Singvestor's awakening

Where are you and where are you going?
User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:04 pm

wow, shit's going up and to the right for singvestor :)

feels to brute like singvestor crossed some kind of boundary in spring of this year, and things are getting serious now. it always seems to be the $100k mark, interesting.

also brute just realized that singvestor increased his income sixfold in 8 years - that's crazy. maybe increasing income is one of the better strategies to achieve FIRE, at least up until a point. it would probably prove more difficult to do another 6x in the next 8 years ;)

another side note, it seems to brute that singvestor travels A LOT. brute's a homeless nomad and doesn't seem to travel as much as singvestor ;) is this a Singapore thing, or just a personal preference?

User avatar
Viktor K
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: China

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by Viktor K » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:17 pm

Hey just wanted to say I enjoyed catching up on your journal for the first time. I too am thinking that I need to make a 4%SWR graph like you have. Seems like a great way to stay optimistic! Hope everything goes well this month and I'm looking forward to further updates :)

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 9066
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 Sep 01, 2016 4:29 pm

@brute - Increasing income helps a lot in the beginning. Why we talk about easy-mode and hard-mode. Once your net is about 10x-15x of any income you can reasonably make, income becomes less relevant and preservation and alpha becomes more relevant. This can be quite demotivational when it comes to working for money. #fireproblems

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:19 pm

makes sense. still seems that for a lot of individuals, it makes more sense to increase earning for a few years before focusing on increasing savings rate. if these endeavors are mutually exclusive, of which brute isn't entirely sure.

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #15, September 2016

Post by singvestor » Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:12 am

Hi Brute, travelling is probably a personal preference for me and even more so of my girlfriend. I moved to Asia to explore it as much as possible, so it is a bit of a hobby... Unfortunately quite an expensive one. You have no home and are a nomad? That sounds interesting! Like a digital nomad? Or as a consultant?

Monthly update #15, September 2016

the most painful thing first:

September Goal Review

- 12 times exercise: failed (only 9 times)
- minimum 21 days without alcohol: failed (only 17 times)
- see 2 interesting exhibitions (semi failed but took a pottery class and watched an artsy Israeli movie)
- 4 sessions of studying Chinese (failed - only studied once)

Broken TV

In September my TV, solely used for the occasional Netflix binge broke down. The nine year old 37" LG TV had been flickering and one day did not want to turn on anymore.

Finally we could upgrade to a nice 60" ultra HD TV! The girlfriend and I soon had settled on a nice SGD 2,200 TV set and were ready to pull the trigger, but

Then in a moment of clarity I decided for another approach:

Some Youtube videos and a downloaded service manual later I was taking the TV apart. A few capacitators on the power board seemed broken and the board was discolored. I then went on ebay where a guy from Poland happened to sell a replacement board taken out of a TV with a cracked screen.

Long story short: My TV works better than ever, no more flickering and only spent SGD 75 (USD 55) instead of SGD 2,200.

Image
Image
TV during "surgery" and closeup of broken power board.

ER(E) Scorecard

Image

Savings rate for September was 33%. Not good!

Danang, Vietnam

In September I travelled to Danang in Vietnam and spent 4 days in the area. Definitely a great place to spend some time during retirement. People were nice and the landscape (seaside + river + mountains) is very interesting. I rented a scooter and drove around town, it was a great experience. After a while the mad traffic and chaos just did not bother me anymore and I got into a nice flow of riding around. Fun! When a tropical storm hit at night and the whole district was without power I remembered the downsides to staying in emerging countries.

Portfolio Performance

Image

After a fantastic August my portfolio fluctuated a bit in September. In the end my portfolio increased by 2% or SGD 3,159 to SGD 158,536 (= USD 116,297 / EUR 103,448). This gain consisted of fresh investments of SGD 2,728 and capital gains of SGD 431.

Investment vs Plan September

I invested SGD 2,728 in September – slightly above plan.

Image

Dividends received

Image

In September I received SGD 109 (USD 80) in tax free dividends. Not very much, but the main dividend month October is coming!

Hypothetical monthly passive income

Image

Slowly crawling up...

Outlook

October should be a good month with lots of dividends. Again I set my personal goals as follows:

- 12 times exercise
- minimum 21 days without alcohol
- see 2 interesting exhibitions

Let's hope I can make it!

User avatar
Viktor K
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: China

Re: Monthly update #15, September 2016

Post by Viktor K » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:38 am

singvestor wrote:Savings rate for September was 33%. Not good!
On the contrary, let's talk about that TV save! Way to go on fixing the old one rather than throwing it to the curb!

