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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Our KrisFlyer Star Alliance Round The World (RTW) Trip Planning/Booking

Happy Chinese New Year! Never thought I would be able to travel around the world in my lifetime... but we will be doing that in two days time (!!!), thanks to KPO and his relentless effort in tackling every single mile from our credit card spending (and also thanks to my effort in spending so much money lol). Planning this RTW isn't an easy feat at all and this is likely our first and last RTW as a result. In KPO's previous post (Quick Update - Too Busy to Blog), he explained briefly on the rules of RTW. I shall continue on our actual booking nightmare.

Basically, we cannot do an online RTW booking using miles redemption. Hence, people who want to redeem an RTW can either choose to head down to the SIA service centre located at ION or dial in to SIA's hotline to perform a booking. We were quite worried that we may end up having to pay a service fee as a booking done offline will incur a service fee of USD 25 or 2500 miles per person per booking and we had exactly only 480k miles for our Business Class redemption i.e. no miles to pay for the fee. Though it was also stated on the SIA website that the fee is not chargeable if the service cannot be performed online, we were already prepared to pay. After all, it had been one of our milestones to go on this trip. 

Prior to our redemption, we had already come up with an initial itinerary based on places we had in mind to visit and some basic googling. We also utilized the Star Alliance RTW website to check that our route is valid (i.e. below 35000 air mileage and no backtracking). Below is our initial plan:

Valid routes based on Star Alliance RTW planner

Our plan for KrisFlyer Star Alliance RTW redemption

As South America was really too ulu and too few direct flights to our destinations, we had many routes that involved backtracking. One example is our flight between Merida (Mexico) and Cusco (Peru) where we had to fly up to Houston (US) as a stopover as there were no direct flights under the Star Alliance. To be double sure that our route is valid, we decided to head down to ION as we think that explaining to the service staff face to face will be a lot easier. We were mentally prepared that this wasn't going to be an easy battle as the rules aren't that straight forward and some places may not have flights every day. Hence, we told ourselves to be super flexible in terms of dates and the class that we may be flying on. With our battle gears on (2 laptops, 1 itinerary with flexible dates), we headed down to ION.

As we were in the Business Class queue, there wasn't much waiting involved. We were assigned to a lady at the counter and told her we want to redeem for RTW. Immediately she told us to hang on and went to pull out a hardcopy file with the RTW rules printed on it. She explained that RTW is not common and quite complicated, hence she needs to revise on the rules again. We were quite amused by it. We then shared our itinerary with her and she began ferociously keying into the system and checking for available flights and validity of routing. To our dismay, the dates and routing that we initially proposed were fully booked. We requested to try again plus/minus a few days but still the same results. There were simply no flights between Argentina and Switzerland! We decided to change our itinerary on the spot, replacing Argentina with Brazil instead. Honestly, we had no idea what we wanted to do in Brazil, but heck! Our super helpful SIA staff tried again by keying in Rio De Janeiro airport but still returned no results. We thought that was the end of our RTW and were discussing whether to go home to research more. Suddenly the lady asked if we wanted to go to Brasilia. We weren't even sure where's that, but apparently while we were deep in our discussions, she went to try other Brazil locations and eventually found a flight there. She really saved the day! SIA if you are seeing this, we really applaud the customer service rendered! She spent more than 2 hours going through all possible routes and went all out to help us fulfill our dream! She then helped us reserve our tickets and told us that we have to confirm within 24 hours, otherwise the slots will be released. 

We went home and KPO wanted to try optimizing a little as some flights were booked on economy class but to no avail. We then decided to go ahead with what was reserved for us and dialed into the hotline to do the confirmation. What comes next was unexpected.  The staff on the phone told us that they had re-validated the route and this was not valid. What?!?! Imagine our horror/dismay/anger. We insisted our way because obviously this had to be valid, otherwise how did the ION staff even process the ticket for us. We stayed on the phone for hours, explaining the reason for our backtracking to the staff and again to the service manager. We finally got our tickets issued by the manager a day later, obviously very tired and relieved from all these. Tip - do your reservation at the ION service centre and avoid the call centre.

We have a total of 14 flights (5 in Economy and 9 in Business) and it cost us 240,000 KrisFlyer miles and SG$435 per pax. Oh, there was no service fee too (both at ION or through the call centre).

Those highlighted in yellow = layover time of about an hour

Will we do another RTW? Not anytime soon, it's really tiring and you need to have a lot of leaves to do that. I probably wouldn't be able to if I hadn't change my job. Lol.

5 months down the road but everything still seems very surreal... Will update again on our flight experience in another post! 

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
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4. Instagram - KPO_and_CZM (Did you see those delicious food photos to the right --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Portfolio Performance in 2019

Let's take a look at how our overall portfolio did for the year 2019.

If you prefer looking at a graph. It seems that we have just very slightly outperformed STI ETF :)

For the year 2019, our portfolio time-weighted return was 20.71% vs 8.78% (ES3: STI ETF). The overall performance since 2014 is 19.50% (time-weighted return) and 6.93% (XIRR). It has been a pretty great year! Too bad for those sitting/hoarding cash though. If you are wondering what is the difference between time-weighted return and XIRR, do read this article by Investment Moats. In short, XIRR takes cash flows into account while time-weighted return does not so the way they are calculated is different.

