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