Saturday, October 31, 2015

How Great Is Thy Love For Me - Part 3

Read previous post: How Great Is Thy Love For Me - Part 2

It is said when all the doors around you were shut - in front, behind, left and right - you only had 2 ways left: went above or went below. And I thought I was on my way going under, through the valley of the shadow of death, while living the rest of my life in misery and pain. It was at this point, things that were important to me: my successful career and pursuit of material life, suddenly became less important. 

I had a flash back in my mind on how I'd lived my life in the past few years. I neglected my family for my career. Even during the family time, I'd busy with my blackberry rather than spending quality time with the ones who loved me. I couldn't even remember the last time I read my bible. I had unconsciously became a selfish man who thought too highly about myself, that all the success were because of my own ability. It's like a new revelation was unveiled. I realized the most important things actually were those who had loved us dearly, God and our families.

I had to re-arrange my priorities in life. I tried to live by day and not to worry too much about my future. I put my future in God's good hand, and no longer in myself or other men. I prayed that I would get a new job that would allow me to spend times with my loved ones. I was more than willing to take less pay for such job.

It was then, when I no longer trying with my own strength, I got re-connected with an ex-boss. Starting with an informal chat, it continued with interviews, and I ended up getting a job offer. I wasn't having high hope and was already preparing myself for a significant pay cut if I got the job. But hey, alas, it wasn't much a pay cut when I finally got the offer. Indeed with the variable bonus, the overall package would be better than my existing job.

These verses below about Peter, the fisherman, described exactly how I felt after failing many times applying for jobs:

"When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, 'Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.' But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.' And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking." - Luke 5:4-6 NKJV

I also received another good news about my health. I was referred to a specialist to check further on my urine condition. I was asked to do another round of test. The waiting for the result was like an eternity to me, though it's just for a week. I really prayed for a good result to come out, so I could still work and wouldn't be a burden to my family. When the result finally came out, the specialist discharged me as he found nothing wrong in my urine test.

To be continued ...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How Great Is Thy Love For Me - Part 2

Read previous post: How Great Is Thy Love For Me

I sold my car and stopped eating out. I tried very hard to be careful with my spending. I could remember the sadness in my wife and daughter's eyes, when all the conveniences they had been enjoying, were taken away. But they didn't complain. My daugther, though they're still very young and didn't fully understand, knew that their father was having difficulties.

Meanwhile, during one routine health check, red blood cells were found in my urine. The more I read about what caused it, the more worried I was, as it might be an indication of kidney disease. Having the vision of me needing to rely on dialysis one day was too much to bear. I was wondering how I would pay for the dialysis and treatment, and if any employer would be willing to employ me.

I didn't receive a single call for many job applications I sent out. And reading many sad stories in, where many Singaporean struggled to get re-employment as they grew older, broke whatever fighting spirit in me. I had very little faith left at this lowest point of my life, and I sank deeper into depression.

These were the days I shed a lot of tears, when I was alone in my prayer. I envied my friends who had rich parents and could afford to quit their jobs any time they wanted. I was angry and I questioned God, why I didn't have rich parents which I could fall back to, why I couldn't get a new job while struggling and unhappy with the one I had, and why I was allowed to have what might be a very serious (and expensive) sickness. Didn't He say "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. " - Jeremiah 29:11. Why did He allow all these bad things to happen in my life?

To be continued ...

Friday, October 23, 2015

How Great Is Thy Love For Me

In the aftermath of 2007 great financial crisis, the company I worked for was in the brink of bankruptcy. I was doing well in my job, but my company wasn't. It was finally bought over by a bigger company, and that was when the whole drama began.

After the takeover, we're pretty much under the mercy of the new owner. I got a new boss and the direction from the very high up was to outsource the function where I belonged to. I was retained by the new company to "manage" the outsourcing company. However most of my colleagues and team mates were given severance package and asked to work for the outsourcing company, which would provide services back to my new company.

It was then my worst nightmare started. The outsourcing company wasn't able to deliver according to expectation. There were so much corporate politics taking place as the senior management from both the previous company and the new company fight for their own survival. Things just got harder and harder for me. The incompetence of the "lower cost" outsourcing company in delivering required services didn't help me either.

In 2010, I was on my breaking point. I was working for almost 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. I started looking for new jobs. I contacted ex-colleagues and friends for job opportunities. They politely told me they would meet me or contact me when opportunity arose, but they never did. There was one ex-company that I thought I had a good chance to land a job, but I didn't. It was much later that I found out that an ex-colleague held a personal grudge and another one worried I'd become a strong competitor. I felt very hurtful and dejected because I used to help them.

I continued looking for new jobs, relying on my own strength and connections, but to no avail. I hated the environment of my workplace and my job then, but I couldn't quit because I was the sole bread winner for my family of four. I also needed to support my parents and service my home loan. I didn't have much savings in my bank account either. I became severely depressed and lost 10 kg without diet and excercise.

To be continued ...

Monday, October 12, 2015

September 2015 - Low Cost Portfolio

STI broke it's August low in September to test 2740 level and subsequently rebounded. I took the opportunity during market panic to add First REIT into my low cost portfolio. At my buying price of $1.205 per share, yield on cost was a decent 6.8%.

Loss YTD increased to -5.08% or -11.55% on a weighted annualized basis. No dividend received in September. I added $3,000.00 of fresh fund into the portfolio in September. As my portfolio allocation had achieved the targeted allocation of 60% equity and 40% bond, I planned to sit tight and only increase equity allocation if STI dropped to between 1500-2500.

Link to Yaruzi's low cost portfolio as of September 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

September 2015 - Unit Trust Portfolio Update

September is the 2nd month my unit trust portfolio dipped into negative territory. On annualized weighted basis, portfolio return was -2.01%. Total YTD return was -1.51%.

I didn't have many transactions in September as my unit trust allocation was close to the intended allocation of 60% equity+high yield, and 40% bonds. I received cash dividend of $155.33.

Below were the summary of my transactions in September 2015:
1. Bought
First State Dividend Advantage $2,000.00
Schroder ISF Gb Div Max A DIS SGD $2,000.00

Link to Yaruzi's unit trust portfolio allocation as of Sep 2015