The juiciest annual update is here.
Kind of reminds me of the time when I’m getting the report card back in school. Jittery.
On a positive note, writing this series of annual blog posts is perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspect of maintaining this blog. Who wouldn’t like to see progress, right?
I’m not sure whether my 30 year-old self back in 2012 would have expected this day to come. It was definitely full of the unknown and uncertainty back then.
To be honest, I can’t remember exactly what happened. It was a lazy and motivation-less morning in office.
I finished the free preview quickly, bought the book and finished it on the same day. Before I knew it, my index investing journey has officially started on Christmas Day (2012).
Later on, I finally got the chance to meet Andrew in person during one of his talks.
Of course, a lot more has happened since then. Never in my wildest dream would I have expected to achieve this much progress in a decade.
Yup, I’ll circle back in a while to explain why I HAD to mention Andrew Hallam.
Before We Start
For a little bit of context, reading my last year’s blog post would be a good way to start off this year’s update.
I don’t think anyone wants to see me repeating what I’ve already mentioned in previous net worth posts, but feel free to check them out if you’re curious –
My Net Worth Is Mid 6-Figure And I’m OK With It (2020)
My Net Worth Is Low 6-Figure And I’m OK With It (2019)
My Net Worth Is Still 6-Figure And I’m OK With It (2018)
My Net Worth Is Only 6-Figure And I’m OK With It
My Net Worth Is Only 5-Figure And I’m OK With It
In this update, I have tried to retain the same structure for this short-and-simple update.
Net Worth Calc : Assets (Plus+)
Let me quickly re-cap for the items that I consider as part of my assets. I use You Need A Budget on a daily basis to track my expenses so a large part of the work has already been done.
- E-wallets – Paypal, Grab
- Bank and cash accounts – incl. Dash PET, Singlife
- CPF accounts – yes, CPF is my money
- Investments – ETFs, robo-advisors
- Alternative assets – cryptocurrency
As usual, I had omitted the value of my HDB apartment in previous years as it isn’t a yield-bearing liquid asset. Even CPF (OA) money can now be invested into global indexes affordably (low-cost) via Endowus! Looking back, we have come incredibly far.
Perhaps one day, if I’m no longer based in Singapore, I can rent out my HDB apartment and include it in my net worth (est. conservatively at $200,000, my share).
Net Worth Calc : Liabilities (Minus-)
Two simple items only.
- Credit cards
- HDB loan – I divided it by two since wife + me
Net Worth Growth
As always, the blue bars are the total amount that I have added for the particular year.
Yes, I mentioned that the $93,623 increase in 2019 was “massive” and the $136,152 growth in 2020 in a pandemic year was “pure madness”.
I guess I wasn’t prepared for what 2021 would bring.
To put the truly insane year into perspective, the growth experienced in 2021 (I added $1,625,110) is twelve times that of 2020 – approximately 540 months or 45 years worth of the $3,000 living expenses (dis-regarding inflation) that I’ve estimated in my FIRE-trial update. Before I get ahead of myself, it would be prudent to highlight that the markets’ pullback in January 2022 has resulted in my numbers retracing a significant 18%.
Supported by equities which performed spectacularly in 2021 and my side hustles gaining momentum, still I’d be the first to admit that the theme of the year would no doubt be a single word.
The first mention of the word “crypto” in my blog was in 2017 and it coincided with my very first purchase of it.
Happy to remind myself of this slap to my own face from time to time.
At the start of the blog post, remember that I had mentioned Andrew Hallam and his book?
In his book, the #9 and last rule was to restrict DIY picks to 10% of my portfolio to scratch the itch.
- Spend like a Millionaire, if you want to become rich. That means don’t spend too much. In general, millionaires live conservatively, not extravagantly.
- Start investing early to allow your funds to compound and grow over time.
- Invest in low-cost index funds to maximize your future wealth.
