As the clock tick closer to the new year in the next few hours, I will usually take this time to reflect a bit on the journey for 2015 and then come up with some new resolutions that I want to achieve in 2016.
2015 has been a very good year in terms of every aspect in my life.
I was well rewarded in my career, being promoted during the annual review after my ex-boss went overseas to the US to further his career. Promotion, to me is a double edged sword, unlike a progression. A progression is usually remunerated by a larger percentage increase in the increment but responsibilities remain largely the same. For promotion, the remuneration has gone up but the responsibilities have gone up even greater. That is a challenge.
I had also enjoyed my time with my family this year, traveling together with my son for the first time to Bangkok and Hua Hin, after having a rather long wait since our honeymoon in Japan and then waiting for him to grow up bigger first. It’s also nice to have spent sufficient time with the family in 2015, bonding and getting to interact with one another more, as opposed to the year before when I had to complete my MBA and I had less face time to interact more frequently with the family.
For my wife, I’m happy for her that she is able to grow her business so fast this year. At some point, she definitely looks busier than me and I had to play the role of the nanny many times. Perhaps, she can become the house breadwinner one day if it can grow so fast and I will happily take a step down when that comes.
In terms of investment, the portfolio yields a return of +1.3% for the year inclusive of dividends. Even though the results may not look as stellar as some of my previous years’ returns, I still consider them as good performance since the STI yields a negative -13.8% for this year. I took note of some of the following highlights for my own this year performance:
1.) Short term trading plays a big part in the return for this year. During the year, I managed to trade a few counters such as FCT, FCOT, DBS, OCBC, Noel Gifts, China Merchant Pacific to generate double digit returns in this category. I guess I was lucky for the most part of trading but I usually have a rather unique way of doing this and knowing my limits too.
2.) The worst performing award for this year goes to Kingsmen Creative. I had bought the first tranche 15,000 shares at $0.98, then 10,000 shares at $0.95, then another 11,000 shares at $0.85 and finally 1,000 share at $0.73. As a result, my average price based on the weighted average method is $0.92 for 37,000 shares (excluding dividends). Based on the latest share price at $0.68, this means that the counter alone has underperformed by 26% this year.
3.) Most entries are being made during the second half of the year, in particular during the Black Monday event and on some knee jerking news in November. Even though short term winds might persist going into the new year, I trust that my investment in some of the companies I have made will yield fruitful dividends in the long run. In the meantime, I will continue to get busy reviewing the thesis at least once every quarter.
4.) Cash as warchest plays a huge part in the return for this year because first they were not dragged down by the market return and second I was able to utilize them effectively (see number 3).
2016 New Year Resolution
For 2016, I am going to shake things up a little bit and keep the resolutions relatively simple for next year. Personally, I don’t see 2016 as my ground-breaking year in terms of many aspect so it will mostly revolve around the theme of continuing with the good progress from 2015 and stepping up on the weakness.
1.) In terms of investing for 2016, my focus will be on maintaining and increasing my dividends cash flow from $1,800/month in 2015 to $2,000/month in 2016.
Even though the focus is largely on the dividends, I do not subscribe to the idea that I have to buy only companies that yield the highest dividends because that may not be the smartest way to do if those payments are not sustainable. It will be a mixture of proper due diligence on the company itself, their past dividend payout history and management integrity towards the minority shareholders.
The reason why I am focusing on the dividends cashflow for 2016 is because I wanted to test if we can cover our expenses based on dividends cashflow alone. At this moment, the answer is a resounding no but if I were to achieve FI one day, I need to believe it would have to be the case.
2.) Another goal I would like to put across for the new year is to attend at least 3 AGM for the companies I am vested in.
I did not attend much for this year but having attended a few in the past, I found it to be very rewarding because it is an opportunity where we, as retail investors, can get closer to the management by asking relevant questions, talking to fellow investors and getting first-hand information on the outlook that you can draw inference from.
3.) In terms of health and fitness, I’d like to continue the strong progress from the second half of this year where I felt I was fresher and fitter, and I managed to bug off the frequent cold and flu in the past. I think taking plenty of fruits do help to boost my immunity and I will continue to bring that into the new year.
4.) In 2016, I’d also like to increase my spending on things that are beneficial to learning opportunities and improving relationship, while at the same time reducing discretionary wasteful expenses.
Here, I am talking almost about anything like reading, traveling, going to courses, socializing with friends because these are the things that matter in life. I could have categorized all those as “wants” and not “needs” in my life and use the excess money for more savings and investment but I think it will soon lose its meaning.
Let’s see how things would work out because this will bump up my already high expenses to even higher. Hopefully, I’ll manage to balance it out well at the end of the day.
5.) Last but not least, I'd like to do at least one volunteering service which I have not done in a long time. For now, let's keep it at the basic minimum first and then we can grow that thereafter.
So there I go with my 2016 goals and resolutions. 5 goals to aim for in 12 months and a new year to look forward to.
I hope things will go well for everyone and wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a fruitful start to the new year.