Sunday, 17 September 2023

Selling Covered Calls for 2 months | What I have learned and mistakes done

I have been doing some covered calls since July and it’s been a learning experience as I earn some side cash on the side and maybe also some losses? There have been times when I did things in a rush and it ended up with me having to lose some profit which I will share more. In the end, if I did not panic, it would have turned out fine.

Selling covered calls on………

TSLA and PLTR. Most of the premiums are from TSLA since it is a volatile stock and it is a popular stock for options since the premiums are rather huge compared to others. PLTR is a smaller value as I don’t hold as much of it as compared to TSLA. 100 shares of TSLA is very different in absolute value against 100 shares of PLTR.

Panicked when the market price came close to the strike price, rolled it at a loss and bought eventually bought it back at a loss as well

I started selling covered calls in mid July and it was great in the beginning as the market was a sideways market for TSLA and PLTR, it was a slightly downward market meaning that selling covered calls were good as price got lower, I can readjust it and earn more premium as the market price got lower.

On 21 August 2023, Tesla experienced a jump up in prices and it did scare me as I saw it go substantially nearer to my strike price. My strike price was about $10 in difference from the original market price but as Tesla shares are exceptionally volatile, the market price went up.

I panicked and rolled it up towards another week with a slightly higher strike price but I realised that I should have not as now I will need to wait another week for it to expire and with the price rising at a rapid pace, it might zoom past my strike price even before the week comes.

I then proceeded to buy back the covered call and recorded a loss. Eventually, I realised that I should have just left it to expire because even though the market price was near the strike price because it eventually did not hit it and even if it did and someone took over my shares, I could have sold a cash secured put for it. I learned through that and I think there will be many more lessons but it was a great learning point.

Lost my shares

As Morgan Stanley released a report on Tesla’s Dojo Supercomputer on a Sunday, 10 Sep 2023, the stock soared in the week of 11 Sep 2023. I had a covered call with a strike price of $267.5 which was exercised and currently, as of 16 Sep 2023, Tesla is at $274 after market.

I shall see on Monday how the shares are and sell a cash secured put. Selling a cash secured put means that I can choose a price that I would like to buy 100 shares at with a premium received but the buyer will be the one who has to exercise it for me to be able to get the 100 shares at my strike price.

I checked with chatGPT and got the following response since it will be my first time selling a cash secured put, “If you have sold a cash-secured put option (also known as writing a put), you do not have the right to exercise it. Instead, the buyer of the put option has the right to exercise it if they choose to do so. As the seller, your obligation is to buy the underlying asset at the strike price if the buyer decides to exercise the option. You are at the mercy of the buyer's decision, and you must fulfill this obligation if exercised, but you cannot initiate the exercise yourself.” I will maybe update on this if I have the time.

More to come

It’s been a period of learning and I kinda get it but of course with TSLA being a very very volatile stock/company, anything can happen within the span of a week. It’s been interesting and I will continue to learn and share updates on it.

I read up a lot before embarking on this but I realised that the best way to learn is to experience it and you will get a better gauge of it. Exciting journey and I will keep exploring and learn.

Sunday, 10 September 2023

Taiwan’s low wage university graduates

I came across this documentary on Taiwan youths by CNA. It explores the low wage situation in Taiwan for fresh graduates as 54% of their youth (aged 25-34) have university degrees hence tougher competition and coupled with declining growth in the country, SMEs (small, medium enterprise) are not willing to pay more as there is an oversupply of labour that can be taken.

Many of the individuals interviewed worked multiple jobs with some being part-time or full-time. To add to the tough situation of low wage, many of them come from other cities to work in Taipei and need to pay for rent which is a huge recurring cost. Rent takes up a huge proportion of their salary hence resulting in them not being able to save money at the end of the month.

The Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL) unveiled the average starting salary at between NT$24,000 (US$808) and NT$47,000 (US$1,245) for working-age graduates in 2021.

Very privileged to be born in Singapore

Opportunities and circumstances are better in Singapore than Taiwan although a much higher cost of living is coupled with that. For starters, most of us would not need to rent a place as we stay with our parents and do not need to move inter-cities to work because Singapore is a city state. At most, you will need to go to Tuas for work while staying at Pasir Ris. Of course, that is provided your parents have a property that you do not need to help pay for or that you are able to live with them, renting in Singapore is expensive and has balloon over the past year. So it depends on your circumstances but for the majority, we would be able to live with our parents.

Based on this article released in 2021 about Singapore, 33% of residents above 25 years of age has obtained a university degree in 2020. A smaller proportion compared to Taiwan (54%) but as most Singaporeans get older, they do see a larger population getting a degree.

Having more opportunities to explore, it can create a world of difference. We have MNCs here and various associate graduate programs and scholarships, even if you do not choose either of the 2, I would say that there are jobs available although fresh graduates would have to really work hard on first building that experience through internships or have good interview skills to get that first job.


The girt of Taiwanese can be seen in the video, this is what I see through the lens of the few individuals featured and also the female professor who said that without the language barrier, the diligence of Taiwanese and their education would definitely make them attractive to employ.

The resilience seen in the youths are strong and they are working hard for a better life even if the odds are against them. Many take on a second job and harbour the hopes of making their dreams come true. It’s interesting to see how the youths in other countries are surviving and that in a way we all do face similar yet different situations.

AI revolution

With the earnings of Google and Microsoft out, we can see a huge focus towards AI. Even during my company meetings, many also voiced out feedback and opinions on AI and how will it affect our day to day operations whether will it help us or eventually displace us. It is after all an unpredictable future ahead.

A businessinsider article mentioned that Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon mentioned "AI" 168 times in their earnings calls last week. We can see the importance of AI and how the various key figures know that this can increase productivity which could very well mean that manpower will be reduced.

