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SRS Portfolio - 15 Jan 2021



The SRS portfolio moved in tandem with the rebound in the REIT market and showed an unrealised gain of $7,191 and the value reached a new high of $346,508. 
It is also sitting on a cash balance of $188,858, which I have "failed" to deploy.

The SRS portfolio could have performed much better as cash is a drag and sometimes doing nothing - as in not selling Lendlease and UOB - would have done a better job for me . . . 🤕 . .  but hindsight is always 20/20 . . . I had also wanted to deploy the cash in SRS into two other counters Credit Bureau Asia at 1.03 and AEM at 3.45 in late Dec, but I didn't pull the trigger due to hesitation and procrastination 😂

One key reason why I have been neglecting the SRS account is that I find the local stock market pretty boring - there is no volatility and you only play REITs, Banks or Tech-related stocks and they are quite 'limited' in quality and quantity. I will continue to dedicate the SRS account to stocks in these 3 categories as well as investing for the longer term horizon.

I mentioned that I was going global in Sep and have been having a lot of fun learning about these markets since, especially over the last 1 month. I traded the Hong Kong market in Meituan and Tencent, Softbank (Tokyo), ST Microelectronics (Paris) and many counters on NASDAQ such as Alibaba, AirBnB and Zoom Video. I have to admit I quite enjoy learning about these new markets even though the quantum of the trades are not big. What I like about these markets are the optionality and the volatility! For example - AirBnB and Doordash shot up by more than 20% in 3 short days (of course the reverse is true as well) 😱 You can see how my "profits for 2021" shot up in the chart below due primarily to AirBnB and Tencent but at one time, it was in the net loss due to Alibaba, so you will need to be able to "stomach the volatility" if you want to invest in these markets. 



So far, the first 2 weeks of January have been "fun" with net profits at $12k but I am still learning the ropes and the nuances and temperament of the different markets.

Similarly, I would encourage you to expand your horizon to other markets as well in a slow and measured manner. My verdict so far - Hong Kong and US markets are most exciting, where they have the depth and the volatility.

Do remember to enjoy your journey while on your way to financial freedom!  

Becoming a CPF Millionaire


The Sunday Times published the above article in the papers today, right after I became a MillionAir overnight 😂


I believe my readers can become a CPF Millionaire too, if we plan and work towards it.

Here are my thoughts about using the CPF depending on which stage of your life you are in.

If you are just starting out (in your 20s and early 30s) and you need a roof over your head, just go ahead and use it as the down payment for the flat or condo. After all, you need all the cash you have for renovation and to start a family.

When your career becomes more stabilized and take home more pay as you progress through the corporate ladder (30s to early 40s), you should start using cash instead of CPF for the monthly mortgage payments.

When you are at the peak of your career (early 40s to mid 50s), you should start repaying the CPF you have drawn for the property to build a nest egg and plan for your retirement life. One of the tools which you can use to create perpetual income till you pass on is CPF Life!  

I first blogged about putting CPF to work in Jan 2015 and discussed using CPF for retirement in 2017 through CPF Life. 

In 2017, I stopped using CPF for my mortgage payments and repaid the amount drawn from my CPF for property I also shared with you the reasons why in Jan 2018. For the first time ever, I shared my CPF balance was $720,232 as of 31 Dec 2017. 

I then made a decision to open CPF accounts for my children and do a 1-for-1 top up if they deposit all their ang pow moneys into CPF Special Account. I shared a conversation with my elder son on why compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world when he received his CPF statement for 2019.



I received my CPF statements for 2020 where I received interest of $27,702. That works out to be a "risk-free" interest come of $2,308 per month. I mentioned previously that CPF is my "last line of defense", hence my preference not to use CPF for risky investments.

I contemplated for a long time whether to share my CPF balances as the intent wasn't to show off but to inspire readers to think for their own future and that of their loved ones. 

Over the years, I have transferred from my ordinary account to the Special Accounts of my loved ones to help build their retirement nests. This is something which you can do for your loved ones too, especially if they have not reached the Basic or Full Retirement Sum. Like what the article says, if you don't need CPF Life, you can use it for charity. 

 

The combined CPF balance is $920,668 as of 31 Dec 2020 and I am on my way to hit 1M before 65. I am sure you can do it too.

Note to self when I reach 55 years old - CPF Hacks

In the Sunday Times's article today, the Editor wrote about two "legal" hacks for members who reached 55 years old and how to "game" the CPF. I am not sure if these hacks will eventually be removed by the time I reach 55 years old but I have put a marker into the time capsule reminder today.

Hack 1 : A few months before you reach 55 years old, keep $40,000 (minimum required) and invest the excess in the CPF Special Account in short term investment products that are relatively safe and stable. CPF is then "forced" to deduct the Enhanced Retirement Sum of $279,000 from your CPF SA ($40,000) and CPF OA ($239,000). After the deduction, sell the investments and all the proceeds will go back to CPF SA, which earns a higher interest rate than CPF OA.

Hack 2 : When it is time to set aside the retirement sum, choose the lowest possible tier (currently Basic Retirement Sum) of $93,000. CPF SA will then deduct this amount and leave the balance in the CPF SA. After this happens, you can "change your mind" and top up your Retirement Account with cash to hit the Enhanced Retirement Sum. This will allow you to enjoy maximum returns in CPF by keeping most of your initial sums intact.

Both hacks sounded feasible and "legal", it is really up to you whether to hack or heck it. 😆 

I became a Million Air overnight

I admit that I am a Mile Junkie (see post in 2017) as I love to travel. You can see all my travel pictures here.

I have at least 5 credit cards collecting miles for me but I swear I didn't plan to be a Million Air in 2020, not when Covid-19 is still raging on. 

I even missed the first round promotion by Singapore Airlines but luckily,  SQ has decided to extended the promotion to 16 Jan 2021. Basically SQ is offering a 15% top up when you convert your credit card points into miles! (Do note that the miles need to be credited into your Krisflyer account before the deadline, so you will need to buffer in some "processing time").

This offer is too good to miss and I have never "seen this kind of offer from SQ before, so yes - I am taking on the credit risk 💪 of SQ 😂. I have decided to convert all my "years of hard work" into miles and probably won't get to use it till 2022.

Here you go, my newly minted status just before 2020 ended even though I was grounded since April last year.


For those who are keen to know the processing time, I "triggered" all the miles conversion on the same date - 29 Dec - with Citibank, DBS, HSBC, SCB, UOB and I received the "accrual" in my account for Citibank, DBS and UOB on the same date! The rest are still pending . . .


I have previously blogged about my favorite Miles card and why I prefer Miles over Cashback

So if you are keen to take advantage of this offer, you should be in time if you "trigger" the conversion this week.