Noedig
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by Noedig » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:03 am

Great journal. You are someone with whom it has evidently clicked and who is leading a more intentional life, and giving us the facts.

Hope you feel you are getting a satisfactory balance between things day-to-day and the planned life. Feel the flow.

Epic job on the TV. People just throw stuff away rather than fix, because we're all used to getting upsold consumer goods made by underpaid Chinese.

But fixing is indeed the way to go. Kudos for that.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:56 am

wow, repairing the TV? renaissance man in the house :D

brute isn't really a digital nomad or a consultant, more of a bum ;)

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #16, October 2016

Post by singvestor » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:23 pm

Worst things first: October Goals review

- 12 times exercise (achieved: 12 times)
- minimum 21 days without alcohol (shamefully failed: 14)
- see 2 interesting exhibitions (failed: saw only 1)

Saving rate October

In October I saved 38.2% of my post tax income, lowering the year-to-date savings rate to 40.7%.

Image

The good news is that I have already now saved nearly as much as in the whole year 2015. I have already surpassed my investment goal for 2016 and will most likely exceed my savings goal as well.

Portfolio update October

In October my portfolio increased by 2.8% or SGD 4,434 to SGD 162,970 (USD 117,150). This gain was made up of fresh investments of SGD 3,816 and gains of SGD 618.

Image

Investments-vs-Plan

In October I invested SGD 3,816. This was SGD 816 more than planned. So far the year is going quite well!

Image

Image

I am definitely going for a new savings record this year, thanks to the small windfall I received in August.

As Brute had suggested earlier I am trying to diversify and have been buying the iShares EURO Dividend UCITS ETF. This gives me more diversification also in terms of currencies.

Currently my portfolio is too heavy on the HKD and things would go South immediately if the Hong Kong administration decided to abolish the tie to the USD. Switzerland has shown what can happen when central banks take this kind of decision, so diversification is the way to go for me.
The ETF is domiciled in Ireland and listed on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, which is the best possible tax option for me. There are no withholding taxes on that exchange for Singaporean investors, so I can enjoy tax free dividends.

Dividends received

Image

This was the highest dividend month for me so far. SGD 1,822 tax free dividends were credited to my account.

Hypothetical monthly income

Image

Slowly but steadily improving. I will feel better once this finally surpasses the SGD 1,000 mark

Coast FI age

For fun I calculated the following: If I suddenly decided to stop investing, when would I be able to retire based on growth of current portfolio? Assumptions: 6% annual portfolio growth, 2% inflation.
Result: I can retire at age 86... For European males chances are slim to reach that age. So I better keep investing!

Outlook

I am well ahead of targets for the year, but am more determined than ever. Will continue saving full steam to escape the office earlier.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This is the end of this month's update.
Just rambling reflections on life below
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Reflections about working

Advantages of my job

- SGD 140,000 (~USD 100k) salary
- Only SGD 10,500 tax per year
- Have been working in the same job 5 years and became very good at doing it with minimal effort
- Nice colleagues, no aggressiveness or douchebags
- Commute is 30 minutes including 10 minutes by bicycle and 10 minutes walking
- Part of talent program and get pampered by the company occasionally
- Free mobile phone

Disadvantages of my job

- European Company is over 100 years old and being overtaken by faster local competitors
- Day to day work is uninspiring and I spend at least 3-4 hours each day on the internet
- No higher purpose or exciting vision
- "Only" 21 days of paid holidays (much less than in Europe, but more than in the US I guess)
- No time to do real fun things like backpacking around for a few months
- Soul crushing boredom

Sometimes I realize that I am really lucky and am in fact quite well off. On other days I feel that I earn much less than my peers in other companies and that I have been in the same job 5 years. Oh well.
Singapore's economy is getting worse and worse. Changing a job is close to impossible. My bosses keep saying that my next job is around the corner, but I have given up. So I am stuck. I am not dreading to go to office on Monday mornings, it is pretty easy going. It does not stress me in the slightest and some people in the office even are close friends. With some I have even gone to private holidays before!

Reflections about the girlfriend

My girlfriend is a true minimalist at heart and prefers experiences to things. The other day I saw her rinsing a ziplock bag to reuse it, something I have to admit I am often too lazy to do. She is very successful at her career but never chose to participate in the high fashion, show-off arms race that most women in her industry in Singapore participate in. She also discourages me from drinking beer and motivates me to exercise instead. Conclusion: a keeper! :)

Confessions of my ERE sins

Once again I sinned quite a bit.

