For those who are interested to know more about me, I am your typical salaried worker with typical working hours. Unfortunately but not regrettably, I was never inclined towards numbers and pursued an education in the arts instead.
Everything I learnt about personal finance and investing is self-taught which is why I believe anybody can manage their finances so long as they put in the time and effort to read and educate themselves.
I procrastinated writing as I was afraid to share my thoughts, but I’ve decided to just do it anyway and use this as a space to document and rationalise my financial decisions. It will be a bonus if my stories can inspire fellow Singaporeans to embark on their path of personal freedom too.
Model answer aside, a part of me knows that not so deep down, I invest to fund my love for shoes, hence the inspiration for the name of this website!
When it hit me
Like most wide-eyed fresh graduates, I accepted a job with a reasonable pay and reasonable expectations with little regard to how my starting pay would affect lifestyle or subsequent salary for that matter (story for another day). However, a few months into the workforce, I started to realise that my stable job with its stable income would not be able to sustain the lifestyle that I desire.
There was only so much I can save from my paycheck and what I needed was to increase my salary or find other sources of income. I enjoyed my job and had a great boss so I was not about to switch out this job for another so soon. Hence, I sought additional streams of income and that is when I began investing.
I spent my free time reading up extensively on personal finance and investing and finally took the first step. I started small with a monthly investment plan and subsequently bought my first stock when I gained more confidence.
It wasn’t an easy process as I had no background in finance and had to absorb the influx of information available online and offline and discern good advice from bad. Sadly, while there was plenty of information out there, I wasn’t quite able to discuss them with my peers as they were either not vested (common for ladies, I notice) or relied on financial advisors.
Achieving my first $100k in 2020
I remember the pain of pouring over financial statements and annual reports as I struggled to make sense of the various figures and metrics. However, I learnt, I persevered, and I created an investment strategy that suited me and today, I am proud of myself for achieving the coveted/dreaded first $100k after four years of working, just a few months ahead of turning 27. Damn you Covid-19, I could have achieved it earlier if not for you.
Separately, I want to put it out there that although it was not easy and I had to be disciplined, invest consistently, and “sacrifice” several fun jios from friends in a bid to save money and get to $100k ASAP, I was not living miserly and also succumbed to a couple instances of unnecessary splurges in these four years. (I don’t subscribe to delaying gratification to the point where I am unhappy and miserable) I was also unemployed for a few months and lived without a paycheck. So it is possible to get there with some hiccups along the way and without having to be so hard on yourself!
How my investing journey has evolved
- 2016: Safety first
I started off dollar cost averaging in supposedly “safe” blue chip counters on the SGX and after close to a year, stopped doing so when I realised the fees were snowballing and eating into my returns.
- 2017: Kopi money, please
I armed myself with more in-depth knowledge on stock selection and fundamental analysis. I began my foray into lump sum investing in individual companies. I focused on dividend-paying stocks and avoided growth companies that paid little or no dividends.
- 2018: Time to venture overseas
I contributed regularly to a roboadvisory platform to gain exposure to global markets without having to stock-pick. I also amped up my research on global markets and paid more attention to growth investing.
- 2019-Present: Keep going, keep growing
I am moving away from individual stock-picking towards a more balanced and diversified portfolio of dividend-paying stocks and growth funds. I also select funds in megatrends that interest me for a bit of fun.
At the time of writing, my portfolio consists of 75% local stocks and 25% overseas funds.
I am almost all in on equities which might be appalling (unwise) but I do believe that I am still young and can take on the risk that comes with a bond-free portfolio. In any case, my portfolio, like me, is a work in progress and I am still working on it.
I will be sharing more about my portfolio in the posts to come, peppered with my own thoughts and observations on this journey of personal freedom. So stay tuned for that and feel free to share your story with me too! Till then!