Sunday, December 31, 2023

Reflection on Year 2023 - 10 Things I experienced for the 1ST Time


Before year 2023 turn into history, let me reflect and share on the 10 things I experienced for the first time over the past 12 months.

1. Job

Since I changed job for the very first time in my career during the pandemic in 2021, I transited from a technical role to a technical management role in IT. This year, I was redesignated back to a leading technical role as my organisation recognised the need to strengthen internal cloud engineering capabilities instead of heavy reliance on vendors.

Our jobs yield the greatest dividends from trading our time to produce work for our employer. Our remuneration usually is a measure of the perceived intrinsic value of our investment in own education, knowledge and gaining of past experiences. I am glad that my monthly income exceeded S$9k to hit a new high in my career.

2. Fitness and Health

I adopted an agile and flexible approach towards improving my fitness instead of having a rigid regime. I got the chance to exercise in various 4-Star hotel gyms via ClassPass Membership. I also participated in free high intensive internal trainings held in parks from booking sessions in Health 365 app and NS FIT programmes. 

On some days, I merely did static exercises such as push-ups, squats and planks in the comfort of my room. I am happy to be able to exercise in different places freely and flexibly, gaining great fitness experiences. I have also passed my IPPT with incentive for the 19th consecutive year since ORD from full-time national service.

Having exercised more, reducing intake of ice cream and meat, my weight fell from 78kg to 72kg and on track towards achieving back my lean and shredded body of the younger days. My latest blood test result has also shown improvement in the level of cholestorol at 4,83 mmol/L compared to 5.3 mmol/L during the pandemic days in 2021

3. Interest rates

During the pandemic, I opened low-cost brokerages - Moomoo and Tiger Broker and funded them to enjoy free Apple shares. In the high interest rate environments of past year, I stashed away my cash war chests in the Fullerton Cash Funds offered by these brokerages and earning daily interest rates of above 3.5% p.a for Singapore dollars and above 4.5% for US dollars.

I added more than S$50k into Singapore Savings Bonds, locking down average interest rates above 3% for the next decade.

I also renewed more than S$200k worth of fixed deposits at more than 3% for the next year.

In total, I amassed more than $10k of interests from Cash Funds and Fixed Deposits and they are not excluded from the computation of my passive income for the year.

However, high interest rates have an impact on my investment portfolios which are heavily into REITs. At least S$30k of paper value had been wiped off my portfolio and net worth earlier in 2023 and recovered only recently.

4. Refurbish home

For the first time in my life, I bought Nippon paints and brushes from Shopee and painted my entire home on DIY mode with the help of my mum. It was very exhausting but nonetheless rewarding to give a fresh coat of paint on the ceilings and walls after 3 decades. The entire process took more than 10 days and costs less than $400 for a 4-room HDB.

It would have cost more than $1,800 to engage professional painters to paint the home and I am glad to be able to complete the feat.

5. Hybrid Work

Post pandemic, I get to fully experience what hybrid and flexible working entails in this year.

On paper, I am supposed to work in office 3 days and WFH 2 days in a week. However, due to hot desking, I do not really enjoy working in hot desks as the desks are dirty with no privacy and I do not feel a sense of belonging with small lockers to contain my stuffs at the end of day.

So practically, I "appeared" in office only for physical meetings while working from home most of the time. However, sometimes there are ad hoc meetings organised suddenly on the day in office. So I had to travel from home to office just for 1 to 2 hours meeting and then went home after the meeting ends. I will also occasionally work in meeting rooms, in other co-work offices or even when travelling on public transport.

6. Investment

I added high quality stocks such as DBS and Parkway Life Reit into my SGX Income portfolio for the very first time. The past year presented great opportunities for investment in Reits. I doubled up my position in Mapletree Logistics Trust and increased my investment in Mapletree Industrial Trust, while also expanded my positions in Aims Apac Reit, IREIT and Ascott Reit via preferential offerings. With the potential reduction in interest rates, I believe these stocks and Reits are poised for a strong performance in the new year.

