$$$ KPO and CZM $$$: January 2020

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! 

You might be interested in these articles too:
Our KrisFlyer Star Alliance Round The World (RTW) Trip Planning/Booking
RTW to Mexico - Chichen Itza
RTW to Mexico - Coba Ruins
RTW to Mexico - Isla Mujeres
RTW to Mexico - Tulum
RTW to Peru - Cusco

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
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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.)

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!
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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.)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Advance Inspection - Post Renovation Defects Check

In my previous post here - Advance Inspection - Residential Inspection, I talked about our experience with the residential inspection i.e. pre-reno defects check. After BSC rectified all the major issues, we started with our house renovation. Honestly, we did not expect so many hiccups with our reno as we have done a lot of due diligence including checking online reviews, meeting up with the IDs several times to discuss on the designs/quotations as well as requesting to visit existing works. We have done everything that most people have advised. Even so, not everything went smoothly. You can read more about our reno horror story here - Renovation Cost for Our New House. Fortunately, we heeded ur parents' advice to who told us that we die die have to withhold at least 10% of the final amount until all rectification works are done. Prior to the start of work, we have also given our ID a heads up that we have engaged Advance Inspection to perform the post-reno defects check, and we will not transfer the final amount until all defects are rectified satisfactorily. Our ID agreed.

Unlike the pre-reno defects check, there is only one visit for the post-reno defects check (or you can top up extra for each additional visit). The inspector came and inspected everything relating to our reno works, including carpentry, electrical points (those extra points which we requested during electrical works), network data point, hollow tiles, etc. basically everything else which was related to renovation works. The whole defects check took a few hours as well. During the inspection, we noted a few major issues - our tiles were mostly hollow (especially at the skirting), a few chips/holes in the floor grout (we paid a premium for marble gum polishing btw), chipped tiles in the toilets, warping of carpentry.

We weren't expecting so many major issues since we did request our ID to rectify a few items prior to the inspection already. In fact, it appeared generally okay from a layman point of view and I have even asked KPO to move in a week before the inspection started, thinking that there would not be any major issue. Imagine our horror when we realized that our ID will need to remove/drill the tiles and re-tile them! Carpentry warping is another headache as we realized that our cupboards cannot close fully as the ends of the cupboard tend to be slanted. Our inspector explained that warping is a common thing over time as Singapore is generally humid hence expansion and contraction of the cupboards occur at different rates which resulted in warping. However, he was surprised that our cupboards warped so fast.

Other cosmetic issues include scratches on the glass panel, holes noted in the carpentry works. Our inspector told us that holes in carpentry are typically a result of drilling and the carpenter should paste a sticker over it so that it looks less unsightly.

On the same night, our inspector emailed us the report with all the findings. We shared it with our ID and requested all the rectification to be done asap. Obviously, he was reluctant and as expected, told us that certain things are meant to be like that. For e.g., both he and the tiler said that hollow tiles are fine and doesn't mean it will definitely drop. To be honest, if we have not engaged Advance Inspection, we may have taken this at face value. However, with the report (and affirmation) from Advance Inspection, it was a lot easier to dispute.

Next, the carpenter and our ID also told us that carpentry warping is inevitable. Similarly, we used the report from Advance Inspection and told them that this was unacceptable given the warping over a relatively short period of time. Eventually, the carpenter removed the carpentry and added reinforcement to resolve the issue.

For the other cosmetic issues such as glass scratches, we also requested for them to be replaced. Our inspector taught us how to inspect glass scratches previously, hence when the new glass panels were installed, we did the checks ourselves. Only after everything was rectified did we make the final payment. We were thankful that we have also engaged Advance Inspection for the post reno defects check. Otherwise, these issues would go undiscovered and possibly resurface a couple of years later and probably a lot more expensive to rectify then. It is also a lot easier to insist on the rectification as it comes from a "professional third party firm" rather than us layman.

Lastly, even until today as I have certain queries relating to house/reno issues, I could still reach out to Advance Inspection and they would respond very quickly to the queries. Hence, for new homeowners, you can consider engaging a third party inspection company to save yourself some headache and reno nightmares.

If you would like to engage Advance Inspection too, do use our referral/promo code - AISG0730. You will be able to get $30 discount and we will get $30 for the referral :) Simply contact them either through mobile/WhatsApp (8748 0988) or email (info@advanceinspection.sg) and quote the code. Do note that it is highly encouraged that you start off with the residential inspection first to avoid future disputes with your ID/developer.

You can also leave a comment below if you have any queries on our reno works.

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
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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.)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 Net Worth

Let me start by wishing everyone a happy 2020 again! This was supposed to be my first post for the year but the move by DBS stole the limelight - DBS Multiplier Account Changes For The Worst.

This year will be an exciting year with many many things to look forward to!
1. This is our first year staying together as husband and wife in our new home for a full year. Expenses are definitely going to increase but we will be able to forecast more accurately as a family.
2. We will be doing our RTW trip going to Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Switzerland next month!
3. Bringing CZM's family to Hokkaido on Business flights using Alaska miles (the hack is no longer available).
4. Going to the Scandinavia/Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia) with my family
5. I should be getting my promotion which means an increase in salary!
6. Our portfolio should reach half a million according to our forecast and IF recession doesn't happen this year. lol.