AI engineers are very much in demand, even knowing how to use ChatGPT is a huge plus point if you are looking for a new job because the employer knows how much time it can save you if it can be a partner in your work. Although some say ChatGPT is outdated considering the pace at which AI tools are being generated.

The world is changing, adaptability as well as the willingness to learn is so important. Industries are set to revolutionise and the years to come would be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Experiencing another loss in my family

My grandmother passed on about 1/2 week ago and it really is in the midst of our busy life where we pause and gather to mourn the passing of an important person in our lives.

Seeing my grandmother’s life, she has worked hard all her life, providing care and support to our family and to those around her. Life was tough during her time and I would remember fondly when I stayed over at her place and she would cook and take care of me.

One most memorable memory with my grandparents was when in the wee hours of the morning (I used to stay over at their place alone as my primary school was nearby and I was in the morning session), someone shouted FIRE and there was commotion within the estate. We woke up and found smoke rushing into the flat, we wasn’t sure what was happening but my grandma rushed us to get a cloth and wet it to place it over our nose. As a small room was being added to the flat unit at that time as part of an upgrading project, we climbed over the concrete barrier, closed the window tightly (supposedly the door but it was not yet completed) and hid in that small room. My grandfather shouted down for help and we just stayed in there.

My grandmother was very calm and to be honest, being a primary school kid, I was panicking and I told them that I wanted to pee hahaha, what great timing. I really thought I was gonna die as images of being dead at such a young age flashed through my mind. My grandmother found a plastic bag and told me that I could pee into it which I did.

After some time, the firefighters came and extinguished the fire and it originated from the 2nd floor unit below us so the smoke and fumes travelled upwards which explains why the house was filled with smoke making it impossible to escape at that time. I was relief but did have some scary thoughts whenever I stayed over.


There were many memories with my grandmother as I used to stay with them in the afternoon when I was young while my mum was at work. I remember reaching home from school and starting to play video games and when the time was nearer towards my mum coming back, my grandmother would pester me to bathe and not play games as my mum was gonna be back any minute.

It was nice to have someone there to tell me what to do and help prepare my meals. I took it for granted when I was young that my grandmother would always be there for us but as time passed and I started working, I spent lesser time with her and every time I visited her, her health deteriorated and at a certain point, we all knew that we would not be able to taste her delicious cooking or hear her nag again.

I guess this is what life is, you work hard and build relationships and as you age, only the closest relations remain as many of my grandmother’s friends passed away earlier than her including my grandfather. My grandmother also had a helper who was really good to her and helped her and us a lot during her later years.

Letting go

I used to be really scared of losing my grandmother since she took care of me and we relied a lot on her when my mum was working full-time. She cooked lunch and dinner every single day and made sure to take care of us whenever my mum was busy working.

She was always there and her home was like a childcare centre as my cousins and I took turns staying there or having our meals there. This went on for quite some time although we moved out of her place when I was in secondary school but we still had our meals daily there until I was in polytechnic. As I progressed onto university and her health deteriorated, the visiting lessened and LNY (Lunar New Year) was really the only huge event when everyone would be there. We spent lesser time with her as we got a helper to take care of her and we all became busier with life.

I remember there were a few times when she felt ill and we rushed over to her place, for the first few times, I cried when I went over as the thought of losing her was painful. This went on for a few years and even more frequent this past year as she went into the hospital a few times and each time, the doctor would tell us that she would not last long but she was strong and like what my brother said, “Ah ma was a fighter and survivor”. She would bounce back from her critical condition each time and we took it for granted until now when she could no longer fight.

We took her passing relatively in our stride because we had so many ‘warnings’ and also because we knew it was a relief for her especially the past year where she became bedridden and was not able to take any solid food towards the last few months of her life.

Thank you so much Ah ma for all the love and care you have given us, we definitely took you for granted but know that we will always miss you for all that you have done for us. We love you and see you.

Sunday, 6 August 2023

Trying my hand in selling options | Collected $300 in premiums so far

I was watching some videos on options and also KelvinLearnsinvesting and here, where he provides such a great simpler version and so it is much easier to understand so I decided to check out how it works. I first needed to learn how it works and so I read and watch video tutorials on covered calls and cash secured puts.

There are a lot of information online and I won’t go too deep explaining it since I might get it wrong too but for a covered call, you will need 100 shares and you are selling a call option and if the price of a stock reaches the strike price or beyond what you selected then you will need to sell your 100 shares and you will lose the difference if the stock prices goes up up and beyond your strike price where you would also get to keep the premium. If it doesn’t hit the set strike price you selected then you can keep the premium after it expires and continue selling covered calls.

For cash secured puts, you will need to prepare cash for 100 shares of whatever you are selling a put option for so in case the stock prices drops to what you set, then you will need to pay for the 100 shares and keep the premium if it doesn’t hit then, you can keep the premium and continue with your cash secured puts. I hope what I have said is correct but I have started a few transactions and so far, it’s been profit but this is in a short term market and a market that is trending downwards (due to Fitch downgrade) so covered calls so far has been great.

My experience

  • Palantir shares

I do have 100 shares of 2 stocks and I have started buying covered calls on them. Both are pretty volatile stocks and they are…………Palantir and Tesla but for starters, I chose Palantir as it is an easy entry into getting 100 shares but I did make a mistake where I bought a month long covered call (also cos the premium was more) and it will expire after the earnings call which is scheduled for 7 August 2023. To be honest I was aware of it but I did not know the price will fluctuate so much.

When I bought it, it was not at it’s current price, it was lower and I bought a covered call expiring on 11 August 2023 with a strike price of $21 since my cost price is about $20 (bought during the high). I collected a premium of $54 (USD) for it. This was my first covered call and I didn’t mind losing the 100 shares and wanted to familiarise in using the platform and how it will be. More of a learning experience, if I have to sell it, at least I would learn it at a lower cost.

