26 April, 2020

Personal Update: April 2020

I am putting everything aside this noon to blog, taking this as a therapeutic task away from life and work. 

We are currently in a unique history of events and majority of them are bad. It may also be good if we look at it as a long-awaited correction. 

Today, I will be sharing my investment changes and what I have been doing during these maddening times. The work-from-home schedule has certainly made time pass by faster that we are already now in April. Although time passing fast is nice (especially when we are slogging at work), it also means the current circuit breaker will continue to affect many businesses and the society negatively.
We can never have the best of both worlds?

Investments & Finances
I have underestimated the impact of Covid’19 initially, thinking that it will subside in a while. This is due to the lower fatality rate compared to SARS. However, Covid’19 was so much more contagious than SARS.

Due to my wishful thinking, I have added some counters in early February only to see them dropping further. At the very lows of the market, the paper losses whipped out almost half of all my gains since 2016. Fortunately, these are just paper losses and not realized losses. And here we are, the market has recovered substantially from its lows while uncertainty continues to linger. 

Below are the actions I made since my last post. I can say that I am not totally unlucky because I managed to make use of the correction to switch some counters as well as enter some at lower prices. I hope I will not jinx myself by sharing!

-Sold Keppel Pacific Oak Reit near its peak
-Sold Paypal at mediocre paper gains
-The cash in USD returned from Paypal and Keppel Pacific Oak are then used to purchase some Microsoft. I am still not sure if I will sell Microsoft soon since valuations are not cheap. They will be reporting their earnings next week on 29th April. Let’s see about that. I expect them to beat earnings again but provide poorer guidance.
-Added some DBS and Koufu shares (could have waited for lower prices)
-While Singtel regained from its lows, I decided to divest 1/3 of it and shift it to ST Engineering. I guess this is one strategy to make use of the low prices to switch to better counters (take a loss and get into another counter to ride its wave; at the same time reduce my risks on poorer counters and further diversify the portfolio)


The recent correction really reminds me that I should stick to my beliefs and plans than be controlled by greed. From this lesson, we are reminded that all our gains can be returned to the market in a major bear market. So why not keep more cash and wait for it to happen?

Back to finances, most of us get to save more money working from home. This is because we no longer have daily transportation to work and “expensive” lunches at CBD areas. Since we are able to spend less, the money can be used to buy some necessities while we can save the rest. Nevertheless, staying at home means more electricity and water usage/expenses.

Well-being
Working at home means less movement and more snacking. I have stopped jogging for weeks as the park is getting crowded and weather is getting warm. It definitely feels sinful since I used to exercise 3 times per week in the past and snacked less. I am trying to lift some dumbbells and do some high intensity exercises at home to make it up.

It is also getting stale at home. I have finished most of my entertainments such as the game I bought from the recent PS4 Sales and completed my TV series.

Working at home also means we feel less tired. Thus, it gets harder to fall asleep and we tend to sleep later and wake up later. I am thinking that I must exercise more to make myself more tired.

Work & Skills Upgrade
It is hard to literally work at home at times. We tend to feel lazy or distracted. Interestingly, it is also during these times that we start to cherish our jobs more after witnessing those who had lost their income or even their jobs.

Work from home does grant us more personal time, depending on how you do your work. Other than indulging in more entertainment, I have also made used of this period to take up free e-learning lessons such as finishing up on my Python lessons and getting some free skill certifications. It is my plan to practice my programming skills from time to time to keep in touch.

Job-wise, I may have to jump ship again despite not wanting to. The increment rate at my company is too slow and I am expecting to leave if this year’s increment is not up to my expectation. Due to the current situation, our salary had to be freezed temporarily and this means we do not even get a low increment. This is why I am looking around. However, it is almost impossible to job hop with the current headcount freezes and shortage of jobs out there. Guess I will just have to wait and keep the cash flow coming in for now.


I hope this is not a very long post.
Let’s wish we can all cruise pass this period and witness reduced daily infections so we can get back to our normal daily lives. Hopefully, we can all feel better soon.

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