Net Worth Update – April 2013

I don’t know why people who are not looking to withdraw their retirement funds are happy that the markets are up.

Because, even though my net worth has been boosted by the market upsurge, things are now expensive. I transferred another 10K to my brokerage account last Saturday, but I am now hesitant to buy anything, because all the stocks that are worth buying (and some which are not) are now freaking costly.

I will probably put in the order for two blue chip stocks later today. Blue chip stocks are not spectacular dividend payers actually (between 3% to 5% p.a.) due to their high costs, but they are stable. My portfolio is a bit heavy in the small and medium cap stocks at the moment.

Oh, I was also considering putting in orders for some ETFs, since we don’t have index funds in Singapore. I didn’t quite like the idea of ETFs, because I feel like I cannot control them as well as stocks (an illusion?), but reading Andrew Hallam’s blog gave me some confidence. The only problem was that the monetary authority considers ETFs derivatives, and I have to pass a special online test before I can trade them, which is pretty stupid in my opinion. Anyway, I haven’t had the inclination to take the online test yet, so investing in ETFs is still hanging in the air. My bad.

I also moved some cash last week. The fixed deposit rates are disgusting (0.5% p.a.), but Standard Chartered had a promotion where I can get 1.88% p.a. with a checking account as long as I keep charging $500 per month on an associated credit card. No problem – I will just move my savings endowment payment from another card to this one.

With that said, let’s move on with the actual net worth update for April – not too shabby at $730,750, approximately $8K increase from March, thanks mainly to the retirement accounts. The retirement contributions from last month’s bonuses have finally hit the CPF statements. I am also up about $87,000 since end of 2012.

The valuation for the rental condo is also holding up, though I am curious as to whether I’ll actually get any bites if I put it on the market down. From the feedback I am getting, the property market seems to be rather weak and there seem to be a lot of discounts out there for newly completed developments.

Taxes were filed this month – a ten minute exercise, thank goodness, because I totally forgot about it until quite the last minute. I had a rather large income last year due to the rental, but managed to pare that down quite a bit with all the rental expenses deductions (mortgage interest, agent fees, maintenance, repairs etc).

I think I’ll end up with 5K to 6K worth of income taxes for 2012’s income. That’s an effective rate of 3% after deductions. I cannot complain, especially after my mum came back from a visit with a Malaysian relative earning about the same as I do, and him having to pay 30K in taxes even after maximum deductions.

May will be a month of financial spring clean. I need to streamline my bank accounts and consolidate my credit card charging. The latter especially, is all over the place. It is going to be a PITA process to have to change most of my billing instructions, but the OCD part of me won’t let go.

May will also be the month when I reign in my spending a little bit, because I was kind of reckless in March and April. I didn’t do much damage, but only because I have plebeian tastes when it comes to life. Wants like this or this are actually pretty rare.

So, that’s all, folks. See ya next time.

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