Recent updates

The investment sphere has been interesting.

Our local STI ETF, has performed really well this month, from a -1.5% returns in Oct, to a +8.55% returns based on today price of $3.34, inclusive of dividends $0.051 in Feb and $0.061 in August with a starting price of $3.18 in 2nd of January 2022.

Investing in STI has been a mixed bag for me, it seems more to be timing the market, each time I invest in it, as it is hard to value an ETF, whether it is under-valued or over-valued. Everything is relative, we can compared whether it is cheaper as considered to other countries local ETF, we can also compared it’s current price to it’s previous price.

I scoped up some STI ETF in June, when I thought it was cheaper as compared to $3.4 in Feb and April respectively. I scoped some more in October when it fell to $3.0x, and STI ETF has given me an overall 8% profit in just 5 months, quite an amazing results for ETFs.

The selling can also be hard to execute, as selling it now seems to be timing the market again, while the right thing to do for ETFs is to DCA into it and hold for a prolonged period.

Nevertheless, STI ETF is a small part of the overall portfolio, and stock picking based on value(cigar butt approach) continue to form the main bulk of the portfolio.

Overall, the portfolio is doing well amongst a sea of reds everywhere, it is at 4.7% with the rise of all boats in Singapore stocks, previously it was hovering between 2 to 3%.

Speculative crypto portfolio continues to hover around -80%. The entire portfolio was parked in FTX app for that 8% interest. I withdrew it few days before FTX withdrawals was locked.

I did some shorting of FTT using Kucoin futures, it was a steep learning curve, time is really not on your side when it comes to shorting, as the funding fees eat into the liquidation price, and long candle can triggered liquidation before you even realised it. There was a profitable trade though, the last shorting of FTT though Kucoin before they removed the entire listing. My shorting journey is definitely a loss making one, but all these are very minimal amount to speculate. I still have one open shorting position on SOL PERP/USDT, after which the whole shorting funds will be gone, it is good to know that I am not suitable to be a trader.

Life is ok, the holiday is coming, more outdoor activities which can drain away my energy really fast, but for the children, at their age they just have unlimited energy, and outdoor is where they really thrive, swimming, library, playgrounds and shopping etc.

The eldest was diagnosed with myopia during the school check up, and we started her on Atropine eye drops right away via private clinic which can be quite costly. I wondered if my final degree will be different if I had Atropine during my generation, as this solution is the only scientifically proven to slow down the myopia, there are others more costly solutions, which may or may not work, another common one is the myopia control spectacles lenses, which is equally costly around $500 for the lenses itself.

The Anchor Operator Preschools(My First Skool, Sparkletots) fees are going to come down further again, which is good. But dual income seems to be the only way to go forward for Singapore, with huge emphasis placed on childcare centres rather than the kindergartens that we sent our children to. There seems to be a shortage of teachers, with 1 teacher taking a class of up to 20, and another Mother tongue teacher moving around classes to help here and there. Outdoor activities for kindergartens are almost non-existent nowadays. They are also pushing for more childcares to be STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) oriented, the difference in curriculum is there. For me, it has always been clear, when we decided to go for the lowest cost preschools, and also not considering childcare.

First, we would not be a full dual income family, my time is more flexible, I will play a bigger role in the children life and education. With preschool hours ranging from 2hrs for 1st year Nursery to 4hrs for K1 & K2, what they learn in school can only form the foundation, while we as parents has to play a bigger part in their overall learning journey. Multiplication timetable is on us, not on the school.

We are very fortunate in some ways, in order for this arrangements to work.

  1. A prudent investment portfolio started in the 20s focusing on minimising the downside over the long run, instead of focusing on temporary higher gains. The portfolio continues to grow bigger, providing mental and financial stability. As high inflations and lower income on my side kicks in, we can start to draw a little out from the portfolio for current expenditures, or any big purchases, while continuing to grow the portfolio for retirement purposes.
  2. My Mother-in-law to help us with the kids, she is a big part of our children upbringing, and help us on a daily basis with the kids school arrangement. We lived near my in-law. and our current home was applied under the BTO Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) some years back. (Parenting is still on us, we are seeing a trend that some dual income parents are relying more on the grandparents to teach instead, hard decision in life with regards to bread and butter issues.)
  3. Planning and more planning, to make all these happened, there are many weak links in this family chain, like the fragility of life. A deteoriation in health, mental or physical for anyone, would cost the whole chain to collapse, so we continue to create safety nets, like insurance (Hospitalisation + Term (CI)), the possibility of cashing out the current HDB in the worst case scenario, and being prudent in managing expenses, with budgeting.

For our emergency funds, we are parking it at OCBC 360, which gives us 4.65% for the first $100,000 following the new interest hike. The max monthly interest is highly attractive at about $390, which help us to offset all the household bills, like electricity water, s&cc, internet, mobile, just have to ensure the $500 minimal increment every month to avoid missing the 1.5%, while spending $500 on the cc is easily achievable for a family expenditures.

This year is the year of inflation, you can really see the price increment everywhere and it is very very obvious. So we use OCBC 360 to mitigate the bills, we used Shopee with its generous cashback and free shipping(try thursday for small items) to mitigate our daily expenses, we made some conscious effort to substitute the meal plans.

Our children love the Udon & Chawanmushi at Ichiban boshi, The Udon is about $13, and the Chawanmushi at $3 for the take away. We decided to try to cook our own Udon. First we got the frozen Udon from Ichiban itself, it is $4.50 for 5, so it is 90cents per Udon, then we got the dashi from Daiso, at $2.14 you can make many portion of dashi soup base, which is also used for the chawanmushi, dual usage.

In the end, the home cooked Udon and Chawanmushi(Protein) cost us about $10 per meal for the whole family as compared to $20 just for the children(1 udon+ 1 extra frozen udon + 2 chawanmushi). I am biased, ours taste better.

In hard times, we work harder for the savings, so that the savings can work harder for us too, though prudent investment.


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