Sunday, December 27, 2020

Summary of FY2020 Journey & Reflections

In a few days' time, we'll enter the new year of 2021.

Time passes by in a blink of an eye especially when you spend most of your time at home, hustling in and out like there's no difference between yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Let's get down to it.

Career

I wouldn't rate this year as one of the highlights of my career.

I started off the year unemployed in the first two months, before finally settling for a role nearer to the end of February.

When Covid came soon after that, we began to downsize our office rental space to a smaller count and many of us transitioned to life working from home ever since. While there was an initial excitement over not having to commute for work in the beginning, it soon becomes a toil as meetings over Zoom and Google Hangout become prevalent over the course of the week. Soon, it was just meeting after meeting and it would drain and capacitate my energy level.

Towards the peak of Covid, the company managed to survive the catastrophe despite the big hit by retaining almost all employees but we had to take a hit to our pay of 30% cut for almost 3 months. We knew it wasn't a pleasant experience to have but we were not the only ones. In fact, almost the entire world is feeling the heat.

The company didn't have a common practice of replacing a leaving headcount immediately so many of us were asked to double head the role of the person who left until employees voluntarily sounded out that they were burnt out. I didn't like the practice very much and I was a victim of the same, which to a point it strained my working relationship with my immediate boss and it didn't feel good.

It also validates my belief on financial independence even stronger that most companies are still at the end of the day looking out for their own interests more than they look after the interests of their employees.

Writing

This year, I've written a total of 78 articles (including this one) which coincides with the lowest count in the past 10 years.

The occurrence of lesser writing was due to more time and energy spent on the job, which takes the toll out of my energy and focus area to write on the weekends or after work.

I also had a lesser opportunity this year to write more research and analysis on companies that I was eyeing and bought because it takes time to consolidate all the information and thoughts I have on hand, let alone writing them on a proper channel. Still, I hope to get things back on track in FY2021 with some changes in my work and probably lifestyle, so hopefully, I'll get back to the gist of writing an analysis on companies again.

Investment Strategies

This is the year I've tried out a couple of different platforms and investment strategies to try out and see which one fits my needs.

I started to use Tiger Brokers as my primary source for keeping HK and US stocks for the long term. They are also my immediate source for keeping tabs on all the information sources of the company such as earnings calendar, dividends history, and price movement.

I had also tried out options play with Interactive Brokers under the tutelage of my good friend and a couple of self-learn resources. I wanted to compliment some of the strategies and ideas I had with my direct leveraged (CFD) and the options play gave a good platform to do that.

For my long term portfolio consisting of dividend companies and Reits, I kept them in my CDP which I intended to keep for a longer term (less trading).

Networth

I started to focus a lot more on growing my networth this year rather than the actual return from investment.

This is also the year where I lost count midway of how much I put in and how much return I get from each strategy that I adopted so I went with focusing on the bottomline which is networth growth.

While this has been a skewed year in terms of investment, the following year will look to be more difficult as we move into normalization. The goal is to identify opportunities in the market as much as possible and putting in substantial amount of capital into the position.

Dividends payout is also likely to resume back in FY2021 so I am looking forward to that as well.


Family

Working from home this year means I get to spend additional time with my wife and kids as I get to see them more often.

I realized I am after all not a "house husband" type of person. I think there's a few instances where I ran out of patience trying to educate my kids the way I wanted them to be. After a while, I realized I didn't quite fit that role.

I missed my parents.

They are back in Jakarta and the Covid situation this year means I didn't get to see them for the large part of this year except through a video conference call which can get quite repetitive after a while. One thing I realised about video conference is you miss that connection you had when you are physically together.

I hope once the Covid situation is over I can go back and get to spend more time with them.

Health

Health improved this year as well as I took a comprehensive test at a GP recently and found my liver and cholestrol levels improved considerably as opposed to the test I took three years ago.

While I still definitely need to work on my routine on the exercise part, I am happy to be able to avoid getting sick (and more importantly avoid getting hit by Covid) and will look out to improve my overall condition better.

Conclusion

Overall, every aspect seem to fall in pieces quite nicely this year.

However, I can't help but feel there is something missing among all the things I've listed.

It's an empty feeling that I can't really point out to and it is probably the first time in so many years I've ever felt that coming in stronger, especially this year.

I am unsure if that feeling is because of the drained energy I consumed because of my work, or it is due to that I didn't get to see my parents for a long time now. The growing of networth and income trajectory are also starting to become a little more secondary in nature as time goes by.

Perhaps, I am at that juncture where I need not only physical rest but also mentally so that I could think clearer and act with more confidence.

To all the readers out there, I would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone for their support (regardless of which state I am in) and wish everyone a very healthy year ahead.

Thanks for reading.

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3 comments:

  1. Hi B,

    I guess we all go through "mid-life crisis"

    In a way, it might not be so bad. Some people make drastic changes, so tweet here and there.

    I share your feeling of "purposeless" at times.

    But in a way, I guess calling it quit without a concrete plan is just out of the qn for me as I am rather risk-adverse.

    May u find your balance soon.

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  2. Keep writing in 2021. I enjoyed your posts.
    I can empathise with how you feel - it is the same for me and my work.

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  3. Hi Brian, you can perhaps take comfort to know that you are not alone feeling this way. According to this study : https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/youll-probably-have-a-midlife-happiness-crisis-heres-why, people's happiness level tended to drop continuously as they get nearer to 50 years of age.

    This drop in happiness level could be caused by mid-life crisis, increasing work responsibilities and stress or lack of career progression, higher financial commitments as well as having to take care of elderly parents. Recognise that this is a passing phase and that it will pass. Basically, see that it is not unique to you, but that many people are going through the same situation as you.

    I have gone through that phase. At 59, I have indeed been feeling much happier. My children have graduated from universities, my financial commitments have significantly tapered off, and my passive income have grown meaningfully. Working is an option for me. I also sensed the same level of happiness in my older colleagues and friends.

    So hang on in there. It is a phase that all of us will have to go through and all will go through it and reach the happy phase.



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