Singvestor's awakening

Where are you and where are you going?
User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3532
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Wed May 04, 2016 3:48 am

wow, good month for singvestor! brute suggests to find a bunch of free hobbies so luxurious singapore lifestyle doesn't take all that money.

suggestions:
- reading scifi books (decades worth of great stuff)
- bodyweight exercise
- hiking
- some kind of craft that can be done at home, like writing, knitting
- board games with friends and colleagues
- cooking. extremely rewarding hobby, because singvestor can do it everyday and it saves a ton of money in singapore not to eat out

User avatar
FBeyer
Posts: 944
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:25 am

Re: Monthly update #10, April 2016

Post by FBeyer » Wed May 04, 2016 4:43 am

singvestor wrote:...
Minimalism

Recently I have been looking at TV sets and been tempted to buy a huge 60 inch screen. Fortunately reason kicks in just in time every time and I do not buy this lazynessenabling device each time I am tempted by some "good deals". My household is rather minimalist and I am trying not to accumulate things.

Outlook

I realize that I am quite addicted to the journal section on this forum. While I hardly post I come by every day (sometimes more than once) to read the journals. It is nice to see the progress people are making!
...
I think it's rather important to ask yourself then: why do I think I need a TV?
You could very well need one. You could also very well just be subliminating any pent up frustration.

I, for one, get a lot of flak fot not having watched TV since I was 16 (34 now) and I can relate to the feeling of being disjoint, so one could be tempted back into watching tv to 'fit in'. If there are recurring things you find yourself ogling you should really reflect on why this is.
I'll provide an anecdotal example: I'm often tempted to look at 'design' cookware and 'design' furniture.
I could literally spend hours 'window shopping' on the net looking at functional minimalist chairs and tea kettles.
I HAVE to accept that I have become sensitive to the aesthetics of my surroundings, rather than being functionally (rationally) detached as I used to.
It's not enough for me any more that things simply work, they should be beautiful too.
It was a rather surprising finding for someone as 'detached' as I am. Now I need to gauge how long this infatuation will last :lol:

So: Why do you NEED a tv?

Edit: if you want to look into board games, shoot me a private message, I can talk for hours about board games :ugeek:

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Brute and FBeyer

Post by singvestor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:00 am

Thanks for your comments, Brute and FBeyer!

@Brute: Really like your list! Lots of good ideas!

Regarding Sci Fi Books: Can you recommend me some?

Normally I read novels or crime fiction for fun but I like a good sci-fi book now and then.

I have read the following sci-fi books in the last few months:
- Jennifer Foehner Wells: Fluency | Confluence [quite interesting with some fresh concepts but overall not so believable]
- Kim Stanley Robinson: Aurora [Exploring generation ships - interesting]
- Neil Stevenson: Seveness [Had to stop after finishing about 2/3 - no idea why this book is so hyped]
- Sarah Lotz: The three | Day four [not bad]
- Ernest Cline: Ready Player One [highly rated, but all that 80s pop culture name dropping geekery started to irritate me]
- Sean Platt: Yesterday's gone Season 1-3 [Starts great but quickly downhill in Season 2-3]
- Hugh Howey: Shift and Wool [Really innovative but deteriorating a bit after the first book]

I did not like any of them particularly much... I like stories set in the near future, ideally some first contact story like "Sphere"

Do you have some good ones to recommend?

Bodyweight exercises

Good idea! I am a bit ashamed to admit that my condo building has a huge free lap pool so there is no excuse to spend money on exercise. I try and do my hotel room / prison cell workout on a regular basis (5 rounds of burpees, mountain climbers, squats, rope, pushups, situps).

Saving money by cooking

Here things get a bit tricky. I love cooking but always end up spending more than when eating out. The relaxation and fun of cooking is of course worth it. The reason for this is that Singapore has extremely cheap food. Here are two examples from near my house:

Home made shrimp and pork dumplings with vegetables in broth: cost SGD 3 (= USD 2.2) Also pictured: cup of coffee with milk, no sugar: SGD 1.4 (= USD 1):

Image

Chicken Briyani: cost SGD 6 (= USD 4.3)

Image

Somehow Singapore has very cheap food given the high cost for everything else.

Board games: great idea! I invited some friends for dinner at my place on Saturday and having a board game session and some wine after sounds nice

@FBeyer: thanks for the message!

It is a good way to look at the TV purchase. I used your method to analyze if I really need a TV and have decided to use the existing 44 inch HD ready TV which I got for free for the time being. If it ever dies I might upgrade or go TVless.

