April is the month we celebrated my father’s 65th birthday. In a sense, this is a milestone since he will also receive his first CPF payout. He currently works part-time as a private rental driver and would most likely not request payment for his monthly expenses except for trips abroad. Almost a decade ago, I helped them build a dividend-oriented portfolio that would further secure their retirement years.
However, this has never been so easy. Especially since my father made many financial mistakes at a young age when my siblings and I were younger. Money was not managed properly. And in a way, he didn’t know how to deal with it. Our household lived from paycheck to paycheck and had some financial emergencies, but we are all happy and grateful for the position we are in today.
I recently met a friend I previously featured in our blog post. He is an inspiring figure and wanted to travel to all seven continents of the world shortly before the age of 35. Earlier this year, he managed to cover two more continents (Antarctica and South America), and he will travel to Africa year after year to observe wildlife migration.
One of the most stunning events, according to him, was the eruption of icebergs due to climate change. This phenomenon happens regularly and has inspired many people in the group who have experienced it firsthand.
And here’s what he has to share:
“Climate change is real. It happens, but we can do something about it. Let’s do it before it’s too late and become latent for our future generations. “
For our household, the focus this year is very much on climate change and trying to live more sustainably. First of all, with the help of our company’s sustainability committee, I tried out some initiatives in my workplace. We have launched a one-year zero waste campaign that aims to raise awareness of waste reduction and sustainable living by adapting some of our daily habits. This included a sustainability meeting to kick off the campaign, a sustainability fair, excursions and activities that included visits to the zero-waste shop, beach cleaning, landfill visits and monthly zero-waste challenges. Hopefully this will create awareness of global warming and climate change and the realism of everyone.
The experience was overwhelming and not only made my employees aware of this issue, but also attracted like-minded people who are very committed to this common cause of climate change. The office staff even shared their suggestions on how to improve the waste problem. This is an extremely fulfilling process and I am glad that I had the opportunity to make a small change and to inspire others to do their part.
As many of you may have heard or seen, Netflix recently had “Our planet“, A documentary series by Sir David Attenborough that shows the effects of climate change around the world. Kate and I saw it with Ally and Ashton, and despite their tender age, we felt they had a subtle understanding of what was happening based on the narrative, and we as parents will continue to work our children about this To raise awareness. This is extremely powerful documentation and we would highly recommend anyone to look at it.
Below are some simple activities we do on weekends
Clockwise from top left – Ashton is a natural right legger! Kate and children look at the pond filled with turtles and feed them. Ally has a great time in a public pool with great slides
Visit the jewel at Changi Airport while Ally has fun in one of her indoor playgrounds
Visit our community farm where we saw eggplants, bananas, women’s fingers, aloe vera and papayas
We had managed to put our cash outflow together in April. Below is a snapshot:
FI family target outflow (excluding parents and mortgage) = $ 5,000 per month ($ 3,500 core and $ 1,500 non-core)
The core is the variable / fixed cash outflow, which is incurred for the month as “operating costs”. This is the minimum to keep our household comfortable and the amount that we will still pay when we are not working.
The core category does not include travel, donations / gifts, savings insurance and things that improve our level of happiness, security and sense of purpose in the long run. Our savings plans also show that these are additional savings that we have and we can monetize them as our children get older. We believe these are important elements to be higher on the pyramid under the Maslow hierarchy of needs. We want to keep this as long as possible in order to expect something in the future.
Finally, we significantly reduce our parents’ allowances by adding an initial flat rate to their pension account (CPF life) that guarantee you a lifelong payment. This brings confidence to us that we can give CPF Life cash that works like an annuity. We would like to continue paying for their health insurance while we are both still working.
All stated insurance figures are amortized over 12 months.
Summary for April
Family ($ 5,438.66):
Core ($ 4,482.32)
This month, our core spend is nearly $ 1,000 above our target spend of $ 3.5,000, mainly due to spending on children ($ 500 extra), the robot vacuum cleaner ($ 285) and toilet supplies ($ 200).
Not to core business ($ 956.34):
This is below our target spending of $ 1.5,000, even if Kate bought a Garmin watch for Dave, who has been very focused on his fitness in the past few months to prepare for his ACL surgery in July.
Parents ($ 328.33):
We are currently paying for their health insurance, which should creep in slowly with age.
Total ($ 5,766.99)
Our total cash outflow this month is approximately $ 5.7,000. We will go below the $ 5,000 target if we exclude our mortgage, which we plan to repay in about two years. In the first four months of this year, we’re spending more or less the same expenses as last year (2018 – $ 25.2K and 2019 – $ 25.8K), with a difference of $ 600 more this year . Next month, spending is likely to increase due to another trip to Hiroshima, Japan. We’ll see how this will change over time.
What was the month of April like for you?
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