Alright. Let me just share the same importance of tracking net worth once again for the new readers.

This is the classic comic where everyone is actually poorer than the beggar who has a net asset of $2.73. Your friend/colleague may be living in a huge condominium, driving some fancy car but it could all be financed by debts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as their income allows so. You can refer to the following articles/google on the importance of net worth.

InvestmentMoats - Don’t Track Your Expenses or Budget First. Plot Your Net Worth Instead

This is all the money we have in our savings accounts. Our cash dropped as compared to last year because we just completed our renovation few weeks back. You can read about the total cost here - Renovation Cost for Our New House. In addition, I also did a Voluntary Contribution (VC) to CPF Medisave for Tax Reduction.

Our Cash: ~ $22,000 (-54.2%)

Every month, I will try to show CZM her net worth in order to motivate her to work harder towards financial freedom. However, she would always say I inflate her net worth because I included CPF. lol. I am sure some of you may have the same mentality but like I always tell her, CPF is our money and should be included as our retirement planning.

Our CPF: ~ $262,000 (OA + SA + MA) (+19.6%)

I have yet to blog about our portfolio performance (still in draft mode!) but I am proud to say that we have outperformed the index (STI). Overall, our time-weighted return is 19.54% and XIRR is 6.99%.

I have also invested some of my SRS money ($3,500) with Endowus since my last review. Will blog more about Endowus in the future.

Our Investment: ~$469,000 (+33.2%)

HUGE change as compared to last year. We took a 25 years HDB loan for our 4 room BTO and started paying for the loan mid last year.

I believe that property should be included in the computation of net worth. If one excludes the value of the property, the money (cash/CPF) you use to pay for the loan/mortgage will be no different as disappearing into the thin air or throwing it into the sea. Hence, I will be valuing the property based on the total payment (interest + renovation cost) till date. This ensures that our money will not "disappear" and act as a floor/minimum amount (total payment + remaining loan + markup/profit) to sell in the future.

I can imagine people selling their house at market value + markup, thinking that they made money from the sale but it is totally possible that market price + markup < total payment + remaining loan. Does this make sense or is it too confusing? lol.

Our Property: ~$133,000 (+533.2%)


Our Net Worth: ~$886,000 (+38.4%)

Here you go! Our net worth pie chart, it looks pretty yummy to me :) We are so close to becoming a millionaire in net worth before the age of 30! Hopefully, it happens before both of us turn 30 this year. Hahaha. On a side note, we are already a millionaire in KrisFlyer miles @_@"

We also have ~11k Asia Miles and ~55k Alaska Miles in each of our accounts thanks to the Cathay error fare.

We have also clocked 1,000,000 page views! Thank you very much to all our readers!

Alright, I digress too much. Are you tracking your net worth?

You might be interested in these blog posts too:
2017 Net Worth: ~$510,000
2018 Net Worth: ~$640,000
- 2019 Net Worth: ~$886,000

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.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

DBS Multiplier Account Changes For The Worst

Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully, this year will be a better year for all of us although it wasn't much of a good start for DBS Multiplier account holders (ourselves) >.<" I think a lot of us were still hoping for a repeat of last year Cathay error fare only to see this news by DBS.

When they relaunched the Multiplier Account a few years back, it was a game-changer. There were no minimum credit card spendings required, encourages people to invest genuinely through CDP (stocks or SSB instead of getting funds from the respective bank), treated everything as a transaction and awarded interest accordingly. Categories can be easily fulfilled with SSB and shared by couples using a joint account which I blogged about previously - DBS Multiplier + SSBs + Joint Account = Higher Interest! They even introduced home loan as a new category and increase the cap to $100k. It felt like they were on the right track in transforming DBS into a one-stop solution/bank.

Unfortunately, there will be a revision to the DBS Multiplier terms w.e.f. 1 February 2020. There are 3 changes:
1. Renaming of Salary Credit category to Income category. This is a pretty harmless move.
2. Dividend Crediting from CDP will no longer qualify as Investment but will be under the above Income category. So this essentially removes 1 category from all of us.
3. Balance cap for Salary Credit/Income + 1 category will be reduced from $50k currently to $25k with effect from 1st February 2020. This is the ultimate nerf that will cause people to move/change their savings account.

Although their website hasn't been updated, I believe this is how it is going to look like. Oh well, this is sort of expected right? The only constant is change. Are we going to change our savings account before February 2020? Probably not, for a few reasons.

KPO and CZM are pretty poor. Look at the amount in my Multiplier account. We are still well below the new $25k. I know it is sad but regular readers will know we hardly keep much cash. They are either invested or spent on our house/vacation. lol.

DBS is smart and knows that the Multiplier is still one of the most attractive savings accounts if we compared it against other banks at the same range/tier ~$25k.

UOB One requires one to spend at least $500 and the interest is around 1.5% - 2.0% for the first $30k.

OCBC 360 awards interest at 1.5% with at least $500 credit card spend for the first $35k.

SCB Bonus$aver is the highest for 2.13% with more than $500 credit card spend and the best part is the cap is $100k! This is probably the best savings account with its high cap if you are cash rich and have no issue spending at least $500 per month on credit card.

For now, we will probably remain with DBS but I can foresee us changing to other savings account once we get richer... What will you do?

Do like any of the following for the latest update/post!
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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.)