2014 Achievements

As I keep hearing Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe playing on the radio (ok, I have to admit the tune’s pretty catchy and I quite like it), I realise that “the most beautiful time of the year” has arrived.

No, it’s not just about those snow, X’mas trees and festive feasting. It’s also the season when I get to ruminate over what I have “achieved” during the past 12 months, in line with what I had done the previous year. It also serves as some form of a scorecard against the goals set for this year.

To enjoy it further, I have even penned it down on this blog to share these glories with you.  🙂

So here’s a quick lowdown of Year 2014 for me:


1. Finances

This comes first not because money is the most important thing to me in this world. But well, this is by and large a personal finance blog, right?

With the amazing OCBC 360 account introduced earlier this year, the $250k portfolio target was made that much easier and that mark has been breached a couple of times already this year. We have also initiated positions in some dividend-paying blue chips like OCBC, St Engg, SGX and Dairy Farm besides adding on positions in Semb Corp, MTQ and Kingsmen.

This has resulted in our passive income close to approaching $750 a month, enough to cover some of our basic expenses like 3 simple meals, utilities and insurance. Good progress since it represents a good 50% increase compared to a year ago!

Nonetheless, with expenses averaging >$4,000 a month for this year, there’s still some way to go (either through increasing investment income or reducing expenses) before semi-retirement becomes a possibility for both of us.

2. Health & Fitness

I feel so much healthier and fitter compared to a year ago. In fact, I think I haven’t been this fit since almost a decade ago.

Sticking to largely apples and nuts for breakfast during the past few months seems to have paid dividends. I think I actually enjoy it now. Moreover, I have been preparing dishes like barley soup, steamed carrot and corn and army for lunch quite a number of times. Besides a healthier meal, they are easy to prepare and washing up is a piece of cake.

Exercising more than 5 times per week during the past 6 months, slow but steady progress has been made in both my swimming and running. 20 laps of breaststroke in 40 minutes isn’t really that much of a challenge nowadays and I finally managed to clock 6km in 30 minutes a couple of weeks ago (albeit in a climate-controlled environment)!

3. Life Event: A 6-month sabbatical

I definitely didn’t anticipate taking a 6-month sabbatical one year ago. In fact, the smart money would have been on me continuing my previous job for at least one more year just to save up more money.

But I took the plunge and I really do think that its the right choice. During the half-way mark, I did some reflections too. Obviously, there’s the perks but life’s not exactly a bed of roses during this period.

After this episode, I am more convinced than ever that I don’t want to be held hostage to a job till retirement age. But the irony is that I think even when I become financially independent , I doubt I would want to be on vacation forever (most people’s dreams). I guess that’s why the idea of a 15 hour work week is so appealing to me.  🙂

4. Personal Development: Making new friends on the blogosphere

Being lazy and somewhat apathetic towards reaching out and arranging get-togethers was a bad habit that was costing me friends. (Brilliant article from Raptitude that totally resonated with me.)

On hindsight, one of the main benefits of writing this blog for me was being able to reach out to like-minded people. But I was still really very passive until Alvin from BigFatPurse invited me to his VIMC workshop half a year ago. Besides learning a great deal from the course, I was also able to meet up with Christopher Ng that day. And I have been quite a big fan of his ever since reading one of his personal finance books during NS.

I always had this misconception: Why would these famous authors/established bloggers want to meet me when I have so little to offer? 

It was being challenged and shortly after, shattered. When I met up with one of my readers, I gathered that it wasn’t really hard to establish a connection with people whom I admire. All I had to do was to ask that person out for lunch or coffee. The worst that could happen is being repeatedly turned down and even then, I am no worse off than before.

So I became more active, played host to a group of finance bloggers and authors for a session of poker, attended an NTUC roundtable discussion and even took lots of initiative to ask people whom I admire and benefited greatly from out for coffee or a meal.

I have made some new friends as a result.  😉


Hope you have had a great 2014 too! And Merry X’mas!

18 thoughts on “2014 Achievements

  1. GMGH

    Fantastic year in review Mr 15HWW! How did your IPPT goal come along? SBJ always keeps me from getting Silver, but with the new system in place, maybe it is possible now!

    Friendly rubs in any way are always welcomed 😛 Aye, Marcus was a very wise and noble man. I must brush up my Philo and History, I only know his famous quotes! Bright or dim, everyone could always use a dose of extra happiness!

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you! Jio you next year, it’s on my to-do list 😛

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi GMGH,

      Good of you to notice the IPPT goal!

      I was supposed to clear it by late Jan but with the new changes, my window has been extended till late April. It now makes much more sense for me to wait till the new system to kick in in April as gold and $500 is now a realistic possibility.

      I know a little more about Marcus because he’s a Stoic and I am a big fan of this philosophy.

      All right, shall be passive this time round and wait for your invite!

  2. SGYI

    Its definitely fun to interact with like minded people. Indeed through blogging, I’ve met so many new friends. Glad to have been able to know and meet you too 🙂

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi SGYI,

      Same sentiments here! Social life has becoming a tad more exciting as we get to know more people. =)

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Sillyinvestor,

      Yes, a healthy body compounds wealth better than even high returns.

      Good to know you are focusing on this area as your family prepares for a second child. =)

  3. B

    Hi 15hww

    Great achievement in 2014 which I am sure it will lead to a better 2015 and beyond.

    In your 6 months sabbatical, there are a lot of individual learning points and self discovery which you did not realize previously. I think that counts as an achievement itself. Touch the soul and mind, sounds a little auratic though they are well accounted for.

    Looking forward to your 2015 goals and have a good year end to you and Mrs. 15hww.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi B,

      Yes, you do know me well. Next post is almost definitely going to be a goal-setting one. Last year’s goal-setting has worked well enough for me and I do plan to keep on doing it.

      With you juggling so many “balls” this year, I am also looking forward to your year end review too!

  4. LP

    Hi 15hww,

    Looks like this year is a fulfilling year for you on multiple fronts! May the new year bring more challenges and fulfillment to your life as well 🙂

  5. Derek

    Hi 15HWW,

    Glad to know that you are enjoying every minute of your sabbatical.

    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi RetailTrader,

      I started off in the middle of the year clocking 5km in 30 mins and gradually upped my pace over the past 5-6 months. I pretty much enjoyed this slow and steady progress and hope you’re inspired into making a positive change too. =)

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Alvin,

      Thanks for accompanying the lonely me during those days!

      And see ya tomorrow! =p