My Report Card 2021
Time flies, we are now at almost the end of Jan 2022. Did 2021 turn out to be what you expected or did you achieve the targets set for yourself in 2021? The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect and has impacted all aspects of our life and working environment, on and off we see some good news on relaxing the social distancing rules but life is yet to return back to normal as we have in pre-pandemic. The Covid-19 virus continues to mutate and our mood swings also change together with these mutations, from "Delta " to "Omicron" and chances are pretty high that we might have a new one coming in near future. How many "booster jabs" we will really need it? Could "Omicron" be the last variant we have and this will be time we end this pandemic and "live with the virus", treating Covid-19 as an "endemic" and trying to return our life back to normal? Fingers crossed!
Europe considers new COVID-19 strategy: Accepting the virus <source: APnews.com>
I guess for most of us, life goes on, even amid the Covid pandemic although some may have or face a different working environment, since mostly still WFH in 2021. But there is a new social phenomenon of so-called " Great Resignation" that happens in the US and some other countries. This puzzles the world academic to study the reason for such massive resignation even during this pandemic period.
What is 'The Great Resignation'? An expert explains <source: weforum.org>
Our attitudes and perception towards life might have changed during this prolonged pandemic & lockdown period. Are you also the one that contributes to this "Great Resignation" or thinking of resigning from your current job? wanted to F.I.R.E your boss and slow down from your chaotic and busy lifestyle.
For us ( STE & Mrs ), as usual, we go for a morning walk (taking photos ) every day except for rainy days or not feeling well, followed by breakfast/brunch (depending on where we go ). As you may notice, I have written fewer blog posts last year as compared to the year before as I am a bit lazy nowadays and spending more time on movies ( Nexflix / Youtube) and reading but playing less "Pokemon" because of my "eye " problem.
You can see from the above image that my glasses has a "prism" attached on it, this is to correct my " double vision" due to the weakening of one part of my eye muscles that affect my vision.
It was quite "unusual " how I found out about this double vision issue. Initially, I thought it was just a normal " eye degree " change of my eyesight and went to a spectacle shop to change my glasses. After a few attempts of checking and testing, I couldn't get a pair of glasses that fit as I can't have a good focus point on long-distance objects. The optometrist suggested to me that I should go to see the specialist and have a thorough eye check-up. So, to cut the story short, after going through a few testing / MRI-scan (on eyes & brain), followed by seeing an ENT specialist on doing nose endoscopy ( as double vision could be a serious health issue caused by tumours in the brain or any part of E.N.T ( Ear/Nose and Throat).
Thank God ! and lucky that everything is normal and the doctor suspects the double vision might be due to the " weakening " of eye muscles ( this is the same eye where I have the "floaters" ), which could be due to ageing. OMG! STE is really old and ageing fast! :(
Ok, that's life, we must admit that we are old when the time arrives.. hahaha.
Well, maybe the only thing that could " delay your ageing " is to do more exercise and eat healthily!
The Greatest Wealth is Health
Keep walking !!.. where can you find a country that "pay you to keep you healthy" !, not many. Yes! in SG " HPB's National Steps Challenge "
STE & Mrs have signed up for this program to earn some bonus points to redeem the NTUC vouchers. Since we are going to have our morning walk every day, might as well sign up for this and get "paid" while doing the exercise... :D
So far, we have exchanged $80 of NTUC vouchers after completing the tasks given. 💪 We try to walk more than 10K -15K steps a day + 30-45 minutes of " Work-out".
Keep Walking ... Keep Smiling!
Money Always Not Enough!