7. Passive Income

As a result of my growing investments and higher Singapore Savings Bonds, my official passive income exceeded $27k which is a major feat in my financial journey.

My unofficial passive income also grew to above $10k. They are from sources such as bank interests from fixed deposit and savings accounts, sales on Carousell, cash outs of Google AdSense earnings from this blog, dividends from US stocks and profits from options trading, surveys rewards and so on.

I am pleased with the progress of my investment journey so far and will continue to build up the SGX income portfolio for more dividends in future years to come.

8. Travel

I applied and gotten a new passport with 10 years validity in Feb 2023. I managed to travel to Ho Chi Minh City in Apr 2023 and set foot on Seoul, South Korea in Sep 2023 for the very first time in my life. I am enthralled to be able to fly, experience freedom and travel without restrictions again after the 3 years of hiatus.

I look forward to visiting more destinations and cities to broaden my horizons in the new year.

9. Investment in Self

I continue to invest aggressively in myself to learn, gain knowledge and broaden horizons through attending many courses, webinars and workshops. I renewed more than 8 expiring professional certifications and obtained 1 more new accreditation. Getting certified by tech giants, Microsoft and Amazon will boost one's credentials and allow prospective employers to recognise my expertise and skills in the cloud computing world, thereby helping in my career progression in the future hopefully.

10. Net Worth

Last but not least, my net worth remained above USD 1 million or S$1.4 million throughout the year and increased by more than 10% or around $150k from Jan 2023. Most importantly, my net worth exceeded S$1.55 million recently to hit new record high.

I did not invest aggressively this year as my strategy was to grind at work, earn the monthly pay cheque, live frugally, sit back and let the equities recover in tandem with the economy, while collecting dividends. My main track is to slowly but steadily increase investments and build up passive income, inching towards financial freedom.


2023 has been a decent plain sailing year for me.

I look forward to the coming year and am optimistic that 2024 will bring greater opportunities.

Have you reflected on your achievements for this current year?

Thanks for reading!

With love & peace,

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Portfolio Update December 2023 | Wonderful Finale

This is the last update of my investment portfolios for 2023.

My SGX Income Portfolio value rebounds strongly to $339k from $316k.

My US/HK Growth Portfolio value stagnates at US$17k.

My SRS Ultra Long-Term Portfolio value shoots up to $143k from $137.4k.

The US stock markets have attained record heights amidst increasing certainty of pivoting interest rates, ongoing wars and diminishing fears of global recession. US 10-year and 30-year government yields have retraced from record highs and the Federal Reserve is expected to reduce interest rates in 2024. Local S-Reits have rebounded strongly to boost my SGX Income Portfolio's paper value.

Intimidating storylines about economies, monetary policies and geopolitical tensions just keep repeating in the media, instilling chaos and fear amongst investors and traders While being clouded by uncertainties, immense noises and fears, it is crucial that long-term investors like us always remain calm, unwavered and focused on our investment objectives. Make the best out of current situation by allocating our financial resources into high yield risk-free bonds, stable and high quality income-producing assets, or strong growth businesses tactfully according to our own risk appetite.

I plan to continue stashing away idle cash in high yield cash funds while waiting for interest rates to fall while also adding high quality S-Reits or local bank stocks to my SGX income portfolio if opportunities arise in the next few months. I have no plan to add US/HK stocks.