I think the main reason for wanting a TV was my love for all gadgets and the fact that I was not allowed to watch TV when I was young. Hippy parents!

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #11, May 2016

Post by singvestor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:50 am

May was a nice and also brutal month.

What was nice: going to a small island in Thailand with old friends
Image
Leaving the island

It felt good to reconnect with my friends and to spend time with them.
I did not care so much for the island itself. Quite crowded and not as peaceful as compared to the Philippines.

Unfortunately I also had to face a tough private issue in the month which I do not really want to go into. All is ok now, but for 2-3 weeks I was very depressed. Things are a lot better now and I have regained clarity of the situation.

But now, back to business:

Monthly update May

in May I saved a paltry 33.3% of my income because of my travels and lack of discipline, bringing the overall year-to-date savings rate to 37.6%. This has to improve in June.

Image

Portfolio performance

Image

In May the value of my portfolio increased by 3.7% or SGD 4,746 to SGD 132,297. May’s gain was made up of capital gains of SGD 2,026 and fresh investments of SGD 2,720.

Investments vs. plan

Image

All is going rather smoothly and I am now SGD 1,744 ahead of my plan, after having invested SGD 21,544 year-to-date.

Portfolio allocation

Image

All good at the moment...

Hypothetical monthly passive income at 4% SWR

Image

I feel like in the middle of an ocean, slowly rowing on a boat with so much further to go.
I have to remember that the engine of compound interest that is silently purring in the background gets stronger every month and will help me get to the shore faster.

It's official: my resolutions for June

For June I have to set some targets to improve quality of life and happiness and increase the savings rate as a positive side effect:

June Resolutions:
- Exercise at least 12 times (swim, gym, cycle or body weight exercises)
- At least 20 days without drinking alcohol
- Learn to cook at least 3 new dishes

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3532
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:17 pm

true disciprine come from within!

brute agrees on Seveneves. he did finish it, but it was kind of a burden. definitely one of Stephenson's worse books. has Singvestor read/listened to the other ones? brute is especially fond of Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, and most of all, Diamond Age. but most of his earlier stuff is great, too.

other scifi authors brute enjoys are William Gibson and Heinlein. but other books are fine, too. brute was merely suggesting scifi because he'd been reading scifi at the time ;)

the cheap restaurant situation in SG is quite interesting. it might be due to the high number of malay/chinese/indian migrant workers, who bring a pretty high quality, yet cheap cuisine. it might actually not make financial sense to cook at home for singvestor.

Augustus
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by Augustus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:18 pm

BRUTE wrote:true disciprine come from within!

brute agrees on Seveneves. he did finish it, but it was kind of a burden. definitely one of Stephenson's worse books. has Singvestor read/listened to the other ones? brute is especially fond of Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, and most of all, Diamond Age. but most of his earlier stuff is great, too.

other scifi authors brute enjoys are William Gibson and Heinlein. but other books are fine, too. brute was merely suggesting scifi because he'd been reading scifi at the time ;)
I was stoked when you guys suggested sci-fi novels. Then the floor dropped out on me when you didn't like Seveneves, I consider it one of Stephenson's best. Not many writers can pull off an epic, and I love how humanity nearly eradicates itself because it can't control it's animal urges, that one really struck home for me.

With that in mind, I would suggest the following novels, but we may have drastically different tastes:
Rendezvous with Rama
Spin
Dune
Hyperion
Diamond Age
Cryptonomicon
Ringworld
House of Suns
The James S A Corey novels
Water knife

Hopefully a well rounded list of classics.

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:25 pm

Thanks Brute and Augustus!

Have read quite a bit of Augustus' list as well! I liked the world building in the James S A Corey novels and Spin was quite innovative as well.

Will read Diamond Age next since you both recommend it and Waterknife next since it sounds interesting. Thanks for the the recommendations :)

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3532
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:41 pm

Augustus wrote:Then the floor dropped out on me when you didn't like Seveneves, I consider it one of Stephenson's best. Not many writers can pull off an epic, and I love how humanity nearly eradicates itself because it can't control it's animal urges, that one really struck home for me.
brute isn't much of a malthusian, so the whole theme of humanity/hubris didn't really jive with him. it also felt like the book was 3 different stories that were almost completely independent, and they didn't play well together. each of them had interesting parts, but none of them felt as intriguing as any of the other Stephenson stories. oh, brute also loved Anathem. wow.

