A new budget for 2020

Tomorrow is Jan 1, 2020, and it’s about time to work out a new budget.

2019 budget looks like this

1. Food/Groceries/Medical: $600-$800

2. Home/Utilities/Communication: $350-$500

3. Transport: $300

4. Education: $200

5. Insurance: $750

6. Parents: $500

7. Vacation: $500

TOTAL: $3200-3550 (excluding wife’s spending money, church giving, savings and investments)

Everything should stay relatively the same except:

#1 Food/Groceries: $700-$900 ($100 increase)

With the kids fast growing up, their demand for food increases as well. I fear the day they eat us out of our house! Wife is constantly on the look out for the best deals, and I trust she can stretch the grocery dollar. If she has to go to 10 shops to buy 10 items instead of buying all 10 items at one place just to save money, she gladly does it. She spares no effort in sniffing out the best deal, and all that running from one store to another she considers exercise. Of course, there is on-line grocery shopping that she taps into as well.

#4: Education $700 ($500 increase)

Kid will soon attend an independent school and the school fees is very high compared to regular schools … $300 per month at least. And then there are extra fees for different activities. Wife said I should have considered the school fees before encouraging the kid to apply to this school since every school is a good school. I’m not sure if I believe government propaganda entirely, but I believe it is a good opportunity for the kid to be stretched academically and to rub shoulders with some of the brightest kids in the country. Anyway, whatever’s best for the kid I’ll glad fund it.

So 2020 budget looks like this

1. Food/Groceries/Medical: $700-$900

2. Home/Utilities/Communication: $350-$500

3. Transport: $300

4. Education: $700

5. Insurance: $750

6. Parents: $500

7. Vacation: $500

TOTAL: $3800-4150 (excluding wife’s spending money, church giving, savings and investments)

Beginning Jan 1 2020, I shall endeavour to track our family expenses (items 1 to 4) on the app Seedly. It will take a lot of discipline to include everything from kopiC to fishball noodles to SIA tickets, and to do this every single day for 365 days. Will see how it goes from Jan 1.


2019 in Review

So very quickly 2019 is going to be gone. The year 2019 has been predicted to be a year of doom and gloom. And yet as it turns out, the truth is, the year 2019 is the best year ever in investment history where almost every investment works and every portfolio finishes in the green.

2019 is my first full year of investing. I began as a rookie late 2018, and have learnt a great deal in how to best place my money in the stock market throughout 2019. Mr market has been very kind to me:

Time-weighted return: 28.38% vs STI: 8.85%

XIRR: 26.44%

Total dividend received in 2019: $2957.66. It’s a modest sum but encouraging enough for me to keep doing what I’ve done this year.

My best 3 performers are: Mapletree Industrial Trust (+38.28%), UMS (+35.71%) & Fuyu (+18.60%).

My worst 3 performers are: Fortune Reit (-15.40%), Eagle HTrust (-4.39%) & First Reit (-3.65%). All 3 worst performers are Reits!

As the year comes to a close soon tomorrow, my total stock portfolio stands at $87,331.51. In addition to that I have a RSP plan on Moneyowl, and the money portfolio has grown 7.64% to $5304.68.

In summary:

Stock portfolio: $87,331.51

MoneyOwl: $5304.68

The plan or goal for 2020 is to grow the stock portfolio to $110,000, and double the value of the MoneyOwl portfolio to $10,000. The larger game plan is to eventually retire with $1M in both portfolios combined (WITHOUT including CPF, cash savings, bonds, and endowment-type policies). This will take me at least 17 years to hit the jackpot. It seems likes a long journey ahead, but I draw inspiration from those who have gone down the road and are now enjoying their retirement land that overflows with milk and honey. Many have achieved their financial goals, so why shouldn’t I? That’s my mindset.

Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.

Warren Buffett


Money is not the only important thing in this world. Ranking above wealth is definitely health, both physical and mental.

I make it a point to always squeeze out some time every day to engage in some physical activities or just lounge about reading. Being a husband and a father of a few kids, time is often in short supply every day. It is only after going through the kids’ school work do I find the time to have some ‘me’ moment, and that is usually a quick trip to the gym, immerse myself with a book, or learn a few phrases of new music.

2020 has been an MC-free year. Yeah! Apart from some minor colds/flu which I basically just self-medicate, I’m as healthy as a horse. Fitness-wise, I’m still maintaining a gold standard in IPPT tests. My weakest performance was in the 2.4km run. Based on strengthlevel.com calculation, I’m stronger than 94% of male lifters in my age and weight groups. So in 2020, I shall work on my lower limbs, and improve on my stamina.

I shall also continue to maintain a low budget on food. It’s a hard thing to do when there is always good food everywhere. But the thing is we are what we eat. Consume too much sugar, salt, oil etc, and we run in danger of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. My approach is to eat but never to being fully full; more meals as opposed to the standard 3 meals a day; more protein and fibre, and less carbohydrates. Truth be told, I’m not always disciplined when it comes to eating.

Apart from taking care of the body, one must also take care of the mind. I read both for knowledge as well as for pleasure. I average 1 book every fortnight, and am now reading Mr. Goh’s memoir “Tall order: The Goh Chok Tong Story”, and “Last Man Standing”, a thriller novel written by David Baldacci. I definitely need to read more books on investing.

To me, playing music is akin to meditation. I like to sit down and play during the week ends. But alas, I did very poorly this year, not learning a single piece of serious music this year. Special Christmas music does not count. Definitely need to work on this aspect of my life.