Rolf’s Updates – My Priorities in Life – Health, Finance, Family, Friends & Hobbies – 2020 1Q

Click here for what does H2F3 (Health, Hobbies, Family, Finance and Friends) means. Refer here for my last H2F3 update in 2019Q2.
Time flies, my last H2F3 post is nine months ago. My first 2020 update as follows.
2020 will be known as the year where Corona Virus wreak havoc causing the world to shut down. We are social beings, but now “social distancing” is enforced. We talk about globalisation and a borderless society, but now countries are shutting borders and restricting air travels. Singapore is in partial locked down from 7 Apr to 1 June. Our government call it  “Circuit Breaker (CB)”. Streets are empty, schools are closed and everyone is told to stay at home! What a 2020 it has been so far!  
Thank God. All my family members are healthy in 2020. My health is reasonably good except for sinus which is still manageable.
Up until CB, my weekly exercise routine includes at least 3-4 times of table tennis, gym and swimming / jogging. Since CB, all facilities are closed. You can still go jogging, but I prefer not to go often, because of the crowd. Instead, I enjoy working out at home with my kids. My favourite workout youtube channel is “Anabolic aliens”.

It is not easy to resist food because you are staying at home all the time. Netflix with potato chips and all sorts of junk food. Simply irresistible, but I also try hard to ensure smaller amount. So far it is still good. Meanwhile, lots of home cooked food during this period, thanks to my in law staying with us.
My weight was 81-82 kg at one point until recently. Good news is I lost a bit of weight lately. Not ideal but still decent. BMI ~24.5, standing 1.78 m at 78 kg, but I prefer BMI of 23-24. Still need to work hard to “flatten the curve” shaving off 2 kg at least.
Multi-vitamins, fish oil and Glucosamine for joints because my table tennis session is usually quite intense and last year my joints started to hurt. Age is catching up. Gone were the days where I am fast and agile with quick body recovery.
Blame myself for not devoting as much time. While we pray regularly, the intensity of bible fades. Although we have family house church occasionally, it wasn’t as much as before. One positive news is my maid is reading bible daily before she sleep.
First and foremost, we are more than thankful to be with our family. I personally know friends who are locked down in foreign land alone. Our heartfelt and sincere prayers for them to be reunited with their loved ones soon.
Stay home bonding
Since the beginning of 2020, I have been traveling frequently. My last trip home is mid-March, just before Singapore implement travel restrictions/regulations. To be honest, the CB maybe a blessing in disguise for me. Now, I can spend precious time for family bonding.
Without doubt, it is tough working from home when schools are closed. Home-based-learning plus few young kids running, screaming and crying can drive you nuts. Yet, their adorable smiles and laughter quickly eclipsed the frustrations. On a very positive note, our eldest are being very sensible and caring to her younger siblings. Overall family relationships is fantastic under the circumstances.
Table Tennis family time
Table tennis is a family affair for us. Since mid-2018, I had been my family’s personal coach. No charges! Last year, I handled most part of the responsibility to the professional coaches. Below is a video clip showing my daughter’s progress in the sports.
Sports has many benefits. I place a lot of emphasis for my kids to remember why sports is so important. They have to keep in mind on the below benefits that I wanted them to memorize.  Sports is good for: 1) Health and Fitness  2) Focus, Discipline and Perseverance  3) Friends and Fun
Things are not bright for my company. Group in the Western hemisphere is facing financial crunch even before this crisis. With the current global downturn, most companies will have gone under already. Nevertheless, we are very lucky to be kept afloat. And soon we will have a strong group of investors as our new owners with debts wrote off. Maybe the company’s >300 years history helps? Also, we are market leader in our field.
On the contrary, business in Singapore responsible for APAC is still “ok”. We have no debts with strong cash and orderbook that can possibly last us through for the next 1.5-2 year. My “prudent and prepare the worst mindset” has possibly assimilated well into bringing the company to its current situation. A pat on my own back…*blushed*!
Tend to do well during Crisis
It is not the first time that I tend to do better during crises. This year, my increment is one of the highest since I started in the company. Similarly, during the Financial and Oil Crises in 2008-09 and 2015-16 respectively, I also had my career promotions. This blessing must have come from a higher power.
Portfolio wise, I saw a rise in my portfolio despite the market onslaught. This is due to profits from the partial sale of gold and crypto, as well as double bagger for Keppel DC REIT.  
My cash position was bolstered further with sale of partial corporate bond at face value. I then use a part of the cash to purchased stocks cheapy. (STI, Exxon Mobil and few REITs.). Sounds clever right!  It’s definitely not a pack of lies. You can refer to my previous H2F3 updates or many other posts to verify my portfolio position and my mindset of non-stock investments in the past years.
Excluding properties and CPF and jewelleries;
·       Prior to the crash, I am 39% Cash, 37% metals, 6 % crypto, 9% shares, 9% bonds.
·       Currently,  I am 51% Cash, 28% metals, 15% shares, 5% bonds, 1% crypto.
Forgive me if you are thinking I am bragging about how good I am or my exceptional foresight.
I just hope to share what I learnt in the last few years and hopefully can bring some beneficial insight to the readers. In 2015 and before, I probably had over 30 stocks with a sizeable equity portfolio. Then there seems to have this invisible energy which is driving me to delve deeply into the truth of our global financial system, which unveils the flaws and wickedness of the system itself. Thereafter, I became sceptical about the market rally after GFC, believing that it was driven by the excess liquidity from QE (money printing), rather than a fundamentally strong economy. My equity portfolio was pared down, and I increase my cash and precious metal’s position.
Home loan
Reduce a hefty lumpsum of my mortgage loan using cash and CPF recently for the refinancing of my mortgage. My loan amount is now below 30% of the market value of my freehold apartment. Loan of 9 years, but my target is to clear mortgage within the next 5 years if possible.
Teaching syllabus for kids
Spend lots of time last year on my PPT Teaching Syllabus for my kids. Did not progress any further since 2019Q2. Simply too busy with too many things. Hectic work with frequent travels, heavy responsibility both at work and at home, kids’ education, enrichment, training etc. Just too many things.
Charitable acts
Committed to World Vision’s child sponsorships last year. Currently supporting several kids in poverty across South-East-Asia. For just $45 a month per kid, you can really improve their lives. For those interested, please visit . At the same time, I continue to made regular contributions to support a good friend and his family who had contributed greatly for their neighbours and community. My niece also took monthly overseas education expenses from me.  

