Saturday, December 15, 2012

Extremely Poor Service from OpenNet and Singtel

Quick update: OpenNet is finally up on 24th December. Case Closed.

This is a rant on my utterly disappointing service by Singtel and OpenNet on their fibre optic, specifically OpenNet, the company laying the fibre optic cables and doing such a bad job on it.

The story goes...
Earlier in November, my girlfriend signed up for a fibre optic package (fibre optic internet, phone line, mio TV) from Singtel. It was installed on the last week of November. Everything was well, the internet was fast, my girlfriend's mum was very happy with the mio TV channels. Finally she have interesting channels to watch while at home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2013 target: Building Assets to create more passive income streams

I was thinking back on the times when I just graduated in May 2008. That was when I finished university exams and started work as an engineer, almost 4.5 years ago.

Fast forward to 2012 now, I resigned from my engineer job and went into tuition full-time. Seriously, I still wonder if it was the correct move. But as my girlfriend told me, look forward and don't look back. It's never easy to strike out solo. [On hindsight, my previous company is freezing the pay of its employees a second time since 2008 due to losses.]

Without the security of a stable income, and with a little more time on my hand these days, I begin to think of how to how to bring on more income streams to supplement the meagre tuition income I'm receiving. My main consideration now is not to just bring on more business for tuition, but to build value and assets out of this business.

In essence, I need to build assets as much as I can. Asset rich cash poor strategy. The areas I will be looking at....

1) Building Paper Assets, i.e. equity portfolio.
In 2012, I have made some changes to my portfolio. The main strategy is to sell stocks with lower dividend yield while realising the paper gain. This include GLP, CMA and Capitaland, and this will boost my war chest as well as improve liquidity. I will be analysing and be more focussed on quality dividend counters (there is none that is interesting now).

As of today, I have received $11.1k from my equity portfolio. With dividends still coming from SPH, REITs and telcos, I will comfortably cross $12k in dividends this year.

However, it is worthy to note that without a stable income, building this will only prove more and more challenging. Which means I have to look at other streams as well......

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Growing a business... It's not just tough, it's downright scary...

Ok, I am now without a job...

I can say, it's really really scary....
I'm scared...

Low income isn't scary.
No income isn't scary either.

It's scary when there's no income yet there are overheads to take care of...
It's scary when big ticket expenditure items are looming...
It's scary when I realise there is just so much to learn, to think, to ponder, to decide, and to do...

After "waking up" from my break, and deciding to work hard on the tuition business to prep for 2013, I realised there are just so many challenges waiting, so much that it could be stifling if not handled properly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2.5 months after resigning from employment...

I realised I didn't do anything much....






Actually I took a short break (that's important!). It's time to restart the hard work I did to build up my portfolio again. Goal 2013 seems a little impossible to reach at this rate that I am moving, so I will need to buck up and gear towards it.

With the time freed up, I will be looking into a few areas of my life.

1) Health
I actually failed my IPPT. When I both working as a full-time engineer and teaching tuition, I had very little time to exercise. In fact, I reached a stage where I just didn't have enough sleep, so I had cut down on exercise to get more rest.

Subsequently, body fitness declined substantially. Failing the IPPT is a wake up call, and I'm making use of the RT now to kick start my fitness program again. I'm also watching my diet by taking in more oats than before, now that my mornings are spent at home. Also, I have probably reduced lots of my sleep debt over the past year the past 2 months :)

Investments in health is more important than in equities :)

2) Education
Having rested a little, I have decided I will attempt to apply for a sponsored PhD. There will be some monetary allowance too :)

While it may have been better to study immediately after graduation, I have to serve my scholarship bond, which I did.

Crossing my fingers now. If successful, studies begin in Aug 2013. Looking forward to being busy again!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Transitioning from Employed to Self-Employed

I have tendered my resignation, and starting June 2012, I will be self-employed. 

I used to think that this transition will be manageable as long as one has his self-employment plans settled. In fact, I have been toying with the idea of doing tuition full time instead of part time like the past few years. Tuition is a fun and enjoyable activity; I enjoy sharing my knowledge and interacting with students.

But it was not easy mentally. Apprehension was high. The thought of moving from a stable income to an unstable one was actually scary. Furthermore, I'm going to suffer a severe pay cut.

I kept asking myself, what am I planning to do with so much time freed up?
The thing is, if you do not plan your time, others will plan it for you. I can't really allow that.

I have some grand plans lined up. Hopefully it will succeed. At least my dividends can feed me comfortably at the moment while I mess around.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Reminder: Saizen REIT Warrants expiring soon

Just a friendly reminder.

The warrants for Saizen REIT expires on 1st June 2012. 