Augustus
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by Augustus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:34 pm

singvestor wrote:Thanks Brute and Augustus!

Have read quite a bit of Augustus' list as well! I liked the world building in the James S A Corey novels and Spin was quite innovative as well.

Will read Diamond Age next since you both recommend it and Waterknife next since it sounds interesting. Thanks for the the recommendations :)
I found water knife to be a slow starter, but by the end could not put it down. I actually think he's on to something, with water shortages having a much larger impact than temperature changes in the near future, although both go hand in hand.

Diamond Age is amazing, an all time favorite.

@brute: not Malthusian, but think it's kind of hilarious, and accurate, that in a truly existential crisis, trivial cliques and infighting would still prevail against common interests. Lots of parallels to the real world there. Human population of 7 all alone in an inhospitable location was great fun for the imagination as well. But I see your points.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10338
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by jacob » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:27 am

Trigger warning: I loved Seveness

Other recs:
Windup Girl - Bacigalupi (year 2300, biopunk/scifi)
Rollback - Sawyer (year 2075, SETI and age reversion/scifi)
Reamde - Stephenson (present, mmorpg/int crime/thriller)
Little Brother - Doctorow (present, surveillance/teenage/thriller)
The Mote in God's Eye(*) - Pournelle/Niven (year 3000, first contact/scifi)

Also see viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6374

(*) If nothing else than to learn the expression: "On the one hand ... on the other hand ... but on the gripping hand ... "

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3532
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:50 am

@jacob: brute is not surprised, seveneves being all about the end of the world and heroic physicists that have to combat the stupidity and infighting of regular humans ;) the difference is that brute isn't very invested in humanity. species extinct? everything will be fine. brute prefers the "little drama", like in Reamde.

by the way, the whole point of "SeveneveS" is that it is the same spelled backwards. really easy to remember the spelling that way.

thrifty++
Posts: 789
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by thrifty++ » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:14 pm

singvestor wrote: I feel like in the middle of an ocean, slowly rowing on a boat with so much further to go.
I have to remember that the engine of compound interest that is silently purring in the background gets stronger every month and will help me get to the shore faster.
Your NW actually looks like its growing pretty fast to me. Nice work!

inchicago
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:03 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by inchicago » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:37 pm

Hi singvestor-My parents weren't hippies but no TV as a kid for me, either. I still could care less for TV. I just don't have enough time to bother with it.

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:07 pm

Hi inchicago, the Hippies comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, my parents were not real hippies, but definitely a bit overprotective of the kids with regards to TV. This was just a small complaint, my relationship with them could not be better and I am tremendously grateful for everything they have done for me in my life

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #12, June 2016

Post by singvestor » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:12 pm

Hooray, 1 year anniversary of my little journal!

June Resolutions update:

- Exercise at least 12 times: Achieved. Exercised 13 times: 5 times swimming, 8 times gym)
- At least 20 days without drinking alcohol: Achieved (21 times)
- Learn to cook at least 3 new dishes: Achieved: learned a lot of new dishes (e.g. Cantonese steamed whole fish, home made pasta, Chinese sauteed mushrooms).

My fitness regimen was motivated by Brute's Southpark video which he posted. It definitely inspired some discriprine.

Science fiction progress

Read Rollback and it was quite interesting. Am about halfway through Water Knife and like it quite a bit so far. Definitely something innovative. Started Diamond Age but have been making slow progress so far.

Life in general

Feel like I am lacking a lot of "inner peace" at the moment. Am not the esoteric/spiritual type, so I tend to handle personal up and downs with lots of reflection, introspection and rationalization, which then sometimes spirals into some form of mild depression. Things are getting a bit better.

Monthly update June

Saved 34.8% percent of income, not terribly good. Main reason was the need to save a bit of money for an engagement ring. Spent about 1.4 weeks of salary on said ring. Not sure if I should really get engaged, will see.

Image

Portfolio performance

Ups and downs because of "Brexit" made the portfolio rise and fall, in the end my portfolio increased by SGD 1,468 to SGD 133,765 (= USD 99,424). The small gain was made up of fresh investments of SGD 2,692 and a paper loss of SGD 1,224.

I was amused at Jakob's comment on his page mentioning measuring net worth in cars. I calculated my portfolio to be worth 2.8 brand new BMW 2 Series Cabrios or 5.8 Opel Corsas in German prices. Needless to say I am not planning on ever getting a car in Singapore.