As Palantir shares started going up in value due to the AI hype and upcoming earnings, my covered call become less valuable, I did panic a little but wasn’t really worth it to close or to roll it. I know that I could roll my position but the loss would still be there. So I am just holding onto it at the moment and see how it goes. If it sells off due to the shares hitting $21 then I will just change and sell cash secured puts on it.

  • Tesla shares

Tesla shares are super volatile and we can definitely see that over the years. So far, I have sold weekly options on it with premiums of about $100 per week. It has been trending sideways/downwards so I have been earning the premiums and selling it on a new week. I started from setting my strike price at $280 and for this week, I set it at $270. I am setting the strike price to be further out of the money to maximise my profits in case it hits beyond and yet a comfortable premium that is substantial. The week has ended so next week, I would see how it is and sell a new covered call.

My cost price for my Tesla shares are lower than the current price so selling it at any price would be a profit for me however we know that Tesla shares are very volatile and if a sudden good news comes up the price will shoot up so if it hits my strike price then I would have to sell the 100 shares hence limiting my upside. But I can go ahead and sell a cash secured put right after.

Weekly call options has been good and I will continue but if the market turns super bullish then I might take a pause and see how it goes. It has been an exciting journey and I have learned along the way, a lot more to be learned since I have just started about 3 weeks ago. A lot of things can only be learned on the job so getting started has been the first step to learning.

How I track my transactions

I have been using the google sheet from KelvinLearnsinvesting and it has been a great experience. I am using interactive brokers to administer the selling of options. A sideway market is great for this and I shall see how it goes, will share more on my journey. My DCA-ing into index ETFs still continues. Still very new and will just try and learn more of it for some time.

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Sunday, 30 July 2023

Stealth Wealth and Quiet Luxury

Stealth wealth is the practice of being wealthy without flaunting it. Stealth wealth individuals may drive modest cars, live in modest homes, and wear nondescript clothing. They may also choose to keep their financial status a secret from friends, family, and colleagues.

There are many reasons why someone might choose to live a stealth wealth lifestyle. Some people may do it to avoid unwanted attention from friends, family, or criminals. Others may do it to maintain a sense of humility or to avoid being seen as materialistic. Still others may do it simply because they don't see the need to show off their wealth.

Whatever the reason, stealth wealth is a growing trend. A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that 62% of wealthy Americans are now choosing to live a stealth wealth lifestyle.

Where I first heard it

I read about stealth wealth when I was reading financial samurai and it wrote about how you can stay invisible to the society. Stealth wealth is the act of being wealthy without having to show it off. In Singapore’s context, we have heard of many examples where people with booming businesses were reported to IRAS and not saying that you should not be paying your taxes but not putting yourself out there can reduce the amount of attention that you are getting and live your life peacefully.

Also, we always say that the people who are the richest are those who are wearing singlets and slippers because to them there is no need to flaunt the wealth as they already have everything they need. In a way, if you can dress in a way that elude elegance regardless of the brand that you are wearing then that is the way to go.

The purpose is not to be flashy as you attract unnecessary attention but in today’s world where attention can be monetised, I guess in a way, if you like to be loud about your wealth then go for it. With all that said, I would think that this applies to individuals of a certain wealth level because you don’t want to be evoking other’s hate.

Quiet Luxury

Quiet luxury is a style of living that emphasizes understated elegance and quality over overt displays of wealth. It is often characterized by a minimalist aesthetic, with a focus on timeless pieces that are made from high-quality materials.

Here are some of the key characteristics of quiet luxury:

  • Understated elegance: Quiet luxury is all about understated elegance. It is not about flashy logos or over-the-top designs. Instead, it is about choosing pieces that are simple and classic, but that still exude a sense of sophistication.
  • Quality materials: Quiet luxury is also about quality materials. It is important to invest in pieces that are made from high-quality materials, such as cashmere, leather, and silk. These materials will last longer and look better, even if they are more expensive.
  • Timeless pieces: Quiet luxury is about timeless pieces. These are pieces that will never go out of style. They are the kind of pieces that you can wear for years to come and still look stylish.
  • Minimalist aesthetic: Quiet luxury is often associated with a minimalist aesthetic. This means that there is a focus on simple, uncluttered lines and designs. There is no need for a lot of bells and whistles when you are trying to achieve a quiet luxury look.

Difference between Stealth Wealth and Quiet Luxury

While these two are easy to confuse, there's one fundamental difference between them. Those who practice stealth wealth dressing are truly trying to hide their affluence, while quiet luxury is just another (albeit, very understated) way to appear wealthy.

Presentation of Wealth

I saw the podcast/video on The Woke Salaryman where they talked to Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend, a fee-only wealth advisory firm in Singapore and he described the high net-worth individuals who engage them usually dress simple and do not flaunt their wealth and in a way, is an example of stealth wealth.

When I was young, I always heard that when we go Orchard Road, the really really rich people are those in their singlet and slippers although I don’t know how true that is, I believe that there is some truth in it. To me, stealth wealth is a good way to live and we can see many examples of it especially in the older generations (eg. Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger)

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Monday, 24 July 2023

Introducing my sibling to investing

My brother started work mid last year and towards the end of 2022, he was interested in getting into the stock market as he was saving and knew that his friends were investing as well. He knew that I am investing and so came to me to ask on how he could get started. There were definitely some things that I had to tell and let him know before starting.

  • Remind him that the stock market is volatile and there is the possibility of losing money

He has the basic understanding of the stock market but was clueless about how to start and what suits him best. What I did was to explain to him broadly what investing is and how I do it. I also shared some general information and websites to him to read up. I felt that he needed to be learning and reading up on it since he was the one interested and after he had some understanding, I could help him further with questions that he had.

So of course even after all that reading up, I also told him that the stock market is not like leaving your money in your bank account, it can go down and depending on what you invest in, it can be volatile in bad times. And on having an emergency fund as well as ensuring that he builds a base of index ETFs first before venturing to individual stocks that he was interested in.

