Thursday, 31 May 2018

Networth Update #3 - May 2018

I started May with a networth of $123,497.26 and sadly, I ended it lower at $121,628.89 - a decrease of $1868.37 (about 1.51%)

So, a breakdown of the numbers

Robo – Advisors - $22,595.30 increased to $25,509.45
Numbers going up mainly due to the amount I put in monthly (1688 + 588 + 388), another 200+ bucks were from market gains, similar to last month

Indexes - $60,215.13 increased to $60,994.10
Gains of about 700+, about a 1.29% increase...

As mentioned previously, I buy the VWRD and VUSD on a quarterly basis so no purchase this month. 
Tentatively stopped my STI purchases as well, with STI taking about 25-30% of my indexes amount.

Cash - $40,686.83 decreased to $35,125.34
Unexpectedly my main bleed for this month even without the VWRD/VUSD purchase..
Quite a number of unexpected expenses such as Pet Veterinary expenses which was a few hundred, the MIL shopping which was on the wife's supp card.. I agreed to help the wife cover this payment using this account which amounted to almost a thousand.. Wedding ang pao for the wife's cousin.. And apparently the cruise payment and some other payments from last month wasnt completed so the wife's contribution this month was less/negative due to those deductions. Lastly, a $3000 payment/loan to our domestic helper which I won't say more. 

Quite a nightmare when I see the expenses this month *weeps quietly*

I try to perk myself up by saying a huge chunk of the $3000 will be paid back soon and the MIL shopping/Vet expense is a one-off... but there will always be unexpected expenses isnt it?! *weeps quietly again*

To a better month next month... 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

For my wife - just in case something happens to me.. Choy choy!

So I was talking to my wife about how to manage my portfolio if in the event I do get into an accident or pass away suddenly (touch wood). She was not very interested to listen as usual as she's not interested to know how to manage finances and stuff.

But I was telling her that she should at least know how to manage it so that in the event something does happen to me, she can at least devote her time to our son (and other children if any) with the insurance payout that she would receive rather than still spend her time worrying about money and work.

So, instead of listening to me nag, she said:

Aiya then you post it on your blog la, if ever needed I will go to your blog and see how you manage our money - you see I so good give you inspiration for your blog

Thus, post today courtesy of my wife.

So dear wife (or kid/s), long story short, if I ever were to pass on, please use take the insurance money and pump it into the following investments:

30% into Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF (VWRD) on the London/Ireland Stock Exchange
30% into SPDR Straits Times Index ETF (ES3.SI)
40% into ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund (A35)

Once you have done the above, make sure that you re-balance the portfolio annually, meaning look at the value of all 3 funds and make the percentages into 30/30/40 again. 

In the event you really have no clue about how to do the above, please pump your money into Autowealth. Not preferred since it will most/all be in USD, but I guess it's better than not doing anything with the money. 

Once money is pumped into the investments, you can spend 4% of the total amount per year and this should last you sufficiently for the rest of your life. Of course, please be prudent and be flexible with the money if markets were to go down, to be safe I would say just use 3% of the total value per year. 

For example, if you were to get $1.5 million from insurance, you can use $60,000 per year if you use 4% and $45,000 if you just take 3%. 

I'm not currently doing exactly as I say above, but this is because we are still in the accumulation stage. If you do get my insurance money, then just go ahead and do the above yea? 

I hope you don't ever have to refer back to this post cause we always said I will need to be healthier than you and be the one to go later. But, we never know right? 

I love you! :) 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Retirement Planning is Hard!

I recently saw a video from Aviva relating to retirement planning and I'm quite shocked TBH at the things people say in the video (maybe it's staged? Or really got people so daft?).

  • 57% of people in Singapore find retirement planning too complicated?
    • Is it really that complicated? Just talk to financial advisors if you want to go the traditional route or research online! Personally I think it's just an excuse for people who want to YOLO and spend without a care!
  • The YOLO mindset - 'I just spend whatever I have, I'm enjoying my life right now.'
    • Is this even responsible adulting? Are these the people who require everyone else to help when shit hits the fan? 
  • Hoping to retire from 4D and TOTO? 
    • DEAR LORD, I buy lottery too occasionally, but hoping to retire from this without another plan....
  • I think my husband should have? 
    • What if your husband doesn't? What if your husband leaves you? What if...
  • I have some savings plan which hopefully is enough
    • Not as bad as the above, but do take the effort to understand more about your plans and how much you really need. 

