Sunday, December 14, 2014

Random thoughts: Looking back at 2014

Random thoughts series has nothing to do with fiance, it is more like my open diary.

2014 is coming to an end, I have 3 more weeks to go before 2015, but I am in the mood to take stock.

My career
The high point is the move to a new workplace, playing a new role. Although transition has not been easy and learning curve steeper than I expected, I eased into the new environment without major hiccups.

The core business is unchanged, and still passionate about my job. What more can I ask for. My career is definitely my hit and my high point in 2014.

The only area for improvement could well be I should really stop comparing my new workplace with my previous. My previous work is "glamorous" to a certain extent, and I think I need to stop living in the past. It means a lot to me when my colleagues say that they missed me, and actually arrange a farewell lunch, and personal meet up sessions before I go. Some walked up to me and ask why am I leaving, and my presence will be missed. Too much feeding into ego, and I have not snap out of it.

I always make it a point that I do not bring work home. I am always home for dinner, and I believed I put my family in the priority in after work hours.

I think I still have a fiery temper, but I think there are a number of occasions where I controlled it better. I think I experienced what damages a flare up can do to try to be funny again.

I think it is always on my mind to be a good husband and father, but I am not sure of the how, and if I am doing it right.

I do not have many friends that I meet up regularly. My colleagues are not my friends, although I am close to several of them. I just meet up with my usual "gang" for a drink and supper. I think as we grow older, we are more protective, we do not like to talk about our aspirations or problems like when we were younger. I actually think I blog more about more true feelings and thoughts than what I have said with them in the whole of 2014. When I send one of them home, we have more time in my car to chat, there are a few occasions I feel like telling him how I felt about my life, just like how I blog, but I just stopped. That protection gear is mutual.

We usually end up "suan-ing" the most successful of the group. Oh well, the part that gathers the most suan is not his money, he has no lack of them, but rather his ability with women, LOL.

It is only when one "over-spilled" with problems, do we hurdle together and laments about our life, give honest thoughts on matters etc. Otherwise, it is just "wind flower snow moon"

"Me time" is always in greater abundance at the end of the year. Me time is really important to me. I talk to myself a lot (blogging is a lesser form of me-time). When I work, I always find pockets of me time too.

Spiritually, I think I am screwed, no need to go into details here.

Physically, I am out of shape, living more unhealthy, especially towards the end of the year.

The high point really is I started to consciously save money whenever possible, I brought breakfast to work, and go for simpler family dine out whenever possible.

However, I seriously think the low point is I am really too obsessed with money. I think I should really chill a bit. You know what, I seriously believe money can buy "some happiness". Money cannot perform miracles, but some happiness, yes I do think it can do some of the tricks. If money cannot buy "happiness", through buying of "time", why do you aim for financial freedom? You are kidding yourself right?

Money makes me compare with others. No, I do not feel angry or hate others, I seriously don't. I just feel inferior. I feel inferior, not because I has less, I am fine with that too, really. I feel horrible, because I am making little or no progress.

The high point in money matters, is really having the heart to heart "whatsapps" with my wife about finances. I told her given that almost all the household expenses fall on me, I really do not have much disposal income and I couldn't really save monthly. I work out all the expenses, and told her that although I am earning much more than her, her disposal income is actually several times higher than mine. I think she finally gets it. She is not a bad woman, never one to start with, it is my ego that stopped me from letting her know. Of course, I do not think she is ready to share the burden, LOL

The low point is really when I have to sell a winning counter to pay for a expensive overseas trip. Yeah. I know. Although the year-end bonus is more than enough to pay for the trip, it did create "cash flow problems", given that I have an iron bowl job, I do not really keep a big emergency fund. That is basic finance 101, I know. I didn't have it. An irony of a finance blogger.

There is plenty of talk about chasing the dollar, how mindless it is. With all respect, it is mindless only after you have "enough", although everyone define "enough" differently, those who had enough can never understand how it feels to have "not enough". I do not have enough. I am working hard to have "enough", and I seriously do not think I am greedy or set too high a bar.