You may want to see how to exercise your warrants from this link:

At the moment, my average cost of 0.161 is in the red. Dividends of 0.0189 has been received so far. :(

What do I expect after 1st June 2012?
I'm pretty sure that Saizen will follow in the footsteps of AIMSAMPIREIT. There should be a share consolidation soon. 

I'm prepared for a 5 for 1 or 10 for 1 share consolidation. I'm expecting a 5 for 1.

Peace out.

In case anyone is interested, here's a video on Saizen from investor central

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Path to Financial Freedom -- Create your exit plans

I'm referring to  the following blog post link
and perhaps others with a similar mindset.

In the post, the author lists 5 steps to financial freedom:
Step 1 – Boost your Active Income
Step 2 – Get Rid of Unnecessary Debt
Step 3 – Save More
Step 4 – Reduce Spending and Live Within Your Means
Step 5 – Invest For Passive Income

I do not know anything about the background of the author, but interestingly, to get out of the rat race, his mentality and suggestion, like many, is actually to get into the rat race and be the best rat among all.

Fair enough, especially if we start with a near zero networth. I started the same way.

But... is the road to financial freedom so direct? I used to think it was, but gradually, as you might have seen from some of my older posts, I start to have the following thoughts:
1) What's the point of attaining financial freedom at a ripe old age? Use it for medical? (Read: 1 million dollars... so what?)
2) Is there any point being a millionaire scrooge?  (Read: Millionaire Scrooge?)
3) We all have different definitions of money... and hence financial freedom (Read: Financial Relativity)

In my opinion, the 5 steps by the author is a very sound retirement plan. One can retire comfortably provided one follows the plan with good discipline.

The harsh truth: This is, to me, a newer and more modern rat race, thinly veiled and disguised as a path to financial freedom.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Berlian Laju suspended!

I had previously posted about Berlian Laju here:

This was a purchase from a long time ago. I had the opportunity twice to cut loss with $800 loss, but I didn't. It ballooned to $10k.

Too bad my bet didn't work out... Probably have to write off 10k from my portfolio.

Lessons learned:
1) If you don't cut loss early enough when things looks wrong, the loss will cut you deeper.
2) A TA purchase should be given TA treatment. Do not switch to FA or hope treatment. Vice versa.

Returning almost all of 2011 dividends to the market through this single counter. Thanks Mr. Market for the lessons :)

On the bright side, my rubbish counters have reduced by 1.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goals for 2012, The Year of the Dragon

This post was sort of inspired by jwt from LP's cbox. Basically, he asked me if I have any updates on my personal goals, and he would be interested to read. I was quite surprised and honoured actually. I was too busy to really spend time to update this blog, but I was thinking, hey, I might as well consolidate my thoughts in this post to guide myself too. After all, typing everything out helps me (1) consolidate thoughts in a more structured and logical manner, and (2) take more responsibility and action for my goal because I have announced to the world.

Dragon Year 2012 is another year for me to achieve multiple goals. Why set these goals, one may ask. Well, I have set myself goals for year 2010 and year 2011. While I do not necessary achieve all my targets, at least my actions are in the correct direction. I will have an aim in life, something to look forward to, and when achieved, a feeling of exhilaration.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Am I doing it right?

Much as I try to motivate myself with the statement:
There's no absolute right or wrong; just do what you think is right.
I can't help thinking sometimes if I'm indeed pushing myself on the right track. I don't want to go through the trouble to type a long history, so I shall just summarize in point form.

I have these goals lying in my head for quite a while:
Time-consuming goals
Childhood goal:  Start a tuition centre (taking 50% stake in a current centre)
Recent goal: Start a publishing house and publish truly useful educational materials for A levels (I must share my knowledge before I forget or before anything unfortunate happens to me)
New goal: iPhone and Android apps for education purposes (for free downloads to help students)

While I'm working my ass off on these goals, I need money to eat, I need money to invest in the materials to work towards the goal, etc. Yet, my current job is so damn low-paying.

So the question lies here.... should I search for a higher paying job while I work on my goals? Yet, will the new job be so busy that it does not allow me time nor energy to work on my goals?

Don't get me wrong, I like my job, I like what I do as sidelines. But I need to grow as well :x

It's truly a testing moment as I see my job salary remaining moderately stagnant (due to the company itself, a US MNC which isn't doing too well), while I see my friends and siblings getting higher and higher salary increments in government sectors. Yes, I might have achieved more than most my age at the moment due to extra income from tuition, but deep down, I know that isn't anything sustainable. My available time will slowly reduce, my energy will slowly wane...

It makes me wonder if working on my goals while staying stagnant in the job market is the correct move in comparison to climbing the career ladder. The cliche answer is: "only time will tell".... Yet it doesn't help in coming out with any solution.

Finished with lamenting, signing off back to working on my goals.