Of course, not everyone will be like STE & Mrs, not having the ambition to keep "upgrading" to a bigger house, from HDB to Condo or a landed property, from Japanese to Continental car, buying luxury/ branded items. (Oh, btw, we commute using our BMW ie. Bus_MRT_Walk )
We have a simple lifestyle and live within our means, oh yeah! our biggest spending tickets used to be holidays to some of the beautiful places like Alaska/ Iceland / Norway/Switzerland etc, but since Covid struck two years ago, no spending on such holidays for us and we just keep it for investing and saving for future holidays, hope the day ( where we can go oversea holidays without much hassle) will come soon. :D
The reason for bringing this up is because I have been contacted by my ex-boss in early 2021 asking me if I am still interested to go back to work as my previous position is open due to some internal organizational change. The current HOD is an expatriate from HK and is going back after 3 years serving in SG, as you know, Japanese companies have the culture of job rotation every year, doing internal staff transfer before the new accounting year started on 1st April.
Have to admit that once we have the "freedom " is really hard to give it up again. For the past 6 years, I have been living in no stress and everyday 睡到自然醒.
I don't think I will be able to cope with the stress of work again like meeting after meeting, KPIs and targets deadline and also the different environments of WFH. After giving due consideration, I decided to politely decline the offer given and move on with my current 躺平 lifestyle, but I am glad that my ex-company (boss ) still remember/recognise my past contribution and performance that coming back to give me the chance to join back the company again.
Freedom is "Priceless "...as mentioned, uncle STE has no intention to upgrade to a Condo or buy a new car, most likely maybe to add a few thousand shares of OCBC into my portfolio with the salary ( okay, maybe another 1-2 K shares of DBS as I heard one of the Taiwanese shipping carriers is paying 40 months of bonus to their employee in view of huge profit they made in 2021 (Link) But again, that is not the life I want ...so, we need to learn how to "let go and be contented" with what we have and enjoy the present moment.
Ops ! enough nagging from uncle ....( a sign of getting old Liao :D), back to investment update.
2021 Portfolio and Dividend Update
I think to most of those who invested in the HK market, 2021 was an exciting year with a huge swing in your portfolio value. We saw HSI top at more than 30K points at one point and dropped to the lowest around 22K, this made HSI one of the worst-performing indexes in the world.
My portfolio (XIRR) was up by almost 18% at one point and due to HSI impact, it closed at +13.1% at the end of 2021. Well, although it was lower than 1st half, I am happy with this double-digit +ve return.
HSI was down by -14.08% while STI perform better with +9.8%, of course, can't really compare with US indexes with double digits returns in 2021.
STE Portfolio & Dividend/Interest Update 2021:
2021 ( XIRR ) = +13.1%
Since 2007 (XIRR ) = +15.8%
Total Dividend//Interest Income = $156,901.63
Interest from CPF= $30,359.53
TTL Passive Income =$187,261.16
My portfolio out-performed most of the markets where I have invested-in in 2021 except FSTE100 which saw a strong rebound in 2021. Ok, for STI, if I factor in the dividend yield of 3+% for STI, my performance is almost equal to STI.
** STI Index including dividend ( taken as per NIKKO AM STI ETF: GB3)
During 2nd Qtr 2021, I have also divested all my stocks in KLSE with around $24K profit (link here ) and increased my exposure to the HKG market.
Now HK is the biggest market in my portfolio with close to 52% followed by SGX of 37%.
For SGX, my holding is mainly Banks & REITs together with a few legacy stocks like Keppel Corp/ Sembcorp Ind/ Hong Leong Finance which I hold for quite some time.
Sector-wise, Bank remain the biggest position in my portfolio ( 33.3%) followed by REITs ( 14.5) and Commodities/Oil & Gas ( 13.8%).
My investment in HK Tech increased to 12.3% vs just around 2% in 2020 and this is the main sector that dragged down my portfolio's return much in 2021 which saw a huge negative return of around -27.8% in 2021. Of course, there is always the risk of investing in tech stocks, we don't know where the HKG/CHN tech stocks will be headed but I am going to give it a try by holding it for a few more years.
As mentioned before, if you think HK tech is too volatile for you, you may want to try the HSI Index fund ( Tracker Fund -2800) which I have also increased my exposure recently. It has around 30% of tech stocks in the overall index component but it gave out a dividend of around 3.1% since it has old economy stocks in it.