Portfolio Actions


Portfolio Dividends

1. Received $296 of dividends from Savings Bonds on 1 Dec.

2. Received $132.50 of dividends from Netlink Trust on 1 Dec.

3. Received $188.00 of dividends from ST Engineering in SRS on 1 Dec.

4. Received $498.83 of dividends from Mapletree Ind Trust on 5 Dec.

5. Received $336.00 of dividends from MPACT on 8 Dec.

6. Received $880.00 of dividends from Frasers L&C Trust on 14 Dec.

7. Received $459.13 of dividends from Mapletree Log Trust as 318 shares under DRP on 19 Dec.

8. Received $819.00 of dividends from Aims Apac Reit on 22 Dec.

SGX Income Portfolio

Portfolio Value = $339k

US/HK Growth Portfolio



Tiger Broker


Syfe Trade


Portfolio Value = US$17k

SRS Ultra Long-Term Portfolio

Portfolio Value = S$143k

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to the new year awashed with fresh beginnings and opportunities!

With love and peace, 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Applied for Singapore Savings Bonds (SBJAN24 GX24010F) Redeemed SSB (SBJAN19 GX19010T)


The Jan 2024 tranche of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) has an average yield of 3.07% over 10 years.

The first 7 years yield a flat 3% per annum; 8th year yields 3.2% p.a and 9th, 10th years yield 3.27% p.a.

Even though such yield is lower than other low to risk-free alternatives such as T Bills and money market funds which easily yield more than 3.5% currently, it is higher than many fixed deposit rates on offer by local banks as well as CPF OA rate of 2.5% p.a.

If we also consider the great flexibility, liquidity of SSB for redemption and long-term lock down at above 3% p.a for the next decade, then this tranche of SSB is fairly enticing for us to park our spare cash at zero risk, capital guaranteed for the mid to long-term. 

We could redeem SSB anytime, earning interest at 3% in the short-term 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. Do note that the redemption process of SSB can be up to 1 month of lead time.

As interest rate cuts are on the cards for 2024 by the Fed, this SSB could be one of the last tranche to have an average yield of above 3%. We should expect the average yields for next few tranches of SSBs to be in the range between 2.6% to 2.9%.

I decided to apply for $20k of this Jan 2024 tranche using my war chest.

There it goes.

S$1.1b is up for grabs.

The first payment will be on 1 Jul 2024 and this bond will mature on 1 Jan 2034.

If you are interested in this tranche of SSB, do note that the application dateline is 26 Dec 2023, 9pm for online applications.

At the same time, I also redeemed an old tranche of SSB (SBJAN19 GX19010T) with an average yield of 2.45% and currently only yielding 2.45% in its 5th year. It is hence a no brainer decision to recycle the funds.

Thank you for reading.

With love & peace,

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Passive Income in 2023 Exceed Expectations!

In Q4 2023, the following dividends streamed into my bank account.

$148.86 Savings Bond (2 Oct)
$56.08 Ascott Reit (11 Oct)
$428.35 Savings Bond (1 Nov)
$270.00 Guocoland (16 Nov)
$192.00 DBS (27 Nov)
$187.15 Astrea 7 A-1 PE Bond (27 Nov)
$481.60 Frasers Centrepoint Trust (29 Nov)
$89.65 Suntec Reit (29 Nov)
$296.00 Savings Bond (1 Dec)
$132.50 Netlink Trust (1 Dec)
$188.00 ST Engineering (1 Dec) SRS
$498.83 Mapletree Ind Trust (5 Dec)
$336.00 MPACT (8 Dec)
$880.00 Frasers L&C Trust (14 Dec)
$459.13 Mapletree Log Trust (19 Dec) 318 shares under DRP
$819.00 Aims Apac Reit (22 Dec)

They amount to $5,463.15.

My passive income for the first 9 months of 2023 is $21,841.72.

In total, my passive income for 2023 is


This is 27% higher than the $21,380.96 of passive income for year 2022.

My target for 2023 was $24k and I am glad that my actual passive income exceeded expectations.

We are near the pivot of high interest rates and the impact of rising interest rates eroding into the bottom line of businesses and Reits have already been felt in the past year. Nonetheless, I feel comfortable and confident holding a financial portfolio containing heavily Reits and safe havens such as risk-free Singapore Savings Bonds and fixed deposits in local banks.

