Thursday, July 09, 2015

Half year review

Tracking is different from managing goals. If you track your goals but didn't do any reflection, then the feedback system is lost and you might not really use the data that you've tracked wisely. You can even say that tracking is a tool to mine data for reflection, so that you can have a better outcome at the end of the day.

Time flies, and the more I age, the faster it flies. Days zoomed by, followed by weeks and then months. Before I can unwrap my Chinese new year's ang bao, which is still placed at the same location where I've left it months ago, half a year had already flew past. It's good to sit back and see what I've done in the past 6 months.

1. Savings

I've increased by savings goal to 60k this year and I'm about 2/3 done. This is a great year for me in terms of work and I'm working like crazy because of the workload carried over from last year. But as mentioned before, even though I worked very hard, it's not as stressful compared to the times when I first tried the 50k savings challenge. I think primarily, the difference lies in the mindset. Back then, I was cutting back on a lot of things to achieve it. It wasn't sustainable and it sure didn't make me happy. This time round, I didn't even consciously do it because my expenses are so SOP (standard operating procedure) that I don't have to think much about it. That's why they say saving the first 100k is the most difficult but it'll get easier as you build your 'savings muscles' by practicing it all the time.

Reflection: Good pacing of goal. I like it that I achieved much more without trying hard. All the right practice must be in place already. And as always, I'm very grateful for all the recommendations of students and all the LP's parent and student word-of-mouth advertisers for helping me all through the years. I'll never know when my work will dry up, so it's good to make hay while the rain shines.

2. Books

I don't think I've read so many books in half a year before in my life. I'm currently on book 30. I'm interested in exactly how much time I'm spending on reading, so I downloaded this desktop/mobile app called Toggl. I know this app is not used for this purpose, but whatever..

The blue column represents the number of hours reading. I only started using the app in May, so there's no data before that. June was horrible in terms of energy lack and general fatigue, because I adjusted my schedule from afternoon to late night and go from morning to late afternoon. It totally drained my energy level because I think I'm really a night person.

I'm usually only book 30 near to the end of the year, so I'm about 2-3 months early. I should be able to go past my goal of 52 books a year very very comfortably with perhaps a good lead. I usually start reading a lot more once my work winds down towards Oct and Nov.

Reflection: I was reading so many books that even my wife starts to read a lot now. Talk about good healthy contagious habits! Financial books some more! It would have killed her years ago, so I'm secretly happy about it, haha! It's very good for us to read the same books, because we'll bounce ideas off each other and discuss about the book's major themes and examples. I think it's important for couples to share the same cultural background, so that there's a lot more common points to bond together. That's why people do sports together, or movies, or just general dating.

3. Parent's investment funds

I'm now managing a total of 220k of my parent's retirement fund. The amount is crazily huge, even bigger than my own funds. I'm grateful that they trust me with their hard earned money and I'm doing what I can to make sure their trust in me is well justified! Most of the money is in bonds/pref shares. With the new fraser centrepoint limited (FCL) bonds ipo-ed a few months ago, I subscribed a lot more than what I wanted and passed a bulk of them to my parents. Just a few days ago, my parent's fixed deposit amount is released from holding, so they wanted to inject more capital in. I just transferred the FCL bonds that I hold and pass it to them.

So far, so good, even with all the turmoil in the market. I'm giving them about 2 to 2.5% pa, which is set to rise year by year to about 3-4% until they choose to withdraw out the funds. Then I'll give them a bonus based on whatever cash is left after subtracting from the guaranteed capital loss of buying bonds/pref shares above par value.

Reflection:'s a huge sum if I sit and think about it. What happens if the amount is lost? That's why I only put it in traded bonds and spread it over a few counters like banks and government linked companies. I wonder which is better? A) Getting those bad ass 250k a pop institutional bonds but getting only 1 lot, or B) spreading it over above par bonds/pref shares that are already trading in the secondary market on sgx.

Well, I choose the latter. I hope more good quality bonds are out there, then I'll switch some of the above par bonds with the new issues and rejuvenate the portfolio.


Frugal Daddy said...


Your parents' trust are the best testimonials of your characters.

I read online a lot. I wonder how do I quantify this.

la papillion said...

Hi Frugal daddy,

I really hope I don't let them down!

I also read online articles and blogs daily :) But I'm a purist, haha! So as long as it's not a book (there's a diff between articles and books), I don't count it :)

Sillyinvestor said...

Nice review without the %, X returns etc. LP.

A long long time since I really complete reading a book. Always read here, read there the. Put it aside.

I think so such an exercise soon.


Rolf Suey said...

Hi LP,

Hehe parent fund is your fund.
Parents love is not value by money!

If your parents fund appreciates, they are happy not because they are richer but because their son is doing well.

unfortunately my father died young leaving no money no house but only my housewife mum who only has primary 1-2 education.
so she has no fund but have no lacking of love!!! :-)

So maybe i m hoping for my kids to manage my funds in future!
If they squander my funds, what will I do??? Hahahaa

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Glad you shared the difference between "tracking" and "managing" of goals ;)

1. Once habits have become ingrained (SOP in your language), we can probably let go of the clutches or training wheels.

Does it matter whether we read 40 or 60 books a year?

Would it make a huge difference if some years you save 50K and some 70K?

Especially if you are "achieving" the above without much conscious thought?

Of course goals are still needed when we want to acquire a new "habit" ;)

2. The biggest downside to single-minded focus on goals is the blinkers we sometimes put on ourselves.

That you didn't do. You have the peripheral vision to notice the unexpected surprise that your reading has "infected" your love too ;)

Surprises can be sweet or nasty. Better to be aware than oblivious!

la papillion said...

Hi SI,

Thanks bro :) I like to see reflection in a qualitative manner, but use quantitative data as a starting point.

Regarding books, I guess you're a parallel book reader! You read multiple books concurrently! LOL

la papillion said...

Hi Rolf,

Haha, are you able to let go and let your kids manage your funds in the future? :) My parents don't know how, so it's easier to let go. But if you know something and had a system that works well, I doubt you can let go easily. More likely you'll teach your kids your methods :)

I don't see those retirement funds as my money lah. Not healthy. It's theirs and I always encourage them to use it fully to go overseas and so on. If there's any left, it's just bonus for me but I don't bet on it being there. Easier for planning sake hah!

la papillion said...


Indeed! Same same but different. Improvements might not be in terms of the big numbers but how you arrived at the same point with greater ease. I might have saved the same amount, but if I can get there easier without all the related stress, it's actually counted as an improvement!

At this point, it doesn't really matter to me the actual goals, that's why I 'let go' by not conscientiously tracking it. it's really an afterthought after the SOP had been set up and practiced for a very long time.

It's a breath of fresh air to let go and still get there :)

My 15HWW said...

Hi LP,

I like the fact that you use the word "reflect" instead of "track".

Most of my students, when they see their results after a test or an exam, they just "feel" the emotion. Sadness or Delight.

Seldom do they reflect to understand why they did well or badly. Many research has shown that learning is always more effective when it's done with a heavy dose of reflection.

Maybe I need to do a half-year reflection soon too! =p

la papillion said...

Hi 15hww,

Indeed, reflection is a step that is commonly missed out as the final step after the doing. There's this article that I read which says that if you can reduce anything you've read, listened and watched into a 30s 'elevator-pitch' summary, that's the best way to learn anything. This exercise forces one to distill all the content into just the bare essence and that will involve you running through your mind all that you've just did.

Probably a good habit to adopt ;)