Saturday, April 29, 2023

Portfolio Update April 2023

It is time to provide an update of my investment portfolios for Apr 2023.

My SGX Income Portfolio value inches slightly at $301k from $300k last month.

My US/HK Growth Portfolio value stagnates at US$15.4k.

My SRS Ultra Long-Term Portfolio value also stagnates at $133k.

The stock markets remain fairly stable after factoring in just one last interest rate hike this year before global recession sets in and thereafter a tapering of interest rate next year. Despite still being clouded by uncertainties, immense noises and fears, we must remain calm and clear-minded as long-term investors and make the best out of current situation by investing and deploying our financial resources into high quality assets tactfully.

I am monitoring and plan to add high quality S-Reits or local bank stocks to my SGX income portfolio when the opportunity arises. I have no intention to increase exposure to US or HK growth stocks but just dabble with options to collect premiums.

Portfolio Actions


Portfolio Dividends

1. Received $102.50 of dividends from Savings Bonds on 1 Mar.

SGX Income Portfolio

Portfolio Value = $301k

US/HK Growth Portfolio


Tiger Broker

Syfe Trade

Portfolio Value = US$15.4k

SRS Ultra Long-Term Portfolio

Portfolio Value = S$133k

Thanks for reading. Stay focused and remain steadfast as always!

With love and peace, 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Applied for Singapore Savings Bonds (SBMAY23 GX23050W)

The May 2023 tranche of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) has an average yield of 3.07% over 10 years.

This is not very appealing considering that other low to risk-free alternatives such as T Bills and bank fixed deposits easily yield more than 3.5% currently.

However, if we consider the great flexibility, liquidity of SSB for redemption and long-term lock down at above 3% p.a and above CPF OA yield of 2.5% p.a. for the next decade, then this tranche of SSB is fairly decent for us to park our spare cash at zero risk. 

Furthermore, both short-term and long-term treasury bond yields have declined recently and the interest rate hikes have sort of peaked with the markets factoring in interest rate cuts next year. These could signal that the yields of SSB declining in next few months.

We could redeem SSB anytime in the coming months, earning interest at 3.03% while getting back our capital for deployment to other investments or large item purchases unlike T Bills and bank fixed deposits which would incur losses or forfeit of interest with premature withdrawals.

I decided to apply for $20k of this Apr 2023 tranche using my idle war chest funds which were initially earmarked for adding local Reits.

There it goes.

S$700m is up for grabs. Due to the relatively low yield, I anticipate moderate popularity for this tranche and almost guaranteed allotment of at least $20k per person.

The first payment will be on 1 Nov 2023 and this bond will mature on 1 May 2033.

If you are interested in this tranche of SSB, do note that the application dateline is on today, 25 Apr 2023, 9pm.

Thanks for reading.

With love & peace,

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Net Worth Update Apr 2023



My net worth receives a $52k or 3.7% boost to $1.455m in April 2023. This is another all time high!

The huge boost is due to collection of performance bonuses, salary increments, CPF contributions, dividends in the past weeks, coupled with a strong recovery of Reits and stocks in my investment portfolios.

My CPF still forms more than one-third bulk of my wealth. Having already achieved full retirement sum in CPF SA and topped up my Medisave account to the basic healthcare sum of $68.5k early this year, I have also topped up $8k into my mum's CPF Retirement account for the 5 reasons.

My stocks and Reits constitute 22% of my net worth. I intend to slowly add high quality S-Reits or local bank stocks to my SGX income portfolio when the opportunity arises. I will not increase exposure to US or HK growth stocks but just dabble with options to collect premiums.

In today's high interest, inflationary monetary environment, my cash and war chest remains at 20% of my net worth, mainly being stashed away in bank fixed deposits yielding more than 3% p.a., in Fullerton cash funds under custody of Moomoo and Tiger Broker, and in Money Market Funds held by Phillips Capital yielding around 3.5% p.a. with interest paid daily.

SRS forms 8% of my wealth and I have already completed the top up of $15.3k annual quota for 2023. I have deployed the new SRS funds to increase my investment in OCBC amidst fear and uncertainty in bank stocks last month after the collapse of several US banks. 

7% of my net worth is in risk-free Singapore Savings Bonds ($90k) and relatively low-risk Astrea 7A PE bond ($9k). I plan to continue subscribing to Singapore Savings Bonds for the rest of the year if they yield above 3% for the next decade. Ultimately, I hope to max out SSB individual limit of $200k by end of this year.

I am building a well balanced portfolio for my financial assets conservatively. My asset allocation of low-risk assets is 64%:

a. CPF (37%)

b. Cash (20%)

c. Risk-free bonds (7%)

relative to higher-risk assets at 30%

d. Equities (22%) 

e. SRS (deployed largely into equities) (8%) 

This provides a huge defensive safety net but the opportunity cost is that my net worth will not grow as fast and furious but slow and steadily.

My target net worth by the end of 2023 of at least S$1.45m is already hit so now I target for S$1.5m with an annual passive income of S$22k.

Life is exciting in a post pandemic world. Ignore the noises. Remain on track. Be greedy when others are fearful. Be hungry when others are contented. Live everyday to the maximum! En route to financial freedom!

