Five Cents Ten Cents

Financial freedom, one realistic step at a time.

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

Happy New Year 2015

It has been half a year since my previous post and 2014 was a decent year with regards to my investment returns. Despite being about 61% invested in 39% in cash and cash equivalents, I managed to generate a return of around 3.12% for the year.

This is not huge but still beats returns on time deposits. The interesting thing I note is that the bulk of my returns came from dividends, followed by interest from fixed income securities (Singapore Government Bonds and Corporate Bonds) and finally capital gains from the occasional punt.

In short, I spent less time on managing my investments but still performed better than 2013 (1.88% annual return).

In my journey towards financial freedom, I am inching closer to my target but realise that in nearing the destination, my journey has made me a different person who now understands that happiness is more in the process than the journey.

2015 sees my daughter enrolling in Primary 1 which is the start of the formal schooling phase in her life. I take equal measures of delight and stress from now helping her cope with our competitive and fast paced education system.

I also have discovered a hobby that is complementary to my interest in learning foreign languages. Besides learning nihongo or Japanese language, I am getting interested in fountain pens as well but have not really splurged on them. I currently own only three all costing below $50. This is just for me to explore how fountain pens work and how to use them to pair up my interest in improving my handwriting by developing a consistent and legible cursive style.

I am also exploring Midori notebooks but because they are so costly (S$53 or passport sized!), I am starting to explore youtube videos and online resources on how to make them by hand.

Work-wise there has been some challenges which will help me become a better person. My role has not changed much but it is interesting because one of the secondary roles in my job exposes me to lots of learning opportunities although they take up my time.

I would like to wish all readers and friends a Happy New Year 2015 filled with happiness, health and wealth!

Be well and prosper.

July 2014

We are past half of 2014 and it has been a while since I last updated this blog. As I grow less hair, my body is now more susceptible to wear and tear. Last month, when I was on a business trip, I pulled by posterior cruciate ligament i.e. the ligament behind my knee while lifting up a heavy luggage bag at an awkward angle. That took me some time to recover before I strained the ligament again during a ball game.

Really once one is past 40, one has to be more conscientious about healthy living and exercise because the recovery of any injury takes longer than when one was younger.

In terms of my journey towards financial freedom, savings from earned income continue to be the main source of my investible savings so I am on track to my targets. Work-wise, it got busy for the first half of the year and looks set to continue. I am happy with the challenges as they are still manageable and allows me to achieve certain “flow” in my work where the tasks and activities engage me pretty much and time flies.

There has been a change in the big boss at my workplace so we are still figuring out the optimal working arrangements. In the meantime, more time is spent bringing the big boss up to speed about the key areas of my area of responsibility within the organisation. It is interesting to note that the big boss is my age but is already the CEO.

Such things hardly faze me nowadays as I had encountered people who were in senior leadership positions even at age of 30+ early on in my career.

The markets seems high to be as equity markets have reached the peak since the 2008 crisis. I am still about 52% invested (22% fixed income, 30% equities) and 48% in cash and cash equivalents.

It will be the second half of 2014 soon and at the rate that the days go by, very soon 2015 will beckon as well.

Be well and prosper.

May 2014

It’s been quite some time since my blog post and we are coming to the middle of the year! Looking back, my net worth has moved northwards mainly due to savings from earned income. In terms of investments, am still not fully invested in the markets and am still around 60% in equities and fixed income (Singapore Government Securities and Corporate Bonds) with 40% in cash and cash equivalents.

Work-wise, things are getting interesting because of leadership transition with a new CEO coming into the organisation. The strategic direction, tone at the top and culture of the new CEO is still unknown as he has only come on board this month. It remains to be seen how he will slowly mould the organisation into his own ideas and views. This is the year also that opportunities for leadership positions have emerged for me and for me to really develop those EQ skills in working with people and trying to build consensus while aligning individuals to the goals of the organisation.

I am entering a different phase of my career in that technical skills, while important, are basically there to allow me to share and coach my staff to be better technicians than I am in my area of work. My real value-add is to make the connections that help the work we do matter to the organisation and people within. My other value-add is to become better at coaching people to their fullest potential and also to understand what others truly want so that I can practice “seek first to understand, then to be understood,” as given in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Health-wise, have made strides in exercising more regularly and eating right that the belt and pants are becoming slightly looser than before. Need to incorporate more weight training into my exercise schedule.

Family wise, as my daughter is going to Primary 1 next year, it’s also time for me to develop the skills of being a tutor to my daughter in those areas that I can. For those areas that I can’t, to get a good tutor for her so that she can keep up in the competitive landscape. :-)


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.