Friends including relatives are very important to me. Before CB this year, I always had almost bi-weekly gatherings  with friends whose kids are also my kids’ good friends. During this locked down, I also stay closely in touch with my friends via whatsapp, lest not forget my friends from foreign countries too. A good friend from China even sent me 10 packs of masks knowing that the Covid situation has worsened. I am so touched by his kindness!
Beside friends, relationships with my superiors, colleagues are also extremely good with almost no conflicts. The earlier part of 2020 also seen lots of relatives gathering on top of CNY.

My hobbies are also what I do for my health to stay fit, like workout, table tennis and swimming. It also overlapped with family. I love the efficiency of Health, Family and Hobbies. On average 2-3 times a week, I will play table tennis with different groups of friends at different places, which also helped me to widen my contacts. I love reading and writing. Aside from bible, news articles, reading of books kind of stop for me. My last book is read half-way. It is biography of Jack Ma. And yes, I am also blogging.
Health – Good but not great due to sinus. Progress in weight loss.  
Family – Great. We are staying at home!
Financial – Great. Job seems pretty secured under the circumstances. Excited that backup exit plan from Corporate career is also looking good.
Friends – Great. Up to CB, still catch up regularly. Good relationships with colleagues.
Hobbies – Great. Regular workout and table tennis with family makes me happy.  
Nobody expected this Crisis! Hence, it is important that we not always take things at face value. What seems very good now may not be always be good in future. Likewise what seems like pretty “shitty” situation now, when one day we look back will always be a good learning experience. Always inculcate the mindset of prepare for the worst. Once you have that mindset, stay positive, joyful and always extend the helping hand to those we are called, to help. 
My prayers to those who are away from families during this unprecedented time.

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19 thoughts on “Rolf’s Updates – My Priorities in Life – Health, Finance, Family, Friends & Hobbies – 2020 1Q

  1. Hey Rolf

    Great to see you doing so well in every turnaround.

    In distress that's where the real gem shines, who knows what else might comes for you 😉

    1. Hey B,

      To be honest, I am not proud at all in the situation currently. It’s quite sad and childish if I feels happy. A true real good friend of mine told me I m the kind who easily may got mistaken for?

      My resistance in the last few years into equity is mainly to protect my downside. And not seriously want to make a killing in this crisis. I have a big family to support (8 of us in total), and all 7 of them are looking at me. Our family do not have any other forms of backup, except me.

      So I have to be prudent. And as truthful as I write, I do not feel like shining.

      Just hope that the pandemic will end soon even if it means me not earning any $ or even losing little $. At least there will be less economic hardships for the poor and oppressed. They are the one who suffer!

