As we approach the end of 2014, it seems legitimate to slow down and think through what we have gone through over the last 12 months. In fact, I have actually taken weeks to write this post and pen my thoughts down because there are so many learning points to reflect on which will be good for my own future reference. Of course, there are both achievements and failures along the way, which makes it rather balance and fair. This post itself will cover a range of incidents which has happened this year.
The Light is at the end of the tunnel
My last recorded equity networth currently stands at $280,820 as of Nov 14 (I’m still working on the final Dec 14 portfolio updates). You can view them here
. The portfolio currently yields about $14,428/year which is a great achievement because this serves to provide me with additional income on top of my usual monthly salary.
Looking back at my investment journey 4 years ago, it seems an improbable task that reaching financial independence in only but a dream back then. I try to continue working hard for it as much as possible and every dollar that is aggressively saved has a role to play for acquiring companies that yield me passive income which will one day harvest the much awaited financial independence. For instance, I remember how I have to endure hours after hours of overtime work that allows me to purchase shares of OUE this year. Looking back, it was all worth the effort which will pay off one day.
4 years into the journey, I am getting closer each day to the finishing line. My goal is to keep focus on improving the processes despite the many “turbulences” along the way. Hopefully next year at this time I’ll be able to get even a step closer. In the meantime, it’s perseverance business and hard work as normal. No slacking.
Investing in growth and yield
Dividend investing has been a very popular strategy for investors over the past few years because of the low interest rate environment. I have too embarked on the very same strategy I advocate since I started my investing 4 years ago which have returned me well.
In 2014, I have gone a step better by focusing on companies with strong moats that yield decent return with potential growth opportunities. The key to this is to analyze companies that remains undervalued with strong balance sheet and earnings potential. They are not easy to find, but I have been trying to look deeper into the details and analyze companies more substantially. I am still learning just like many others so there will be mistakes along the way. I just need to learn from those mistakes to become a better investor.
Posts, Site Traffic and Ads Income
I’ve written more posts this year already (at 122 counting) and my site traffic has improved much as compared to last year. As always, I focus on writing good content than counting the post and I hope the community has learnt as much as I have learnt from the community.
It is also only this year that I have started to put some ads in my blog. They are generally from Nuffnang and Google Adsense and whilst the amount is paltry, they do generate quite a bit of income already. On average, I generally earned about $50-$60 a month based on the past 6 months data and I am just glad it’s making progress. For this, I want to thank all the readers for the great support and deep appreciation.
Personal expenses are rising but for the right reason
Over the years, I have been saving up a huge chunk of my active income as a result of leading a single and relatively simple lifestyle myself. On an average month, I could save as much as 80% of my gross income. Combined this figure with the mandatory CPF saving (social security) I had to make, this figure could rise up as high as 90%. This aggressive savings have led me to purchase some great companies which has yielded me great returns so far.
This is a year I took on a different level of responsibility by becoming a father to my son which I have been yearning for years. Many people didn’t know about this but I actually planned for my financials to be stable before having a kid. I think that’s very important because as you can see, even with proper planning I do incur a lot of unexpected expenses which I have never thought previously. Life has been much more meaningful, though it is no coincidence that expenses have been rising fast as I expected it to be. As a result of this, my savings rate has generally declined to an average of 40% (adding CPF savings will be 50%). Definitely not the kind of savings rate I am used to saving but they are all for the right reason. No regret.
The Grass isn’t always greener on the other side
Things are not all that rosy and there are failures along the way.
Some readers would know that I made a switch in the middle of the year to a company where I thought I could gain some industry knowledge and experience that would help in my investing. There wasn’t a happy ending at the end as I went through a period of unhappiness in the role and decided to move back to my old role upon the request of my boss and have been there since. Even though I was only in that company for a short period of time, my learning curve was steep and I managed to pick up a lot of valuable learning points and knowledge which was not visible to me before hand. I do share some of them if you refer to my posts during the Sep/Oct period. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side but they have been helpful nevertheless.
Better allocator of time and productivity
2014 was one of the busiest period in my life.
I have to juggle in between work, school, family (with kid) and blogging with the finite time I had. The transition from a single to multi-tasking so many things at the same time was overwhelming. I had to admit that giving up halfway was an option as I made ridiculous appeal to myself many times that this will all be over one day. I thank the support from my family and employer for allowing me to go through this busy period.
I wrote about my experience dealing with multi-tasking quite a bit recently. From this experience, I had become a better allocator of time as I do things swiftly with higher productivity. With finite time not on your side, there is hardly little time to waste.
Interacting and Meeting with fellow bloggers
I’ve known many of the fellow local financial bloggers through active interaction via blogs, chats and comments. And I have personally met a few of them on site. The finance community is small in Singapore, so it’s good to be able to know their character and personalities in close detail. Many of us shared the same vision and objective, so there are many common topics that we talked about. There are plenty of learning points that I have learnt daily from the experience of these bloggers themselves.
It is also enlightening to see that we have many new blog entries into our finance community this year, some of whom are as young as 20 years old. They reminded me of myself when I started blogging 4 years ago, going into the unknown territory and learning from the peers. I hope they are able to persevere and continue to contribute to the learning of the community which would benefit all of us.
Last but not least, there’s a couple of one-off incident and tension in our local finance community which I hope will not happen again. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions and it will be good to show reciprocate courtesy to one another to benefit the overall experience we already had.
So this is it!!! It is now counting days to the end of 2014 and we are abound to start 2015 pretty soon. I am currently working on some of the 2015 goals and will be updating them shortly in the blog. For this, I wish everyone a successful 2014, Merry Xmas and looking forward to a better 2015.
What about you? How has your experience in 2014 been?