A Review Of My Choices In 2017

I do possess weaknesses and bad traits. One of them is voyeurism.

I love reading reviews and reflections of others and as the year draws to a close, these articles are springing up on the financial blogosphere (here, here, here and here).

But as the biggest fan and beneficiary of this blog, I think I love reading mine the most. So before I started typing away for this review, I decided to refresh myself with 2016’s version. And then proceeded on to 2015’s, 2014’s and finally, 2013’s reflection.

Tough choice Fassbender …. Magneto vs Steve Jobs

That led to some reminiscing. Funny thing is, instinctively, you think life hasn’t changed that much across those years. But after reading and reminding myself of the past in greater detail, I realise how much my life has changed and how I have evolved as a person.

Oh, and of course, I noticed my improved language and writing over the years too. =p

So I really urge everyone to pen down some thoughts at the end of each year, archive it somewhere, and read those past introspection at the end of every new year. It’s really the best X’mas gift you can give yourself. 

Sweet, sweet memories. Ahhh….

And below is this year’s review to add to the growing collection of reflections.

Income & Finances

Urrgh… crypto.

Normally, the masses will shout bubble when they see a chart like this.

The US stock market is up by 100% for 5 years but it really pales in comparison with the 300% gain for Bitcoin in just the past 3 months. Cryptocurrencies have already entered the consciousness of the mainstream.

Things got so bad an uncle started talking to me about it when I was seated on the train a few days ago. I was just reading an infographic on cryptos before he started spewing out the prices, exchanges and the profits he’s going to make. #truestory

So yeah, less attention on the stock market “bubble”.

FOMO hasn’t struck me yet and honestly, I am pretty neutral and indifferent about not participating in any cryptocurrencies so far.

I will be very pleased as long as inflation stays at ~2% and my diversified assets can return me ~6% on average over the long run.

And 2017 did not disappoint on those expectations.

Income-wise, it’s also a good year since I managed to consolidate my position as a full-time tutor in Punggol. Referrals started streaming in and I was happily working a 30-hour work week most of the time.

The decision not to stick to a $42,000 budget strictly brought us much breathing space and probably maintained the Mrs’ sanity. After all, we were still able to pour sizeable savings into a mix of cash, bonds and equities. In this benign investment climate, our net worth increased by a 6-digit amount.

I am not greedy, just another 5 years like this and we should become really financially secure.

Blog & Related Activities

Writing this blog has opened up many other opportunities. This includes income-producing gigs like freelance writing, sponsored posts and even speaking at events. All these picked up pace mainly due to BigScribe, which had a fairly good year in 2017.

Shoutout: If you haven’t joined the free, helpful, interactive, informative and vastly beneficial BIGS World Facebook Group, what are you waiting for?

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Honestly, I really don’t know what I have done to deserve a seat at the table, not to mention the current role I am assuming. The rest of them are wiser, richer, financially savvier and more charismatic than me.

I guess I just have to make it up with more hard work.

Health & Well-Being

I lost about 5kg of weight in the first half of the year. Steaming chicken breasts and spinach/broccoli for about 8 meals a week was by far the single most important contributing factor.

Unfortunately, I have failed to convince the Mrs to get on board this diet for more than 4 meals a week since. Thus, I have gained back about 2-3kg of weight. #allmyfault, #blamemyself

I am doing slightly better than this cat these days.

Nonetheless, I am confident of doing better next year. The habits of cooking, eating better and exercise will be better ingrained.

Speaking of exercise, my fitness levels have improved. Of course still nowhere near Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, but I can definitely run faster, swim faster and do more pull-ups than a year ago.

And yup, no visits to the GP/doc at all. When one doesn’t need MCs, one doesn’t fall sick. I am pretty sure I got the cause/effect right on this one.


The Mrs is by far the most important person in my life. No diversification on this one.

So to be able to align our working hours and free time has to be the biggest positive for this year. Her transition to a full-time tutor has been even smoother than mine.

The reduced working hours coupled with a home-based lifestyle produce conditions especially conducive to starting a family. So it’s a tad disappointing that things are not working out on the baby front.

We have sought help earlier in the year and the doctor has reassured us that there are no major issues. However, even after ingesting pills for close to half a year, we can’t stuff the relatives’ mouths with an announcement during the next CNY.

With the biological clock ticking (both of us are turning 32 soon), the FOMO monster is rearing its ugly head on me. I am especially wary of invasive procedures so we will turn to TCM for the upcoming year before considering those last resorts.

Baby, baby, baby oh….

This year, I have made an effort to keep up with existing friends and make new friends. With no colleagues, subordinates or supervisors to report to, we have to actively reach out to expand our social circle. This is quite a big ask of me, as I can be rather reclusive in my natural state.

In fact, when I organised a dinner with 3 other financial bloggers a few weeks ago, one of them remarked “I am surprised you arranged this session. This is quite unlike you based on my impression of you.”