Maybe that's why the government has to plan for greying population and implement higher minimum for CPF just to ensure there's higher monthly payouts for the older generation? If not there might be hoards of old folks in the future sleeping in the streets if this is really the situation 'out there'. I'm exagerrating but, possible no? 

I'm no expert on this retirement thing, but seriously I cannot fathom people who don't even plan for retirement or even for rainy days. I think that is just irresponsible especially if you have kids or have elderly parents.

How hard can planning for it be?
  • Automate a portion of your salary to be transferred out (to an investment [robo-advisors] or even to another savings account)
  • Do not touch your investment or this other savings account (not recommended to just leave money in savings account though due to inflation)
  • If you cannot control, do not ever use a credit card. Use a debit card and you can spend freely as long as there is money in this 'spending' account

Tada! Very hard meh?!?! Very simplistic way of looking at it, but I guess that's how it should be right? Especially for people who find it complicated....

I'm just some random dude on the internet, so if you don't believe, fine you can read this and also this.
I think it's straightforward enough even though it's US context but I think still generally relevant.

Let's hope more people get wise with money!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Networth Update #2 - April 2018

I started April with a networth of $118,737 and I'm glad that I ended it higher at $123,497.26.

Not that it matters at this point since markets will still go up and down till the day I say bye to mandatory work (and after). But still, feels good to see the numbers go up! An increase of $4760.26 (+4.01%) to my networth to be exact.. 

So, a breakdown of the numbers

Robo – Advisors - $22,595.30
Numbers going up mainly due to the amount I put in monthly (1688 + 588 + 388), only 200+ bucks were from market gains.

Indexes - $60,215.13
Gains of about 1000+, I think mainly due to the strong month STI had.

As mentioned previously, I buy the VWRD and VUSD on a quarterly basis so no purchase this month. 
Tentatively stopped my STI purchases as well, with STI taking about 25-30% of my indexes amount.

Cash - $40,686.83
Numbers should be higher, but we spent quite a bit this month as we are going on a cruise holiday soon which we just paid. Still, its progress! Pumped up a bit by the little dividends from VWRD and VUSD.

Just started tracking my networth consistently and it does feel good and gives me something to look forward to every end of the month! Good to see that there's still progress even though expenditure this month (mainly on the cruise) has been big! 

Guess it helps to keep feeding the machine and don't think too much about it yea? Really makes me wonder about the 40k stash and if I should just pump it into the 'machine' right now... 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Should I cancel my Life Insurance (Limited Payment) ?

How many of you have Whole Life insurance plans/Investment - linked policies (ILP) or Endowment plans?

I have a ILP before (started before I enlisted in 2008 and I stopped it back in 2016 thankfully) and currently have a Whole Life limited payment plan for 12 years. I'm 2 years into the plan and ever since I've known of index funds etc, I have been thinking if I should cancel the plan or if I should continue since I've already paid 2 years worth of premium. 

So my premiums for this particular plan is $552.80 per month and I have another 10 more years to pay.

Coverage is for $300,000 until age 75 and $100,000 until age 99 for this policy.

I did a calculation of how much I would incur should I opt for term plans instead ... I looked at DIYInsurance and got a quote for a Aviva Plan... It covers Death, Total Permanent Disability  up to $300,000 and Early Critical Illness which is up to $250,000..

Let's look at the premiums that I would have paid for the next 10 years if I convert to term now.

Term Premium based on monthly for the above is $182.20, however because there is a $50,000 gap in the Early Critical Illness coverage as compared to my current plan, I'm just going to pump it up to around $220.

Deducting $220 from my current $552.80 leaves me with $332.80 to invest every month.

Let's see what $332.80 for 10 years get us based on 5% returns in the market.

At the end of the 10 years, I will get $51,581.36.

If I continue to be covered until 65, I will need to depend on my interest/gains to cover the premiums.
Based on this what it would look like at age 65 will be the below.

From the 10th year onwards I will actually need to dao tiap (eat into my principal sum) and the value goes down to $45,286.20 at the end of year 35 (age 65).