      Also, I am glad to see a diff B nowadays really compared to when we first started blogging.

      You are a great husband and a great father now! 🙂 God bless!

  2. Hi Rolf,

    Looks like you're tanking very well 🙂 Very glad to hear things are well for you, since you're somewhat in that industry. Wishing you great health, great relationships and great wealth 🙂

    1. Hi LP,
      Hahaha… tanking well indeed. Hope you too! :-). Tks. O&G is tough, but actually since few years ago, I diversify role into other industries, and guess what including a specialised construction segment, which is doing pretty well. But you are right that, anything in manufacturing is going to be tough n not long lasting. Hence, been formulating somekind of backup plan into a totally diff industries if time is riped.

      Yes, wish you great health and stay safe.

    1. Hi sg div, the standard in SG is very high nowadays. She is not in the echelon group. Their standard is way too high and parents are the one who is putting equal if not more hardwork than the kids. And yes, lots of $$$ too!

  3. noticed more and more of your posts during this CB period.. more time now eh? haha..

    always enjoyed your posts, keep it coming!

    i am also 1.78m… its hard to keep that weight down! esp at the gut! everything seems to congregate at that particular spot.. i look pear shaped or "pregnant"!

    1. Hi FC, thanks for reading as always over the years. Appreciate it.
      Hope u are well and still in the same line?

      I am definitely an extrovert. The CB period has given me all the time which otherwise will have spend on family outings, travel, sports, catching up with friends and all driving here and there to send my kids for class n trainings.

      Yeah I remember you told me ur height. Last year all my pants are very tight and to safe money, I decided to flatten the curve at that spot! hahaha… Agree with u that it is really hard…but keep trying.

    2. what kinda exercises are you doing to "flatten the curve" at that spot?! (i think this warrants a blog post by itself! haha)

      i was up to 36~37 on my pants. now it fluctuates to 33~35 , depending on whether i am at home or when i am overseas at work. haha

    3. just realised i missed your earlier qn. got excited about the exercises.

      i am well, moved to my matrimonal home, finally.

      work wise, as you know, we (company wise) havent even recovered from the 2014 oil crisis, then kena whack with this covid19. we took a 15% pay cut company wide. and thats just the first knee jerk reaction. dont dare to think what is going happen in the next coming months. western hemisphere side has already laying off employees. so its not looking good for us employees, thats for sure.

  4. Hi Rolf, yes definitely looks like everything is going well in your life. it is like you are Moses and knew everything that was coming.especially getting the biggest increment this year. makes me feel envious. i must say you are lucky too 🙂 but I did not know how much effort you have put in. are you still in the same O&G company in 2015?

    1. Hi there, u probably only see the good things now! I apologise n must stressed it is dangerous to only see one side of coin from this post. Hence my long reply below to clear misunderstanding.

      This blog is also dedicated for my kids n friends, so they will probably understand better. Those who knew me in blogosphere 4-5 yrs back knew I’m struggling with retrenchments in the same company back then. I am in the same co even before 2015. When you see that someone is in O&G industry, it does not mean that their company core biz was in only O&G. The O&G part can perhaps be 10, 20, 30, 40% of revenue? I did say company has >300 yrs history in the post. If u google history of O&G n check the history?

      Although I said largest increment, it is relative. In fact my salary now is almost same as wat I was having from 10 yrs ago, b’cos I took a pay cut in 2013. So effectively, I do not have an increment for a decade already!
      If u visit mypage “about me”, u can realise I have tough childhood w parents in poverty struggling even w $ to buy food every week.
      2 yrs after graduation, there was one time when my bank account is less than $10.

      And I was in hospital bed at one point struggling with death. The illness has bothered me for more than 1 decade with constant pain.
      Guess up to last 2-3 yrs, my life wasn’t that good (I blame on myself), until I truly repented and change my behaviour n mindset n of course my self-centredness.

      Even before I saw ur comment, I was just telling my kids today that there is not really such thing as lucky. Even if lucky is temporary. It is more learning from failures.

      Moses suffered when he was born, and even at age 80, he had to live in wilderness for 40 yrs burdened by all the hundreds of thousands of people. Don’t think he has a good life and do not think he is lucky.

      And Moses himself did not know everything that was coming. But he was told on the things that was coming and he believed in that. This is the main difference!

      Stay safe and healthy. Actually will prefer u do not comment as anonymous as I can pray for u, truly from the bottom of my heart. There is really nothing much to hide actually. 🙂

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