* Spent SGD 400 (USD 290) to fill stocks of food, beer and snacks at home since I will receive some family visitors in October. 1 small can of beer costs USD 2.2 here so it is quite the expense. Not even that great beer, just Asahi.
* Went to Ikea to replace some worn out things in my flat (SGD 70)
* Took the girlfriend to several nice dinners and once managed to spend USD 115 on a dinner for two. Definitely too much! I need to get back into cooking as it is healthier and very therapeutic
* Bought flight tickets for Chinese New Year (USD 450)
* Bought a fancy new Kindle for my girlfriend (USD 250)

November goals
* Get rid of all clothes in my flat that I do not wear anymore
* Try to reduce number of possessions further
* 21 days no alcohol
* 12 times exercize
* Finally get back into improving my Chinese
* Make use of my talent program perks at work to get a coach
* "declutter" the mind and come to terms with some old issues

AussieGirl
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:32 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by AussieGirl » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:14 pm

Hi Singvestor. Great journal and great graphs. I'm inspired to produce something similar for myself. Thank you!

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:51 pm

reducing amount of clothing has always been a fun exercise for brute. it allows him to justify owning higher quality clothing instead of tons of crap he never wears anyway. currently brute is back up from his lowest ever amount of articles of clothing, but it's still manageable. it makes everything easier.

sounds like Singvestor has it pretty cushy in his job. if the SG economy is really in a bad spot, it might just make sense to search for meaning in other parts of life. exercise, friends, family, the minimalist girlfriend. maybe the economy will allow jumping to another job in a few years, but in the meantime, Singvestor is cashing his checks and finding meaning elsewhere. go Singvestor!

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #17: November 2016

Post by singvestor » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:06 pm

November was a mad month in terms of work. The first two weeks I slacked off but then worked long hectic days for the rest of the month. I made it to round 3 for a new position in a different country with my current company. Outcome is still pending. If I got the job I would be able to bring my retirement forward by a few years, thanks to a cushy delegation package. Fingers crossed!

Chiang Mai

I spent 4 days in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a favorite place for so called “digital nomads” and early retirees, but I really do not understand the appeal. The whole city is full of old American guys watching MMA on TV in bars and is crowded with backpackers and tourists. It is not bad, but I do not understand the hype.

I went during the Loi Krathong festival (Wikipedia) where Thais traditionally float little flower baskets down the river and release a bunch of lanterns into the sky, making a wish as they so. This is all I understood about it, about as much as the thousands of other foreigners taking part in the spectacle.

Image
There was a huge crowd of tourists and the sky was full of yellow glowing lanterns. The next day they could be found all over the city, on roofs, hanging from trees etc.

Image
Banking.

Monthly goal review:
  • Get rid of all clothes in my flat that I do not wear anymore: partly achieved, recycled 2 bags. My girlfriend got inspired and reduced her clothes by four bags and now has about half as many clothes as me.
  • Try to reduce number of possessions further: failed, need to make a new attempt.
  • 21 days no alcohol: shamefully failed again with only 13 days and gained 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) as result. Not good. I have to make drastic changes to this. When I feel like drinking beer with friends I will try and go to the gym instead. I was living very healthily the first half of the year and then fell of the wagon. Current BMI is 23.6 but I am normally feeling comfortable only < 23.
  • 12 times exercise: failed, 10 times
  • Finally get back into improving my Chinese: failed
  • Make use of my talent program perks at work to get a coach: achieved, got a coach, he seems energetic so far, full sessions to start next week. Not sure what to expect.
  • "declutter" the mind and come to terms with some old issues: ongoing project with ups and downs.
It is embarrassment, but I am committed to changing.

Savings rate November

Savings rate was not too exciting. I saved a puny 30.1% or pre-tax income or 32.6% after tax.

ERE Scorecard

Image

Overall saving rate has fallen below the magical 40% to 39.9%. That is far from ideal. December will see a higher investment thanks to the Christmas bonus and will then push the overall score up.

Portfolio update November

Despite political turmoil my portfolio increased by SGD 5,154 or 3.2% to SGD 168,124 (= USD 118,400). This increase consisted of SGD 2,490 and fresh investments of SGD 2,664.

