Saturday, 14 May 2022

Benefits of having a Stay-At-Home-Spouse

I do not think I gave enough justice to having J as a SAHM. Do I think she has an easier life compared to other working mothers? Yes, but she has also made my life easier. She takes on 

  • most of the housework (apart from our weekly part time helper)
  • car duties (driving, sending the car for servicing, inspection, petrol top-ups)
  • our parents' assistance (e.g. medical appointments, outings)
  • children activities
    • dealing with the kids after school and getting them to bed
    • bringing them for enrichment lessons
    • plans and do together with them their never ending home learning projects
    • activities for weekends/school closure/holidays
  • and others I am sure.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Networth update

Busy with life and not updating much here.
just updating my NW growth. Nice growth, considering no crypto (not a believer).

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Early Retirement in One Lesson

I like this video by Mr Money Mustache.

Sit on your hands

Over the last 1-2 weeks, the value of my portfolio dropped by around 10%. This reminded me of 5-6 years ago, when my portfolio suffered a paper loss, and I panic sell. Now, whenever I feel the urge to panic sell, I sit on my hands and don't look/think about my stocks. After a day or two (or longer), I look at my stock holdings , and try to convince myself that their long term growth is intact. If I can't, then it's probably time to sell. 

Warren Buffet punch card rule.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Most marriage breakdowns are due to financial stress

I was watching Losing Our Jobs In COVID-19: This Is Our Story | Make It Work and it makes me feel grateful that I have not been affected much, if at all.

I did not lose my job, in fact I changed jobs. I prefer working from home instead of working in office, as it gives me more time with my family. I probably spend lesser during this period of time (less eating out, much less travelling to office and no overseas trips).

In the video, Daryll (the Singaporean) have to work a full time job, and take on food delivery jobs after that. As a result, he cannot spend time with his family and newborn son. I shudder to think what I will do in the same shoes. In the video, I noted that he still gives his parents allowances. Well done!

When I got married, I was keenly aware that most marriage breakdowns are due to financial stress. I do not ever want to be in such a situation, therefore I am quite risk averse. Some examples are:

  • When we were HDB hunting, we had put down the option fee for a HDB resale that we like. It cost $735K. I remembered telling J that if we bought this HDB, she will have to continue to work, which she was OK. We had just started working then, and there was no reason to think that we will decide J should stop working later if we have kids. However, I wanted her to have the option of not working, and in the end, we forfeited the option fee and bought a $516K HDB.
  • I have resisted getting a car for a while, even though our income could afford it. Later on, when we have our eldest, I asked J if she prefers a car, or yearly overseas holiday. She chose the car and so we got one. We do not have to cut down our overseas holiday yet (thanks in part to COVID these 2 years), but the option is there.
  • Putting our 3 kids in SparklesTots. The childcare fees for them in total is about $1K. When people comment that it must be very tough financially (3 kids), I always tell them my 3 kids probably have lower expenses than their 1/2 kids, especially if their kids are in more expensive childcares and enrichment classes.
  • Having enrichment classes in the Community Club. I always try to find lessons that are available in the CC, so that the lessons are cheap. The kids are still exploring, and I do not find it logical to enroll in expensive enrichment classes. As such, when my kid(s) want to drop the classes, it does not bother me as the classes are affordable. If the kid really shows talent later, I will have more financial resources to support them.
I believe that when the parents are free from financial stress, they will be better parents. 

Jiayou, the rest who are struggling in this difficult period.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Teaching kids money habits

When we only have 1 kid, we would normally go out on weekends as J was scared that K would be suaku. We would normally let K ride the kiddy rides if they are available, but would not put money in, instead trying to educate her (uselessly) that putting money in is not worth it.

I would always feel sad when K looked longingly at other kids on moving (paid) kiddy rides. She would sometimes scamper to board the kiddy ride after the other kid had left, and asked me how come there was no more electricity (as the ride no longer moved).

Later on, I decided to do the following:

  • give K her own pocket money
    • $1 per week for every year of age. Since K was 3 yrs old then, she gets $3 a week.
  • I round up every transaction to $1, as it is easier for her 3 yr old brain to understand.
    • If it is a transaction I approve of, e.g. buying from NTUC, I will round the amount down (e.g. $3.60 become $3)
    • If it is a transaction I do not approve, e.g. buying from vending machine, I will round up.
  • K can do whatever she wants with her money (to teach her responsibility and power of $$). 
    • e.g. if we go out for a family meal and she rejects the family meal and want to order ice cream instead, she can. She will pay for her ice cream though.
Later on, when K wants to ride kiddy rides, she will decide how much she wants to put in. E.g. she has $3. Does she wants to put money into the kiddy ride, or does she want to conserve money to buy tidbits at NTUC.

Once K wanted to put money into a machine that she can turn a knob to dispense a toy. Although we tell her that she likely won't get the toy she wanted as the machine was filled with random toys, she didn't want to listen. She wanted to use her money (she had saved up like $10+). After a few tries (each try was $2), she understood that it was not worth it, and didn't want to put in more money.

I feel that giving her her own money helped to teach her the value of money. No longer does she look longingly at kids on kiddy rides (She has the power to choose if she wants to put in $). She now sometimes educates her friends not to spend money at the vending machine too (buy at NTUC is cheaper!).

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Reply to comment on securing my family's financial security


Comment: Sad to say, 25X only works for the US or Canadian retiree and the Trinity study has a few conditions that are dangerous to extrapolate to Singapore's context without adaptation. 33X is probably a better figure to aim for.

I agree that the Trinity study is dangerous to extrapolate without adaptions. Here are some of my adaptions: 

  • my 25x does not includes CPF, and I am working towards FRS for both of us while working towards FIRE. I am already 39, CPF Life kicks in at 65.
  • At the start of my retirement, if market does not do well, I will likely go back to work
  • I included as my housing loan as my expense. My housing loan is about $250k, and will actually be fully paid off in 16+ years. 
  • I have yet to decide upon the indexes or ETFs that I will be in. For now, my thinking is that I will be split equally in 2 indexes (world index - VT and Singapore STI - ES3). I will rebalanced them each to 50% of the portfolio yearly (i.e. sell off better performing index to buy the cheaper index). I am still thinking about STI ETF though. This article explains.

* I was typing the reply in the comment box and due to the length of the reply, decided I should put it in a post.