Monday, January 09, 2012

Reflection on 2011

After doing my end of month accounting for the Dec 2011 and thus wrap up my financial year 2011, I realised that a lot of my networth was wiped out. Okay, everyone's definition of networth is different, so here's mine - it's defined as all my assets (includes cash, marked to market investment portfolio, whole life insurance cash value, mmf  and cpf) but excludes my residential property. I also didn't include debts that I owed to the hdb because of the property. I think you can roughly say that's my investible networth since most of it is cash that I can utilize at short notice. I know you can't use cpf anytime you want, but then again, I don't have much of it anyway, so it doesn't matter significantly.

With this kind of definition, I realised that my networth is whacked down to around 2008, way before I had started any kind of disciplined savings. I had never had so little money in my savings account; the last time being just right after I had graduated from university. Wow, what a journey that I had in 2010/2011 right? But I had never had so much satisfaction and fun, so it's all worth it.

I realised that I had to begin from scratch again, working hard, savings hard and building up that excess money that I can hoard away for maybe another life's big bombs to hit me again. Sometimes I wondered if I had spend way more than I can handle. But the deed is done, so there's only one way to go and that's forward. I guess it's back to the 50k per year savings target. I'm really trying hard to double that savings but I think realistically, it's not going to happen this year 2012. There's simply no way to save more than I can afford to do so without sacrificing my current standard of living, so I'll have to do it by upping my income level. That's the challenge isn't it? I think if I can manage to save up 50k this year without including my mortgage payment, it'll be quite a feat already. That's technically 60-70k in total. Gulp.

So what had I set out to do in 2011?

1. Save 50k. Okay, that's old story, been there done that. Even though halfway along the year, I had to start paying mortgage for my flat, so the 50k includes all the mortgage payment too (I don't have much cpf, as mentioned earlier, so all of it is through cash)

2. Read 52 books a year. Nope, didn't manage to do that but I came quite close at 50 books. Here's the books that I read in 2011. Most of it is fiction, not some financial books that I've been gorging on since 2006. I realised that fiction taught me a lot on how to be human being. I haven't been reading so much fiction since my primary school day. PRIMARY SCHOOL - can you believe that? My brains must be super lopsided, haha!

You can see that I'm a loyal reader. If I like a particular author, I tend to 'cheong' all his/her books.

3. Set up and finish up the house. Okay, that's mostly done too. I still haven't got my bedside table and a tv. Yes, most people who came up to my house will definitely remark on the fact that I don't have any tv at home. I just don't see how a tv will fit into my life, so that's quite a low priority in my waiting list of things to buy.

In retrospect, I think 2011 had been a fulfilling year. It's a year that I had spent more than I had ever done in my life. It's a year that my friendship with my parents had just begun. It's a year that I had experienced a lot of new things (like cooking and maintaining the home, buying furniture, supervising renovation etc). It is certainly a year that is a big milestone in my life


crystal said...

Hey LP,

WOW! 50 books in a year! that's an awesome record! How did you managed to find time to read while busying with work and reno at the same? A week a book seem really a lot to me!

I probably only finished 12 ++ books last year but that's including examinable books.. hahaha


la papillion said...

Hi crystal,

Yea, that was 2011 :) But this year, I want to read only books that really interests me. Strange right? You would have thought that people only read the books that interest them. But not me, haha :) Sometimes I might read a book because I just want to finish reading it so that I can record it. Silly me.

I read 1 hr or so before going to bed. It sort of calms me down and winds my day off. 1 hr or 2 per day, means 14 hrs per week. I think you can finish up an average thickness book in 14 hrs.

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


I see you no up. No comics? No Sports Illusrated? Tsk, Tsk...

When my sis not looking, you should see the way I devour her "Her World" magazines? LOL!

1) With your drawing skills, you were born right-brained! Welcome back to your roots!

2) Ah! The joy and satisfaction of finishing off Diablo and Mephisto.

Even more excitement now I can restart the game and play as another "character". Same goal but different role-playing character requires another playing style ;)

la papillion said...


Haha, you look at no. 47 - that's the comics :) I don't record magazines though :) I just don't treat them as books, that's all, haha :)

haha, diablo fan? Me waiting eagerly for Diablo 3 :) Can play together? hee hee

Kyith said...

looks like you read a few of the Drizzt books. Personally i have a recommendation.