Image

Investments-vs-Plan

In November I invested SGD 2,664, just a tad over the SGD 2,600 goal. Total investment year-to-date sits at SGD 46,757 (USD 33,000). I have exceeded last year’s investments already now (last year: SGD 46,037)

Image

Image

If all goes well I will invest more than SGD 50,000 this year which is a nice amount.

Currency mix

Still too heavy on the USD (Hong Dollar is pegged to USD and Singapore dollar trading in a narrow band). Will have to keep adding to the EUR denominated ETFs.

Image

Dividends received:

None… One of these sad no-dividend months.

Hypothetical monthly income

Image

Not too bad! SGD 560.

Coast FI age

For fun I calculated the following: If I suddenly decided to stop investing, when would I be able to retire based on growth of current portfolio? Assumptions: 6% annual portfolio growth, 2% inflation.
November result: I can retire at age 86... (unchanged from last month)

Confessions of my ERE sins

Went to Vietnam and got another suit tailored. Costs start at USD 100 for cheaper wool, but I picked nicer wool and bought a suit with 2 pairs of pants for USD 200. Suit is very high quality and timeless looking, so I can wear it for a very long time, provided I don’t get any fatter.

I also got two pairs of work shoes with leather soles handmade for USD 50 each, as well as a pair of moccasins (USD 45).

It is a bit embarrassing really, but the quality is very good and I retired three existing pairs of worn out shoes that I do not wear anymore, to keep the total shoe amount constant.

Outlook

December is a month full of excitement for me as I will be notified of the result of my job interviews in the next few weeks. I am also going to spend 2 weeks with the minimalist girlfriend in the Philippines.

Main targets are: 21+ days without alcohol, 12+ days sport to get into better shape.

On the financial front my Christmas bonus will give a nice year-end boost to savings. Next monthly update will only come on Jan 7-9 as I am not intending to bring my laptop to the island.
Last edited by singvestor on Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:06 pm

agreed that Chiang Mai is a bit anticlimactic. it's nice. but not very exciting. which area did Singvestor mostly hang out in?

regarding the 12+ days of workouts, what about making the workouts much smaller? things like 3 sets of push-ups to failure. that takes about 2 minutes to achieve every morning, easily doable before taking a shower.

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:55 am

Hi Brute! I stayed in a central part of Chiang Mai and had to endure endless night market shopping sessions with my girlfriend's friends - maybe that is why I did not like the town too much. Regarding sport: I managed the sport goal better this month, doing body weight training definitely helped. I just did a simple routine of mountainclimbers, squats, jumps, pushups, situps, burpees (30 seconds each exercise, 5 rounds).

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:07 pm

nice, circle training with bodyweight is good and can be done anywhere any time :)

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #18: December 2016 & Full Year Review

Post by singvestor » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:52 pm

December 2016 Goal review:

21+ days without alcohol: failed (only 20 times)
12+ days sport: achieved (15 times)

In December I spent two weeks in the Philippines and did a free diving course for two days. A very different experience from scuba diving. It requires a lot of focus and switching the mind to a calm state. After some practice it is very easy even for beginners to dive deeper than 10 meters on a single breath. Trained free divers like my instructor can easily do 40 meters or hold their breath for 4-5 minutes, it is impressive.

Image

Beaches like this one can be found all over the Philippines.

I also practiced motorbike riding on a cheaply rented 125 cc bike and enjoyed it tremendously.

Quick December portfolio update

The value of my portfolio increased by SGD 6,831 or 4.1% to SGD 174,955 (~USD 121,500). This gain was composed of SGD 6,408 in fresh investments and capital gains of SGD 423.

Image

2016 Goal Review

Total saving goal for 2016: SGD 50,080: Achieved, saved SGD 54,264 (USD 37714)
Target saving rate for 2016: 40.2%: Missed, saved 39.4%

I had higher than expected income but did not save as much as planned. Overall a very solid year though.

Image

Image

I managed to exceed my monthly investment plan by quite a bit.

Personal life in 2016

Not an easy year for me personally and professionally. From April to December I was really struggling through some old issues. Only now that I am a doing better I realize how difficult it was.
Work was a bit dull to say the least, but I was hardly ever stressed and also had some good times with colleagues.

Full year portfolio update

Couldn’t resist creating a waterfall chart…. ;)

Image

I started the year with SGD 74,950 and over the year invested a total of SGD 49,641 in fresh funds. Additionally, I received SGD 3,929 in dividends which I reinvested. This year Mr. Market was very nice to my portfolio and it gained SGD 12,310. I furthermore divested my old whole life insurance plan which stupid younger me had signed up for since it was sold to me as some type of fund based pension plan.
All in all, my portfolio increased by SDG 100,005 to SGD 174,955.

