If it’s not obvious by now, the number of posts each month is dropping significantly. This is due to the workload at my job getting heavier as I start to integrate into the team. I have much less time and energy to devote to the pursuits of my non-core personal interests such as blogging.
As for core personal interests such as spending time with my wife, family & friends and exercising, I continue to make the effort to do so on weekday nights and especially during the weekend. Which results in me being less engaged with this blog as I try to achieve some level of balance between all these various aspects of my life. But this is me trying and I hope to get a better handle on things going forward. Anyway, the year end is coming and it’s a good time to start getting ready for it. Or at least reflect on how the year has gone so far although I might write a more proper post for it in the new year.
1. Should we make any CPF cash top-ups?
Since we will have worked the full year, we are considering making cash top-ups to our Special Accounts for the tax relief and building up of our retirement funds. We did this for the years 2014 and 2015 but are likely to make an exception for the year 2016.
It was essential then because we haven’t worked full-time in Singapore before 2014 and wanted to build up our CPF balances (especially the Special Accounts) quickly for the decent interest earnings to kick in.
With the monthly CPF contributions, our balances have grown to an acceptable amount and in line with our asset allocations. There’s no longer a need to make cash top-ups to our Special Accounts to build up our retirement funds but maybe just small amounts for the tax relief.
2. Should we make any changes to the investing strategy?
The focus has always been to increase our passive income received and I continue to invest in ETFs and dividend stocks to achieve that. Changes are already in progress as I try to automate the dollar-cost averaging of the Singapore ETFs at the cost of incurring higher expenses via the monthly investment plans of banks.
Once Smartly is launched, I intend to automate the dollar-cost averaging of the International ETFs again at the cost of incurring higher expenses via the robo-advisor. I still make periodic investments into dividend stocks such as my recent averaging down of local telecom stocks but they are less frequent.
3. Should we continue tracking our net worth, income and expenses?
Yes! It can be a time-consuming exercise pulling together all the relevant information to make the updates but the data obtained has been useful. I intend to further develop my data collection and analysis tools to start making financial projections based on identifiable variables. Or tap into FinTech to plug the gap for me.
4. What are the major risks to us now?
It’s become increasingly apparent that our investing strategy is turning into a numbers game. The more funds we allocate to ETFs, the less important our ability to apply any investing strategy or even the need to be concerned by financial news.
Both the economic conditions and job markets are definitely deteriorating. Our retrenchment risks will continue to climb if the situation doesn’t improve. We might still be okay for 2017 but are likely to have problems in 2018. We will have to watch our cash allocations carefully next year to buffer for this. No point over-investing our cash early on and are forced to liquidate our investments later on.