  • Understand your emotions and not be too fixated on the numbers unless you think you need to change your investing strategy

I also wanted to let him know that the stock market is not linear and it could go down for quite some time meaning that you must be in check/control of your emotions and not sell whenever you see a huge dip or buy only when the market is in a bull market.

During a bear market is when you can see how you react, keep to your routine and ensure that you do not stop buying during a bear market. It is crazy experiencing a drop or a change from a bull to bear market market, you really can’t imagine it unless you experience it but you can prepare yourself for it.

When he started investing last year, it was a bear market and I have to admit that he was a little upset when he checked his portfolio monthly and he would tell me that he was losing money but I told him that he knew what he was investing in and believe that those companies would do well in the long term or rather USA as a country would also do well.

Fast forward to now, his portfolio is in the green but he hasn’t really experience a downturn in that he started when it was down but although I have gone through the COVID drop, Ukraine and Russia war that triggered the downturn, I haven’t yet experience something drastic like the 2008-2009 financial crisis which was crazy.

  • Choosing a brokerage for yourself

I think it was a process of trying out the different brokerages to get a feel of what you want and it is also all right to have a few brokerages to use at the same time which I am doing.

Most of my friends would like to just have one brokerage account and to have everything in there but I do have a google sheet where I manually track and so allow me to have a few brokerage account and if I want to know the total, I can just refer to my google sheet. But it works either way, my brother liked Syfe Trade interface as compared to FSMone. Most of my friends do not like interactive broker’s interface but I am used to it so my main account is interactive brokers.

I recently also started some options (covered calls and cash secured puts) so interactive brokers has been helpful since there are many tutorial videos on it. This really depends but fees and a few other things also play an important part so it’s good to also check and read up before starting.

  • DCA is the best if you automate it

My brother has saved an emergency fund and knew that he would have excess from his monthly salary coming in, I suggested to him to start an automated monthly buy to ensure it is a hands-free approach for him. I guess he is working well with that as he doesn’t like to manually fixate on the prices although he is slowly dabbling into the individual stocks.

Getting started is the best

When I first started investing, I did have a lot of reservations as I wanted everything to be perfect in that the best brokerage, best timing/period to buy stock and also to ensure that everything was in place. But eventually, getting started and doing something first was the best as you would learn along the way on different things that you thought would be best but turn out otherwise.

It is a journey and a slow buildup especially in the first few years if you do not have a big capital and rely on your main income to supplement your investments but down the years, depending on what you have bought, it should accumulate. Investing has become so easy to access but there are definitely pros and cons to it so if you are interested in investing, read up, learn more and get started!

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Sunday, 9 July 2023

Q2 2023 Portfolio Update

This has been a phenomenal quarter for the portfolio in terms of recovery and of course, hoping for the same next quarter although we are expecting 2 more interest rate hikes, I would say the market is still rather bullish although many are expecting a recession but the economy is not the stock market so we shall see how it goes.

Tesla has been on a great run together with QQQ which both have rather substantial positions in my portfolio. Not doing much at the moment so not much to update on. Weather has been crazy, starting with rainy and cooling temperatures in the morning but turns into the vicious sun with sun rays that can kill in the afternoon, I have been staying indoors mostly.

Work has been tense and tough as teams are getting leaner, we do see some tough situations as we have some restructure, turnover rates are pretty high but I am surprised how fast people are able to get a new job? It’s been quiet for me although I have been applying to a few positions just to survey the market and checking out but no interviews came in. Maybe my resume needs some brushing up.

Stock Portfolio

Reaching some great numbers for the total portfolio as the dca-ing into VOO and QQQ over the past few months shows it’s positive effect. Also, I bought some VT to increase my exposure to the world. Not a bad 1H 2023 for the stocks portfolio

Syfe REIT+

Not really adding much into Syfe REIT+ but I added when the market was down although now it's even lower, it will be a sporadic addition. But I would much prefer my funds to be going into the US market. The dividends although not much are re-invested back so I am just leaving it for now and adding small amounts. 

Crypto Portfolio

Nice to see Bitcoin going above USD 30,000 and ETH inching closer to USD 2000. No addition and I don’t think I will be adding much in the months to come. Comfortable with my position in crypto and I will just ride it out.

Overall and steps ahead

No change for the DCA-ing into index ETFs but the volatility in prices is something I am liking in that as we near the date of the July FED meeting, we can see more red as more investors are cautious. So nice to buy during those times too although low could go lower.

Whatever it is, main goal is to accumulate as much as I can. So we shall see how Q3 goes!

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Sunday, 2 July 2023

building up a system to reaching $100,000 and beyond 🚀

I was watching an interview by The Minimalist that was released about 3 years ago but financial advice doesn’t expire so I still find the conversations in there very relevant and useful. In it, Ramit Sethi who was being interviewed talked about building up a set of systems for his finances. With this systems being done, he spends only about 1 hour per month to manage it so that he has time to do other things that are much more meaningful and fulfilling.

Interestingly, he started out with a blog and wrote about financial topics and treated his blog like a laboratory with experiments. A lot of people asked him questions and so he released a book to answer it all. Another good interview he did was here on Impact theory.

Building your own systems and making sure to stick to it, adjust if needed

His version of setting up a system is to automate everything as much as possible from bills to spending and to investments which you can read more here. In Singapore, we can use standing instructions to set up a monthly or periodically transfer to the other bank accounts/external brokerages from our main account.

In his article, he also wrote about how important it is to match up your dates especially for bills to make sure you are paying them on time. Different schedules can be set up for your bills, investments and savings. For example, if your pay comes in on the 5th, set up schedules to automatically transfer or pay the amount.

