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2021: A Year In Review

A little late because I have been rather tired lately, but here is my yearly review for the year of 2021.

On my personal finances 

Achieved investing savings target of 24k/yr, totaling 44.4k, based on routine savings. Total savings achieved after everything else would be 37.4k. 

There's a even larger amount of replacement costs this year as well as some ad-hoc 1-time spend, overall savings increased. As it has happened straight for 3 years, I will look to create a more definite replacement cost buffer, there might be some upgrade/replacement costs this year and next year too.  

I am still sticking with Kyith's blog post about saving 75% of any windfall, no matter the size, as well as for any increment from my job. 

My current net profit margin from work has increased from 61.3% to 63.2%, exceeding the 60% mark, as you can see I am no longer able to achieve my savings KPI of 1% per year, and considering I am somewhat near the limit, I will scrap the KPI of 1% per year, but instead aiming a long term target of gradually increasing to 65%

I have made a switch in my career recently too, so the increment next year is probably insufficient to push savings rate higher. So probably can review if there’s anything I can optimise again. 

My total net worth less CPF (292.7k) remains below my total CPF balances (315.9k, inclusive of CPFIS)My invested cash stands at only 243.9k. This sums up to be 608.6k, barely achieving the 600k mark. 

I have reduced my lottery spending to about $60 from $65, which is a good sign. 

This is my updated Financial Independence Excel Dashboard for the year of 2021. 

Despite the decreased savings, the years to financial independence actually decreased to 9 years from 12, even with my assumptions using 5% return rates. 

On my investment portfolio 

Portfolio XIRR this year is about 12.56%, with long term XIRR of 41.40% which outperformed VT (17.52% and 10.01% respectively). Despite the significant percentage of my holdings in Chinese tech being hit by Chinese regulations pulling down performance, I can attribute a portion of the returns due to leverage from balance transfers. 

Considering that the US Feds are looking to hike interest rates, I am not sure how long would I be able get cheap leverage. And I would also say that the yields from crypto are not always stable or guaranteed either.

I collected a total of $161.47 of dividends, an expected reduction as my strategy had shifted over the past year. 

I am still monitoring my Endowus equities portfolio (cash) to compare my own performance, it will take some years of real life performance before the decision can be made if doing it myself is better or giving my funds to them. That being said, perhaps during retirement or if one day my mental faculties begin to deteriorate, I would envisioning that passing all my funds to them for management and adopting a withdrawal strategy would work too.

Moving forward, I hope to read up more as well as keep an eye out for opportunities in the markets. That being said, the markets does seem to be trending down, I am a little worried about running out of cash again. A comforting fact is that I am mostly invested in the markets. 

On my CPF 

Here's the overall XIRR for all of them: 

  • Endowus portfolio returns after all fees: 15.58% 
  • Bank shares: 16.87% 
  • Blended OA+CPFIS (Endowus+Bank shares): 8.91% 
  • Blended OA+CPFIS+SA: 6.78% 

Looking not too shabby, probably might wanna measure the entire CPFIS returns next time rather Bank Shares alone as there wouldn't be much transactions except for a crash or major correction. 

The combined OA+SA+CPFIS is now 256.3k which already exceeded the current Full Retirement Sum of 192k. I might be able to accelerate my SA growth slightly from overflowing funds from the MA. 


My CPF MA will now finally achieve the Basic Healthcare Sum by this year, and after that MA contributions will overflow to the SA which should accelerate the size of the SA.


On my Job 

I have made a change in company to hopefully "greener" pastures. 

Increments and promotions moving forward is definitely much lower and slower compared to my previous place. 

Some reasons for the change: 

  1. My salary adjustment at my previous place was only a meager $10-20, which suggests that my salary is at least market rate and probably on the high side of the compa-ratio. Thought I would try somewhere else before it gets too difficult to make a switch. 
  2. I am able to learn downstream processes to get a more wholesome view of biologics manufacturing. 
  3. There are potential opportunities to pursue career interests in process improvement projects and similar stuff. 
  4. Better staff welfare and benefits compared to my previous place. Slower pace too (at least for now). 