I started off reading books on Drizzt (hence the nick) but recently the author that i feel wrote better Forgotten Realms books compare to RS Salvatore was Paul S Kemp.

The Shade Erevis Cale is going to be a classic, and Twilight War have become one of the best series in my humble opinion that is not like other novels tied to board games.

The latest Trilogy of Erevis cale book 1 will come out this year after a 2 year wait and people can't wait.

Check your yahoo mail. if u did not received my msg do email me.

la papillion said...

Hi Drizzt,

Haha, I'm a late reader of D&D books :) Received your email, thanks!

Okay, I'll follow your recommendations :) Put it on my reading list haha! I think I've enough reading material in my waiting list to last me 1 whole year of reading :)

Thanks again!

Kyith said...

no probs. i dun read alot of d&d as well but no choice i was going overseas just wnat some books to read. turns out better than those Drizzt books and u know i like them alot.

u may like them. sometimes the best heroes are farkers really haha.

Alvin said...

Hey LP,

Great 2011 :)

Although your savings were diminished, they were well utilised. Building a family is priceless!

And your record of 50 books is awesome :D

Anonymous said...


You should put the maximium you are allowed to into your CPF to reduce your income tax rate. Afterall, you can use the CPF to pay for the mortgage. Once you hit above $40k income, you have a savings of 7% for every dollar you can expensed off. Definitely better thatn the FD rates.


la papillion said...

Hi drizzt,

I think those are anti-heroes :) haha!

Hi Alvin,

Yea, thanks :) You can read more books if you want to do it too :) Received your book through mail too, thanks!

Hi skipper,

Ah yes, you reminded me of something that I totally forgotten about. It's the issue regarding the voluntary contribution of CPF to reduce tax and pay mortgage through cpf instead of cash. I'll read up more about it, thanks!

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

The SMOL man apologizes to the butterfly ;)

I am guilty of eyes glazig over after reading list 12...

I read less; I reflect and fantasize more. How's that for a bull-shit "recovery"?


Yup, I am full of it!

Anonymous said...

My view is that saving 50k one moment before and spending the bulk of it one moment after is an accurate measure. I can save all my take home one day before and then the next day, i swipe it all off. Does it really tell anything? :X

I thought it would be a better measure to set (i) EXPECTED INCOME TARGET and (ii) PROJECTED YEARLY BUDGET. You would then be able to better gauge your monthly saving.

Reading 50 books! I think I only read 2-3books a year. Impressive, dude!.


Anonymous said...

not an accurate*


la papillion said...


Haha, don't blame you for looking through my list :) You're the one and only SMOL :)


My view is that savings is meant for something. You save to invest, you save to pay downpayment or you save to buy a car. I wouldn't want to save to hoard the cash in the bank, though one can save for retirement.

I'm open for suggestions to better gauge my monthly savings though. Can you be more elaborate on what you mean by expected income target vs projected yearly budget? Thanks!

I try to read as many books as I can in my lifetime. I put 52 books so as to make it a more disciplined approach to doing something that I like to do :)

Anonymous said...

Hi LP,

Basically come up with two numbers. One for inflow, the other for outflow.

Inflow = expected monthly pay, expected bonus, dividends, capital gains.

Outflow =
1. approximated recurring monthly bills (parents/kids allowance, utilities, phone/internet/income tax, house, education, car)
2. approximated misc expenditure (public transport, food)
3. approximated one-off items like travel, housing downpayment, wedding dinner red packets

The difference between these two would be your actual savings. I believe this would provide you with a clearer picture.


la papillion said...

Hi jwt,

Okok, I got what you mean. I hve all the figures in my spreadsheet, so can definitely follow what you suggested. Thanks for sharing!

farmland investing said...

50 books in a year? That's amazing. Our family eliminated 4000 of credit card debt and considered it a big victory. Lucky if I get to read 1-2 books a year!

la papillion said...

Hi farmland investing,

Wow, 4000 credit card debt? Congrats!

Haha, I think i'm lucky if I watch 1hr of television in one year, so now you know where I got my reading time from :) My new home don't even have a tv yet hahaa

I'm into my 5th book for this year ;)