Most of us would have a regular income coming in but if you have irregular income then a good amount of buffer cash on the side will be good and you might want to put aside a little more into savings before starting out on investments but this really varies depending on the amount you are getting and frequency.

What I do is that on a google sheet, I put down the exact values of what goes into each of my accounts, making sure that it fits the after CPF amount that I receive each month then start setting up everything in the system/bank accounts. This can be aligned with the financial goals you have set for yourself and you can set up the allocation accordingly. Here is an example of how it might look like. It is just an example for reference and will differ from everyone.

At the beginning, you might realise that it is not working as well, maybe you allocated too little to expenses or too much to a certain part, try to see if you can optimise eg cut out certain spending otherwise make changes accordingly but make sure to stick to it. After you have it on over a certain time, you will realise that you do not need to make much changes unless you have a pay raise coming.

Remember that as you automate your credit card bills, do check the statements by enabling email notifications/sms so that you can look through the bills for any fraudulent transactions and also annual fee charges so that you can waive it as needed.

Your system needs time to accumulate and build, give it time to do so

Just as I have mentioned above, everyone will have different needs or goals and so your system might be different from others but what you want is to set up something for accumulation and to ensure that you are doing it consistently.

It will take some time for the results of the whole system to show as time will allow it to accumulate and you will be able to see the results after a few months or a year. The setting up might be a little tedious as you will need to look through your spending and determine what is a good amount to allocate to it and trying to cut it down so that you can increase or build up more savings.

Once you start the whole system, it will be easier over the long run as it will be automated. This will free up more time to do other times as you will not need to manually transfer the money every month. Everyone’s allocation will differ but you will find a number for each section.

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Sunday, 25 June 2023

What’s after $100,000? | Living more in the present and focusing on my social connections

With my recent hitting of $100,000 in liquid assets, which you can read here, I did mention that my next step is to obtain $100,000 value in my investments alone. It’s quite crazy thinking that I have managed after a few years to hit $100,000, it feels long yet short at the same time, long because in numerical form, $100,000 doesn’t feel much in today’s time especially with inflation and property prices in Singapore soaring high.

When you hear people talk about millions in property, rich individuals setting up family offices in Singapore to manage their wealth (although I won't reach there but), $100,000 feels small and like not enough? Short because I mean, I have been working for about 4 years plus full time and I have managed to hit it before age 30, so give me another few years to hit $200,000 and then half a million?

Focusing too much on the numbers might not be great

In my first few years of investing, I was so obsessed with checking my investments, looking and opening my apps multiple times in a day to check and of course, the values didn’t even fluctuate much and I was not even planning to sell or buy anything. After some time, I realise that there really is nothing much I can do by checking the prices every few minutes and so I loosen up.

Now, I usually take a look when my automated buys are done, to key them into the spreadsheet and at the end of the months to keep tabs. The fluctuations nowadays are also more exciting than when I first started, partly because of the stocks I hold (Us versus SG stocks when I first started) and because the value has increased, 1% of $80,000 is different from 1% of $5000.

Living my life towards the next $100,000

I have decided to live my life more and so, making changes and putting myself out there. Financial goals are kinda like the main important thing in my life because it can give me freedom in my later years but I realised I don’t want to miss out on other things as well.

Travelling more is one thing and also expanding my social circle, I am currently working in a company that is flexible and allows me to WFH most of the time which is great but I kinda don’t know my colleagues on a deeper level even those based in Singapore. So besides working connections, I think socially, I wanna work on expanding and knowing more people.

It takes some effort to keep connections with friends and especially so after some time, I do have to admit that I don’t always take the initiative to connect but hope to do so more in the future. I think I am in a good financial position so far, single, no debts and with a not bad job that allows me to save. So on this trajectory, I think I should be able to build up my portfolio if nothing bad happens along the way (job loss or health scares or sudden commitments).

Been a good ride for 1H 2023

The portfolio has been performing well for 2023 so far especially in Q2 and I would guess so for most of the people, 2H 2023 is still unknown and might have a lot more downside, considering at least 2 more interest rate hike by the FED and the FED being very much persistent that this will not be the end as they will want to observe inflation numbers before putting out any further action/interest rate hikes. Also, the macro environment and country’s relations are also top of the mind issues for 2H 2023.

We do see some recovery overall in the markets but people are starting to be wary as the FED seems insistent on pushing inflation down back to 2% and we see UK facing inflation numbers that are still high hence they are also raising rates to combat inflation.

I have been investing in REITs and it has been volatile, prices are very sensitive to news especially on rate hikes and pauses, I am still continuing as I don’t think high interest rates will remain forever, good to buy in when the prices are depressed although diversification matters meaning not all into REITs. 1H 2023 is almost over and it has been a great ride, from the downs in Q1 2023 to the AI boom in Q2, looking forward to the the rest of 2023. How are you positioning your portfolio? And what is your outlook for 2H 2023?

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Sunday, 18 June 2023

Do we all need to have multiple jobs nowadays? | Exploring and doing what I like

My family was watching news on CNA and the topic of AI was in focus specifically on how it will help companies cut costs significantly. I blurt out that will be quite scary if AI can take over all our jobs which in actual fact I think it might in coming years.

My mum continued sharing that her friend’s son also has 2 jobs at the moment even though he has been in the workforce for quite some time, he has his 9-5 job and also gives tuition on the side. Her friend mentioned that nowadays it’s no longer good to have just 1 job, it’s not stable and your job might be gone anytime especially with advancement in technology and how companies are.

My mum agrees with her to a certain extent and told us about it and that we maybe should give some thought about taking up some side hustle or part-time job that pays a good amount. I told her that I know what she’s worried about but I do want to enjoy my time off work and also the weekends.

