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What I Did Every Year-End to Optimize and Grow My Wealth

December (next month) is the month where I will always do a yearly “balance sheet” and “income statement” for the entire year. I will usually do this at the end of the month. This includes consolidating my daily expenses from my usual excel tracker, sorting it based on categories and identifying the highest contributors. It is also the month where I will do a calculation of my annual returns from my overall portfolio, including “war chest” (cash) sitting in various principle secured vehicles which usually comes with low yield. I will simply sum up all my assets (home, car, cash, stocks, etc.) and deduct my total liabilities (housing loan, car loan, etc.) to determine my overall net worth. I will compare it with last year to determine the “increase in net worth” which equates to the growth. Once I have 5 years’ worth of data, I can also plot it on a graph and project forward to estimate for subsequent years. Of course, there are exceptions, such as during an economic crisis, the returns could be much higher or there could be losses sustained. In the year 2010 (post sub-prime crisis), the returns were a whopping >200% but crises do not happen every year, especially the big ones, maybe once every decade.

One of the major goals for every year will be to see our income increase while our expenses remain the same. I know it’s challenging and there will be times when there are “no choice” events like renovation, etc. Anyway, my renovation costs all in is less than $20,000. So, what I did during my earlier years, as mentioned in my previous article, is that whenever there is a once-off increase in expense, I will make up for it the next 1-2 years by cutting back on holidays overseas or big celebration meals to buffer for the increase in expense. For this, our honeymoon was postponed; I am thankful to have a good and understanding wife to work together towards the same goal. Of course, we later rewarded ourselves when we achieved our target, such as getting a new car, as mentioned in earlier articles.

This year, I expect that there would be a huge loss in income due to my departure from the workforce in Jan 20. However, it should be buffered by the returns made from the market, especially due to hedging just before COVID-19 crash in Jan 20 and mass buying of stocks during April lows, of which I have shared in my previous articles. All articles are time-stamped with receipts as proof of transactions.

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Annual tracking enables you to work backwards to estimate the length of time you need to achieve your next goal

The annual tracking exercise is useful because you can determine how much your net worth has increased, as compared to previous years. This includes your overall savings and encompasses more than just the investments you have made. Subsequently, you will be able to gauge your approximate “growth” (or CAGR) and you can use that to plan your financial goals 5 to 10 years later. Of course, these are just estimates.

I’m a total believer in the saying that “your net worth is not equal to your self-worth”. However, I am sharing some methods on how you can approximate your personal net worth “growth rate” so that you can set reasonable targets to work towards in the years ahead.

This is an example of my daily tracker. It is really not difficult to track -- every day I only spend 2 mins tabulating it. I still prefer using the traditional excel table instead of the typical expense tracking apps because I can customize the excel worksheet to my needs. From the excel, it can be observed that usually, my wife (CS) usually spends more on meals than me 😅.

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My Story, also shared by Dr Wealth / NextInsight, etc.

View >> My Portfolio


Live like a peasant (at least for the start)

We were lucky to land ourselves a job with a decent pay but we lived like a peasant for years. As mentioned in my earlier article, I bought my previous car due to work requirements and because the company was able to subsidize a portion of the cost. In my younger days, I did not have any “dedicated” overseas holiday trips. My trips were mostly for business and I subsequently extended my stay with my annual leave. My wife would then fly there to enjoy the holiday together. With that, I saved on my flight ticket. I am thankful that my previous role allowed me to fly frequently to many places such as the Netherlands, Hanoi in Vietnam, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.

Below is a screenshot for a profession card (Doctor) from the Cashflow 101 boardgame by Robert Kiyosaki that I have always enjoyed playing by myself from a young age. One can have a high income but it’s no point if the expense is high as well as there won’t be sufficient money to re-invest and build wealth. It’s a typical example of someone who will be stuck in the rat race for a long period of time, regardless of profession. On the other hand, I’ve drawn a profession card of a truck driver and played the game to achieve the millionaire milestone in the game Cashflow 101.

