Mar 28, 2016

Cory Diary : Middle Age Crisis - do I have a plan ?

Remembered countless once running in the military with SBO, Helmet and Rifle. The run is like short 10 minutes but I swear is like forever. This is felt by most with varying fitness level. Reason being the pain to endure the gruelling training is agonizing. Time clicks at it slowest. After which when returned to bunk, an hour of rest time quickly past. Well I did feel good about my achievement after.

Time flies very fast when we are enjoying life. Most will likely earn good salary between age 35-45. And this is the time where we feel the power and the wealth generation capability of ourselves. The joy of family, car, kids, condo and vacations. But one thing fall to many folks especially those working in MNC. You can be made redundant at your prime for the very thing you have as the corporate renew itself with the business cycle with new blood and cost structure.

Life do not maintain an even course of distribution. It is up to us to even them out. Uneventful things happens to many. Just like sickness and death, it will comes. Unlike something beyond our control, fall of income or no income is a logical expectation that it can happen to many and not a rare occurrence. Therefore one must always be prepared for it. There is no excuse of not doing the required for the rainy days when we are in the height of earning power.

I always think how can I manage my life if I am to be retrenched. Do I have the needed skills to find equivalent salary scale job. Will I have to start from basic from economic standpoint since i may not be much better than a fresh graduate hire. Should I try to be housing agent or taxi driver ? Attempt some business ? Or am I capable to call it quit and retire for good. This needs to be planned out especially so for those with kids and non-working partner.

If one has done some homework, even a 50% saving of a 10K job may not be enough after 15 years of  good salary to maintain certain lifestyle. Once we know the limits and expectations, we understand the problem better and manage our budget wiser at our prime. So when the day comes we are prepared. Once we reach our goal, every day is a bonus.

For myself, I prefer to call it quit for good at the minimum end. Wife no work. Children at University. Life till 90.  Outstanding loans. Insurances. Allowances ... And then work back with my family on what we should do. Using a semi-passive portfolio to sustain my family expenses, and work back all my asset class to determine how much is needed. Then I determine how much I need to save to support my plan. I also need to figure out what I can cut and reduce to be practical. And what I can put back as I work longer. I also need to make sure I have sufficient experience and knowledge to tie me through the up and down of the markets. This comes in handy as I can be very speculative and learned some lessons. Notice all the the "I"s. Is about owning the problem. Not the government, parent, company or god.


Mar 17, 2016

Cory Diary : Is all about Inflation, Stupid !

According to mom ( ) the gross monthly income from work is as follow.

Gross Monthly Income From Work
 Median Gross Monthly Income From Work (Including Employer CPF Contributions) of Full-Time Employed Residents
  Levels ($)2,4492,5432,8972,9273,0003,2493,4803,7053,7703,949
 The average annual increment compounding % probably roughly about 5.4%.

Going to another website on Singapore CPI, the chart as below. Roughly 2.7%. Thanks to the tapering off in 2015-2016 due mainly I believe to the property curb and low oil price. It would have hit 4%.

What this means for saver is we are able to save half of our annual increment. Perfect !
But wait .... let's look closer on CPI basket.

Notice something ? Housing and utilities constitutes only 26.3%. Didn't some guru say ~ 35% of our income for housing ? Or Property curb on 60% of our gross income ? So why CPI did not match them. Is CPI meant more toward people who live in average HDB value ?

If the Median income is $3949 that's about $1000 allocated for housing and that has to include interests and principal down payment. Some may argue is not right since property is yours.

Fine ! Let's use rental instead of property purchase. A 4 room HDB easily fetch $2500 monthly for a family. Sorry ladies, wife has to go to work and we are still more than $500 short in allocation.


Mar 5, 2016

Cory Diary : Burst Week helps my portfolio to hit XIRR YTD : 0.21%

For some unexplained reason, this week STI ended with about 200 Points up. This explains why one should try to avoid timing the market as the burst can evaporate away as fast as it comes. I hope it won't but I am ok if it does as just being positive in returns are rare in recent times :)

As mentioned in my earlier article (note the period), is one of the good time to buy stocks for future greater returns be it dividends or capital gains. There will always be the other reflection that challenge myself that it can always go lower. Mind here we are talking about broad market and not individual stock. And if we are to look at the STI chart see link, we are at one of the low points of STI. So collecting some stocks do makes sense to me.

While I can cut losses and go away. I will always be the loser. I do agreed the need to cut losses when fundamental has changed but going away at market low is one of Sin in investing. We could have re-balance to others prudently and ride the market. There will also be others who at this time has been holding on to loser, and has floated with the rising tide. This maybe the best time to re-balance your portfolio before the current reverse.

Since I blogged to collect slowly which indeed I did, in the sense I am much better off than average since is build onto the existing portfolio. However people who has timed their investment and show hand would have done much better than me this time but the point is THIS TIME. There are many others who timed wrongly and missed the boats or cleared their war chest halfway down that we have not hear much from them since. I am here for the long run and I will.


Mar 2, 2016

Cory Diary : Retrenchment

Having worked many years in large corporation, retrenchment is not a new thing. This usually happens with Business consolidation aka Organization changes. Often it comes down to just poor business environment and need for more profitability. When tough calls come, someone has to be let go and we can roughly guess who will be though not with some uncertainty. Nevertheless the uneasiness is always there.

Well to cut the story short, I got a cold call from my upper management just before Chinese New Year and quickly realised there has been a major re-organization. Fortunately to me, I have been selected to lead the combined teams. However, never has it been so close this time when it comes down to two pick one decision. I am the more expensive one but my competitor, you know, has never been there except when coming to Office Politics. Well, I get to keep my unbroken record (Touchwood) and get Rewarded with More Work and Same Pay !

Have you notice this comes at a time when the property market is down trending, stocks are in "Recessive mode" and Bonus is horrible. Seems like bad things ( Almost Everything ! ) comes at the same time. But then, why can't they ? Aren't they are inter-related ? Is there a natural law to prevent it ? I hope the weather and health don't join in the game of life but what can we do if it does. With all the negativity, there are always people out there who got their property force sold, stocks completely crashed and no bonus ! Relatively speaking, I am in much better position and should feel gratify as things can be much worst.

One thing I always like to remind myself is not to take things for granted. Keep improving our Value and Knowledge. Be Prepared for the rainy days. And last but not least, Cherish what we have.

thanks for the read Investment buddies !