You can see that at age 65, the guaranteed value for my current policy is $55,100 and if we take the lower projected gain at 3.25%, I can expect to take $77,987.

Based on this projection, then definitely I would say remaining on the current policy is a better choice. I can even continue to stay covered and have the value grow for a longer period of time if I wanted to.

For me personally, I do feel that over a long time frame, investment returns of 7% or more are very likely especially for a 35 year period which we are looking at.

Why do I say 7%? You can read more about this here. Oh and while you're reading that, notice that the WORST 25 year period actually contributed 7.94% still?

So anyway, let us look at the figures if we utilise a 7% rate instead.

Excess funds of $332.80 invested monthly for a 10 year period...

......will bring us to a value of $57,247.88.

We then continue to keep this invested for 25 years and use the gains to cover our monthly premiums of $220.

This brings us to a value of $137,465.76 at the end of 35 years.

Compared to the guaranteed + non-guaranteed portion of my current policy based on 4.75%, the amount of $113,546 is lesser by 20 over thousand. Thus, looking at this situation which I personally believe is the more likely scenario, it makes more sense to go through this route.

Not everyone however wants to be covered forever since insurance is usually meant to cover for loss of income - and with my intention to FIRE I foresee that I don't really need to replace any 'loss' of income thus likely I will just keep my medical insurance but cancel the term/life policies.

Let's make a list of the pros and cons of having 2 of the different policy.

Term Plans

Whole Life Plans

*Feel free to let me know if I should add in anything to above tables!

Other factors/issues that one will need to consider such as
  • Market crash happening at the point you want to withdraw would make a big dent on your expected payout
  • Will you stay invested throughout or will you panic and sell when there is a crash?
  • Can you get past the hurdle of knowing that you have wasted X number of years of premium? (2 in my case which is about $13,000+)
  • Is the plan you are switching to covering the exact same things as the new one? Did you have any 'new' illnesses that would apply as exclusions should you convert?

To summarise this, I would say everyone should buy term and invest the rest in an index fund IF you are choosing between starting either options. For conversions, you really need to calculate to see if it is worth it. However, I would say term is only for people who are very confident that they can 'steel' themselves through a market downturn and continue putting in the funds instead of changing tracks midway.

Heck, I don't even know myself if I can stay committed to doing so during a market downturn as I've not gone through one major downturn during my working/investing life - hopefully maintaining this blog keeps me reminded of what I have committed myself to do over the long run.

Like what financial advisors always say, everyone's needs are different so I guess we need to understand ourselves before determining which plan is the right one for us. If you have a trusted financial advisor, ask them too! Though sadly a lot of financial advisors seem to prioritise their needs (*cough*....commission....*cough*) first over their customer's need so do be wary even if you talk to them and don't be pressurised.

I'm not advocating for anyone to cancel your insurance policies so again, please make your own calculations before you make any changes as everyone's situation is different. If I was into my 6th or 7th year of my current policy then I'm sure changing now would be a dumb move.

You can even check with me or any others to see if your calculations is accurate. I got KPO's help to go through some of my earlier numbers before I got the quote as well since I wanted to make sure what I'm tabulating makes sense (Thanks KPO!)

Well, that leaves me now with the task of showing the above to my wife and convincing her that we should 'convert' my current plan which she is not supportive of at this point.

If she refuses... Oh well... I've talked about it a few times and always got brushed away.
If with the numbers she still doesn't 'bite', I might just give up trying to convince her just to maintain a harmonious environment at home and go back to my mantra - Happy wife, happy life.. 家和万事兴 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

How much do we spend each month?

How much of your income is allocated to fixed expenses each month?
What are the spending that you can trim?

I update our Finance Spreadsheet monthly and my wife always thinks I siao (yes... in addition to niao..) and she will snigger and walk away whenever I'm looking at the spreadsheet, cause I'm always analysing and asking her what are the things we can cut on.