My total package less medical benefits is actually about only 3% increase.

Shift work is getting tougher and I can feel the strain on my body that I have not felt in the past few years. 

That being said, my current company seems to be quite supportive of lateral movement to other roles which may be useful in the future if I ever want to move out of shift. 

Here's the income CAGR chart: 

Still aiming to achieve maximum CPF contributions with my basic monthly salary (or with a blend of basic monthly with transport allowance) to maintain maximum CPF contributions. 

I managed to squeeze out some percentage points for my Income CAGR with the change in company but it will plateau again. 

Frankly, at the back of my mind,  I am worried in the industry that I am in would eventually go the way of Semiconductor manufacturing, as manufacturing in the end is about going to the cheapest cost centers. I would expect as the regional developing nations grow, the amount of skilled labor would eventually make it attractive (government support and local culture considerations too). My guess would be within my lifetime maybe half a decade to 2 decades from now.

Need to find more ways of deriving further streams of income, be it writing or side hustle.

On my personal life 

I completed 11 books, missing my target of 12 books per year

The list of books I read are: 

  • The Essays of Warren Buffett 
  • The Meaningful Money Handbook by Pete Matthew 
  • Introverts in Love by Sophia Dembling 
  • Cryptocurrency Investing for Dummies by Kiana Danial 
  • Money by Jacob Goldstein 
  • How to DeFi by Coingecko 
  • Millionaire by Janet Gleeson 
  • The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks 
  • What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Brendan Moynihan and Jim Paul 
  • Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts by Annie Duke 
  • Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side by Howard Marks 

I actually thought I finished 12 books, so I took a break. 

The memorable books are the ones in bold. I am still contemplating should I read the entire Drizzt series in one go, and as usual, my reading list keeps piling up. 

On a side note, I finished 2 games this year too, as part of my KPI to finish at least 1 game, with an ever increasing list of games to play. 

Games List: 

  • Final Fantasy 4 
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

I did not manage to publish one more Seeking Alpha article, missing 2020's KPI. Writing really felt like a chore but I was spending loads of time on another side project. 

The side project, as of writing, I am ordering some samples to check out the quality before I proceed forward. I am looking to test out a few things before it reaches the market. As it was built on an existing hobby, it actually improved my knowledge and techniques in the hobby too. 

I have also spent more in 2021 compared to what I like but quite a bit is a mixture of destressing as well as health. 

I am maintaining my health status in 2021 are as follows: 

  • My overall exercise minutes per week 14 minutes. 
  • Ring Fit Adventure game does help in gamifying exercise, but some discipline is still required. I have made some additional static exercises on my own occasionally due to some old injuries acting up. 
  • I wasn't able to maintain my body massage and callus filing routines. 

Hope to do more, looking to increase my exercise minutes per week to like 30 minutes with a long term target of 90 minutes per week. I added SAF boot insoles into my safety boots and now my feet stopped hurting (I feel such small add-ons help in the overall picture). 

I am giving up on tracking my blog revenue as at least for now, my focus would be adjustment and growing in my new workplace and trying to get my side project to a steady state. 

I am interested in doing some form of writing/production once the side project has stabilised and I when have more bandwidth, but that remains to be seen. 

Like always, so many ideas but so little time to execute them.Conclusion


Summary of 2021's main KPI and targets: 

  • Read at least 12 Books (missed) 
  • Finish at least 1 Game (achieved) 
  • Maintain my savings rate (achieved) 
  • Maintain my health routines (partial) 
  • Write 1 Seeking Alpha article (missed) 
  • Work on side projects (Work in Progress) 

Setting 2022's main KPIs and targets: 

  • Read at least 12 Books 
  • Finish at least 1 Game 
  • Maintain my savings rate
  • Achieve 100k increase on total net worth
  • Maintain my health routines
  • Get a working product from my side project 

Well, that's all for my review of 2021, it remains a hard year for many people due to the pandemic. 

But let's hope that 2022 is a better year! 

How was 2021 for you?

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