Over the past year, I have been slacking. Real slacking. By slacking, I really mean I was not working as had as before when I first graduated. Then, I worked 70~80 hour weeks. Now? Probably 20+ hours
AND I have been spending lots.... some for good reason, some just for wants.
I am blessed to still have a portfolio that grew a little.
So... I did a trackback to check on the cashflow....
Interestingly, it was a year where I didn't earn as much from the tuition business. Many factors at play here, including a transition period between an older partner in retirement to a newer partner. Hopefully 2017 will be a much better year.
Also it was a year of massive spending.
First, my wife and I will have a new addition to our family in Jan 2017 :) The expenditure on gynae consultations as well as pre-natal supplements adds up to lots. Money earned is to be spent on loved ones. For my own financial goals and targets, I just have to work even harder for it.
Next, this was Dec 2016, I signed up for a life plan for both myself and my wife. Not too big a deal, much less than the gynae consultations and etc in total, but still pretty ok.
Also, it was the year where I really spent too massively on online shopping. With SingPost Credit Card (Stan Chart) 7% discount, things get really cheap. The only caveat is a minimum $600 spending, which inadvertently made me spent more than what I should sometimes. I have actually reached a stage where I have nothing else to spend on... maybe my wants aren't that expensive afterall! Or... Taobao shopping is just cheap...
I also spent some $$ on publishing two books. I have yet to collect the receipts from the distributor, but I believe it should have broke even.
All in all, $$ coming in from active work was almost all spent, with some minimal savings.
What helped my portfolio grow, was mainly dividends. Dividends from the different counters I own, and I reinvested the dividends into the market at different times.
For this year, I have bought the following:
OCBC at 7.73, Noble at an average of 0.23 for a "punt", and CMT just yesterday at 1.91.
On top of that, I also subscribed for Hyflux Perps at IPO price.
The dividend strategy has been working out pretty well. As of now, average monthly cashflow from dividends and bonds are just shy of $1.6k monthly (only from my own portfolio). Still short of my next personal target of $2k.
To me, dividend returns form part of the defence and exit strategy of stocks. While slow, it provides returns over time. One example was SMRT. Although delisted at a price of lower than my purchase price, with the dividends received, I made almost no loss, apart from inflation costs of the money.
The strategy for next year:
With a new addition to the family, cash expenditures are going to shoot up. While adjustments (both financial and others) have to be made, my main belief is that I have to adopt a slightly different approach to bringing in more income, much more so that merely cutting expenses.
To bring in more income, I would have to be much more disciplined and systematic in bringing in students that need help in their studies. I will also look into publishing more books.
Investing wise, I will likely continue with the dividends strategy (with the usual homework done before buying), and attempt to push it even nearer to $2k.