- Learn about stock market history, greed, and fear, so you don’t become a victim of buy high and sell low.
- Learn to build a complete stock and bond portfolio using index funds. You will beat most professional investors.
- Use index accounts, no matter where you live.
- Don’t fall for an advisors “hard sell”.
- Watch out for “too good to be true” scams that promise outsized results.
- If you want to dabble in individual stocks, do so only with a small portion of your portfolio.
Play money, I had called it – and I adapted it to mean a controlled amount of funds that I’m willing to allocate on moonshots – an idea from Google whereby X is a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google) and is also known as The Moonshot Factory.
Their goal is 10x impact and not just 10% improvement, thereby making the world a “radically better place”.
Index investing would be my 10% improvement, but the eighth wonder of the world i.e. compound interest takes time to work its magic.
Where is my 10x going to come from?
The hard truth to the pursuit of financial freedom and FIRE is the pre-requisite of having capital. Capital that is obtained from the exchange of human labour i.e. work.
To grow my capital, it is going to be either “earn more” vs “save more”. Saving capacity has a floor, but earning capacity doesn’t have a ceiling.
This is largely why I had taken up work in a role that I wasn’t necessarily crazy in love with (although it was uniquely meaningful) in 2016 – because it paid well and offered solid growth. Kind of a delicate compromise between ikigai and practicality.
I was then able to divert this increase in capital into both index investing and moonshots, one of which happened be crypto.
Luck played a big part, I’m certain of it. I’ll repeat it as many times as I need to – I’m a nobody.
But I would like to say, I’m in the business of creating luck through numerous micro-moments and tiny actions. This has helped to put me in better places at the right times. Luck can’t be bought, but it can be nurtured.
Alas, crypto prices have retraced from the highs of end-December as I’m writing this. Bad timing on my part for this blog post, oops.
Meanwhile, I have been de-risking during the past year by moving more funds into relatively boring positions. Yes, I’m still very much a proponent of index investing.
Crypto is an anomaly.
I am thankful that the lessons I have learnt during my pursuit of financial independence have come in somewhat handy. At this point, I have already withdrawn more than I have invested and will continue to sit on six-figure stablecoins for low-risk yield to balance out the volatility.
Moving forward, I’m not entirely sure what would happen to this series of updates. When I first started it, it was simply meant to document the journey, and .. I have never quite thought about what to do about it when I’m nearer to the end point rather than the start.
A delightful problem to have, I guess?
I’m no longer burning the candle at both ends. I’m sleeping more, and exercising more too. It is amazing how mobility exercises have done wonders in reducing or eradicating the various weird aches and pains (esp. neck/shoulder/back) I have experienced in the past few years. I’m constantly reminded of what Andrew wrote in my book earlier – “Best of luck with your health and wealth” – and how important it is.
Perhaps focusing more about the less tangible things instead of just numbers, maybe. Even though it is a yearly affair, repeating “numbers go up” feels a little bit like circle-jerking despite my intention that this is primarily for my personal consumption and accountability.
I might have mentioned a few times that shifting my focus to generating alternative income seems like a logical next step, especially when I actually enjoy the process. Make hay while the sun shines, I guess.
Thanks for spending your precious time reading my personal update, and let’s keep working towards our goals in 2022 and beyond. Happy Lunar New Year, and happy holidays!
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Hello! I’m Kevin, Turtle Investor
At the age of 30, I am the Personal Finance Blogger who laid claim to a negative net worth of minus $25,755 – and decided to turn things around.
- Seven years later in 2019, I hit CPF Full Retirement Sum (FRS) of $176,000 without making a single cent of CPF top-up
- In nine years, I have added more than $1 million to my net worth
- I earned over six-figure in alternative income in 2021 in addition to my full-time job
I am married to a lovely wife and that means dual income with no kids. In my free time, I chase miles so that we can fly in business class. My hobby is making pocket change off this blog and sharing everything I know with you!