Looking at the top 5 losers and you can see that these are huge losses:
1. Raffles Medical
2. Geo Energy
3. Tuan Sing
4. Eagle HTrust
5. Soilbuild Business REIT

No plans to let go of any at the moment but if I had to cut loss, the first to go would be Geo Energy followed by Raffles Medical. In addition, I realized this year I have not been keeping myself updated with all the various stocks or reading the financial statements. It feels like a combination of not much capital to inject and a lack of time. Anyway, I am also considering to do more passive investment besides StashAway and Endowus such as buying IWDA on a monthly basis.

These are our top 5 winners:
1. Sheng Siong
3. Capitaland
4. CapitaMall Trust
5. CCB (in HKD which is only about 1k+ gain) Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust

Similarly, no plans to sell/realized the profit for any of them at the moment but the first to go would probably be CCB/BOC because the country is still in a mess.

Together, we have a capital flow/injection of $‭35,768.54‬ ($32,268.54 + $3,500 to Endowus)! Capital flow is the amount of capital that is being injected or withdrawn from your portfolio where the dividends collected are considered as capital withdrawn. Our rate of saving/investing has dropped due to extremely high expenses from our new house - renovation and furniture. It is only around 15-25% of our salary this year.

Our portfolio gave us a total dividend of $21,307.84 at an average yield of 5.26%. That is $1,775.65 passive income per month! Having said that, there were a few special dividends last year that bump up the rate and this also includes the dividends from our StashAway portfolio, hence it appears slightly higher than our monthly portfolio update.

StocksCafe is even smart enough to project the dividends (removing special dividends) we will be getting for this year assuming everything remains constant which is still lower than our goal of 5% yield.

Based on our 10 years plan to accumulate a $1,000,000 portfolio for extremely early retirement (age 36), our target for this year was $431,301 and we have met the target despite injecting lesser capital than expected (total opposite as compared to last year). The current market value of our portfolio is $463,297. Our next year conservative target is $552,868 with a capital injection of $57,140. Our yearly target is pretty conservative as we believe our expenses will be growing exponentially year on year.

Our expenses are still going to be high this year because we will be travelling quite a bit (visiting >10 countries - Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Japan and Malaysia). As we become 30 years old this year, we can feel our bodies becoming weaker (can't hike as much) and our minds becoming more humji (giving Bolivia Death Road a miss where you can bike down as an attraction). This will be our last year travelling so crazily *pinky promise*.

As much as this is more of a finance blog, instead of just constantly saving/investing for retirement, we should all take a break once in a while and enjoy life a bit. Everyone will get that eventually but why not make your journey more interesting and maximize every dollar you spent (use miles instead of cashback to travel like us! lol)?

Let's hope 2020 will be a great and better year for everyone and your investment!

You might be interested in these blog posts too:
- 2017 Net Worth
2018 Net Worth
- 2019 Net Worth
Portfolio Performance in 2017
- Portfolio Performance in 2018

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
1. FB Page - KPO and CZM
2. Twitter - KPO and CZM
3. Click here to subscribe using email :)
4. Instagram - KPO_and_CZM (Did you see those delicious food photos to the right --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Portfolio - December 2019

Yay, the year ended with our portfolio reaching another new high as it increases by 1.34% to $463,297 - $1,556.74 of capital injection and $4,569.67 of capital gain.

If you prefer to look at numbers, this is the raw data used to generate the above bar graph. These numbers are as of the last day of the month. On a side note, the numbers (cash flow and PnL) vary slightly as compared to the previous few months because I forgot to include CZM SRS investment when she rejoins the workforce.

"Cash Flow" is the amount of money being injected/withdrawn from the portfolio (buying stocks = +ve cash flow while selling stocks and collecting dividends = -ve cash flow)



We did not buy/sell any stocks as most of the money was spent on optimizing our taxes either through SRS or CPF SA/MA. I topped up another $3,500 to SRS and decided to invest that with Endowus. You can read this post to find out more - Endowus CPF/SRS Review.

The total dividends collected this month is $2,348.00. The breakdown is as follows:

Company Symbol ExDate Shares Total
Ascendas Hospitality Trust - Stapled Units Q1P 31-Dec-19 15,000 $814.50
Singapore Telecommunications Limited Z74 18-Dec-19 4,000 $272.00
Sysma Holdings Limited 5UO 10-Dec-19 10,000 $100.00
Accordia Golf Trust - Units ADQU 3-Dec-19 15,000 $391.50
Pacific Century Regional Developments Limited P15 3-Dec-19 7,000 $770.00

Total dividends collected for 2019: $‭20,978.35
Average dividends per month for 2019: $‭1,748.20




Capital: $27,000.00
Current: $‭‭‭‭30,802.85‬


Capital: $3,500.00
Current: $‭‭‭3,516.00

You might be interested in previous months update too:
Portfolio Performance in 2018 - $354,145
Portfolio - January 2019 - $376,381
Portfolio - February 2019 - $379,814
Portfolio - March 2019 - $400,263
Portfolio - April 2019 - $400,263
Portfolio - May 2019 - $392,934
Portfolio - June 2019 - $415,611
Portfolio - July 2019 - $420,798
Portfolio - August 2019 - $421,644
Portfolio - September 2019 - $420,854
Portfolio - October 2019 - $438,957
Portfolio - November 2019 - $457,171
- Portfolio - December 2019 - $463,297

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
1. FB Page - KPO and CZM
2. Twitter - KPO and CZM
3. Click here to subscribe using email :)
4. Instagram - KPO_and_CZM (Did you see those delicious food photos to the right --> Unfortunately, you can't see it on mobile.)