These are the fixed expenses for our household (joint account) at this point;
  • Monthly Mobile Subscription (2 lines) - $145 approx.
    • Definitely something that is pricey and I aim to cut this when our 2 year contracts end. Likely will be changing to Sim only plans that cost 25-30+ a month.
  • Insurance/ILP for both - $1,336
    • Another item that I am looking to reduce, although this can also be seen as savings/investments for some people? I personally think this can be reduced by switching to term plans and investing the excess, will blog about this once I have the quote from insurer available for comparison
    • One factor on this is my wife's reluctance to change/cancel her current plans and she doesn't really understand (or don't want to) my point, so even if it makes sense numbers wise I might still stick to the current plan *shrugs* I think its the idea that there is a cash value and your money is not 'thrown' away like for term? 
  • Fibre Internet - $42
    • I spend quite a bit of time at home now, not sure if I want to reduce this and get slower internet which would result in videos streaming slower when we are watching Netflix etc...
  • Baby's Limited Payment Insurance (payable till 2032) - $202
    • Although I now believe most of us should have term plans instead, this policy is bought with the intention of it being a gift to my son thus will not be practising what I preach regarding term plans for this! :P 
  • Domestic Helper - $610 (salary and levy)
    • Not exactly an expense someone who calls himself frugal will have, but the helper is to care for my son while both of us work full time jobs so I guess this is a necessity? 

Total Fixed Expense Monthly - $2,355

For the rest of our joint expenses which are not fixed, the below are the averages over the past few months:
  • Singapore Power Bills - $150 approx.
    • I'm not exactly proud of my current utility bills, this is something I'm trying to cut down. I've been utilising the fan in my room more often than not nowadays though my son's air-condition is always on when he sleeps, he sweats very very easily thus not wanting to have him wake throughout the night due to sweat, I didn't insist on the fan for him. I think the fact that we cook almost daily for him and his daily baths also results in higher gas/water fees as well.
  • Groceries - about $300-$400
    • includes household items such as detergent, shampoo etc in addition to vegetables, meat etc
  • Baby expenses - $200
    • Diapers, milk powder etc
  • Family Meals - $300
    • Expenses when we go out with either my/her family
  • Misc (fuel, movies, etc) - $100
    • We don't own a car, just fuel when we use the family car
Total - Approx $1,150

Total Joint Monthly Expenses - Approx $3,485

We both contribute about 65% of our take home income to the joint account and the rest of the 35% will be used to pay for each individual's transport/food expenses. I personally keep my personal expenses as low as possible and aim for expenses (food//transport/treats for friends/shopping if ever etc) to be within $600 per month and I'll park the leftover from my 35% into the stash/joint account waiting to invest.

For my wife, I always ask her to give me (the joint account) more to invest from this 35% but will receive either a) a death stare instead or b) 我没有钱给你了lar! (I no money give you already!)

I think I make my wife sound really terrible but to be fair to her, I'm very glad and lucky that she is willing to let me manage a big bulk of her monthly income even though she still needs her monthly 'happy fund' to buy random stuffs and eat her 'happy food', so this 35% of happiness, I shall not touch..

Taking into account the above expenses (fixed + variable expenses + my $600 and my wife's happy fund), I would say we are saving about 44% of our monthly salary.
I'm not including the insurance portion as savings even though technically that is, I feel that its like CPF - I have it but cannot touch it as part of my FIRE fund, so I'm not including it as part of my percentage for saving at this point.

Based on MMM's early retirement table, 44% means I will only be able to retire in about 19 years or so...

However I think I can cut it by a number of years as the fixed expenses I have now can be removed or reduced eventually. For example, I don't expect to have a helper in another 3-5 years' time and I also will stop paying for my insurance premiums 10 years down the road (and this is a huge chunk of my expense today). I also will have tax rebates meaning I do not have to pay taxes for the upcoming 1-2 years (or more if I have my 2nd child) due to the Parenthood Tax Rebate.

I do however expect to have some additional costs such as childcare, tuition fees for my son soon so that's another factor I will need to take into account.

I expect our annual expense to be around the $30,000 mark annually (after mortgage) when I do retire so by using the 4% rule I would require $750,000. (I'm not sure if SG people use the 4% rule as I've not seen it YET on local FIRE blogs.. But it does make sense to me)

I should reach this by 12/13 years based on $2688 monthly contribution and 6% gains/interest annually - $2688 and 6% are both conservative figures (My base is more than what I used for this calculation, I actually contribute more (around mid 3k range and I expect the gains to be more than 6% so I do think 10 years is definitely possible!)