We can all talk about the wisdom of balancing the life and not allow law of diminishing returns to set in for the pursuit of money. Those are all rich men talk. Most finance bloggers I felt, are rich people. "You" (if you are reading this, chances are you are into investing, whether you own a blog or not) are really nice people, simple and sincere. But "you" are rich in my definition, and they reached the stage of being rich through hard work and perhaps some luck. The light will never see darkness.

The insecurity and the loud "what if I am single..."voice in my heart, is feel I a result of obsession with money. Although it is always very quickly drowned by the choruses of "a happy son, pretty wife and a luxury life (a car), for example, and words of contentment, rich people have their problems, I would still lead my life the same even if I strike toto", etc... The fact is ... I am unhappy about my situation, and I do not know what more can be done. I told myself that I should stop comparing myself with investors but maybe with simpler people. Too bad, the fact that I have built up knowledge of it for a decade, however inadequate, means I should be making full use of that knowledge to meaningful actions with significant consequences.

Looking back at 2014, the longest paragraphs is reserved for money. Obsession! On well, if you are expecting a portfolio review when I talk about money, I am sorry to disappoint me. Although I have more misses than hits this year, and returns is mildly negative perhaps? (didn't really count), I am still comfortable with my get dividends and buy more when price drop strategy.

Seriously, keeping a diary perhaps is better than blogging? I sure sound like I am pandering to get sympathy here. Should I actually publish this? LOL.
Maybe I should ... The blogger-sphere has enough success stories, time for diversity. LOL

Have a happy thanksgiving session.



  1. Hi SI,

    It takes courage to pour out what is in your heart. I may not walk exactly in your shoes, but I do have similar worries about money in my life.

    Allow me to selfishly share my own feelings here: I felt that I had totally wasted the first decade of my working life, having not accumulated any savings and investments. And now going into my second decade, I face life each day with regrets. The consolation I have is that all is not lost. While I can never match up to the super investors, at least I know I won't die a penniless man, without family by my side.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi S reit system,

      Thank you for your kind words. It's doesn't take much courage actually. Because no one really know who I am, and if I choose to disappear into obscurity and recinacrate as someobe else, I could. Or I could just call it quit, without any consciences. If only life is that simple rite? LOL.

      Although we "know each other" inky very shortly, I do have an inkling we share quite a number of similarities, especially on the temper and regrets part. LOL.

      I always wonder if I should blog on matters that I believed are of negative energy, since it might be a bad influence or sore energy?

      But I think being truthful is more important, if I feeling positive, I blog. If I feel
      Like shit, I blog.

      If someone read and feel uncomfortable, so be it

  2. Hi si,

    I think you're fine too. Don't compare lah, we have our ups and downs. Most of the time, it's just 'the grass is greener on the other side' and why? Cos there's more shit over there. Mostly, it's just us seeing the flowers without seeing the rot in the leaves. If you want to compare, compare the silly investor in 2014 versus 2013.

    I only read blogs which are honest and true to themselves. Those that do not talk about themselves,good or bad, I don't read. Might as well read books lol

    Erase the negativity and start 2015 with a change in mindset! ;)

    1. LP,

      I don't really compare with others. As I mention, it's the lack of progress, precisely looking at 2014 and 2013.

      Not that totally no inner demons, but it's ok to me if someone earn 10 times more than me, I just want to walk my path, but it's tough.

    2. Later I'll write a post on my thoughts on this :) regarding on chilli plants haha

    3. LOL LP,

      Ok! Will await your post.

    4. Nah, here it goes. Based on a true story. Any resemblance to real person or plant, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Who knows if next time this can become a movie? LOL

  3. Hi Sillyinvestor,

    Thanks for sharing your very honest thoughts.

    Regarding the friends part, I can fully empathise with you. I really don't know if it's a guys thing, but most of my conversations with my long-time friends are pretty "superficial". Rarely is there the heavier 'heart-to-heart" talk. *shrugs*

    Like what LP pointed out, the problem with many of us is that we like to "compare and judge". I admit it's very hard not to do it but what I feel we can do is limit the negative impact. More gratitude?

