Happy CNY everyone! I had a half day today in the office and left the office at about 1pm. Went out with my wife to have lunch and do some shopping before heading over to my parent’s place for reunion dinner. We even had one of our cousins from Malaysia join us this year because she is working in Singapore until later in the year when she heads back for university studies. The reunion dinner is my favourite part of CNY. That’s when we gather with our respective families to have a proper sit-down dinner to chat and catch up. Let’s not forget the snacks as well!
Anyway, I figured I should write this post before things get busy this long weekend. What with the visiting of relatives and meeting up with friends. I don’t think I will be making any investment purchases next Tues on the last day of Jan 2017 and right after coming back from the CNY break. Probably won’t be in the mood to do anything that day. Here goes our investment transactions for Jan 2017.
Maybank Kim Eng Monthly Investment Plan
- Buy 32 units of SPDR STI ETF (ES3 on SGX) at S$3.04 per unit on 9 Jan 2017
- Transaction cost of S$1
- Buy 32 units of Nikko AM STI ETF (G3B on SGX) at S$3.08 per unit on 13 Jan 2017
- Transaction cost of S$1
OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan
- Buy 484 units of Nikko AM STI ETF (G3B on SGX) at S$3.09 per unit on 23 Jan 2017
- Transaction cost of S$5
- Buy 87 units of ABF SG Bond ETF (A35 on SGX) at S$1.135 per unit on 25 Jan 2017
- Transaction cost of S$0.50
Total invested amount in ETFs of about S$1,800 using Automated Investing for Jan 2017. All of which goes into growing my wife’s ETF portfolio.
Nil for Jan 2017.
I have been receiving a number of interesting questions from readers that I reckon might be useful to provide my responses in this post. Just as a way to share my views.
1. Why are you not writing about practical tips on how to earn more money?
There’s plenty of online material that can address this question. Those articles and blog posts are better researched and discusses the practical steps you can take to increase your income. I have tried to write about this topic before but scratched the post because it was starting to become generic with no real input from me. The result might have been better if I was more specific. Let’s give it a try here and see whether you think it works. By the way, this is all coming form our personal experiences.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and change your environment. My wife and I stayed on to work in Australia after graduating despite most of our peers returning to Singapore (New thing example 1). We didn’t want the first few years of our working life to be in an intense, high stress & pressure working environment. We spent 2 years working in Melbourne and picked up job skills at our own pace. We moved to Sydney to work for another 2 years to challenge ourselves despite settling into a comfortable routine in Melbourne (Change your environment example 1). This is where we matured the most in our time spent overseas.
Trust yourself to make it or make the mistake. When we wanted to return to Singapore to work and live, most people we spoke to thought it was a bad idea. Some thought we won’t be able to survive working in Singapore after spending such a long time studying, working and living in Australia. They were almost right (Make the mistake example 1). We really struggled in our first year back in Singapore. Work was stressful, colleagues were more demanding and meaner, weather was bad, not much to do over the weekends etc. We actually considered returning to Australia since things weren’t working out. But day by day, life got better as we adjusted. Nothing inspirational here. Just took us a long time to get used to it. (Somewhat make it example 1).
One of these days, I might write about our work experiences in the accounting and banking industries. Maybe it might help in giving you an idea of what’s the work environment, people and pay like. But don’t forget that it’s really your attitude and actions that determine your long term career path. Which is why most of the advice you find on earning more money has to do with changing what & how you think, feel and do. Easier said than done.
2. Why are your expenses so high and have you tried to lower your spending?
Ah, one of the main reasons why I don’t write about how to save more money. It’s something we are not good at. But having and chasing for the decent pay at our jobs actually contributed to our high spending. I will explain to you the fundamental problem with us of earning more money from having a higher salary income. As you work hard and smart like you were advised to, your position and salary rises. But your stress level also increases along with the higher expectations of you. Resting at home no longer works as a stress reliever because you need something to take your mind off work.
You try to manage the stress levels by exercising, going out more, just doing something or anything, and find that you start to have less personal time and rest. Funny how things work. The modern world has also become a never-ending competition of whose life is better. You try to screen out and not pay attention to what and how other people are doing. Difficult to do when everything is happening in your face and you can read about everything else online. So you spend on things, experiences to have fun, relax and feel better while pushing yourself hard for the next pay rise. This happened to us last year and just look at our spending numbers for 2016.
We are trying to break this damaging relationship between having a higher salary income and higher spending. If you are one of those people that can achieve a high salary income and keep your expenses low, that would be a fantastic position to be in. We are still working on balancing our priorities and managing the aforementioned self-destructive cycle. Wish us luck!