Thoughts on the past 365 days in 2019 and looking ahead for the next 366 days in 2020. A look at my personal finances, MyPF as a financial education portal, and personal finance tips for the year ahead.
Personal: My Personal Finances
The year has been one requiring focus. Personally I took on wearing more hats stepping into a management role with Wealth Vantage Advisory, a licensed financial advisory firm while continuing to serve as a licensed financial planner, and overseeing MyPF. A significant amount of business investments was made putting my money where my heart is into both WVA and MyPF. Investments overall met expectations although Bursa remains muted and increased exposure was into US and global equities. Other areas including risk management and estate planning require some fine-tuning in the year ahead, and to start a new life priority of education planning.
- Balance Sheet: Assets overall growth especially in global equities and reduction of investment debt. Overall net worth also showed growth of +35.9% and remained in above average accumulation of wealth (AAW). The net worth increase is the 2nd highest net worth percentage growth in the past 10 years.
- Cash Flow Statement: Active incomes continues to be the primary source of income with 75% of income from active income and 25% from passive income. The journey to financial independence continues with passive income currently able to cover 72% of expenses. Financial Ratios as below:
- Savings/Investment ratio at 45% above the stretch goal of 40% (minimum 20% excluding EPF).
- Insurance costs remain constant at below 5% of income taking just the necessary coverage.
- Overall spending ratio at 30% and improved compared to previous year.
- Liquidity ratio was slightly below if taking only cash at 5 months equivalent of expenses.
- Debt to asset ratio showed improvement with investment property disposal but still on high side at 45%.
- Debt service ratio continues to be healthy at 14% of income.
- Budget: Key goals budgeted and met for the year was investments primarily in global equity, business investments, and leisure travel.
- Estate Planning: Not done this year was the rewriting of the will as we are expecting a new addition to our family thus only proceeding to rewrite will in 2020. This will include accounting for increased annual household maintenance expenses to support dependents.
- Risk Management: Adjustment to risk management coverage amount required in 2020 to cover above mentioned shortfall in annual household maintenance expenses to support dependents and for overseas tertiary education planning.
- Investment Planning: Asset allocation moved closer towards targeted asset allocation although quite a bit more needs to be done. No more property disposals are planned thus the focus will be on growing the equity investment portion. Fixed income investments can be further optimised while other alternate investment asset classes outperformed primarily due to this year’s gain in gold. Equities are doing moderately well with US/global investments significantly outperforming the local Bursa equity market.
- Retirement Planning: On track towards a modest retirement goal by age 45. 2020 investments planning goal being set at a slightly more ambitious amount of increasing investments 30% compared to prior year.
Business: MyPF Financial Education Portal
We achieved most of our key goals this year including expanding the team, our social media presence, and going omni-channel + omni-language. We reached out more to the Malaysian PF community this year too including organising a few events for financial influencers and the public, and setting up a Facebook group. Most of all, we would like to thank our readers/viewers and all members of our community for the support!
- A big THANK YOU to the entire team with our editors stepping in taking a bigger role allowing me to better focus.
- We also welcomed a few new additions to the team handling our audio, video, graphic editing, and social media respectively.
- This year we launched our YouTube channel including a podcast series in MyPF PodCat, and financial planning tips in The Financial Doctor Show. We were also invited to be guests on a few webinars.
- We launched multi-lingual content in Bahasa Melayu and Mandarin, and relaunched our Premier Newsletter for members.
- Our media reach grew as well with our content featured on a number of publications including The Star, The Edge, and Smart Investor.
- We launched a financial bloggers/influencers program and collaborated with a number of financial bloggers.
- A goal that got pushed back was the launch of our MyPF financial planning app as we are making changes to the target market of the app.
- Key goals for the year ahead would be to improve the consistency of content, further expand our social media reach, the financial planning app, and to connect more Malaysians with licensed financial planners.
Tips: Personal Finance Advise for 2020
Set goals and focus! Personal finance is a journey and the start of a new year is always a good time to mentally restart. Below are a few tips to set your personal finance journey in 2020 on the right track.
- Start by doing a fresh update on your financial numbers. This includes doing a quick check to make sure your various financial numbers are in order: emergency savings, savings/investments percentage, debt ratio, etc. Make adjustments or at least have a plan towards making the necessary adjustments in the year ahead.
- Set your budget for the year ahead allocating towards your investments and other goals. Know your long term-goals and timeline. Break down your goals into manageable chunks and focus on 3 to 5 goals only for the year. Further break down your annual goal into monthly goals to achieve.
- Allocate your investments and make sure that you’re sufficiently diversified and stick to your personalised investment plan. Don’t be too caught up in market movements and sensational headlines. Avoid greed and knee-jerk reactions. Your overall all-weather asset allocation portfolio is more important to withstand whatever market conditions lie ahead.
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