I did give tuition when I just started my first full-time job about 4 years ago as the amount I was earning was low and some supplement would be great. Although I wouldn’t say I am earning lots now but I am comfortable especially since my expenses did not increase much. It was tiring not in teaching the kids but I felt tired managing the parents and their expectations, it was nice to interact with the kids and help them with their studies but the parents were tough to handle and they really focused a lot on results which I understand since they paid for my service so I eventually didn't continue as I did not enjoy it.

Should we take up another job and set up a side hustle just to earn some extra income and sacrifice some leisure time?

I am sure there are many different part-time or side hustles that can complement a 9 -5 job. Some people start their side hustle while holding a main job and some even can build their side hustle to eventually take over their main 9-5 job. Sounds like a dream come true? haha, there are so many options nowadays, Tiktok and the various social media means you can even build up a following without leaving your home.

My mum suggested to me to start something or do something that can give a side income. I can understand why she thinks that way especially when my company recently had a layoff exercise and quite a number of people were laid off. Updating her on my role changes and although I wasn’t laid off, in some sense, you never know when you will be the next one.

I don’t have any interest or hobbies nor am I great in anything to be honest, baking is not really my thing, creating accessories? Nah, also not what I like. I think it is easy to start something but to monetise it or to have it earn an income is not easy. Also, if you enjoy it as a hobby, I think sometimes it’s good to keep it as a hobby and not try hard to monetise or make it a business.

Continue exploring and trying new things

I think it is all right to explore and try new things, having to think of ideas to monetise or create a business in everything can be tough. But if you need extra income and have the means to do it, I think it is amazing and great. I recently clicked on a house hacking video and it’s amazing how people at different areas can earn a side income from various other sources which might not be feasible in Singapore because our environment and land size differs. But we can apply that theory to many things.

I understand the importance of having a flow of income and even better if you can increase it but it might not be as straightforward, so it definitely differs among individuals and I believe you can work towards increasing your income via just increasing your skills and getting a higher income in your main job. No one size fits all and trying out new things and format is interesting.

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Monday, 5 June 2023

My Journey in investing in my 20s

Why you should start investing in your 20s if possible

Investing in your 20s can have significant long-term benefits due to the power of compounding returns. By starting early, you have more time for your investments to grow and compound over time. Additionally, investing in your 20s allows you to take on more risk, as you have a longer investment horizon to recover from market downturns. Finally, investing in your 20s can help you achieve your long-term financial goals, such as saving for retirement or purchasing a home.

What if I invested $1000 10 years ago? (Past performance is not a guarantee of future results)

If you invested $1,000 in QQQ (Invesco QQQ Trust) 10 years ago, on June 2, 2013, your investment would be worth $4,118.19 as of June 2, 2023, assuming you reinvested all dividends. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%.

QQQ is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the Nasdaq-100 index, which is a basket of 100 of the largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The Nasdaq-100 is known for its high concentration in technology stocks, which have outperformed the broader market in recent years.

However, it is important to remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future results. The stock market is volatile and there is always the risk of losing money when investing. If you are considering investing in QQQ or any other investment, you should carefully consider your investment goals and risk tolerance.

Here is a table showing the performance of QQQ over the past 10 years:


As you can see, QQQ has had a very strong performance over the past 10 years, with a CAGR of 17.5%. However, there have been some periods of volatility, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are considering investing in QQQ, you should be prepared for the possibility of short-term losses.

My Journey

There has been a lot of young individuals who are very interested in investing but do not know when or how to start. To be honest when I first started when I was around 22 years old, I had the inertia to start as well, from which brokerage to use to finding out process for it. After creating my accounts, I was throwing small amount of money, few hundreds at different counters in the SGX. Buying Singtel, Design Studio, Tai Sin, SGX , Nikko AM STI ETF and OCBC. Some ended up profiting but some completely went to 0 which made my overall negative.

Design Studio was a huge lesson for me as I saw it halt in trading and so until now, I am unlikely to be able to sell it off and to be honest, it was a painful lesson as I just bought it without researching much and the profit guidance came just after some time that I bought it. SGX and OCBC turned out well but the losses from my other counters still overpowered the gains.

I held on to my SGX holdings but stopped adding and instead move towards the US market (bought some individual stocks although I also bought the index ETFs). It was much better over there due to the bull market and I bought the index but also occasionally dabbled into individual stocks, still listening to what was popular and I bought in. It was all good as it was a bull market and crypto came along, I bought some BTC and ETH when they were low but in minute amounts then came specifically LUNA. I decided I was going to put a substantial amount of money into LUNA and liquidated all my SGX holdings and split it into US stocks and crypto, looking back now, I was glad that I did allocate some of that money into US stocks (Tesla) rather than all in on crypto.

I am sure you know what happened next, the money in LUNA/UST went to almost 0. I cashed out whatever was left and just swap it for BTC/ETH. If I did not lose that amount, I would have attained my financial goals quicker but it was a good lesson and I learned from it including profit taking and risk allocation as well as not being greedy.

After that, I am now just buying into index ETFs and with small amounts that I have remaining after purchasing index ETFs, I put them into ETH, that’s my overall strategy for no, I do get tempted to buy individual stocks but I control that urge haha and tell myself, 'no, I should be building a base of index ETFs first or rather that should be my priority before I venture further.' So yup, my 20s have been about experimenting, buying different things that usually resulted me in losing money and finally just settled on index ETF specifically VOO and QQQ. What and how is your investing journey so far?

Sunday, 4 June 2023

How would AI allocate money for someone in their late 20s? | Checking with Bard

As AI is not a human, it does not have the need to allocate money for personal use. However, if we were to consider a hypothetical scenario where AI had to allocate their money, it would depend on the purpose and function of the AI.

For example, an AI designed to maximize profits for a company would likely allocate its money towards investments that have a high potential for returns. On the other hand, an AI designed to assist with social and environmental causes may allocate its money towards investments that support sustainability and social responsibility.

