2013 was my first full year of retirement. It was a year when I was quite occupied despite not having to go to work. I published an e-book titled “Living Investment, Ideas on living, a collection of blog posts”. It was also a memorable year because my daughter Shu completed four years of study at NTU with a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Communication). We as parents look forward to this day and to see Shu steps out from the comfort zone of schools to the real working world.
Shu continues with her passion of creating handmade gift items that are unique and personal, leveraging on her strength in design. Momshoo became a business registered with ACRA and Shu is the sole proprietor of her business. Both my wife and I are her advisors and elves at the same time. Since it is now a business, there are regulatory requirements laid down by ACRA. Proper accounts and processes must be in place to run this business. Good thing is that most were already instituted before this registration.
Shu and her mom (Momshoo) participated in DesignBoom Mart 2013 held in Tokyo, October. This is an international design market for 80 international up-an-coming designers to showcase their products. Momshoo was proud to be there.
Living Investment and Publication of Book
I like to write for my blog – Living Investment. This kept me occupied when I have more free time after retirement. Readership rose significantly this year compared to 2012. The daily average view increased from 85 per day to 144 per day. I thank the many readers out there who are interested in what I write.
2013 is the year that I had written a book pulling in my favourite blog-posts since 2006. I got Shu to design the book for me from cover to illustrations. This is to fulfill my dream of publishing something worthwhile for my family to remember me by.
Travel of the year
My wife and I travelled to Sri Lanka for 8 days from 9 to 16 November. The Sri Lanka trip took us to Colombo, Dambulla, Mihintale, Anuradhapura, Matale, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. Sri Lanka is home to eight UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and the trip covered three of them, namely Golden Temple of Dambulla, Ancient City of Anuradhapura and Ancient City of Kandy. These places have more than 2,000 years of history. I was charmed by the people’s good-natured manners, ample patience and country’s rich historical culture and architecture.
Volunteering at Bright Vision Hospital
We added one more volunteer activity this year. We spent Thursday mornings at the hospital assisting therapists in conducting morning exercises for the patients. These exercises are to help these patients get back to normal daily routines when they are discharged from the hospital.
We helped out in some major events of Bright Vision Hospital during the year: Charity Bazaar 2013, outings for patients to Fort Canning Park, and President Tony Tan’s first visit to the hospital.
This year is a challenging year for investments.
The Singapore stock market was a non-performing one when compared with New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The Straits Times Index (STI) gained just 0.01% from the start of the year. Through the year, I received dividends, coupons and profits made on sale of stocks giving me 8.78% return on cost of investments. I added more to my equity holding in the year. On a total return basis, the annual rate of return was -0.3% (factoring price difference between cost and valuation of portfolio as at 27 December).
On a total portfolio basis, this year was worse than last year. Overall realised return on investments was 2.65% for the year (2.93% for 2012). This rate of return is slightly better than the interest paid on CPF Ordinary Account of 2.5% and just about beat inflation rate of 2.4% for period January to November 2013.
Market value of total investment portfolio covering various asset classes was 1.01% below costs. (as at 27 December). Over the year, we re-balanced our investments to reduce risks. Investment classes include Singapore equity, retail bonds and preference shares traded on Singapore Exchange, unit trusts, currency linked investment, endowment funds, structured deposits and fixed deposits. I remained cautious this year and about 30% of total portfolio were in cash and fixed deposits.
Even when I am fully retired, I was still very occupied. I like reading and writing my thoughts. During the year, I read 15 books comprising 3,879 pages in total. My time was spent also in helping Momshoo. In addition, I spent time in managing my family investments.
Our rabbit, Brownie, requires someone to be at home to care for her needs, now that Brownie cannot look after herself. It has been a year since Brownie came down with osteoarthritis condition. We are adjusting to this and it is our responsibility since we took in Brownie as our pet in 2006.
On a final note, it was an eventful year for my family and me. I am thankful how 2013 had turned out the way it had. I could not ask for more.
I wish all a Happy New Year, 2014!