    Actually I think it's good that you are unhappy about your financial situation. Otherwise, where's the impetus for change? But being too unhappy saps morale and motivation. You thinking about "what if I am single..." seems like an ominous symptom of combining both the unhappiness and comparison part (see, I am also judging).

    Regarding the saving and investing part, I think your results will show in due time. I can see quite a bit of effort from your recent analyses and maybe more patience is needed before the improvements become tangible. I really understand because there are times when I get angsty when "my numbers" are not increasing. But well, you can't conform reality to suit what we projected. =p

    Benchmarking with financial bloggers is really a terrible exercise, especially for readers. Firstly, as a group, we are definitely not "average" in terms of academic achievements, earnings from work and obviously, personal finance skills. Next, there are many "advantages/endowments" that many of us do not explicitly mention (me included) and with good reasons too. Think most of us want to inspire but breeding envy and jealously could be what's happening?

    Anyway, I really believe in the diminishing returns of money. Granted, if you remove a zero from my networth now, I would probably be unhappier. But actually, the me-of-5-years-ago anticipated my life to be much better compared to now with my current level of wealth. I guess money is not a miracle pill that can switch a person's life from "unhappy" to "happy". Money could make you happier, but alot depends on your baseline.

    And pardon me for the long comment. Guess a little bit of rambling here too. Hope 2015 will be a better year for you. =)

    1. Hi 15HWW

      No worries about long comment. I appreciate it actually.

      As I told LP, I do not take bloggers' performance or net worth as benchmark. I did my own numbers.

      I believe there is no use pretending to be contented when one is not, I am
      Not happy with the situation and wanted change, like you said, it's a force for change to happen.

      I am happy with my job, but not happy with my investment journey, but being unhappy does not mean unproductive.

      I believe I still live full life, just that I am very aware that the glass is more than half empty

    2. Hi Sillyinvestor,

      Maybe you can be contented that at least you realise that you are not happy with the situation?

      Some people lack a soulmate, some lack a child and some lack the $1 million in the bank account. Almost everyone lacks "something". But power to the man who can gain at least some contentment over what he has.

      I do think you have alot going for you. =)

    3. Hi 15 Hww,

      Thank you for your kind 2nd reply.

      I have a lot going for me. I wanted more, and I lose more. I am well aware of the trade-off. I am not sure if the trade-off is worth it.

      But only when I tried would I know if it is worth it, need to step out of comfort zone

  4. Sillyinvestor,

    Have you noticed the thin red line threading across all your 5 sub-headings?

    Its all about your emotional state vis-a-vis your relationship to others.

    Even in the longest Money sub-heading, I hear your emotional feelings and to whom these feelings are directed to.

    No, you do not have an obsession with money. What you crave is under "My career", and that's why it's in the first paragraph.

    It's the 2 shortest paragraphs that have the least smoke and mirrors.

    Have a good heart to heart talk with that person.

    And tone down the "I know, I know" hedging whenever you reveal your soft side. Have a real conversation.

    Eh! I won't wish you a better 2015. I'll just wish you a great day TODAY!

    1. Hi SMOL,
      I genuinely wrote how I feel. Not trying to smoke anyone. I however believe though, you might see things clearer than myself, as they say, 当局者迷旁观者清。

      Maybe you can be more explicit. The person u are referring to should be my wife.

      But the common theme among the 5 sub-headings, I am not so sure. Is it about gaining acceptance ??

    2. Sillyinvestor,

      By smoke and mirror, I don't mean you smoking others ;)

      No, that person is not your wife; it's you. (You may want to reflect why you are quick to think it's her and not you? Externalise vs Internalise.)

      Notice the emotional conflicts between the WHO you think you "ought" to be (hence the I know, I know), and the WHO you really are?

      This is what I meant by smoke and mirror. I've been there. Accepting who we are can be frightening; yet liberating.

      For eg, I am not a responsible person; hence I choose to be single. I'm a grasshopper.

    3. SMOL,

      I understand what u are trying to say now. But who we really are? Is the real "I" or "we" supposed to be static or is it dynamic? Changing with circumstances. You know u are grasshopper and live a grasshopper, you are in harmony.