Dividends received in 2016

In 2016 SGD 3,929 were paid out to me by my ETF holdings. A nice increase to the SGD 1,571 in 2015.

Image

Image

In most countries focusing so much on dividends is not a good strategy, but here in Singapore they are tax free. It is somehow very satisfying to receive these payments and it keeps me on track.

Best investment in 2016

I have long limited investing into individual stocks and have kept picked stocks <10% of the portfolio. Soon this share will be reduced to <5% as the portfolio grows. Having said that, I could not resist the 8% dividend yield of HSBC when the stock fell to HKD 46 in Q1 2016. I have met quite a few HSBC people and feel that it is a very well run and great company, so I bought shares for around SGD 7,000 which have since returned +43% including dividends.

I am not planning to buy any individual stocks this year and will focus on passive index funds as always.

Asset allocation

Image

All on track. In the medium term the share of picked stocks should be reduced. I am quite happy with 25% in bonds and will probably not reduce this much further.

Overall ERE progress 2016

Image

Overall progress would have been better, but I had to buffer SGD 4,000 to pay taxes earlier, since I might leave Singapore in the near future for a new job with the existing company. Hopefully the contract can be signed this month, but lots of things could still go wrong.
Savings rate of 39.3% is not good and I have to improve this further. A savings rate of 50% should be easily achievable.

Where did the money go?

Image

Image

It seems like I increased discretionary spending in 2016, but only because I had no other category to slot in the SGD 4,000 I saved for a possible early tax payment next year. Without this effect spending would be constant. Still at a far too high level though!

Hypothetical monthly income at 4% WR

Image

SGD 583... Slowly climbing up.

Coast FI age

If I suddenly decided to stop investing, when would I be able to retire based on growth of current portfolio? Assumptions: 6% annual portfolio growth, 2% inflation. December result: I can retire at age 85...

Outlook for 2017

So I got offered the job in my current company. Terms are good but the posting is subject to approval by some committee meeting in a few weeks. Chances are good and I might leave Singapore in a few weeks. This might totally change my route to FI and offer significant advantages.

The minimalist fiancée (she said yes of course) would join me and is excited as well.

Fingers crossed!

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Monthly update #19: January 2017

Post by singvestor » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:38 am

January 2017 Goal review:

21+ days without alcohol: failed (only 18 times)
12+ days sport: achieved (12 times)

I went to China for the Lunar New Year. The country has has changed a lot for the better. I only visited a so called “tier 2” city which tend to lag behind the ultramodern likes of Shanghai or Shenzhen, but there was a lot of change in the air.

While people complained about the slowing economy, new bike sharing apps had sprung up and there were bikes to rent with your mobile phone all over the city. I took a bus which ran completely on electricity and almost silently zipped through the traffic. China is still growing and innovating.
Another cool invention: these automated 24-hour library vending machines. Also pictured: automated bike rental and even some recycling bins in the background. The latter were unthinkable just a few years back.

Image

ERE Scorecard January

Image

Saving rate of 30.7% is nothing to write home about, but I am still saving up for the possibility of an earlier tax payment and certain indirect moving costs. I already counted these funds as “spent” even though they are waiting in my bank account.

Portfolio update January

Image

My portfolio increased by SGD 6,343 or 3.6% to SGD 181,298 (= USD 128,570). This increase consisted of capital gains of SGD 3,564 and fresh investments of SGD 2,779.

Investment vs. Plan

In January I invested SGD 2,779, just a tiny bit less than my SGD 2,800 goal.

Image

Dividends received

In January I received SGD 871 in tax free dividends, a huge increase from just SGD 159 last year.

Image

It is quite motivating to see how the dividend payments are slowly picking up steam.

Asset allocation

Image

All is perfectly in plan.

Hypothetical monthly income at 4% WR

Image

SGD 604 per month.

Coast FI age

If I suddenly decided to stop investing, when would I be able to retire based on growth of current portfolio? Assumptions: 6% annual portfolio growth, 2% inflation. January result: I can retire at age 84...

