Hello! I have been inactive for quite a while. To be honest, I was not really busy with anything. In fact, I got less busy. I guess it’s just the holiday mood catching up with me, and I ended up binging on more Netflix than I initially planned. I guess it’s good to take a break once in a while. However, a lot has happened in the meantime. Although I have not been posting my thoughts, I did read through them and have collectively learnt a lot. So there will be more posts in December.
How I started
2020 is my first year I took personal finance seriously. I never really earned a real income until 2020. Before that, it was just a few part time jobs. However, this year, I have learnt a lot about saving, spending, investing and the general perspective you should have on personal finance.
I started out my journey with Rich By Retirement, a personal finance book catered towards Singaporeans. It was a very easy read which got me very interested in the various fields of personal finance. As I slowly browsed through the internet and read much more books, I learnt much more about personal finance.
At the start of the year, I was still figuring out my own personal philosophy in investing. There are many schools of thoughts, but after much reading, I came to the conclusion that the core-satellite portfolio suits me best. It is a theory whereby the majority of your portfolio is anchored in a diversified, low-cost index fund. The rest of your portfolio is targeted towards conviction bets that you have. This can range from an ETF you like such as ARKK, a stock you have conviction in or a dividend play to fund your expenses.
Because of that, I like the flexibility of this allocation. I will go into the details of my allocation in the next post.
I am uncomfortable revealing my assets online, and sometimes even to friends. But I am proud to have been able to grow my portfolio from 0 to a respectable 5 figure amount this year. I hope to approach closer to the 6 figure mark in the coming year ahead.
A lot has happened recently, and I will publish an article for the notable ones that I have opinions in.
Bank interest rate cuts
Firstly, bank interest rates suffered a major cut again. Even my favourite Standard Chartered Jumpstart was not spared. Its interest rate is now comparable to any other “high-interest” bank account at 4%. For now, the best choice to put your money in is really still Singlife. Other choices include Gigantiq or cash management solutions by roboadvisors like Endowus. My combination still stands, DBS Paylah if QR codes are available, Jumpstart debit card for 1% cashback, Singlife to store extra money, and a DBS account to withdraw from ATMs.
Many bloggers have posted an article about SGFinDex, which is an initiative by MAS for Singaporeans to view their bank accounts and CPF balances in one consolidated platform. My friend, thefipharmacist (Gideon), made a comprehensive write-up on it. I tried it for a while on my SC mobile app. Although useful, I think it caters more to the less financial literate. I still prefer my spreadsheets because they are fully customisable and suit my needs better. Maybe when my CPF account becomes more significant or when I take mortgage loans in the future it will become more useful.
Digital bank licenses
MAS has also been spicing up the financial industry through the introduction of digital bank licenses. It was quite interesting to see Grab-Singtel and Sea Limited both win a fully digital bank license each. I think this will be more impactful for consumers as the other two licenses are targeted at small businesses. I will probably be elaborating more in the future and compare to other digital banks overseas. I feel both companies have great opportunities for success. Grab and Singtel can tap into their already large customer bases regionally and Sea Limited can look to expand their less known financial payment system through Shopee and Garena.
Lastly, because of boredom and the recent binge watching of Youtube, I have been reading up on cryptocurrency. I have no money invested into it yet. I still want to fully understand how it works and read about it before putting my money into it. I am still halfway through a book, but for now, it still seems like a very speculative asset that provides little value. I feel that its only purpose is acting as a store of value such as gold. Maybe I am wrong. If you want to join me, you can read up here, it’s a free book by Andreas M. Antonopoulos published on GitHub.