      You seem to imply "should" is a external chain or shackle that we should just get rid of?

      What if u can't be a grasshopper? What if u make a girl, a nice girl really pregnant?

      Some call it nice name like "evolution", some called it forced by circumstances.

      I am looking for a higher harmony, and unhappy with current me. It is still me nonetheless. Not true ??

    4. LOL!

      "Spiritually, I think I am screwed, no need to go into details here."

      For someone who is pretty much "screwed" spiritually, again you seem to have all the spiritual answers ;)

      Nice smoke and mirror words: Evolution, forced by circumstances, higher harmony, current me...

      A grasshopper is a grasshopper. If can't; its not a grasshopper ;)

      When was the last time you saw a male grasshopper taking care of its young?

      I am not a penguin. Nor am I a stork ;)

      There is no harmony to speak of when a grasshopper "tries" to be a stork or penguin.

    5. Spiritually I am screw I mean something else, which I really do not want to go into details.

      spirtual is above emotional and mental.

      As for grasshopper trying to be bird. That is for a grasshopper, we are human.

      Human are the most fortunate in the 6 realms for cultivation because they can break out of it to attend nirvana. This is just making a point using theory.

      In practice, as a educator, I always hear the story/ slogan about don't teach a monkey to excel in swimming but let him climb.

      This is one of the biggest rubbish I told my teacher friend when I heard it in NIE and still feel the same now 10 years working.

      It ignore the fact that human are not animals and the human spirit is about change.

      What is a human? What is the innate skill of human? Is it to climb? To swim? To think?

      It is in my humble opinion that they can be what they want. You are a grasshopper because you want to be a grasshopper. It is painful and furtile to be someone you don't want to be, because others want u to be.

      It is blissful to be someone you already are.

      But if u want genuinely to be someone, u pursuit it, inch by inch and even you do not get what what u want, there is no regrets.

      Despite our similarities is exposure to certain philosophies, constant exchanges to show out our Inherent differences idealogically

      But I enjoy the banter.

      Cheers. Even to differences.

      But the who am I that u asked did set me thinking

  5. Hi Sillyinvestor : Very inspirational recap of your 2014. Life is always full of ups and downs. I guess it is pretty normal to feel dejected when the result doesn't goes according to our plan. But as long as we keep going and never give up, I am sure there is always chance to get better.

    Meanwhile, do enjoy what you have!


    1. Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your kind words. U have a great 2015 ahead too

  6. Mike,

    I believe 2014 has been fruitful for you, may 2015 be even better for you.

    I do have my up and down, even though i started investing competently in my mid twenties and practice good financial habits, i too am not spared from the challenges and worries of modern life.

    My salary is on a uptrend since i started work, but the feeling of insecurity in my career increases year after year. Had hit a rough patch at work in year 2013 and 2014, passions at work has taken a dive recently. Thought of taking a sabbatical from work to sort my career path out but i do have financial milestone to meet and a house to think about in 2 years time.

    Seeing how "impermanence" and "insecurity" persists in modern day living, i am careful about my finance and hope to achieve some sort of financial freedom eventually through prudent investing.

    Lets work together in our journey. We work different paths but i believe eventual goals are similar.

    1. Solace,

      I really live your thoughts about impermanence in modern life living.

      Indeed, many worries in modern life may not be related to money.

      Insecurity indeed. Hit the spot. Sometime I wonder why. There are plenty of people with 3 or more kids. Granted they may not drive. Also, if u look at staitistic, the medium income is not actually high. I believe we are above the 50% percentatile.

      Maybe, it is a curse of affluence and discontentment? While comparison is inevitable, the issue is deeper than that.

      Indeed let's work together not just the money part, but in pursuit of passion and security

  7. Hi Sillyinvestor,

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts with us. So many of your inputs resonant with me.

    The negativity presented shows a very raw side of you that somehow made you more 'human' I guess? I share the same concern of not having 'enough' in future too. My upcoming wedding, flat and future commitments certainly frighten me. Sometimes, I do wonder if I'll ever have enough to support my family in comfort. Likewise, the toxic thought of 'if only I am single..' also pops up from time to time.