2023 has been a fruitful and rewarding year despite being clouded by immense noises and fears about inflation, recession, war and so on.

I am optimistic and believe that 2024 will be a greater year despite the looming recession and global economic slowdown which could potentially present more opportunities for investors.

Let the Federal Reserve continue to be hawkish towards interest rates hikes to curb inflation or cuts to mitigate economic slowdown. Embrace the fact that GST will rise to 9% in Singapore from 1 Jan 2024, Reits to increase rentals and continue paying dividends. The world will go round no matter what happens.

As investors, we shall continue to acquire income-producing businesses and assets for more passive income in future. Let us also look forward to the interests from CPF in Jan 2024 soon.

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

With love & peace,

Friday, December 22, 2023

Last Resort to Save Tax | Not Donation


As I have attained full retirement sum of $198,800 for 2023 in my CPF Special Account, I could not make voluntary top-up under Retirement Scheme Top-Up to qualify for tax relief.

A maximum tax relief of $8,000 applies when we top up our own CPF SA or RA, and an additional tax relief of $8,000 if we top up loved ones' CPF SA or RA. The combined $16k tax relief on COF cash top-ups is shared with any contribution to MA of our own or loved ones.

I have already top up my mum CPF RA with $8k and my own Supplementary Retirement Scheme account by $15,300 early this year to qualify for tax relief.

The other options for tax savings would be to enroll in courses, make donations to qualified charity organisations or to make top up to Medisave account.

After spotting that my CPF Medisave account (MA) is no longer at the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS) of $68,500 for 2023 after deductions of Medishield Life premiums were made days ago, I sensed this opportunity for a Medisave top-up to qualify for some tax relief.

Effectively, I would be making cash top-up of $693.64 which are the total premium costs, back to my CPF Medisave account from my pocket.

However, fret not, I am not taking my own cash to pay for insurance premiums which could be offset by CPF Medisave.

Thank you Aims Apac Reit for the sponsorship!

There it goes. Using Paynow for instant top-up and reflection in the CPF transaction.

Restoring my MA back to BHS, earning potentially 4.08% for 2024 in Medisave worth $28 and saving at least 9% of income taxes worth around $62.

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

With love & peace,

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Net Worth Update | Rockets past S$1.55m in Dec 2023



My net worth rockets by $50k to over S$1.55m in Dec 2023, achieving a new record high!

This massive increase is due to savings from Dec salary, annual wage supplement (13th month bonus), CPF contributions, collection of dividends, and strong recovery of the Reits' paper values in my investment portfolios after more certainty in interest rates direction.

I have been saving frugally, reducing expenses and conserving capital for purchase of Singapore Savings Bonds in the past few months.

CPF forms the bulk 36% of my net worth. I have already achieved full retirement sum (FRS) in CPF SA and topped up my Medisave account to the basic healthcare sum  (BHS) of $68.5k early this year. The FRS will be increased to $205,800 and BHS will be increased to $71,500 for 2024.

Cash and war chest constitute 18% of my wealth. In the current high rate environment, my cash is 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 more than 3.5% p.a. with interest paid daily.

Singapore Savings Bonds ($130k) and Astrea 7A PE bond ($9k) are low-risk bonds contributing to 9% of my wealth. Together with CPF, cash and war chest, they amount to 63% of my net worth as safe assets. I intend to subscribe to the coming Jan 24 tranche of SSB with average yield of 3.06%.

Stocks and Reits constitute 23% of my net worth. Together with SRS account which forms 8% and is deployed mainly into local stocks and Reits, they are the 30% of riskier assets in my financial portfolio.

In 2023, my net worth has grew by 11% from S$1.399m in Jan 2023.

I believe my net worth will continue to increase slowly and steadily in the new year. My target by 31 Dec 2024 will be S$1.65m. I aim to hit S$2m before I turn 40 yr old in 2026.