It is important to note that AI is only as good as the programming and data it is given. Therefore, the allocation of money by AI would depend on the goals and values of its creators and users.

How would an individual in her late 20s allocate $10,000 into investing once she has her emergency funds put aside?

For an individual in her late 20s with $10,000 to invest, it is important to consider her financial goals and risk tolerance. One potential investment strategy could be to diversify the funds across multiple asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

A common rule of thumb is to allocate a percentage of the funds to each asset class based on age. For example, a 28-year-old could allocate 70% to stocks, 20% to bonds, and 10% to REITs. However, this allocation can be adjusted based on personal preferences and risk tolerance.

It is also important to consider the fees and expenses associated with each investment option. Low-cost index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can provide broad exposure to different asset classes at a lower cost than actively managed funds.

Ultimately, the allocation of funds should be based on the individual's financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. It is recommended to consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

The type of stocks a young person should invest in depends on their financial goals and risk tolerance. Generally, it is recommended to diversify the portfolio across different industries and sectors to mitigate risk. Investing in a broad-based index fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the performance of the overall stock market can provide exposure to a range of stocks. It is important to do thorough research and consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions. Following up with an article soon on my own personal human portfolio allocation.

Friday, 2 June 2023

Being Homeless in Singapore | Learning more about it

Another great documentary from CNA although I would very much like to have an update on the individuals in a few months or a years time to see how they are. If you are not sure what I am talking about, here is Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

I won’t be going in depth about the individuals mentioned in the documentary and I like what was mentioned in the opening where homelessness in Singapore is viewed as an individual who have done something wrong in his life but it actually is a much more complex issue as you see how the individuals in the documentary became homeless, there are many different situations, some of which was out of their control. And over time, they became homeless.

Homelessness in Singapore

If we were to compare homelessness numbers with other countries or even just neighbouring countries, our numbers are significantly lower and to be honest, really low because we do have numerous organisations that offer help to them especially if they are willing to seek help.

Using Bard from Google, we can do a deep dive into the statistics in Singapore. From a nationwide street count, in 2021, there were about 1,036 homeless people and majority of them are males, about 85% with an average of 52 years old. Some of the most common reasons for homelessness are unemployment, mental illness, and addiction although there are also other numerous reasons why some of them end of being homeless.

Some interesting findings about the homeless population in Singapore are that:

  • The homeless population is concentrated in the central and eastern parts of the country.
  • The majority of the homeless people are single, with no children.
  • The homeless people are often from low-income families.
  • The homeless people are more likely to be unemployed and have mental health problems.

How homelessness feels like

Of course, I am definitely not in a position to talk about how it really feels as I have not experienced homelessness however based on the documentary, I would like to share about how the individual feels and how they usually spend their time.

It’s survival mode for Mr Hamad Bin Shukri as he get his water supply from a public toilet to wash his hands and brush his teeth. Additionally, he buys bottled water from the supermarket for about $5.30 per week. I do take water for granted, having supply straight from my tap and my family do boil water before drinking it so it’s quite different from having to walk a distance to replenish my water supply. He has to wake up early to pack his stuff into the aircon generator room, to charge his phone and to take a bath, he waits till late before using the hawker centre/market toilet to wash up. It’s tough as he has to make use of public facilities which means that he has wait till the cleaner is off work and when there are lesser people around. He also works part-time as a packer in Giant. He also has family members in Indonesia that rely on his income.

The next individual is an 81 year old lady who has been homeless for 3 months. She spends her day walking around and taking a rest when she is tired, she packs bread and water for her to eat as a snack, she would also settle her meals at the coffee shops. She also works part-time to earn some money but generally keeps her expenditure low. There are many more who shared their experience and you can watch to know more.

No one wants to be homeless

Throughout the documentary, we can see the individuals trying their best to obtain a place to call their own but of course each individual do have their own criteria which affects how fast they can get a property.

No one wants to be homeless and having a roof over your head and a place to call home is something that I take for granted as well. I would say that I am privileged in having a roof over my head, a job that pays me enough to spend and a country that is safe and stable. I haven’t experience homelessness but it’s difficult to say that I will not be homeless. Some of the individuals were doing well in life and even had their own property like Mdm Yeo who was doing well but sold her property to get capital to start/sustain her events company. So she rented but as rent and property prices increase over the years, she was unable to afford to buy one.

Everyone has a reason why they became homeless but it is not up to us to judge and I believe that they would like to have a permanent roof over their head. The documentary also shows the tough application process as documents need to be prepared and as people who do not have a permanent place to store their items, some of the documents can be difficult to attain.

Great coverage and it will be nice if there is some follow up on these individuals and how they are after some time. Nice to see topics like these being covered and how we view individuals going through a tough time, how they manage it and how for some of them, none of these is their fault but could be due to lack of planning, surrounding issues or sudden changes that resulted in it.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

I have hit $100,000 in liquid assets! - Cash + Investments + Endowment Plan

Yes, I have finally hit the $100,000 mark! It is not just through my investments although that is my next goal, I am adding up my cash positions, investments (stocks and crypto) and 1 endowment plan value based on surrender value (although it will only be paid out when I am 31 years old). Small milestone checked but DCA-ing continues and life still goes on.

It’s been a very very interesting period as we experience the debt celling discussions, saw Nvidia’s crazy stock price action (thought my eyes saw wrongly when I saw pre-market gains of +75 USD and how AI is slowly taking over the world. With Tesla slowly going up towards $200, QQQ and VOO going up with AI hype increasing tech companies and semiconductor companies gaining, my portfolio has some gains though not as much as Nvidia's gains alone.

How I feel hitting the $100,000 mark

To be honest, I was expecting myself to feel amazing or great hitting $100,000 however I don’t feel that there are any changes. Also because I track my investments separate from cash and endowment plan so the number is not in my face but I don’t feel any huge happiness but I am glad to have achieve it although it may fluctuate especially in this volatile period where my stock and crypto portfolio might drop the next moment depending on how the whole environment is.