    Alas, life goes on and we definitely have to shoulder on with hopes of a better future.

    I wishes us a more rewarding 2015. And so with that..

    'May the odds be ever in our favour'

    That's from the Hunger Game trilogy anyway. But I like how applicable it can be to us..hahah.


    1. Hi PP,

      Thank you for leaving a note. I went to your blog, it has been a long 3 year hiatus.

      We all have what solace said as modern day worries. We will cope.

  8. hey mate, just saw this post because i have been off the grid for a while and am catching up on old posts. as you can see from the comments, theres a really supportive community here. writing a diary won't give you the same level of dialogue you can get here, even if it allows for more private thoughts to be released. happy son and pretty wife sound like a fucking good deal to me. 10 years ago, i would have thought i would have both by now. 10 years later on, and i don't. if i were to compare, i would lose my mind and drive myself to suicide. but i make it a point to be grateful for whatever i have. you'll be alright, you aren't screwed. if by "screwed" you mean "not perfect", then all of us are screwed.

    1. Hi Ladykiller,

      The community support is really warmer than I expect. I thought I am going to get a slap in the face since this is not the first time I am lamenting...

      LOL, I saw your post about dragging u to the toilet bowl. I initially thought u were indirectly referring to me.

      Yeah, I am just trying to have the cake and eat it. Although financial ruins is highly unlikely, such continuous style of living is really Unsustainable.

      Hey, you are lady killer lei... Just stop playing, how difficult to get a wife??

    2. Nah that post came before I read yours. I am not one to hint at things or make subtle references about. Just to clarify that! I think the self reflection you're doing is extremely necessary, it is a good step inventorizing the things you need to work on!

    3. Yup yup, agree.

      Also, I can see your blog a generating a very good following! Congrats !!

      Nice niche story...

      Btw, remember talking about the pair, to reduce loss.

      How to determine weightage? What are some of the consideration? Thinking of using CFD as a hedge to practice.

  9. Hi I just when all in on semb corp industries as i really like its utilities business that contributes half its earnings. I value the utilities business at 15 times earnings so a fair value of $3 per share, and we are paying only slighly over a dollar per share for the marine business that contributes 40% of profits, what a steal! I estimate fy14 dividends to be around 15-20 cents , cheers!

    1. Hi Felix,

      Thanks for the heads up, it is a bit more bids above your $4 and I didn't expect u to show hands so soon.

      I am busy firing away too. Left only 1-2 rounds. Will hold my fire, to see which whithin my radar give the best value.

      I accumulate at 4.14 liao, so not in a rush for SCI

  10. Hi Sillyinvestor

    I know how you feel. There were times when my trading went so badly for me in the initial dark years that I resorted to eating cheap bread for lunch because I was so afraid I would run out of capital. I hope you can bounce back and I think you can!

    Sometimes it's a matter of perception. What we need is a road map to give us hope. I've seen some of the bloggers around here put up posts about projecting finances (e.g. if you save $X a year and get Y% return per year, in Z years' time you will have $ABC amount of capital). When you look at a 5 or 10 year projection,and then a 20 and 30 year projection, the figures might be able to give you a good roadmap (and a nice boost of hope) and something to aim for!

    1. Hi Retail Trader,

      Thank you for your kind words, I guess the holiday given me too much time to think, and I think too much. I really appreciated your idea of a road map, I do have a long term plan of investment, but it is that road map that stump me.

      It is ok. Move along as I tried. The market is getting "alive" for traders, as I heard from coconuts, wish you brisk business ahead. Huat!!

  11. Hi SI,

    A very frank sharing you had here. Thank you. Enough had been said, encouragement had been pouring in. Just add 1 more, stay focus, you're tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can. May the force be with us all, in pursuing our FI. God bless.


    1. Yes indeed,

      May the force be with us and keep us safe from the dark side.

      Thank you for your kind words, David.

      2015 be meaningful for us.

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