred saving more and life expenses increased. Now looking back, it's a mistake as I wasn't making much headway. My investment path was narrow and much of my money was in the bank earning fixed deposit rates. I thought I knew but the result spoke for itself.

It was only in recent years that I read more from others' experience and received advice on building a retirement portfolio. Today, CPF is a big part of my net worth, I have a house to stay, enough emergency funds to last at least 10 months, my family's insurance coverage is adequate and I'm excited to be on the next investment mile. This include stocks, options, bonds, T-bills, cryptos, foreign currencies... a much wider selection than what my younger self had. The main concern, at the end of the day, is to ensure a comfortable retirement. Where I'm short now is the area of recurring income. What I gather from other views suggest having property rental, Reit dividend, blue chip portfolio, setting up a side business or annuity plans. While I don't have the means to pursue everything at the same time, I'm inclined to focus on building up a Reit portfolio. Perhaps even diversify by spreading out the funds. Time to clean up the remnants of the past and start anew. There is still much investment work left to be done.

Tip: Chateau Musar 1998, orange peel, herbaceous light body and opened up to floral bouquet