2020 What a Year It Has Been!

Merry Christmas to one and all! Hope everyone is enjoying the long holiday and is able to visit the attractions that our little island has to offer now that we are not able to travel overseas. 2020 was such a wild ride, everyone came in with expectations and goals that we want to achieve but yet a series of events happened and everything seem to come to a temporary halt. I guess thats how life is, unexpected things happen and we have to adapt to it, constant change so that life will never be boring. Since its such an eventful year, it will probably be interesting to note down and look back in the future. 

Year in Review:

- Australian Bushfire. Fires raged for nearly 80 days, displacing or killing nearly 3 billion animals, a devastating biodiversity loss for the country. 

- Rising US-Iran Tension. Assassination of General Qassim Suleimani, one of Iran's most powerful military strategists.  

- Spread of the Wuhan Virus now officially named as Novel Coronavirus. It initially started in Wuhan in Dec 19 and contained within China. The rest of the world was cautiously watching their containment efforts and eventually the virus spreaded beyond China's border. The first case in Singapore occured on 23 Jan which coincides with the CNY period. People were more cautious during that period as cases of death from COVID was reported. Cases were spreading rapidly and many countries were closing their borders. 

- Coronavirus Crash. S&P 500 recorded its fastest 30% decline ever. The circuit breaker was triggered multiple times and it was a nerve wrecking time. Global tourism industry suffered incredible losses as travel came to a standstill. 

- Starting of Circuit Breaker and compulsory donning of masks. Everyone in Singapore are to don face masks starting from 7 Apr 20 and also a circuit breaker was enforced to curb the spread of virus in the community on 2 Jun 20. When PM Lee first announced this news, people were seen hoarding toilet paper, daily essentials. The world began to work from home and this led to the rise of video conferencing. Community activities plummeted as people we only allowed to leave their houses for essential matters. 

- Global Job Losses and Massive Stimulus Package. Countries around the world were giving stimulus package in a bid to save the economy from a total collapse. Singapore spent nearly S$100 billion (almost 20% of our GDP) to help businesses and household to manage the economic impact of the coronavirus. 

- Negative Oil Prices. Oil prices went negative for the first time in history which essentially means that traders are so desperate that they are willing to pay someone to take the oil off their hands than them having to store the oil themselves.  

- Big Tech Dominance. The big tech market cap share in S&P 500 soared. 

- Beirut Explosion. Admist the battle against COVID-19, an explosion due to improper storage caused the lives of 135 and affected 305,000 and more. 

- Shortest Bear Market in History. S&P 500 exceeded the February high on 18 Aug as trillions of dollars were injected into the global market despite the economy itself still being down.

- US Presidential Election. The incumbent Donald Trump will be taken over by Joe Biden. 

- Covid 19 Third Wave and Global Vaccination. Pfizer made news when they manage to roll out a 95% effective covid vaccine. However, with the vaccine, challenges still exist due to concerns of vaccine safety and transport/storage of it.

2020 was nothing like anyone had imagined. The way we lived now was vastly different from previous year. Initially wearing of mask was a hassle as it fogged up glasses but now its like a an essential part of us. Going out without masks feels like being naked. COVID-19 made us rethink the way we work and is it really necessary for people to be physically to be in the office when the same can be done remotely elsewhere. 

Looking back on New Year Resolution
1. Career - Take charge of my own learning, work hard, be a better people's person, have a positive mindset -> Attain top 15% of the cohort

For the first four months of the year, I was undergoing a career advancement course. Although I was a little disappointed that I did not manage to achieve top 15% of my cohort, I was satisfied with my performance and more importantly the lessons being taught there. As I transited to a role in leading a department, the learning curve was pretty steep initially as I had to learn things on the job as well as to manage people. The management team was new and we were in the 'storming' phase initially where things were not going so well. Im glad that throughout the months we have understood each other working styles better and improved in our team dynamics. An improvement point for me would be to be more outspoken and vocalise my thoughts. Being an introvert I would tend to think alot internally and ensure my thoughts are coherent and logical before speaking out. However, this could be a disadvantage to me as people would think I'm being passive and worst case take advantage of this.


2. Relationships - Communicate better with my family, plan a trip overseas. Pursue my potential date and have a committed lasting rs. Continue to stay in contact with close friends and make the effort to meet up.

One benefit that COVID bought was that we had to stay home most of the time and this time allowed me to have more time with my family. Although we could not travel overseas, we had much more family meals at home and communication was better. Another bright note in this year was being attached, things are going smoothly although we could not meet for several months due to circuit breaker. We share similar values and are quite similar in personality and am looking forward to going through life together. As we age, true friends tend to surface clearly. This year has been tough and am glad that close friends are part of it that made it much better. Its interesting to see how we have grown over the years, from talking about what to eat after school, complaining about uni modules to adult topics like getting a house. I hope that these relationships will continue to stay strong in the many years ahead. 


3. Health & Fitness - Attain gold for IPPT, reduce weight to 82kg. Exercise every alternate days, if unable to, do extra workouts during the weekends. 

Another benefit from COVID was that we were not able to eat out and only could 'dabao'. My mum cooks almost on a daily basis and I could only eat her homecooked food. This means that I have a good balanced meals and not susceptible to over eating. As gyms and pools are closed and people being cooped at home most of the time, parks became a popular place for people to get their dose of exercise. With weekly running and good diet, I managed to reduced to weight to a lowest of 81.5kg and easily attained the IPPT Gold! However, after the circuit breaker, I started gaining weight as I ate out more and exercised lesser. 


4. Investing & Saving - Maintain at least 60% savings rate, 185k net worth.

Managed to save more than 65% of salary and achieved a networth of ~S$230,000. The unexpected rise in networth was largely due to the rapid recovery of the stock market. The crash in Mar/Apr was definitely an eye opener for me as daily dips were often more than 5%. I held on to the plan for my index portfolio and invested monthly and added on more as it dipped every 10% from ATH. The feeling definitely sucked when you invested the money and the next day you see it dropped even further. Most importantly is to have the conviction and keep your emotions aside when investing to reap the rewards in the future. 

For my Yield Portfolio, I added mostly solid companies that I see would survive this pandemic; Banks, Reits. However, comfortdelgro and SATS are still lagging in portfolio as I bought them right before the crash. There were many times when I felt like selling both of them at a loss and use the capital to buy into other companies to recover the loss. Luckily I held back my emotions and stuck to the plan, CDG and SATS have recovered a little but not to pre-covid level. 


Goals for 2021: 

1. Career - Vocalise my thoughts more, better manage relations with bosses, nurture the juniors, be proactive and stay positive. 

2. Relationships - Continue to be patient with family, engage them more. Explore new places/experiences with partner, minimise miscommunications. Allocate time to meet and contact with close friends.

3. Health & Fitness - Go for a medical checkup, make good the issues if any. Attain IPPT Gold, reduce weight to 82kg, do 100 push ups, 3x 1mins planks, 100 leg raises daily minimally. 

4.  Investing & Savings - Maintain at least 60% savings rate, contribute 7k to CPF SA, 275k networth.


Moving ahead, the first half of the year will see vaccine distribution and economic recovery being the focus. Physical business will begin to resume and countries will slowly open up and resume travel. The world will continue to be complex, interconnected and far from static. My work will likely be busy in the coming year and this would be the final year in my position. I would like to give it my best effort before moving on to my next role. As always, remember the reason why we are working hard for and remember to slow down and appreciate life. 

Cheers,
KO

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