7 Lessons from 7 Awesome Blog Posts this Week – Volume 2


Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

May 24, 2020

At the beginning of 2020, I decided to transition from full-time work to part-time work. This has greatly increased the amount of time I have on hand, and I’d like to channel some of it into personal development on a daily basis.

I’ve since decided to take note of the best personal finance article I read each day, along with 1 single lesson that I’ve learnt from it.

Everything I learn will be compiled into a blog post every week, so it can hopefully provide you with some value too. (Admittedly, this is also to help me, since I learn best when I write.)

If this provides any benefit to you, let me know. If you have any ideas on how to improve these round-up posts, please let me know as well.

Post #1

Blog Post: The Million-Dollar Price Tag of Being a Stay-at-Home Parent, by Costa Rica FIRE.

Lesson #1 – When deciding to take time off to care for young children, consider the long-term impact (such as the growth factor in salary, delayed career progression and career plateaus), in addition to the immediate cost savings (such as transportation and day care).

My Thoughts:

As I never really had much of a career (I’ve mostly been in dead-end jobs), I didn’t think about the long-term impact on my career when deciding to go from full-time to part-time to take care of my children in the future. If I ever find a career that I like/love, this will definitely be a consideration.

I think that in addition to cost savings, there’s the non-monetary benefit of staying home to care for children. It’s meaningful and fulfilling, and since children are the most influenced during their younger days, I would love to be able to care for them during these days. It’s time that we can never get back.

Post #2

Blog Post: Our Pandemic Portfolio: How are Our Investments Doing?, by Millennial Revolution.

Lesson #2 – Dividend yield was affected adversely during the financial crisis of 2008, as large corporations that typically pay such dividends were impacted negatively. On the other hand, this present recession impacts small non-dividend-paying companies the most, whereas large corporations continued operations without too much of a hitch. As such, it is not likely that a sharp and sustained dividend yield drop will occur during this period.

My Thoughts:

This was particularly interesting, as one of my retirement strategies is also to live off dividend yield, without drawing down on the capital. It’s inspiring to see that Kristy and Bryce’s portfolio will still yield their expected $35,000 for this year, despite everything else that’s happening in the world. This shows that their yield shield is resilient, and a very useful retirement tool to decreasing the chances of running out of money during retirement.

Post #3

Blog Post: How to Keep Compounding when the Market Won’t, by Mr Tako Escapes.

Lesson #3 – Although cutting dividends is a decent strategy to conserve cash, businesses that do so tend to be weaker, with cash flow problems, and go on to under-perform other stocks. To keep compounding, reinvest in stocks that maintain pay-outs without wrecking their balance sheet.

My Thoughts:

Since I have a few individual stocks, this is something I have to keep in mind. From the looks of it, I don’t think my dividends are getting cut for 2020, which is definitely a good sign.

Post #4

Blog Post: The Trade-Offs of Going Part Time, by Accidental FIRE.

Lesson #4 – 2 important trade-offs of going part-time include being marginalised and having less external validation (less professional prestige) at work.

My Thoughts:

Apart from my salary and benefits, I really gave other consequences much thought, including being marginalised and having less external validation. I have found that this is true though, because at work people do treat me like I’m less important now that I’m “only a part-time worker”. Thankfully, I’ve never loved my job, so these things aren’t that important to me. But if I do find another job that I could potentially like, these are pretty damn important things to think about.

Post #5

Blog Post: Life is Not a Buffet, by Emily Guy Birken.

Lesson #5 – When we envy what we don’t have, which someone else has, we home in only on that single missing piece in our lives, wishing we could have the good stuff without considering the difficult times that the other person has gone through. When you’re feeling envious, ask yourself – “would you really prefer to have all of the other person’s problems, weaknesses, and tribulations just because of the one thing they have that you don’t?” This might help you realise that the comparison was never fair in the first place. In addition, doing so will help you to realise what you will miss in your own life, which you’ve forgotten to be grateful for.

My Thoughts:

Since I don’t make a lot of money, and I struggled a lot with my parents over the past few years, I find myself constantly envious of people who seem to “have it financially easier” than me. It’s never an easy emotion to process, but this blog post was incredibly helpful.

Post #6

Blog Post: 18 Ways To Make Use Of The Extra Time On Your Hands, by Darius Foroux.

Lesson #6 – Squeeze naps in during the day, if you don’t sleep at least 8-9 hours at night. This requires a mindset change though: Instead of spending free time on your phone, grab a quick nap.

My Thoughts:

Whenever I had free time in the past, I would always watch a video or do stupid things on my phone. Nowadays, whenever I schedule a break in between sessions of work, I just take a nap. ? Even a 15-minute session of just shutting my eyes really helps me. The mindset shift was a little challenging though, but it’s now a habit (I think).

Post #7

Blog Post: Why are ECs located so far out?, by CNA Lifestyle.

Lesson #7 – Executive Condominiums (government-subsidised condos in Singapore) are typically 10 to 20% cheaper than regular condos. To ensure this, the land cost component cannot be too high, and remote areas (that are far away from city and town centres) typically satisfy this condition. In addition, the demographic for these executive condos are less likely to rely on private transportation than dwellers in public housing, so more assessable areas are reserved for public housing.

My Thoughts:

(Not really a blog post, but an engaging article nonetheless.) This is interesting because my girlfriend is currently looking to buy an apartment in an executive condo. There are a few benefits if we get this, instead of a private condo, which are:

  • Appreciation from privatisation;
  • Appreciation from further development in the area; and
  • Grants available to eligible buyers.

For a condo, executive ones are much more affordable. Considering that we aren’t eligible for public housing, this might be a good option to keep in mind.

And that’s all 7 posts for this week. I read so many wonderful ones over the week, and it was difficult choosing just 7, so I’ll just keep on reading and writing these “7 Lessons” posts. ?

Thank you for reading!

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