Thanks for reading. Stay focused and remain steadfast as always!

With love & peace,

Saturday, April 08, 2023

6 Life Lessons learnt from Ho Chi Minh City trip

I came back from a 6-day Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam trip yesterday. It was my first getaway and an eye opening experience since being trapped in Singapore for more than 3 years due to the pandemic.

Let me share 6 life lessons learnt in the past 6 days.

1. Money makes the world go round

While I am taking a break from work, there is a tinge of guilt in me to experience everybody working - from the staff of airport, plane, bus driver, hotel, restaurants, security all doing their jobs diligently to meet the needs of their customers.

Everybody works hard for money in Vietnam where the average monthly salary of a worker is only US$300. All over the city streets and busy markets, there are many peddlers, hawkers and touters for food, snacks, drinks, clothes and cigarettes, all trying to make ends meet. The crowds of scooters and bikes dashing all over the roads make the city buzzing with life.

2. Simplicity in the Pleasure of Life

On the streets of Vietnam, there are many pop-up street shops, drinking stations and chill points with tiny stools and tables. Local workers, students and some tourists will be relaxing, gathering and chillaxing in such joints for a quite bite or some drinks, basking the simplicity of life.

Such culture stems from the anti-capitalist post war era spawning many black market small street businesses to be nimble and ephemeral. This has become a local culture which thrives till today and highlights the essence of bare essentialism, minimalism and stoicism. We do not need to sit on comfy luxurious furniture in order to enjoy a meal or a drink.

3. Invest for growth

Ho Chi Minh city is a populous, developing city with immense growth potential. It is no surprise to see that Keppel Land invested and partially own Saigon Center mall which has layout and retail shops not much different from any Capitaland owned heartland mall in Singapore. It has an anchor tenant Takashimaya. 

Another modern shopping mall in the city, SC Vivocity is developed and owned by Mapletree.  The presence of Keppel Land developed condominiums under construction and UOB atm machines also highlighted that Singapore companies do invest to grow their regional footprints in neighbouring cities with potential.

I also learnt that Japan has invested heavily in the infrastructure of Vietnam, such as the airports, bridges and metro lines in order to share its technologies, foster bilateral relations and boost the profiles of Japanese firms.

In our own financial journey, we should also consider investing in regional or foreign businesses, albeit taking on high risks, to unlock the potential of long-term growth and returns.

4. Stay focused and be flexible to adapt

Crossing the roads taught me to stay extremely focused and alert as bikes and vehicles can be coming towards me in all directions. Although some cross junctions have traffic lights, some bikes will still beat the traffic and pedestrians in no time. It is also important to take small steps at a time to clear lane by lane while checking all directions.

As this trip was an impromptu one, our itinerary was changed flexibly day by day. Possible dining options and places or interest to visit were considered and decided fast without haste.

Such lessons were important in our lives in achieving our goals, missions and objectives as every decision we make will shape our future destiny.

5. Freedom is priceless state of mind

Getting to experience the quality and state of being free gives a priceless and great feeling. Not needing to join in meaningless meetings and discussions in the corporate world, being liberated from modern day slavery while immersing in a dream world of just eat, play and sleep is really enjoyable.

I usually cleared all my credit card liabilities and debts before travelling overseas hence being totally debt free gives me a peace of mind. I can buy and eat whatever I want overseas using cash that I can afford to spend.

6. Never take things for granted 

Singapore has the best airport, land transport, infrastructure and security in the region, if not in the world. After visiting a neighbouring developing country, I get to deeply appreciate the Singapore environment we got sick of. Though there are costly COEs for bikes and cars, I get to understand that they are for curbing the vehicle population on the roads, while encouraging the masses of low to middle income folks to take public transport. We also take the infrastructure such as traffic lights, shelters, bus stops, bus interchanges, coffee shops, hawker centres, water, peace and security for granted but these are basic necessities that not every city has provided well or even have. We should be grateful to be able to live in such a comfortable city where basic amenities are well taken care of.

Thanks for reading.

With love & peace,

Monday, April 03, 2023

Experiencing "Millionaire" Lifestyle in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with less than $200

I finally flew out of Singapore for the first time in over 3 years.

My last overseas trip was a solo one to Taiwan in May 2019.

This time I went to Ho Chi Minh City with Ms Doraemon who for the first time, set foot on Vietnam soil. It was my second time visiting Vietnam as I went to Da Nang in 2018.

We brought only 3.26m Vietnam Dong cash which is equivalent to less than SGD 200 for a 6 days trip.

Flight and accomodation adds up to less than SGD 500 for 6 days.

This is a budget trip as we intend to experience local lifestyle without splurging on luxury items nor fine dining.

A local aircon bus from airport to district 1 downtown costs only 10k VND for 2 pax or SGD 0.57 only.

A simple bowl of chicken pho costs 50k VND or SGD 2.85 in a restaurant.

I am merely in the second day of this immersion trip and hope to enjoy more surprises and geographical arbitrage deals in the next few days using the "millions".

This is a short getaway from work after one quarter of year 2023 gone as well as to rehearse for future travel trips to come.

Thanks for reading.

With love & peace,