But hey, I really enjoyed that dinner and the conversations.

So please don’t be surprised if I jio you out over the next few weeks.

And just in case there are no more posts for this year, wishing everyone a Merry X’Mas and a Happy New Year!

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19 thoughts on “A Review Of My Choices In 2017

  1. B

    I’m really proud of the transition you and the Mrs have made this year into becoming full time and yet still being able to financially so secure with it without much of a touch up problems.

    I think this is what life that says when you walk into different path there’s always another door that opens on the other side. As long as the attitude is right, opportunity always beckons.

    Have a great xmas and new year ahead to you and the Mrs.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi B,

      I am sure you and your family are almost ready for you to scale down as well.

      You are right that as long as we are optimistic and opportunistic, life can always be good!

  2. Kate

    “When one doesn’t need MCs, one doesn’t fall sick”.

    Nice one 😏

    I also think it’s because work tends to be more stressful, and then there’s all those long hours, late nights, negativity towards work which tends to lower one immunity, it’s hard not to fall sick.

    Once you remove those factors, voila! Health is back!

    And all the best on the baby front 👍

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Kate,

      I guess even if one falls sick, without the need to get an MC, most people would prefer to just rest at home or self-medicate to recover.

      Hope your confinement is smooth and enjoy your maternity leave!

      Merry X’Mas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.

  3. sleepydevil

    Hi 15HWW,

    December is the month where many will reflect on their year and probably plan for their year ahead. Reading your post on your year, I’m glad and amazed at the same time. It seems that 2017 has been a really productive year for you from finances to health.

    One thing which I realize from these reflection post from you and the various bloggers are the goals and direction you guys are heading towards, and that things are now starting to fall into places. It’s indeed really important to identify one’s goal and work towards them.

    Congratulations to you and Mrs on your progress and good luck on starting a family!

    All the best to you in 2018 and looking forward to 2018’s post.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi sleepydevil,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      With you starting so early, I am pretty sure things will fall well into place by your mid-thirties too.

      Enjoy yourself in Japan! Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year!

  4. KK

    Hey 15HWW,

    Found your blog recently and I find the concept of a 15HWW fascinating. Good to see you are making progress in your life goals and good luck on the baby front.

    Congratulations on a fruitful year and all the best in 2018.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi KK,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Interesting portfolio you have there which is tilted towards the US market. Hope to see more of your writing.

  5. Ms.K

    I like this post – it’s a reminder to actually take some time for self reflection. Examine who and where you are now compared to the past and compared to where you want to go and who you want to be. Examine what lights your fire (pun intended!) and how well you are stoking the fire. Whether I publish the post is secondary, but self reflection I will do Mr.15HWW. Thanks for the reminder 😉

    What I like even more than the post itself is the gif of the cat 😉 Goodluck making mini 15HWWs!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Ms K,

      I like your analogy on fire!

      Yes, you are right that publishing it isn’t that important but it’s easier to keep track. And it would help satisfy the voyeur in me. =p

      Enjoy your days with your two bundles of joy!

  6. DK

    Thanks for sharing.

    Just a feedback, and just my opinion, the moving images of the attachments did not improve the overall, but distracted readers from reading the article, in case you are not aware.

    Here wishing you a Merry Christmas!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi DK,

      Thanks for the feedback and noted on your preferences.

      I am sometimes quite torn between spending additional time to add images/gifs or just simply type away.

      Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

  7. hyom

    Hi My 15 HWW,

    From some of your posts, it is easy to see that you and Mrs 15HWW are a loving couple. It is a natural progression that a woman will want to have babies for a man that she loves and vice versa. I am sure she will not mind the pain since she loves you. On the fateful day, she will of course scream about the pain but you can console her by saying how you wish you could switch places and take the pain for her. Thankfully, that is impossible. Haha.

    I was in the same shoes that you are in now. Me and my wife sought help from the doctor to have babies and the doctor said nothing wrong. Sure enough, the baby came. We went on to have more than one even though it made little financial sense. Not everything has to make financial sense in life.

    For couples who have intention to have babies but are postponing them for reasons like the pursuit of financial freedom, money can wait but baby cannot. Due to a woman’s biological constraints, once she has missed the window, she will have problems having babies later in life. It can be a sore point in the relationship if the couple cannot have babies for the rest of their lives, unless both parties have decided not to have any babies early on.

    I wish you all the best in your latest endeavour. Looking forward to hearing good news from you on this front. It is far more joyous to read about new life being made, than more money being made. A refreshing change on financial blogs.

    PS: Something was wrong with your website. I am submitting the post for the second time as I am not sure the first one got through.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi hyom,

      Always nice to hear from you.

      Thanks for sharing your journey and thoughts. It definitely injected us with more optimism for our cause.

      From your sharing, things have worked out fine and I am also hopeful that your children will marry well and allay that concern of yours! =p

      Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!