Five Cents Ten Cents

Financial freedom, one realistic step at a time.

Five Cents Ten Cents - Financial freedom, one realistic step at a time.

1st Quarter 2014

It is already the first quarter of calendar year 2014 or last quarter of the financial year 2013-2014 (assuming it is a 31 March 2014 year-end). My last blog post was somewhere around Christmas 2014 / New Year 2014 period.

Life is moving quickly these days as my daughter celebrated her 6 years recently. Less than 1 year and she will be in the school system. It amazes me how fast she grows. The last 2 years have been spectacularly fast as I look back at her old baby photographs and pictures taken.

Investment-wise, I have re-allocated my portfolio towards equities and this is a snapshot of my current portfolio. I still have about 32% of my investible assets in cash. I am reasonably comfortable with this portfolio for the time being.

I will be 43 years old this year and am starting to invest more into my own personal growth and development. I guess I have finally come to the realisation that the final frontier is to really develop the mind and to take care of the people you care and love. Living a balanced life between work, family, personal development and leisure is one of the ways towards being happy.

Money is truly just a means to an end and once the basic needs are met, yearning for the next bling and gadget will never make one permanently happy as life is a continuous series of states that we find ourselves in based on our decisions and interactions with this world. To base our happiness on materialism and things is to not truly understand the role of money in our lives.

Be well and prosper.

Merry Christmas 2013 and a Happy New Year 2014

Source is

Santa Claus Hat With Red Christmas Gift Box Stock Photo By cescassawin

I would like to wish one and all a Merry Christmas 2013 and a Happy New Year 2014!

I have stopped regular updates to this blog partly because I feel less of the need to share about my journey towards financial freedom. In terms of passive income, over these last few years, I have learnt more about what it is and how to go about achieving it.

However, from my own analysis of our worksheet tracking my earned and passive income and matching it against my expenses, I realise that it is still savings from earned income rather than passive income from investments that contribute the most to helping me reach my investible networth target.

I now am more concerned about quality of life issues and also taking care of my health. In that regard, I am pleased to share to my jogging and brisk walking is more frequently (average of twice a week and on good weeks up to three times a week) and I am managing my stressors in life better although I still get unhappy now and then but I’ve learnt to let go more and see the bigger picture in life.

I also want to develop myself more in the area of foreign language learning as well as growing my career skills and domain expertise with each new area that I explore in my own work as an internal auditor.

I look back at 2013 as a decent year from a career and investing perspective although there are a couple of mini black swans that have occurred which I am still managing it one day at a time.

One practice that I believe has helped me this year is a written journal that I pen down my thoughts, feelings and reflections about the week that has gone by. It has become an enjoyable regular weekend habit that I have grown to look forward to as it provides a form of inexpensive therapy while also helping me to focus on the bigger goals in life.

I wish all of you a wonderful 2014 ahead whilst you reflect on your own achievements and growth in 2013.

Be well and prosper.

September 2013 Update

It’s been almost a month since my previous update. It’s currently the September school holidays and I’ve taken leave to spend some time with the family. My portfolio is mixed as my equity is all right although my Singapore Government Securities took quite a beating. I bought near par and if I sell now I will suffer paper losses of about 10-12%.

The good thing is I invested in the bonds for safety and also for long-term cash flows and intend to continue holding them until maturity.

I am still walking on this path towards financial freedom but just that I spend less time documenting my journey through this blog and more time focussing on developing my career skills as well as learning to use interesting models to understand businesses’ financial statements.

There’s only about a quarter more to the end of 2013 and this year my portfolio returns would be poor due to realises losses from selling my First Ship Lease Trust which was bought many years back in a moment of folly and as I failed to monitor how poorly the shipping was affected since the global financial crisis.

Again, the tuition fees paid from such lessons are painful but instructive going forward.

Be well and prosper.

Lost in Time

I just realised that my previous blog post was in May 2013! I guess my passion for writing about financial freedom has waned considerably even though I am still active on this journey towards financial freedom.

Writing this blog has been helpful and in fact I discovered that writing out one’s thoughts and feelings about a subject one is passionate about is a good way to clarify one’s thoughts and declutter the mind. To this aim, I have started getting into fountain pens and writing in a paper notebook my personal thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is an effective and inexpensive form of therapy and has helped clarify some of my own thinking about my life in general.

I was catching snippets of this film called “Nak Nang” in Thai that revolves around a folk tale regarding ill-fated lovers whose love transcends death itself. During one of the scenes, the monk talks about how earthly attachments lead to suffering.

That sort of struck me in that I could personally trace many of my own hurts, and unhappinesses to being attached to certain “things” in life. These may not be material in nature but being overly attached to any one thing in life really does lead to suffering once your attachment to that thing is being threatened or is lost.

Even the attachment to financial freedom can lead to suffering because it one obsesses about it above all else and forget to live life a little and take delight in the simple joys and occasional luxuries, then one exposes oneself to the suffering by being too attached to that concept.

A rather profound and yet practical insight about how our earthly attachments are a major source of unhappiness and suffering in life.

Be well and prosper.

Liquid Assets as at 17 May 2013


I have increased my bond holdings in 30 year Singapore Government Securities recently. Still have about 1/3 of my investible assets in cash and cash equivalents. Equities prices have run up quite a fair bit and we are seeing the equity market at five year high levels.

Friends who are fundamental investors think a lot of the blue chips are over-valued at current prices. There’s still a lot of liquidity floating around and with the Central Bankers globally easing in one form or another, it looks like this equities rally or run-up or whatever you call is is still present.

I am comfortable with my current holdings. There is room to invest about 10-15% more into equities but I think current prices are a bit high to go in. No-one can predict how markets will turn out. In the meantime, I am brushing up my Thai as I will be going for a short trip to Bangkok for a conference and will aim to pick up some Thai language resources there. Should be the first of more trips to brathep Thai.

Khorp khun, sawat dee khrap.