Some of My Plans

I have not sat down together with my wife to think through the goals (which I will do so next month) that we would want to achieve in the next few years but our financial goals remain mostly on track and something we are looking forward to in the horizon is probably to upgrade to a better home. We do not have much preference in terms of location but hope that it is somewhere close to my parents’ place so that it is easier to look after them when they are older. If I do purchase a property, it is purely for stay rather than for investment.

During my younger NS (National Service) days, I used to go for the army half marathon. However, my 2.4km has gone from bad to worst. I have been failing my IPPT every year ever since 3 years after my uni graduation. I always cleared my IPPT by taking IPT. This year due to COVID-19, I’m exempted. Hopefully, next year I can pass my IPPT or at least achieve a 40 / 100 for my overall score. It’s considered a 250% return if I can hit 40 / 100.

2019 IPPT Result Slip

For stocks, similarly, I will reflect and think through my hits and misses. I keep a journal for this purpose. During my younger days when I tried to “fight FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)”, I jotted down my feelings prior to clicking the buy / sell button. I also made a checklist for myself to go through prior to making investment decisions. Sadly, most mistakes are still the same old mistakes such as skipping the checklist due to complacency.

Thoughts for 2020

This is the first year that I’ve gone without a full-time job. Many might think that I'm seriously cash-strapped by now, especially buying a new Mercs prior to COVID-19 and leaving my company without securing a new job. My initial plan was to work for another 3 to 5 years to reach my financial goal before calling it quits. However, I have now brought forward my plan and it will probably mean just an additional 2 to 3 years for me to hit my next milestone. No regrets.

Many things to be thankful for, especially after being more involved in my blog starting April 2020. With all the followers, I have seen the numbers grow from a single digit to more than 1,500 (Facebook Page, email subscribers, Telegram combined), of which 99% are “non-friends related” followers as I have not revealed my identity or shared my articles in my personal Facebook account. A lot of my friends and ex-colleagues do not know I have started this blog. Of course, 1,500 is not a lot lah… just a small fry 🐤compared to the big influencers out there. I’m just easily satisfied 😊.

Telegram membership growth (April to Nov 2020)

My initial thoughts were just to blog for fun, like a hobby as I only post once in 2-3 weeks, which is considered slow.

Special thanks to Dr Wealth who shared my story in April 2020 where I received the first 20+ followers in my Telegram which kickstarted everything. Would like to take this opportunity to congrats all who've received their PSLE results this week. Good job 👍🏻👍🏻 No matter what the digits are, it's more important to do well in the next hurdle in life. For now, we earned a good rest 🤓.

December will also be a month that I will make a list of things that I am grateful for, penning down memorable occasions, major milestones so to focus on the good and happy times. I have seen many new friendships forged this year, many new things learnt and many good moments spent. Many wonderful years ahead!

Some quick updates from my previous article “Hunting to Invest in the Potential “Nike of China”

Source: Google Finance

At the point of my writing, the stock has returned >25% since the article on Xtep and a 40% gain from my initial buy price (transaction receipt in my previous article). Every time after sharing something like this, the share price will “lao sai” 💩. Touch wood and fingers crossed.

If you would like to read more on it (published on 7th Nov 2020), click the link here

Updates from Telegram / Instagram / Facebook page

Here are some of the selected posts (screenshots) from my Telegram, Instagram & Facebook page. If I did any trades, sometimes I will also share it there. Do join us to check out our previous and future sharings!!

M Stanley List of Chinese Dotcom Market Share Forecast in E-commerce, Online Game etc


Not encouraging any trades & my positions might change without notice. Just sharing the stock idea for reference and learning purposes only. Do not follow trade, practise due diligence and do check out our full disclaimer.

Cheers & Great Weekend!!

Disclaimer: Just sharing from experience as I have put my own money into the stock market over the period of 17 years. I am not a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and I do not have any finance-related qualifications. Please also check out our full disclaimer.

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