Outlook and goals for 2017

I plan to invest SGD 53,000+ in 2017, which would mean to invest the same amount as 2016. 2016 I had received a windfall of SGD 7,500 so it will definitely be challenging to repeat this feat

New job in current company is supposed to be decided in the next few days. If all works well it will allow for dramatic changes and great geographical arbitrage options. If the new job should be improved I will set a more challenging stretch goal.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:38 pm

brute loves it when a plan comes together :)

User avatar
giskard
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:07 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by giskard » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:30 am

Hey Singvestor, I read your journal and your life in SE Asia seems really awesome. It is especially interesting that you are so close to Thailand, Sri Lanka, ect, and can just go there easily from where you are (all places that would be amazing to visit). I hope you keep updating this as you progress, even if you move away from Singapore.

I know you said you work for a European company and went to school in Europe. Can I ask what industry you are in?

And let's say, hypothetically, I'm a programmer and I wanted to get a job in Singapore and live there (I'm a US Citizen), how your you recommend going about doing that? Just curious and bored with my midwestern life & job.

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:32 pm

Hi Giskard, life in Asia is quite fun, but I can imagine that the midwest has a lot of advantages as well. Especially nice, cheap housing, nature... I am in a very boring old industry and my Master's degree is in social sciences. Pretty much a worst case for career optimization, but I was lucky to get a good job out of uni thanks to slaving away in various jobs during studying. Uni was free and terrible, but I am glad I do not have student loans.

Moving to Singapore is quite easy, the best is to find a job first via LinkedIn or even better in your current company. In your scenario I would search out US tech companies in Singapore and then use LinkedIn to find concrete people. You could then call them or write to them to ask for openings, but also for information on the particular industry.

Tech is a very challenging field though. From reading a lot of personal finance forums it seems that programmers in the US can earn huge salaries right out of uni and there is a big shortage in the market driving salaries up. In Singapore this is not the case as many programmers are recruited out of India where a huge talent pool exists. This leads to salaries for programmers being low. The image of tech/programming is not very good here, much opposed to the US. If I were you I would try to go for a more management related role in a US firm which always prefers hiring people from the US (natural bias). There are still very well paid jobs available.

Other than Singapore there are some good choices available: llife is pretty exciting in Shanghai/Shenzhen - if you want to make some dramatic change in your life I would recommend Shenzhen. You could get a job in a heartbeat, but it is only for the adventurous.

User avatar
giskard
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:07 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by giskard » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:06 pm

@singvestor thanks for the reply. Pretty interesting to know about programmers in Singapore. You are probably right, I may as well stick around in the states if I am going to continue on in tech!

That is also good advice about getting into management and then trying to get moved over somewhere overseas. That is a possible route that makes a lot of sense.

taemoo
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:59 am
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by taemoo » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:57 pm

Great journal, you are making fantastic progress!

Bummer that you didn't like Chiang Mai too much. I've never been but from reading about it, I was hoping to settle there when I FIRE due to low costs, weather, proximity to hiking, food, and people. From your extensive traveling, do you have a recommendation of an Asian country that fits my criteria?

User avatar
singvestor
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by singvestor » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:25 am

Really tricky question, Taemoo! It depends a lot on personal preference. I would recommend you do an extended holiday in a number of shortlisted ERE places. I can imagine a lot of countries which would fit the bill, including Laos (for nature, people, solitude), Philippines (for nature, ocean and warm people), Taiwan (for hiking, sports and culture and the most friendly people in Asia)... Even Hokkaido might be wonderful and is not as expensive as it sounds.

Chiang Mai is not all bad, it is overall a pleasant place but a bit overcrowded with tourists and Western foreigners settling there. Maybe another Thai city might be better - so many places to choose from. I was reading millenial revolution (good blog, silly title) and the author compared leaving chiang mai to amputating her arm. So there seems to be a lot to love about that place.

For me personally the last & only time I felt such strong love for a place was in Greece. It is totally subjective of course...

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by BRUTE » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:01 pm

Chiang Mai does have a ton of western tourists, but they're pretty concentrated in a few areas - the inside of the moat and hipster gentrified areas like Nimman. even a 10 minute ride away from those areas, everyone is Thai.

still, it's definitely a good idea to travel around a bit to find a spot that will fit taemoo. hard to judge places via the internet.

taemoo
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:59 am
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Singvestor's awakening

Post by taemoo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:21 pm

Thanks for the great insights singvestor and brute
singvestor wrote:I was reading millenial revolution (good blog, silly title) and the author compared leaving chiang mai to amputating her arm.
I'm a big fan of Wanderer and Firecracker and my interest of Chiang Mai was heightened after their posts. I also follow GoCurryCracker and they showed some love for Chiang Mai.

Yeah will need to explore the region to figure out what fits for me. Thanks again!

Post Reply