Above chart taken from The Calculator Site

Having said that, I believe I will still continue working until I hit the magical double comma club ($1,000,000) but knowing I have the 'FU' money will work wonders for my stress levels even before I hit that figure!

I might be looking at things too simplistically but I do the numbers are fine and I should be on target for FIRE within 15 years minimally.

Now that we have my expenses out in the open, I definitely don't think I'm very very frugal with household expenses more than 4k a month, I just spend on what I think is worth it. My wife and I are very tamchiak and we are more willing to spend on food than other kind of expenses - thus when we go out to eat as a family we don't usually scrimp as long as it's not excessive.

The end goal is important but the journey should be peppered with treats here and there as well right?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Useful Tip to Start Kids on Finance!

I started on Budgets Are $exy not too long ago and one of the posts titled  '9 more Financial Hacks to Put In Your Pocket' led me to this tip/blog post by Matt Spillar which I found very interesting and potentially very useful in future when I do have to teach my kids about money!

Long story short - The writer will be incentivised by his father whenever he reads Finance/Investment books and subsequently give a review/report on the book, this was to get him interested in the topic of personal finance.

Me thinks that this is a really cool idea and I wish I had a similar figure do this for me when I was younger! I always wanted to read on Finance, Investing when I was younger however whenever I got into the first few chapters (sometimes its pages..) my interest would have waned. I don't think my WANT for it back then was strong enough to sustain me throughout the whole book and such an incentive could have (maybe?) pushed me through!

At a certain age, I think most of us are just cruising through life and do not know what really interests us or will be important to us and thus we just go with the flow - doing whatever our peers are doing and spending on. I'll be really glad if my kids grow up and have a good grasp of their personal finances much like SleepyDevil at his age of just 19 years old.

Another point in the article by Matt Spillar was that he will not pay for his kids' education even if he could afford it and that falls in line with my own thinking as well.

I had to pay for my own polytechnic and degree tuition fees.

I started work immediately after I finished my national service, worked and studied for my degree at the same time though I was lucky that my elder brothers (thank you s :D) loaned me my tuition fee thus it was a 0% interest loan. I was very envious of friends that did not have any school loan to pay off at that time and TBH I was quite bitter about it (I think especially bitter because almost ALL of my close friends had their parents pay their tuition fees for them).

Looking back now, I'm glad that I had to go through that as I believe it was part of my character building and without that I might not have my values of today regarding money.

Thus, to my children.. if you are reading this....

Ok that was really childish.

What are your thoughts on paying for school tuition for your kids? Interested to know if anyone feels the same!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Networth Update - March 2018

I'll be doing the update on my networth on a monthly basis and will be starting with the latest update based on my end March 2018 value.

Personally, I choose not to take into consideration my housing loan and my HDB value when calculating this, as I don't want to inflate the numbers with the property values. Not looking at the loan amount as well since the value of my house is almost double the the amount of loan plus the buffer in my CPF is sufficient for me to clear 1 years plus of installments if I stop working thus the decision not to include these items.

I'm mainly looking at funds where I have invested or can put to work immediately when I want. These funds are also the ones that will work for me when I 'retire' - another reason I'm not including the house value. No other debts other than the property loan as well.

I don't do stock picking and all of my investments are in Index Funds/Robo-advisors. It's not that I don't believe in stock picking but it's just.. I have no idea how to do it at this point and I've tried learning about it a few times but my interest somehow doesn't last (too complicated for my simple brain) - thus Indexing is the way for me.

Many prominent FIRE blogs in the US seem to dismiss the idea of stock picking but I do believe that if you research and have a system in place, it could work very well - maybe one day I'll be able to learn more and understand stock picking/trading.

But I believe even if I do it, the main bulk of my funds will still remain with Indexes and perhaps 10-20% of my portfolio will then be used to experiment on the stocks..

Any patient Shifus wanna teach me stock picking/trading? :P

Anyway, enough blabbering.. so for those interested...
Our total Networth as of 31 March 2018 is .................$118,737! 
Side note - this is joint between myself and my wife (some accounts are only under my name and she's very scared I run away one day, so need to declare publicly.. haha!) 

Robo-Advisors - $19,687
I'm a bit of a mess here and I'm quite sure if there are people reading this they will be shaking their heads when they see this.
I utilise not 1...not 2...but 3 different Robo-Advisors (I think that's all there is in SG at this point?) 

