As we enter 2015 and bade 2014 farewell, many of us are making new year resolutions to improve on areas which we would like to improve in the coming year. SG Wealth Builder is certainly no exception. There were several ups and downs for me last year but overall, I think 2014 had been pretty good for me. There were also some lessons learned in my life journey which I hope to pen down in this blog, so as to remind myself not to repeat the same mistake again.
This year, there will be a new addition to my family! My second child is expected to arrive in late April this year. To welcome this bundle of joy, for the past few months, I had been busy making arrangements for his arrival. My wife and I initially were planning to hire a domestic helper because we fear that she may not be able to cope with my daughter and baby son. However, after several months of discussion, we decided not to go for it because of the concern that the maid would create more headaches and issues for us to manage. We had heard and read so many horror stories of maids mishandling baby kids and children in Singapore. In view of this, we felt that it is better that we raise the two kids without the help of a maid, though we know that the going would be tough. Especially without the help of both my mom and mother-in-law.
Last year, because of my job which requires me to travel frequently, I had sacrificed a lot of precious family bonding time. I missed my wife’s and daughter’s birthday celebrations due to business trips. Thankfully my wife had been pretty understanding and encouraging but we were not so sure that going forward, this would be acceptable for my daughter. Given that my second child is coming, the need to reduce the frequency of traveling is crucial for my family. As I love my family very much, I guess one of this year’s resolutions is to try my best to reduce the number of traveling. If it is not possible, then we reckon the best solution is to seek a transfer out of my department.
In 2014, I had attained some personal growth in several areas, such as becoming instructor for the first time in my life, gaining new technical knowledge and improving my presentation skills. I was also assigned several exciting important projects that I felt would have the potential to make me grow further and make significant contributions to the company. That was why when the company recently announced the massive pay-cut and one of my blog readers commented that “if I am not happy, then leave the company”, I did not respond. This is because I still love my job and as long as I can still grow in this organization, I would not consider to resign.
When I started my working life, money had always been the top priority consideration when I job hunted and I had always tried to compare my salary against my peers. Now, I would not say money is not important for me. Of course it does! But currently, I am at the stage whereby job satisfaction and career advancement are important factors for me. In addition, I am the sole breadwinner and so the decision to change job is not solely just my problem – it also my family members’ problem as it would also impact their lifestyle as well. So I guess for this year, I would just press on and do my best to over-deliver in my job. Two of my projects’ major milestones is this year and I aim to focus on them so that I can achieve good appraisals from my boss. Hopefully my hard-work would pay off eventually!
One of the areas that I would like to improve in my job is my relationship with my colleagues. Last year, I had several run-ins with colleagues from the other departments and after some reflections, I felt that I should have handled the issues in a better manner. Being emotionally would not resolve the issue and one thing I learned is that the first party who lose control of his emotions is considered the loser. Because if you could not curb your inner demons, you would not be able to think logically and communicate effectively. So this year, I must make the extra effort to manage my emotions and practise lots of anger management.
When I was a teenager, I could not understand why so many working adults in Singapore are unhealthy and unfit. Now that I am in their shoes, I know the answer. My recent health report revealed that my cholesterol level went up a bit and is now at slightly high level. Since I don’t smoke and is slim, I guess the culprit for my cholesterol issue should be lack of exercise, poor diet and stress at work. So this year, I decided to cut down on oily food, less blogging and do more jogging (my favorite exercise).
The Dow Jones reached crazy highs in 2014, breaking the record of 18,000 points. Obviously, the market is now full of greed and my personal view is that it is not ideal to enter the market now. That is why I had divested all my stock holdings in 2014 because the risk of losing capital on stocks is too high for me to accept. I would rather put my cash in saving accounts with high interest rates like OCBC 360 or buy gold bullion than lose my hard-earned money in the stock market.
Recently, I saw an article by one of the finance bloggers. He wrote that he bought Creative at $21 and is now staring at huge paper loss as the stock is currently trading at $2. As a result, he decided to switch to dividend investing, notwithstanding the current market sentiments. There is nothing right or wrong in his renewed approach. But my opinion is that contrary to what most stock brokers advocate, there are good times to enter the market, and there are bad times to enter the market.
If you are greedy when the rest of the players are greedy, the opportunity to make money is reduced and risk premium is high. There is nothing inherently wrong with dividend investing but when the market is at a high, it is very difficult to buy good stocks with strong fundamentals trading at reasonable values. In my opinions, many stocks in the market are currently overvalued and yes, indeed many companies are paying good dividends. But ask yourself, are you willing to pump in $10,000 on a stock that offer $0.20 yearly dividends but dropped 50% in value overnight during a crisis? And if the stock took 10 years to recover to the level of price you bought, don’t you think the opportunity cost of investment is high?
SG Wealth Builder