Hitting $100,000 is not gonna let me retire but at least I know that my financial habits are leading me in the right way and having build a foundation, I just need to maintain them and if my income increases over time, I can have spare cash to allocate or spend.

My next aim is to build solely my investments (stocks and crypto) to $100,000. I have adopted a lot of automating my purchases and also just sticking to index ETFs as I find individual purchases not efficient considering my small purchases monthly, so I am to be honest feeling a bit lousy as I missed out on the Nvidia gains (my friend did tell me about Nvidia as he knows about the semiconductor industry) but I do hold some AMD shares although not a large amount but still happy to be in it. QQQ and VOO holds some percentage of Nvidia too, so still some gains in the portfolio.

Overall, I think it is great having checked a small milestone although we are unsure of how the stock market will be like in the remaining 2H of 2023.

Thoughts about my portfolio

As I slowly approach my 30s, I do want to build up more cash on hand considering I might get a property when I am 35 (resale HDBs) and HDBs are really not as affordable as ever. Renovation costs are also on the rise including all the miscellaneous cost. So I have to say I have been pretty aggressive in investing but will slowly pivot as I did lose some in crypto and don't want to be allocating so much to volatile assets as I reach 35 years old. When I reach my 30s in about 1 and half years time, I will slowly depending on my income at that time re-allocate my income to holding more cash for spending.

My stocks portfolio is a lot more volatile as about 50% of it is in Tesla stock. That is why I am now adopting a monthly automated buying strategy into index ETFs to balance up the portfolio. The index ETFs proportion was higher in the previous weeks but with Tesla gaining some momentum this week, it’s back to 50/50. Well, I will just keep my monthly index ETFs buys and build it up. But this also means that my portfolio value fluctuates quite a lot but I am all right with it, exciting to be honest.

Well, a great end to the month of May and June will also be an interesting month as we approach the end of Q2. Time really flies but day to day seems long. Take care and excited to see how Q2 portfolio review will look like! I am also happy to have a platform like this blog to document my journey as it feels like I have a place to share my journey and not give up halfway, like a form of accountability, so whoever is reading, thank you too!

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Monday, 15 May 2023

Planning for a trip in 2023 | Experiences and how I feel about the prices

I recently just came back from a trip and a pretty long one. I went to Fukuoka, Japan for about 18 days where I travelled around Kyushu visiting Beppu, Kumamoto, Imajuku. It was a nice and relaxing trip as the region of Kyushu is not as hectic and crowded as Tokyo or Osaka.

Fukuoka was recommended by my travel partner since she went there before and enjoyed her time there. It is more of nature and scenic, I also believe a lot of people go to Kyushu for hiking as there are quite a number of hiking trails there.


The prices were definitely one concern considering that I travelled with my family and so we did try to keep costs low for accommodation and plane tickets so that we could optimise it in other areas, food and experiences. When we tried buying air tickets, tickets were crazy high especially for direct flights as Japan is a popular destination, Tokyo and Osaka being the easiest. Fukuoka is one of the 10 biggest cities in Japan, not being in the top 3 means things are still not as crazy as Tokyo but with borders opening, it is still a rather popular destination especially among South Koreans where the flight there from South Korea is just an hour.

We chose a full service airlines but we stopped over in Incheon before reaching Fukuoka so still a little hassle but the stopover was not too long so it’s all right. We managed to get tickets for about $800 plus per pax.


I would say accommodation in Asia is usually more affordable than Europe or USA and even comparing to Singapore, Japan and South Korea have pretty affordable accommodations if you are willing to search.

Rooms were slightly more expensive for the time we travel as it was the cherry blossom month between end March to April so prices were slightly high but I think it is still all right. There are areas that are more expensive and as we move towards the outskirts, the prices do get more affordable. Of course, how can we miss out on ryokans when in Japan so I we splurged a little more for 2 nights to spend it at a ryokan with onsen and breakfast as well as dinner.

Onsen was amazing, you just feel so relaxed after soaking and especially when the weather is cool. The ryokan also provides dinner and breakfast which is great after a good soak.


Within Fukuoka’s city subway, the prices are all right and you can just use an IC card to travel around. Of course, to travel to other areas of Kyushu, you would need to get a JR pass, it is pretty worth it depending on how you plan your days. I managed to visit Beppu, Kumamoto and Nagasaki with it.

Taxi are also available for areas that are further out, we took a taxi for one of the days as it was far and there 3 of us, the tourist recommended us to take a taxi as it was going to be around the same price as a long distance bus ride. Overall, I feel that if you can get a car to drive around, it can be better as the scenic areas are quite out of the way, Parking can be quite expensive especially for overnight but if you have a bigger group then it might be more worth it.

Overall expenditure and experience

I would say overall the total expenditure has been affordable and great value. Even though we spend a bit on accommodation considering it was an 18 days trip and we did book better places for certain nights.

To be honest, after borders have opened up, many Singaporeans have started travelling and I have found it enjoyable, being able to experience another country after some time and I want to be able to travel more in the coming months.

Even though it is more expensive travelling than before the pandemic overall, considering tickets, food and transport is kinda more expensive, the amount of rest and experience is amazing and I think travelling is so amazing in that you put yourself into another environment and try new things.

But I have to admit that after my holiday, I did feel a little overwhelmed by work when I came back as I went to Japan for 18 days and I kinda got used to waking up and wanting to explore rather than working on a laptop after waking up.

I find myself losing motivation to write and record down my thoughts as well, explaining a lack of articles as work and personal life have made me tired and lazy. Also because the market hasn’t been that interesting but I will definitely still be doing my quarterly portfolio updates to see how the portfolios are. Looking forward to my next trip and experience! In the meantime, hustling hard and earning that guap.