I use Autowealth, Smartly and Stashaway at this point and every month I deposit 1688, 588 and 388 to each of these accounts respectively. (I am very pantang as you can see since all the numbers I transfer end with 88, they are also either transferred on the 8 or 18 of the month, haha!) 
Autowealth's allocation is much easier to understand as compared to the other 2 thus the bigger allocation for me (and also because of the flat 0.5% fee + platform fee, no matter the amount) but I thought perhaps I should just try all three..

Index Funds - $58,959
I use Standard Chartered to purchase the index funds as it seems to be the cheapest in the SG market right now (if there are cheaper ones please let me know!). I purchase mainly the Vanguard funds VWRD, VUSD on the SC account which I buy on a quarterly basis. Turtle Investor has a few articles which are really helpful and I read them a lot when I was starting my portfolio, you can read one of his articles here and you might see why I chose VWRD.

I have a stash now which I want to put into 'work' however the market recently seems to be wobbly... I know I shouldn't be timing the market but emotions really do come into play I realised.. So to make myself feel better I just buy quarterly (1 quarter VWRD 1 Quarter VUSD) with my stash at this point to dollar cost average. I also don't buy bonds at this moment as I let the Robo-advisors handle that aspect for me.. So my allocation is actually quite skewed towards stocks, maybe about 90-95%.. Not really balanced but I'm following jlcollins' method whereby if you are sure you will hold for more than a certain period.. to go 100% in stocks..

Anyway, I intend to stop using the Robo-Advisors once my funds reach the amount which makes me eligible to become SC's Priority/Private Banking customer.. Once I stop using the Robo-Advisors then I'll likely add to the bonds directly.. The reason for using the Robo-Advisors now is also because I don't want to incur the minimum fees when I reinvest the dividends (it would be a huge percentage!) or do the rebalancing... Becoming a priority banking customer in SC will eliminate the minimum fee requirement (hopefully they dont change their terms/fees by then like they did 1-2 years back)

About 28% of the value here is also in Nikko STI ETF which I purchased with the OCBC BCIP previously.. I bought this monthly at 1700 however now I changed my monthly contribution to Autowealth.

Stash - $40,091
Amount that is ready to be put to work anytime! This is also money only in our joint account, we do have some personal/emergency funds in our personal accounts I'm not taking into consideration.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Story of my blog name..

I was thinking of what to name my blog and recent events/conversation flowed through my mind.....

Last Saturday, I brought my son for his first haircut ever.

My son is 14 months old and he was born with a head full of hair. There was a number of instances whereby people mistook him for a girl and there have been many comments of mei mei and jie jie..
I think this is due to his big eyes and long hair and we sometimes tie his hair up in the middle, which totally doesnt help, haha!

I refused to cut his hair previously cause he was just so damn cute and handsome! Why need to cut?!?!

Almost everyone I know has been bugging us and asking us when are we going to bring him for a haircut.. so long already.. go cut la.. yada yada... Then one day my wife mentioned that his hair was indeed growing too long, untidy and kept poking his eye.... Deep inside I agreed la... And somehow I had a fear he will have identity crisis (am I mei mei or didi?!?!!).. HAHAHA! Damn ridiculous right?

So anyway.. we finally relented and decided to bring him for his first haircut.. With the discussion now moving on to... WHERE and HOW?!?!?!

You see.. My wife goes to this hairstylist where each haircut is about 20/30 plus bucks and she wants to bring baby to this place... Whereas for me I suggested let's cut his hair ourselves... Because.. what can go wrong with a baby's haircut right? Haircut done wrong will also look so damn cute on babies, no?!?!!

A very short summary of how the argument conversation went

Me: Let me cut his hair la, no need to bring him go salon and waste money

Wife: You crazy ah? Later you cut until him how? You want to cut your hair yourself you go ahead you don't spoil my son's image please. 

(this was in Mandarin and I translated it directly.. My wife's english is much better I swear)

So you can infer how the majority of the conversation went... 

As they say.. Happy Wife, Happy Life! So I bowed to the queen's will and adhered to her wishes.
She went ahead to message her hairstylist for an appointment and VOILA! The hairstylist was not available! She then agreed that we will just head to the neighbourhood market nearby and go to any salon that's available. Deep inside I went 'YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!' 