I hope to remain on track towards the path of financial freedom. Ignore the noises. Be greedy when others are fearful. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be contented when others are hungry.

Thank you for reading. Stay focused and remain steadfast as always!

With love & peace,

Friday, December 15, 2023

Analysing which SSB to Redeem | Real Case Study


With potential interest rate cuts next year in mind, I am planning on my Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) purchase and redemption for this month.

I think the SSBJan24 could be the last or one of the last SSBs with 10 year average yield above 3%.

I logged in to SSB Portal using SingPass to verify my existing SSB portfolio.

Upon login, there is a dashboard showing an overview of our SSB portfolio, total interest amount to be received in future, breakdown of SSB investments by Cash or SRS, as well as the amount we could further invest before hitting the individual limit of S$200k.

I currently hold S$150k of SSB and has S$50k to go before hitting the individual limit.

Clicking on "View Details", we can zoom into every single SSB in the portfolio.

The default view presents the SSB based on most recent tranche from top to bottom.

We could use the filters at the top table row to filter the SSB.

In this case, I wanted to find out which SSB in my portfolio has the lowest average 10 year yield. Hence I clicked on the down arrow under "Average 10Y Interest Rate" to filter from lowest to highest.

From the filtered results, SBSep18 has the lowest Average 10Y Interest Rate at 2.44%.

SBJan19 has the 2nd lowest Average 10Y Interest Rate at 2.45%.

However, the Next Payout Amt of SBSep18 of $130 is actually higher than the Next Payout Amt of SSBJan19 of $122.50.

By clicking on the name of the SSB, we can drill down into the details of each SSB.

So I clicked on "SBSep18 GX18090T" to view the details.

From the detailed view, SSBSep18 is in its 6th year with upcoming $130 of interest payable in Mar 2024. 

I did the same for SSBJan19 to see that SSBJan19 is in its 5th year with upcoming $122.50 of interest payable in Jan 2024.

As I plan to make a redemption to apply for SSBJan24 with a starting yield of 3.0%, it makes more sense to redeem SSBJan19 and replace it with SSBJan24. Furthermore, SSBJan19 is running at 2.5% currently compared to SSBSep18 running at 2.6% currently. 

I should be able to collect the principal amount of $10k together with the upcoming $122.50 interest on 2 Jan 2024 if I were to redeem SSBJan19 this month.

Ideally I should redeem both of these underperforming SSBs but there is no guarantee that the allotment for SSBJan24 is above S$20k for me to replace both SSBs with SSBJan24.

Final Decision: To redeem SSBJan19 before 26 Dec, 9pm dateline for electronic application.

Takeaway from this case study: By logging to SSB portal, we could perform simple analysis to make informed data-driven decision on SSB redemption and purchase to manage our portfolio effectively.

Thank you all for reading.

With love & peace,

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Resurgence of S-Reits!


Greeted by green bamboo shoots upon login to my POEMS trading account today!

The S-Reits in my SGX Income portfolio surged strongly after the latest Federal Open Market Committee Meeting.

My paper net worth grew by more than $10k in 1 day of resurgence.

The Federal Reserve has decided to maintain interest rates and is willing to cut interest rates in 2024 even if the US economy does not go into recession.

This strong signal indicates the pivoting from current peak of high interest rates and resulted in a market expectation of interest rate cuts of at least 1.5% in 2024.

Whatever goes up will come down.

Whatever comes down will go up.

Reits' prices have been battered and suppressed since the onset of interest rate hikes 2 years ago.

Their time for comeback has arrived.

I believe it is important to allocate our financial assets well such that we own a balanced portfolio of assets which thrive under all conditions. 

Moving forward, I expect a retracement of bank share prices which may remain weak and volatile in the coming months because a drop in interest rates will erode into their net interest incomes. I will monitor and on standby to add local bank shares while watching the S-Reits continue to soar.

Thank you for reading. Stay focused and remain steadfast as always!

With love & peace,