Well, the "regulatory risk" and grand concept of "common prosperity" are still the biggest concern, but as compared to those no-PE and high PS tech stocks, some of the HK Tech stocks like Tencent/BABA looks interesting and in better shape in term of abilities to generate decent cash flow. Ops! I could be biased since I am vested in these stocks.
I have reduced my REIT component in my portfolio to less than 15% in 2021 vs 19.6% in 2020 and shifted my fund mainly to HK Tech stocks. As the market is expecting FED to increase the interest rate from March, REIT as usual has corrected quite a lot from the recent high. I think REIT will continue to be volatile throughout the year, especially when FED started to "deleverage" its balance sheet.
I think the market is paying too much attention to interest increases and underestimating the impact of FED's action to "deleverage " its balance sheet.
Yes, the interest rate may increase the cost of doing business and the valuation of tech stock based on future cash flow. The impact will not be felt immediately for companies and it spread throughout the years of increasing cost ( of course, there will be an immediate impact on bond price and yield ).
My concern will be the FED's intention to "shrink" and deleverage its balance sheet, which affects the money supply immediately. Imagine, $8.9 trillion suddenly disappear from the market ...( well, of course, FED will do it gradually), some asset classes like ( alternative asset - Crypto) will have more impact than others as the huge price increase was supported mainly by loose monetary policy and liquidity.
How Will the Fed Reduce Its Balance Sheet? <source: Investopedia.com>
Inflation is still the biggest threat and concern globally, I think the FED is behind the curve in raising interest rates to curb inflation, most probably because of political reasons ( don't be too naive to believe that FED is "independent " and free from the government intervention. The US government has been addicted to low-cost budgeting with huge deficit spending for many years, the quick and steep interest rate increase will have a vast impact on the US budgeting, I think the rate increase will not be so aggressive (just my own opinion ). But instead, the "deleveraging" of the FED balance sheet will come sooner than we expect and as mentioned, this will have a great impact on some of the asset classes (e.g Crypto).
Remebered I mentioend before :
“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” by Monetary economist Milton Friedman
But again, as Warren Buffett said " Price is What You Pay, and Value is What You Get!". I may start to look into REIT again if the price continues to fall as we may see some value starts to emerge once the correction is steep enough.
Top 30 Holdings:
I think basically not many changes on my top 30 holdings in 2021 vs 2020, except Public Bank/Maybank/Carlsberg from KLSE and also Jardine C&C ( sold in 2nd Qtr ) which dropped out from the list and with a few new faces like Ping An Insurance/ Tencent/Alibaba/JD.Com/Baidu / Sino Land / China Power ( due to price increase).
I have divested AEON Credit (0900) with making a loss of -$901.87 ( including dividend received since 2019) and decided to channel my fund into other CHN Bank stocks. Although the dividend for 0900 seems OK, I think smaller finance companies will have a hard time competing with those big boys. During the last quarter, I bought two new stocks, one is Luk Fook Holdings ( 0590) which is a dividend and recovery play for me. Although 0590 is smaller than Chow Tai Fook ( 1929), Luk Fook's balance sheet is much stronger with a higher dividend yield as well.
Wow, STE starts to invest in the US market. Yes, this is my first attempt to dip my toe into the US market, it is a very small position by just testing the water. IPAY is an ETF investing in digital and e-payment services companies like MasterCard/ VISA/America Express/PayPal/Fiserv etc. I still believe that e-payment services will continue to grow regardless of the economic situation and when more and more middle-class income populations start to spend and the new generation will most likely use e-payment for their spending.
Moving forward, what will be my strategy in 2022?
Well, in view of FED's decision in raising interest rate and "deleveraging of its balance sheet", I think the market will be very volatile and I will be very cautious in adding any new positions. I will most probably "stay put" with my current position and be patient in pressing the BUY button and if we have spare cash, doing VC to our CPF accounts is not a bad idea at all. :D
What about your strategies or plans for 2022?
I think this will be my last blog post before CNY, taking this opportunity, I would like to wish all :
|<Image Credit : ChinaHighlights.com>