On the day itself.. we went to the market area and had our breakfast before heading to the salon. There was a Snip Avenue there and another 1 or 2 salon and we brought baby to Snip Avenue. For those of you who don't know, Snip Avenue is this place whereby they have haircuts for adults at just $3.80 and according to my friend, they have a package for 10 cuts at $28 which is $2.80 per haircut! I think my wife didn't know this place was that cheap and just before I went in, she saw the price and stopped me. Actually I already knew this place was in the neighbourhood and wanted to sneakily bring my son there but I diam diam cos I know she will reject immediately if I suggest going to a $3.80 place.

ANYWAY.. she saw the price (cos it was PASTED BIG BIG on the entrance) and the conversation went...

Wife: you really want to cut his hair here?

Me: Yea (poker face)

Wife turning slightly inpatient: Don't want la you also don't know if they will have the patience to cut baby's hair or not 

Me: Can one la, how you know they no patience to cut, pay more means got patience meh? sure got kids come here cut one ma

Exasperated wife with very annoyed look: Whatever la whatever la 

Are you thinking that I won the 'battle'??? For a moment I contemplated really going ahead with it.. But I knew that I won't hear the end of it if I really went ahead and my baby came out looking like they used a bowl to cut.. which is quite cute also!

Remember... Happy Wife, Happy Life.. So I gave up and we went to the nearby salon which cost us $13... Not very expensive as compared to what I agreed to initially.. But.. you already know what I think about baby haircuts so I still feel that it's a waste of $$$$...

Even though my wife got her way, she still nagged commented over the whole weekend that she cannot understand why I want to bring my son to that place to cut and that I'm really very niao...

Yup.. so that's why 'Wife Say I Niao'

What do you think? Would you cut your baby's hair yourself /choose the cheaper options or you are on the same page as my wife?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Start of my Journey!

Hmm, this is exciting. I used to not understand people who blog and I usually go like - 'why the fish do you want to show the whole world what you are doing or thinking about?!?!'

And now I'm starting a blog, hmm... (sorry to those I judged previously, peace) but then the world has since evolved into a different place with Facebook, Instagram etc etc and I guess my opinions on certain things has evolved as well.

I digress.

The purpose of starting this blog is for me to chart my own journey/progress towards my goal of FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) within 10 years (10 is a stretch target, worst case scenario 15 years!), share useful tips and reminders which I can look back on years down the road.

I've always shared things I found useful with my wife on WhatsApp but don't have a way of tracking all those useful tips which could only be applicable few years later (I recently read some articles/tips on how to teach children about money/investment and I cant possibly use that now with my son being 1 year old...) so.. Tada, just thought this can be something I utilise.. and it definitely will be interesting to look back at my thoughts many years down the road..
Of course, if any of my posts manage to help or inspire anyone, woah! I'll be really glad!

Anyway, about me. I'm a Singaporean man married to a woman (who says that I am Niao.. more on that in a subsequent post) with a healthy 1 year old boy and an average (I think?) paying job. Life is great! Born and bred in Singapore - I think Singapore is a great place to be in although I always hear people complaining about this and that...Personally I feel that there's a lot to be thankful for rather than grumbling about almost everything else which most some people seem to do.

Having said that, I am guilty of complaining about money as well (who doesnt?!?!) and being a millionaire or not having to work for a living used to sound like a pipe dream to me - until mid last year when I decided I need to take charge of my money and I attended free investing/finance 1 or 2 books... and I talked to a good friend of mine about how he invests (which i never do btw... and he introduced me to...... Mr Money Mustache

BOOOOMZ. Mind Blown.

I went full crazy, siao on reading and absorbing every single post of MMM (my wife still thinks I'm crazy) and once I finished, I started doing a lot more research on the topic of Early Retirement, Personal Finance and the like and hidden in the internet was a treasure trove of information that I was oblivious to.

I THOUGHT I was considered frugal by society's standard but being introduced to the Personal Finance Community on the Internet blew my mind and made me realise I was just.. Meh.

I keep asking myself/my wife why I hadn't found MMM / the FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) community earlier in my life - but oh wells, at least I found it eventually, never too late to start!

Good luck to myself and to you if you are on the journey to FIRE too!