Image

Investments vs. plan

Image

All good, but I need to invest a bit more. So far SGD 1,936 ahead of plan. I need to step it up and become FI faster.

Dividends received

In June I received SGD 150 in tax free dividends. It should be more, but my second broker mailed me a cheque for my dividend and it only arrived in July. Receiving a cheque for a dividend in the mail seems so 1980s, but ok. July's dividends are therefore forecasted to be a new record for me.

Image

Hypothetical monthly income (4% SWR)

Image

SGD 446 per month - crawling up a hill.

Outlook

Career wise I am doing well and things are overall good. Still I am stuck in my current job and I do not get much inspiration out of it. I am fighting the feeling by doing new things, increasing my team and responsibility and trying for new experiences. In the end I know all that is moot and working for my current company is pointless in the end.

I just have to navigate some life challenges which are always harder than ERE as there are no formulas and things are messy.
July should be better!

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3532
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:54 pm

another great month for the only journal brute reads regularly on this forum ;) maybe it's all the pretty and colorful diagrams that attract brute.

now brute isn't an expert (maybe singvestor should seek 7wannabe5's council), but he thinks humans should be quite sure before getting engaged. it seems a serious thing to do.

regarding the somewhat uninspiring job, brute has given up inspiration through jobs. there's plenty of inspiration to be found with friends, books, and the world at large. jobs are for money. if they inspire, that's a bonus to brute.

lastly, brute has a question about Singapore brokerages. brute checked, and the Singapore stock market seems to have <100 stocks on it. singvestor can probably buy securities on other stock exchanges, but doesn't he have to pay that country's capital gains tax then, whereas SG has none? how do Singaporeans usually set up these types of things?

User avatar
Dragline
Posts: 4450
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by Dragline » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:58 pm

Congrats on the progress. Really like the exponentially functioned graphs.

The Power of Compounding compels you!

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:15 am

Thanks, Dragline! Slowly I am getting into the territory where it can be felt with higher dividends etc. Still feels so terribly slow!

Hi Brute, glad you like my graphs!

You are right about the engagement... Big deal... Girlfriend is already living with me for four years and things are good. Still I am over-analyzing things a bit.

Regarding tax free dividends in Singapore:

Short explanation: Dividends from shares/ETFs listed in Hong Kong and Singapore are not taxed since both countries do not have capital gains tax. Thus I only keep ETFs listed in both countries in my portfolio.

Long explanation: In general Singapore does not tax any dividends I receive, be it on stocks listed here or elsewhere. Unfortunately most countries still tax them and my broker will then bill me withholding tax. I wrote a detailed blog post on this once: http://singvestor.com/withholding-taxes ... gn-stocks/

Singapore is really investor friendly as there is no capital gains tax whatsoever. The currency is trading in a narrow band to the USD. Hong Kong is not bad either, with the HKD pegged to the USD and no capital gains in place either.

Singapore even has a great singapore saving bonds program in place, where residents can buy bonds with virtually no risk and higher returns than fixed deposits. Quite nice!

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3532
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:37 pm

but to get a more diversified exposure, like US and other stocks, SG/HK ETFs are not that optimal. HK seems to have some Vanguard and other index funds at least, but there's only one s&p500 and the rest seems mostly asia/pacific region funds. :(

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:57 pm

Brute is right. ETF choices are not too great on both exchanges and liquidity is not the best, because of the low trading volume.

Currently the portfolio is not diversified enough and pretty much in a mess:

Image

Looking at only the stock index fund portion:

Image

Currently ~85% of the stock index part of the portfolio are in Asian shares and the remaining 15% are in European ones. This is not ideal.

I have been avoiding US shares because of the indirect taxes I would need to pay (even when buying a HK listed US ETF the withholding tax still applies) and the feeling that US stocks are very overpriced. The rational side of me knows that time in the market beats timing the market so I will aim to buy some of Vanguard's S&P 500 Index ETF and then pick up some more whenever there is the opportunity to average down a bit.

Detailed portfolio is here: singvestor.com/portfolio/

I am feeling relatively comfortable with a portfolio with a lot of Asia Pacific focus. I moved to Asia 10 years ago partly because I was very pessimistic about the outlook for Europe. Having said all that, currently the portfolio has too much diversification risk and I have to add some US stocks to the mix as well as increase the European portion of the portfolio.

Target allocation idea for the stock index portion of the portfolio:

Image

Just a first idea...

Post Reply